PASSENGER PROFILE: There were not as many children as I thought there would be – a good mix of young and old, but average age seemed to be about 50.
EMBARKATION: It was totally painless: Check-in was a breeze – all of the staff members were friendly and professional. There was really no wait at all.
Windjammer: Upon embarkation, we immediately hit the Windjammer Cafe. We had read a number of reviews that told us to avoid it, but we had to see for ourselves. The Windjammer is amazingly small for this size ship and this amount of passengers – much smaller than on any other Royal Caribbean ship we have been on, but we found very good food and a good seat. It got busier later, but if you get in before noon, you should be okay. The same is true of breakfast. Go during non-peak hours and you will be fine.
Solarium Bistro: We ate lunch a few times in the Solarium Bistro, which had fewer options than the Windjammer but very healthy choices. It was fairly crowded and small, but we always hovered until we found a seat. The food was excellent without exception.
Park Café: This little spot is quite small but offers very healthy, tasty choices. It is in Central Park, so if you eat outside, your surroundings are really pleasant.
Room service: We had room service every morning, and it was always delivered early. We just ordered coffee, tea, juice, and fruit. The coffee and tea were nice and hot, and the fruit was fresh. They always called to let us know that our order was on its way.
Dining room: The dining room was fantastic. Every dinner was superb. The service was superb and the staff couldn’t have been nicer. We like to drink coffee with our meals, and every night the coffee was waiting for us. We had ample refills. Everything was delicious, and we were just amazed that they could feed so many people and still get it right. The head waiter came to the table every night and offered to get us whatever we might need. We did My Time Dining and had reservations for a table for two every night at 6:00, and that worked extremely well.
We loved the food so much in the dining room that we did not bother to sample any of the specialty restaurants. I am a vegetarian, and every vegetarian meal I had was very, very good. Our waiter and the head waiter always gave me suggestions and offered to modify the regular choices for me.
The Donut Shop had great donuts. We did not buy a cupcake from the Cupcake Cupboard or ice cream from the Ice Cream Parlor.
The little snack shop in front of the Spa has snacks, smoothies, and fresh-squeezed orange juice if you are willing to pay nearly $6.00.
Diamond Lounge: This was our first cruise at Diamond status, and oh was it worth it. We had free macchiatos every morning in the private diamond lounge. Each evening, we had another lounge set aside for cocktails and appetizers.
OUR CABIN: We had a balcony cabin #6548 in category D. The room was small – very tight and smaller than an equivalent cabin on the Liberty of the Seas, but there was plenty of storage and it was quite comfortable. The bathroom was small but efficient. The newer ships have shower doors instead of curtains – thankfully! The rack in the shower was worthless because nothing will stand upon it, so there is no place to put shampoo, etc., but there is a bar to rest your foot on so you can shave your legs. They have come a long way! The cabin steward was very friendly, helpful, and prompt. All other cabin stewards greeted us whenever we walked down the passageway. The staff was incredibly friendly!
THE SHIP: We fully expected that this ship would be something special, but we also figured that because of the passenger count, it would be crowded, even though we know that ship size/passenger count is usually relative. This ship is so beautiful, but didn’t seem too big, and it was no more crowded than any other ship of any other size that we have been on. The Royal Promenade, the Boardwalk, and Central Park – it is endless. Although it was definitely crowded during parades, it was so much fun to just walk and browse and stop and eat. The Café Promenade was a great place to hang out and have a snack; Sorrento’s - the pizza parlor, was someplace you could hardly ever pass without wanting to stop for a slice of pizza, and it was fun to stop at any of the eateries and just sit and people-watch. The pizza is absolutely addictive. The Promenade really felt like a community. The shops were a big disappointment, but there was enough variety on this ship to interest just about anyone. There were plenty of elevators so we didn’t have to wait long, and the instructional technology was superb. You really couldn’t get lost because the interactive televisions around the ship will tell you exactly where you are. They can even tell you which eating spots are full and which are not.
All of the public spaces on the Oasis are really done well. It was, however, freezing cold, even with a sweater on. I was so cold in the public rooms that I wore a jacket for most of the cruise.
We did not spend time in the pool areas due to very high winds, but there were always chairs available whenever we walked through. We did not use the spa or the gym.
ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment was really good for the most part. The Headliner show, Tony Tillman, was great, the diving show was wonderful, the ice show was breathtaking, and Come Fly With Me was terrific. The comedians, however, were bland and Hairspray was too long and we lost interest. Making reservations before you sail is imperative if you want to see the shows because they are always full. The guitarist, Pedro, was superb.
PORTS/SHORE EXCURSIONS: My husband tried the new roller coaster in Labadee and enjoyed it, but we didn’t sign up for other excursions because we had visited these ports before (Cozumel and Costa Maya).
CHILDREN’S ACTIVITIES: We did not travel with children. There is a “water park” pool area for children, and for the most part, we did not see many children at all.
DISEMBARKATION: We scored! We got tags with #1 on them, and they called us to disembark at 7:00 a.m., just as scheduled. Our luggage was waiting and a porter took it to our car. We were IN OUR CAR fifteen minutes after we were called to disembark! This was the smoothest disembarkation ever.
OVERALL: This ship is an absolute must for anyone who likes to cruise. How they accomplish the great food, service, entertainment, and amenities I do not know, but they do it. If you are a small-ship person, it might not be your best experience, but if you appreciate lots of choices, great service, great food, and the latest and greatest in technology, you must go!