Just returned from the Oasis at 10am on Sunday 18th July and the ship is as the Americans say - AWESOME! and FABULOUS! The shows are top notch - better than some we have seen in the West End, the staff are attentive but not as attentive as the Celebration that we were on last year.
The superior stateroom was lovely and the shower room was great, the balcony was lovely to sit on in the evening before and after going out with a bottle of wine (the wine package was worthwhile buying as it is very expensive to buy separately). The drinks are expensive - $6.95 for a small bottle of Strongbow for example but saying that our total bar bill was $1000 for a week (excluding the £350 we paid for the wine package of 20 bottles). As you can see we do like a drink but we drank a lot less than going to other holiday locations as it was so hot we drank water during the day! The only downside was that you could only get your wine at dinner, so we ended up having to have one with the meal and then take the other one for the next afternonn/evening on the balcony back to the room to put in the fridge).
The My time dining was the only place we had to queue up even though we had booked all of our times before we left - it seems that even those who walked through got through quicker than the line for the ones who had already booked. We went to Giovanni's for two evenings (cost $15 each) but to be honest the food was not any better than the My time dining.
We booked all of the shows before we went too and they were amazing. On the first night the Aqua show stopped half way through due to technical problems so we had to go back a couple of nights later so saw two shows on that day but it was worth it - truely AMAZING! The Ice show and Hairspray were fantastic too. I would recommend that you do book online before you go and work out the times so that you can also book your meals if you wish. Booking doesn’t mean that you have your seat reserved though, so ensure that you are there about 30 mins before the show to choose your seats – you can’t save any for other people. They open the doors to those without reservations 10 mins before the show and they usually struggle for seats if not pre-booked.
The stops at Haiti, Costa Maya & Cozumel were not the best, wish we had done the other cruise, didn't even get off at Costa Maya and people who did said it wasn't worth it. Haiti was ok but not a Caribbean beach that you would expect - lots of rocks and coral to get past before you could swim and the sand was not as nice as I thought - but that was not a problem - didn't spend too long there and went back on the ship - plenty to do there. At Cozumel if absolutely poured down, thunder and lightening but we managed to go downtown in a taxi - $7 and walked back which took about 30 mins but was worth it as we found a great Mexican restaurant near the dive centre and had lovely food there and cheap! Not much else was cheap I can tell you! Got fed up with saying 'No thank you' when they try and get you in their shops - mainly diamonds and jewellery shops but you expect that in the Caribbean and they were much more polite than at Sharm el Sheik!
We went on a package with Thomas Cook and stayed at the Hilton in Fort Lauderdale Marina on the first night which was great, lovely views of the marina and a great pool. If you walk down town to Chucks Steak and Grill (ten mins) - was fantastic - live singer and the best steaks we have had for ages! There is also an Irish bar serving Magners and Guiness You may see a pattern here – drink is involved again – all part of the holiday experience!
Wyndham Hotel in Miami airport on the way back for the day - nothing to do there but there is a shuttle bus to the Dolphin Mall for $10 each return from the hotel at certain times - check with reception - it was something to do to kill the time before being picked up for the airport.
The formal nights are really formal (90% of people did dress up) and there are two of these but to be honest I can't see why as the first one was Captain's night and all that happened was you met the Captain and had photo's the second one people just wandered around dressed up and had photo's taken. It was still nice to do though and nice to wear ball gowns & tuxedo’s which you rarely get to do at home.
They have a great system that they recognize you from your photo taken on embarkation and when they take a photo of you it automatically goes to your seapass card and you can look at them all in the photo shop just by inserting your card and order prints or books from there.
The shops were nothing special – just a few designer shops with not much in to buy that was reasonable. There is not a pharmacy or anywhere that you can buy shower gel for example. There is a perfume store and gift shop with a few ‘essentials’ but only in tiny packets so take everything that you will need.
The solarium with the infinity whirlpools were AWESOME but hot! and the pool area although busy we always managed to find a sun bed - the floor was hot though so make sure you have flip flops to wear to the pools!
The rising tide bar was a nice experience moving up from floor 5 to 8 and down again drinking cocktails made by the lovely bar man – we did it every night before and after eating or a show.
The Flowrider was great to watch although the zip line and the climbing walls didn't seem to be that well used. The kids area was fabulous and they will look after your children from 9am until 2am if you want! they charge $6 an hour between 12 and 2 and after 10pm until 2pm.
We went to Dazzles nightclub which was lovely and we could even take our bottle of wine with us which was a bonus! as the cheapest bottle of wine was £27.00 plus 15% tax if you bought it without the package.
People wore a variety of clothes and even on the formal nights there were still people wearing shorts/jeans etc.... we personally prefer to dress up every night when we are on holiday but not everyone does. There were only about 50 English people that we heard throughout the cruise and there are a lot of teenagers from Canada sometimes causing a fuss when they managed to get their hands on alcohol but nothing too major. We still didn't feel that there were too many people on board and the embarkation and disembarkation was painless.
I have to mention Richard Spacey the cruise director – he was absolutely brilliant, funny, flexible in his dancing and always made us laugh – worth going to the shows just to see him! Also the 70’s disco night where over 4000 people all dance watching him from on high and on the rising tide bar was an amazing experience. We watched it again on the TV the next day. The TV is great for checking your bill every day, we had one dispute and that was dealt with within an hour. There is also information on what is happening during the day and how to disembark painlessly. You can also check what is on where on the many touch screen displays throughout the ship.
We have only been on the Celebration before so we have limited experience but the Oasis is amazing and we would recommend it to anyone. It didn't feel like you were on a ship most of the time as we didn't feel any movement until we were docking - unlike the Celebration - we felt we were vibrating for a week when we got back but that is 28 years older!
Anyway...... if anyone wants to know anything at all please let me know and I will help if I can from the experiences I had - no I didn't play bingo, do Karaoke or watch the men's belly flop competition but any other questions?!
Just Go For It - we are booked on the Celebration in between Xmas & in the New Year so we will see if it has spoilt us - of course it will have but we will have to put it aside and enjoy that experience without looking back on the Oasis experience!