We just got back a couple of days ago from our 7 night trip on the Oasis of the Seas. Let me start by saying that I write very long reviews on our cruises, mainly because I personally like to read them and learn as much as possible before ... Read More
We just got back a couple of days ago from our 7 night trip on the Oasis of the Seas. Let me start by saying that I write very long reviews on our cruises, mainly because I personally like to read them and learn as much as possible before going on a ship. So, someone else who is like me will get something from this, I hope. Otherwise, you may just want to hear that, yes, we had a wonderful time. The ship is incredible. It is NOT crowded all the time. There are plenty of places to go to get away from the people. The food was great, and we were happy with the service. We would most definitely go again, especially if we were to take our children next time.
Embarkation went fairly smoothly for us. We parked at the Embassy Suites (we live just a few dozen miles from the port) and had a shuttle to the port. Once we got to the port, it was crazy because there were the remnants of the people getting off of the ship. Check-in was very quick, and we waited in a waiting area for perhaps 15 minutes, at the most. Once we got on, I was slightly overwhelmed by how crowded it was. However, other than the final night, I didn’t feel claustrophobic after that. The muster drill was the most interesting I’ve ever experienced in my fifteen or sixteen cruises. First, I must point out that they started making people go to their spots fifteen minutes early, which was annoying because nature was calling! Our spot was the Opal Theater, and there was a group travelling that had been part of a Broadway touring group. One of the guys started singing, people started clapping and it was hilarious. Plus, they had a silly video about washing your hands. The people in the station didn’t know what to think of it all! The whole public area was PACKED following the muster station. As the ship left, you could get incredible views of miles of beaches from deck 16. However, I would suggest another spot because it was pretty crowded along the rail.
Disembarkation was pretty good. We got off fairly early, with number 9. I think we were called off around 8:15. A good bit of luggage was out by then. We waited maybe 15 minutes in line to get out, and go through customs. It wasn’t too crazy outside of the terminal.
The ship is enormous. It was somewhat overwhelming at first, but after we walked around a good bit of it, we got a feel for where everything was. My husband really liked the “Royal Promenade.” Both of us enjoyed people watching from Sorrento’s or the Café Promenade in the evenings; it was very entertaining. I especially liked the Central Park area. It is quite lovely and quiet. There’s a great spot to get pictures of couples, just under the pergolas. Everything is well maintained and so clean throughout. There are several pools, and until the final day, they never seemed too crowded. Sometimes the hot tubs got a little full, but you could usually find a spot in one. Unlike some other ships, there was not a constant search for a pool side lounger. Although there were thousands of people on the ship, you could always find a quiet spot if you wanted to. One of our favorite spots was at the back of the ship, on deck five, where the track is. There are several wooden Adirondack chairs there, and it was always very quiet there, and we loved seeing the water at the back of the ship. We also found that the sun deck, on 14, has excellent views and is a very quiet spot, typically with few people. The library was PUNY, and I love to read; I’ve been on Carnival ships with bigger libraries!
I had read a couple of reviews where people complained about the dining room food and just don’t get it. We found the dining room food to be excellent. We only ate in the Windjammer a few times during lunch (on port days). The food was good there. It was very busy there during breakfast, so we never went. They had a nice array of various choices, I thought and it was pretty quiet at lunchtime on port days.
On the first day, you can go to the Windjammer. It was crazy busy in the Windjammer, but practically empty in the Solarium. They serve very healthy choices in there, and we enjoyed salads, salmon, paella, fruits, and really tasty granola bars that I think they make on the ship. The Solarium is also a good place for a quiet and quick breakfast, too.
Park Café served breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and special sandwiches during lunch. My husband loved the beef on weck in there. You can get coffee there.
Sorrento’s is open most of the day where you can get pizza. They always had pizzas made, and there were usually four choices. It was pretty good.
My husband liked going by the Café Promenade for coffee a couple times a day. He would get his Seattle’s Best coffee, and was happy. I couldn’t believe the number of people who would stand in line to actually BUY coffee at Starbucks in the Royal Promenade! They also had premade sandwiches there in the Café. We only got them once, but they were very good. And, there were small desserts; the cheesecake lollipop was quite tasty.
We ate in the American Icon Grill most mornings for breakfast and on the at sea days for lunch. They have a buffet during those times. We like ordering from the menu, though. It was sometimes kind of slow at breakfast time, but not bad during lunch. My husband insisted on going there for breakfast because he loves lox and bagels. The lunch menu food was quite good, especially cream of asparagus soup and the raspberry ganache tart. There was some type of really good chicken wrap.
My husband and I always enjoy the cruise dining room for dinner. We both thought the food was excellent in the Grande. The only negative was that it was near the Casino, and the smoke would permeate the waiting area a little bit. Late seating (we were assigned) was TOO late for us, so we wound up going to the first seating; more on how that was managed later. The one negative on the food was that, if you ordered something that was topped with cheese, I found it to be too MUCH cheese. My husband really appreciated all of the seafood options. They served lobster tail on the second formal night. I especially enjoyed the different salads on the menu each night. And, the fruit dishes served at night were surprisingly good. I am a very good cook. With my work schedule, I don’t have time to make super fancy meals each night, but I feel that I’m a good judge of food, and really enjoyed it there in the Grande.
The service we experienced on the ship was excellent. I had to go to the service desk a couple of times (for change and with a question about dinner times) and the people were friendly and helpful. Our room steward did an outstanding job. We are very neat and tidy, and she always snuck in there and made it spic and span each morning and evening. Dining room service in the Grande was wonderful. We spoke with someone the first morning who put us on a waiting list to be moved to second seating. However, there were so many requests, that they could not assign us a permanent table. We were told to come at 6 or 6:15 to see if they could get a table for us. Each night, the assistant manager checked the lists of guests dining in other locales, and made calls, and was able to get us a table for two in the Grande at the first seating. It really meant a lot to us that they worked to do that for us. Our server and the assistant server both did an excellent job of serving. They were positive, friendly, and provided smooth service each evening (we had the same servers all but two of the nights).
There are many various activities on the ship. I never felt bored. We really enjoyed walking on the track; 2.4 times around make a mile. We walked a LOT; I actually lost a few pounds. I went to Broadway trivia, which was lots of fun. Both of us enjoyed just people watching, and visiting with people we met. We spent a lot of time by the pool reading and talking with each other, as well as other people, and we swam some.
I have been on around 15 cruises and this ship had the BEST entertainment of any cruise ship. First, the comedians on the first night were just okay, so we didn’t go to any other comedy shows. The Oasis of Dreams Aqua Show was incredible. My husband was in complete awe, and I couldn’t believe the talent of the divers. I really enjoyed the Frozen in Time ice show. Surprisingly, it was not cold in that theater. Be careful to not sit behind the pole so you have a clear line of vision. It was a wonderful show. The group VoicePlay was part of “Headliner Showtime.” They were very talented and it was a fun program. “Come Fly With Me” was the closest to the typical cruise fare entertainment I am used to seeing. Some of the singing was off pitch. There was one singer who was really good. The acrobatics were impressive and the aerialists were absolutely amazing. I nearly had a heart attack watching them, it was so nerve wracking. What was interesting was, the next day, we went into a shop near the WipeOut Café, and the lead guy from the show was in there working as a sales clerk. Finally, I saw “Cats” on the final day. It had been rescheduled. It is a rather tough to follow show, and several people left during intermission. The second half is the best part, too. I had the entire show memorized years ago when it was on Broadway, and saw it on Broadway. The dancing and singing were very well choreographed. I found the quality of the performers to be outstanding. The lady playing Grizabella had a voice that blew me away! Plus, I got to get my picture taken with Old Deuteronomy during the intermission. I was a music major and am a music teacher and feel I am a good judge of performances. There were some small instrumental groups playing around the ship that were very good, as well.
We booked this trip during a promotion going on with Vacations to Go. We got a really great deal, so we felt that the value we received was very good. I would definitely go on this ship again, but would take our three kids with us because there is so much that they would enjoy (zip line, basketball court, ice skating, flowrider, great entertainment etc). I would say it’s a ship that you book for the ship, over the ports.
Labadee was a beautiful place. We got off the ship pretty early, so things were fairly quiet when we got to Nellie’s Beach. We even got shade. You do not need to pay for beach chairs; they are included at all the spots on the island. The sand is soft at Nellie’s and there were no rocks. My husband snorkeled and that was okay there because some areas in the water were sort of grassy (we bring our own gear). I enjoyed swimming in the clear water. It gets very hot there. Adrenaline Beach is under the giant zip lines. The water there was very silty, so not good snorkeling. The Artisan area has poor, pushy, desperate salesman. You can take trams to the beaches, but we just walked. This is a nice stop if you have kids because you can just enjoy the beaches. There are buffets set up at different areas. We actually headed back to the ship to eat because it was SO hot!
In Falmouth, we checked out the town. Normally, we’d go to Dunn’s River Falls, but have already been there three times. There is a nice bit of shopping in the port area. When you leave the port area, you will find a rather run down, old town. My husband was on a search for Blue Mountain Coffee, and he wound up finding a small supermarket that sold ground High Mountain Coffee for $10 a pound, so he bought that. There are historical buildings and such in Falmouth; it’s just a shame that it hasn’t been maintained better. Another place that was SO HOT, and we live in South Florida.
We have been to Cozumel several times. We always just go to Chankanaab State Park, which is about 10 minutes away. The taxi ride for 1-4 people is $12 each way. The park costs $21 for adults to enter, and we always use the $2 coupons from the website, so it’s $19 a person. There is excellent snorkeling, a sea lion show, beach chairs, a long beach (man made but with good views), a crocodile sanctuary, botanical gardens, and food for purchase. They are not pushy at all there, which we appreciate. The shopping in the International Pier area is good if you are looking for inexpensive. We got the best deals in the “Le Best Cozumel” for shirts for our kids. There’s a flea market (at least that’s what they call it) on the second floor and one store had really beautiful dishes for sale. Read Less