it was my 9th cruise, 7 on NCL, 1 on Celebrity. I came with high expectations to the "world's largest ship".
First let me say, the facilities are amazing! The Shows are worldclass, you just cannot beat the entertainment (water show, ice-skating show, musical, artistics, Dreamworks parade).
I was a bit disappointed however by the service and coordination.
I was traveling with a friend, it was his very first cruise and I kept telling him sooo much about how fantastic it will be. So on embarkation day we toured the ship, we were both VERY impressed by the facilities. A girl from the staff showed us around. My friend told her how impressed he was about the size, cleanlyness and offers the ship has and he was so surprised he cannot feel any movement at all (he was afraid of becoming seasick). The girl just answered "well, thats because we are still in port you idiot!"
we were speechless.
Gym is WAY smaller than on NCL Epic and the Spa way too small for 6.000 People. Only 3 little steam rooms, no windows to look outside from the Saunas, only 4 heated benches for this big ship...
We had late seating 8.30pm. In November it gets dark around 5 in the Caribbean, so another 3.5hrs before Dinner. If I have a snack at 6, I wont be able to enjoy full dinner by 8.30.
The first night we checked out the Buffet around 7 pm just to take a look. First of all - it looked like in a company canteen. No decorations, everything clean but not pleasing to the eye, very sterile. No ice scarvings like on Celebrity, no flowers or animals made of Melons, no Flowers...We went on to our dinner just to find out that EVERY item of the daily specials was EXACTLY the same as on the buffet - just in a better presentation.
We arrives at 8:25 for Dinner on Deck 4 as printed on our roomkey. Waited 15 Minutes to get in as it was very crowded. At the door the guy said "you are on deck 3". We said the roomkey says deck 4. He just replied "well, we have reseated you, now you are on 3". I asked if he expects me to do another 15 Minutes wait on Deck 3 again (it was their mistake after all). He replied "you may as well go to the buffet"...
Our table was party of 4. For 7 consecutive night, the "seasonable vegetable" at Dinner, no matter what we had ordered was Carrots and Broccoli. Our waiter and Bar girl were very friendly and, as I am allergic to garlic, offered me to pick already one day in advance my food for the next day which I highly appreciated!
At formal night tha Restaurant Manager came, as every night, to our table, making honeurs, asking if everything is fine. All of a sudden he took my cuttlery starting to cut the salad on my plate and then started FEEDING ME with the salad in front of all of my friends. "Open wide, here we make you feel like at home with Mama" he said. Every conversation stopped, all eyes on my. I never felt so embarassed in all my life in front of friends and strangers. He certainly had a very strange sense of humor!
Also the organization was far from perfect. With the late seating, you could hardly make any show as they all started at 10pm, so we had to tell our waiter every night that we need to rush and then have our 5 course meal in a hurry in order to get to our show.
One night we wanted to do Karaoke which stared at 11pm. We arrived at 10.45 after Dinner, choose a song and wanted to sign in. "Todays enrollment is closed already" the DJ replied. We asked how can that be as Karaoke will only start in 15 Minutes from now. He said, we have many people who want to join therefore one must register by 10pm. We said, we have late Dinner seating and wont be done before 10.30pm. He said: well, then this is not your lucky cruise...
I went to the Reception Desk asking for a customer feedback form. The attendant said, it will be given to you the last night of the cruise. I asked if I could have it now (3rd night) - he just said no!
There was also very friendly staff too. We loved the Girl in Park Cafe where we liked to grab breakfast as it was not so crowded as the buffet. Our table waiter was very friendly - however mentioned every day that tips and positive feedbacks on the forms provided are highly appreciated...
Resumee: Personally I would always prefer the freestyle of NCL. I liked the staff, organization and food much better there, staff in general much more helpful (even on large ships like the Epic). I liked the free Iphone App on Epic where I always had my bookings, reservations and all the menues for every restaurant always in my hand to choose.
On Oasis, we did not have one single Deck Party the whole week. Not one motto Buffet (on NCL we had the midnight chocolate Buffet for example and on Celebrity the big sunday brunch till 2pm). Also besides the Solarium (which is inside) there is no quiet zone. In the afternoon the Band is playing in the middle of all 4 pools, so no escape, no quiet spot to relax or enjoy your own music with headphones without putting the speakers to a max level.
I liked the variety of drinks in the softdrink package on Oasis and LOVED the touchscreen refill machines with their endless flavors. However, 4 machines (2 in the promenade, 2 in the buffet restaurant) for 6.000 Passengers is way too little. On Pool days, I dont feel like taking the elevator down to Deck 5 just to grab another coke zero... There is lot of things to improve organization wise.
Did we have a good week - yes. The ship and the people we met were great. Would we do RCL again? Possibly, if timing, routing and price is right. If the same price at either NCL or Celebrity, we would certainly go for that again.