We flew in the day before our cruise on Oasis with several people going on a Holland America cruise leaving that day. As you can imagine, we felt their pain when the flight had mechanical problems and was delayed in New York. We will never know if they made it. Our rule number one is fly the day before, and in winter three days before.
As everyone says embarkation was a breeze, we arrived at 11am and were allowed into rooms at 1Pm, luggage arrived in a timely fashion, no problems there.
What we noticed when we tried to have a lunch in Windjammers was that the ship had 6000 passengers but some areas had roughly the same room as Voyager which has half the passengers. Windjammers is one of those places. With an army of people trying to help you find a seat, even that was mission impossible. The idea was to ask you to try other venues for food.
We checked out our room, loved the inside balcony over the Boardwalk. We are never in our room until after midnight, it was always quiet. The closet is odd and hard to get to but you get used to it. I prefer the setup on Princess as you have a dressing room. The lifeboat drill was a breeze, did not have to drag the life-jacket with you, it is already there. Good job with that! We were happy with the room. Room steward was great.
Dinnertime was standard 8:30 every night. We asked for a table for eight and got a six tucked into the back corner of the dining room next to the waiters huge station. This was a major disappointment because the dining rooms are so beautiful elsewhere. We were seated with a couple in their thirties, we are in our early sixties. Usually cruisers are matched with same age people so this was unexpected. When you cruise with Celiac Disease the first night is hit and miss but I never left hungry. Bread was not worth eating and I asked them to heat it and it would be better, the next night it was. The staff was eager to please and very good.
The entertainment on this ship was terrific, make your reservations and there will be no problems. It was the best entertainment we have ever seen in 17 cruises.
The food in the dining room was generally very good for my husband. In no way does Royal Caribbean compare to the gluten free experience on Princess. Princess has figured this out and is working on the gluten free areas that they are lacking. I see improvement every year. While I saw individuals who wanted to help me find food I can eat, generally on this ship there are too many people to feed to care about those of us with food issues. I will use Emerald Princess as an example. In the buffet at any time of day I can find a chef willing show me what I can have to eat. On Oasis it was such a zoo that the chefs found the gluten free question irritating. And I knew they were irritated. I can also get some gluten free breakfast cereal and pancakes on Princess. I do bring my own cereal and bagels. On Princess I can find a dessert or snack in the International Cafe anytime. On Oasis, on the promenade deck, including the Cafe, pizza was the only gluten free food available. Why is that important? The buffet and most other restaurants are CLOSED between 3 and 6PM. We had never seen that before. There seemed like armies of people walking around looking for an open restaurant during those hours. Even the hot dog, hamburger and ice cream place is closed. I would tell someone with food allergies or Celiac Disease to go with a smaller ship. I have had much better experiences on Carnival and Princess. When I asked for a pasta dish in the dining room the head waiter said " our guests usually bring their own gluten free pasta and we cook it" I was blown away! It is available in Walmart!
The casino on this ship is great, it is huge, one side is smoking and the other side is non smoking. The entertainment was wonderful. This ship also had all the bells and whistles that young teenagers love. It also has very little outside space, something I knew, but when I realized how little I decided it was not a good Winter vacation spot.
Disembarkation was a zoo, nothing like embarkation, be prepared to wait in lines.
We really wanted to try this ship once and now that we have we know a ship that size has very little ambiance, guests are not as friendly and the staff is being driven nuts. It is more like the real world. We usually spend February on Emerald Princess, this year we have booked Celebrity Equinox and Emerald. We are really looking forward to it.