My DW and I just got back from our Oasis of the Seas cruise from October 2-9, 2010.
We flew in on a red-eye from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale that left at 11pm on Friday and arrived on Saturday at 7am. If at all possible, don’t do this, it made the first and second days very tiring. The good thing was that the flight only took 5 hours, but again it made for a very long day.
We visited with some friends and had breakfast and did not arrive at the dock till 11:30. The luggage was loaded right onto carts at the curb. The dock was very well organized; there was a separate area for the people with priority check in and for the rest of us. There were about five separate lines for each deck and if you have done your online registration, everything went quickly. Important note: make sure you get your ship map when you check in; there are none available on the ship. We were aboard the ship by noon, and this was only because we waited for some of our group of 24 whom we saw checking in.
By 12:15, we were in the Windjammer searching for a table for lunch. The food was good, but because of the crowding, we only ate in the Windjammer one other time at lunch. Always find a table before you get food, otherwise the food will get cold before you sit down.
We got to our cabin, 14552, at about 1:30 and met Merlin, our room steward. He is about the best steward we have ever had, always greeted us with a Mr. Lee or Mrs. Lee, when he saw us and met all of our minor requests quickly and efficiently. Our luggage was outside our cabin when we got there, very fast. Our first sea view balcony was wonderful, very quiet and there were few smokers around us so we were spared that torture. We were concerned about the Kids’ Adventure Ocean being just outside our cabin, but we never heard a sound in the hallway. The Solarium was above us and we never heard a sound up there. Storage was more than adequate and our suit cases did fit under the bed. Important note: ask for extra hangers, you will need them. The to-do about the plugs is way overblown, never had a problem, and didn’t need the extension adaptor I brought with me. The small table next to the bed was just the right size for my book, glasses and the TV remote, and if I wanted, also a glass of water. The TV itself was a good 32” and it does swivel out for better viewing. There are plugs on the side and back, but we didn’t have anything to plug in, so I don’t know if they work.
We missed the sail away because our ship left an hour later at 6 pm rather than the 5 pm originally scheduled. We had it planned to go to deck 14 forward to watch us depart Fort Lauderdale, but we had set dinning at 6 pm.
We had dinner every night at the Opus MDR on deck 3, table 339, and loved it. We had the early 6 pm seating and found it worked very well for us. The food was excellent and the service could not have been better. Our waiter was Khumar and our assistant waiter was Vinnie. They both provided exceptional service and by the second night know all our preferences and names. Our head waiter was Mr. Santos and he came by every night to make sure our meals were perfect. The hot food arrived hot and the cold food arrived cold, not a problem. If you didn’t like anything, they would offer to bring you anything else on the menu to replace it. We found something that we liked every night, don’t miss the cold soups, lamb shanks, rack of lamb, prime rib, lobster, basa fish, turkey, garlic shrimp, chocolate soufflé, and the sorbets. Never felt the need to go pay for alterative dinning. Only minor complaint is that the fish dishes tend to be a little overcooked, but again, if you don’t like it, they will change it. Khumar was good enough to offer everyone extra lobster tails, and they were a good 6 oz. size and perfectly done.
The doughnuts at the Doughnut Shop was just ok, not much taste, I had a hard time telling that the key lime was key lime, it just did not taste like it. The lady that was working here was very abrupt and rude when you ask what the flavor was, the print was very small and very far away, and my old eyes cannot see so well any more. This was the only incident of any crew member being rude that I could remember.
The cupcakes were worth the extra $2.50. The frosting was very light and tasty although the cake itself was the same on all the cupcakes.
The Seafood Shack now has al carte pricing, but we did not try it. There were never very many people in there.
Johnny Rockets was good for breakfast, everything made to order, but everything is very greasy. If you go, try to get Richard, he was very nice and remembered my name after only one time.
The solarium was a great place for breakfast or lunch. The food was a little healthier and it was never very crowded. Not as big a selection as the Windjammer, but again, you can always get a table.
The casino was surpassingly half smoking and half non-smoking, but in reality there is smoke everywhere and in all the public areas around the casino. There were ashtrays everywhere, so what’s to keep people from not smoking everywhere? I don’t see any enforcement of the non-smoking area. I found the machines very tight and if you win, the payouts were small, but then I only deposited a small amount.
We did most of the shows and enjoyed all of them, the only one we missed was Slip Splash, the first show was cancelled and we forgot to go to the second one. After watching these shows, I don’t know if I can really enjoy the Joan Ryan dancers or the piano man again. One hint is to sit on the wooden benches in the Aqua Theater rather than the lounge chairs; the people on the wooden benches are higher than the chairs and block your view. It is a good idea to go to the shows a half an hour early to get the better seats, and of course reservations are a must. I don’t know why people would not make reservations, when it is so easy and painless. It is a lot better than standing in line for a half an hour, then franticly looking for seats when everyone is let in. People have commented on the rude foreigners, and the only time I saw it was when a lady cussed me out for wanting to go pass her to the empty middle seats, I think if you have to sit on an aisle seat, then be prepared to get up when people want to go in.
For the parade, the best place to stand is in the balcony above the Focus camera shop, you can see everything and no heads in front of you and the platform where all the action takes place is right in front of you. Again, get there early, about half an hour before the start.
I finally get why people were so concerned about who the cruise director was, because Richard Spacey was just great, full of energy, friendly and must have the greatest sock collection ever!
At Labadee, we rode the Dragon Coaster and really enjoyed it, and would have gone again, if it wasn’t so hot. It was $19 for my DW and I. The barbeque was nice, and they did serve ice tea and lemonade, but water was charged. The locals at the straw market were very aggressive and downright rude.
Costa Maya was interesting; we just walked around and did some shopping. People not as aggressive and much friendlier, but in the end, most of what they sell is the same as what you can buy elsewhere, but a lot of the stuff does say Costa Maya.
Cozumel was another shopping stop for us. We took a cab down to Diamond International and walk back about eight blocks, which was more than enough for us. The cab driver will try to sell you a tour of the island for about $40 a head for four hours, but we were not interested. We did see the Norwegian Epic, which was in port when we were, got some nice pictures.
Getting off was super easy, we were in no rush, so we ask for late departure. Call our number, 60, at 9:00 and we were off at 9:15. Wow! It was nice not to have to carry our luggage off, and everything was well marked and finding our bags was easy.
All in all, a super cruise and the best of the twelve that we have been on, we would do it again, and am looking into the Allure of the Seas for next year.