Within the seven onboard neighborhoods that have made it famous, Oasis of the Seas offers everything from a carousel and zipline to interactive kids clubs and more than 10,000 live plants, but that's not even the best of it. Read on to see what we love most about Oasis of the Seas.
The ship's Aqua Theater, set at the very back of the ship, overlooking the wake, is home to water-based performances that involve high diving, acrobatics and synchronized swimming. You'll have to make reservations, but the performances are free and feature jaw-dropping feats of precision and athleticism that are well worth a watch.
We can confidently say that Portside BBQ, Royal Caribbean's first barbecue restaurant, sells the best pulled pork we've ever tasted at sea. In fact, it rivals most we've had on land, too. For a modest, flat per-person fee, cruisers can choose from an entree, two sides and a dessert in a venue that's bedecked with steel and brick. Show up at the right time, and you might just find your fellow passengers line dancing to live music.
For years, we heard rumors of a roving pianist who would show up in random places throughout the ship. We were beginning to think he was a myth until we set out on a midday trip to the sports deck for some FlowRider fun, and BAM! there he was, in all his glory, playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in the elevator that had arrived to take us to Deck 15. Day. Made.
Speaking of Deck 15, there's no place more fun for active cruisers. Serving as Oasis of the Seas' Sports Deck, it offers two FlowRiders, a zipline, a basketball court, three pools and a mini-golf course, plus Splashaway Bay, a family-friendly wet play area with dump buckets and water blasters. The area also houses the Perfect Storm trio of water slides and two of four The Lime & Coconut bar outposts -- perfect sources for fruity poolside beverages.
Royal Caribbean's mobile app has some impressive features. In addition to speeding up embarkation by allowing you to check in before you arrive at the port, the app lets you view the daily schedule, make reservations, check out your onboard bill and navigate your way around Oasis' 18 massive decks. But, the newest iteration also allows tech-savvy cruisers to control their stateroom TVs and open their cabins doors with nothing but their smartphones -- convenient if you don't want to worry about losing your room key.
Even when Oasis of the Seas' onboard candy shop, Sugar Beach, hasn't yet opened its doors, you can still snag some scoops from its new ice cream window, which operates beyond the main store's normal hours. Choose from a variety of flavors in cups or cones for a fee, and grab a seat at one of several tables lining the Boardwalk, or take a leisurely stroll around the carousel.
Escape rooms have become a staple on Royal Caribbean's newest ships, and Oasis has joined the ranks with Mission Control: Apollo 18. The interactive extra-cost activity gives passengers one hour to escape from a replica of the original Apollo mission control room. The goal is to launch Apollo 18 by using teamwork to solve a series of rather difficult puzzles.
New to Royal Caribbean are Panorama Suites, which debuted on Oasis of the Seas. The pricy digs, which are situated on the "wings" above the bridge, feature sweeping views via floor-to-ceiling windows that allow occupants to share the same vistas as the captain and officers immediately below. Each of these two cabins offers separate bedroom and living room areas, a walk-in closet, full bath with a tub, a Nespresso coffee maker, the services of a Royal Genie butler and access to the suites-only dining room, Coastal Kitchen.
Playmakers Sports Bar features a two-room setup, with one room boasting a bar and the other housing a selection of classic arcade games like "Donkey Kong," "Mario Bros." and "Pac-Man." Passengers can order bar nibbles in either section, both of which are outfitted with seating, tabletop games like Jenga and foosball, and plenty of TVs for watching live sporting events. There's even an Owner's Box section that can be reserved for groups.
Sure, Oasis of the Seas is a decade old, but you wouldn't know it. A series of well-timed refurbishments and meticulous care by the crew mean it sparkles like the day it debuted. You could splurge on one of the ship's newer siblings, but why do that when you can snag the same amenities for less money on the original Oasis-class vessel? It's a win-win.