Learn from your sister company: Celebrity !!!
If you are looking for the same great food as Celebrity, forget it. There were 2 restaurant owners in our group, and we could not believe what we saw. More on that later.
For starters, the website was difficult to use. Not like Celebrity.
Boarding was a breeze at 12:10 PM. We were led to the Windjammer. This was our first inkling about the food to come.
Our room was available at 1 PM, but no one announced this. Speaking of announcements, the speaker system in the main floor ( deck 5 ) was so loud that you could not understand what was being said, because of the echoes. The guest services desk is on that floor, and I am sure these folks know this every time they hear it, yet no one says anything.
Our cabin was very nice. We had a Junior Suite on the 6th floor, port side. There was only one problem: THE PILLOWS !! We had everything- a 40 " flat screen, Samsung TV, safe, soap, hair dryer, and a beautiful cabin, but PILLOWS FROM HELL ! Maybe that's an overstatement. They were cheap, hard, and lumpy; call it what you will. BRING YOUR OWN PILLOWS.
Our room attendant, Jermaine, was great. He provided is with quality service, yet did not crowd us. There was no ice provided in the room unless requested. Celebrity has ice in the rooms at all times.
The TV bridge channel lacked some important information. THERE WAS NO WEATHER INFORMATION !! If you wanted to know the temperature; you had to go out on the balcony!! There was a small ship route map, but hard to see. Other daily information was also in very small print and you could not read it from bed. The interactive part of the TV was also hard to work. Like their web site, it was not user friendly.
The ship is very large, but after a few days, you learn your way. We had 55 KT. Winds one day, yet the ride was very smooth.
We were amazed at how friendly and helpful the staff was. The servers were fantastic, yet they had mostly Blah food to serve. The windjammer buffet was bad, starting with the layout and the quality of the food. The dining room area was very large and roomy.
Breakfast had the feeling that someone thought this up yesterday, and had no idea of how to run a buffet. Good items: Hash Browns, pork sausages, and pre-made ham & cheese omelets. Everything was pre-made; no custom anything.
Scrambled eggs were awful. They were powdered eggs and smelled funny. They also had a regular pan and a specialty pan. The choices by day were shrimp, onions, salmon, ham, mushroom, and vegetable. Needless to say, these were not very popular.
Cantaloupe was cut in chunks by someone who had no idea what they were doing. They had seeds on almost all of them, not to mention the green rind. Some days, they were not ripe and very hard.
There were only 2 bacon pans in the buffet; one on each side. They were in a 20" skillet. The bacon was raw in the middle, and cooked altogether; about 6 pounds at a time and all stuck together. For the first few days, there was a screen to hold them off the grease, but that disappeared the last 3 days.
Milk was served in the little wax cartons; sitting on a cold serving surface !! It was cool, but a definite violation of common health sense.
My favorite was the OJ. A guy put 30-40 glasses on a tray. He then filled them with a 2 gallon pitcher with a 8" wide spout. The glasses had OJ on the sides and sat in a puddle of OJ. It dripped when you picked it up. You hands were sticky. Only half the time was it cool.
Next to the OJ debacle was the fried eggs. A guy cooked about 20 fried eggs on a grill. He then put them on a big serving pan with a spoon. They were cold and bland. Why not custom cook them ?
There was no airport dispenser for the Half and Half. There were only those mini non-dairy cups. There were spills everywhere. They did have cream and milk in dispensers.
The corn beef hash was dry as a bone and filled with green peppers. What a way to kill the taste of corn beef.
There were other bone head things, but this gives you the idea.
On deck 5, there was a pizza place named Sorrento's. Great Pizza. Looked forward to snacking there.
I bought the soda pass. It was welcome everywhere. Never had a problem. The ginger ale was good throughout the ship.
Went to the Park Cafe for one of those roast beef sandwiches. Read on Cruise Critic that they were great. Boy, what a disappointment. Like most meat items on the ship, it was way over cooked. It was almost like a pot roast, yet tough.
Now for the Windjammer Lunch. A lot like breakfast. Same Blah food, with some wrinkles.
Every food item is written in 8 languages. Sounds like a good idea; WRONG. There is no description of what the item is. Example: FISH in 8 languages. What kind of fish ? Some items looked so bad, you either could not tell what they were or did not believe the sign.
The one plate of pasta never changed from being undercooked. Surprising, because everything else was over-cooked. Speaking of spaghetti, the sauces were tomato, salsa, meatballs sitting in a broth of grease, and bolognaise. One of these each day. I am sure the bolognaise was actually tomato sauce, but I did not want to try it. There is no parmesan cheese. One day, a guy said they had put bacon in the tomato sauce for flavor. A guy beside me got angry because he did not eat pork.
Had the sweet & sour pork. Was mushy and tastless.
Now for the deserts. They may have tasted good, but looked awful. Whoever makes these also should be replaced. NO ICE CREAM. There is an ice cream shop on the Boardwalk for $ 3 a scoop.
French fries were best of any dish, yet there was always a shortage of Ketchup. Waiters were always very helpful with this, but it took them a long time to find it.
We signed up for " my time dining". First night we waited 40 minutes. Make a reservation as soon as possible. We learned that the first night. The Opus dining room was very eloquent. We had great servers in Hydee and Radney, both from the Philippines. Had 2 good dishes: Roast Chicken and a Lamb Shank. I learned to order all dishes with all condiments on the side. All the steaks were overcooked. Everything had something added to it, and none of them enhanced the food.
Deserts were good considering the food. The highlight of dinner was the servers.
There was usually some Indian dish on the menu. There were very few Indian passengers, but 90 % of the kitchen was from that area; go figure.
Went to Giovanni's one evening. It was an Italian place with only 2 pasta dishes. The antipasti was the best item. The mushroom risotto was OK, and the lamb chops were bland. I was fortunate to have them with no sauce. I was the lucky one. The sauce was awful and ruined the already marginal lamb chops. Our medium rare came medium well, but we were used to that by now.
The casino was large and had an efficient staff.
The pool area was well thought out. There were fresh and salt water pools. Plenty of chairs, BUT...
On cruise ships and many resorts, there are those that get up early and go to the pool to reserve chairs. They actually "decorate" the chairs with books, bags, magazines, towels, etc. Our 2nd day at sea, on the way to St. Thomas, by 8:30, there were hundreds of these. I took pictures for several hours. Some chairs went unused all day. NO ONE ENFORCED THE 30 MINUTE RULE.
I called the deck manager, AMBER. I told her of the situation and she seemed to think this was not the case. When I told her about the pictures, she wanted us to meet. Why ? I had the pictures; what could she say. She started with " people might have been in the pool". I had pictures of the pool also. She asked what I would do with the pictures ( which I thought a strange question), and I said I would send them to the corporate office. There was no order to the pool operations and this was evident. Ended with telling her that I had made her aware of the problem and that was my intention.
On out last day back to Ft. Lauderdale, there were even more chair saving. NOTHING WAS DONE. There were lifeguards at the pools, but it was even worse. She either did not care or did not know how to control this. One of the people working there had told me " the boss did not like to enforce this rule"; and this was obvious.
My suggestion to you: go save a seat, everyone else does.
Leaving the ship was relatively flawless. We took advantage of the express bag service. At $ 20 a passenger, it was the best. It also included a printed boarding pass for the plane and bags went directly to the airport, and were checked in to the airline. We could leave the ship at any time; WITH NO BAGS.
The Oasis of the Seas is a magnificent ship. The staff and crew were the best. I surveyed some of the different waiters and they are aware of the food problems, but like some corporations, what can they do without jeopardizing their jobs. It would be easy to fix most of these problems by just letting the Celebrity folks help. They understand and do it right. Its part of the RCL company. Everything I have mentioned here is done correctly on Celebrity.
A friend asked us if we would sail again on the Oasis if they had better food. My answer is NO. Only because, I am sure there are those in the corporate office that think everything is fine and dandy. I also think it would take some time to change these problems. RCL is making money, so why should they change. The food is not as bad as NCL, but it is no where near what Celebrity has to offer. Food is an important part of any vacation, and the wow factor is definitely missing.
We were in St. Maartens the same time as the Celebrity Solstice. I would have given anything to go on board for lunch.
We had a great time because of our friends.