Oasis of the Seas Inaugural Sailing December 5th – 12th 2009 # of Passengers on Inaugural Sailing: Approx 3,700
Embarkation was a mess. The check-in itself went very smoothly, from curb to check in with seapass in hand was 10 minutes total. We arrived at the Pier at 11:35am. What happened next is where it all fell apart. Once we headed upstairs to wait to board we showed our seapass to the staff directing people and since we are Platinum we were sent across to the other side to "wait under the orange and white umbrellas". Well, what we didn't realize was that this was the special section for suite guests only. So we got to sit there with all the suite guests, and then had to wait for all suite guests, diamond plus, diamond and B2B cruises to board before platinums could board. It was very unorganized and chaotic; hopefully they will figure this part out.
Boarding the Ship – First Impressions:
We boarded the ship on deck 5 right onto the promenade right in front of the Rising Tide Bar and Guest Services. The Rising Tide Bar is a magnificent sight as you are boarding. We immediately headed to the dining room to change our dining from Main Seating to My Time Dining. This was accommodated quickly and effortlessly. We also bought our wine package at the dining room there. We then headed up to the Windjammer to check out lunch at the buffet. They had a great selection of lunch items but the Windjammer feels crowded and I felt like I was always dodging people as I navigated the food stations. Seating is plentiful if you head to the very aft of the Windjammer overlooking the sports deck and Boardwalk.
We then strolled around the pool deck and headed up to the Solarium at the front of the ship. The solarium is terrific! They have these great cabanas you can use that are like beds. The pool in the solarium was really warm and there is the Solarium Cafe, which is like a mini Windjammer during the day, then becomes a specialty restaurant at night.
We then headed down to the Spa and Fitness Center. The fitness center is so amazing; they have so many different pieces of equipment and some very high tech machines. The Spa is really nice and big also. Two small gripes though, they have no steam room or sauna in the locker rooms like on all other ships. The only steam room and sauna they have is in the Thermal Suite which you have to pay for ($30 pp for a day pass or $150 pp for a week long pass), and the Thermal Suite is tiny, they only had 4 hot stone loungers if I recall correctly.
Next we headed out to check out the Boardwalk and the Aquatheater. The Boardwalk is a cool concept but I honestly think it’s a lot of wasted space that won’t be that popular. There is a build a stuffed animal shop, a candy shop, and a toy shop that were never busy. There is a doughnut shop that had OK doughnuts; they seemed a little too dry. The Seafood shack was never very busy and personally I don’t think you get very much food for what you pay. Johnny Rockets is also out there, we ate their one night, again it was just OK, I would have rather ate at the dining room or Windjammer.
Central Park was by far my favorite place on the ship; it really is a sight you have to see to believe. You don’t feel like you are on a cruise ship at all, it really feels like you are strolling through a park with all the different restaurants and shops and places to sit and relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
Our cabin was room 6668 on the starboard side of the ship right next to the elevators and stairwell at the aft. I HIGHLY recommend this location and this deck. Deck 6 is the lowest level of ocean view balconies and it is very convenient to everything. One deck down to the promenade and My Time section of the Main Dining Room, Two Decks up to the Central Park, Board Walk and Aquatheater is right around the corner outside and the Spa and Fitness Center is just a short-long walk to the front of the ship.
The room we had was a D8 Ocean View Balcony room; the room feels smaller than on previous Royal Caribbean Ships. The closet is in an inconvenient location right by the couch (or bed depending on the room). The bathroom is really nice and feels a lot bigger because they have rotated the whole bathroom 90 degrees.
The TV in the room is HUGE, like a 37” LCD flat screen which swivels out from the wall. The TV has lots of interactive options on it from menus, to shore excursions to restaurant availability, and much more.
The room got very warm at night even with the A/C turned all the way down it was too hot to sleep with anything more than a sheet over me. But the beds are VERY comfortable pillow top mattresses. The pillows are very uncomfortable compared to other Royal Caribbean Ships I have been on; feather pillows were only available to suite guests so I suggest bringing your own pillow if you don’t want a neck ache.
The entertainment on the ship is incredible. All shows require you to have tickets reserved on your seapass card. They scan your card when you enter the venue to ensure you have a “ticket”. The first night of the cruise we saw the aquatheater show “Oasis of Dreams” which was great. They do all kinds of high dives, synchronized dives, synchronized swimming, acrobatics and more. They did a great job on the show and I was always on the edge of my seat. After the show they did a water fountain show, similar to the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas.
Hairspray is a 90 minute long version of the Broadway musical. It was simply AMAZING! Royal Caribbean went all out when they put this show together; I have never seen such a high quality show on board a ship. I would book the Oasis again just to see this show again.
The third show is “Come Fly With Me” and is in the Opal Theater. This show is another great production which has a lot of aerialist and very technical aspects to it, kind of like a cirque du soleil show. Don’t miss it.
The comedy club on board had a few different comedians and they were very good as well, I suggest going to the 12:30am late night show for a good adult laugh.
There is also an Ice Show called “Frozen in Time” in Studio B. We did not have a chance to get to it but I heard good things about it from others on board.
Sports Deck Activities:
The zip line was really fun, but a very short ride, nonetheless still very cool. You are only allowed to do the zip line one time during your cruise so make it count.
Flow Riders (yep two of them) were fun as usual, I tried the stand up surfing this time and I actually could stand up on it for a little bit, but then did the fall of shame. They however, really need to put the divider up on the boogey board flow rider because the lines although short, took forever because all these kids would be up there doing all kinds of tricks and their turns would last like 2-4 minutes because they were so good so the lines moved very slowly.
The mini golf course is fun and a lot of people made use of it.
We did not do the rock climbing wall this cruise but they have two of them and they both looked great and had multiple levels of difficulty.
Dining and Bars:
They have a lot of work to do on getting their specialty restaurant reservations process worked out. We had a lot of issues with this. First issue was at Giovanni's Table, we went there at like 2pm to make a reservation in person. The guy checked the computer and confirmed us for 7pm that night. We later got a call at 5pm saying they would be unable to accommodate us that night. So we went and talked to the manager and he apologized and said he could get us in the next night.
Next issue was with the 150 Central Park restaurant. We went there on Wednesday afternoon about 3pm and asked if we could get a reservation that night. The lady said they were full at the moment but she took our name down and told us she would call us and let us know if they could squeeze us in that night. We never got a call from them, so we went up there at 7pm and the restaurant was almost entirely empty. When we inquired at the desk they said that could not get us in that night and that they didn't have any record of us being on a waitlist. (Funny, since I watched the lady write it on their reservation list earlier that day).
The Rising Tide Bar was very cool, it was never crowded and there were never lines for it.
Sorrento’s Pizza was very good as usual, and a new feature on Oasis is that you can create your own personal pan pizza.
The Champagne Bar is beautiful and the Schooner bar is a great place as usual.
The main dining room had great food as usual and the My Time Dining experience is my favorite on Royal Caribbean, they do a really good job with it. We had the same waiter every night and usually the same table. The entire deck 5 dining room is dedicated to My Time Dining.
Debarkation went VERY smoothly, we actually were off the ship at the time they said we would be on the sheet of paper we got the last night of the cruise. We were off the ship at 8:45am and found our bags right away and went through customs like a breeze, they just collect the immigration forms from you and that's it. No waiting in long lines and going through the intense process where they swipe your passport, ask you questions, etc. We grabbed a taxi and were at the Fort Lauderdale airport to pick up our rental car by 9:20am.
Overall it was by far my favorite cruise ever. The ship never felt crowded and we never had a problem finding a spot up on the Pool Deck. This may however have been due to the lower number of passengers on board. There ship is nearly sold out in January so time will tell how things go with a ship full of people.