Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean, June 18 - 25
We just got back this morning from a week cruise. This was both our first time on RCL. We had taken a Western Caribbean cruise on Costa back in January, and wanted to try something new.
We are both varying degrees of over fifty. This was my third cruise, but my girlfriend Judy's twentieth or thereabouts. She is from near Fort Lauderdale, and I live in West Palm Beach.
So it only took twenty minutes to get to Port Everglades from her house. She pays a friend to take us there and to pick us up. We got there at about two. Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our stateroom in no time. We stayed in room 321 on Deck 12 - an inside balcony room.
Think our first meal was lunch in the Windjammer.
We had dinner in the MDR every night of the cruise, except for Wednesday night (I think) when we went to Chops.
My review of the dining room: we requested, and got a table for just the two of us, right near the entrance, on the third deck. There were five couples against the bulkhead; we were the middle couple. Just enough room to not feel crowded. The two tables to the left of us had a really efficient and attentive waiter named Hershee. We had a guy named Ayar, who wasn't. The other couples would be getting their salads, and we were still waiting for our orders to be taken. Our beverage guy wasn't the best either. One of the other couples to the right of us must have mentioned something to the head waiter, because Ayar got slightly better - for just a day. We mentioned him by name in our guest surveys.
The food was okay to pretty good. I liked the food on the Costa cruise better, but I wasn't disappointed. Also, the only time I saw inappropriate dress (shorts, t-shirts, etc.) in the MDR was last night (Friday night). I suppose RCL does enforce their dress code. I actually saw some tuxedos on the second (Thursday) formal night.
There was one glitch though. One night they had Beef Strogonoff as an entrée. Several of our group, including Judy, ordered it. Judy didn't like the pickles. I didn't get it because it was served over rice. The woman next to us didn't like the mushrooms (yes, it is part of the dish, but she thought they should have mentioned it on the menu). And the other woman just didn't like the taste. We explained to the head waiter that in America, "Beef Strogonoff" has a narrow definition. People have an idea what to expect when they order it, and that the chef's idea of what it was didn't come close. Hopefully they won't serve it again.
A quick word about Chops - great food and lots of it! We both had the porterhouse and had to take half of it back to the stateroom along with some vegetables, to put in the refrigerator for later! I was one of the last people in there (Judy didn't feel well and left early), so they might have cheated on the crème brûlée; it wasn't flaming, I could taste the brandy, and they just put crunchy sugar on top. A minor point (and the crème brûlée I had in the MDR was perfect).
For breakfast we had room service every day except one when we went above to the Windjammer. The room service was prompt, sometimes even early. The food was okay. One time we had the bacon and eggs and it was okay.
For lunch we usually went to the Windjammer. I tried a lot of Asian foods, and found something interesting almost every day. I suppose though on a two-week cruise it could get old. Also sometimes it was challenging to get a table, but we never had to wait long.
Yesterday we made it a point to try the roast beef sandwiches we had heard so much about from other people who had been on the Oasis. We didn't know they were at the Park Café; we thought everyone had been talking about the sandwiches at the late-night place on the fifth deck, and was wondering what they were talking about! Luckily we found out where to go for the roast beef sandwiches, and yes, they were as good as they were supposed to be!
One thing we discovered we really liked was the Rising Tide bar. For some reason drinking while slowly moving up and down really appealed to us. Unfortunately, the first night, we missed the first departure because they didn't open the doors! We walked down three decks and complained; they said we should have just walked in. A few times they took off without waiting for us. And one time, either the girl couldn't push the right buttons, or it just decided not to work, and it didn't move. Again, small glitches.
We only sat out in the sun one afternoon, and in the shade another afternoon. Finding deck chairs was not a problem. RCL must be enforcing the no hogging rules also. The drinks really tasted good out in the sun! So did the soft-serve ice cream.
I did the Zip Line. That was a lot of fun, and Judy got some great photos of me from our balcony. I was watching the Belly Flop competition from the balcony, saw all the people Zip Lining, and decided I was going to do it. Unfortunately I didn't read the fine print that said I couldn't wear my glasses. Luckily I was able to convince them to let me leave them in a corner. They should explain the landing better though. One woman showed us her bruised leg from a bad landing. I was okay but had come down hard on one foot.
The entertainment was great. The dive show was great, but only person dove off the really high platform; would have liked to seen more. Hairspray was great also for a Broadway show on a ship! The Two Funny Guys were really funny! I am not one for ice skating shows, but that was good too; I would never see one on land, but on a ship? "Why Not?" The comics in the Comedy Club gave me a workout from all the laughing I did. The Kung Fu Panda movie was good, and in 3D too! Come Fly with Me was good also.
The Parade one day, and the Seventies Dance Party Thursday night made me feel like I was up at Disney World!
We went to one of the art auctions. There was one painting I really liked. Turned out to be by my favorite artist (Behrens), but the bidding started at twenty-four thousand dollars. Maybe next trip. But I did win a spa treatment (the Rasul where we exfoliate each other then apply mud) for the two of us. I really enjoyed that; Judy, not so much.
What else? I popped into Jazz on 4 a few times, and we heard the live music in some of the other bars. And we did spend some time and money in the Casino. The quarter-pushing machine is evil. Mike the Cruise Director is great at what he does. Captain Trim gave a really good talk about being a Captain.
We took at least one nap a day; sometimes two. The curtains do a good job at keeping the light out when it's time for a nap.
The excursions were good. In Nassau we just went to the casino in Atlantis and came back a little early. In St. Thomas we took the tour (which took some time getting started), but asked to be dropped off downtown so we could shop. In St. Maarten we took the tour and got all our shopping down while on the tour. I thought the flowers looked more colorful there than anywhere else.
I liked all the art scattered around the ship, and the three-D viewers. I would have liked to have had a list though so I could have made sure to see them all. Also I never got to find out the name of the work of art I looked at for a week while in the Opus 3 dining room.
One thing I noticed that I didn't expect is all the jokes all the speakers and entertainers made at the expense of another cruise line. In most industries they don't really joke about the competition. Does Carnival really have that bad of a reputation?
I know I forgot something but that is most of what we did for a week. Is the ship too large? Maybe. Most of the time we felt like we were in a hotel with a mall right next to it. It didn't really feel like a cruise. Aside from that we didn't really notice we were with sixty-two hundred other people. We found everything we looked for on the ship and never felt lost or overwhelmed. We missed seeing the ocean from our stateroom, and sometimes it got noisy on the Boardwalk, but it was nice to watch everything going on (although it was too hot to sit outside and eat a meal). RCL is a master of organization; they have got moving sixty-two hundred people around to a science.
Will we ever sail on an Oasis-class ship again? Probably not. We are going on the Emerald Princess in October, and maybe a trans-Atlantic RCL cruise next year. But we are glad to have sailed on the Oasis at least once.