Our vacation on the 'Oasis of the Seas" was all that we had hoped for and more. Embarkation was very smooth and quick. We arrived at about 11:00 AM and there were still people leaving the ship. It also was cold and damp. Our cab driver told us that Floridians don't do well in this weather and many will stay home. Thus porters would be a bit scarce. She was correct. We schlepped our own luggage to the terminal where we were directed where to leave the larger bags. I tipped the porter we did find who had to bring them to another person in the terminal 10 ft. away. We were not permitted to give it to him directly. After that everything went very smoothly with only a brief stay in the waiting room. We were allowed on board a bit after noon even though rooms would not be ready until 1:00 PM.
We went to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. It was very crowded as I expected it would be as everyone seemed to end up there. The food was actually very good with a nice variety. Subsequent visits to were not a hectic as people became more familiar with the ship and alternative dining options.
Our room was ready on time a Boardwalk balcony on Deck 10. The room was a bit compact but comfortable. One criticism noted by my wife and echoed by several ladies at the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet was that storage was very, very limited and, as my wife noted, "this closet was not designed by a woman". With a bit of creativity, it was doable. One minor thing I noticed was that there was no indentation in the bathroom sink to keep the bar of soap from sliding. It just struck me as an odd thing to eliminate. The shower enclosure with it's sliding curved double doors was a great improvement over those clinging curtains. I am about average height at 215 lbs. and had sufficient room in the shower. My brother, however, is a bit taller and about 300 lbs. found it tight. The joke was that he enjoyed his shower and tomorrow he would do his back. Junior suites have bigger baths and closets as well as a higher cost.
While you could here the sounds of the Boardwalk during the daytime, at bedtime the balcony door really muffled any sound quite well. We could hear more of the bass beat from Dazzles nightclub at night rather than from the Boardwalk.
The view from our balcony which was seventh from the back afforded us a good view of the Aqua Theater and the Ocean. It was just as I had envisioned it when I booked. We watched the show for a second time from our room.
While on the subject of shows. Go see them all. RCCL has raised the bar on shipboard entertainment on this ship. You will be doing yourself a disservice to skip any of them. The casts work hard and deserve our support by attending performances.
Food was better on this cruise than on the Grandeur of the Seas last January. We did My-Time dining and it was great. We were 3 couples most of the time and asked for the same waiter. While it is not required to make a reservation to go in to eat, the wait staff does recommend it. We had a reservation at 150 Central Park on the Sunday. It is an indulgence but worth it for the experience. Only 80 guests are served per night so book early. Our favorite place for a quick snack was the Park Cafe. You can have a salad custom made for you there. Once the Roast Beef sandwiches were discovered, there was a constant line for them. They are served with 'au jus' on a Weck, a roll I remember having in Buffalo many years ago. Add a bit of horseradish and some mustard and you will be in sandwich heaven. Other sandwiches are offered, but this was the most popular for good reason.
The ship never seemed over crowded, at least no more than any other large ship. The Promenade was like being in the center of a mall with a light show and entertainment. The casino was quite large with a smoking and non-smoking area. I did not have any luck this trip, my brother did OK though.
We had an appointment to do the Zip-Line on Thursday. It was great fun, for me anyway, my wife reluctantly did it and said never again. I strongly recommend you make your appointment early as the last two day were completely booked.
We had not been to St. Thomas or St Maarten before. We did shopping and the Sky ride in St. Thomas. Nice view. On St. Maarten we booked the 4 x 4 Jeep Tour with our neighbors. I was a 6 and ½ hour drive around the island. It was to include a stop in the French capital for lunch and shopping. We parked on the edge of the marina, on the edge of town, given 25 minutes and told not to eat as the next stop would be better. It was a 10 minute walk just to get back to the shopping area. No one went. We had time to take a couple of pictures at the marina and pick up a can of soda.
The next stop was at Friar's Beach where we were guided to a part of the beach in front of a particular restaurant. There were two on the beach but were told we needed to stay on this side. Later I realized that this was untrue, and I believe that we were just 'kidnapped' to give this restaurant business. I was not impressed with the cleanliness of the place and we did not eat there. The beach was a bit stony and the water a cloudy blue. Two of us went in and had fun. We spent 1 ½ hours there. We were supposed to go to Orient Beach not Friar's Beach. Well, to cover himself, the tour guide did take us to Orient Beach. We drove into one entrance of the parking lot and out another, barely seeing the water between buildings.
I strongly recommend that you think twice before booking this tour as it is not as described. I did file a complaint onboard. Hopefully others did also and RCCL will have corrections made in the tour or it's description.
Nassau was very busy as there were 5 ships in port. If you count the Oasis as 2, it would be 6. We only went in town to do some quick shopping. We has visited there before.
Even disembarkation was unbelievable. From the time our group number was called to the airport was 25 minutes. The airport, on the other hand was incredibly congested. An hour and a half to check-in. I recommend that you consider using RCCL airport bag check-in service for $10.00 a bag. They take you bags to the airline for you and check them in.
In summary, we went on this cruise for the ship, not the ports. The Oasis of the Seas was a wonderful experience. The dining, the entertainment, the interactive directories and the cupcakes. Any other ship we may cruise on will be compared to this one. We are spoiled I fear.