After hearing so much about the Oasis of the Seas and the now new Allure of the Seas we decided with three other couples to venture forth and do a Back to Back on Oasis. This was the 22nd and 23rd Cruise for my DW and I and our 8th and 9th with RCI. We have also sailed a number of times on Princess and Celebrity as well as cruises with HAL, Disney,NCL, and Carnival. We opted to try our first B2B on Oasis since we figured we needed that much time to see and experience the whole ship, and we were correct. Trying to do it all in one week would be very difficult for sure. We normally prefer the 10 day and longer cruises anyway since we have to fly to most ports from here in Michigan.
I had also been active on the two Roll Calls for these Cruises and enjoyed
meeting many of my fellow Cruise Critics over the next two weeks. Our Sail Away Gatherings up at the Sky Bar were rather smallish but was nice to put a face to some of the people I had been chatting with for over a year. Our Meet and Mingle for each week was attended by about 30 the first week and probably over 40 the second. RCI has these events mostly in Dazzles Nightclub which I do not feel is a great venue for these events in that seating is not conducive to people mingling about which is the main purpose of the event.
We travelled to FLL two days early, which we tend to do now in the winter -just in case the weather causes issues with travel. My Brother and SIL met us at the Gallery One Doubletree on Sunrise Blvd for both nights. Hotel was very nice and there are many options nearby for meals including the Gallery One Mall which also takes care of any last minute shopping required, etc. Only issue with this hotel is that it is a little further from the Airport than we were used to but still only a few miles from the pier on Saturday.
We arranged for a shuttle to the Pier for 11:00 on Saturday morning and left right on time, arriving at the pier about fifteen minutes or so later. We moved right through the Check in process and were on board before noon. You enter on the Starboard side of the ship right into the Promenade Mall area, so this allows you to wander about a bit as any others in your group check in. DW walked over to the Cupcake Cupboard and signed up for a Cupcake decorating class for later in the week. We than headed up to Deck 8 to Central Park to try one of the "famous Roast Beef Sandwiches" at Park Cafe.
We ran into the other two couples we were travelling with there and all enjoyed a really great Sandwich or salad while we waited for the Cabins to open up at 1:00. Central Park is a wonderful area to relax in, and I spent time there every morning having my first cup of coffee and a snack or breakfast at Park Cafe. Great Salads and other morning and lunch time foods are available there too. CP is also a nice place for a stroll in the evening or a nightcap at the Trellis Bar in the Park. You can also catch the Rising Tide Bar there which travels from CP to the Promenade. Our Cabin was also on Deck 8, just around the corner from the forward entrance to the park.
We had a D5 Balcony Cabin on the Ocean and feel this was a great choice. The ocean and all the views and sounds of being at Sea out our sliding door; and out the front door was CP for a meal, snack, coffee, or easy access to the elevators. Do not see the value in the CP Balcony cabins and rarely saw anyone out on them. The Boardwalk Balcony option did also not appeal to us unless it was one toward the aft near the Aqua Theatre. At least these you could see the shows and some ocean out the back. There is very little privacy when you are looking across the way at other Balconies and they can do the same. Would much prefer to be able to leave my curtains open, and see and hear the ocean out a standard Balcony which costs less too. Guess the others are just a novelty at this point, will be interesting to see how their popularity stands up over time.
Cabin itself was nice, maybe a little smaller than on Radiance Class and less overall storage space. Bed was firm and comfortable with a nice pillow top mattress and worked well for us for 14 nights of good sleep. Nice widescreen TV in the Cabin, but not a lot on it of course?. Our Cabin Steward - Juvy- did a great job over the two weeks and always seemed to be handy when we got to our door with our hands full. Our luggage all arrived before three o'clock which allowed us to be unpacked well before Muster Drill.
At dinner we met our waiter - Andung- and his assistant ( Joshua the first week and Cloppy the second week). All did a wonderful job and we really enjoyed Andung's service and sense of humor for the two weeks he took care of us. Food choices for dinner were good, maybe above average overall for RCI. We also were visited nightly by Roscoe Pereira the area Restaurant Manager ( guess he would be the same as the Head Waiter for our section of the MDR). He did a wonderful job in making sure everything went well and we were happy, as well as setting us up to stay with Andung for the second week.
There are 24 different places to eat onboard the Oasis and even in two weeks we did not make it to all of them. Free locations were abundant such as the Park Cafe I mentioned earlier, the Solarium Bistro which was a great place for a more healthy lunch including a nice Salad Bar, and lighter entrEe items. You could also choose the Cafe Promenade for sandwiches or desert items, Sorrento's for Pizza, Mondo Coffee Bar offered small sandwiches and desert items, Boardwalk Donut shop, the Wipeout Cafe for burgers, dogs, etc., and an Ice Cream Parlor. The Ice Cream Parlor charged a small amount but the Ice Cream was great. Soft serve is available all day in the Wipeout Cafe.
The restaurants which had a surcharge were also abundant. We had dinner one night at 150 Central Park and it was wonderful. A seven course meal of all smaller portions and a very varied flavorful experience it was. I would bet that meat and potato people would probably not enjoy though. We had eaten at Chop's in the past so did not do this time, also never made it to Giovanni's Table but heard good things about both from those who did go. Had wanted to try Izumi for lunch one day but never made it there either. We did hit the Seafood Shack one day for lunch and it was pretty good.
I had thought it was mostly fried food but were surprised in the choices available. We splurged and split the twin Lobster tails and each had the Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl. Not bad! Table next to us ordered the Catch of the Day ( or choice of the Day since I did not see anyone dropping a line over the side of the ship?). It was a Dover Sole which looked pretty good. They also had shrimp dishes and another grilled fish available.
We had booked all of the shows on line in advance for each week, figured that way we could skip one or two the first week and not be rushed trying to do everything in one week. This worked out really well and we saw Oasis of Dreams and Hairspray the first week and Frozen in Time and Come fly with me the second week. We went to the Headliner and Comedy shows each week as those changed on a weekly basis. There is also a Comedy Diving show called Splish Splash which is held one afternoon and seats are first come first served. In most cases, there were seats available for those without Resvs., but seating choices were much better if you booked in advance.
Aqua shows were both very good as was the Frozen in Time Ice Show. Hairspray was pretty good and many really enjoyed it. The other Production show, Come Fly with Me, was the best I had seen in a long time. The singing and dancing were fairly good, typical of many production shows on Cruise lines, but the Aerials and Acrobatics really added a punch to the show. Also, don't miss the 70's show in the Promenade as it was quite the Party. There were a couple of other Parades in the Promenade that were ok and many other activities running constantly throughout the week. As I said earlier, it would be very hard to see and do everything in one week and still relax some ;-)
Our stops included Nassau ( stayed on board), St. Thomas and St. Maartin the first week and Labadee, Costa Maya and Cozumel ( stayed on board here too) the second week. We had been to all of these before, some quite a few times. Always enjoy the hitting the beach though and had not been to Labadee since the late 90's. Boy has it changed since then. I did the Zip Line on Labadee which was really cool, and the view from the top of the mountain is spectacular. At $85 I will probably not do again, but was worth it to me to do once. You also do a smaller practice Zip Line of about 120 feet or so where they show you proper technique, etc. Dragon Flight is 2600 feet long and you start out 500 feet up. It takes you right over the Bay by one of the Beach areas. I did not bother with the 82 foot one on the ship after doing the other two.
Turnaround day between the two weeks was a breeze. They have all doing the B2B meet in Bolero's on the Promenade at 9:30. There is Coffee and Juice there and DB located some pastries for those who did not make it anywhere for much of a breakfast . They handed out everyone's new Sea Pass and a slip of paper stating you were "In Transit". About 9:45 they escorted all of us off the ship where we had to show our Passport to Customs ( no declaration though) and then walked us to a waiting area for a few minutes. They need to have a Zero Count on the ship before anyone can get back on and it took about 20 minutes or so to find five people who were unaccounted for. By 10:30 we were back on board and free to do as we wished. They told us that even though the Cabin access doors were closed, we could still enter and get to our rooms as needed.
In conclusion, this was a great Cruise on a truly unique Ship. The Crew was very friendly and greeted you whenever you passed them in the hall or other areas of the ship. We loved the Central Park and Promenade areas throughout the voyage and the Boardwalk was also a nice new area to see. One thing to mention for anyone out there who has "motion" issues, this ship had the smoothest ride I have ever experienced. You often had to look out at the ocean just to tell you were even moving. I really enjoy the motion of the ocean, but know some are not very fond of it.
Not sure if we will sail on the Oasis again, or try the Allure, as we tend to like longer Cruises and the Itinerary on these ships is rather common. It was well worth doing once and would recommend to others. Who knows though, may just have to try the Allure too - down the road.