When we booked on the Oasis of the Seas and found out the ship was near full occupancy, I was a little nervous since I'm not much of a fan of crowds, but like several reviews state, it often doesn't feel like there is 6000+ passengers. Make no mistake, there are times, such as meal times, or the horrific first couple hours onboard when no one is allowed to go to their cabins yet, that it doesn't feel like 6000+, it feels like 10000+. Once people spread out and settle in, there was always a place to sit, and even on sea days, I found a deserted deck on several occasions. The sun deck at the very front of the ship, a deck below the solarium was almost always deserted since you really had to look for the way onto it. No one ever wandered on to that deck by accident, since you have to go inside, down the interior stairs, and walk a ways down the cabin halls to find the crappy single glass door out onto the deck. It was awesome.
There is tons of chairs at the pools, though they were very close together. There was not room to put your drink on the ground beside you, much less walk between the chairs, which meant you had to crawl on to the lounger from the bottom before settling in elbow to elbow with your new best mates beside you. If you didn't want to sit right by the pool, there was way more space and more comfortable options.
The ship itself is amazing, with so much to do. It truly is a destination on it's own. I didn't have much interest in our western Caribbean itinerary, so planned on enjoying having the ship to myself on port days. It was a little disappointing to find most of the activities closed on the days in port. There was still quite a few people that stayed on board, but most everything was shut down. An argument could be made that it would be wasteful to run the flow rider surf machines for only a few people, though I still think there would have been a crowd, but the rock climbing walls? One staff member could man that. The mini golf? No staff watched it anyways, but they locked up all the balls and clubs. The casino even. You're not going to take my money from me on port days? Weird.
Meals were incredible. We only did the Windjammer buffet once, and that was enough. Stuck to the other dining options. There were several included options that were excellent. We paid to eat at Chops
Grill one night which was excellent as well, and since we did it on the night they had lobster in the MDR, it was offered for free in Chops as well. One nice feature on the TV in your room, and on screens all over the ship there is a real time gauge of how busy all the restaurants are, listing them from green (empty) to red (max cap). I always forgot to use this, so I can't say how well it worked, but it was an amazing bit of kit. Other screens generated maps from where you were to any event you wanted to attend, or to your cabin. The feature I couldn't live without was the "What To Do Right Now" screen which was a real time schedule of events and shows, complete with a "Map It" feature to generate a map to your chosen venue.
All the shows were amazing. Real professional stuff. Comedy club was my favourite, but at the same time the one I found most annoying since it was also the smallest venue, and in my opinion, the most popular, which meant you had to book your show early, and I mean early like when you book your cruise early, which I did, and got to see it, but not in a prime time slot. Extra comedy and improv shows were few and far between, and so crowded if you were not an hour early, you were not getting in. One night, an extra no reservations show filled up so quick and closed the doors so early, that there was a huge lineup outside of people that had no idea it was already full, just thought the doors were not open yet.
The nightlife was good. A lot of fun, with a good mix of ages and fun people. What I couldn't figure out, is you're on a ship in the Caribbean - why on a 7 night cruise is there only 2 deck parties and the rest of the time your in a dark disco down in the bilge? Piano bar - awesome. The sports bar had a week long karaoke contest that was really good - with 6000+ people, you find 8 contestants that are worth planning your day around coming to see.
The cabins were clean and comfortable. We had an inside balcony on the 11 floor right at the back of the ship, which is the best of everything. You overlook the boardwalk, aquatheater, and the back of the ship is open, so it's also ocean view. Plus it's sheltered from the wind while at sea. The zipline is right there so we got to watch some people zip by our room, but it's lame enough that no one was screaming, so it wasn't annoying at all.
Embarking was so easy. We came to the port by taxi, and it was so busy he dropped us of a short ways from checkin, so I wasn't 100% certain which of the hundred curbside luggage carts I was supposed to take my luggage to, or if it mattered which one, and the curb staff was the least helpful of any of the staff I encountered. They acted annoyed when I asked if it mattered which cart, then stood there while I threw the bags on, then asked for a tip, which I gave him, because I'm stupid like that. Actual checkin was super fast. The line moved continuously, and we were at the desk in minutes. 5 minutes later we had our seapass cards and walked on to the ship without delay. I don't think we spent 30 minutes from taxi to ship, and that includes my wandering interactions with the not so helpful curb staff.
Disembarking, we were off the ship in minutes, found our luggage right away in a clearly marked area, and stood in line for customs, which is to be expected. 45 minutes later, we were outside, and without having to ask, were directed immediately and clearly to the taxi stand, and were in a taxi and gone in under 5 minutes from the time we cleared customs. RCI has people moving down to a science.
Absolutely a fabulous experience from minute one. Can't wait to go back.