We began our cruise vacation by spending a couple of days in Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Embassey Suites on SE 17th street and the service, rooms and overall experience was great and a good value. Highly recommend Chuck's Steak house across the street. The food was outstanding and after dinner we went into the lounge to listen to a couple of guitarists and their repartore of songs was great. We all had a great time.
Boarding the ship the next day was great. Royal Caribbean is very organized and because we were in a Junior Suite and Platinum members we did not wait in any lines to board.
Once on board at around 12:30 there was plenty of places to eat and of course pick up the "Drink of the Day". Our cabin was ready at 1pm and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. The cabin was great. One recommendation is to bring some of the 'magic' hooks that you can remove before you leave so that you can hang things on them in the walk in closet. If you can afford to stay in a junior suite, they are outstanding. The walk in closet is amazing and having a coffee and tea pot in the room is great for those early morning coffees on the balcony. The ship is so large that it is quite a walk to most of the food venues. Our room attendant Vince was great and always there if we needed anything.
The shows were outstanding. I do recommend that you make your reservations as soon as that option is available on the website because if you wait til you are on board, you will miss out on several of them. I liked the way the performers were in multiple shows. The high wire acts were used in the Aqua Theatre as well as the Come Fly with me producution. The Comedians were hysterical. Found myself chuckling into the next day. Definitely adult comedy so use caution if you are thinking of bringing your teens.
The food was great. We had an 8:30 seating in the main dining room and the service was wonderful. Kirk and Percy were our waiters and anyone would be lucky to have them. We all had a few good laughs each night and their service was great.
The ports were good. Nassau stay was shortened and we did not find out that the pools at Atlantis would not be open until 10am and that we need to be back on board at 2. A note was left in the room but I did not notice it until it was too late to back out. I still got to do the "Leap of Faith" so I can cross it off my bucket list. The weather was not great but the worst was that my husband misplaced the locker key. They charged us $50.00, we found the key but they still charged us the $50. I think it's a bad practice. It could have been reduced by some amount, but it was the rules that were posted.
St. Marten and St. Thomas were great. We did a tour of St. Thomas in the morning and went to the highest point on the island. Our driver was very knowledge. In St. Marten my husband and I went into Phillipsburg for the day. We spent the day shopping but I had wished that we actually dressed for the beach since the beach is beautiful and we could easily have shopped and spent time at the beach. We ended up walking back to the ship and it took about 30 minutes. Not a bad walk at all. I would recommend walking to Phillipsburg since trying to get a taxi with thousands (no exaggeration) was not worth the hassle. It's a very nice walk.
Ship activities were a lot of fun. I did the Zip Line and that was great. Scary when waiting in the harness to step off into mid air, but once I did, I realized that I was not holding myself on but rather really secured in the harness. I was able to relax and truly enjoy the ride. I would definitely do that again. I attend a "Flash Mob" dance class and our class performed at the final party on the Royal Promenade. It was a lot of fun. Also tried the Lady Gaga Dance class. The instructor Allison did such a great job with the classes.
My husband loved the Central park area and the bartendeer, Marvin, was outstanding. There are so many great people working on the ship but some just stand out.
So I liked the ship but have to be honest that the "Independence of the Seas" is still my favorite. The Oasis is just too big and it feels very chopped up. For example the pools are very small due to the openings in the ship. There also were 6,214 people on our cruise so most things had lines or you could not get seats. My recommendation is to at least try this ship once since it is a worthwhile experience and who knows, maybe it will be the right size for you. Hope this review helps.