I had a marvelous, relaxing solo cruise on the Oasis of the Seas from August 31-September 7 2013. I'm not going to try to provide an hour-by-hour travelogue, but rather to give a few impressions that still stay with me now, 3 weeks after I boarded for the cruise.
I'm Elite on Celebrity so had my travel agent sign me up for the Crown and Anchor Society, and took advantage of one of their sales to book a 110% single supplement solo balcony cabin for a very reasonable price less than 2 weeks before sailing. Living in Florida has its advantages! I was very excited about the chance to try out one of the biggest cruise ships in the world--definitely the ship was the destination for me, and not the ports.
I immediately joined the Cruise Critic roll call and signed up for the meet & mingle. As usual, fellow roll-call participants gave me great advice and got me a group to travel with to Nachi Cocom on our Cozumel port day. (Nachi was fantastic, by the way--believe those More
good reviews on Trip Advisor!)
I pre-paid online for parking with Park-n-Go and they were just great. Way less expensive than port parking, were available with their bus early the morning we returned (no waiting in the rain at 7 a.m. for them!) and even gave me a bottle of cold water for my drive home. I wish the Miami port had them too! Drove in the morning of the cruise, arrived at Park-n-Go about 11 and was onboard the Oasis by about 11:45. (The embarkation process was great and very quick as well--and disembarkation was almost equally painless though there was a few minute wait to get through customs as when I first got in line they only had 2 agents--they opened a 3rd booth within a few minutes though.)
Based on what I'd read on the RC boards on Cruise Critic, I was expecting the Diamond evening event on Oasis to be just free beer & wine, but it was actually held in a separate "Diamond Lounge" with hot and cold appetizers and a full bar each evening--really fantastic! There was also a continental breakfast there each morning AND 24 hours-a-day access to a machine that made marvelous latte macchiatos! I visited there several times a day for those--with an extra shot of espresso in each. You'd think I would have felt less relaxed and more energetic with all that caffeine! If you're a coffee fan, and a Diamond or higher, don't miss that machine! (I think it's what I miss the most about my cruise now that I'm home!)
I found the food in the MDR to be very good and thoroughly enjoyed every meal there. I also really like the Park Cafe for breakfast/lunch/snack food. I sampled many of the desserts available at the Cafe Promenade and found the granola cookies to be as good as the Cruise Critic boards said they were. Everything else was delicious too.
I also ate a number of times at the Windjammer. I was less happy with the Windjammer. It seemed very small and with a very limited number of options compared to the buffet venues on Celebrity. I was not too thrilled with either the food or the atmosphere. However, there seemed to be a very limited number of options for the evening meal if you didn't want to pay for an extra-charge venue--you could go to either the MDR or the Windjammer, or have the little sandwiches at the coffee shop, or order room service. Some nights I just didn't want to sit through a lengthy meal in the MDR so I found myself at the Windjammer more often than I'd prefer. Don't get me wrong--Windjammer isn't BAD by any means. It's just, well, "meh."
There were, however, tons of options for no-extra-charge breakfasts and lunches. It was just the dinners that were lacking "free" options. This is true on lots of ships, but on the Celebrity ships the buffet venue is much better and bigger so it felt less limiting to me.
Loved Hairspray. There were tons of options for afternoon and evening entertainment on this ship--so many that I sometimes felt paralyzed trying to figure out what to do! Suffice to say there are plenty of options for all tastes.
As many others have said, on Oasis you hardly feel like you are on the ocean. Yes, I could look out my balcony door or go out on my balcony (or on an upper deck) and see that we were on the ocean...but you really could not feel it. Oddly that was a bit of a disappointment to me. But others may appreciate it!
The only time the ship felt crowded was occasionally waiting for elevators. And that was highly situational. I figured due to the fact that most schools were in session during my cruise, that there would be fewer kids on board than usual, but there were still quite a large number. I didn't see any extreme misbehavior though or anything that would cause me to object to said kids!
The cabin was just fine. The couch looked a bit worse-for-wear--I prefer the leather-type couches on Celebrity ships as I think they are easier to keep clean. I did like the shower with the leg-shaving bar. The balcony was adequate size for me. It was a little disappointing that I couldn't sleep with my balcony door open like I prefer to do (I know, I know, you are not supposed to do that but I love the sea air!) because the AC stops working unless the balcony door is closed and locked. It's a clever way for RC to save energy but took a bit away from my cruise experience.
I didn't spend a lot of time out on the pool deck but, being a party of one I never had a hard time finding a sun lounger. The towel checkout policy seems a little ridiculous to me--though I suppose it must be worth the money for RC to pay for a towel checkout attendant instead of incurring the loss of towels they'd otherwise get from people stealing them. Hard to believe though.
In conclusion--I liked a great deal about the ship and the cruise. I will definitely sail Oasis or Allure in future if the right deal presents itself and I have vacation time to burn. And I'm very glad I got to experience Oasis. In general though, I prefer a more adult-oriented atmosphere and more varied ports so I'm likely to stick more to Celebrity (and/or maybe Azamara--I've booked my first cruise on them for later this year.) Less
Oasis of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean