My Brother, Mother, and I just returned this past Saturday (5/29) from a great week aboard the Oasis of the Seas. Having cruised with RCCL 5 times in the past (including 2 on Freedom), we are use to being on big ships. However, Oasis really took our breath away......it was like turning a skyscraper on its side and floating it in the ocean!! With 5400 passengers on board, the most amazing thing about it is that you rarely ever see 85% of these people at any given time.
Embarkation at Port Everglades was a breeze thanks to the new state-of-the-art terminal which was built specifically for Oasis (and Allure when it sails in November), and we were on the ship within 30 minutes of arrival.
After dropping off our luggage in our room, we headed up to Windjammer Marketplace to grab some lunch.....only to encounter a mob of people (this was the only time we dealt with 98% of the passengers in one place). A recent review of this ship mentioned that there was standing room only in the Windjammer, and we certainly could ditto that statement!!! The seating area is smaller than Freedom's (why was that???), and we spent 30 minutes waiting for an unoccupied table.
Touring the ship took the rest of the afternoon......Central Park is really beautiful with loads of trees, flowers, and shrubs. The boardwalk is amazing and reminded us of a Cony Island setting with the carousel, eateries, and shops. The Promenade was like walking through a mall.....unlike previous ships, it is quite wide and well lit with splashy colors.
When it came time for the muster assembly drill, we were pleased that we didn't have to wear life jackets......not to mention that our station was in the Opal Theater and not outside in the heat!!
As for eating, we had breakfast several times in Park Cafe which offered bagels and all the trimmings to go along. We ate 3 times in Johnny Rockets....which is always an entertaining experience with the servers dancing to hiphop music. We had 6:00 PM dining, and we sat with a family from Canada. They were talkative and friendly, and they made for wonderful table mates the entire cruise. Our waiter (Michael) and assistant waiter (Leroy) were wonderful, and we were treated with high class in the dining room each evening. The food was always tasty and was more than we could eat each night. We never tried the specialty restaurants (Chops Grill, 150 Central Park)....there was no need to since the dining room food and service met our expectations. I did get the Fillet Mignon (from Chops Grill) twice, and it was really delicious...very tender. Snacks in the 24-hour Cafe Promenade, Sorrento's, and Mondo Coffee Bar were plentiful and delightful.
Our cabin was a balcony stateroom (9132) in the front of the ship. We had booked this specific cabin while onboard Freedom last May in the hopes to avoid any cigarette smoke/ash from anyone in front of or above us, and it worked very well. Grant it....the hallway seemed to be endless when going from the front of the ship to the back of the ship, but it provided us with plenty of exercise nevertheless. Our cabin boy (Lindel) was fantastic and always met our needs. I will say that we found the cabin to be smaller than on previous ships (more narrow). The closet was on the side of the bathroom next to the bed instead of being on the other side of the room across from it, and it made for quite a bit of congestion. We also found there was less closet space for storage as we have had on other ships. I guess when you try to fit 2700 staterooms on a cruise ship, something has to give!!
A few interesting things to note about Oasis of the Seas: They have gone back to leaving chocolate candies on the pillows each night. As for pool towels, you have to check them out/in on the pool deck via your sea pass. There were no midnight buffets (RCCL has done away with them due to too much wasted food), AND shockingly enough, there were NO watermelon carvings OR ice carvings the entire week. My Brother said that Oasis is trying to be different from other ships...and I guess he has a point.
On our days at sea, we spent quite a bit of time at the flowriders. The advantage of having 2 going at the same time is that unlike Freedom's 1 flowrider in which they switch back and forth from boogie boarding to standup surfing, each side of the ship did the same continuous activity without interruption...which made the lines move faster. Yeah, it got somewhat crowded, and yeah, there was only 1 observation area at each flowrider, but it seemed to suffice. The zipline was really amazing......stretching 10 decks high across the Boardwalk.
As for the shows onboard, they were absolutely fantastic and incredible. I booked all our entertainment and shore excursions weeks before our cruise, and it worked out very well. The opening night with El Gaucho was great....especially his piano rendition of Malaguena. Come Fly With Me was totally amazing with all the acrobats and dancers. The Headliner Show featured Star Search grand prize winner male vocalist Kenny James in a variety of Motown songs. He was really awesome....as was the Oasis of the Seas Band which accompanied him. These musicians are truly the best in the business!!! The ice show (Frozen in Time) was colorful and delightful.....especially the guest artist sand sculpturor. Hairspray was incredible and done very professionally. Oasis of Dreams (the Aqua Theater show) featured Olympic divers and swimmers jumping from as high as 50 feet.
One thing I must mention (that I wish someone else's previous Oasis review mentioned....because I couldn't find any information about it) is that the photo gallery has a new system of sorting out everyone's photos to prevent mobs of people from trampling all over each other in search for their pictures. Each family (or cabin) is assigned a photo gallery number on their sea pass. There are carousels with folders, and all you do to find your photos is to go to your assigned carousel and folder. There are lots of places in the photo gallery to spread pictures out for viewing....which made it very convenient. In some cases, they know who you are by scanning your sea pass prior to taking your photos. In other cases (like port photos) they don't know who you are. We found out that Oasis has a photo computer system capable of matching faces, and that is how some photos "mysteriously" show up in your folder.....what won't they think of next????
As fantastic as the week was, there was a very unfortunate incident which took place on Monday, May 24th. At 4:55 PM (on our way from Nassau to St. Thomas) the captain announced that someone had gone overboard, and he was turning the ship around to search for the missing person. Then during dinner at 6:30 PM he informed us that the missing person was a crew member who hadn't reported for work, and we were heading back towards Nassau to aid the US and Bahamian Coast Guards in the search. Well, at this point I KNEW St. Thomas was a no-go. Later on at 10:30 PM the captain made a 3rd announcement confirming our worst disappointment that St. Thomas was indeed canceled, and it was confirmed through the ship's security cameras that the crew member did indeed jump overboard. As a result of not going to St. Thomas, RCCL gave everyone a money voucher for a future cruise as well as refunded everyone's onboard account with $9.17 of unused port tax. We were released from the search at 1:00 AM Tuesday morning, but it was obviously too late to try and make St. Thomas. We've been there twice before, but we were looking forward to finally getting onto Megan's Bay Beach as well as all the great shopping in St. Thomas, so this incident was a shock and disappointment to everyone. We found out later in the week that it as an 45 year old assistant waiter in the dining room who had just come back from a vacation.....very, very sad.
Getting off the ship was another breeze, and we were out of the terminal in 10 minutes. In spite of everything that happened, we still had a fantastic week, and we're looking forward to our already-booked cruise vacation back on Freedom of the Seas next year.