Beyond her sheer size, there were many attributes to this ship that I found impressive - and some that I was surprised by. For example, I expected to be overwhelmed not only by the distances that would have to be covered in moving from place to place, but just in trying to remember where all the points of interest - restaurants, lounges, showrooms, shops, rides, activity areas - were located. However, I found the arrangement of the ship to be logical, which made navigation relatively easy. Furthermore, the flat screen navigation aids on each floor were quite helpful whenever I wasn't sure exactly where a particular destination was.
Also, with our cabin being near mid-ship, the distances we had to cover were not as great as I had expected. I found the elevators to be (1) conveniently located and (2) adequate for the volume of traffic, at least on this particular cruise. So getting around was surprisingly quick and convenient for a ship this large.
Following are some specific comments - positive and negative - about certain aspects of the ship. Since we were on board for just two days, we were unable to avail ourselves of everything the ship has to offer. Accordingly, these comments are limited to what we personally experienced.
We had an outside cabin with a balcony. Though rather small, we found it to be comfortable and well designed. The beds were the most comfortable we have slept in at sea. The balcony was spacious enough and private. We liked the solid see-through panel railings bordering the balcony (as opposed to pickets). Good for families with small children.
We liked the glass door (vs. curtain) in the shower.
In-cabin internet access (via TV) is an excellent idea, as it eliminates the need to lug my laptop onboard or to have to go to an internet cafe and perhaps wait for a terminal.
Public Areas and Attractions
We found the Central Park, the Boardwalk, and The Royal Promenade areas to be very well designed with lots of fun things to do. They clearly helped bring a sense of energy and liveliness to the ship, and we enjoyed the time we spent in each of them.
Getting coffee in the morning, for example, was quick and easy when going to a cafe in the Promenade vs. having to go up to Lido.
Even though the ship apparently wasn't full, we saw long lines at some of the establishments (such as Johnny Rockett's and the Seafood Shack). Also, there were too few chairs at some of the bars and cafes in Central Park.
The main dining facilities were excellent, as was the service and the quality of the food.
While there is an impressive array of alternative dining options, we are concerned that some passengers might have difficulty booking reservations, as the restaurants appear to be rather small.
The lunch food stations in the Lido didn't make sense to us. The lite-bites station, for example, had some lite selections, but you couldn't build a complete salad there. There were several stations that had international cuisines, but we found no particular logic to the way the stations were set up, so we didn't necessarily know where to find Italian vs. Asian, for example.
The Wipe Out Bar was the only place to find pizza. We felt that pizza should be available somewhere closer to the Lido. The pizza was not to our liking...dry and flavorless.
The main showroom was excellent. We had no problem getting a good seat. The seats were comfortable and easy to get to - even middle seats. Also, even the seats in the very back of the balcony offered good viewing.
We also liked having reservations for the bigger shows. The procedure worked quite well and surely will help with crowd control when the ship is full.
Some comments about the entertainment on this particular cruise:
Of the nearly 30 cruises that I have been on, Abba Cadabra was the finest show I have ever seen on a ship. And it was easy to tell from the audience's reaction - from the opening number until the encore - that they enjoyed it as well. I have never seen a livelier, more appreciative audience. Royal Caribbean would do well to book that act as often as possible. They are the kind of entertainment that one would expect on a ship as spectacular as the Oasis.
Ditto for the HC Anderson Ice Show. The choreography and costumes were very creative and the talent was extraordinary. Absolutely tremendous!
The Aqua Theatre performance was still in rehearsal and still being refined, but we were quite impressed with the acrobatics and athleticism of the performers.
On this particular cruise, the Zip Line wait was too long for such a short ride.
The Fitness Center was extremely well equipped and spacious. I also liked the track, which was clearly marked so that distance covered could be easily calculated. Also, it was for joggers and walkers. No railbirds and loungers to have to dodge, such as when walking or jogging on Promenade decks of other ships.
The basketball court was easily the best I've seen on any ship. Being new, it was in excellent shape. Also, I liked that it was full length, was in a great location, and was well shielded from the wind (which has always been an issue on other ships).
The elevator lights were difficult to read. Often, we couldn't tell whether a light for a particular deck was off or on.
The lifeboat drill was well orchestrated. Quick, convenient, comfortable (we were seated during the entire presentation) and informative, and we didn't have to drag our life jackets along. Great idea!
We especially liked the procedure for viewing the photographs that were taken onboard. It eliminated the confusion and frustration that normally go with finding one's photos on ships. Very innovative idea.
We noticed that many of the ship's amenities (e.g. alternative dining options) have a fee associated with them. We will be interested in hearing how passengers feel about having to pay for these, as they can make the total cruise cost quite high. And if there is a wait involved, this could negatively impact the overall cruise experience.
This is a truly magnificent ship...not simply because of her size, but because of the overall planning and physical design of the vessel. We found the layout to be logical and well thought out. And, as pointed out above, we were especially impressed with the many innovations that have been incorporated.
We are grateful that we had this experience and we eagerly await our next opportunity to sail on her.