We are a young couple (age 27) and this was our first cruise and we were BLOWN AWAY. This cruise was amazing and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone. They had activities for every age. (I organized by review in sections so if you are just looking for info on one part you can just read that section.)
SHIP & STATEROOMS: Yes, the ship was big & beautiful but it was easy to navigate. They have touch screens all over the ship in which you can find directions, what activities are currently happening, etc. We had a balcony (oceanview) stateroom and were very satisfied. It was clean, bright and cozy. It was small but workable. RCI designed it well with hooks, cubbies and other space-saving devices. The balcony was decent size, too. We enjoyed the balcony but if we sail on the Oasis again we’d get an interior room. We spent so little time in our room (because there is so much to do and see) that, for us, it wasn’t worth the extra money having the balcony. The rooms are very quiet – barely heard anything. And we only felt movement on the ship once (on a super windy day and even with that, the movement was very minimal). Other than that I would have thought we were on dry land. Also, for having over 6,000 guests on the ship we never felt crowded. The art and décor on the ship is beautiful – we did a brief art tour and it was fun to find out more about the history of the ship and its art.
ENTERTAINMENT: Go to the shows!!! They are GREAT and of super high quality. The Aqua Show was spectacular. Hairspray was very well produced & entertaining. The Headliner Show for our cruise was Mosaic (an acapella group who took second on “America’s Got Talent”) and they were amazing. “Come Fly With Me” was impressive with all the acrobatic talent. The “Love & Marriage Show” was hilarious and is hosted by the cruise director who is very humorous & entertaining. I’m not a fan of stand-up comedy but I laughed so hard & highly recommend attending. Also, the ice staking show was geared towards the younger crowd (the show revolved about Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales) but was very impressive &, if you have an extra 45 minutes, I would recommend seeing it. The “Quest” Scavenger Hunt was also a lot of fun. Hosted by the quirky and hilarious cruise director (Richard Spacey) it requires audience participation and if you get offended easily – don’t go. But if you like to laugh & have a great time – go. A lot of the “top” shows (Hairspray, the Aqua Show, Headliner Shows, Comedians) offer the option of making reservations. I would recommend making reservations -- if you can’t attend for some reason, it’s no big deal but at least you are guaranteed in if you do go. But on the same hand (despite what some other reviews say) if you don’t have reservations we found it was fairly easy get in. Also, there are a lot of lounges/clubs throughout the ship that every night played every type of music – RatPack & oldies, BigBand, Latino, modern, hip-hop – that appealed from pre-teens to seniors.
FOOD: The buffet style food (namely the Windjammer & Wipeout Café) was average. It was, well, buffet food. However, the variety is great and if you can’t find something you like then there is something wrong with you. The Solarium Bistro was always less crowded (often it was hard to find a table at the Windjammer) and offered a more healthy fare. The main dining room’s food was average, sometimes above average. We found it good, but not great. The best quick (& complimentary) food we found was at the Park Café in Central Park. They have great roast beef sandwiches and really good “make your own salads” in addition to items like wraps & paninis. Sorrentos Pizza wasn’t great but no one really seems to care. Basically, if you don’t like something, don’t eat it. There are many others places where you can find something to satisfy your tastes. We never used room service so I can’t comment on that. We did My Time Dining which worked well for us. Even with My Time Dining they try to seat you with the same waitstaff like you’d experience with scheduled dining. You can still make reservations with MyTime Dining but even without reservations the longest we waited for a table was about 10 minutes. We always requested a table for two, which they always honored.
SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: They offer several specialty restaurants for, of course, an additional charge. We only tried Chops Grille and Giovanni’s Table both of which were AMAZING and well worth the additional cost – especially Chops Grille. They had the best (and biggest at 10 oz) filet migion I have ever tasted & their appetizers and desserts (especially the red velvet cake) were superb. Just be aware there are other places (like Johnny Rockets, the Ice Cream Parlor and Seafood Shack) which may appear “complimentary” but charge you additional to eat there.
BEVERAGES: My husband got the “soda” package which entitled you to unlimited soda for the week. It cost around $50 which I thought was a rip-off because I feel soda should be complimentary. We were disappointed by the lack of soda selection (Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite & Ginger Ale) and thought for $50 there should be more choices (like Mellow Yellow, Root Beer, etc). The only “complimentary” beverages were water, flavored water, milk and some watered-down juices. Of course any type of alcohol is an additional cost & they add an automatic 15% gratuity.
GYMS/SPA/POOLS/KIDDIE AREAS: We walked through the spa which was impressive but we weren’t about to shell out $150 for a massage. The gym had a lot of equipment and looked nice but we didn’t use it so I can’t say much about it. They had a run/walking track on deck five which was separate from other areas so runners didn’t have to dodge other guests and vice versa. They had a lot of hot tubs and four pools (one which was a kiddie pool). We liked the Solarium which was a kid free zone (age 16+) and had a great view in the front of the ship. Here’s an insider tip: Go to deck 14 in the front of the ship. There is a great deck there with great views and is sparely visited. Very beautiful, quiet retreat. You have to walk through the stateroom hallway on the portside of the ship on deck 14 (go all the way to the front) to get to it. The pools were crowded but it didn’t bother us. We never had a problem finding a lounge chair. They had a great “Adventure Zone” for kids – always bustling with activity and games. They also had a SportCourt, PingPong and mini-golf course where kids and teens often congregated but it was nice because these areas were all clumped together. We never felt overrun by children which is a testament to RCI’s ability to keep them busy in their own independent areas.
SERVICE: The service (no matter where you were) was AMAZING. They are always, always eager to please and very accommodating. RCI I think really prides themselves on customer service. One night in the main dining room we were seated next to an Indian family who had very specific diet requests that were accommodated without hesitation. The people walking around the ship offering you drinks were polite & not pushy (which I appreciated). Our stateroom attendant was very attentive. Everyone was friendly and even if they didn’t like their job, you never knew it.
PORTS OF CALL: The true destination on this cruise is the ship itself. We enjoyed Haiti but since it was a private island owned by RCI it seemed a little limited. We didn’t do any excursions but laid on the beach which was nice. In Jamaica we did the Dunn River Falls climb which we enjoyed but the 45-minute crazy car ride was a little setback. Cozumel we thought was the best out of the three – we did snorkeling & parasailing which we enjoyed. We don’t like to shop so I can’t comment on that. However no matter where you go the vendors are quite pushy. You get used to firmly and politely saying “No thank you” if you’re not interested, no matter what “good deal” they’ll give you.
Overall it was a GREAT cruise and we will definitely cruise with RCI again!! Hope some of this info helps!