I travelled with a friend on the Oasis of the Seas on the Sept 18/10 itinerary, which included stops in Haiti and Mexico.
Both of us are females and were in minority for this cruise as part of the under 40 crowd.
This was my fourth cruising experience. I’ve been on Carnival (which I enjoyed, particularity the festive vibe and food), Costa (which I enjoyed the least of the three, but we went because it was the only one available for an Egyptian winter cruise), and Celebrity (which I liked as well but was a bit bored since its geared more for an older crowd).
We arrived the before day of the cruise and quickly boarded the ship within minutes of arrival at the port. This was by far the easiest embarkation I’ve had.
Once on the ship, we decided to check out our room. We were on deck 7 and had an ocean view balcony. At first glance everything seemed fine but we noticed a few things that were alarming. Our balcony glass partition was left opened so our neighbor could easily peer in or open our balcony door. We also noticed that we didn’t have any soap in the bathroom to wash our hands. Once our attendant came by, we told him and he corrected the situation.
The room size was pretty much the same as the other ships, perhaps a bit smaller than Carnival and Costa, but could easily accommodate two people. I don’t think three or four people would find the room comfortable. In terms of space for luggage, I found there wasn’t enough. We configured the room with the sofa close to the balcony and the beds by the washroom, so we had to squeeze side ways to get between the bed and the closet (we are fit people).
After checking out the room we went to Windjammer, it was packed. We couldn’t find any seats and had to stand for a few minutes with food in our hand hovering over tables until one was available. I felt like a swooping vulture and so we decided not to try it again. I was very surprised by the layout of the Windjammer. Although there were two buffets, one on each side, there wasn’t enough seating for everyone. The foods were in square shaped stations that people from each side would flock to and was very disorganized and frustrating after the fifth or sixth time someone buds in front. From my past experiences, I don’t remember being as bothered or ready to shout out an obscenity.
Once we had food in our bellies we decided to walk around the ship. We checked out the Promenade deck 5 and then wandered up to Boardwalk on six and then we stopped at Grand Central Park on deck 8. This took about an hour to do. Although the ship is big, I didn’t really feel that it was that big. Honestly, it didn’t really feel any bigger than Freedom or Solstice.
Our Waiter was alright, nothing wrong with the service but nothing outstanding either. He was pleasant. On the other hand, our Assistant waiter was great. He showed us how to make paper roses and carnations out of paper towels. I really felt he was a people person and very attentive. We were in a big table of 10 with a couple from the Dominican Republic and a family from Venezuela. They couldn’t speak English and we couldn’t speak any Spanish, so it was mostly friendly smiles back and forth. Although, our table mates were friendly, I wished that Royal Caribbean consciously seated us with English speaking passengers, this would have added to our overall enjoyment.
The food in the MDR was not as good as I have previously had on other cruises. The selection was varied but meals tended to be more for bland palates. During this trip we did sample a few specialty restaurants. We tried Izumi (I would not recommend it for experienced Japanese diners), Vintages (strongly recommend – the shrimp and chorizo skewers were yum!), Giovanni’s Table (good, but not great), Johnny Rockets (not very good). We contemplated trying 150 Central Park but the menu featured lamb and we are not fans, so we decided not to go. We also thought about going to Chops Grille but aren’t huge fans of large pieces of meat and vegetables, so we passed. One of the places we liked was Solarium Bistro for lunch and breakfast, a healthier alternative after days of gluttony. I would suggest avoiding the desserts here and opt for the full calorie desserts elsewhere; your taste buds will thank you later. The cupcake place was worth the charge (not the best I’ve had, but not horrible), the doughnut place looked good but they weren’t very tasty. My friend is a big jelly filled doughnut fan and went back everyday hoping it was just something wrong with the daily batch but in the end was never very happy with the doughnut taste or texture.
The cruise was lots of funs, lots to see and things to do. I was most impressed with the entertainment onboard. The cruise director, Richard Spacey, was the main reason for my enjoyment. He was full of energy and outrageously funny. I am sure that his routine has been perfected from years of practice but the delivery seemed effortless and off the cuff. He seemed as though he genuinely wanted to impress and was sincere about his hard working entertainment and activities staff. I am not a huge fan of production shows, so I liked the interactive crowd ones much better – so don’t miss them, all of them ( The Love and Marriage show, The Quest Adult game, Sexy man, Belly Flop, Volleyball) or you’ll be kicking yourself afterwards, these shows were a riot! The production shows were good, but not as memorable. I liked our Headliner show with Tony Tillman best and the comedy show was pretty funny. They also debuted an improve show during our cruise; it was funny but not as entertaining as I had hoped. I didn’t care much for Come Fly with Me, Frozen in time, Hairspray or the Oasis of Dreams shows but could appreciate the talent and artistry that it takes to run the shows.
The cruisers themselves were very different on this cruise than from my past ones. People seemed younger overall, and because of this tended to bud in front of lines or save seats (when you are actually not allowed to). Although they tried to enforce 30 min limits on lounge saving in the Solarium, this did not seem to be strictly enforced as there were many violators. We didn’t get a chance at the cushioned lounges in the Solarium until day 6. We had to wake up very early and had many people eyeing us from the moment we sat down until we left.
My one bad experience on the ship came the first night of cruise. When I was ready for bed, I lifted my covers to find dried blood stained spots on my duvet cover. I called housekeeping and some one came immediately to change the bed spread. Moments later, my friend, who was also ready to go to bed, noticed blood stains on her sheets as well. We called housekeeping again but this time was greeted with some attitude. Another housekeeping staff did arrive but she did not seemed pleased to be replacing the sheets. She made a comment on how our attendant did not turn down our room this evening. She also kept saying that she didn’t think it was blood rather makeup or something. Anyways, whatever it was shouldn’t have been there. I don’t blame her for being less than cheery, it was late at night. What I can’t understand is how our room attendant did not spot these stains earlier when he made our room. It made me think that he didn’t change our sheets from the previous passenger’s stay. This was definitely a bad starting point for our week long cruise. Needless to say, we didn’t feel very comfortable going to bed at night. For the rest of the week, our attendant barely made an effort with acknowledging us when we’d pass him in the hallways. After the cruise we let RCI know what happened, and they apologized and assured us that this was completely not the standard they go by and would address the hygiene and rudeness issues with housekeeping and our attendant.
Overall the cruise was great. It’s impossible for Oasis to reach perfection on all levels but I think the crew did a fantastic job and I was overall satisfied. Enough so, that I booked a return trip in April (this time with my usual travel partner so he can experience the zany antics of Richard Spacey), of course we are hoping again for Richard Spacey and also hoping for a better room attendant. The Captain does take some time to get use to but he seemed very nice when we meet him in person. Other than our room attendant everyone seem like they wanted to serve you. We didn’t have any issues with pushy drink servers; rather most of them tried to entice you to buy a drink with humor over forcefulness. The only low points for me were my experience with housekeeping and the food quality aboard, but the entertainment and overall cheery atmosphere made up for the low points.