Let me start off by saying that I am a HUGE Royal fan and like to use them as much as possible and I was looking forward to spending a week on the Oasis of the Seas. I started planning this latest cruise for myself and 27 family and friends over a year ago and we were all excited. Kudos to RCCL for making the check-in process so smooth. It was the best organized and fastest check-in process I've ever had. The waiting area was organized and clean and comfortable as well. We got the OK for early boarding so from the time I left the cab to the time I was on board ship it was less than 30 minutes. Which put my on board by about 11:15 which was the earliest I've ever been on.
I toured the ship first with my young son. At first you're in awe that this thing can float and is as spacious in the public areas as it first looks. As more and more people got on though the spacious feel quickly evaporated. Any time that you'd be walking through the boardwalk area or the royal promenade at night after dinner they were packed. Almost like trying to walk through time's square on new years eve. The small feel to these area's during these times were only eclipsed by the small, almost doll house feel to the rooms. I'm glad I had a "superior" balcony stateroom as anything smaller and I think Barbie's dream house had more square footage. I scratched and cut my arm as well as cut clothing on the corner of the picture on the wall at the foot of the bed. There can't be more than 6" between the end of the bed and the wall so there is no way to walk by without either having to hold on to the picture or running into it. At least they have the forethought to securely attach it to the wall. The balcony was more of a "balconette". Less than 1 stride from the balcony door to the glass railing. Thank goodness the room next door was a travel companion so the petition was open for the duration giving it a larger feel.
Here is where the first feeling of "skimping" appeared to me in the entire cruise. I hate using that word as well because I love RCCL. This is the first ship I've ever been on that had a PVC type railing. I understand the theory of reducing weight above the waterline when you go big on ships but a PVC feel to the railing was just too much skimping to me. The dinning room food was average at best and the portions have shrunk considerably. Nothing really special to the taste / flavor of the meals...just "ehhhh"....if you know what I mean. The specialty restaurants were their normal greatness. If you can afford a meal at the specialty restaurants nightly I recommend that.
I spent most of my time near the sports pool after checking out all the pools. The sports pool was like sharing a bath with "thumbelina"....especially when you put over 6000 people on the ship. basically you got in, didn't swim, didn't move for the fear of loosing your space in the water and didn't even float. Ohhhh....and try to keep tabs on the location of the people who spend hours in the pool while drinking without moving....not to be gross but after spending some time in the pool it starts to smell like people haven't had to get out to go to the bathroom as they were utilizing the water around them. I guess that's why the chlorine levels in the pool were so incredibly high as to cause burning to your throat if you took a deep breath. Oh, and by the way, if you love your killer suit and it's bright colors....they won't be bright colors for very long....I brought 5 suits and each and every one are a shadow of their former glory when it comes to the colors....they all were bleached.
OK - HERE'S THE KICKER!!!!! I have never seen the number of people fall around the pool area as I did on this cruise. I HIGHLY recommend "cramp-on's" if you plan on attending any or the pool or hot tub areas. Of the 28 people traveling with me 17 fell in the pool area and 3 were injured fairly seriously with one serious enough to seek medical attention. The one who had to seek medical attention actually was me. I fell on Sunday. I immediately reported it to one of the servers who helped me to a nearby chair and I had to get help from someone traveling with me to get to my room. At first I thought I just twisted my knee but come to find out I have torn my ACL and done damage to the meniscus in my knee and will be requiring surgery. So I got that to look forward to. I didn't see them "squeegee" the areas around that pool / hot tub areas until the last 2 days of the cruise. They appear to have skimped on the squeegees. However, you could always see where someone had fallen. Almost like the chalk outline at a crime scene, the pyramid "slippery when wet" cones would come out to mark the location of the latest victims area of demise. You have to be kidding me....you've got a billion dollar boat and you can't find a way to make the area's around the pools non-slip???? I'm amazed that you can find a way to have an ice skating rink in the heat of the Caribbean but can't find a way to save people around the pools. Or perhaps the same people who designed the ice skating rink designed the pool area and they thought they would give the passengers the experience of skating on a moving ship as an extra appreciation of the skill and talent of the skaters??? Perhaps....but they forgot something....we aren't looking for a surgical intervention to correct their lack of ability to fix an obvious problem.
OK, OK, OK.....the long and short of it....Royal's service and attention to their passengers is great for the most part....but I HIGHLY recommend that you find a smaller ship with smaller passenger count to truly get the total enjoyment of your cruise experience. It really pains me to say that I'll never suggest the Oasis or the Allure (assuming it has the same problems as it's sister ship) to anyone. But I'll continue to recommend RCCL to people that ask my opinion.