We sailed the week of Halloween this year. We traveled on the Allure a year ago and thought we would try the Oasis this time. We travelled with neighbors, 4 couples. Some of it was absolutely wonderful, and some things well, not much. I will hit on the items I think will interest most people.
Embarkation: was remarkably smooth. We had our paperwork filled out and ready. Probably not 20 mins overall. We arrived early (husband was anxious, always is) and were greeted warmly and other than having a large wedding party most of whom were day trippers and were put in line in front of us, the whole thing was painless.
Room: Large and comfy. Bed was awesomely cozy. Our room attendant was always on the job and most days our room was made up when we returned from breakfast. Even the bathroom seems larger than most ships.
Dining: The food in the dining room was very good. I enjoyed all but one night, and I caught cold halfway thru the cruise so it may have been that. The portions were ample but not huge. Everyone enjoyed "lobster night" of course and the tenderloin was outstanding. Also ate in the Central Park Deli for lunch several days. Don't miss the make your own salad bar (someone will make it, you just choose what you want on it) and the prime rib sandwich. We grabbed the sandwich SEVERAL times during our trip. It's to die for. A couple of breakfasts were in the not so much category. Food was inedible at least twice in the dining room. Actually the deli or Windjammer was better. We had dinner in Chops our first night since one couple in our party did not get sat at our table and it took a day to straighten it out. The food was very good but the service was extremely slow. We were there over 2 hours and the matre'd comped the meals for our entire party. We didn't actually complain, but one person in our party got tired of waiting and left. We tried Giovanni's another night and the dinner there was absolutely wonderful. The osso bucco will change your life or so our waiter told us. It really was outstanding. They serve the appetizers family style so they were passed around for all our party to enjoy. Everyone loved the dinner but the noise level in that dining room, seemed to be a lot of large parties at 7:00, made conversation impossible. Here's one neat thing, the young, very young and handsome Captain came up to our table and asked how we were enjoying the cruise. Really. Asked if his staff was treating us well, how to you like my driving etc. It took me a moment to realize that he was the captain or master of the vessel, whatever, and I was really taken aback. On most cruises you don't see the captain except on the meet and greet night. He stopped at every table and we were told that he does that quite often. We asked him who was driving. He laughed and said it was all "computerized". This is probably our 12th cruise with Royal and the first time we met the captain other than in the Crown & Anchor party. Very cool. Also ate breakfast at Johnny Rockets which was good and hot and had lunch at the Seafood Place in the boardwalk which we enjoyed. You can do the cruise without paying extra and the premium restaurants but you miss a really good meal and they are not as crowed as the others.
Public areas: Every night our party met in Central Park for a before dining drink. There is an outdoor bar there and park benches. Every night was wonderful. There isn't a lot of wind, the star shine bright above, it was quiet and just lovely there. My favorite place. We don't gamble but many of our party enjoyed the casino. One side smoking and one side non. The promenade was unusually crowded most of the time. They had a hallowed costume party and I have to say that some of the costumes were awesome. A group of four that had amazing KISS costumes including the platform boots were the best. Also like the Austin Powers guy. Lots of prisoner, pirate and cop costumes for some reason. Many dopplegangers of Captain Jack Sparrow. We didn't do a lot of the things we usually do. The cruise had the perfect storm of Halloween and the Cardinals in the World Series. Although hubby said he didn't want to spend the cruise watching his beloved Cards in the Series, the seriously lied. We caught the ending innings after dinner unfortunately leaving hubby depressed at the results. Oh well, who knew this conflict of events would happen.
Entertainment: Hairspray was fantastic. Don't miss it. High energy and loads of fun. The singer who did Motormouth Mabel took your breath away when she sang, but all the performers were good. The Comedy Club holds about 90 people so make reservations if you want to see it. People were turned away every night and it was a really funny show. 2 comedians performed. The Jazz club entertainers were awful, we only stayed about 15 minutes of banging on the piano, and I am a big jazz fan. This one is the "not so much" category. The Aquatheater Show is a must see. We didn't so the Ice Show since we've seen a lot of them, but the ice rink was larger than other ships we've been on. Those who saw it loved it. The headliner act was high energy and a professional "Vegas" style act. We enjoyed it. The last show on the trip was "Come Fly With Me" and was just a typical cruise ship show. It did not compare at all to the "Blue Planet" on the Allure which was a highlight on that trip. We also saw an improve show "Throw me a Line" featuring some of the hairspray cast. Very funny.
Recreation: Actually did the zip line on the ship this time. Kinda cool, but wait is about 20 mins for a 6 second ride. Also felt sorry for kids who waited in line to be told at the gate that they needed parents to accompany them and sign the waiver it they are under (I think) age 14. These looked about 12. Watched the Flo-rider and decided that I was born too early to be able to enjoy that ride. Lots of people using the ball courts, ping pong tables etc. There is a dining area right off the sports court (hamburgers and hot dogs). Food was cold and inedible there. We left our food and of course went down to Central Park where we knew lunch would be hot and good. We played miniature golf and I was badly beaten by the hubby (he made me say that), My only excuse was that you don't use real golf balls but some kind of foamy things that are light and won't hurt if bounced off some ones head.
Shore Excursions: only took one. We've been to these places multiple times. I did the 12 meter yacht race and sailed (and I mean sailed) on the Stars and Stripes which we were told was an actual America's Cup Sailing Yacht that Capt. Dennis Conner sailed the 80's. We had a young and awesome crew of 4 and about 8-10 passengers. Only one other person in our group went and remarked that he was surprised at how much work is involved. This was my third time and for me a not to be missed experience if you are in somewhat good shape. It you have a large group, some people can kick back, but for our small group people had to step up be crew members. I absolutely love it. Thrilling ride. The crew actually taught us a little about sailing whereas the crews in St. Maarten pretty much gave you your job and that was it. I would say that more than half of the people were over 65 and did fine. If you are able bodied and a senior citizen you will be able to do it. I believe the minimum age is 12.
One other point - we did the drink package and frankly for us it really wasn't worth it. It was almost $800 for the premium package. And while it's easy, you don't even have to sign for a drink, the not all premium liquors are included, it's a pain to get the drink of the day without the glass which you are charged for, the drinks on the island are awful rummy things and you are charged for the glass (again and I already have some) and by Thursday the novelty of the whole thing wears off. I don't think we've ever normally had an $800 bar bill on a 7 day cruise. Do the math on your own if you've cruised before or think you'd like to drink ALOT on this cruise.
Overall nice cruise. A little more crowded than the Allure, and frankly we decided that if we are to do another large ship would do the Allure again. I couldn't put my finger on it, but just liked it a little better.