Hello Everyone! Back from Oasis of Seas Inaugural and its taken me a few days to catch up on things as my daughter also arrived this week home from college in Florida. But, I wanted to post a trip review for all of you so here goes:
Pre-Cruise- We left BWI on Thursday and arrived at the airport only to find our flight out delayed ...but it wasn't a long delay and soon we departed and headed to ATL- our first stop, from there we headed to FLL., and arrived at approx. 3pm. We checked in at the LaQuinta- overall a good place to stay but it does need some renovations- the elevators took a long time and creaked every time it closed...kind of scary. The rooms were adequate but sure nothing fancy, although beds were fairly comfortable. I don't think I would stay here again though. I was not feeling tooo well- my stomach was acting up. Perhaps it was just all the anticipation of the upcoming cruise but I just rested up the rest of the day. We met up with friends of ours the next day who were also staying there and going on the Inaugural with us- it was so nice to see them again- we had met them on our Freedom Cruise. We decided to take a walk and within a short distance was a nice shopping area with several food places- TGIF, Red Lobster and a few others. Friday evening we had our pre-cruise dinner and 21 of us came, it was great and it was at Sal's Italian Restaurant- rt nearby our hotel- The meal was fantastic!! Some of our gang though said it was hard to find and arrived a little late but what the heck we were on vacation and about to have the most exciting vacation of our lives!!!
Embarkation Day!!! We arrived at the port at 9:05am- yes I was one of those early birds!! I just couldn't stand to be there later and I was so looking forward to getting my first glimpse of ship- which when we did I just cried. All the emotion and planning of the last 2 years was just so emotional when I saw her for 1st time. My DH and daughter were laughing they just thought it was so funny. Oh well. We were allowed to check in 9:30am and it only took like 10 min. and we were headed upstairs. We were given yellow oasis inaugural bags along with planner for the week. Already free gifts- I liked that alot! We headed up escalator and took our seats. There ended up being over 600 passengers who were doing the B2B and so they headed to a spot in the terminal near us. Then the long wait to board began.....we found out later that there were people still on the ship that had refused to get off- as they were apparently told that they didn't have to get off if they were on the b2b which was not true. The ships' manifest HAS to read 0 before embarkation can begin. It took awhile, but we were FINALLY able to board about 1245pm after all the diamond +, diamond and platinum members boarded. We enetered mid ship on the Royal Promenade and our mouths just dropped to the floor!! Yep, I cried AGAIN!!! It was just beyond words and so beautiful!! We were handed a glass of champagne and welcomed warmly onboard by the staff.
Stateroom Accomodations- We had a D1 balcony on hump and there were 3 in our party. Myself, DH, and 12 yr old daughter. The room was a bit smaller that I had anticipated and it really was a tight fit for the 3 of us. Since my older daughter couldn't join us I decided it would be ok to have Rachel- my 12 yo just take the sofa bed. It worked but I would never do it again. The room was lovely though- beautifully appointed furnishing and bed sooooo very comfy and I slept great all week. The bathroom very tiny but again you just have to make it work and we did. Our balcony was big and very nice and we enjoyed coffee and breakfast out there every morning. Our views were simply incredible and amazing.
Ship Itself- The ship is simply incredible- it is a huge ship but the way they have the areas appointed make it very cozy and comfortable. I never once felt crowded or closed in and just loved the 7 neighborhoods...my favorite has to be Central Park- it is simply breathtaking and was all decorated with live poinstettias for Christmas!! On this neighborhood you will find 150 Park Fare- which we decided to cancel our reservation for due to the limited menu and opted for Giovanni's Table- The meal was very good but I don't think I would eat here again..it is served family style and it just didn't have the charm or atmosphere like Portofino's has!! Just my opinion. There is also Chops Grille- and we also ate here our last night---it was simply incredible and fantastic!!! We did have some problems with our reservations--we had reserved online prior to our cruise and when we cancelled our reservation for 150 Park Fare- the computer system cancelled ALL our dining reservations!! They do need to get this worked out but for us, it was fixed promptly. The Boardwalk and Aquatheatre areas are great as well and when you enter there you really do get a sense of just how big the ship really is. The pools were also very colorful and very fun. THe beach pool was by far the most popular and most crowded. Our cruise critic group organized a zipline challenge and we all got to try this and it was alot of fun!!!
Ports- We enjoyed our time in St. Thomas- went to Coki Beach- which has some of the best snorkeling we have ever seen and the most beautiful stretch of white beach as well. In St. Maartin- we went with ships excursion to Orient Beach and this was just as beautiful. We had an amzing lunch and our tour guide was simply fantastic giving us lots of local information on the island and such. We did some shopping before heading back to ship. In Nassau, however I had a major problem....when we left the ship my DH was in front of me and I in back...I was walking on the pier and I did not see this huge cinderblock in front of me due to all the people and I tripped over it falling and landing face first on the concrete. At first I thought I had broken my nose...there was a lot of blood and I was so scared. My husband quickly called for help and in minutes I was back on the ship getting 3 stitches in my nose - but luckily nothing was broken...just had a bad fall and scraped up my leg pretty bad. I am healing now and we just stayed on the ship after all that. THe medical facility though is incredible and very much advanced with the latest technology. I got to see that first hand.
Dinner Experience- Our waitor and asst waitor were the best and our meals we really enjoyed. There were some nights that the food tasted better but overall we thought the quality of the food was very good. Our service also was quite good as well and were very pleased. They really do work hard and go out of their way to make your dinner experience the best it can be. Everyone had a smile and was just as pleasant as could be.
Debarkation- The debarkation process went very smoothly although they were behind schedule a bit. There is no more colored tags...they go by number now and were were supposed to have been in the 7:30-7:45am group but didn't leave till almost 8:30am. But, it was all good we were in no hurry. We had planned to stay 1 extra day in FLL and so we headed back to the LaQuinta for our last night stay. It worked out well...we all got to rest and catch up on some sleep and arrived safely home the next day.
Final Thoughts This ship is simply incredible and just beyond words. When we left and were walking down the gangway off the ship I turned around and cried again!! Yes, I am a huge softie I know but it truly was a trip I will never forget. We had received a special gift every night-and that was really a special treat not to mention everything we were able to see and do. My only regret is that my oldest daughter couldn't be there to share it with us. We would love to plan another trip with her....perhaps once she graduates from college. I highly recommend the ship and the minor things that went wrong can easily be fixed. The shows were amazing and a true joy for all of us. I can't wait to begin planning for our next trip!!