My wife, 4 young children and I just returned from the February 4 Oasis Western Caribbean cruise. It was our first family cruise and it was spectacular. With the caveat that we are a very active sports family, I cannot comprehend how others could complain about this experience. The ship is beautiful, well kept at all times and it's size enables people to always spread out and do different things. The broadway quality shows, alone, would have been worth it and we could not believe the quality and athleticism exhibited. The Aqua Theater diving and Splish Splash shows have world class divers and acrobats and the Frozen in Time ice show has similar elite talent. My 12 and 10 year olds played basketball all week on the sports court, and my 7 and 5 year olds were thrilled and stimulated by the diverse programing of the Activities Staff. We will forever remember my 7 year old in the thoughtful Pirate Parade and 1st rate face painting.
Yes, the food in the main dining room is average, but the great staff and decor made up for it. I disagree very strongly with prior posts' criticism of the Wind Jammer cafe. We loved the set up and were always able to quickly navigate the buffets because they are not limited by single file lines. The Park Cafe roast beef sandwiches are as advertised - very good.
Central Park on the 8th deck really made a difference. It is rarely crowded, quiet and beautiful at night with its decorative lights and trees. In hindsight, the flow riders are not up to the hype. No doubt, a lot of fun, but always a line, and they were closed for the first half of port days (- bummer).
Except for maybe the busiest sail day, the 4 pools were not as crowded as I would have expected. The beach pool was always mobbed, so we focused on the sports pool, which was always comfortably spaced out. There are so many hot tubs that you can always find one with room, and the whole family loved the Aqua Theater area at the back of the ship - especially the 2 big movie screens where we watched the Superbowl. Our ship was filled with former NFL players supporting the event, who we got to meet.
There is always so much fun going on in the Royal Promenade main area of the ship (deck 5) that you can't help but do frequent laps through this space to enjoy the people watching, music, frequent sales and restaurants.
The 3 ports were interesting. We were thrilled with Labadee because we are very active. It is an incredibly beautiful area and very easy to navigate. I agree with the reviews that there is a lot of aggressive sales from locals, but they are very friendly. Loved the wave runner tour and shady trees at Columbus Cove. The Zip Line is very much worth it, if for nothing more than the view at the top. Falmouth Jamaica, however, is a poor choice of ports. It is more than an hour one-way away from most things you'd want to do in Jamaica. We stayed on the ship and did a little shopping at the retail shops at the port. Cozumel is Cozumel - perfect. We booked a private snorkeling tour with Roswitha at Mystic and enjoyed the incredibly clear water at the Columbus Shallows and Palancar Reef. Lots of fish and Rosi really catered to my 7 year old, but please wear a wetsuit -- most of us got many minor stings from jellyfish. Rosi dropped us directly at "Mr. Sanchos" beach on the way back, which had great local food, shady thatch umbrellas, water sports and even an iguana and parrot holding opportunity.
We'll be back, and would like to see the Oasis or the Allure do a Southern cruise or maybe include Grand Cayman on a Western Itinerary.