One of the largest ships in the world, Oasis of the Seas makes an impression even before you board; the mega-ship looms above its counterparts. The this-can't-be-a-ship effect continues as you board; lined with eateries, shops selling designer goods and logowear, and Starbucks -- and no outside windows -- the ship's Royal Promenade can feel like a mall, rather than a cruise ship.
And yet, Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas has been enthusiastically embraced as one of the cruise line's most beloved vessels, even more than a decade after its launch. At double occupancy, Oasis sails with 5,606 passengers, but during the busiest seasons there can be nearly 6,700 people onboard. Its onboard attractions are so popular that up to one-third of the passengers never even leave the ship in port. The length of Oasis of the Seas is roughly 3.3 football fields, so there’s plenty of space for everyone.
Despite its size and passenger capacity, Oasis of the Seas deck plans are well laid out and easy to navigate. This cruise ship is bustling and full of families – but there’s always a spot or two for those seeking to get some R&R away from the kids, including the Oasis of the Seas adult-only pool and sun deck and a pleasant spa.
The way decks are laid out on the Oasis of the Seas cruise ship allows for easy access to tons of amenities without the need to spend all day on the elevator. Few decks have a mix of public venues and staterooms, which means food and drinks are never far from the pool, the Oasis of the Seas casino or the theater.
However, it’s important to choose a stateroom carefully, as many are located above or below noisy spaces. As a rule of thumb, most of the Oasis of the Seas cabins to avoid are those on Deck 3 below the ice rink and the casino; staterooms on decks 6 and 7 closest to the theater, and those on Deck 14, as they’re subject to noise from the pool deck directly above. If you’re a light sleeper, the best cabins on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas are those on decks 10, 11 and 12.
So what makes Oasis a hit for the families and active cruisers who love it? The secret is not only in the ship's neighborhoods -- which divide the vessel into manageable pieces, keep bottlenecks to a minimum and provide a dizzying amount of activities -- but also in Royal Caribbean's ability to evolve the vessel over time. The $165-million, 2019 Oasis of the Seas refurbishment brought new dining venues, a full pool deck makeover, and amenities such as an escape room. The ship is now on par with the newer, bigger Royal Caribbean vessels (many of which are Oasis of the Seas sister ships) and is an excellent pick for the longer itineraries, as you’ll never run out of things to do.
Cruisers are often drawn to sister ship Symphony of the Seas for similar itineraries in the Caribbean. This is generally due to its size (Symphony used to be the largest cruise ship until Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas debuted in 2022), but choosing between them often boils down to budget, as they both offer similar amenities.
But then, what are the main differences onboard Symphony of the Seas vs. Oasis of the Seas? Symphony is just a tad bigger, carries a few dozen fewer passengers, and offers a couple additional dining venues. Staterooms, however, are nicer and more modern on Symphony, so if design is important to you and you have the extra cash, Symphony might just be the ticket.
Each of the ship’s neighborhoods has its own vibe and activities, and most passengers will be hard pressed to feel like they’ve done it all after a week-long sailing. The Oasis of the Seas Boardwalk is family central and boasts two rock climbing walls, a carousel, the AquaTheater, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide and the impressive Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
The aft deck Pool and Sports Zone is home to some of the best things to do on Oasis of the Seas for kids and kids at heart: the Perfect Storm trio of water slides, a splash park, two FlowRider surf simulators, a basketball court, a mini-golf course, a table tennis area, a teen club and a cool feature available on Oasis of the Seas that you’ll find only on a handful of other Royal Caribbean ships: a short zip line.
Oasis of the Seas Central Park has a mellower vibe, with outdoor pathways lined with plants, sculptures, and low lights that at give the space a romantic, relaxing atmosphere at night. Add in the sheer amount of shows (Cats is one of the biggest attractions on Oasis of the Seas), restaurants and bars, and you'll see that it's impossible to be bored on this ship.
Cruising on a ship this size comes with compromises. If you want to see all the shows and entertainment on offer, you must book online in advance, as the theaters are simply not big enough to hold everyone. Specialty dining reservations should be made in advance, too. If you don't like planning your cruise activities before you board or hate lines, Oasis is probably not a great choice compared to Royal Caribbean's more intimate ships.
· Main dining room, the buffet and select other eateries (El Loco Fresh, Boardwalk Dog House, Solarium Bistro, Café Promenade, Sorrento’s Pizza, and Park Café)
Breakfast at Johnny Rockets; lunch and dinner are an extra fee
All theater shows, the ice skating and AquaTheater shows, and the comedy club
Ultimate Abyss dry slide and Perfect Storm water slides, FlowRiders, rock climbing walls, zipline, water park, mini-golf and laser tag, among other active activities
Most daily activities
Use of the gym, but not most classes
· Gratuities (amounts depend on cabin type)
Automatic beverage and spa tips (18 percent for both)
All drinks beyond water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet
Wi-Fi; Oasis of the Seas internet is only available for those who purchase a Wi-Fi plan
Activities such as arcade games, bingo and the escape room
Photos and artwork
Daytime: Casual, with shorts and tees most common inside the ship and bathing suits and cover-ups on the pool deck.
Evening: On sailings of fewer than seven nights, the Oasis of the Seas dinner dress code remains casual, though shorts and tanks are not permissible in the main dining room at dinner. On optional formal nights -- now called "smart casual" -- men are asked to wear long pants and collared shirts, and women are expected to dress up a bit. Suits, sport jackets and cocktail dresses are the norm, but there is a tux rental shop onboard.
Not permitted: Bare feet are not allowed at any time in any venue, and tank tops are not permitted in the main dining room or specialty dining venues for dinner. Shorts are discouraged at dinner.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
Still paying Royal prices but it’s no longer the same Royal experience
Oasis of the Seas October 1, 2023 to October 8, 2023