We have been on many cruises before, but this was our first one on the Oasis class ship. Most recently we have been on the Celebrity Solstice and Equinox, Carnival Dream, NCL Pearl and RCCL Liberty of the Seas. We have been on several other ships, but I mention these as they are feature ships for these mass market lines. My wife and I are in our mid 50's. We traveled with my brother and his wife who just turned 60 and their daughter who is 27. My mother and her friend also traveled with us and they are 81. We had a junior suite mid ship on deck 10. I have broken this review into several categories making it easier to follow.
Embarkation and Debarkation:
As many others have mentioned, getting on and off the ship was amazingly easy, especially when you think about how many people have to get off and on in a relatively short period of time. We arrived at the port about 11:00 AM. My mother and her friend needed wheelchair assistance to get on the ship, so we had to wait about 20 minutes for that, but we were on the ship by about 11:30. I would strongly suggest assistance for anyone that does not walk well as to get on the ship the ramps are pretty steep and the walk is quite long. Once onboard we quickly split up to take care of a few things regarding our reservations for shows and dining. My brother and I ran down to deck 3 to take care of getting Royal Connect phones. These were terrific. They cost $30 each, but if you are traveling with a group it really makes life easy. They are old iphones and not only can you call the other phones in your party, you can text them and locate them as well. The location feature did not work great all the time, but it was pretty accurate overall. By 12:30 we were finished with all our running around and headed up to the Windjammer for lunch. What a bad idea. It was so crowded up there we did not even get off the elevator. Getting off the ship was also very easy as everyone has noted.
We had cabin 10626. It was a Jr. Suite on deck 10. The room was very comfortable and very nice. We loved the walk in closet. The bathroom was also very nice and the extra room that a Jr. Suite has to offer made a big difference. I have read on the boards here that the extra space is not worth the extra money, but I disagree. It made a huge difference. Our cabin steward was very nice and she did an excellent job. The only complaint was that our white bedspread had a huge yellow stain on the corner of it. We asked about it and we were told that it was caused by the bleach used in cleaning. We had it replaced anyway.
The Ship and Neighborhoods:
The ship is an architectural marvel. It is hard to believe that such a structure actually floats. It is beautiful. For my taste it was way too big for a cruise ship and holds way too many passengers. I have read many reviews that state that the ship never seems crowded. That is a misconception. It always seemed crowded to me. Yes the ship is large, but there are way too many people on it. Elevators were always crowded. Long lines for everything and way too much pushing and shoving from fellow passengers. I equate the experience to going to Disney World. Yes it is fun, but be ready for crowds everywhere and rude and pushy travelers. You will not come home from this vacation relaxed and rested. At least I did not. The neighborhoods are nice and a good idea. Central Park is beautiful. I did not like The Boardwalk, too much hoopla there for me. I also did not like the Royal Promenade. Yes the Promenade was beautiful, but it was just like going to the mall. The shopping kiosks through the center of it were eye sores and were annoying. If I wanted to go to a mall I would have just stayed home and gone to Sawgrass Mills which is right down the street from where I live.
The shows were tremendous. My suggestion here is to make sure you make your reservations far in advance online to make sure you do not have to wait on a long line or even miss some of the shows. All the shows were top notch and the best I have seen on a ship. I did not like the fact that even though we had all the shows reserved, we had to arrive 45 minutes early for a decent seat. Once again, be ready to fight the crowds of rude passengers that try to save a whole row of seats. At the ice show my wife got up before the show started to go to the bathroom and this woman wanted her seat. I just about had to arm wrestle her for it. This is relaxing?
We had the anytime dining and had it reserved in advance 3 months prior to the cruise. The first night we had to wait on a long line about 30 minutes to be seated. When they finally did seat us they gave us a table for the 7 of us all the way in the back next to the dirty dishes and a stones throw from the kitchen. We went to the maitre de and asked him how much we had to tip him to ensure that we would have a table waiting for us each night at the same time with the same wait staff. He immediately took care of us. The first night was just a disaster. Out of the 7 of us, we had 3 different menus. We still do not know what kind of fish we ate. We asked all levels of management what the fish was and they all told us something different. I also asked for tomato juice as an appetizer which I like to do on cruises and was told no by several levels of management. Of course I did not get the final no until the second night. A couple of times they did sneak a glass to me, but I never received it as an appetizer and I have a feeling someone was sticking their neck out to do it. Once we got passed the first night, the service in the dining room was very good. We had someone traveling with us that was on a gluten-free diet and they took very good care of her. They showed her the menu for the next night and worked out with her what they could do for her. They also brought her out special bread, pasta and desserts. The food overall was pretty good in the dining room. Nothing great, but no complaints either. We ate at Chops on the last night. It was pretty good and I think everyone enjoyed it. Breakfast was a disaster. One of my favorite parts of cruising is eating breakfast in the main dining room. We tried to do this on the first morning and what a disaster. I guess because of the floods of people heading for the buffet at the Windjammer RCCL in all their wisdom decided to add a buffet as an option in the main dining room. What a mistake. It was a zoo down there. All of the rude pushy people that had to have 10 lbs. of bacon for breakfast every morning were flooding into the dining room. We waited on a long line to be seated and then the service was horrible. We tried Johnny Rockets for breakfast the next morning and it was very good. Tried it again the day after and it was horrible. The service was horrible, the waiter could not get our orders right and he did not seem to care. Just sad what has happened to cruising over the years and what it has become. Like I said earlier, not relaxing to have to deal with all of this.
Ports of call:
Our sailing was the Western Caribbean. First stop was Labadee. An island in Haiti that RCCL owns. Again, very Disney like. Crowded with rude people and herded around like buffalo. I saw a lady picking grapes on the buffet with her hands and putting some in her mouth and some on her plate. I handed her the tongs and asked her to use them and she looked at me like I had 4 heads. Nothing to see on this island and a waste of time. My neice did go on the zip line there and had a nice time doing it. Next stop was Falmouth Jamaica. This was a complete waste of time. The port was built by RCCL and nothing there but shopping. We attempted to step out of the gates of the port into the city and were immediately attacked to buy things or have our hair braided. We ran quickly back on the ship. Just another place for RCCL to sell more junk. Last port was Cozumel. We booked a private beach there to get away from the crowds. There were 6 ships in port that day including the Allure. We went to Nachi Cocumb. They only allow 100 guests and food and drinks are included. We had a nice time there. I had booked this in advance on the internet.
Beautiful ship, way too crowded, getting away from relaxing cruising to more of a Disney vacation. Don't get me wrong, if you like long lines and crowds then you will love this ship. If you like Disney World which many people do, then this kind of cruising is for you. To me it was like they picked up the Sawgrass Mills Mall with a crane and dropped it into the ocean. Rude push people running you over to buy junk. I can stay home and do this. On another note, my sister-in-law got the stomach virus and was quarantined to her cabin for about 36 hours. Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it over and over again. I will most likely cruise again in the future, but it will not be on another ship like this. I am glad I saw it and experienced it, but next time probably back to Celebrity for me.