I will start this review by letting you know that my wife and I are experienced cruisers. This was our 40th RCI cruise and we have about another 20 total on other cruise lines. The first word that came out of my mouth upon seeing the ship at the pier was WOW! The first word that came out of my mouth upon stepping into the Royal Promenade was WOW! The first word that came out of my mouth upon entering our cabin (suite) was WOW! The Oasis will WOW you. I had read numerous reviews, seen videos online, and seen television specials on the ship, but none of them can accurately describe or depict this vessel. You must see it for yourself.
To say the ship is huge is an understatement. It takes the entire cruise to explore it fully. On the final day we realized there were still areas of the ship where we had not been. There is so much to do and see that you will need a checklist to make sure you get it all done.
SHIP OVERALL - A+ It's difficult to put in words the sheer beauty of this vessel. You realize why part of RCI's advertising campaign is “We build incredible”. The Oasis is really incredible. The most difficult part of writing a review about the ship is deciding where to start and what to leave out. So suffice to say that everything on the ship is beautiful.
I was concerned that finding deck chairs would be a problem. However, even on sea days there were scads of deck chairs available all over the ship. There were chairs available in the Solarium, around the pools, and on the deck above the pools. The only place I ever had a problem finding a chair was in some of the dining venues at certain times of the day. I do think the Windjammer needed to be a little larger.
The only time we felt any movement in the ship was when we were docked at Costa Maya. Although, as soon as the ship set sail all of the movement stopped. I had read some reviews where some people had complained about movement on the vessel. Perhaps, they had some extreme conditions. However, we were on deck 17 and never felt anything. This ship is the most stable I've ever been on.
We cruised with a party of 8 total. My wife and I, our three children, our daughter in law and son in law, and grandson. Ages 9 months to almost 50 years old. One of the things that amazed me was that there were things that appealed to everyone. The Oasis is not targeted at just one demographic. It has a broad appeal and offers something for everyone.
CABIN – A+ My wife and I were in a Crown Loft Suite. Again, we walked in and said “WOW”. Our suite overlooked the Sport Zone area and the Boardwalk. There was always activities going on outside but the cabin was quiet inside regardless of anything else going on. The cabin is extremely spacious with a roomy bathroom downstairs and another upstairs where the master bedroom is located. Our cabin steward did a tremendous job keeping everything clean and tidy.
The bed was very comfortable. I believe there was some sort of mattress topper on the bed that made it the most comfortable RCI bed my wife and I had ever slept on. The A/C worked great. The shower in the upstairs bathroom had 3 shower heads, one of them being a rain type shower. There was plenty of water pressure. I highly recommend any of these suites. You will not be disappointed.
DINING – A We had 2nd seating and ate in the dining room every evening except one. The food was excellent and service from Milton, our waiter, was awesome. We had our entire family including our 9 month old grandson. Milton made sure we had mashed potatoes and a banana at dinner every night for the baby. All of the wait staff doted over our grandson. We ate at Giavonnis Table on the 6th night and it was great. We also ate in the dining room the four times it was open for lunch. My wife and I enjoy eating in the dining room as much as possible so we also ate breakfast there except for twice when we dined in the Concierge Lounge, which was a real treat. Everything we were served was excellent.
ENTERTAINMENT - A+ I know I am probably sounding like a broken record, but just like everything else on this ship, we were impressed with all of the shows. The “Oasis of Dreams” (Aqua Show) was absolutely incredible. The performance of “Hairspray” was done flawlessly. The Ice Show, “Frozen in Time”, was magnificant. “Come Fly With Me” was like nothing that I had ever seen. It was like Cirque meets Broadway. It was a one of a kind performance that kept you captivated. There were a few small precision issues with the the singers and dancers but nothing distracted from the performance value of the show. We did not go to the Comedy Show because it was not family oriented. It would have been really nice to have a family comedy show.
Ken Rush was our cruise director and did a great job. This was the fourth time we had him as cruise director and he entreats all of the passengers in a personable and professional manner. Ken was our cruise director on our very first cruise 16 years ago and he's always been consistent. Since shows were not performed every evening, we did not see him as much compared to previous cruising experiences. My personal observation is that the role of the cruise director seems to be changing somewhat with the introduction of this class of vessel. The daily shows that Ken hosted on the television (I think it was called “Morning Rush”) were very informative and helped bring a connection between him and the passengers.
SERVICES - A One of the things that really impressed me was the new photography service. Along with the the purchase of the normal 5x7s and 8x10s, you can actually build your own photobook of the cruise with up to 25 pictures that were taken by the ship's photographers and it's priced at $99. Considering that we have have been on a lot of cruises and I have this stack of photos piling up, this is a great deal. We actually ended up spending a little more on photographs altogether, but we have something much more meaningful with the photobook.
Since we were in a suite and diamond plus members, we had access to the Concierge Lounge. Both concierges were attentive to our needs and responded promptly. We took advantage of the full breakfast service in the lounge twice and were well pleased. The Concierges treated us like we were important and nothing was an imposition to them.
All of our attendants and waiters were superb. We never saw a poor attitude expressed by any of the crew members. The staff on board were very friendly and cordial.
PORTS - A My wife and I had been to all of the ports before. The one that we were surprised at most was Labadee. WOW! There have been major improvements including the pier to dock the ship, concrete sidewalks from one end of the resort to the other, a private beach for suite guests, a roller coaster, and much more. My wife never seemed to like Labadee but now she's asking me to find cruises that are going there.
Costa Maya and Cozumel were the same as always. We've been there a lot, but still enjoy it.
COMPLAINTS – Minor to none Let me start out by saying you can always find something if you look hard enough. My family were not going on a cruise to try to look for something wrong. So overall I have no complaints. However, there were just a few things that I thought that could be improved.
The Windjammer seems smaller than Voyager and Freedom class vessels and finding a place to sit can be challenging at certain times. I'm not sure who decided to make the casual dining venue smaller on a ship holding 50% more passengers. On several occasions we walked in and decided not to stay. One thing that could help is open the dining room everyday for lunch including embarkation day. The waiters would probably hate it, but it would be nice.
There is no longer an afternoon snack available in the Windjammer. You have to go to the other dining venues and they get very crowded. The only place I saw that was never packed was the Seafood Shack. We actually ate there one day and enjoyed it. We went to the Wipe Out Cafe when we wanted an afternoon snack. I was not totally crazy about the venue but the food was good.
EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION - A+ The best yet. Totally painless and fast. We were on the ship quickly and off the ship even faster. RCI's new debarkation procedures are great. I even said WOW when we got off the ship.
SYNOPSIS - A+ The Oasis of the Seas is by far the most incredible ship ever designed and built. Words and pictures do not do it justice. I've seen pictures of ships before that looked better than when you actually saw it in person. However, the exact opposite is true on the Oasis. Pictures cannot capture the full magnitude of this vessel.
To fully take advantage of all that the Oasis offers, you have to rethink cruising if you're an experienced cruiser. The best way I can describe the experience is traditional cruising meets freestyle. There is flexibility where you can plan your cruise as you like, yet still the elements of the traditional cruise experience.
I definitely plan on cruising on the Oasis again. If we could have stayed on for another week, we would have done it. The Oasis is ideal for honeymooners to families traveling together to groups who want to have individual experiences that differ while still having shared moments together. I highly recommend this ship.