My wife and I booked this cruised about 3 months in advance of our set-sail date and were well prepared for it in every sense of the term "well prepared." Our ports of call were Paradise Island, Bahamas; St. Thomas, and St. Maarten - the "fluffy" itinerary. This was our second cruise with RC and we weren't disappointed. We arrived at the port very early (highly advised if you want a speedy check-in procedure.) The food was marvelous, the staff were courteous and pleasant (additional cash tipping really works to one's advantage.) Oasis of the Seas is an absolute behemoth of a ship. It is large. It is unfathomably large. It is obscenely large. It is perfectly large enough for a 7-night cruise if one has cruised before on a different ship and is looking to experience *everything* on this ship at least once. There is just as much quality of ship to experience as there is quantity of ship to experience. There are features on this ship that rival or surpass events and venues available on dry land. There are entirely too many things to list as to what all this ship has to offer, and I don't want to spoil anything for those of you that have not been on this ship. If you've never cruised before, I would suggest you not start with this ship simply because there is so much offered on board. If you go on any other ship, short of RC's new Quantum class (at the time of this review), you will probably be disappointed because the feature and size bar of your ship has been set at the highest currently available.
A couple of features I would suggest passing on based on my experience: Giovanni's Table and 150 Central Park of the Central Park area of the ship, and the Boardwalk Bar.
-Giovanni's Table - We had lunch reservations for the day we set sail. The food wasn't deserving of the extra cover charge. The service, while courteous, was also inexplicably very slow. I believe other cruisers had similar experiences because by the 4th night, Giovanni's Table advertisements and flyers were quite prominent throughout the ship trying to get people to come eat there.
-150 Central Park- While we did not partake of this venue, the even higher cover charge for a fixed 6-course menu that was the same every day with no particularly outstanding dishes didn't make much sense to us.
-Boardwalk Bar- This must be where the new bartenders are stationed, because it took 3 tries to get our drinks right (that were simple drinks listed on the menu) almost every time we went to this bar.
In light of these setback, there were places that offset each of the previously mentioned ones:
-Chops Grille- Absolutely amazing food well worth the cover charge and service to match. Special note, the Creme Brulee is not traditional Creme Brulee.
-Park Cafe- This place is like a fancier Promenade Cafe. Dishes and food selections of a healthier feel than what's available at the Promenade Cafe. Special note, pay attention to their availability hours as they change day to day
-Schooner Bar- Stupendous service and glorious bartenders that have no issue pouring heavy handed if you tip them extra and strike up good conversation with them. Special note, they seemed to have the largest variety of liqours and wines on the ship.
If you're a drinker, I **highly** **highly** recommend the Premium liquor package. It definitely paid for itself and was really a good way to try new drinks without worrying about whether or not we would have to drink the whole thing if it wasn't something that was good.
I've been to the ports of call listed above; it's been a bit, but I have been to them before. I'm not really sure what to say about them other than they really are best experienced by themselves; nothing in this review is going to be of benefit to any shore excursions you may pick. The only thing that has really changed over the years is that the area directly around the cruise ship docking piers has been cleaned up and become more up-to-date architecturally speaking (or is in the process of becoming so.) There were lots of obviously new concrete buildings for shopping at each of our ports of call with fresh paint, so it's evident the countries are putting money into those ports.
I don't know when the Express Departure system was implemented, but it worked out really well for us. If you don't mind getting up early to beat the crowds and you don't have a flight to catch, this departure system really makes things easier. We packed all of our bags the night before, except for the night essentials and it only took us about 15 minutes to get off the ship with our bags and through customs and in the car that picked us up.
If you've made it this far in my review and have decided this information is worth your time, I'm glad it was of service to you and you're welcome.