Having booked our 19th cruise, I thought I wanted to try the Oasis after hearing so much about it. Many reviewers have said on this board that it was fun to try this ship, but next time a smaller ship. I agree; Also, DH & I agree; no more Caribbean. Next time maybe Azamara to Scotland, etc. if we can afford it.
Easily the best embarkation & debarkation. Going right onto the Promenade is a great idea. Also, opening other restaurants other than The Market Place (buffet) is also good. The Park Cafe became a favorite of ours; very convenient (except when it rains) and the variety of food, especially the salad you design was great. DH said it was the best roast beef sandwiches he had ever eaten. I loved the flavored waters which I wished they would have had in other parts of the ship other than the buffet and this restaurant. PS - the donuts were not worth cheating for. Pizza was good. Good idea w/ the buffets option for breakfast & lunch in the dining room. We spent very little time in Boardwalk. The Seafood shack & Johnny Rockets was not open when we wanted to go (port day) (inconvenient).
Speaking of eating venues, the dining room food was a disappointment to me compared to other RCCL ships. Had two meals I didn't eat - steak and their fish entree one eve. DH hated his prime rib - he eats it medium rare, but they could never cook it past the rare stage & ran out of it one time & had to go upstairs for it. I am a foodie so I know food. My fish was better at home. Even desserts were not that appealing. My homemade WW desserts were better & tasty. Chops was good, but they need some Montreal seasoning on the fillets. Pure meat doesn't mean no taste. DH wasn't overly impressed w/ his T-Bone's quality. Chops was better than the dining room, but the best was Giovanni's Table. OMG...Both had great service, but Giovanni's was incredible. I hated leaving for a show w/o dessert (no cannolis). Do Giovanni's when you don't have a show to get to. Chops also had the most incredible chocolate cake. One eve the dining room had a 3-sample dessert w/ a chocolate mousse cake that was great, but was never seen again! One out of three isn't too bad!!! I resisted the cupcake venue because I can made a cake for the same charge of one cupcake ($2.50), but gave in one evening. It was incredible. The icing's the thing!
The ship itself is beautiful and relatively new. The rooms are well designed except for the closet & safe right next to the bed which allows only access to one person at a time. Compared to NCL's inside, this is a luxury room. Room steward was excellent and others working nearby very friendly and helpful as was most workers on the ship. Except for a lunch where they were short handed and basically ignored us, they were incredible. This time, the maitre'd helped out and served food. The maitre'd's in this dining room actually worked & helped which says much for their work ethic. On this cruise, we tipped them. Hey, the room & wait staff make very little and work their tushies off!
Some issues...much wasted space on this ship. Bathrooms breaking down & having to leave the dining room to go up or down to another floor's bathroom when you sometimes can't wait. Cramming in more passengers to a regular sized dining room. DH said they had a large any time dining room. Why not make that smaller? Cramming larger amounts of passengers into spaces not designed to accommodate these numbers (same size rooms as on smaller ships, but not enlarging the room size). Putting a dance class in the middle of the promenade. Also, my first cruise where shops had no interest for me. Not enough public bathrooms for this size ship. Several bathrooms were broken in public areas. Also went to 'meet & mingle' in Cascades - no meeting (there was a dance class). Also, they should consider putting in a handicapped elevator as many passengers ignored the passengers in motorized carts and walkers.
Entertainment was good. Shows were good and rooms could accommodate the numbers of passengers with the exception of the Aqua Theatre and Cascades. Two leads from Hairspray were doing a Broadway review in Cascades (they were phenomenal) which was scheduled at 7:30 (we had to leave dinner to attend). This room is not designed for this as much of the seating faced the back of the room and most passengers saved seats for their spouses. DO MAKE RESERVATIONS AHEAD OF TIME ON THE COMPUTER IF YOU CAN AS IT WILL PAY OFF & GET THERE ABOUT 15 MINUTES EARLIER TO INSURE A GOOD SEAT! Thanks cruise critics for that bit of info! The comedy was great, but they need to change the shows during the week or use different routines. Got to speak with Doug and his wife; they are very nice and accommodating! He and the other comedian were very funny, even seeing them twice. A good idea would be having a roped-off waiting area to get into the show so some people can't cut in front of the line and start world war III!
A very sore point for our DH's were where they were relegated to for smoking cigars. None of the bartenders wanted to be up there (tips), and most evenings (smoking under the stars????), it was so windy, they could have 'clicked their heels 3X and would have been in Kansas!' We can't understand the cruise line's not understanding that this is recreational, & many, many cigar smokers have "much" disposable income. It is not a cheap one, & usually smokers order expensive drinks to go w/ the cigars. They had small venues that could easily had been used for cigar bars & would have generated huge amounts of $$$$ from it. Some bean counter thought no one smokes any more. Even Cascades allowed cigarette smoking in their 2nd level. I am more offended by cigarette smokers (never smoked). Though, the Casino had two sections & wasn't too bad.
The Schooner Lounge seemed to be a popular venue - doing trivia contests and a great piano bar - very comfortable, accessible lounge. A hint, to the Scandinavian girl who did 50's Music Trivia. Don't believe everything written on your cheat sheet; When five or more baby boomers give you the correct title to a song they have been listening to for about 50 yrs, don't argue w/ them!
A big problem for me was the very high chairs in the casino (4 11 1/2). A wonderful casino worker (from New Orleans) finally showed me how to lower it, but what a pain. Also, in the Market restaurant upstairs, signs showing the individual dishes were so high, I had to remove them to see what I was eating. Subsequently, not a good experience except for the waitstaff who were very attentive. Also, very poor signage for finding cabins. Half the time my friend and I were having to go down a floor to get to the side our room was on and then go back to the 7th floor. I was like "Charlie on the MTA (Kingston Trio)!" Also, seemed to be constantly looking for the room. Elevator signs seemed to contradict the signs near the room which was misleading. I worked off every piece of dessert & bread I ate, but I have mobile problems. My legs ached at times. Also, very few pass through levels to get from one side of the ship to another.
Ports - DH went to Labadee - said it wasn't much! Falmouth - okay, but not finished. Basically a big flea market. Cozumel - shopped near the pier; it was enough. Do bargain for your purchases. Got a different slider at a good price & purchased some tee shirts, necklaces & earrings for the kids. Missed St Maarten which we love. Oh well!!!
A plus was meeting two nice couples. They made the cruise more fun.
The ship has its definite pluses and minuses. If you are seasoned cruiser and looking for the quality of cruise you had ten yrs ago, you will not find it. Cruise lines are cutting back on any where they can, especially food quantities and quality. I am glad I got to try it, but not again. Comparisons among passengers seem to like the Allure a lot better. Like a lot of us, saving and planning for a cruise is a big thing. Definitely will not get on a ship again unless it has a really great itinerary (w/ a cigar bar). I knew going in the itinerary wasn't great; the ship was the destination. I don't necessary feel bigger is better!