Just sailed on the Oasis of the Seas with Eastern itinerary in late January. I read all reviews before going on the cruise, and sure appreciate the feedback and tips given. I will write a review that is realistic, and will hopefully dispel some of the many myths for people that live in the real world. I have been on many all-inclusives, but I don't think i'll mention how many cruises because- well, who cares? Don't really know why people list how many they have been on, as if it means their opinion should be believed more. I also probably won't repeat opinions that tons of people have already said.
Pre-cruise, don't stay at the Hilton Marina. They put us in some annex section that was miles away. In Canada, you can usually count on staying in a chain hotel (other than Howard Johnson), not so much in the states. The public areas look nice, but not in the Annex. Walgreens and shops/restaurants within walking distance. Not really any chain restaurants other than Paneros bread close to this hotel. Taxi prices are ridiculous, so choose a hotel that has a shuttle- if you want to be crammed in. Here's the review:
Staff: All staff were outstanding, couldn't do enough for you and always had smiles. Didn't plan on tipping anyone, but ended up tipping our room attendant and a waitress that served us several times. Not going to mention their names- you'll likely never see them again. The only negative is the dock guys that put your bags on carts. I literally had the guy count my bags and stare at me with his mouth open because he must not of thought my tip was enough. I couldn't have cared less, and walked away. RC really needs to talk to these idiots. I can put my own bags on the appropriate cart. I never felt like this with any of the on-board staff.
Food: Food was simply OUTSTANDING. These people that write reviews saying otherwise must have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth, the Whitehouse chef cooks for them, or they are on drugs. The Windjammer is very good, especially breakfast and supper, and we never had a hard time finding a table. We laughed at how human nature surfaces. If it wasn't very busy, people seemed to saunter around taking their time. If it was busy in there, OMG- it's like the speed goes up 10 fold, like people feel if they don't get their selection, that someone else may get it all. Hilarious, the set-up is also fine with the different stations. loved how you can get your own drinks all pre-poured. Main DIning room- so good. I took so many pictures of desserts that I was a little embarassed. Such good food for all three meals, and staff very attentive. The dress code thing, I wore long sleeved dress shirts/dress pants on the formal nights-no tie and dress shorts/golf shirts on the other nights. I understand both sides on this topic. Everyone has paid their fare and noone should be told to go to the Windjammer. At the same time, have a little self-respect considering your surroundings. I couldn't imagine packing a suit coat with the fees airlines are charging for baggage now adays. Good for residents that drive or bus I guess. I did bring a tie, since it takes up little room and i'd say the ratio was about 60% that dress up. Again- food simply outstanding. Can't believe the amount of times reviewers say- the extra charge in the specialty restaurant was "well worth the price". Give your head a shake! Most of us don't spend $30 on an individual meal at a restaurant at home- why would you, when there is outstanding options already included. I'm guessing it's the feeling of "being in a club- or exclusive dining"- that the steerage folks can't go to. Too funny. Another no-no on this site is, to please stop saying it was "free". No, no, no- trust me you have paid dearly for it- nothing is free. We had my time dining and it was great. Park Cafe, sorry folks. It's good, but it's a thicker cut roast beef sandwich. Don't go out of your way to go here and stand in line in this very tiny facility. I actually enjoyed the tossed for you salad a little more. It's just OK, trust me i'm a foodie. Johnny Rockets was the only disappointment for breakfast. Potatoes were like they sat under a heat lamp, and not quick service. Just OK. Sorrentos for late night pizza (don't go here for a meal with the first two choices I mentioned, that would be criminal). The pizza is pretty good, not amazing. The choose your own toppings is not really realistic because the toppings are bizarre. No pepperoni, salami, ground beef, sausage. Who came up with the available toppings- someone from Iceland? Cafe Promenade was pretty good, but it would be nice if they changed up the variety of sandwiches- never changed all week. Wipe-out cafe, never ate there but I can understand where the junk food offerings would be good for kids. Never had the rabbit food in the Solarium, or vitality spa- we were on vacation. Work out when you get home. Donuts- I yi-yi, guess I am repeating this criticism. Not worth a visit, and no cream for the coffee, gotta get that at Park Cafe/cafe Promenade. Starbucks- please replace with TIm Hortons, even a Dunkin would do. Heard many on here complain about the coffee. They are about half right- it's hit and miss. Sometimes good and sometimes horrid. When your coffee lightens up easily with half and half- not a good sign. What ever happened to 18% cream in the US and Western Canada. Trust me, 18% cream is not what is causing the obesity problem in the US. ALso a rampant issue with grounds in the coffee. Odd oversight in a place where the food is so good.
Room: Had an oceanview superior stateroom. Was more than adequate, it's really just at the end of the bed where it's tight. Lots of shelf space, balcony was good. Couch- I think it should be replaced. Perhaps too much good times on it- if you know what I mean. Shower wasn't as cramped as many have said on this site. Please refer to above notes about the 18% cream. It's fine really, always had a sweaty neck while sleeping. Perhaps AC could have been a little better. Beds very comfortable and interactive screens worked well.
Facilities: Excellent, well planned out. The elevators, sure you do wait sometimes. Most times you don't it wasn't that bad. Washrooms were in very predicatable places and there must have been lots of them. None of them were very big but I never had to wait. Lots of activities to do that I won't go into, and kept very clean and well maintained. Can't complain.
Bars: If you are a drinker, get the premium drink package. Things that aren't promoted pre-cruise: average drinks are $8-$9, so if you drink 5 or more a day- you're golden. Also, bottled water is included. You are entitled to drinks under $10. If getting a rye/ginger or vodka/cran I would suggest getting a tall glass unless you like very strong drinks-yikes! Not complaining, especially for the poor buggers paying $9 a drink. There are bars everywhere, but there is a bit of a wait at the pool bars. The waiters do a good job getting to you for the most part. Not sure why they put a sticker on your card if you have a drink package. They always have to swipe your card anyway. The pub was good, schooner bar had a lot of the trivia, and Dazzles was also a favourite with the live band. Blaze was a bit of a kiddie bar, and Karaoke was hard to get into with possibility of a song being performed in another language. There are several bars advertised but many are what I would call "facility bars", simply located in areas where people may want to order a drink while in an area doing something else. Not necessarily in a bar/club room location.
Excursions: Don't book RC excursions, they are DOUBLE the price under the threat that the boat may leave without you. You are smarter than that. These tour operators are the same ones that RC uses. Case in point, we did 3 RC excursions, and one private one in St Maarten with Jose of Jo Junie/DTF tours. The latter was the best by far with included beer and NO shortage. Something not really mentioned on these posts is that taxis are needed for St Thomas, and somewhat needed for St Maarten, to save a ten minute walk. Taxi's are PLENTIFUL- you will literally be asked every 30 seconds whether you need a drive to Oasis (not an exageration). So don't worry that you can't get back to the dock in time. DO NOT book an airboat tour post cruise if they are using holiday gator park. We saw one alligator (well the head of one) out in the Everglades. My guess is that they are not allowed to go deep enough into the area where the gators are and perhaps the airboats scare them away. Definitely not worth the money other than the transfer to the airport. All tour guides that we had for all excursions were exceptional. Don't really understand the negative comments about Nassau- we thought it was great. Straw market vendors are quite aggressive though. People that say the cruise is all about the boat, and they didn't bother to get off the boat- go on a four star all inclusive on sale instead of a cruise! 3 ports is definitely enough though. We would have loved to go to Jamaica, but chose the eastern route instead due to Labadee being included. People, people, people- it's not real. It's make believe, a manufactured port to get more money out of us. Don't you want to go to a real living breathing port? Google Haiti sometime, and you'll discover that it's not really a place that tourists should go to.
Other passengers: My wife and I went with an open mind eventhough we heard many negative things about the Brazilians. Funny thing, the Brazillians didn't really show up until half way through the cruise. After that, woa- you noticed them. You were tripping over them. The Brazillian dads may need a little guidance on how to raise their daughters. I have wandering eyes like any male, but none of us want to see a young girl in a thong. Again, give your heads a shake. In one of the shows we went to, the announcer asked parents to control their children during the performance. A very loud applause arose from about half the theatre. It's amazing how people will go on a cruise and then not watch their children. Splashing adults in the pool, putting their hands over the self-serve cones and buffet foods. Free advice, just because you have money to bring your very young children- doesn't mean you should. Think of the other passengers and not just yourself. Pushing a stroller around isn't enjoyable anyway. Find a babysitter, or wait a few years. That's what those of us in the real world do. This is also why the Solarium was created- to keep your children out. Funny story, waiting for an elevator and door opens with one three quarters full. 3 Brazillian ladies run from the side hallway and get in ahead of us. I started laughing, but my wife wasn't- it just struck me as so funny how blatant it was. Must be a ton of people in that country. Of course people entering elevators before letting people off was rampant. Met lots of people that were very nice.
Tips that were good/not needed: You don't really get nickle and dimed the way most people say. We didn't go to any of the talks about shopping or free ladies pamper- we are smart enough to know that these are bogus. Nothing is free folks! You don't get tricked into buying bottled water or freshly squeezed orange juice. Water is very available, and the regular orange juice is not tang. Sales do not stay in place after the one hour elbowing session is finished. Get your good deals at the ports. Do not buy pictures unless you are rich or have been dropped on your head. The prices are simply obsene. Bring your own camera- alway staff or other pax willing to accomodate. Only about a third use lanyards, maybe just as easy to just use the seapass cards loose if you have pockets. Clothes hooks or hangers do not need to be brought. There is plenty in your room. We are still glad we brought a case of water and taped luggage tag to it. Good to hydrate yourself in the mornings or to bring on excursions if you can't get to a restaurant to order one- or don't have a drink package. Bug spray is not needed. You felt the ship once in a while- we had no issues where we needed the gum. Having your scheduled stuff printed small on a sticker label and stuck on seapass card was a very smart tip. You always knew when your meals/shows/excursions were. Checking your account daily is essential. Bartenders made two errors that I had to get corrected. No need to fill bottles with water. As I said earlier, lots of tap water available.
In closing, it was a wonderful trip. Allan Brooks was a wonderful comedic cruise director. Not sure if some of the negativity on these postings were due to earlier issues, and got subsequently corrected, or if there are just people not living in reality. Our seapass cards didn't have the beverage package stickers on them causing us to stand in line at guest services, and there was the day in Park Cafe where they ran out of clean forks for 15 minutes. Did it ruin our trip? Nope, we live in reality. If anyone wants the real lowdown, no problem to contact me.
All the best in your cruising future.