My family and I departed on January 21, 2012 on a 7 day much needed vacation aboard the Oasis of the Seas. My short review of the ship itself is that lives up to the hype it has received for being the largest ship on the seas! The ship is ENORMOUSLY GARGANTUAN to put it lightly! She casts a giant shadow over all the other ships in Port Everglades. The amount of detail that Royal Caribbean put forth throughout the entire ship is pretty jaw dropping. Here is the rest of my (detailed) review...
EMBARKATION: The cameras weren't working correctly when we got to Port Everglades around 1100 so the wait to board the floating resort took a little longer than we expected, but not bad at all. We boarded on Deck 5, the Royal Promenade and all 6 of us stood there for a moment to take it all in. What an amazing piece of work. We were immediately greeted with the Cupcake Shop, 3 bar areas, and the Pizza restaurant. NOTE*** Make your way to Deck 8 when you board and head to the Park Cafe for roast beef sandwiches. You won't be disappointed!
CABIN: We went the money saving route when we booked and decided on the "Inside Guarantee Stateroom " (Through Vacations To Go) meaning we didn't know where we were going to stay, just that we were guaranteed a room on the ship. The room is small but utilized well. Just enough space to put clothing away and lay your head at night. I personally like to brush my teeth in cold water, and it seemed as though we didn't have that in our room very often. NOTE*** These rooms are pitch black at night, so it's easy to lose track of time because the only clock in the room is on telephone.
FOOD: It's very easy to eat 5 square meals a day aboard the Oasis, which we did a few times. Breakfast is over by 1100 and we found ourselves enjoying the Park Cafe's breakfast sandwiches and cups of fruit. The Windjammer is usually packed but the wait staff tries pretty hard to find you a table. For lunch, they serve the same food every day for the most part, so we tried to switch it up a lot. The bar area at the Boardwalk has pretty good chicken nuggets and corndogs. The Wipeout Cafe has a decent selection of food (burgers, pizza, tacos, nachos, pretzel dogs) but it gets a little old. Dinners in the main dining room were a little different. The food was pretty good for the most part. Formal nights are Sunday night and Wednesday night (or the first two full "At Sea Days". I would rate Royal Caribbean's food selection second to Celebrity but much better than Carnival. NOTE*** we purchased one soda package and they didn't really care if is shared with my wife. It paid for itself with a drink at lunch and dinner most nights.
PORTS: We visited Labadee, Haiti on the first port day and it didn't disappoint. We booked the Dragon Breath Flight Line on RoyalCaribbean.com a few weeks prior to departing. This was a lot of fun! Afterwards, we walked the Market in the center. NOTE*** The Haitians are very forward with you and they are offended if you don't barter with them. We bought a few useless trinkets and spent the rest of the time at the beach.
The second port day was Falmouth, Jamaica. We did Dunn's River Falls and enjoyed it immensely! NOTE*** Bring AquaSox. They have them for sale at the falls if you forget. This was my second time "climbing" the falls and I don't remember it being that crowded, it must've been a busy day. We got back to the pier and walked the Marketplace before boarding for the day. The Jamaicans are a lot more laid back than the Haitians.
The last port of call was for Cozumel, Mexico. We snorkeled the "Three Reef Snorkel by Boat" and it was a blast. Takes about 3 hours and the guides know the area very well. They feed the fish to keep them close and there are a ton of them! We saw a few rays and a really large school of grouper. We got back to the ship, changed clothes and went downtown in a cab ($16 each way for 6). I enjoyed Cozumel the best for shopping and looking.
ENTERTAINMENT: This is really where the ship puts me in awe. There is so much to do aboard the Oasis! We saw a lot of shows, not all though. Hairspray didn't disappoint but I wouldn't see it twice. The AquaTheater dive show, "Oasis of Dreams" was incredible. The ice skating show, "Frozen in Time" was pretty good too. There is always singing and dancing at some club and karaoke is pretty fun to watch. We played mini golf (better than the Solstice), we did the FlowRider (harder than it looks), we did the ZipLine (82 feet), we climbed the Rock Wall (also harder than it looked), and we spent a good chunk of time at Casino Royale. It was nice that it had a smoking and non-smoking section. We went to the Seafood Shack on one of the nights where it included a seafood feast and 3 alcoholic drinks and dessert for $25. Pretty good deal. A was the only time we paid extra for a meal. I know we missed a lot, but there just isn't enough time to do everything and catch some rays on the pool deck (4 pools + kids pool).
DEBARKATION: This was a REAL turnoff for me after a pretty good week aboard the Oasis. It seemed to be pretty unorganized for how often they do it? I understand they have 6,400+ people to try and get off a giant ship, but they screwed a few things up. My parent's luggage was in two completely different lines so they asked for help and were told to go to the lost luggage area. Luggage wasn't there, so they went back to the same representative and were told to "start looking". Again, I know there are a lot of people but she could've handled my parents a little nicer. In the end, I felt like we got pushed off the ship and thrown out with the trash after we "gave them our money". Oh well.
FINAL THOUGHTS: The Oasis of the Seas is a magnificent ship and well worth the itinerary. I would definitely recommend it, but I would never go again. Just too many people to deal with. It was also Chinese New Year so almost 3,000 Chinese people were on our cruise. No offense to any Chinese people out there, but the language barrier was hard to deal with at times. Deck 16 behind the FlowRiders seemed to be the quietest place we found but it's a long ways away from any pool and it can get hot back there. The service was never really bad, they just didn't go that extra mile that Celebrity seems to go. We might try the Freedom class in a year or two. An All-Inclusive resort will come before that though. Thanks for reading. I'd love to answer any questions you guys may have! Cheers.