Let me begin by saying I am NOT a veteran cruiser. Cruised several times 20 years ago and then over Halloween of 2012 took a 4 day Disney Dream cruise with my then 16 year old daughter. We decided to travel again over Halloween in 2013 and chose the Oasis of the Seas for a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise. We were encouraged by our travel agent to take the Oasis. The price was reasonable so that's what we did.
We were on Deck 10 and had an ocean view with a balcony. Nice room. It is not fair to compare a ship full of kids on Disney to a ship full of mostly adults on the Oasis. Both have their advantages so l will try to stay focused on the Oasis. My daughter did not participate in the Disney teen program but that all changed on the Oasis. There were far fewer teens on the Oasis and she became good friends with the few that did participate in the Oasis teen program. It seemed to be well supervised and I always felt comfortable when she was with that group. We did not have a 2 way radio on the Oasis as we did on Disney but that was never a problem. As big as the Oasis is, I was always able to find her if needed.
My idea of a cruise is good food, meeting new people with good conversation, sitting on the edge of the pool listening to my ipod and enjoying great entertainment. All of those things happened for me in 'aces' on the Oasis. The food was good. Not great - but good. Good variety, well served and always as advertised. We never ate in any of the 'for fee' restaurants so I am unable to rate any of those. We used My Time Dining and had no problem. Amazingly, I sat with the same people every night and always at the same table. There were great people at the table but the reason I went with MTD was so I could meet different people every meal. Next time I will request a different table each night. Again, my table mates were GREAT but I wanted to meet other people. Dinner was about the only time I really was able to connect with my daughter as the rest of the day she was with people her own age.
If you are not already a 'member' of Cruise Critic, I would highly encourage you to join. For two months before the cruise, I connected with many who were cruising with me through a forum in Cruise Critic. It was fun, entertaining and informative. Our forum had over 6000 posts and the first full day at sea we attended a Cruise Critic 'Meet & Mingle'. I'm serious about this. Become a member and meet many on the cruise even before you leave home. It was most helpful to me.
I am told our ship was 'sold out'. There were times it was little crowded, especially when a show let out. But other than that, I never felt overwhelmed by the crowd. I never once used a deck chair or lounge but there were plenty to use even on the days at sea. Never a problem. I always plopped down on the edge of the pool and there was also plenty of space there. Never had a problem getting a drink. The bartenders were fairly efficient and there were always waiters available on deck to get a drink. I bought the higher priced booze package for a total of $385 which included gratuity. I didn't keep track of all my drinks but it was great knowing every time I got one, I did not have to sign for it. If I had paid/drink, beer was about $6 and a Pina Colada was about $8. You do the math for yourself. I'm not a wine drinker so I have no idea what they charged for that. Whenever I got a drink, even though my gratuity was included in my package, I still handed the bar tender/waiter a $1 bill. The bartenders always took good care of me. Before we got on the ship, we heard about how crowded the Windjammer was. I ate breakfast and lunch there several times and never had a problem. It was busy but I never had a problem getting a seat. However, I did not go near the Windjammer on the day we sailed. On our sail day, we ate at the Solarium. It was busy but we had no problem. The Solarium is a beautiful place and never crowded. For those seeking peace, quiet, a beautiful view and good food, that's the place to be. The bar is on the upper level. Took me 2 days to figure that out.
The shows on the ship were world class. I'm not a world traveler but I have seen enough entertainment to tell you, it was world class. We saw, Hairspray, Stand Up Comedy, Oasis of Dreams (Aqua Theater), Headliner Show and Frozen in Time. My favorite was Frozen in Time - it was amazing. I did not see Come Fly with Me but I heard it was great. There is only one other event I would encourage you to see. That is 'The Quest'. Sit in the front row, participate and have fun. It wasn't as naughty as I thought it would be and I really enjoyed it. Don't miss it. I am not a gambler but I did walk through the casino a few times and it never seemed overwhelmed.
I really can't comment on any of the shore excursions. We went to Labadee and I did get off the ship to enjoy the sand and water but I did not spend much time off the ship or any money on anything there. For that fact, neither my daughter or I went on any shore excursion.
The ship was pleasantly full on the days were in port (Falmouth and Cozumel) and the bar service was even better. The pools were open and the sun was bright and warm. I enjoyed the ship and all it had to offer on those port days. Try it - you will like it. Two of the most amazing things on the Oasis are the FlowRiders. They provided hours of entertainment and laughter. Even if you don't think you can do it, try it. I spent a lot of time watching people on the FlowRiders. Truly entertaining. My daughter got pretty good at it - and it doesn't matter how I did. Go watch it. Some other things - we bought the bus transfer package from/to the airport. It was at best, OK. Took too long. Next time I'm taking the taxi. The cost is the same and you will get there much quicker. And if you want to stop for your 2 bottles of wine limit, the taxi can easily do that. Between my daughter and me, we had only one checked bag (plus our carry ons). The cruise line offers a $20/person to get your airline boarding pass and check your luggage straight through to your final destination. We did not do that and had no problem at all and saved $40. If you have a lot of luggage, maybe it's worth it.
Getting off the ship at the end of the cruise was much less hassle than I thought it would be. RC has that down to a science. We had a leisurely breakfast at the Windjammer, finished packing our carry ons, and walked off the ship. No problem. We got our big luggage quickly. Customs was busy but it moved quickly. Good job by RC.
I must tell you that before the cruise, I worried a lot about the size of the ship and the number of people. The ship is absolutely huge - no question about that. But it just wan't a problem. Actually, it was good exercise. The Promenade is amazing. Every time I walked through it, I saw something new. You will never see anything like Central Park on any ship (I think) except the Allure. The Boardwalk is interesting but I did not spend much time there. Late at night there was always dancing in at least 2 (sometimes 3) different venues. My room was always well maintained. My meals were served professionally. The restrooms were clean. The bars were not crowded. I was treated with respect from all RC personnel. And I have NEVER been on a ship that was as smooth as the Oasis. Even when there were whitecaps, the ship never rock and rolled. It was absolutely rock solid. RC has a spot on the ship where you can join their cruise club. It doesn't cost anything so I would encourage you to do it. But if you have specific questions you want answered about their program, don't wait til the end of the cruise. They get real busy the last couple of days. Their Customer Service area was never over crowded. I had one situation that needed assistance and I waited in line less than 2 minutes and they took care of it right away. Very pleased. The Oasis of the Seas is not just a cruise ship. It is a destination that is a cruise ship that takes you to places that are not nearly as interesting as the ship itself.