The bulk of Oasis of the Seas' live entertainment takes place in the Entertainment Zone on Deck 4. Keep in mind that none of the ship's venues can accommodate everyone who wants to see a show; if your heart is set on not missing out, you'll have to book before you get onboard. If you didn't plan ahead, try to make reservations with Guest Services, either in person or over the phone, or show up at the venue at least 15 minutes before showtime to see if you can get in. Comedy-lovers will also want to book shows, as it's one of the first venues to fill up in advance.
The ship's main theater features a variety of evening entertainment, including an abridged version of Broadway show "Cats" and original show "One Sky." The latter aims to show that we're all one family, regardless of our differences, but despite the happy message, the show itself is an odd combo of "Rock of Ages" grunge music, unsynchronized dancing and mediocre aerial acrobatics.
Absolutely do not miss the AquaTheater. The 30-minute shows feature a team of Olympic-caliber divers, gymnasts and synchronized swimmers who splash down into the deepest diving pool at sea in a routine set to music. The newest show is Aqua80, which sets all of these feats to music from the 1980s.
Oasis of the Seas is on high adrenaline constantly; it's a ship where you can begin your day with exercise classes at dawn and boogie down until way past midnight. This is the cruise to book if you have people in your party who fear downtime, as there is almost always something to see or do.
For shops and bars, head to the Royal Promenade, or for a lovely respite from the buoyant energy that otherwise permeates Oasis of the Seas, check out Central Park, with its 12,175 plants and 56 trees. Central Park is open to the sky and, interestingly, through the use of wind-controlling technology, there's a lovely breeze blowing through the area. Restaurants are quieter there, and passengers will find lots of peaceful nooks for simply curling up with a good book.
Cruisers interested in more social pursuits can check out a rotating schedule of trivia, pub games, ice skating, dance classes, art auctions and other activities. At various times, the ship's ice rink is converted into a laser tag arena, and anyone looking for a way to exercise the mind can sign up for "Mission Control: Apollo 18," Oasis' onboard escape room, in which passengers solve puzzles from inside a room that's a replica of mission control.
At night, in addition to a plethora of theater shows, entertainment options include always-booked comedy acts in Blaze, slot machines and table games in the active and expansive Casino Royale, live music and dancing in a number of bars that are open until late, impressive ice skating performances and game shows in Studio B and standing-room-only singalongs in the Royal Promenade's intimate Spotlight Karaoke.
Bars are hopping on Oasis of the Seas, and the ship does a brisk business in drink packages.
Bar highlights include:
Blaze (Deck 4): Blaze serves as the ship's club and comedy venue, which focuses on hip-hop and modern dance music, and it's frequently packed with people prepped to par-tay.
Jazz on 4 (Deck 4): This jazz club is a must for live music fans. Despite a prominent position in the ship's Entertainment Zone, the club is usually not crowded, and it's a nice place to listen to music without feeling too overwhelmed.
Diamond Club (Deck 4): The lounge for those "loyal to Royal" is a two-story area on Deck 11 that comes with a view of the Boardwalk. Members can come in for complimentary daily snacks and drinks from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Spotlight Karaoke (Deck 5): Release your inner rock star at this fun bar for karaoke. Choose the main stage if you’re brave or book a private room. Other musical events, like Name that Tune and other musical trivia, are also held here.
Bionic Bar (Deck 5): This quirky watering hole is manned by two robotic arms that take orders via tablets. Passengers choose their alcohol, mixers, ice and garnishes, as well as how many parts of each, and then watch as the arms craft the concoctions using dozens of bottles of spirits suspended from the ceiling. It's not always perfect, and sometimes there are spills, but a human crew member is always nearby to assist. To claim your drink, simply scan your card at the counter, and your drink will slide over to you. The Bionic Bar is a place you'll visit more for the social media-worthiness than for the drinks themselves.
Boleros (Deck 5): Live Latin music and a location in the heart of the ship mean that this club feels energetic, crowded and fun. Since Oasis draws many international passengers who love to dance, be prepared to be impressed by fancy footwork.
Rising Tide Bar (Deck 5): Sure, it's a gimmick, but who cares? It's fun. Patrons board this hydraulic space on Deck 5 in the busy Royal Promenade to drink and socialize as the platform slowly rises to Deck 8's Central Park and back down again. Do it once for the novelty.
Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade (Deck 6): This expansive sports bar runs a significant length of the Boardwalk's port side and features a two-room setup with seating, tabletop games like Jenga and foosball, and plenty of TVs so you won't miss the big game. One room is home to a bar with an impressive number of beers and cocktails, while the other offers classic arcade games like Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man
Schooner Bar (Deck 6): Tucked up in a corner of the Royal Promenade, the Schooner Bar does double duty. During the day, it's home to numerous trivia contests. At night, it's a piano bar, where passengers indulge in classic cocktails while singing along.
Music Hall (Decks 8 and 9): This two-story nightclub hosts live cover bands. Dancing usually ends around midnight or 1 a.m.
Lime & Coconut (Decks 15 and 16): Replacing the ship's former Pool Bar and Sand Bar on Deck 15 and the Sky Bar and Mast Bar on Deck 16, Lime & Coconut is a cluster of four nearly identical bars that span two decks. Because of their central location near the main pool and sun deck areas, they're perfect for fruity alfresco drinks surrounded by colorful and comfy seating. Sadly, only one of the four was open after dinner when we went to check it out, and it was on the port side of the ship, which allows smoking, making the experience difficult to enjoy.
Oasis of the Seas has 10 hot tubs and three main pools -- the Main Pool, Sports Pool and Beach Pool -- as well as a covered Solarium Pool, which is restricted to passengers older than 16. All four of these are found on Deck 15.
Because it's divided in two by the Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods, the top deck pools and outdoor spaces on Oasis of the Seas can seem too cramped in some areas compared to other mega-ships. Shade, in particular, is at a premium. Go early, and target The Beach pool. It's saltwater and the only one with umbrellas. It also offers a gentle "zero entry" slope that allows swimmers to wade into the water.
The Sports Pool is great for more active water babies, as it features lap swimming and in-pool team sports like basketball and water polo.
Sun-lovers should seek out the lounge chairs around the pools and the Deck 15 Skywalk that runs between them. Deck 14 also has an extensive sun deck, complete with two observation platforms that stick out over the ocean. Suite passengers have their own keycard-accessible sun deck on Deck 17.
The adults-only Solarium complex has been expanded outdoors but still offers a covered pool. Like the rest of the ship, the Solarium can be crowded on sea days, but overall, we found it more pleasant than the main pool areas.
Cruisers looking for a side of thrills with their pool deck experience can check out the Perfect Storm trio of water slides, and families will enjoy Splashaway Bay, a water play area that features dump buckets and water sprayers. We saw a steady stream of kids frequenting these areas.
Oasis of the Seas has lots of fun features to entice kids of all ages, but you'll want to watch out for age, height and weight requirements to avoid disappointment. Also make sure you bring the right gear. (Socks are required for rock climbing, for example, and closed-toe shoes are necessary for ziplining.) One-on-one instruction is free, by appointment, for rock climbing but not for surfing. That's available for a fee.
Prep your kids (and yourself) for wipe outs on the FlowRider; this is not the place to wear your skimpy bikini. You'll have to sign a waiver to take to the waves, and if you want to surf, you'll be required to "body board" for a minimum of five seconds before you'll be allowed to try it standing up.
For kids who aren't old enough to do the more challenging activities, there's always basketball on the sports court, mini-golf and table tennis. The Boardwalk, too, with its Coney Island vibe and merry-go-round music, is a charming alternative for young ones. You don't have to have a child in tow to ride the carousel, however. It's free, fun and has plenty of cool painted horses and animals to delight the young and young at heart.
To get quickly from Deck 15 to the Boardwalk, try the Ultimate Abyss, Oasis' 10-deck twin dry slides, which spiral down to Deck 6, facing the carousel. The enclosed slide is a bit dark on the inside, but it's accented with colorful lights that will make it a bit less scary for younger riders.
Smoking is permitted in select areas throughout the vessel, including the casino and certain outdoor decks on the port side of the ship. It is not allowed on cabin balconies.
Guest Services -- where passengers can go to make reservations, check their onboard bills and ask general questions -- is found on Deck 5 in the Royal Promenade, as are several shops selling everything from toiletries, logowear and duty-free alcohol and cigarettes to designer jewelry and handbags.
Deck 6, where cruisers will find the photo gallery and camera shop, is also where they can go to book shore excursions or their next cruise. More shops and the Central Park Library are located in Deck 8's Central Park neighborhood.
Art lovers can check out the art gallery on Deck 4, and ATMs are located on Deck 5, but fees are high.
Other services include the Padi Dive Shop on Deck 15, a two-story card room with games on Decks 11 and 12, a medical center on Deck 2 and a conference center on Deck 3. The ship does not have an internet cafe or self-service laundry facilities; clothes can be sent out to be laundered or dry-cleaned and/or pressed for a fee.
At first blush, the two-story Vitality Spa & Fitness neighborhood on Decks 6 and 7 seems to have it all. There's a cafe with healthy snacks and smoothies, an Elemis product bar, a beauty salon, teeth whitening clinic, acupuncture, a medi-spa and a for-fee thermal suite with sauna/steam facilities and heated ceramic loungers -- all near the gym.
And yet, the experience is severely lacking. When you check in for a spa treatment, for example, you are sent downstairs to a windowless Relaxation Room in your street clothes and brought in for your treatment without being offered a robe, slippers or other spa amenities. (There's nary a lemon in your ice water to be seen, let alone natural light.)
Spa treatments themselves include a variety of facials, massages and body wraps. A 50-minute Swedish massage, for example, costs $129 regularly or $116 on a port-day morning.
The gym on Oasis of the Seas is cavernous and has been updated with the latest Life Fitness equipment, including row after row of ellipticals, treadmills and bikes (including a separate room full of them for spin classes), as well as a couple of steppers and rowers. The space has windows and lockers (but no locker room) and features a variety of weight machines, free weights, exercise balls, foam rollers and yoga mats.
Complimentary fitness classes include stretch, total body conditioning and abs; indoor cycling classes cost extra, as does yoga on the helipad.
The jogging track on Deck 5 is covered. Inspirational messages urge walkers and runners to keep going. Once around the track is two-thirds of a kilometer; go 2.4 laps to make a mile. However, the ship is so large that just walking from place to place will ensure most pedometer users meet their step goals.
The outstanding kids' Adventure Ocean offerings on Oasis of the Seas start with the littlest cruisers. The AO Babies program accepts children from 6 to 36 months old.
Drop-off nursery service costs $6 an hour during the day and $8 per hour at night; parents must sign up in hourly increments. Besides the nursery where the cribs are, there is a large stay and play room, where parents can join their very young ones for storytime, coloring and free-time play on soft climbing structures or with sensory toys.
Royal Caribbean's complimentary children's program, Adventure Ocean, is centered on Deck 16. Kids are divided up into two groups. AO Junior is for ages 3 to 5, and kids aged 6 to 12 all share spaces as part of an unnamed group. Programming includes trivia, spelling bees, movies and more advanced science and art projects. Children must be registered and fully toilet trained to take part in activities.
All kids have access to the Adventure Ocean theater -- which offers movies, as well as theater and entertainment activities -- and The Workshop, featuring art-, science- and technology-focused activities. All kids aged 6 to 12 can also check out both the large, open Arena space, home to physical and interactive games, and the Hangout, with gaming consoles and interactive gaming tables. Meanwhile, a digital storybook wall and interactive games and activities await the 3-to-5 set.
Royal Caribbean is certified as autism-friendly, and this extends to its kids programs. Oasis offers toys that can be borrowed for in-cabin use, as well as movies, games and activities that are suitable for kids with autism.
Adventure Ocean opens at 6:30 a.m. and runs through 10 p.m.; counselors bring kids to lunch and dinner at no cost.
The Late Night Party Zone group babysitting is available for children ages 3 to 11 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Adventure Ocean facilities, for a fee.
Royal Caribbean divides teenagers into two groups -- ages 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 -- on paper, but in reality, most activities bring all of the young adults together. The Deck 15 teens-only area, Social 298, consists of an indoor space, an outdoor lounge between Portside BBQ and El Loco Fresh, and a video arcade. Teens are free to come and go as they want, but the shipwide curfew for all cruisers younger than 18 is 1 a.m., unless they're supervised by a parent.
On a typical sea day, teens can play board games, watch movies, have a basketball or air hockey tournament, or take part in a rock climbing wall competition. Theme parties, such as white night and prom night, are scheduled, and teens have their own karaoke contests and trivia sessions, as well as specific times to use the ice skating rink, the FlowRider, the Sports pool and the rock climbing wall.
* May require additional fees