Since we flew in to Ft. Lauderdale from California, we arrived the evening prior to the cruise and stayed at the Sheraton Airport and Cruise Terminal Hotel as it was conveniently located to both the airport and cruise terminal, hence the name. The place was not the jewel in the Sheraton crown to say the least. It was not quite a dump, but I would not recommend it unless it was a last resort. We would have preferred to spend a little more on a taxi and stayed on the beach or in an area where there were some restaurants and shops. There was nothing within walking distance of this hotel.
We were not looking forward to boarding the Oasis with 6000 other passengers but were pleasantly surprised at how fast a smooth it went. We have to congratulate Royal Caribbean for the efficiency at their terminal. Not only was it fast but we were given a free upgrade from outside to balcony without even requesting it.
BIG! At first while exploring some of the "neighborhoods" of the Oasis it was a little disorienting since many areas of the ship (especially Central Park) did not feel like a ship at all. It felt more like being in a courtyard/garden of an apartment complex. For my wife and I this was not a WOW experience but somewhat unpleasant. The ship did not have a crowded feel even though it was a full sailing. Once we went up to the pool deck it had more of a ship feel to it.
Our cabin was typically spotless for RCCL ships and very pleasantly decorated. The enclosed storage ares were somewhat skimpy but we travel light so we had enough room for our belongings. The bath amenities were very basic (soap and a shampoo dispenser) for a newer ship. Our balcony was spartan with 2 chairs and a tiny table but it was fun to have one. We didn't spend much time there. Beds were comfortable.
Since we do not eat meat, we're not the best ones to critique the food. Most of what we ate was fair to good-the usual cruise ship fare. Our servers were great; probably the best part of the dining experience. Everyone we met in the dining room were friendly and helpful. We did the "my-time" dining which worked well for our schedule. We never waited more than 5 minuted to be seated and were seated in the same area with the same servers every night at our request. The buffet was nicely organized with food stations arranged by categories. It seemed to cut down on the crowds and waiting time that we have experienced on other ships that use buffet lines. The selection and quality of the food was good on most days.
In short, it was the best we've had on a ship. Hairspray was every bit as good as the version we saw on Broadway. The comedy show was great. We didn't stop laughing for a minute though it may not be to every one's taste. It was definitely adult humor. The ice show was also terrific as was the water show. Just make sure and reserve seats as soon as you book your cruise. We did see some very upset people who were turned away from shows because they failed to book their reservation.
This was the weakest part of this cruise. This may be so because RCCL figures that the ship is the real destination. We only had three ports of call. The first was Labadee. We've been there before many years ago and were surprised to see that it has been turned into a mini amusement park with a coaster and zip line ride. It was still an enjoyable day of relaxing in the hammocks and enjoying a swim in the warm ocean. Costa Maya had a quiet beach a short cap ride away. Cozumel had on and off rain so not much to do except shop when the sun doesn't shine.
Since we travel fairly light, we did the do-it-yourself early departure thing. Within 5 minutes we were off the ship and heading to our hotel to spend the day in Ft. Lauderdale. We highly recommend this option for people who can handle their own luggage and want to get an early start on the day.
We spent the day using the Water Taxi to tour the canals looking at how the other half lives. It was alot of fun to see all the canal-side mansions and yachts. For $15.00pp it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. We overnighted at the Westin on the beach. Our oceanfront room was very nice and we would recommend this hotel.
When all is said and done, the Oasis is just another cruise ship, just bigger with more novelty. We enjoyed it overall but are not anxious to return for the time being. We have a been there, done that feeling about the experience. Is bigger better? Our answer is, not for us.