Ok, here's my review of our 9/7/13 cruise on the Oasis Of The Seas.
I will preface this review with a few facts:
This is my 14th cruise and 10th on RCCL
Cruising was newly 50yr old self and 46yr old wife.
D6 Balcony 12th floor forward stateroom 12156
We did the drink package at $55 per day per person. I'll go over what's included and what's not a little later in this LONG review.
Day 1 - arrived at Fort Lauderdale airport via Atlantic City around 10am, grabbed our luggage and jumped in a cab outside the baggage terminal . Cab fare was around $17 including a $2 airport surcharge and tip. Took approx 10 mins to get to the cruise pier due to a little traffic at the pier.
Upon arrival we dropped our luggage with a pier valet outside the terminal and proceeded to the check in desk. The check in process was quick and painless and over by 10:40 am. After getting our seapass card we proceeded up the escalator to the Emerald Club waiting area. The waiting area is broken up into designated waiting areas for Suites, Diamonds, Emerald, Platinum and Gold. Entry to the ship goes in that order. We began the boarding process at 11:15 am! We knew it was a bit early to be onboard and our room would not be ready, nor would our bags be delivered, so it was time for brunch! We made our way to the Windjammer Marketplace up on deck 14. A quick look around I could tell something was a little different at the Windjammer Oasis, the sitting area was not as large as some of the other ships, and the menu choices are broken up into round sections and easily accessible for the masses. The only negative about this is that a lot of people who act like this is their last meal on earth are blindly walking from station to station with no regard for the other passengers on board. This is a common theme every morning and afternoon.... I'll stay with the Windjammer for a bit...I'm a very picky eater, my wife will try anything and is a tougher crowd to please. We both agreed that the selections where plentiful, very tasty and constantly replenished. We ate breakfast there all but 2 days. The Windjammer has 2 dining rooms, one on each side of the ship, with seating in the back. Same food on both sides and the dessert is always served at the beginning of the back dining area. Water, iced tea, juices, lemonade, etc is back there as well as the Coke machines. Seems there was always a line to get in but always moved very fast. There is no need to walk around with a plate of food looking for a table anymore as the staff will find you an open table and seat you when available. Azumi is located to the right of the Windjammer (Port Side) and is used for the overflow. Staying with breakfast...we ate once at the Solarium Bistro and once at Wipeout. Both where completely empty and offered all the staples the where offered at the Windjammer. The Wipeout is located one deck below the Windjammer and offers made to order omlettes and outdoor seating. This was a nice surprise. We splurged and got fresh squeezed OJ for $4+ upcharge in all 3 restaurants, well worth it. We did not eat breakfast at Johnny Rockets (boardwalk area) but it seemed to be very busy with all tables filled, we did over here some guests saying they did not enjoy it. All in all breakfast was always good and with many choices, albeit 90% the same choices every day.
Lunch - Sea days we went to the Windjammer or Park Cafe, we are always outside by the pools in the sun and not interested in going back to the room to change to go to a dining room or specialty restaurant. Park Cafe is located in Central Park and somewhat of a secret for the first day or 2. Offered here is fresh salads, paninis, Cuban sandwhich's, jerk chicken wraps and the much talked about Roast Beef sandwich. It's very crowded and things are made to order. Salad items are limited, if you have the time and space to read the items offered, it's a nice alternative to the buffets. Windjammer always had many hot and cold options including, pasta, Asian, Indian, cold cuts, hamburgers, hotdogs, soups, salad, chicken, sliced beef and more.
Snacks - The Wipeout was always empty an a great little spot for pretzel wrapped hot dogs, nachos, chili, burgers etc, again a nice spot to sit outside in a covered area back by the sports area by the basketball court and ping pong tables.
Dinner - our week went like this. (we made our reservations before we sailed)
First night, last night - Giovanni's table-(Central Park). Sat inside first night, outside last night. Very impressed with the food here, loved the atmosphere and a great spot to eat outside and listen/watch the musicians who play in the park nightly. We did have reservations but didn't need them
Azumi - (Deck 14 next to the Windjammer) -showed up with no reservations at 8:15ish, place was packed and where seated within 2 minutes. I don't eat seafood, my wife loves it. I had no problem finding something to eat for all courses or using the chopsticks!. Appetizers where excellent and plenty of choices for both of us. Main course was fun, both of us where given a hot stone (8" x 8" 545 degrees) with raw veggies, beef, tuna, and chicken. We cooked our own dinner at the table, it's a very cool concept.
Chops Grill (Central Park)- My birthday dinner! Always look forward to Chops onboard. Chops on the Oasis is a bit smaller than some other ships (all the venues are) This was the only restaurant we felt we actually needed a reservation for as it was jammed at 8:30pm. (we are late eaters) Tables where open outside, but it was pretty humid out there that night. 10oz filet was amazing, my wife loved her Barramundi dish, looking around the dinning room, all the main courses where large and enjoyed by all. Flaming Crem brulee was excellent and the Red Velvet cake was so big nobody finished it! This is a must do for the beef lover.
Solarium Bistro (Deck 14 forward Solarium) - We arrived at 8ish and the place was empty, maybe 2 or 3 other tables in use. Great ambiance, very relaxing atmosphere, not a ton of choices for dinner, but enough. This was THE ONLY disappointing meal of the week. I ordered the veal scallopini and was very, very salty, my wife had crab cakes and a fish dish served in a corn husk that was good but salty as well. Dessert was served via a dessert bar and was just ok as well. For an hour we where the only table in the place.
Main Dining room - Deck 5 Opus - My Time Dining. I would highly recommend anyone on mytime time to make a reservation beforehand, otherwise be prepared to wait on line for 15+ minutes. We had the same table for 2 both nights. Service was good and not rushed at all. We ate on the Italian night and lobster night. Both meals where surprisingly above average.
150 Central Park - we did not eat there, but we did notice it was empty most nights.
We paid for the specialty restaurants before we left, they where offering packages a little cheaper onboard. It was a pretty aggressive sell for the first few days.
Bars - they are everywhere! Trellis bar in central park was one of our favorites, especially when Pedro the guitar player was out there. Boleros was always loud and crowded for Latin dance music, On Air was great for the football games and Karoke. TV's are everywhere inside and out. Schooner bar is located in a great spot on deck 6 overlooking the Royal Promenade. Champagne Bar offered caviar and such every night. Globe and Atlas was great fun to end the night with fun sing alongs. Rising tide bar was a one and done, but very cool nonetheless. We never made it to Dazzles, although it looked hit or miss with crowds. We peaked in on Jazz on 4 for a few minutes, it was fun and really upbeat, but a very small room. Viking Crown lounge as always is a great spot for a martini and some jazz overlooking the pool deck. Pool Bars are not situated in the same spot as all the other ships. They are actually on the side of each deck (14 and 15) and are always jamming. Solarium bar is a nice comfortable spot to sit and watch the sail aways. Blaze nightclub was your typical late night dance club, no biggie. Tried to get to Vintages for Tapas but not enough days in the week for us!
Shows - we didn't do many shows. We enjoyed the dive show, although we didn't really get the theme of the show, but it was entertaining and really cool to watch. Get a seat as high as you can as the lower seats get wet. Come fly with me was pretty bad, the aerial act was good, but the singing and dancing was awful. We didn't make our reservation for the comedy club because the karoke was so much fun. The comedy club is very small right next to the jazz on 4. They have a standby line for people who do not have reservations, but the venue is very small. We did hear great things about it. Who's line is it was the highlight of the week, don't miss it. We've done the ice show on other ships, we skipped it on the Oasis.
Casino - we hit it 2 or 3 times, one of the better ones we've seen at sea. Smoking and no smoking sides, I hate the smoke and was pleasantly surprised how they keep the smoke to one side. TV's between the 2 sides to watch the games with a nice size bar as well. Tons of slots in all denominations with all the gaming tables on both sides.
Central Park - BEAUTIFUL, peaceful, and immaculate. Great to take a late night stroll through with a pit stop at the Trellis bar.
Boardwalk - Fun food, Donuts, Ice cream , candy shop, Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, Popcorn.
Sports area - small mini golf compared to the other ships with it. 2 flowriders, 1 for knee boarding, 1 for standup. Basketball, ping pong, Zip line was fun, no reservation needed, just make sure you have sneakers on or you cant do it.
Miscellaneous- In our opinion food was very good. Venues are smaller and more of them. Missing not having Ben and Jerrys on board. Starbucks always had a few people on the line. Redbull, Powerade and other soft drinks available for purchase all over the ship. As I said earlier I don't like smoke, there are a few place to avoid if you're like me. Deck 16 (top deck) for deck chairs, deck 15 pool bars are under cover and the smoke just hangs there. You have to walk through it if you want to walk to get anywhere. The ship is definitely showing some wear and tear, especially in the carpeting and couches. As I mentioned above we've cruised a few times...our room was maybe 10 rooms from the bridge, port side. We felt the ship moving a lot this time, calm seas too, I must say we felt the Oasis move more than any other ship we sailed. Nothing major, just an observation. In room message center on the TV was great to check your account, make and check reservations, research and book shore excursions and more.
D6 balcony - First thing I found interesting was that all the cabin doors open out not in, took a few days to get used to. Room seemed smaller this time, electric outlet has been moved to a easier spot with 3 outlets. Cubby holes in the desk that hardly fit anything, the usual draws and a decent size closet with shelves. Bathroom was pretty nice with tile and decent storage area, small low sink was strange and easily flooded. Hot water was plentiful in both the shower and sink, shower was above average. One strange thing was there was so much hot water, and no cold water? Usual small balcony with room for 2 chairs and small round table. A/C shuts off if the balcony door is not locked.
Drink package - seems most passengers seem to be taking advantage of this, we did and was well worth it. Never signing a slip or having them all over the cabin was a nice plus. A big negative was that only house wines and champagne was only offered with the package. Things that are NOT included are: Coffee, Espresso, soda from the soda package, fresh squeezed OJ, Stoli Elit, Ultimat vodka, a few upgraded frozen drinks. The list of what is included is too long too list, all beers, premium liquors, just about anything you want, with no limit, or time limit like the soda package. Now, I heard this from the horses mouth...We met 2 couples traveling together that only wanted to buy 1 package each because their GF's didn't drink, they where denied as the rules state "all guests over 21 in the same room must purchase the package" a bartender overheard and told them he could get them the sticker for the card for $150 each. (a $235 savings per card) They gave him their cards and $200 each and he put stickers on for them. (they tipped him $100) True story...
Disembarkation - nice and smooth, very relaxed. Many dining options until 9 am. We stayed onboard until 10:30 am. Lots of people getting off the ship at the same time so customs took about 30 mins to get through. We walked through customs headed to the street jumped in a taxi and was at the airport 10 mins later.
I know I missed a lot of points I wanted to share, I will try a follow up post later in the week including my thoughts on Nassau, St Thomas and St Maarten. If you are still reading this feel free to ask any questions you may have.