Review OA in Europe
Oasis was coming to Europe. And we had to book it! It really didn’t matter where the ship was going to, we had to be on it! So we booked the day it went on sale in the UK in April 2013 and then had 17 months to wait ... Read More
Review OA in Europe
Oasis was coming to Europe. And we had to book it! It really didn’t matter where the ship was going to, we had to be on it! So we booked the day it went on sale in the UK in April 2013 and then had 17 months to wait and plan….
We flew out to Barcelona the day before and spent one night in the Acevi Villaroel which is a nice little hotel with a small pool, around 10 minutes’ walk from Placa Catalunya. We had drinks at the rooftop bar at Hotel 1898 and then a very good dinner at a restaurant called Teller de Tapas in the Ramblas. Recommended.
The next day it was up early and in a taxi to the port. So excited to see Lady O for the first time and she did not disappoint. In fact she was actually berthed at 2 of the terminals in Barcelona and in the run up to the cruise we had received several mailers to advise us. If you were in an Aft cabin you went to Terminal B and if you were at the front you went to Terminal A. As we approached the cruise terminals there were banners hanging from the lampposts reminding you to know which one you were heading for. Cab drivers were stopped and given a card with A or B on it so they were only allowed into the correct terminal..It really was very well organised indeed. Check-in and boarding was possibly the swiftest we have ever known and we were on board by 11.15.
Overwhelming, stunning, impressive, how on earth does she float and move….. I think we ran out of superlatives to describe her. But most importantly our reoccurring thoughts were “how on earth do they hide 5000 people” as we had been most concerned by crowding issues. Especially as our most recent cruises have been with Azamara! The organisation and the flow of people throughout the ship was amazing. OK it was a little crowded on the RP for 70s night and in the Solarium for the Vodka party but you would expect that!
We had a Boardwalk balcony on deck 11 and it appears that the cruisers of Europe are not aware of the Secret Balconies as we had it pretty much to ourselves for the duration. It is such a shame that these are being turned into cabins during her dry dock, so we feel really lucky to have experienced it.
We had pre-booked 3 restaurants, and we got $30 OBC for this, and we had also pre-booked all the shows we wanted to see (despite being told by the Guatemala office that pre-booking shows no longer happens on Oasis and you book on board…). .However we never actually went to any show at the time we booked, we just went at different times, we were never checked at entry so I’m not really sure about the point and pressure to prebook.
As Diamond members we enjoyed the services of the charming Ed in the DL. The DL is going to change to a location in the Dining room, which is another shame as it was nice to sit out under the umbrellas and watching the action below on the RP. The new DL will have sea views though. We noticed that the Diamond gift has also been changed from the cellophane wrapped gift box to a simple 2.5oz packet of Butter Shortbread Cookies. Perhaps an economy drive, but we did bring the packet of cookies home with us whereas we never opened or sampled anything in the cellophane wrapped box. The internet options were annoying in so much as we had a credit of $29.95pp but there was no plan to that value so you either bought a cheaper plan at $19.95 or lost the rest. I got 60 minutes for $29.95. There was an unlimited plan for the 5n voyage for $99.95.
Other niggles we found were, that despite requesting our bill to be settled in $ and despite highlighting this option on the SetSail pass in bright dayglo orange, they seem to have missed this and we were invoiced in GBP. We also had issues with the photos – where we requested one to be printed and it was not of us! When I took it to the desk the lady said ‘are you sure this isn’t you’! Doh…..So that didn’t work very well! There is obviously no one proof reading the Cruise Compass as there were some glaring errors – such as the port being listed as ‘Barcelona, Spain, Florida’…..and announcing that you can see a show again on Saturday. Very nice to know but we got off on Thursday. It is little things like this which need a little more attention to detail.
That aside, the cruise itself was fabulous. We were impressed, we thought the quality and variety of food offerings on board were excellent.
We had lunch at Giovannis when we boarded, which is a good tip picked up on CC. This costs $15pp at lunch; and then had a light tasty Tapas meal in Vintages that night. This only cost around $15 for both of us as we had a few dishes and they are very reasonably priced at $3 -£4 each. We had a wonderful meal in 150 Central Park ($40pp) where the chocolate desert was the best I have ever tasted, and we also enjoyed the Seafood Shack (we don’t have anything like that in England). We also dined in Izumi which has ALC pricing and this came out at around $45. We also ate dinner at Chops; the menu has changed, it has been cut back, and despite having a $35pp cover charge, the were additional steaks at a further supplement, and the size of the fillet steak has shrunk from 8oz to 6oz….You no longer get the lovely basket of various breads and dips; now it is a prezel bread and some rather nasty fishy tasting butter. This was the most disappointing meal IMO. I am also aware that we paid for every dinner on board as a supplement and did not dine in the MDR; and this is because we were trying to sample as much as possible in the 5 short nights. We would never be this extravagant usually! That said, most venues were empty. Perhaps the Europeans begrudge paying extra on top of their cruise fare?! One lunch we sampled the Solarium Café which we found a little bland and disappointing (so much so that I have now cancelled our reservation for dinner there when we sail on Quantum). We got our burgers at Johnny Rockets, and also we had lunch at the Park Café but sadly never tried the famous roast beef sandwiches; we had breakfast there a few times, and also had breakfast at the Wipe Out Café where you can get eggs/omelettes to order. We only ate in the MDR once and this was at the Dreamworks Character Breakfast. There were not many children on board so I think this event was a bit ‘flat’…..and I think that now they charge $10pp for this experience it is not worth it. We were also impressed with the décor and art on board, and several little features reminded us of the Solstice class of ships which we love, such as the bathroom layout, the little leg shaver bar, and the dim lights in the bathroom.
We had the drinks package and found the choice of wines and cocktails to be better than we expected. I was amazed that drinks like frozen berry margaritas were included
We had planned our activities on board, we even had a spreadsheet to follow….after all, it is hard to fit in 24 bars in 5 days (but we did try…). We thought the shows were very impressive, perhaps some of the best we have ever seen on a cruise. The Oasis of Dreams was amazing viewed from ‘above’ from the secret balcony and we just loved Come Fly With Me.
But it was only a 5 night cruise and there was so much we never did, we did not drink in Boleros or the Schooner Bar. We did not get to the Comedy Club, the Jazz Bar, we did not watch the Ice Show, we never set foot in the WindJammer…heck, we will just have go on again…!
Disembarkation was equally smooth. We had arranged to leave our luggage with DW Consigna. Their stall was right outside the terminal and for €10 per bag they took our luggage and delivered it to us at the airport 10 hours later. An excellent service. We caught the Blue Bus over the bridge for €2pp and then had a very enjoyable day walking around Barcelona. We had drinks at the impressive W Hotel, a wonderful Tapas lunch on the beach, then we walked back via the old town to catch the airport bus for €5.90pp back to the airport. In summary. Excellent, Overwhelming, Stunning and Impressive!