We just got back from our much anticipated (3 year wait) vacation on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. The ship is HUGE. Unlike the previous cruise we took on Carnival Pride, where we never felt like it was crowded, we felt on a number of occasions that they could have probably cut down on the people aboard by a thousand on OOTS. The ship is nice - it just depends on what you like and what you are looking for.
34 YO husband and wife traveling with 2 small children (ages 3 and 6)
We stayed in the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Received an amazing rate of $104 on Hotwire.com. Would definitely recommend the W hotel to anyone (whatever, whenever is their logo). We were unable to buy an umbrella stroller before coming to the hotel and realized we'd better purchase one. When we called downstairs to ask where the closest place would be to purchase one, they offered to go out and to get it for us (this was at 9 PM the night before our cruise). They actually went out and bought one and brought it to us. We tipped them of course and paid for the stroller. It saved us a lot of time and hassel and the taxi fare to go out and find one ourselves. We were blown away by the service and I highly recommend them. From the hotel to the cruise port is approx. $15 for a cab.
Went very smoothly. We dropped our luggage off right after getting out of the cab. Walked a short way to the terminal and were checked in and on the ship in less than 1/2 hour. It only felt like 5 minutes since we were so excited.
The staterooms seem so small when you go from a large hotel but they are nicely furnished and the decor is beautiful. At night, they dim the lights when they turn down the sheets and the lighting on the paintings casts a bluish tint on the room. It's very relaxing and peaceful. The balcony is average size but I am not crazy about the fact that they allow smoking on the balconies. I like breathing in fresh air outside, not smoke from my neighbors. Also the balcony doors DO NOT LOCK which is in my opinion, a safety hazard when you have small children. Granted, the children are never out of my site, but my 3 year old is quick and he could open the balcony door very quickly which was scary. It would have been nice to have a lock towards the top of the door. Bedding was comfortable and plush. The bathrooms are small but the toilets have amazing flushing abilities :) The shampoo dispenser is only shampoo (not shampoo and conditioner).
The parades were a lot of fun. Our children loved watching the parade and that is something I hadn't seen when we cruised Carnival so that was a plus in our books for Royal Caribbean. We later saw the crew members in shows such as Hairspray, who were in the sail away parade.
Loved the carousel. It's beautiful and classic and there was never a line.
The show Hairspray was the BEST show we saw on the ship. The dancers were top notch, the story line was excellent, and the singers were singing live - no lip synching. Our 6 year old daughter was really into it and just in awe. I can't say enough about how impressed we were (even my husband who isn't into broadway type shows).
The headliner show was a 70's theme which I guess since it was before our time really didn't appeal to us. We watched 10 minutes and left. It depends on what type of music you are into. I guess if you like Abba then you would like the headliner. We left to see the comedy show.
The comedy show ROCKED. Both comedians were hillarius and had everyone rolling.
Oasis of Dreams was good - I wouldn't call it excellent, but it was good. The Splish Splash show was funny - cute for the kids to see. The Frozen in Time show was nice too, and if you have children make sure you try to set them in the seats in the front that say "kids only."
My main complaint about the shows is prescheduling them. We waited in line over an hour to pre-schedule on the ship to be told to go to the box office. Couldn't find the box office, then found it and it was closed. The room attendent told us to try our stateroom t.v. but none of us could get it to work (including the stateroom attendant). By the time we talked with customer service several hours later, most of the times we wanted were taken. I like how on most ships they have 2 identical shows each night so that you eat dinner and then head to the shows. I realize with SO many people they don't want everyone at the shows at once, but we felt constrained to try to fit everything in and still wanted to eat in the main dining room. Some of the shows conflicted with our eating time.
We never got to ice skate because it was only open at certain times. The rock climbing wall was also only open at select times. It was difficult to schedule everything.
Honestly I wasn't as impressed as I thought I'd be with the food. We went first to the Windjammer for lunch. It was crowded beyond belief and we walked through the entire restaurant and buffet area before finding a seat. Everyone walked REALLY SLOW and all of the window seats were taken (it was like this every time we went there). The food was okay but not great. They had burgers, fries, hotdogs, limited salad selection, small chicken wings, some pasta, and some other forgettable items. The main dining room had much better food but I was hoping for a few more menu items. Thursday was lobster. It was slightly tough. Honestly I think Carnival's food was much better than Royal. We ate at the Seafood Shack and for 4 of us the bill came to $60 and it was fried seafood - not like the crab shack at all. We were disappointed in the food as that is one of the biggest excitements of our cruise! Part of me feels like they make the food mediocre where it was free so that you will spend money on their specialty restaurants. The ice cream shop had great ice cream sundaes but for a price. Drinks were good too but very expensive. We went through $375 in OBC in 3 days!
Service was good in some areas of the ship and not as good in other areas. Some of the drinks people are slightly pushy - when I declined a drink, he wanted to know why. I understand that is how they make their commission, but I would much rather not be pushed or feel guilty for not purchasing a drink. The dining room staff was very friendly and accomodating. We were not addressed as "miss and mr" like we were through Carnival (small things that make the cruise extra special!!!!)They did not pull out our chairs for us or put the napkins on our laps.
Children's Clubs -
My 6 year old LOVED the Adventure Ocean and cried whenever we took her out. They did a fantastic job for the 6-8 year olds.
For the 3-5 year olds, you child must be COMPLETELY potty trained. Our son just turned 3 and is pretty much there, but still can have an accident if not asked to go once he wakes up. Children are not allowed to wear pull ups and this created some anxiety for my husband and I as we were worried to get a call on our adventure ocean phone that our son was sitting there wet or with soiled clothes. It made relaxing difficult. This wasn't a pool rule as they didn't take the children to the pool - just that in their center they don't allow children in diapers or pull ups. So our son wore underwear - and we worried!
Nice ship, but overall age was probably 65+. Many people were cruising from all over the world as we saw many different nationalities. The cruise director was hillarius and worked hard to make the cruise fun. We felt like people stared at us when our children acted up despite our best efforts to control temper tantrems from our 3 year old. We also felt that the cruise nickel and dimed us every chance they got (fresh squeezed orange juice was extra... lemonaid was free but the free room service will charge you for lemonade - go figure!) Adventure Ocean is free for kids but not for lunch, but it's free for dinner. After 10 it's a charge. Babysitting in your stateroom is a higher charge than adventure ocean and needs 24 hour advance notice.
Labadee - relaxing, beautiful, and gorgeous beaches. They have nice hammocks under the palm trees. Be careful of people out for tips for everything under the sun.
Costa Maya - shopping port. Nice if you want to stop. Don't let your children accidentally break anything or you'll be paying for it. Yeah, embarassing!
Cozumel - best port of all in our opinion! We took a cab to Mr. Sancho's beach club, rode horses on the beach WITH THE KIDS for $40 pp (booked on our own outside of Royal), and were treated to a Mexican lunch followed by a relaxing time on the beautiful beaches and sand in Cozumel. We will definitely go back there.
Debarkation - was a breeze.