After reading many of the reviews on CC it is impossible to add much not already summarized accurately by the many good reviewers who have already described many of the good/bad things to expect on this ship. Cruising on the Oasis (and likely its sister ship the Allure) is an adventure that all cruisers should consider at least for a one-time experience. My wife and I started our cruise career on a small Holland America ship and have branched out to larger ships and younger cruises including cruising the Carnival Dream as our first big ship. We still enjoy the ambience, small ship experience with crew and officers that you should not expect to get on ships like the Oasis. However, the Oasis will provide a different type of cruise that is more accurately termed an experience since I (and I believe others too) have found a lack of adequate words and length of review space to describe the range of things provided on this floating city.
The crew on the Oasis is amazing and comparable to those on any of our smaller ship cruises, although you will have little to no contact with the officers or senior staff on this ship unlike smaller ships. I talked to the cruise director, Richard Spacey, once and very briefly and to no other ship officer or supervisor except Edna Pili who manages the hotel staff and who we saw on an Oasis video before our cruise. In contrast, the room stewards, waiters and other crew all over this ship were unbelievably good, helpful, friendly and hard working when you consider that there are 6000+ people on this giant ship and many of them are downright rude and self-centered on themselves, their families and THEIR space. Our particular cruise had an unexpectedly large number of Italians, Japanese and Brits onboard and their frequency of smoking resulted in a high odor of cigarette smoke onboard during the cruise. Rather than banning smoking, there is a great need for better air filtration in the Casino and other venues or areas of the ship where smoking is allowed to accommodate non-smokers onboard.
Ship Features: The touch screens available near elevators provide information on ship activities, directions, dining venues and menus etc. etc. are a great addition to cruising; dont fail to use these often. The interactive TV monitors and features available in cabins worked flawlessly to make reservations, check on-board accounts and to review our personal reservations and schedules. Best of any ship we have been on. The cabin environmental controls worked better than most ships although we had ours pegged on maximum cooling for most of the trip. Beds were comfortable for sleeping but may be considered too soft by many as support varied with position; overall great sleeping experience.
Cabins: Our cabin was a boardwalk view balcony cabin on Deck 12; we avoided Deck 14 based on other reviews we read that noted the excessive noise from deck chairs etc. from Deck 15 Pool Deck; others confirmed this good advice on our trip. We would not recommend this cabin type as there is NO privacy from cabins on the opposite side and little from our next-door neighbors because of the screen design. In addition, there is noise which cannot be eliminated from shows, loud passengers etc. that lasts until at least 11-12PM most nights. The cabin was small and poorly designed as noted by other reviewers so believe these comments and learn to expect certain limitations in advance of your cruise. The designer(s) who put the bed so close to the closet (6-8 inches max. with beds together; cannot imagine what you do if beds are separated) and the ones who put the plugs under the desk should be barred from any future ship design efforts! In addition, the space between the wall and the foot of the bed is about 12 inches and probably less (being generous and estimating without a ruler)you can imagine the problems in getting from point A to B. Drawer space consists of 3 very small drawers in the desk that will hold only your underwear and socksso plan ahead as the only other storage is 4 small shelves in the closet above and below the safe and one shelf above the hanging clothes for the rest; there are also some strange shelves next to the mirror that are about 2-3 inches deep for storing very small items but are otherwise worthless.
We liked the shower but wife commented on how it might be considered small by many and the wash basin is shallow and hard to use without water all over the floor. Storage in the bathroom is minimal compared to other ships but the shelves next o the toilet are questionable for storage of personal items.
Entertainment: Believe the good reviews and ignore the others. All shows we attended were top notch especially the Olympic divers who perform in Oasis of Dreams, Cast of Hairspray, Come fly with me, ice show and headliner entertainment. People we met from Paris on board liked Come fly with me so much they saw it 3 times. We viewed our first 3D movie in quite a while and enjoyed the 3 daily Trivia contests, backstage program on the Hairspray/Come fly with me stage and interview with cast and stage crew. As others have cautioned, book your entertainment as early as you can before the cruise to have maximum flexibility in choices; TIP: on Day 5-7 it is easier to get into most performances by standby if you want to see performance again or dont book early enough.
Food: Overall very good and with many, many choices. The Windjammer had surprisingly good food and food selections but as frequently described by others is a disaster in planning, design and severe crowding RCI what were you really thinking?? Despite all of the other possible choices for dining, cruisers still seem to like the buffet concept, and with 6000+ passengers on-board many will still go to their choice of buffet..and on the Oasis this results in supreme chaos if you go at peak hours of 12-2 PM or 6-7 PM. There is a really bad crowding of tables, chairs, people and the child strollers (trolleys for you Brits) that people are allowed to bring into this madness. The proximity of tables, chairs and people makes it difficult to even get to open tables. TIP: Go to the Park Cafe or Solarium Bistro where there are fewer choices but at least a bit of sanity. The Main DR food where we mostly ate dinners was OK and would get a C+ for food and an A for service with the same waiter/assistant we always asked for each night.
Oasis Design/Logistical Issues: Although we did not use or participate in all venues and activities in our limited 7 days on-board, things that need to be fixed include the following.
1. Despite reservations needed for Any Time Dining there was always a wait of 10-15 minutes every night. It often seemed that a second line for those without reservations went faster than the line for those with; ADD staff to make the reservation line go like it was intended or completely do away with reservations for Any Time Dining.
2. Have passengers leave child strollers etc. outside of the Windjammer; that place is full already to have these things blocking the crammed and limited spaces available there; may need to provide alternative child seating to accomplish this or provide separate sections for parents with toddlers that need these things.
3. Volume levels on shows, audience participation events (e.g., Quest, Marriage Game etc.) and many venues was DEAFENINGand likely medically dangerous. Are Oasis cruisers all deaf so that sound at 800+ decibels is considered necessary for them to hear music or entertainers? TURN DOWN THE VOLUME, please!
4. Quality of sound in announcements in Promenade, Boardwalk and Central Park is so poor that the CD staff made comments on how nothing intelligible could be discerned from announcements that sounded like words coming from a mouth full of marbles..FIX IT if you want passengers to understand what you are saying.
5. Add more smoke filters. If you need to allow on more and more smokers, make life more enjoyable for those of us who dont want to smell like we have been fumigated on the Oasis.
6. Enforce crowd control. It is accepted that people from some countries do not understand or accept the concept of queues (i.e., standing in line) according to arrival time for an event. On our trip we saw some ladies push aside others in line to get into a sale as the door opened and then scoop up all of the sales merchandise in the Coach storeI did say ALLtheir nationality is not mentioned intentionally but I was quite surprised to see this by persons from a country otherwise known for personal courtesy. Similar issues exist at Standby Lines where some people feel that their place in line always is at front despite their arrival time. ENFORCE with standby tickets given at doors with numbers for entry to events!
7. Find a new and more appropriately larger size venue for Karaoke! The current location in the On Air bar on the Promenade is ridiculously small as people were crowded into the room, jammed in the doorways and others could not even get a glimpse into the room. Key West Dave is a fantastic guy for this job and more passengers deserve to be able to see this event in a bit more comfort. CHANGE THE VENUE not the event.
We were glad that we decided to cruise on the Oasis and the experience was worth the few irritations involved and recommend this cruise ship venue heartily. We can now join the others who say that 7 days is not long enough to appreciate all of the things you can do on the Oasis.