I had read all the reviews on the Oasis ahead our our trip, and was skeptical that any ship could live up to the "hype" that I was reading. We have been on several RCL and Celebrity cruises in the past, and have enjoyed each one. However, it was hard for me to believe that this ship could be so different.
Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship and eating lunch at the Park Cafe within 20 minutes once they started boarding. That was good advice that I'd learned from prior reviews... skip the uber crowded Windjammer on the first meal and go directly to the Park Cafe for a salad and roast beef sandwich. We went straight from lunch to the zip-line, which had no line whatsoever. Soon our 12 year old son was on the Flow Rider having a blast.
I won't try to repeat what everyone else has been saying. We made our reservations for my time dining in advance as well as all of the shows. That was the advance planning. We went right into each show with no hesitation and had great seats. I'd seen plenty of cruise ship shows before, and could typically take or leave them. On this ship, we didn't miss any - and were blown away by almost all of them. Hairspray and Come Fly Away were both broadway quality in our opinion, far exceeding anything we'd ever seen before on a ship, both in terms of set and performance. The headliner was Mo5aic, a tremendous group that we had previously enjoyed on America's Got Talent. The Comedy show was better than any I had seen aground. Usually there's one funny comedian, and you suffer through the others. These guys were all hilarious, and had a great rapport with the audience.
The Ports didn't excite us much (had been to each before). Visited Meghan's Cove in St. Thomas (beautiful beach, but walk about 100 yards from where you get dropped off and you will have a much more enjoyable and spacious experience. Did SeaTrek helmet diving at St. Maarten - a unique experience, worth trying once.
The days at sea were the best. So much to do... It was easy to forget you were even on a ship when you were on the Boardwalk or Central Park.
I've read mixed reviews about the food. I would say that we are foodies, and we enjoyed almost every meal in the Main Dining Room. Rack of Lamb one night and Lobster Tails another... all prepared beautifully - We couldn't find anything to complain about. Wife and I dined at the Chef's Table one night - that was a blast. Wonderfully paired food and wine over 5 or so courses. We at lunch at Giovanni's Table. We had a group of 6, so they served us each course family style so we could try more dishes. That was well worth it. I can't imagine dinner being any better, but they assured us it would be.
My only complaint (too strong a word really) on the My Time Dining was that even with reservations, we had to wait 15-20 minutes on 3 or 4 nights. But, by doing so, we could sit at the same table, with the same wait staff each evening. So that provided all of the benefits of the traditional dining with the flexibility we wanted.
We did the Ultimate Beverage Package. It was pricey, but far improved compared to a year ago in terms of what it included. I ordered one espresso at the donut shop - only to find it was not included (frustrating). I could get the same thing just inside the promenade where it was included. The English Pub continued to have beers (list price under $10) that were not included - also makes no sense to me. but at least they told me before I ordered.
All in all a marvelous week. I can't wait to go back.
We booked next year's cruise on the Quantum. Looks exciting, but I hope it lives up the Oasis in terms of delivery!