After all the hype about the Oasis of the Seas we decided that we just had to give it a go. We had cruised before on the Navigator with my elderly parents and were very impressed with RCI. Our only reservations before boarding was "Would the ship be too big?"
Check in and boarding at Ft Lauderdale was so quick and easy it was unbelievable. No queues. I recollect that we left our hotel in Ft Lauderdale by taxi at 11.20am and were onboard shortly after midday.
Initial impressions are that the ship is enormous. It certainly is and it does take a day or 2 to find your bearings but once you get familiar things become easy. There were 5900 passengers on the cruise and I can honestly say that throughout the entire cruise you were never aware that there were so many guests on board never mind the additional 2100 crew.
The superior ocean view stateroom with Balcony (D2) was first class, very clean and modern. Our only complaint would be that it was a little cramped although the bathroom was far better laid out than on the Navigator. The bed is positioned right next to the wardrobe which make sthe latter difficult to access and there isn't much room between the bottom of the bed and the wall. Nonetheless a lovely stateroom with adequately sized balcony.
Our Stateroom attendant, Swifty, soon introduced himself and I can honestly say he was absolutely wonderful. He even had my shirts ironed. Wonderful Chap!!
The ship is huge and there is so much to see although in 7 days I do believe we did not quite see the entire ship and all it has to offer. Suffice to say, it has something for everyone. If you want action and music it's there...likewise peace and quiet is also there !
We mostly dined at the speciality restaurants but on 2 nights dined in the main dining room. We had booked "My time" dining thus giving us flexibility. On the 2 days we dined in the main dining room the food was excellent and the service good but it was extremely busy and all staff were working their socks off. We booked a table for 8pm on one occasion and the other we just turned up. We probably had a 10 minute wait but no more. My only criticism of My time dining is you get different waiters each night as you will never sit at the same table. I found this hard when handing out pre paid gratuities at the end of the cruise. Who do I give them to? On future cruises I will give gratuities to whom I feel deserve them and not pre pay. I understand that many people are of the same opinion.
The speciality restaurants were fabulous apart from one the Seafood shack. The staff were brilliant but the food not good. Fried, greasy and pretty poor! And I love seafood! RCI need to revisit this restaurant without doubt. Maybe they need some lessons from a good English Fish and Chip shop fryer!
On a more positive note the "Chops Grille" was absolutely fabulous. We dined there on our first night. Truly excellent steaks. "Giovanni's" equally good with a range of Italian fayre. The "Solarium" restaurant was my favourite. I had bison for main course, delicious. All courses less than 500 calories. You would never had known. Absolutely fabulous. My son and I took breakfast there every day to keep our weight gain down to a minimum and it worked! My wife and daughter preferred the bagels and bacon muffins at the cafe promenade! Suffice to say that they put on a few more pounds than my son and I!!
The final evening we ate at "Izumi" and enjoyed fine Asian Cuisine. Sushi freshly made was a delight. My only disappointment was the hot rock which was dry and disappointing but nonetheless an excellent meal.
My only experience of the Windjammer marketplace was once at lunchtime and once taking breakfast there. The food was good but it is so busy!!! Enough said!
The shows were up to the RCI's high standards. The Ice show was top class with skaters from all over the world. Unfortunately we missed the Aqua theatre show due to cancellation because of high winds. It was rescheduled to the following day at 5.15pm but we were engaged on shore in St Thomas.
We did DIY on shore excursions which we prefer. We booked them via the internet in the UK and to be honest saves you a fortune.
In the evenings onboard there is so much to do and plenty of space in the various bars and lounges. Evening time is very relaxing and pleasant.
Disembarkation was a bit slow but we were in no hurry as we had booked to leave late and were stopping in Miami overnight in any case.
The staff onboard was excellent and could not do enough for you. My only complaint is that you seem to being forever asked if you want a drink poolside and sometimes feel you are being bullied into having a cocktail! If I want a drink (which I often do) I am perfectly capable of asking and calling a waiter. I don't need to be pestered !!
For a quieter sunbathing experience the Solarium area was delightful. This is a adult only area for those who want a quieter sunbathing experience.
In conclusion we had a wonderful time on board the Oasis. A truly remarkable piece of engineering and a remarkable experience. Would I go again on the Oasis...My answer is YES. My advice to others is not to be put off by the size. It's worth the experience.
Our next cruise is on the Azamara Quest in April 2011.From Singapore to Athens. Only 750 guests. From one extreme to another but I can't wait to try a completely different experience.