My Wife and I wanted to take a nice vacation for our One Year Wedding Anniversary and since we love cruising, we decided to try out Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. We booked a 7 night cruise, which left out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and sailed to Nassau Bahamas, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas from November 30-December 7. This was my third time cruising (once on Carnival and second on Royal Caribbean) and my Wife's second time cruising (once on Carnival and first on Royal Caribbean). We had an amazing time both on board the ship and off the ship, but here is a breakdown of everything.
This was a very smooth process! They told us not to get there until 1:00 p.m. to check in, but we arrived around noon and there were already a lot of people there being checked in. We walked right in, got through security, and was at the desk being checked in by a Royal Caribbean Representative within about 10 minutes. Royal Caribbean seems to have this process down pretty good and there wasn't much of a wait for any portion of the check-in process. We left our luggage outside the facility where there were a bunch of staff members placing luggage tags on everything, which linked the luggage to your room and they carried it in from there.
The staff members at the check-in desk were extremely friendly and made sure to keep the customers smiling. They all had great sense of humors and didn't waste any time getting what they needed. After checking in, they had photographers standing around as they always do and they would take several photographs of you prior to boarding the ship. The Photographers were very friendly too and even though our photographer started having problems with her camera, she made sure to quickly grab another photographer to complete our photos and kept us smiling and enjoying our time while she was getting the problem resolved.
WOW! When my Wife and I boarded this ship, we could not believe what we were seeing. The Atrium of this ship is massive and doesn't even give the feeling of being on a cruise ship. I felt like I was in the middle of a giant Mall. We were greeted by a large amount of staff members, who were all screaming and cheering as guests were boarding the ship and as my Wife and I were attempting to take a picture of ourselves with the Royal Prominade in the background, one of the employees came running over and offered to take the picture for us. I couldn't believe the service we were already receiving and the friendliness of this staff. Even after taking our picture, the employee didn't just walk away and end his encounter with us. He stood there and started up conversation, asking where we were from, what the occasion was, and if we had any plans so far for what we wanted to do. He congratulated us on our one year wedding anniversary and pointed out several places around the ship that he thought we may enjoy. To be able to receive this kind of treatment from the second we step foot on this ship was a great feeling. We knew our vacation was going to be great!
This beautiful design and WOW factor that Royal Caribbean always talks about did not stop with just the Royal Prominade. This entire ship was just absolutely amazing. They had everything you could ever imagine when it came to restaurant choices, bars, lounges, souvenir shops, entertainment venues, etc. We never became bored and were without something to do the entire time we were on this ship.
The pool deck was even amazing. They had the pool deck split with half of it being for kids, which had two pools, a water works area and hot tubs. the other side of the pool deck was for adults and families, which had two more pools outside and a pool in the Solarium. It also had at least 7 hot tubs, two of which bowed out from the side of the ship, which I absolutely loved! Once the ship set sail, it was nice to just sit in one of those hot tubs and look out over the side of the ship and the ocean. It was very relaxing!
Winjammer Cafe (included):
On day 1 when we boarded the ship, we went straight to the Windjammer Cafe. Due to it being the first day and everyone boarding the ship at that time and going straight to lunch, this restaurant was extremely busy and did have a pretty long wait to get it. This is to be expected considering they're packing thousands of people on the ship at this time and they're all hungry. This did subside after the first day though and every time we returned after that, we walked right in, got a table, and got our food in no time at all. The food was excellent as well! Never walked away from there hungry!
Chops Grill (extra):
On our Anniversary, I booked a reservation at Chops Grill for $35 per person, which is not bad for what we got! This is a must do if you are going on this ship! The server we had was amazing! He came by our table multiple times throughout our visit and just stood and talked with us. He joked with us, made sure we had what we needed, and most importantly, made sure we were enjoying our time. He congratulated us on our anniversary as well and made the evening very enjoyable. The food was excellent too! I had a 10 oz steak and I'm here to say, that was the absolute best steak I have ever had in my life. My Wife got Filet Minon and she was very impressed! The food was cooked just right and when I went to cut my Steak, the knife went right through it and was very easy to chew, while being packed with a ton of flavor. We even met another couple, who came in after us and sat at the table beside us. They were great and made our time even more enjoyable. Our server continued joining in on our conversation and had all four of us almost falling out of our chairs laughing. Definitely a great time!
Johnny Rockets (extra):
We also ate at Johnny Rockets, which is not an included restaurant either. We found that it was very inexpensive though and only cost us $4.95 each and we got unlimited food. The server brought us a giant plate of French Fries and a giant plate of Onion Rings right away. He then took our order for what we wanted to eat and as we were eating all of our food, he brought us more Fries and Onion Rings. For $4.95 per person, this was a ton of food! All very good as well!
Boardwalk Donut Shop (included):
We got donuts here a couple times and they were delicious! very soft and most of the time, still very warm donuts and they were great to eat first thing in the morning.
We got coffee here every morning! Starbucks is normally a very expensive coffee, so we don't get it that often, but I noticed the prices on the ship for their coffee were significantly lower than in the United States.
Park Cafe (included):
We ate here a couple times and they had pretty good food. Not much to choose from and it's mostly salads and small sandwiches, but it was definitely a good choice for trying to not eat too horribly the entire time we were on the ship.
Sorrento's Pizza (included):
We got pizza here once and it was very good! Would definitely recommend this if you're in a hurry or just craving some pizza!
Main Dining Room (included):
EXCELLENT! we never had a bad meal here and sat with a great group of people every night! We met a couple from Venezuela who were absolutely amazing and were fun to be around! The service was amazing and after the first night, our server knew every one of our names and would greet us by our names every night (there were 6 of us sitting at this table almost every night). If someone didn't show up, he would ask where they were by their names. Myself and the other guys at the table would get a beer every night when we sat down at the table to start off. The first night we were there, the beer was a little warm for our liking and we kind of joked with the server about it and he noticeably felt bad and apologized for it. The rest of our cruise, when we would arrive at dinner, there was a small bucket sitting next to our table with three Beer's sitting inside, covered in ice. The second we would sit down, he would hold a beer out in front of each of us one by one and have us feel it. He would ask if we thought it was cold enough and then would start cracking them open and handing them to us. They were always ice cold from then on and he always knew which one's to bring each of us. My Wife would end every dinner with a coffee and after the first night, he would come pick up our plates when we were done and within a few minutes, the server had a cup of coffee, made just how she wanted it, sitting in front of my Wife. The last night of the cruise, our server came over and thanked us for cruising with them and being a great group of people. He bid us farewell and told us that he hoped he had given us the best possible service, which he definitely had done! This guy was amazing!
The bars weren't badly priced at all when it came to the specialty drinks, such as the one's they walk around with on the pool deck or serve from the bar. Typically, you could get a nice frozen drink or specialty drink anywhere from $9.00-$12.00 which is not bad at all compared to the $15-$25 we were paying on Carnival. Beer is definitely priced very high though. One can of Beer is over $6.00 and when I asked about a bucket of 5 beers, I was stole $27.00. I got a bucket of Beer on Carnival for $12.00. However, service was always very good and the servers would recognize us even when we were sitting in on the comedy shows and other evens throughout the ship and would come up and talk to us, even if we weren't ordering anything.
We didn't eat at any of the other restaurants during this stay, but from people we talked to, they were all excellent. Next time, we will definitely be eating at all the above restaurants and the other specialty restaurants, such as Giovanni's Table and 150 Central Park. You definitely can't go wrong with any of the food on this ship.
This is one part that really impressed me about Royal Caribbean! Their entertainment was unbelievable and never ceased to amaze me or my Wife. You can tell they put a lot of thought into everything they did, especially the 70's night in the Royal Prominade. I'm telling you, I was not born in the 70's and didn't live through the 70's, but if that's how it was back then... this world needs to go back to it because everyone was happy, everyone was dancing, and the overall mood of everything there was just amazing!
The rooms were very nice! After we ate at the Windjammer Cafe for lunch on day 1, they announced over the intercom that most rooms were available, even though it was about 2 hours early. When we got to our room and were unpacking, our room Steward came right away and introduced himself to us and told us that if there was anything at all that we needed, to please let him know. I had already had a bottle of Champaign and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room as a surprise for my Wife and I to share for our anniversary. When the room Steward told us to let us know if we needed anything, I jokingly said "make sure our Champaign stays cold" and kind of laughed about it. Everytime we entered that room for the entire cruise, no matter what time it was, the bucket that our Champaign was in had been filled to the brim with ice. This guy would also greet us every morning when we left our rooms as he was cleaning other rooms and would greet us by name anytime he saw us walking around. He would start conversation with us every morning and ask how our night was, if we slept good, and what our plans were for the day. Definitely made us feel welcome and it was noticeable that he was a very hard worker and dedicated to his job.
Not a big fan. This is the second time I've been on a cruise to this island and we were only off the ship for maybe an hour. The island is very dirty, run down, and you are constantly being panhandled or asked to buy something. Definitely a big feeling of insecurity and constantly watching your backs. It had definitely been built up some since the last time I was there, but still not my ideal vacation spot. I could care less to ever go back to this Island.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas:
BEAUTIFUL! this is the second cruise I have been on where we went to St. Thomas and I love it! If you get a chance to go here, take a taxi (costs about $10 each way) to Megan's Bay. It also costs about $4 per person to get into the beach, but once you're there, you're in a little cove and it is so relaxing. Beautiful beach, beautiful scenery, and exactly what I was looking for on a relaxing vacation.
Phillipsburg St. Maarten:
This is definitely a very nice little island that appears to be a fairly new travel spot. A lot of newer looking buildings and shops at the port. Get a bottle of Guavaberry Rum and try out their Guavaberry drink that they made and give out as samples! very delicious! Also, take a taxi to Maho Beach where you can watch airplanes fly right over your heads. The beach backs up to the local airport and you have 757's and all other size planes constantly flying in and out of there. It is very cool to watch! Just be prepared because the waves are pretty high at this beach and there's not much in form of a beach to lay on at this location. Also, don't stand behind the jets as they are taking off like we saw some people do. They found themselves rolling down the beach and into the water, along with all of their property when the jet took off! Definitely a great photo spot if you go to this beach! After you're done with Maho Beach, go to the beach in downtown Phillipsburg. A huge variety of restaurants are located at this beach and they have people roaming around selling buckets of beer and lawn chairs. They usually run a deal where if you rent a couple lawn chairs, they give you a bucket of beer. Stop one of the guys who works for "blue bitch bar" and order a bucket of beer. It's only $10.00 and you get 5 beers! Definitely better than the $27.00 you will pay for that same bucket on the ship or $6.00 for a single beer on the ship!
Fitness Center/Vitality Spa:
Wow! We didn't book anything through Vitality Spa, but did take the tour on day 1 and it is unbelievable what they have in there. They have something for everyone! It was very clean and relaxing in the facility as well!
We did book a cycling class one of the days and it definitely kicked our butts! I work out a lot, but that had me wore out! The gym is very up to date with high quality equipment and trainers working inside. If you're looking to be able to continue a workout routine while you're on your vacation, this is definitely the place to be! They also having a running track outside on deck 4, which goes the entire perimeter of the ship. One lap around this track is just under 1/2 mile!!! I ran on this track a few of the days and to be able to get my workout in and look at the scenery at the same time was great!
This was definitely a very enjoyable vacation for both my Wife and I, who were celebrating one year of marriage together and wanted to just get away and relax together. The staff really worked hard to make everything as enjoyable as possible and in our opinions, nothing could have been any better. Yes, due to it being a higher class ship, there were some very snoody and "nose in clouds" kind of people on this ship who thought they were gods gift to humans, but you will have those kind of people everywhere you go and it definitely did not ruin our vacation at all. We met some very nice people from all over the world and enjoyed speaking with all of them.
My Wife and I are not very hard to please at all, so it would take a lot to ruin a vacation for us. However, I don't see where anyone who isn't just looking for something to complaint about, would have any issues with this cruise line. If you're looking for a fun and relaxing vacation, definitely choose this ship. I was worried there wouldn't be many places to just lounge around and relax due to the ship appearing to be so upbeat and was worried you would constantly be bumping into people, considering how many guests they pack on there every week, but that was not the case. After day 1, you would never believe there were over 5,000 people on that ship. There were also many places to lounge around and relax!
Not impressed at all with this port. They have definitely built up the area since my last time, but it is still very dirty and run down. We were constantly harassed by panhandlers and people out trying to sell stuff to us. Didn't like having to watch my back the entire time we were there to make sure we didn't get robbed. We were only off the ship for about an hour. I could care less if we ever come back to this island again.
Beautiful island! We loved Maho Beach and downtown Phillipsburg! We would love to come back to this island and if we get a chance in the future, we definitely will! Very friendly people who live and work here!
I would come here every time I go on a cruise if I could! I have been here twice now and both times we have gone to Megan's Bay. It is an absolutely beautiful beach where I can sit back and relax, while looking at the beautiful scenery around me.