I must say that I have been reading the Cruise Critic forum and message boards for three years and I have never felt compelled to join or leave a review until now. I am an extremely detail orientated person and have tremendously high expectations/standards. In addition, I am from the north and speak forthright. With that being disclosed; the Oasis of the Seas met 95% of the high quality principles I had anticipated.
This review is limited to the Eastern Caribbean July 3, 2010- July 10, 2010 cruise only and readers must keep in mind that it's my experience and opinion. I am in my 40s and my profession is a Tax-Investment Advisor. I traveled with my FiancE who is in his 50s and he is a Vice President-Senior Chief Operating Office in the field of Finance. We planned our cruise six months in advance for vacation purposes. We are Gold Members on RCL and between the both of us we have cruised Holland America, Carnival and Celebrity.
Boarding- What a breeze and a breath of fresh air, especially considering our airline ordeal. Overall, a smooth transition to board and took less than 10 minutes. Make sure you wear flat shoes as the ramp is an uphill climb to the 5th deck gangway for boarding. I had an ordeal with the airlines as my purse was in Airport/Homeland Security custody due to being considered left unattended at our connecting airport, with my passport inside. My purse was returned two minutes after our flight boarded and the gate supervisor refused to hold the plane, fully knowing that we had a cruise to board by 3:30pm and knowing that the next flight out was six hours later, in which we would have "missed the boat." We ended up spending an enormous amount of money and time renting a car and driving to FLL arriving at the airport to retrieve our luggage just in the nick of time to board the ship. We had our luggage by 5pm. Debarkation was 30 minutes behind, but went very smoothly.
First Ship Impression- Incredible! What a beautiful and huge Promenade, which had some of the complimentary food venues, guest services location and one my favorite venues the Cupcake Cupboard. Elevators were very slow and RCL may want to consider zoning the elevators to the deck floors to speed up service. Although our sailing was at capacity, we never and I mean never felt crowded. Great job RCL with spreading out the passengers. We only had a problem finding a seat one time in the Windjammer for breakfast when we docked in St. Thomas.
Stateroom- We had a mid-ship, portside, Oceanview Balcony cabin on Deck 11 with a wonderful panoramic view. The cabin was too small, very awkward and inadequate storage. Our bed was beside the closet, which made it difficult to access clothes. Many shelves were sized inadequate to hold any items of use and I ended up using the couch, located by the balcony, for my suitcases as my fiancE used the space under the bed for his. The bathroom was a fair size, but the shower is too small for any tall and/or wide person to fit in. My fiancE is 6'3 and slender, but he injured his knee in the shower. I am 5'4 and 128 (prior to sailing?) and had difficultly turning in the shower. The sink was very shallow and I couldn't use it without water falling on the floor. The faucet was also awkwardly place to the right side of the sink instead of straightforward (weird). The balcony was a great size and I enjoyed many hours sitting listening to and watching the waves. Having the portside cabin we had a beautiful view of Nassau, but views of the Carnival Dream ship in St. Thomas and St. Maarten. The temperature in the room was fine once we found our level, but the key to having the room stay cool while using the balcony (the air cuts off unless the balcony door is locked) is to turn the air down as low as you can, then keep the balcony door shut while you sat outside as it took hours for the room to heat up. Beware of the Master Switch, as it cuts off the lights and the air. The only noise was from all the adjoining stateroom's toilet's flushing, including ours, cabin doors slamming and children running down the deck halls, which shook our bed and gave me a headache. Kudos to our room attended Richard from Guyana; he did a superb job all week. Thank you!
Food- Depending on where you elected to eat was either fine, but not great or disgusting. We loved the yogurt daily on the 15th deck by the pools, I especially liked the strawberry. Loved the vegetable/turkey bacon crepe in the Solarium for lunch. We tried the infamous roast beef sandwiches, took two bites and we both threw it away. I don't like rye bread and being from the north, I have had much better. I rarely eat beef, but my fiancE does and even he found the sandwich to taste awful. Breakfast in the Windjammer was the worst because the food was never hot. I could not find a hot pancake or turkey sausage the entire week and eventually I resorted to just eating the fruit and pastries. We did room service for breakfast one morning, but the choices are extremely limited. I had room service for lunch one afternoon after I missed breakfast and the food was very good. We ate in the Main Dining Room (Opus) each night and had the early 6pm assigned seating. We were initially seated in a place I specially and clearly requested six months ago not to be assigned. I had to get stern to obtain what I had requested and I did not take kindly to how the Dining room director resolved our issue, but to make a long story short, we got the intimate table for two in front of an oceanview window in a non-high traffic area. We found the entrEes to be very good so we opted not to go to any specialty restaurants. We especially like the lamb shank, which was so tender is slipped off of the bone. Kudos to the chef! I love desserts and all were great. We did not need to go to the ice cream parlor as I had ice cream nightly after dinner for dessert. I especially loved the butter almond flavor. The service was extremely slow and many nights our table was missing a butter dish or sugar dish.
Shows- EXCELLENT! We made reservations in advance online and highly recommend doing so as the line for standby passengers was long and some could not fine seats together once they were allowed to enter. My favorite was "Hairspray" (we saw on the 4th of July) and a guitarist opened the show by playing a solo rendition of Jimmy Hendrix' Star Spangle Banner. Some passengers felt uncomfortable by the storyline of integration, but I thought it was so fitting, especially on the 4th of July to celebrate our Freedoms and to share with the international passengers how far America has come from segregation to President Obama. Another favorite was 'Come Fly with Me!" This show was full of surprises and I wanted to see it twice. The Comedy show was where we laughed until we cried (very funny). The Aqua show was magnificent. The quality of all the Shows far surpassed Broadway and Las Vegas. RCL really raised the bar above the bar. Speaking of raising the bar, we rode the rising tide bar which was thrilling.
Ship Neighborhoods- Very secluded, romantic and great variation of locations to relax. We both rode the carousel, liked the casino, but I could not tell there was a non-smoking side because the disgusting cigarette smell lingered over the entire room. I would describe the casino sides as smokey and smokier. We frequent central park nightly as is was too hot during the day and looked absolutely dreamy at night. This was also the spot of our favorite winery Vintage. Best regards to Ramona from Romania who was very friendly and attentive. Bolero's was jamming and we only peaked into Dazzles. We played the Michael Jackson Trivia at the Schooner Bar and I almost won, but it was packed, lots of fun and a male from London won.
Ports- Great weather and the smoothest ocean/seas ever. Riding the Oasis was like gliding on glass. We did Nassau and St. Thomas on our own as we have been to both many times. We went to the Atlantis, but it was so crowded and had limited access so we left. Our sole purpose for going to the Atlantis was to meet some of my fiancE's relatives who had flown out of New York to stay a week in the Nassau, but we did not meet up as to they were experiencing difficulties at their resort. We walked downtown to Charlotte Amalie, as I greatly needed to walk my daily three miles, with no problems. While there we shopped and rode a taxi back we our bags. We had an excursion tour in St. Maarten which took us to both the Dutch and French sides. Driving along those mountains was very scary with being on such a large bus and being on such narrow roads. We shopped some more and returned to the ship as the weather was extremely hot.
The Oasis is wonderful and an innovative cruise ship probably ever built to date! I would definitely recommend the Oasis, but I would book a suite if I had to cruise her again, or if we consider the Allure. The Stateroom design is the only flaw I see in the Oasis. My other complaint/concern is the enormous amount of children left unsupervised all day and night and not being respectful of other passengers, the elevators or dining areas. The Oasis is truly the 8th Wonder of the world and at least sailing her once is a treat and should not be missed.