I booked this cruise over a year ago as part of a group of 32 and began reading reviews of the Oasis that day. I wanted to be well prepared and what I learned from this website really helped make this a memorable trip. I cannot, however, say that everything was perfect. Most everything went extremely well and I was not disappointed so I will save the negatives till the end of my review. I really wish I had a second week to be able to do all the things that I just didn't get to fit into my schedule while on board.
We had stayed at our timeshare in Ft. Lauderdale which is only about three miles from the port. Embarking was the easiest of all the cruises I have been on to date. We were less than fifteen minutes from cab to the Promenade. We had lunch at the Windjammer and explored the ship until our cabin was ready at one. Our luggage came by three and my wife was unpacked by four. There was plenty of drawer and shelf space and the suitcases fit easily under the bed. I brought an extension cord and power strip which came in very handy. I also brought a small clock for the cabin. We were near the bow on the port side on deck eight. I wanted to be on the same deck as Central Park and near the gym for morning workouts. Unfortunately this location meant a bit more walking to get to all the venues on this huge ship. Next time I will try to get a cabin closer to midship.
We took advantage of "My Time Dining" in order to be a bit more flexible in our dining times. This worked out very well for us. Our waiters were good, not the greatest , but proficient and courteous all the time. The assistant waiter never seemed to catch onto the fact that none at our table were ever interested in second rolls but he was good at remembering who wanted tea with the meal and coffee after. Food was always good but not outstanding. Selections were adequate to make sure that you could aways find something agreeable to choose. We ate at the Windjammer one evening because I wanted more than the meager amount of vegetables that were served in the MDR.
Lunch and dinner were eaten at a variety of the complimentary restaurants. All the food was well prepared and certainly good to eat. I enjoyed the roast beef sandwiches from the Park Cafe. We had breakfast brought to us by room service one morning and that was great too. I can also recommend the Solarium Bistro and the Wipeout Cafe for lunch. We are not very big breakfast eaters but there was no problem finding something if we wanted it. My wife enjoyed the cupcakes and the donuts. Never a bad one in the bunch. The only bad experience with eating involved Johnny Rockets but I will save that till later in this review.
The entertainment was the best we have seen on any ship so far. Hairspray was truly professional and thoroughly enjoyable. The aqua show, Oasis of Dreams, was unique, enthralling, and one of the highlights of the cruise. The headliner, Tony Tillman, is a must see. We had not heard of him prior to the cruise but he was outstanding and kept the audience fully engaged the entire time. I would gladly go to see him again. The comedians kept us laughing the entire time, even the emcee had some good lines. The ice show was better than the one we saw on the Liberty of the Seas and the sand lady is an amazing talent. Come Fly with Me was entertaining also and just a little too short. I could have stayed in the theater watching for another half hour. "Splish Splash", at the aqua theater, was not to my liking and I left halfway through the performance.
Elvis, from Chile, did a very good job running the bingo games as did all the staff running the various daily activities during the days. Theresa was our cabin attendant. She was admirable, accommodating our irregular schedule and always helpful with information and a door key when needed. Her towel animals were great. She left chocolates on the pillows every night. The cabin was done well every day. The bed was extremely comfortable. We slept like rocks each night, even when the ship experienced some rough seas and was rocking a bit.
The gym is outstanding. There are so many treadmills,ellipticals, and stair climbers you can always get one. There was a bit of a crowd by 7:30 am but it thinned out by 9:00. The collection of resistance machines is better than any I have ever seen in one place. The free weights are plentiful too. A variety of classes were available for those wanting a bit of structure to their workouts.
We never had any problem getting towels or lounges for the pools. There was plenty of space on the upper decks and it was relaxing to lay out. The Solarium was another great place to relax. I got some heavy duty reading done there. Having the Bistro in the Solarium was convenient also. We were able to play miniature golf. It was fun but not too challenging.
Before I start on the negatives let me say that the cruise director, Richard Spacey, was absolutely fabulous! He as everywhere. He was energetic. He was enthusiastic. He is a sight to be seen and experienced. From the opening night, through the 'Love and Marriage' game, to the last night farewell parade he was great. You won't find a better cruise director on any other ship.
The first thing you should be aware of is that among the 5000 plus passengers you will find some who are just not as courteous as you are. There was some crowding around the elevators after some of the shows and near the MDR. Some people must think that they are more important than everyone else and therefore they deserve to go first no matter who is ahead of them at the time. Se' la vie. If you encounter this rude behavior just chalk it up to poor upbringing and don't let it spoil your vacation.
Photos never came up on our cabin tv. We went to Focus to see our pictures. While there we found out that the price of the album option had been increased from $99 to $129. We did not see the value and opted to go with a few good single pictures in our folio. Using the coupons in our booklet helped make the prices more reasonable. The 'Cruise in Review' is no such thing. DO NOT BUY IT !! For $29.95 you get a compilation of the promotional videos that are available on the website that describe the neighborhoods,the captain's activities on the bridge, and the ports the Oasis visits. There is no footage from your cruise. Image photo will refund your money if you are suckered into buying this ripoff video. RCI has indicated to Image Photo that they will review this policy and possibly they will start doing an actual 'Cruise in Review' for the Oasis soon.
Two minor things that could be addressed by RCI. The TV selections are poor. I know we are at sea but.... I think they could do a better job with the addition of some more sports and a weather channel and possibly a channel for news other than FOX. Another issue is the selection of venues for the muster drill. Several of those chosen by RCI are ones where smoking is permitted during the cruise. The residue and odors can be offensive to passengers with asthma, respiratory issues, or allergies. It would be better to have the passengers meet in non-smoking venues for there required meetings.
Johnny Rockets was a huge disappointment. The service was snail paced and the food nowhere near as good as the fare from their land based restaurants. The tables outside are too small to hold meals and drinks for four customers. We waited far too long for mediocre food with a bill for sodas and a cover charge early in the cruise. We decided to give them another try because we wanted to try the milkshakes. Big mistake. Apparently the servers onboard go into a series of dance moves as part of their routine. Never mind that there are customers waiting, that all the tables are full, and that the food is getting cold. Dance routines come first!! We waited over half an hour for two milkshakes that were really nothing worth mentioning.
One last thing before I close (I know it has been along review.) Dazzles is a fine place that I frequented several times. The band was great and the servers were not too pushy. I enjoyed my times there. But... the sight lines are terrible. There are very few seats (except the ones very close up) with a good view of the band and the dancers. The second floor is almost useless. Maybe a little redesign could make this a better venue for spending time there.
At the end of this review I want to say that it was a great trip. I want to do it again. I have not done the Art Tour, the scavenger hunt, the Zipline, etc. So much to do you can't fit it into one week. I'll be back !!!
The Cruise Critic M&M went as well as expected. We did a cabin crawl that allowed us to see some of the different types of accommodations available on board. Thanks to all that participated.