My husband and I have traveled on 7 different cruise lines over the last decade, and we particularly enjoy Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Though initially fearful of the mega-ships, we had such a good time on Allure of the Seas two years ago that we decided to book a cruise on its sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, for our 30th anniversary.
From start to finish, it was a wonderful trip. The day before the cruise we received word from Royal Caribbean that slow Customs lines for exiting passengers meant that embarkation would be delayed. We arrived at the port about 1:00 pm. We were a little anxious, but we found that having booked a junior suite entitled us to go into a separate check-in queue for suites. Incredibly, in less than 10 minutes we were on the ship, heading to our stateroom, #12636. We instantly loved the spaciousness of the room, with walk-in closet, tons of storage, and a great bathtub. In addition, our balcony had 2 chaise lounges, 2 chairs and a small table. The sofa was on the hard side, but our bed was quite comfortable. Randy, our stateroom attendant, introduced himself immediately, and we came to appreciate his attentiveness and attention to detail over the next week.
We opted for early assigned dining, but we wound up eating in the main dining room only on the first night and the two formal nights. On the other four evenings we tried 150 Central Park, Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, and the Solarium Bistro. Meals were good to excellent everywhere; in fact, my husband enjoyed the steak in the main dining room and Chops Grille even more than the grilled Harris Ranch NY strip steak served at 150 Central Park.
For lunch we tried Izumi Asian Cuisine and Johnny Rockets, as well as Sorrento's for pizza, the Park Café in Central Park, and Windjammer Marketplace. Good food in all venues. We also tried to vary our breakfast choices. The service in Opus Dining Room was slow the morning that we tried it, but we did well at the Wipeout Café (best omelet of the week and nice and quiet), Johnny Rockets (breakfast is free but there's a charge at lunch and dinner), Solarium Bistro, Windjammer Marketplace and Park Café. We also ate breakfast on our balcony one morning; service was prompt and efficient.
The only meal that was a bit disappointing was our dinner at 150 Central Park. The dinner we had 2 years ago at its sister restaurant on Allure was truly memorable, so our expectations were high. Unfortunately, this particular meal didn't excite us. The Florida lobster and lychee salad was a bit bland, as was the jumbo lump crab cake. The cauliflower soup was good, but nothing special. The waiter highly recommended the homemade ruccoli pasta, but it turned out to be very rubbery and chewy. The grilled Harris Ranch NY strip wasn't particularly flavorful, so I left part of it to save room for desert. That turned out to be a good decision; the bittersweet chocolate cheesecake was the highlight of the evening.
The entertainment definitely lived up to our expectations. While "Hairspray" has never been one of my favorites, I thought the sets, acting and singing were excellent. The aerial show and water show were highlights of the week, and the other major entertainment options were great fun as well.
One surprise was the small size of the library. I checked out a couple of books the first day, but when I returned them and looked for more, 3/4 of the books were gone. Given the fact that the ship regularly sails with 5,000 to 6,000 passengers, I would have expected a sizable collection. Good thing I could resort to a couple of books on my Kindle.
On our final sea day I enjoyed a tour of Central Park with the landscape specialist. He's worked with the trees, plants and flowers from the very beginning, so he's had lots of time to experiment and find what works in the space. Every single item is a container plant, and there are 2,200 of them in Central Park--all suited for shade and semi-shade. Birds frequently fly in and stay for a few days at a time. What a lovely park--in the middle of a ship.
We'd visited Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten several times in the past, so we didn't stress over excursions.
Even after having experienced both Allure and Oasis, we still find ourselves marveling over these ships. I can't add anything that others haven't already said, but these ships are amazing. Six thousand passengers manage to spread out in so many different venues that we rarely felt crowded. I could sit and walk in Central Park and see only a few people; during the day the lounges with great ocean views were practically empty. We spent the week doing just what we liked. We took advantage of much of the great entertainment on the ship but also relaxed and read books out on our balcony when we felt like it. We couldn't have asked for a better 30th anniversary.