Fair warning, this review is all over the place, so please take pity on me :-)
I recently completed a 7 night cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. As one of the largest cruise ships in the world (the other of course being its sister ship the Allure of the Seas), I expected great things from this ship and while I was in awe, it was just too big.
We booked this cruise last minute using Cruise.com (advise, don't EVER use them) as they promised prepaid gratuities, the best price on a balcony stateroom, plus a $75 obc. After we booked they didn't honor the obc and said it was RC's policy. Not sure who is to blame, but either way, poor business practice that probably tainted me somewhat.
Checking in/parking at the cruise terminal was fairly painless. There was a bit of a line getting into the actual port, but once you made it to your pier, traffic direction to drop off luggage, park and check in was really efficient.
The Check-in process was painless as we had completed the Sea Pass info online and came prepared with the appropriate paperwork/identification.
When we boarded the ship on deck 5, the Promenade, I seriously didn't know what to do/look at first. They had greeters who were available to direct you, so we went directly up to our room.
The room was smallish, but well laid out as other reviewers have said. We had requested the beds apart(as I was traveling with my mother) when we booked and online with RC, but the beds were together when we arrived in the room with a card saying you could call your stateroom steward to move them apart--at night when the room gets made up. We ran into our cabin steward on the way to lunch and he was very nice, but honestly the job he did all week wasn't that impressive. I've had better cabin stewards. He wasn't terrible by any means, he just wasn't great. I found service on the ship in general to be this way.
The bathroom while small, was functional. The space capsule like shower is as described, but unlike the Freedom of the Seas, this ship has carved out an extra space toward the back of the shower that has a foot rest bar. I believe they also sloped the shower drain slightly to prevent overflow...I believe these two things prevented what I hated about the FOS showers...wet floors after you shower. The floor was always bone dry and I was happy for it!
In the room, you have a flat screen TV that pivots and you are able to check the restaurants' availability (green=not crowded; yellow=getting there; red=totally full). These indicators should have been our first clue. We found the windjammer was red, so we opted for the little snack shop near the sports deck. They had hot dogs, burgers, ice cream. Not exactly the welcome meal we had in mind, but it was food and we were hungry so we ate it.
In walking around, we saw they had a dining package (I didn't see this online until the day before we left for the ship, so I couldn't book it online at that point) for only $50per person. The "Oasis" dining package included dinner at Chops the first night onboard, then you could make reservations later in the week for Giovanni's Table and either Izumi's or the Solarium Bistro. They also had the "Choice" dining package for $65 per person, and it included dinner at 150 Central Park (which I heard was very good) along with two other restaurants. This dining package was a lot of trouble for me later in the week, but food wise, I was so glad we did it!!
Although I had the recipient showing I paid for the Oasis package, it didn't reflect on my set sail until Wednesday or Thursday. This caused a lot of confusion the first night and that left a really bad taste in my mouth. After having a lovely meal at Chops (I highly recommend the Veal chop and the Creme brulee, which comes out flaming:-)), the waiter asked if I booked online or on board. So I answered his question, I booked on-board (as I assumed the dining package had already been credited; you know how quick they are to charge you for drinks, I just assumed this was the same way).
The waiter came back with a $73 bill, so I asked if it would be comped b/c of the dining package we had. He then said, "This is why I asked you if you booked online or on-board, you told me you booked on-board." This confused me, so I got a little testy back with him, and I told him I did book today, on-board, the Oasis dining package. He went and adjusted the bill and the manager came over to apologize for the confusion, but it still had me a bit confused as I assumed they should keep track of these things (they keep track of everything else). This happened again at Giovanni's table (they ask if you booked on-board or online); I was prepared this time and told him I had the Oasis package. That transaction went smoothly and the service was wonderful. The food was also very good; kind of reminds you of a Maggiano's or Bucca di Beppo. By the time we ate at Izumi (very good by the way; even if you're not a sushi eater like me, or a fake sushi eater, it was a fun experience and the wait staff were wonderful--watch out for those sake martini's :-P), they had it in their system that we had the Oasis dining package. But considering it took two trips to Guest Services and a photo copy of my recipient to get this straightened out, I was a little annoyed.
We ate in the dining room once and that was plenty. I admit, when I read the reviews prior to taking this trip, I thought a lot of people were just being picky and kind of posh...nope! The food really is terrible in the dining room. The service is really good, but that cannot make up for the food. We went on one of the formal nights (so that's when they supposedly put their best foot forward) and had the lobster and prime rib. My lobster was flavorless (the texture was fine) and my mother's prime rib left a lot to be desired. I do not recommend eating in the dining room. Why waste the calories on crap food. If you're going to consume that many calories, at least splurge and go to one of the specialty restaurants.
The shows/activities...this goes back to my assessment of the ship being too big! We were able to make reservations for some shows online, but because we booked last minute, a lot of the premium times/dates were not available, so we got the left overs. Some shows (like the ice skating show and the comedy show) we had to book when we got on-board. As other reviews have indicated, if you don't get a particular show or show date/time, visit Studio B on the Entertainment deck (4) as soon as you get on-board. Know in advance what shows/seatings you want and by pass everyone in-front of the podium set up in front of studio B and proceed into the actual studio. Walk to the left and you should see a whole row of RC workers at portable computers ready to help you book your tickets for the shows. We had no problem getting tickets and changing things around. However, tickets do not guarantee anything for the popular shows...
By far the most popular shows on the ship are Hairspray (staring Mr. Jim J.Bullock of Too Close for Comfort fame) and the Aqua Show (Oasis of Dreams I believe it's called). For these two shows, arrive 20mins ahead of time at least. I saw an old lady almost curse out a twenty-something b/c the twenty-something came to the front of the line (which was the reservations line) and said, "oh, we have reservations" and tried to get in. It got really ugly at one point. One man was actually cursing out the ticket scanner dude in German (I think it was German) and I thought he was going to go fist to cuffs >.< Once we made it into the Aqua Theater, seats were impossible to find. We actually got two of the last four seats stage left, so we were happy. But others were not so lucky. If you have trouble, take everyone else's advice and go to the 11th floor outside deck at the back of the ship to see the show. Hairspray was also very crowded, but no fights broke out, so that was a good start. Again, this ship is just too big...they can't accommodate everyone.
Go to the free movies they show in the Aqua Theater during the day...it's a great way to get out and enjoy a day at sea without spending a ton of money. We watched Jack and Jill and Tower Heist. One thing I really like about this area are the comfortable beach type chairs and tables and the free food they offer at the boardwalk bar. They have corn dogs, chicken nuggets (yes, they are actually hot), fresh fruit cups, prepared salads and sandwiches and chips and salsa. It's so easy to walk up to the bar and get a corn dog and fruit to snack on while you're watching the movie(s).
Eat your breakfast early if you want to eat in the Windjammer. If you go after 7:30am--fuggetaboutit!
We never got to eat lunch in the windjammer except the day we visited Haiti. We didn't go onshore until 1pm, so we were able to eat in the windjammer that day. All others, it was filled to capacity and we had no hope of getting in.
Order room service for lunch on sea days when the restaurants are packed. The food is pretty good and if you tip a couple of bucks, they start to recognize you and will bring you extra goodies (for example, they knew I liked fruit and always included a fruit plate whether I ordered one or not). You place your room service order via the TV menu and they then call you to confirm your order. When they call, you can request additional items (like french fries, grape jelly, Splenda--which was in hot demand on the ship, etc.)
Eat in the specialty restaurants and order one of the dining packages--well worth it for the money spent and the service you receive :-)
All in all, I'm glad I got to experience the Oasis class ships. However, I think they are just too big. It was fun to see people zip lining (it was a really short zip line LOL), and to experience the Boardwalk and see Central Park (truly lovely), but everything else is available on their other ships (flowrider, rockclimbing, johnny rockets, etc.) I much preferred the size of the Freedom of the Seas as I still felt I was in a floating resort, but it wasn't nearly as crowded.
Also, because this ship is so crowded, the staff and crew I think are just overwhelmed. The service was seriously hit or miss. Some staff members where great and friendly, and others were downright surly and rude. I didn't really experience this on the previous RC cruise I took and I never experienced staff rudeness on the Carnival cruises I took (the passengers are another story...) If you are particularly demanding or looking for perfection, I warn you now...you likely will run into some issue at some point that may upset you. The Guest Services area stayed packed...considering you can book everything through your TV, there had to be a reason...