Boarding the ship was a breeze and access to our stateroom was almost immediate. The room was beautiful and spacious. Getting lunch after we boarded was more difficult. The Windjamer buffet is simply not big enough for everyone who wants to eat there. So, we had to search out other options. While there are several other "free" places to grab a lunch, these are quick food places--pizza or sandwiches and have very limited seating.
Getting oriented to the ship and finding your way around was very easy because of the interactive screens on each floor. You simply "touch" for directions to a place or to find out what is going on. The technological perks on the ship were quite amazing. With 6,000+ on board it is easy to see why RCI incorporates the technology. The elevators do not seem to adequately serve the amount of people on board. Over 80% of the time we waited for more than 2 minutes for an elevator.
There are plenty of free activities on board--ice skating, zip line, etc. and despite the number on board, the wait time was very short or non-existent for the activities. There also seemed to be plenty of deck chairs for everyone.
But all that glitters is not gold. The food in the main dining hall was just awful. And I mean terrible on every night. We joked that RCI must want to force people to eat at the "for fee" places. I can understand if I was the only one complaining about the food--but all four of us in our party thought it was super awful. The starters are ok, but the main courses...well I hope you enjoy a sandwich late at night. We found ourselves roaming late at night for snacks because we were still hungry. Overall, the menu selection for dinner and breakfast was limited. The options simply were not there. The bad food includes the desserts and breakfast. I had biscuits and gravy one morning and couldn't stomach it. I can't emphasize how bad the food really was. The push to sell alcoholic beverages was non-stop. There is always someone with a tray of made drinks trying to sell one to you. And, for every single purchase (including alcoholic drinks) you have to sign a receipt. Naturally, that receipt prompts you for an additional tip. It gets irritating have to sign for every drink you buy.
For the major entertainment, you have to have reservations. Most of the shows were full by the time we boarded. So, thank goodness I had made reservations two months prior to leaving. But the shows themselves were good and the costumes and scenery great.
Overall, the ship is very pretty and many times I just felt like I was at the mall. Some of the neighborhoods RCI highlights, like Central Park, and the Boardwalk are really not as big as you think they are. My biggest complaint is that RCI sacrificed ocean views in order to fit in everything. Really, you have to be outside on the top floors in the pool/activities area in order to see the water.
All sorts of people were on board and it's a very international crowd but it was also "Scooter Nation". Even Ken Rush, the cruise director, joked about the number of people who were on those scooters zipping around the ship. The area outside of the dining room looks like a scooter parking lot! I have been on lines that are known for a more mature crowd, but this was so much more that I would have expected. How many times did my toes get squashed?
We paid more for this cruise than for any other we have been on. Yet, no nice soap/shampoo in the bath, no dressing robes in your room, fresh orange juice will cost you $2.25 (the other line gives it to you for free), the pastries are fresh on Monday but by Thursday they are all just hard, and then there's a few places that you can't even enter unless you are a "diamond" member. And, then there's the public spectacle of handing out the tips at the end of the cruise--just plain uncomfortable. The spa was also a huge disappointment. My husband and I were eager to book the room with the heated lounge chairs and steam rooms for the week. We had done that with another cruise line and loved it. Yet, this one was so disappointing. Only four or five lounges. No, hot tub/whirlpool and no views whatsoever. We felt so claustrophobic on the tour. It is not worth the money--other cruise lines have the lounges, steam rooms AND a hot tub with gorgeous views. Alas, as I have mentioned, there just are any views in the common areas and very limited in the dining room or Windjammer.
Kids will love all the cute animals running around and teens will love the activities. I missed the perks that make this a truly relaxing, luxurious cruise. The service was fantastic and I loved our room, but I will not be sailing on the Oasis class ships again.