Overall I truly enjoyed the ship. It was a completely different experience than any other cruise we have taken. My husband and I booked last minute for my birthday (I was able to get a Travel Agent rate rather inexpensively). In the end... I want to go on Allure! It was a big jump for me because I have never been on a Freedom or Voyager Class even. I went from a Radiance class- Jewel (my favorite still) to Oasis. It was a truly remarkable time, fabulous shows (we aren't show people), and great service. It honestly was not like any other cruise I had taken before. It is less of a cruise feeling and more of a grand vacation feeling.
My review may be a bit all over the place, as I am using my pictures to remind me of what we did and when. I only have one true complaint. The bathrooms are very difficult to locate. The signage isn't the best. The bathrooms were huge and I never waited in a line.... But I had to run in circles to find them on the first few days.
As soon as we boarded we headed straight to Sorrento's. I had two slices and my husband had his own concoction of a pizza made. We had a light snack and then went on exploring. We briefly walked through the Promenade. The Boardwalk was our next stop. It was just as I thought it would be. Then we wandered down to the Entertainment Place on Deck 4 and checked out Studio B, Comedy Club, and Jazz on 4, and the Casino. I didn't like that the Casino was all the way down and kinda hidden. If you didn't go looking for it, you would probably never find it. I don't gamble though we just like to stroll through to see the action.
The Solarium- We headed over to the Solarium because that was my favorite place on the Jewel and Enchantment. This was very different. The Solarium on the Oasis is not completely enclosed. We enjoyed laying in a circular cabana for the afternoon. I have to say that we didn't spend as much time over the course of the week as we normally do. It was very hot in the Oasis Solarium; normally the Solariums were much cooler from our experience.
Flowriders- My husband decided to give the Flowrider a try on Day 1. I was willing to but I had not worn a shirt that could get wet. Yes ladies, your top can fly off without a cover! My husband's bathing suit slid down to his knees on the boogie boarding :/ He started with the boogie boarding and had a blast. As the week went on, we frequented the Flowriders almost daily. We woke up early enough to eat breakfast and head over by 9am when they open. It was especially nice when we were in port- there were only 3-4 people in line during those times and we went on a lot. We tried to stand-up surfing. I fell immediately every time I tried it. It was fun, but tricky to get the hang of. By the end of the week my husband was able to stay standing for a few minutes before wiping out. Warning!!! The water flow is very powerful; I am small gal and got whipped around pretty good on them. I had quite a few bruises by week's end. I finally figured out how to "wipe out" in a controlled manner so I didn't get thrown around as much. This was my husband's favorite "thing" to do onboard. He is thrilled that there is a Flowrider on the Liberty (our November trip).
Our Room- We chose an inside room (it was assigned to us by RCI, we didn't get to choose the exact room) we were on Deck 8, room 553. It was the first room in the hall on the left when facing forward on the starboard side. It was a nice size- actually the same size as the standard balcony rooms. We loved the convenience of the room; it was quiet (except on night 7) and comfortable. I was excited to see a nicely sized (bigger than the TV we have in our bedroom at home) flat screen TV. As soon as we entered our room I noticed the TV was giving us a strange message. We could not get it to work. We called for maintenance. My husband decided to play around with the TV; he yanked the cords out of the wall and re-plugged it in. Voila! It worked. BUT, I noticed something strange... we had extra options that I had not seen on previous cruises. Turns out the TV was "broken" because it was giving "Crew Access." This turned out to be a fabulous blessing :) I immediately cancelled the maintenance call!!! We were able to watch free on-demand movies every night while winding down. We would also get messages meant for the crew ;) It was kinda neat to know about what happens behind the scenes. I took a few pictures as proof! My only complaint about the room is that on night 7 there was a tremendous amount of noise. Our room had a crew staircase on one side and a connecting room on the other side. The ladies next door were very quiet; hopefully our nightly movies didn't keep them up. Being that night 7 is when everyone puts their luggage out for debarkation.... I think I heard EVERY suitcase go down those stairs. I was beginning to wonder whether the crew was simply tossing them and letting them tumble down. That's how bad the noise got at one point. I did not sleep at all that night. I was pretty cranky by the time we had to leave our room in the morning. Like I said, the room was great, quiet, and comfortable all week- with the exception of night 7. Because we had Crew TV access we found out that there was a medevac when we were in Labadee. I am not sure about what happened, but the Crew Information stated that "Thanks to all of the Crew Members who donated blood. In the end the Oasis Crew members saved a woman's life today. The doctors said she would not have survived the wait for the helicopter without the blood donations."
Shows- We saw Hairspray on the first night and missed sail away (the boat left around 9ish due to work on the wave deflectors). This was the least favorite of all the shows. Don't get me wrong, it was a great show! Wonderful dancers & singers and stage sets. We just aren't the Broadway Show type. Plus it was an hour and a half; we got a bit antsy for it not being our "thing." My husband's favorite was the Frozen in Time- Ice Show; my favorite was the Aqua Theater Oasis of Dreams show. Over all we were blown away by the entertainment, nothing disappointed us. Everything kept us thinking "what next?!?" The performers were amazing. It was a nice touch to sit through the Backstage Tour. Not really backstage though, just a question and answer session with technical crew and a couple of the performers with a peak at the props on stage. This actually piqued our interest in seeing the Come Fly with Me show, which we originally did not plan to see. That one was great. Not your typical stage show. It had a bit of everything from aerial acrobats, to floor acrobats, to singing, to dancing! All in all, these performers work really hard and have to compensate for a rocking boat at times!
Food- Okay, so I will break this one down in a few ways. We did My Time Dining; we love this option because we never feel rushed to go to dinner. We ate in the Main Dining Room on 6 of the 7 nights. We had Peter from Slovakia & Milton from Jamaica as Waiter & Asst. They were great :) They kept us happy and laughing every night. Peter had "hidden humor." He would throw in a joke or two throughout each conversation with him. He told us all about his wife, who is from the Philippines and is the greeter at the front of MTD. We ended up talking to her a few times on our way out from dinner. I enjoyed the food. I know some people complain, but I can always find something I like on the menu. I purchased Savor (the cookbook) the Headwaiter took it down to the executive chef for us. He signed it and stamped it with his RCI Executive Chef stamp. The headwaiter came by and had a conversation with us every night. This was a first; I don't think I have ever known who the head waiter was on my past cruises. He was very nice and would joke with us each night making me promise I wouldn't try any recipes in my stateroom and start a fire! We really wanted a picture with all 3 of them, but on the final evening they were slammed and we felt bad pulling them away from serving other people for a picture.
Johnny Rockets: we ate there twice for breakfast (no charge) and once for lunch. I felt nauseas after lunch, but that's my own fault for ordering and eating too much :/ It was good, and we are glad we tried it. We probably won't do it again as it was rather greasy and we can eat Johnny Rockets here at home if we wanted (even though we never have).
Park Cafe: Once we found out about this place we loved it. The sandwiches are great, the breakfasts were delish, and it was a quick eat right near our stateroom. One morning it was packed because we went right when they opened. Otherwise it was a great little cafe. This is where the "famous" roast beast sammiches can be found. I'm not a big roast beef fan, so I cannot really comment on their quality. My only complaint is the booths- holy moly! I sat in one on one morning and thought I was sitting on a fence. OUCH! Maybe it's because I have a boney tush, but yowza those were not comfortable. All the other seats were fine!
Giovanni's Table- We don't typically do specialty restaurants, but we decided to as we thought $15 a person was comparable to a typical restaurant back home. Wow, this was a great meal ? We started off with the Antipasti and a Tomato & Mozzarella Salad. Then we had the Papardelle Alla Crema Di Radicchio e Pancetta. Yum! I wanted that pasta dish as my entrEe. My husband had the lamb and I had the steak. Everything was amazing. Best food we've had onboard a ship thus far.
Windjammer- we only ate there twice, for lunch on 2 port days. The usual fare, although this time I was surprised with the amount of Asian dishes being offered. Not crowded at all on port days. It's situated beneath the Crown loft Suites, but above most of the other decks. We chose to overlook the aft area where the zip line and mini-golf were. Labadee BBQ- We enjoyed this. So many times there is a BBQ and it's just hamburgs & hots. I was happy to see ribs and beans and rice and a variety of other goodies. I thought the fruit punch tasted a lot like Kool-Aid! Good thing I like Kool-Aid :)
Sorrento's- We liked this place for a quick snack here and there. Never a wait. Always open. Husband enjoyed building his own pizzas. I liked their creative pizzas. Forgive me, but I don't remember the names of the creative ones.
Solarium Bistro- My husband had one lunch there. I didn't eat anything from here. It was mostly seafood and it had a bit of a fishy smell. This turned me off. A lot of people thought this place was great. I wasn't impressed. Perhaps because I am not a huge seafood fan.
Promenade Cafe- Always packed! We were usually able to snag a table if one of us waited in line and the other scouted for a table. We usually did coffee and deserts here while we waited for Karaoke.
Onboard Activities- We participated in EVERYTHING! We Flow-rode...? My husband zip-lined. I chickened out when I saw the height. It gave me an anxiety attack. We went ice skating to cool down. We went to every show. There was so much to do onboard. We had a blast!!! There were lines on sea days that cannot be denied. We used the Flowriders, ice skating, and zip line on port days to get the most of our time. Ice skating never had a wait or a line.
Stargazing/ Astronomy- Mitch from the cruise director staff hosts this twice per sailing. He brings a group out to the helipad (generally a crew only area) and uses a laser pointer to point out the constellations and planets. The second session (night 6) was much better than the session on day 3. We saw the Southern Sky on the second session and I saw my own zodiac sign. He told us that we were the very first group he had ever taken out there that got to see Venus so well. We actually saw Venus, Mars, and Saturn all in a line. Mitch has a bit of sarcastic humor, but I like it. Something tells me he will be a cruise director one of these days. He has no problem putting himself out there!
Karaoke- we're Karaoke junkies, but we don't participate. We LOVE to watch. I enjoyed that there is a dedicated Karaoke Lounge- On Air. By the end of the week we knew how early we had to get there to get a good seat. Globe & Atlas- Unfortunately, we didn't discover this place until the very last night. We knew about it but never ventured in. We spent the last hour there before heading to bed. Lots of action, lots of fun, and a guy playing a guitar. Everybody was singing along. I wish we had gone in earlier in the week, it was a blast.
Meet & Mingle- We went, first time going to one. I didn't really talk to anyone because it seemed like a large amount of the group got to know each other fairly well at Duffy's the night before boarding the ship. We couldn't make it to that function because we had other plans. So we didn't know anyone there. I did see a few familiar faces from the Facebook page that was set up. The Cabin Crawl was great. We saw a Sky Loft Suite, Junior Suite and each type of balcony room.
Ports Labadee- We had never been here before. We spent the morning onboard and got off around 11:30. We had the complimentary lunch. I bought a Labadoozie (later learning it was almost $10- ouch!). We wandered over to the handi-craft shops. I bought a wooden turtle because I collect wooden trinkets from the places I visit. The people weren't too pushy for me. They would call out to you, but if you keep walking they leave you alone. We swung around on a hammock and then decided it was way too hot to hang around. We're coming back in November onboard the Liberty; we think we're going to try the Dragon's Breath Zip Line then. It looked pretty fun (we'll see if I get over my fear of heights in the next 5 months!)
Costa Maya- Another new port for us. We wandered around the port area and browsed through the shops. My husband bought a Corona Cowboy hat (that made his day). I really liked the pool with the swim up bar. We went back to the boat and put on our bathing suits and then hung out at the pool and had a few beers and nachos from Mamacita's. After the fact my husband expressed interest in seeing the Mayan Ruins... Oh well, the pool bar was a nice treat regardless! Next time we're in Cozumel or Costa Maya we'll see the ruins.
Cozumel- We've been here too many times. We took a taxi downtown. Went for a walk and then headed back on the ship. This was the only day that we didn't know what to do with ourselves. We were in port from 8am-8pm and so a lot of things on board were closed. We napped and watched two on-demand movies.
Debarkation- We left the boat around 9am. Easy to find our bags because they are lined up by numbers. Customs was quick and easy. I did not like the fact that there is only room for 3-4 cars (length) in the pick up line. We had my mother come to pick us up and it was so crowded in this small area that we missed her the first time she drove through.