This is our 10th cruise, 2nd on Royal Caribbean, 2nd from Port Everglades. We stayed the night before at the Embassy Suites on 17th street and highly recommend it. The staff was very friendly and helpful, the rooms were clean and the breakfast was very good. There are plenty of restaurants and shopping in walking distance.
We parked at the Park-n-go. We booked online and saved a big chunk of money. The whole parking process was easy and fast. We pulled up and they had us stop under a big tent to unload the cars. They then park the car for you, they do this because the stack the cars in so they can fit as many cars as possible. No worries, since they provide airport parking too the place is manned 24/7 and is well lit and has high fences.
The check-in process at the terminal was odd to say the least. When we went through security they actually checked that the wine bottles we brought were actually wine by opening the bags and looking at the bottles. First time that has happened, I guess they are trying to crack down on smuggling. Anyway, we go to the Gold check in line and we notice that my son, who has sailed RCCL before, is not listed as Gold. No problem, we'll try to fix it (again, I did this three times before we left) when we get on-board. We then go upstairs to the waiting area. This is where we run into a lady who is just doing what she was told to do, keep non-Gold members out of the Gold waiting area, and she was very good at it. Since our sons card does not say Gold on it she says he has to sit elsewhere but we are welcome to sit there. Deciding not to abandon our son, we sat with him. While we are waiting we can hear some sort of announcements being made but the middle of the waiting area apparently has no speakers so we have no idea what is going on and can only deduce by watching the other people. We are finally told that we may board the ship so we head through the first set of doors and are promptly met by what would be the first of many lines. After five minutes of winding up the gangway we get on the ship. Once aboard we make our way to the Park Cafe, another long line, took about 10-12 minutes to get through that line. We are amazed by the roast beef sandwiches as well as the paninis and desserts. By the time we finish eating our cabin is ready so we head up to deck 11 cabin 328. Amazing balcony, amazing room steward Dwayne but a teeny-tiny room. I wrote up this cabin review separately.
We were part of a group of 15 so we got stuck with 8:30 dining time. I will say that our wait staff Bongay and Marvin were terrific! The late seating is not accounted for in the scheduling of shows and entertainers. We had to get our reservations for the 10:30 shows, we couldn't schedule the early shows since they started near our dinner time. So we had to scramble to make it to the venue before they gave our seats to those on the wait list. This was very stressful and would have been impossible if not for our amazing wait staff. The good thing is that due to the reservations we did not have to wait in the line of people that did not have a reservation.
The shows were neat but it was difficult to enjoy when you had to run to get there before they opened up to open seating and on top of that it was difficult finding seats together. The entertainment was fun too but by the time we finished dinner and went to the venue the band, singer, guitar player was only there for another hour or so. Do go see Ian in the Pub, he was fun and really interacted with the crowd.
We did eat in the Wipeout Cafe for breakfast, 5 minute line. We made it to the main dining room for breakfast on the first day and did not have a wait. The main dining room is setup for either menu ordered breakfast (which I strongly recommend) or a buffet. On the second day we went back to the main dining room for breakfast and the line was so long for the traditional side that we decided to eat in the buffet side. We were able to finish eating before the people we were in line behind for the traditional side were even seated. Thinking that we'll just go to the Windjammer for breakfast since we were only eating buffet anyway we encounter yet more lines, about 5-7 minutes, and confusion. We were told to follow a waiter to our seats, yes they seat you in the Windjammer, but there were no seats to be found. We walked around until the waiter finally had us sit in a recently cleared table. Only one of us at a time went to get food for fear of our table being cleared and we would lose our seat. We tried to eat lunch in the Windjammer but the lines went down the stairs so back to the Park Cafe. This was the theme anytime we wanted to eat. Oh yea, do not eat breakfast at Johnny Rockets. The food tasted like it was out of the freezer. I was sure that the French Toast I ordered was from a box and microwaved. My wife said the same thing about her "omelette".
One thing that really bothered me was the scheduling of the restaurants. Due to our late dining I wanted to have a later lunch, around 4 PM. Unfortunately, almost all of the restaurants were closed at this time. The only thing open was Sorrento's, Park Cafe, and Promenade Cafe. It got really old. If we ate lunch at the time they scheduled it would be 7 hours before we had dinner. Too long, especially for families with small kids. Do whatever you have to in order to get early dinner.
Flowrider, zip line, carousel, and elevators, more lines, basically the theme to the cruise. They were fun but it was not fun waiting.
The elevators: Whoever programmed them should be fired. We would see an empty elevator go flying by (glass ones obviously) and the next elevator would stop and it would be filled to the brim. Also, we would be on an elevator, many floors pressed, then the board would clear and it would say "priority". We just pressed our floor again and at every stop it would clear the buttons again. Don't know what that was about.
Disembarkation was strange. We went to get breakfast and decided on the Park Cafe since we knew the Windjammer would have lines out the door and down the stairs. Food was fine in the cafe but they were out of coffee cups. I told someone and she said they would be replaced soon. I (along with many others) decided to use a soup cup for my coffee, the cook was accommodating and gladly gave out soup cups. Meanwhile the office in charge of the cafe was more concerned with how many danishes one of the staff was putting out and did not notice there were no coffee cups for about 10 minutes. When he did notice he put out a stack of paper cups. We then went to the Opal theater to wait and when we walked in the staff was taking away the danishes and coffee that were supposed to be out during the entire debarkation process. We waited for a while then my wife heard our number being called, good thing too since the boards did not reflect that. In fact, by the time we got to the Aft of the ship to leave those displays were even further behind and the people walking in front of us were stopped by a crew member who said that only numbers through 4 had been called when it was actually through 15. He walked off to check we walked off the ship. Once in the terminal we got a porter and told him our number, he took us right to our luggage loaded it up and made our way to the Customs line. We went through Customs and he took us to where our shuttle bus would pick us up to take us to our car.
Once again the parking company was great. They had a line of shuttle buses lined up so we did not have to call or wait for a bus to come. They took us right to our truck and we loaded up headed to the exit. At the exit I handed my printed receipt, the attendant scanned it handed us three bottles of water and we were on our way.
The trip was fun but I do not think I would have enjoyed the ship as much without the friends we sailed with, they are what made this trip fun. To me the ship alone is not worth the cost. I can not see sailing the Oasis again, though if we have enough people going in a group and the price is right we would go again...especially if they move the ship to Port Canaveral.