799 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Hey all! I am Channing, and I travelled with my boyfriend Shawn. Both early to mid 30s, from California. We have cruised Carnival twice and Princess once, so this was our first time on Royal. We originally booked a south pacific cruise ... Read More
Hey all! I am Channing, and I travelled with my boyfriend Shawn. Both early to mid 30s, from California. We have cruised Carnival twice and Princess once, so this was our first time on Royal. We originally booked a south pacific cruise out of Sydney but unfortunately, couldn't make it happen, so we opted for this cruise that looked really fun, and was easier on the budget. Shawn's mom lives near Orlando, so we were able to spend a few days with her pre-cruise. We spent most of our time lounging by the pool of her complex, and spent a day at a waterpark in Daytona! We also spent one afternoon picking up any last minute items we needed for the cruise (we are VERY light packers, especially when flying!). Sunday morning she was nice enough to drive us down to Port Canaveral and see us off. We arrived at the port about 1130, and we waited about 15 minutes for the security lines to open up for us "peasants", as Shawn would say. Once it opened up it went very quickly and the entire process was a piece of cake! We were on board, first drink in hand by 1230! Thoughts on the Ship: I loved it! I really appreciated the different neighborhoods and how they made the ship feel less crowded. We rarely waited for anything (but, we go out of our way to avoid the busy areas when they're the most popular). Shawn felt like it was too much like a city, but that's kind of what i liked about it. Stateroom: 4D Oceanview Balcony, room 9662. Midship Starboard. Great room! Very clean, bed was on the closet side. So quiet! We did hear the occasional chair shuffle from nearby balconies, but that was only if we were also outside. Shower is very small, but the glass doors are a nice touch, as opposed to those darn human-attacking curtains on Carnival! Our stateroom attendant was pleasant and worked very hard. We saw her every day. Dining: We thought the food was good throughout, with a couple of standout meals at Chops, Izumi and Giovannis. Buffet was just that...buffet food. Not overly hot or cold, but everything we ate had a good flavor and ok quality. We thought the dining room was good, but I felt it declined slightly as the week went on. Our first meal (really great) there was much better than our last, but not bad by any means. Service was always excellent. We opted for My Time Dining, and while we never waited for dinner, when we were getting seated it always seemed very clustered and overwhelming, People coming in, leaving, carts or trays of food and plates being carried in and out...just very hectic. But that was only close to the door, once we got inside and seated it was much more relaxing. Service was also pretty quick, dinner never took over an hour and a half, and even that was a longer dinner than most. I should note that we tend to be scarfers.. .many times the waiter would come back and be amazed we had finished so fast (which I didn't really think was THAT fast, but maybe it was?) We got a 3 night dining package as well. To make the most of specialty dining, Shawn and I usually share 3 or 4 appetizers and get and entrée each, and sometimes one to share. Giovannis was great. Awesome, quaint atmosphere. Food was spectacular, and portions were big. Izumi was really great as well. We only went for the sushi, as we have done teppanyaki a bunch at home (super fun if you've never been, and more food than you can imagine). We got the sashimi platter and it was the biggest cuts of fish I have ever seen in a restaurant. The nigiri pieces and rolls were normal sized and everything tasted amazing. We ordered sake as well, and it had an interesting flavor that we just tolerated. The sake was also brownish, so Shawn thinks the added flavor may have been nutmeg or something similar. Overall a great meal. Chops was our absolute favorite! My filet was so tender and juicy. Shawn got the rack of lamb. The menu stated it came with a mint sauce, but he couldn't taste any mint, but still enjoyed it very much. He also said they had the best key lime pie he's ever had. whaaa???!!! Activities: Lots of fun stuff to do at almost all times of day. Get to trivia earlyyyy!! We ended up standing for quite a few, and we got there 10-15 minutes before the game. All the game shows and silly contests were a blast, very entertaining. The flowrider is super cool, but harder than it looks! The casino is always one of our favorite spots, but we really need to remember that we only win on night one! The ice show was spectacular...i was not expecting a lot of the tricks and spins that the performers were able to do, amazing. CATS was also really great! Shawn is a theater major, and has seen Cats a few other times, but as a first timer, i really enjoyed it. The performers were flawless. I will say it's a little hard to follow at first, but stick it out, because it only gets better as the show goes on. Must see! Service: All the members of our waitstaff (in every venue) were so attentive and took a lot of care in our meal. Our room attendant was great, and really everyone we came accross during our week was friendly and smiling. We never waited more than a couple minutes for a drink at any bar, and we did see a lot of servers around the casino (and a few by the pool but not many for the area). Our ports were Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico. We have done cruise ship excursions before (only a couple), and we really prefer to do things on our own or book seperately from the ship. In Labadee, of course, this is impossible, so we just went off ship to check out the port, get a trinket (or 7... the marketplace was not fun. VERY pushy salesman that will not take no for an answer), and dip our toes in the caribbean for the first time this trip. We didnt even eat in port because it was a buffet and the line was...roughly 6000 people long. We will not seek out to stop here again, as we enjoy seeing some local culture in our ports, and this was just the cruise ship on land. Jamaica was awesome! We took a small shuttle van to Montego for $20 each round trip. It took us to a nice little resort area with a ton of beach, a pumpin' bar vibe, and it was on this main drag of REAL jamaica, where we were able to get some authentc jerk chicken. YES! We have been dreaming of that lunch since we left, and we tried to duplicate it for dinner last night, but it wasnt even close. Jamaicans were incredibly friendly and helpful, and while Shawn got asked to try/take/buy pot about 7 times throughout the day, it wasnt a big deal because when we say no thanks, they just say "no problem, mon" and it's all good! Cozumel was so beautiful. Shawn had low expectations (we've been to Mexico a few times before, so he wasnt super excited for ANOTHER stop there), but Cozumel was really great. We had arranged for a glass bottom boat snorkel tour through trip advisor for only $30 each (the same tour through Royal was $90 per person, but im sure that included lunch as well). We walked to a hotel just outside the port area and met a lady outside with the company's logo - SafeTours Cozumel. She greeted us (by name!), and then told us we could go and enjoy the hotel amenities by the beach or pool until our excursion started. After about 20 minutes she gathers us and TWO other people to take us to the dock. That's right...4 people on this excursion...seriously! The crew on the boat were excellent. Fun, funny, helpful, knowledgeable, and it was obvious they cared about their job and what they do. They're called SafeTours because they take extra precautions to protect and rehabilitate the reefs in the area...so cool. The crew was able to dive much deeper than we could, and got lots of really up close pictures that they promised to send us via email. They also handed out beers, soda, waters as needed, and even made me a makeshift margarita. Highly reccomend these guys! After our snorkeling adventure, we set out to find a real Mexican lunch. We ventured downt the street a little further, and ran into Ernesto's Fajitas. We, sillily, asked our server what he would recommend here, and he quickly pointed to the entire page of fajitas. Ok then! A mexican lunch wouldnt be complete without a shot of tequila to seal the deal. Lunch was delicious and our table was in the open air restaurant that overlooked the bay. Overall, we really enjoyed this Royal ship, and while we did A LOT on board, we still didnt get to do it all. We will most likely book with Royal again, but possibly on a smaller ship. Super fun, jam packed with adventure! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I previously was on a much smaller ship (Rhapsody of the Seas) and wanted to see the difference. While I do like the smaller size of Rhapsody for getting around easily and less people, I admit that I much prefer Oasis for it's ... Read More
I previously was on a much smaller ship (Rhapsody of the Seas) and wanted to see the difference. While I do like the smaller size of Rhapsody for getting around easily and less people, I admit that I much prefer Oasis for it's entertainment. Every night we went to a different show and each was very professional. There was an ice skating show, high diving & synchronized swimming show as well as comedians, jazz and bands every night. The food was good in both the MDR and buffet. I'm not a foodie so I couldn't see paying for a specialty restaurant for us when the free offerings fit my needs. I did buy the deluxe beverage package and I know I drank more to make sure I got my monies worth. But the bartenders all poured strong and tasty drinks. I couldn't win at all in the casino which was a bit disappointing. In the Rhapsody I won enough to keep playing but the slots on Oasis were super tight. The room was pretty big compared to Rhapsody - we had an interior room which looked out onto Central Park (not a balcony). Room steward was great and kept our room clean. We did the zipline which was my first. We had booked a zipline in Jamaica so I wanted to try it out on the ship first. It was short but fun. We played mini golf and my son played in the dodgeball competition and pool volleyball competition. The ship had a sale night with many items for $10 - I picked up a cute clutch purse and a swim coverup. We took the shuttle (Cortrans?) from Orlando to the Port. Then we did an exursion on the way back that took us to an airboat ride and then to the airport. We booked all of our exursions through Royal for convenience. This was a big ship and you should be prepared for a lot of walking unless you don't mind waiting for elevators. There were a number of people with motorized scooters so that is an option if you can't handle walking. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
From a quick drop of luggage, to getting our Sea Cards, to the most wonderful Cabin Steward, Rod (Rodhel Leno-no relation), to the best waitstaff in the dining room-server and assistant-we received the best service that way passed our ... Read More
From a quick drop of luggage, to getting our Sea Cards, to the most wonderful Cabin Steward, Rod (Rodhel Leno-no relation), to the best waitstaff in the dining room-server and assistant-we received the best service that way passed our expectations. As we're on our 12th cruise and had read mixed reviews about this ship, we had our whole family (8 of us iincluding a 20 month old, we were not expecting too much. BUT.. these guys made sure we were well-fed (Son-in-law and other daughter's BF had 8 lobster tails between them. We did eat there every night, as each of us went our own ways during the day, but we gathered each night and were treated like royalty, with a smile. Cabin Steward Rod, let us do as we pleased but was on any request we had right now. We did give him some extra tips every other day, but that, to us, is the best way to insure great service. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Port Canaveral (only 1 1/4 hours from home) and its ports(Western Caribbean). We took our two adult children for a getaway without Grandkids for a relaxing time. The ship was in good shape ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it sailed from Port Canaveral (only 1 1/4 hours from home) and its ports(Western Caribbean). We took our two adult children for a getaway without Grandkids for a relaxing time. The ship was in good shape and our balcony rooms had ample space and storage. The service in the dining rooms was exceptional, some of the best we have ever had in the 25+ cruises we have done, and we have cruised with RCL, NCL, Princess, Carnival, and Celebrity. Our daughter practices a plant based Vegan diet and the service staff was more than accommodating to her dietary needs. We ate mainly in the American Icon Grill since we had My time dining. The wait staff always asked if we had any shows to attend in case there was a time crunch. Again they were very attentive to all of our needs and they went above and beyond to make sure we were satisfied We also ate at 150 Central Park, which we believe is one of the finest Specialty restaurants available at sea. Again the service was exceptional and the head chef personally served our Daughter her Vegan meals which she was very impressed with!! The entertainment on the ship was ok . The comedians were good (all adult shows), the ice show was very good as well as the knock off game shows. The production of Cats while it may be for some people for us it was a bit of a sleeper! The singing and dancing were good but the story leaves a little bit to be desired and apparently we weren't the only ones that felt this way since half the audience didn't return after the intermission. The ports were good, although in Falmouth Jamaica the Adventure River tubing offered through the ship which we did was a little disorganized and the quality of the tubes was poor. Playa Mia in Cozumel is a very good deal, but I would recommend just getting the basic package and not the all inclusive since their pricing for food and beverages ($12 dollar beer buckets) is very reasonable. All in all this ship allows for great Family fun !! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We all really enjoyed the cruise but expected more out of a few things, namely suite level service and the drink package. We found it very difficult to get bottled water and room service seemed put out every time they delivered food to the ... Read More
We all really enjoyed the cruise but expected more out of a few things, namely suite level service and the drink package. We found it very difficult to get bottled water and room service seemed put out every time they delivered food to the point that we felt awkward or bad for doing so. We had a family of 5 so we had to do a few dinners and breakfasts in the room and it would have been nice if the service wouldn’t have been so rude. Other than those items, we really enjoyed the trip and with a few minor improvements, things could have been much better. Also, one of our shore excursions was not anything as advertised but we still had a good time. Overall, I would cruise on this line again, but I would certainly ask for additional levels of service if booking a suite again. I would also be looking for a wider variety of destinations as it seems the ships go to the same locations. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Today I returned to the US after a week aboard the Oasis of the Seas gambling at the single zero roulette table. Finished ~$2500 ahead Martingaling for a week. **Cruise Background** I wanted to vacation in Vegas this fall, my wife ... Read More
Today I returned to the US after a week aboard the Oasis of the Seas gambling at the single zero roulette table. Finished ~$2500 ahead Martingaling for a week. **Cruise Background** I wanted to vacation in Vegas this fall, my wife wanted to cruise again, so I spent a few months searching cruise lines, looking for a single zero roulette table with at least an 8-bet min/max spread. As it turns out, there are thirteen cruise ships in the world that fit that profile (that I discovered), and after checking all of them against November/December departure dates from CONUS, I downselected to the Oasis of the Seas from Royal Caribbean for a 7-Day Caribbean cruise, booked it, and thus it was so! **Overall** I called out 14 crew members that I thought were exceptional in the RCCL post-cruise survey today; 11 of them in the casino - the crew were amazing everywhere. The ship itself is probably due a refit. Elevator buttons broken, chairs broken, everything looking a little run down and scuffed. I won't dig into the ports because everyone in here probably knows their way around the Caribbean by now. =D This is mostly going to be about my gambling on board, since that is mostly what I did. Aside from amazing crew, the food was impressive; the main dining room was stand-alone awesome enough to not require specialty dining - which is good because apparently RCCL's specialty dining cover charges are 3x what I'm used to seeing on NCL ships. The servers in both main dining and buffet style areas made sure food was infinite. The one night that the main dinner was lobster tail or prime rib, I was a little irritated when I left dinner still semi-hungry, since a lobster tail doesn't exactly fill you up, and saw people with 5-6 lobster tails on their plates, leaving me wishing I'd asked whether I could have more or not. I'm sure I could have. Non-casino entertainment was middling. Mo5aic performed; a decent Acapella group. I've been spoiled by listening to Pentatonix for years, so hearing a bassist that can't do what Avi Kaplan can do drowned out by the group leader who seems more interested in being heard than in singing well doesn't float my boat. I enjoyed the stand up comedy show the first time - jokes about ship functions, the passengers, the usual ship-board comedy. I went to see it again on the last night of the cruise when it was supposed to have new content, but seemed to be mostly recycled and not as funny the second time around. Cats was also being performed. I made it through 36 minutes of Cats before leaving; my wife left at the intermission. If you're not familiar with Cats, it has a love/hate relationship on Broadway; I really enjoy musicals, but this one doesn't capture my attention like Les Miserables or Phantom of the Opera. Ping pong tables were always hopping; I jumped in where I could to play some table tennis; flow rider on both sides was fun to watch and see wipe outs - that's some of the best entertainment - seeing people wipe out on the flow rider. Most of these things were time-fillers while I was waiting for the casino to open though, which takes me to... **The Game** For the duration of this cruise, I played single zero roulette and nothing else. The casino on board the Oasis of the Seas has four roulette tables; two American roulette tables on the smoking side, and one each American/European on the non-smoking side. I use the word "European" loosely because while it was single-zero, it had no European rules on it. All four tables were $5 - $100 on the inside, and $5 - $1000 on the outside. I attempted to make arrangements before the cruise as well as with the casino manager during the cruise to raise the limits for my gambling to no avail since I didn't have an established play history with Club Royale. I also requested La Partage be put into effect during my session play without luck - but that was a long shot anyway; the only single zero table I know of in the US with a minimum bet lower than $25 is the $10 - $3000 La Partage table at the Soaring Eagle in Michigan (sorry guys, terminal games don't count!) Single zero roulette tables have a 2.7% house edge; down from the scandalous 5.4% house edge of American roulette (let alone the scammy triple zero crap that Carnival Cruise lines and the Venetian in Vegas are doing); La Partage lowers it to a magnificent 1.35%, but alas - I was destined to go without. **My Bets** I was playing a martingale series betting progression; on a $5 - $1000 table, $2,000 can bankroll a 8-bet sequence where I double my bet each time I lose, restarting my bet sequence each win. Due to chip denominations, my martingale progression is $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000, which I find more reasonable than 5/10/20/40/80/160/320/640 due to the typical chip denominations 1/5/25/100/500/1000. In a tip of my hat to superstition, my increases from $10 to $25, $100 to $250, and $1000 to $2500 where applicable are my way of "punishing" the casino for making me leave the comfort zone of the outside minimum bet. Mock me if you must; its my personal flair - if my bets grow that high I "deserve" to win more than my base bet for the stress of having to bankroll the roll. The chances of heads or tails on a coin flip are 50% for either outcome. On a single-zero table without La Partage, the equivalent bets - black/red, even/odd, 1-18/19-36 is ~48.6%, with the other 2.7% representing the green zero, or house edge - creating a theoretical loss probability of 2.7% of your bet per bet over time. While the probability of an individual spin being black or red in my case is ~48.6%, the martingale betting progression ties your bets into a session, such that on the table I'm playing on, as long as I don't guess wrong 8 times in a row, I always win. On the off-chance that any newbs are reading this, this is *NOT* a "strategy" or "guaranteed way to make money." Martingale betting is a low risk, low reward means of using a large sum of money to win a little sum of money - pretty much the opposite of what people go into casinos to do. In statistical terms, the chances of me guessing wrong 8 times in a row in an 8 spin series is three tenths of one percent...but no one sits down for 8 spins and leaves - so my gambling is that when the house spins my losing sequence...I'm not there. =D Such is gambling. **Goals!** I've learned over the years that if I don't sit at a table with a fixed goal of when to leave, I will get bored and start making side bets (other even money bets or thirds) - more ways to win also mean more ways to lose, and when I am gambling, I am heavily socializing and drinking; I can't keep track of all of it at the same time. My goal is thus to always leave with 120% of my bankroll. This trip was a bit confusing for me because I couldn't reconcile what my bankroll was. Not knowing whether the table limit would be fixed to $1000, or be able to be raised to $10,000 I brought $5,000 in cash with another $35,000 available as credit - I'd wrongly assumed the casino would at least double the table min/max to $10-$2000, and had been hoping they would leave the minimum and double the maximum, adding a one-bet buffer to my 8-spin series. With a $1,000 bet maximum, I stopped bringing more than $2,000 to the casino. If my bankroll is $2,000, I aim to leave with $2400. If my bankroll is $5,000, I aim to leave with $6,000. With $10,000, I aim to leave with $12,000. I initially hoped to turn $2,000 into $2,400, but after doing that the first night gambling and the prospect of the rest of the cruise being bereft of gambling, I decided that since I'd brought $5,000 to gamble with, even if I could only play with $2,000 of it, my 120% goal meant I wanted $1,000 in winnings or bust. On day two when I realized how stingy Club Royale was, and that I'd be buying my own drinks, I shelled out $360 for the liquor package, and adjusted my winning threshold to also cover the liquor package. Then there was a $300 spa treatment. Then an $1800 studio photography session since my wife wanted some nice pictures - something we've not done in a decade. With these confusing inputs leaving me unsure of how to decide if I was up or down, it came down to the fact that while the casino was generally open 8-12 hours a day, the lone roulette table with the single zero didn't open until 8:00 PM - about when the cruise shows started. I did some begging and pleading to have it opened earlier every day to mixed success - a bit on the first day and on the last day, with nothing in the middle. They really wanted people on the American tables - which I had to resist, since for much of the cruise, it was American roulette or nothing. I contented myself during those periods with drinking, socializing with other gamblers, watching, drinking, and trying to find people who didn't have the booze package so I could buy them drinks. **Fun Facts** * Over 6 days of gambling, averaging 4 hours per day, I hit the $1,000 table maximum bet twice. Both were heart-attack inducing. The first was at 0100 on day 5, I was the last gambler at the table, $1,000 on red didn't screw me, and I took it as a sign to go to bed. The second happened on Day 6; since a $2,000 loss would have left me break even at that point, I took a short break, stretched my legs, and came back. * In the same period, I hit the $250 bet mark in my progression 4 times (resetting from $250 back to $5), and the $500 bet limit zero times. $100 and below bets were too numerous to count. * Total winnings were probably closer to $2800, but I tip freely when its free money. * Despite my "follow the house" betting method of deciding to bet red or black (which capitalizes on streaks), and I never choose which to bet on, there was one dealer would occasionally call a color, and she was only wrong once. I started switching bets when she'd call a color because it was spooky. If I asked her, most of the time she'd say, "I don't know" - but out of 20-30 "calls" over a week that I saw her spinning for me, she missed one. * If I had the balls to play numbers or neighbor bets, I'd have made tens of thousands; I don't believe in ball control; not on modern wheels, but one dealer put out four 28s in 8 spins, three of them in a row, 7 of the others were neighbor bet winners, and he just kept doing it. He's been a casino dealer 44 years...and kept telling people what number to bet on, and no one would listen to him. God, I wish I had. * I learned to play craps as a backup in case the single zero table was closed, but the craps tables were $5 - $300 with 1x odds, shifting to 3-4-5x with $50 minimum bets. I need to ease into craps, and didn't want to have to track different odds systems, nor did I want to play on a $300 limit table - all my practicing on craps was with 3-4-5x odds on a $5 - $2,000 table, and I have a tendency to double down on everything in every game. And in life too; Losing a 5/15 bet makes me put $20 on the pass line. It gets expensive quickly, so I'm not playing craps with less than $5k, $10k to be comfortable, and I need at least a $2k table. * Actually, all the games were a bit ...less competitive. 6:5 blackjack, 1x craps odds, no Euro rules on the Euro table, crappy slots payouts - I get it; I really do. Captive audience, no need to compete with other casinos. Once they're on board, you've got 'em for a week; they're gonna gamble or they're not. * Club Royale has terrible comps compared to Casinos at Sea with NCL. It takes 2500 points with Club Royale to earn comped drinks while gambling. Not only did Club Royale not buy my drinks this cruise, at the rate of my point earnings, it will take me 4 more cruises gambling at the same rate to earn free drinks. That's right; $10,000+ to get free drinks. I did however come away with an amazing $100 off my next cruise voucher. * Assuming total winnings of $2,800 (before tips), being right 48.6% of the time, I gambled through ~1200 roulette spins in a week. Anyway; it was a blast - but I'll probably go to Vegas for my next vacation instead of cruising. I want to gamble during the day, and go to shows in the evening, not wander around during the day, then have to decide whether I want to gamble or watch shows in the evening. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our 6th time with RCCL and the biggest ship but our balcony room was really too small for 3 of us even tough it "sleeps four"! The ship itself is excellent an dthere is plenty to do - the standad of the outdoor diving ... Read More
This was our 6th time with RCCL and the biggest ship but our balcony room was really too small for 3 of us even tough it "sleeps four"! The ship itself is excellent an dthere is plenty to do - the standad of the outdoor diving show and the indoor ice skating was superb .The comedy shows were also good but Cats was far too long and sadly most people left in the interval We did like the fact you could book the shows in adavnce or take a chance on the night . The courtyard on deck 8 is fabulous for snacks/ lunch and getting a morning coffee. All the staff were excellent and we would recommend this trip We did the usual trip on the last day which includes a transfer back to the airport but as we had done the space centre last time we did the "Air boat adventure which was very disappointing and we couldnt recommend this. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We went on an eastern Caribbean cruise. We had a wonderful time overall, but we were both disappointed with the food in the mdr, the windjammer and the solarium. It was just okay or not really good at all. We ate several of our meals in ... Read More
We went on an eastern Caribbean cruise. We had a wonderful time overall, but we were both disappointed with the food in the mdr, the windjammer and the solarium. It was just okay or not really good at all. We ate several of our meals in the specialty restaurants. We ate at Chops, Giovanni's and 150 Central Park. All three were delicious and had great service. Our two favorites were Giovanni's and 150 Central Park. Our room steward, Laverne was absolutely wonderful. She always has a smile for you. She has a very wonderful attitude and added to our whole experience. The casino is a lot of fun, but those slot machines like to giveth and taketh away. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
When we saw CATS was being performed on this ship, we had to book this cruise. It's been 30 years since we've seen CATS on Broadway and in Toronto, and it was every bit as good on the Oasis of the Seas. We saw it twice! In ... Read More
When we saw CATS was being performed on this ship, we had to book this cruise. It's been 30 years since we've seen CATS on Broadway and in Toronto, and it was every bit as good on the Oasis of the Seas. We saw it twice! In general, Royal Caribbean spared no expense--great performers, choreography and technical effects--on all the shows onboard. We also especially enjoyed the ice show (with the Russian sand artist) and the aqua show. This was our (two adults, late 60s/early 70s) first cruise with Royal Caribbean and we thank all the Cruise Critic reviewers for their input, especially the information that advance reservations are needed for shows and dining. We had most things arranged three months in advance and are glad we did, at least for the peace of mind knowing we would see/do what we wanted. I've got to say we missed the spontaneity of past cruises, however on Oasis-class ships scheduling ahead is a must. We chose a good time to go--right after the holiday when most school-age children were back in school and not onboard, so we experienced no child-related issues. The only additional-cost specialty dining we reserved was the $20/pp "First Night Done Right" to ensure we would not run late for our first CATS performance. It was our best meal on board--at 150 Central Park (chosen for us), where we had the chateubriand for two and great service. We ate one night at the Solarium Bistro, where food was good but service was lackluster. Our dinners were rounded out by two nights at the American Icon Grill dining room (one night so bad I ate two bites of the mushy "crab" cake, sent my undercooked ravioli back and ordered a salad instead--though service was great) and a few dinners at the Windjammer (most mediocre, however they put on quite an impressive spread the last night). We also ate lunches and breakfasts at Windjammer, lunch at the Dog House (really enjoyed the German sausage) and breakfasts at Johnny Rockets (good, but slow service) and the Park Cafe. We purchased online, before we left, a soft-drinks (with Voom internet--pretty good reception and speed, overall) and two specialty-coffee packages. We sure never went hungry or thirsty (bartenders and restaurants were always willing to provide soda if a machine was not readily available). Pizza, pastries and sandwiches were always available at no additional charge. Service was, in general, excellent. Our steward, servers and all staff we met were pleasant and helpful. We never had to go to Guest Services other than to get extra tip envelopes. Especially impressive was the system used to let passengers into the Windjammer Buffet: if it was busy, a line was formed and we were escorted to a table when it became available. (The line ran smoothly and quickly with staff radioing each other for information--and we did not have to search aimlessly for a table.) We loved the peacefulness and atmosphere of Central Park (our cabin was on the same deck), as well as stopping to enjoy its solo and duo (piano, string) entertainment. Activities, of course, were geared to a more-active, family crowd. For that reason, we booked our one excursion through an off-ship source. Labadee, too, did not offer much over a beach chair and barbecue to us (most activities were pay-for). It was necessary to take the tram to get around Labadee (and a map would have been appreciated, maybe included with the Compass newsletter). We were glad a barbecue was set up in each area. Would we sail an Oasis-class ship again? Absolutely, because it offers entertainment and a visual experience smaller ships cannot. Would we go out of our way to book a smaller Royal Caribbean ship? Probably not, because the food and activities--for us--were no better than other comparable lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We normally cruise twice a year and rccl is our favorite line. Checking was amazingly fast we left our hotel at 11am and was sitting in suite lounge at 1130. Most organized luggage pickup in all my 60 plus cruises. This was also our ... Read More
We normally cruise twice a year and rccl is our favorite line. Checking was amazingly fast we left our hotel at 11am and was sitting in suite lounge at 1130. Most organized luggage pickup in all my 60 plus cruises. This was also our first cruise as diamond plus, but when you are in a suite those perks do not mean much. Owners suite was huge, we normally book grand suites, big difference between suites was size of balcony which was 250 sq ft, dinning table for four inside and on balcony and bathroom had a separate shower and jacuzzi tub. Living room was also large could sit 6 comfortably, but I bit of a waste for only the two of us ,also 2 TVs the one in living room was about 55” and. 40” in bedroom. Did miss the DVD player that all our grand suites on other ships had. Suite lounge and costal kitchen , first time in costal kitchen, we had breakfast and lunch there daily and dinner the first two nights, service was good but not as good as celebrity luminae. Suite bar and room had great view on deck 17, bartenders were excellent, we did get drink package since we have the 30 percent off. Loved the ship , Central Park was really nice they had classical music every night and had dinner in chops there twice also Giovanni’s and 150cp which was our favorite. Although our second dinner in chops we were outside which was not as noisy and could listen to music. Also loved the bar “rising tide” that went from Central Park on deck 8 to deck 5. Also had a dinner at habatchi in Izumi on deck 4. Ice show was great as normal, aqua show was also excellent. We went to jazz club on deck 4 most nights and really enjoyed music , pub on 5 had a very entertaining country singer that sounded like Johnny Cash. Piano player in schooner bar was ok. Pool seating area for suites was terrible location 2 deck above pool . Did not have much interaction with concierge but they did s great job walking us off ship and to head of the security line. Really liked the oasis class and sure we will cruise it again, but looking forward to our msc yacht club with separate pool for suites. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
The ship is fantastic, love the Oasis Class, and if this is your first cruise you will be WOWED by everything. I will say if you are a repeat cruiser with Royal Caribbean, as my husband and I are, you will find that RC is cutting staff, ... Read More
The ship is fantastic, love the Oasis Class, and if this is your first cruise you will be WOWED by everything. I will say if you are a repeat cruiser with Royal Caribbean, as my husband and I are, you will find that RC is cutting staff, services, and unfortunately food quality (our dinner table found all steak choices were tough). The food choices on the dinner menu appears to be diminishing also. On a 7 night cruise, unless you are someone who eats or will try anything (which we are) you may be eating at the buffet a couple of nights for additional choices. I don't want to give the impression we were not happy with the cruise because we will continue to cruise with RC, however the difference is becoming more noticeable. The staff was definitely over worked and understaffed, especially in the dining room, the buffet staff was less attentive and there appears to be more and more on board $$ activities on the Cruise Compass, which in the past were free. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We did a back to back Nov 25 - Dec 2 and Dec 2 - Dec 9. The ship is very big and it was our first time on a mega ship we have always cruised on the smaller ones. We are Diamond Plus and we loved the Diamond lounge. We found the ... Read More
We did a back to back Nov 25 - Dec 2 and Dec 2 - Dec 9. The ship is very big and it was our first time on a mega ship we have always cruised on the smaller ones. We are Diamond Plus and we loved the Diamond lounge. We found the promenade to be like a shopping mall and just not our thing. The evening activities we great there. attended all the shows and really enjoyed them a lot. Ate in the dining room every evening food was good, and servers were excellent. Ate mainly in the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch crowded but never a bad issue there. We tried the Solarium for breakfast one morning and it was full of children and could not find a seat. Had to wait for plates and flatware. We always have a great time cruising what's not to enjoy! We have already booked for April, however it will be on a smaller ship Vision of the Seas. ** One note we were re-boarding on the second cruise, they walk you down to customs and back on board easy easy easy. However, my husband fell just as we were getting back on and cut his chin open and bruised his face. The staff really didn't do much to help me with him and told me where medical was. I took him to deck 2 and the nurse cleaned up his wounds and put a butterfly band-aid on his chin. I filled out all kinds of paper work, and my point to this long note is NOT Once did we get a call asking how he was. This is the disappointing part of my review. I realize the first day they are trying to board 6,000 passengers but after that they could have called. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Royal Caribean has by the far the best ships for most adult travelers! Their shows are professional every night and you would pay hundreds to see them otherwise! Whether it is the ice shows, the broadway shows or the water shows, they ... Read More
Royal Caribean has by the far the best ships for most adult travelers! Their shows are professional every night and you would pay hundreds to see them otherwise! Whether it is the ice shows, the broadway shows or the water shows, they absolutely professional and fantastic! Their food and service are excellent and their prices are affordable. BUT, if you like to social ballroom dance as we amateurs do, Royal Caribbean is definitely NOT for you! We now only take Cunard or Costa ships as they are designed for ballroom dancing of every kind including lessons, bands, singers and floortime every night all night! Both also have excellent food and service, beautiful ships and decent shows. By the way, Holland has carpeted over many of the dance floors on their ships and Celebrity has publicly posted they will no longer cater to ballroom dancers. Why bother with other ships if you are wanting to dance every night?! It is so wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Just got back from 7-day Christmas cruise on RCI Oasis in western Caribbean. From Port Canaveral Florida, 4 days at sea, and 3 days in port at Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, and Cozumel Mexico. It was a good experience. My bias is ... Read More
Just got back from 7-day Christmas cruise on RCI Oasis in western Caribbean. From Port Canaveral Florida, 4 days at sea, and 3 days in port at Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, and Cozumel Mexico. It was a good experience. My bias is home-body and USA road tripper. I have been on several cruises in Caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii, on several different cruise lines. This was my first with RCI. THE GOOD RCI’s business strategy is spectacular ships, a growing fleet, and meeting new market demands. Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship on the planet. It has a sister ship and 2 more in planning or construction. The ship is 1100 feet long, 17 decks, 6500 passengers, and about 2600 crew. It is fast, 25kts per hour. Spectacular spaces include open “Central Park” on deck 8 midship with café, specialty restaurants, shops, live music, and 1200 live plants. Interior staterooms decks 9-14 have balconies that overlook Central Park. Large indoor “Promenade” decks 5-6 midships with cafes, shops, and bars. Huge Fitness Center and Spa decks 5-6 forward. “Solarium” decks 15-16 forward has adults only (age 16+) pools and whirlpools, with plexiglass overhead. Decks 15-16 midships have children’s and family pools. Decks 15-16 aft are sports decks with full size basketball court, putt-putt golf course. 2 Wave Riders, 2 climbing walls, zip line, teen only zone, and casual cafe with kid friendly buffet. “Boardwalk” deck 6 aft has carousel, shops, casual eateries, and Aqua Theatre. There are 9200 (yes, 9200) pieces of art with data plaques all over the ship. Dining 3 dining rooms decks 3-5 aft serve dinner at 6PM and 8PM by assignment. Dinner includes choice of 7 appetizers, 7 entrées, and 7 desserts. The food is the best I have had on any cruise and portions are perfect, not too much, and not too little. (I gained weight with plenty of exercise.) One dining room serves breakfast by order. Windjammer Café serves best breakfast, lunch, and supper buffets I has seen on any cruise or anywhere for that matter. You can eat there during hours without assignment. Mostly adults in dining rooms, families with small kids go to Windjammer or any number of casual eateries. Dozen or so specialty restaurants (extra cost) on the ship. Nightlife and shows 1400 capacity Opal Theatre decks 5-6 forward has nightly shows and movies. Several comedy and music venues deck 5 forward including ice rink for shows and skating. Promenade has piano bar and guitar pub. Casino deck 4 midship. Aqua Theatre 6 aft has water shows and large screen TVs. Fitness Center (gym) Best and biggest gym I have ever seen on a ship. As good as my local Planet Fitness. Plenty of LifeFitness treadmills, elliptical, and cycling machines, never fully occupied even at peak hours. All the LifeFitness weight and cable machines. Full set of dumbbells and one Smith machine. Only limitation is maximum of 4 people can occupy free weights and Smith machine area. (No squat rack or barbells.) Plenty of open space for mat work. Yoga and Pilates classes. Walking/running track is outside on deck 5. About one quarter mile. Downside is views are obscured by lifeboats on sides and bridge on bow. Spa Biggest and best spa I have seen on ship or anywhere. More than 50 offerings for various massage, facial, sauna, heat, hair and nail services. Somethings I have never seen at a spa – acupuncture and teeth whitening. Staterooms Seems like slightly larger than my other cruises. Steward service morning and early evening while out. My wife and I had outer stateroom with balcony over port side while my two adult daughters had inner stateroom across the hall with balcony over Central Park. SCUBA You can take classes and get PADI certified on ship. Ports I’ve been to several Caribbean ports and beaches, and they each offer the same things – same weather, same topography, same people, same food and beverage, same shopping, same activities. So, it really makes no difference to me which particular Caribbean island or beach I visit. Labadee is RCI’s private beach on Haiti. It offers a very nice beach for sunbathing and playing in the sand and water, an awesome zip line across the beach, and a safe casual picnic table lunch buffet with ship food and servers. There are a couple of shops with licensed merchants and uniformed police that insure that merchants stay in their kiosks and not bother people on the beach. There is also a fenced off flea market on the backside of the property with more aggressive hawkers, but uniformed police to make sure they don’t go outside their fence. I skipped the flea market. Falmouth Jamaica has a four square block shipping district at the port which is fenced off. Merchants are licensed, friendly, stay in their shops, and not overly aggressive. There are plain clothes police. If you go outside the wire, you will be greeted by mobs of more aggressive street hawkers. Cozumel is a Mexican island eleven miles east of the Yucatan main land. There is a small shopping area at the port. There are uniformed police, drug sniffing dogs, and magnatometers. My family took a 3 hours bus tour which stopped for 45 minutes to shop downtown. Merchants were friendly, stayed close to their shops, and were not overly aggressive. Afterwards we travelled about 20 miles to a beach and restaurant on the other side of the island and stay about 90 minutes before returning to port. Tourists should rightly be concerned about cartel violence on the mainland, but Cozumel seems a bit isolated. We did see two federales (police) complete with tactical gear and assault rifles slung to their chest walking peacefully together downtown. I felt that Cozumel was safe, and our Mexican guides took very good care of us. Embarkation and Disembarkation Embarkation was quickest and easiest I have experience. We stayed at the Port Canaveral Radisson the night before. We used the onsite long-term parking. Took the scheduled shuttle from Radisson to Oasis that morning. Minimal waiting at Radisson, five-minute drive to Oasis. Dropped off luggage, had priority check in (through travel agent) and about a half hour later were onboard. Even though there was a partial government shutdown which included Customs and Border Enforcement, I didn’t perceive any extended delay. Allowed into our staterooms about an hour after getting onboard. Disembarkation was quick and easy too. Had to be out of staterooms by 0830. Waited in Opal Theatre (had breakfast at 8AM). Even though scheduled last to disembark at 1030, were off at 10AM. Even with partial government shutdown, only waited about 20 minutes to get through customs. Did not have to make any declaration beyond saying that each of my family members returning with less than $800 in goods and not more than one liter of alcohol (no tobacco). Waited 15 minutes for shuttle to fill before 5-minute ride back to Radisson. THE NOT-SO-GOOD Oasis is a huge ship, consequently, there is a lot of walking to get to various venues. The elevator banks are only at forward and aft parts of the ship. No elevators midship. No corridors directedly connect starboard and port sides below deck 15 because of Central Park, Promenade, and casino. No eateries were open between 10PM and 5:30AM. On other cruises, we had a buffet somewhere at all hours of the night. The beverage packages are expensive and only make economic sense if you consume more than eight carbonated soft drinks per day. Desserts were average in spite of appetizers and entrees being excellent to outstanding. Ice cream was sold only at one Ben and Jerry’s shop for an extra fee. Soft serve was limited at couple of cafés and poolside with limited hours. Seems like dining too early at 6PM, and too late at 8PM. 8PM dining means 10PM show and late night most every night. You can choose Windjammer café or specialty restaurant at a better time, up to you. RCI does not cater so much to very young children like other cruise lines such as Disney. Onboard WiFi cost $11 per day. There are no desktop computers available on the ship outside the business center. Had one too many days at sea, but can’t do much about that. Cruise usually has to be 3,4, or 7 days. There were no golf excursions if that is your cup of tea. THE NOT-SO-UGLY Each Caribbean island and nation has unsafe and undesirable sides. It appears that RCI has found safe places and excursions for passengers onshore. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We recently returned from our Christmas cruise on the Oasis. Overall the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and good time, there was just something missing and can't quite put my finger on it. We sailed as a family of 4, (Mid 40s and kids ... Read More
We recently returned from our Christmas cruise on the Oasis. Overall the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and good time, there was just something missing and can't quite put my finger on it. We sailed as a family of 4, (Mid 40s and kids 19/17) and while there was ample food, entertainment and christmas decor, overall I was expecting a little more for a Christmas cruise. We dined in the Main Dining room 6 of the 7 nights and food was acceptabel but not outstanding and after cruising on smaller Royal ships, found the food better on the small ships. Perhaps due to the large number of guests the quality goes down. Can't comment on the speciality dining. Enjoyed the entertainment for the most part, but found Cats a disappointment. The Aqua show was great as were the comedians and entertainers. As for our kids, they found they were caught in an age gap between kids and adults and really found very little that engaged them at this age, even on a large ship. They weren't bored but nothing specifically was set up for this demographic. We were also part of a larger group (19 total) and saw many other large family groups and being a holiday cruise this makes sense, but with this I experienced less socializing between groups as everyone seemed focused on their family or groups. Again this was different on the small ships and summer time of the year. Overall the ship is lovely, crew were great and wouldn't hesitate to travel on the oasis again, there was just something missing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for a Christmas cruise for the family. Embarkation was smooth. Arrived about 10:30, stood in line for 2-3 minutes, and then received our stateroom cards. We boarded with the Platinum group and headed ... Read More
We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for a Christmas cruise for the family. Embarkation was smooth. Arrived about 10:30, stood in line for 2-3 minutes, and then received our stateroom cards. We boarded with the Platinum group and headed to make dinner reservations, show reservations, and purchase a couples thermal spa pass for two of our guests. I had made reservations for many of the shows before we left and I am glad I did. Most every show was sold out before the ship even left port. Dinner reservations were very easy to make. Just know that if you want to eat hibachi in Izumi, you need to make your reservations pretty quickly as they only have three tables. We purchased the Ultimate Dining Package during the Black Friday sale so we ate in a specialty restaurant every night except for Christmas day. Dining: Service is really hit or miss in all restaurants. Overall, the food was very good. Chops and 150 Central Park were our favorite places to eat. The hibachi at Izumi was pretty bad--mushy rice and an overly-dramatic chef. We stayed away from Windjammer because it was so crowded and the food quality was the worst we have seen on any of our 20+ cruises. Overall, the food choices on the ship are great and no one went hungry. Shows: There is no shortage of things to do on the ship. The "Cats" show wasn't our taste at all and we left after the first 15 minutes. The comedy shows were funny and the water show was entertaining despite there being no understandable story-line. Ports: We did not get off the ship at Labadee. We decided to stay on the ship and enjoy it while everyone else was gone. At Falmouth, we walked around the port shopping area. While in Cozumel, we shopped and enjoyed a lunch at Pancho's Backyard. We chose this particular cruise for the ship and not so much the ports, but we were horrified to see the RCCL will gladly charge you $50.00 if you would like to volunteer at a homeless shelter for a day in Falmouth. Corporate greed at its worst! Stateroom: We had a Central Park View Balcony and loved it. We enjoyed the view and listening to the classical music in the evening. Our cabin steward, Erickson did a great job taking care of us and we appreciated his hard work straightening our room twice a day. Spa: Two of our guests purchased the couples thermal spa package. Overall, the spa was filthy and too small for the number of people using the spa. The private area for the mud treatment and whirlpools was very dirty as well and the spa staff were very unorganized. They would not purchase this again. Issues: We purchased a Refreshment Drink Package for my husband which has always included Evian water. This was a real problem this cruise. The only water most bars had to give to package holders was plain drinking water. When we asked Guest Services about this, they explained that every bar should have the Evian and asked which bars we had visited for water. This kept happening and when we asked again, they said that the package did not include Evian water. Something was up with the whole deal. We did stop make an unscheduled stop in Nassau early on the second day and we wondered if they might have stopped for supplies. The soda from the freestyle machines and in the restaurants was awful! We will not purchase another drink package. I realize that people do not go on cruises to watch T.V. but the programming available on this ship is AWFUL! The only saving grace was that there were some free movies in the on-demand movie options. The free movie options disappeared after the third day of the cruise. When one of the people in our party asked about the free movies, she was told that there was a technical problem and they had someone fixing the problem and everything would be restored soon. When I called later, I was told that there actually are no free movies in the on-demand offerings and that the free movies that were there the first few days was a mistake. They need to get their stories straight. This has happened to us on two other RCCL sailings. My theory is they offer them for a few days with the hope that you will purchase a movie when the free offerings disappear. Overall, we had a great time. The ship is huge yet we never felt it was crowded thanks to a good layout by the ship's designers. The ship and its furnishings are definitely showing some wear and tear, but it is a great ship with activities for of all ages. My best advice would be make your show reservations early, stay away from the spa, and download some movies or shows to your iPad for late-night viewing in your cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean ship but probably my 12 th cruise. I had low expectations after reading prior reviews and dealing with the cruise planner people via telephone. However once on the ship we were really pleasantly ... Read More
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean ship but probably my 12 th cruise. I had low expectations after reading prior reviews and dealing with the cruise planner people via telephone. However once on the ship we were really pleasantly surprised. Let me start by saying that a week prior to the cruise we were able to change from the 8 o’clock seating to my time dining However this information was never conveyed to the dining staff a nightly we had issues getting our table After a lot of aggravation most nights we were able to secure a table in the main dining room with a fantastic Duo of servers. The The food in the main dining room and at the other free venues was much better than previous Royal Caribbean cruises in fact it was some of the best cruise food we’ve ever had Another glitch we had was we had made a reservation when we got on board at chops but because we enjoyed our main dining room servers so much we canceled the reservation two days ahead of time however Royal Caribbean even though they took it off of our cruise planner still charged us for the dinner and it took three tries to get it off of our bill A disappointment on the ship was the gym There was plenty of equipment that much of the equipment did not work well and there was never any staff to Fine to assist with it The ship was clean and well kept with plenty of staff We had a balcony room on the Central Park level we did notice that only she would be out that’s worked and that was frustrating There are also very few amenities in those rooms I see only thing that was provided was soap and shampoo conditioner in the shower it was the bare essentials We did not partake in any of the ships tours as we have been to those ports before Laboratory Laberdee was our favorite stop by please be advise that the tender does not run to get you back to the ship and no one tells you this when you take the tender in the morning We always found plenty of deck chairs so there was no issue to reserve seats extra early even during a full Christmas cruise we always found plenty of deck chairs so there was no issue to reserve seats extra early even during a full Christmas Cruise. Even though the ship was a full capacity we never felt the fullness of the ship and often found quiet places Something the staff could do better is enforcing the no children role in the solarium hot tub‘s and the Gym. Which it to a private tour in Cozumel through Viator. Chocolate, tequila and tacos at Discover Mexico. This was excellent. The shows were great But we did leave Cats midway. It was quite long I’m not really uplifting The diving and the eyeshadow were wonderful as well as the comedians on board Finally we all had facials or massages at the spa and truly enjoyed them however the pressure to upsell it’s quite evident Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Well, a few days off the boat (and reading about the cruise right after ours with Noro...ug!) gave me some time to finally put down some thoughts on this cruise. A few disclaimers: - I'm providing this purely as my experience. ... Read More
Well, a few days off the boat (and reading about the cruise right after ours with Noro...ug!) gave me some time to finally put down some thoughts on this cruise. A few disclaimers: - I'm providing this purely as my experience. Others on the cruise may have experienced something different. Anyone reading this will likely experience something different. I've been on this and other forums long enough to know that at least someone who is smarter/better looking/funnier/more experienced/etc. than me will have their own opinion and comment below. If you'd like their opinion, I recommend you ask them; meanwhile this is just mine. :) - This wasn't our first cruise, but was our first on RCL and our first bringing our kids (14 and 18) - I ordinarily would not have chosen New Years to travel...not because of the timing or location, but because of the unreal costs that RCL submits you to for going over a holiday. Alas our work schedules and kids' school schedules drove us to this week, so we sucked it up and pressed on. Had we waited a few months and spent as much, we could have gotten one of those super fancy cabins. That said, no regrets. Our cheap cabin was perfect for what we had. Or more specifically, our cheap cabins. Given the age of the kids and size of the rooms, we opted for adjoining interior rooms. Note to families...an extra bathroom goes a long way towards a great vacation! :) - Given the above, I'll admit my expectations were high. We spent a lot for a military family who doesn't get this sort of opportunity often, so we wanted it to be everything and more. In many respects we weren't disappointed. Unfortunately in some, we were. So without further ado...this is pretty long so I'll break each day down, so grab a frosty beverage and sit back! Day -1: St Louis Not our first rodeo, so we knew it was important to get there a day early and avoid all the hassles/fiascos that could happen if coming in same day. We booked our flight from STL-MCO the day Southwest opened its tickets for December travel. $1200 for the four of us, round trip. Not exceptional, but good for us to be able to get there. Dropped the fam and the bags off at the terminal to let them check the luggage while I parked in the lot ($7 per day covered in STL!) and took the shuttle back. They hopped into the security line (TSA pre-check a must, so if you don't have it I highly recommend biting the bullet and doing it). We sat down at the restaurant across from our gate and ordered some food and a few drinks to help get vacation underway. Food was slow, which meant we finished and walked right into the boarding line just in time. I'm A-list due to all my travel, so was able to get onboard before the rest of the fam and they quickly joined and we were off. Full flight given the holidays. It was 30 December and I had a stack of SWA drink coupons that expired the next day....commence OPERATION DRINK COUPON EXPIRATION MITIGATION! Landed at MCO without issue, got bags and headed to transpo on lower level. Had originally planned to stay at a hotel near the airport and drive over the next morning, but then got smart and decided to spend a little more on the room and get us closer to the cruise port. That drove a change from Cortrans to Port-to-Port shuttles, as Cortrans only does morning runs and we landed after 4pm. We got downstairs and called Brenda, who radioed Craig and he arrived about 15 min later. Nice fella with a sweet new van, very clean, seats about 10(ish), and was even decorated for Christmas. He offered us cookies and water and got underway. We were his only passengers, so room to spread out, and the trip was easy with very little traffic. I felt bad...didn't have my hearing aid in so could barely hear him as he chatted the entire way. Checked into the Marriott Residence Inn Port Canaveral (actually did the online check-in) and up to our room. Standard Residence Inn (I'm a Marriott member, so tend to gravitate to their chain), nothing fancy or out of the ordinary except the basketball court outside our window with the family in matching shirts playing ball (they'd end up on our cruise too...damn, should have got matching shirts!). Called an Uber and took off for Grill's Seafood, right next to the terminal so we could scope it out. It was busy, as expected, waited about 45 min to be seated, but the bacon wrapped scallops were so worth it! (we're currently in the corn fields of Illinois...no seafood worth typing about....). Stayed for a while, then Uber back to the hotel where we parsed out the carryon bags for the next day and got to bed. Day 1: Port Canaveral Up about 8, breakfast in the lobby...very crowded, lots of cruise folks had the same idea I did! Borrowed a stapler from the front desk to attach our luggage tags and secured the shuttle tickets. $5 per head one way (some folks left cars at the hotel for the week, so they paid $10 round trip). Was surprised, most hotels have a complimentary shuttle, but given the number of clients I guess this made more sense (I think they sent over at least 4 shuttles with 20 people and bags each!). Drop-off at the terminal was quick...got off, got our bags, and handed them over to the luggage attendant. Well, handed three over. He put them on the cart and left the fourth and moved on to someone else's. No worries...I picked it up and loaded it onto the cart with the other three...didn't really want them separated :) Walked right through security without issues (passports in hand) and upstairs, basically right up to the check-in counter (I think there was one couple in front of us, other Boston Red Sox fans!). Lady at check-in told us this was the fullest the ship had ever been...6500...fun! No issues with our paperwork, we got "group 2" for boarding. Spent a few minutes perusing the lanyard shop (had to represent the Boston sports for the week!) and highlighted to the kids the ever-present Purel hand wash stations. Before long they started calling all the important people (Diamond, gold, etc.) but that didn't take very long and I'd say about 15 minutes after they started boarding we were called--I was amazed at how quickly. Up and in, again no issues, a few cheesy pictures along the way, obligatory "hey buy this package" stations, and just like that we were grabbing a glass of champagne (well sparkling white....) and exploring. Never been on Oasis before. She was HUGE! We made our way through the promenade, then to the back and outside. Explored the aqua theater, the climbing walls, and stopped for a hot dog before grabbing ice cream. And of course a Lava Flow cocktail from the bar by the aqua theater. Bartender was less than enthused that we were there already. But vacation had begun and I wanted to ensure I came out ahead of the drink package :) Touring the ship just increased the excitement (along with a stop at a few bars along the way). Stopped at the spa to make hair appointments for the girls for formal night. We found the teen lounge and the arcade (more on that later), as well as explored all the pools and common areas before heading to the room to check it out. Some have commented on Oasis age. I'll say the common areas didn't look bad at all, she was clean, bright and airy, and it's hard to believe 6500 others had just gotten off a Christmas cruise a few hours earlier. Throughout the week we saw small crews roping off various areas to do some maintenance, but nothing that impacted our trip. Will be tracking to see what "amp" they have in store for dry dock. Stopped by the excursion desk. Had already booked Nassau and St Thomas, but the one I wanted for St Maarten wasn't open online and needed to booked on the ship. Found out it wasn't open because it was full, but he offered to put us on the waiting list. Cool, sign me up! Both rooms! More to follow on this later... Then we headed off to our rooms. We were in 7404/6, towards the front of the ship, as mentioned inside adjoining rooms. Got to the rooms and the door between was locked. Requested it be unlocked, which meant they had to call a supervisor. That took over an hour...somewhat frustrating. The room was as expected, and I was glad they made the beds up right (together for us, separate for the kids). Unfortunately I was less impressed with the readiness/cleanliness of the room. There were still personal items/trash from the previous occupants, and the towels in the bathroom were the rattiest things I've ever seen, to include holes and pieces hanging off as they were torn up badly. One of our drawers didn't work (the ball bearing from the drawer slides could be found in the drawer and all over the floor) and there was no soap in the dispenser in the bathroom. But it's vacation...we had beds and a bathroom, it's all good! Decided to head out instead of waiting for the adjoining door, and took a different route down another hallway...and found our luggage! Not sure how that was supposed to work, as I heard a lot of folks later complaining they didn't have theirs (only to learn they were supposed to get it from the hallway). Anyway, we rolled it back to the rooms and unloaded quickly as to get the stuff hanging and get back on deck. Luggage fit nicely under the beds, we unloaded and hung a lot of stuff, used the closet cubbies for the rest. Really didn't use the drawers at the desk, mostly due to the fact one was broken. Muster drill was short and very generic. Our station was the spa, and the tv's weren't in sync with the audio, so it was interesting to hear and then watch...and then eventually the video just stopped working. The onboard speakers were an issue all week, especially for me even with the hearing aid in. We consistently had a very hard time hearing announcements from the bridge about anything unless we were in our room. I was surprised the bridge isn't connected to the deck's music speakers, as it would have been much easier to hear announcements that way. Anyway, after the drill we headed up to the Solarium and met a great bartender who mixed up some special set-sail drinks, made some virgin ones for the kids, and we watched the ship back away from the pier and get the vacation truly underway. He was the ONLY friendly bartender we met all week. Had hoped to get my daughter comfortable with the teen lounge, but unfortunately it was closed again til 8pm, which also happened to be dinner time for us. That became an issue, as she never really built up a comfort factor going there. Would have been nice for them to have multiple times that day that kids could go get introduced to the program and meet others. My son was a different case. At 18, he's not even allowed in the lounge (just turned 18, still a high school senior), so it made it slightly harder for him to meet folks his age as well. I'm sure he would have loved to hang on the Xbox in the lounge for a while with some of the kids and been fine, but couldn't. Back to the arcade to activate the kids credits and the freestyle cups, and then more exploring to include heading to the pool for the first time. Stopped by the pool bar for a few more drinks. Again, another bartender who just didn't seem happy to have us standing there (not exaggerating...I'm talking a big scowl on his face. And I have teenagers so I know what one looks like!). My favorite pool became our regular spot, the beach pool. Loved how as the ship moved the water would move in and out like ocean waves. Loved even more the drink staff that would come by and grab your card and bring your drinks. :) I will say I could definitely tell a difference between the drinks ordered at the bar and the ones brought out by the traveling staff...weaker for sure, but just meant I had to order more! Back to the room to change for dinner and met up with our steward again, who was finally able to track down someone to unlock the door between rooms. Showered and changed, and headed out a few minutes early to explore more on our way to dinner. We swung down to deck 4 to see the comedy club and art gallery, and found the casino. I'm glad we're not gamblers. The smell of smoke on that deck--without even going into the casino--it overwhelmed us. Couldn't handle it, so we went back up, across deck 5, then back down to deck 4 to enter dinner. Unfortunately the entrance to the MDR is right across from the casino...and the smell was still unbearable there. This was an issue all week, so we tried to never show early for dinner as we'd have to wait there inhaling the awful smoke smell. (should note we had originally planned Cats for 8pm, so had booked Giovannis for 530. But, given my picky eater and some of the 'feedback' we'd received on Cats, and given we'd already seen it before, we cancelled the specialty dining and stuck with MDR and skipped Cats. No regrets! MDR was easily one of the best experiences we had all week!) Doors opened and we were escorted to our table. Just four of us and a table for four, by a window (curtained, so no view). While initially I was bummed that we didn't get to meet others at dinner, I was soon thankful. See, I'm the "mean dad" who wouldn't activate an internet package. So without the distraction of cell phones, our lives were so much better. The fun conversations. The serious conversations. The ability to just relax and not be distracted. It was epic. We sat at table 619 (which is our anniversary, 6-19!) and met Rommel from the Philippines and Jaeyung from China. I think it was the first time they'd worked together, as he could barely pronounce her name when he introduced her, but they were a phenomenal team who made it their personal mission to make our meals exceptional. Selection was good, with some great appetizers, filling main dishes and tasty desserts. I think my son tried the fish of the day every day, and was never disappointed. Rommel was quick to learn our names and interacted with the kids, and Jaeyung was so polite and professional you could see she was nervous and just wanted to do a good job. This was a great team. After dinner we walked the track...we were FULL! Headed off to bed ready to make way to Nassau. I think this night we changed and headed up to the hot tub in the Solarium for a while. Could feel the ship moving that night...not an issue for the boys, but the girls definitely experienced some queasiness. Day 2: Nassau! We got up early to head to Deck 14 forward to see the sunrise. There were a few clouds, but made for a great sky. The wind though...wow! Now I understood why we felt the boat move so much. It was insane! Met a nice family from Canada and chatted about military life for a bit and then went back down to get ready for the day. Had a small breakfast delivered (just the light fare, anything more is $7.95), used this mostly as our extra wake up call each morning, and then made our way out to get underway. The one thing my daughter asked for was to see Dolphins. We had originally booked (through RCL) an excursion in St Maarten to do the Dolphin encounter, but a few weeks before leaving they cancelled it. Was pretty disappointed, but fortunately we were able to react and booked the one on Nassau. Changed our plans, as we had been to Nassau before, and honestly had just intended to stay on the ship that day. Oh well, Dolphins it is, so we took off. Went up first to the pool deck to check out towels...learned it wasn't necessary as they had a station at the gangway when you got off. Also grabbed a few more bottles of water (drink package!) before heading back down. Met up with a few hundred others in Studio B to get briefed on Blue Lagoon, got our wrist bands and made our way off the ship by 0900. I will say this part wasn't as organized on RCL's part. They had about a dozen different groups gathered up in Studio B, and each main point of contact had wrist bands to hand out...which quickly descended into chaos as he couldn't "reach" most groups so they started going to him, which clogged the aisle ways and only confused most passengers, especially those with smaller kids. Once off the ship, a short walk to a ferry gave us the chance to see two other ships in port, at which time the kids finally appreciated the size of Oasis! Ferry ride was about 40 min across the water, pretty cloudy and started to rain, fortunately we were on the port side and the rain was blowing on the starboard so we didn't get wet! (yes, this Air Force guy is pretty proud of his nautical terms!) Great views of some amazing houses along the way, as well as Atlantis. Pulled in to Blue Lagoon and fortunately the clouds started to part. This is obviously a tourist attraction based on the large numbers of folks already there. We had wristbands that said we would do our Dolphin encounter at 11am, and it was 10am so we got off the ferry and hung out on the beach for a while. Water was chilly but we enjoyed some sand time and then sat down for a few minutes when the announcement came for 11am participants to make their way to the animal area. We gathered up our bags and walked over, where we were met by very friendly staff members who directed us down a dock to participate. The dock was quite full. We'd later learn that it was way overbooked. Suffice to say, our 11am encounter started closer to noon. We didn't mind at the time, as one of the trainers sat on the dock and chatted with us during the wait, having the non-performing dolphins do tricks and play with toys. When it was finally our time the ten person group entered the water and it was amazing. One at a time we'd lie in the water with our legs extended and the dolphins would come up from behind and push us a few dozen yards across the water so that we'd literally rise up out of the lagoon. It was awesome. Each person got this chance, then we all got in the water and got to pet, dance, receive kisses and even feed the dolphins. Overall the encounter took just under an hour and was one of the highlights of our vacation. Would definitely do it again! Unfortunately, the delay was costly. We were sternly warned...be on the ferry by 115pm or we wouldn't make it back to the Oasis in time. It was already 1250, and we hadn't had lunch or a chance to see/purchase photos. We divided up, with my wife taking the kids to eat while I waited in line for pictures. That line too was backed up, and by the time I got to the front it was time to go (and found out they didn't take AMEX). My wife ran into a similarly long line at lunch and wasn't able to order, so just picked up a few hot dogs and ran. We rushed to get back on the ship. So only critical feedback here would be to watch for overbooked excursions. Loved what we did, but missed out on the "beach day" relaxing portion of this as well as lunch, and the inability to review the pictures means we're trying still to get our hands on them online. This was likely a once in a lifetime Dolphin encounter, and I'm pretty bummed we don't have the pics to show for (note they don't allow your cameras, so couldn't take our own pics). A quick ferry ride back (with a stop at the hotels along the way for no one to get off/on) and we were back to the port in Nassau. Different arrival location than departure, of course, as they had to drop us off in the tourist district by the shops. Like I said, having been to Nassau before we weren't interested (still a pretty run down area, which always makes us wonder where all that tourism cash goes...), so we proceeded back to the ship. Brief delay as the local militia checked our IDs, then back to the ship. There was a very long line to get back onboard. Dropped off our towels and waited to get through security, then took the stairs. Did that a lot this week, the elevators were just too crowded or slow and we didn't want to waste time waiting on them. The girls headed off to the spa for their hair...so the boys headed for drinks, ice cream and more pool time. Also did some more exploring, watched a little bit of Ant Man on the big screen by the Aqua Theater, and eventually started to make our way back to the room around 545pm. The Promenade was crazy with picture lines, which was something we wanted to do, so we hurried back to find the ladies reading with their hair-do's all fancy and stuff. They always seem to get mad that the guys can SSS (sh*t/shower/shave) in less than 15 minutes :) This was formal night #1 and also New Year's Eve, so we went big. I wore my formal military uniform, we rented a tux onboard (pre-cruise booked, $101) for my son and the ladies had nice dresses. We made our way down to the Promenade for pictures, only to find the first crowd was gone, must have been the early dinner crew. We walked right up to just about every picture line and got some great pics. Met the captain, he was nice but not very talkative, and then made our way to a few more pictures before dinner. Another great dinner from our wait staff, and my daughter--who is a picky eater and normally doesn't eat much--ate like she never had before. Again we were stuffed after dinner and went on our now nightly walk around the track. We went to Dazzles for the "finish that verse" music competition, and eventually got seats and got to watch (wasn't picked to participate, bummer!) At this point we were moving again and once again hitting some significant wind (more on that later), so the effect on my daughter was growing. She wasn't feeling well (seasickness, not noro!) so we tried to walk and entertain her to keep her mind off it. We found the library, a few more lounges, walked outside to the carousel and stopped in the arcade (the old man can still school the 18 year old in air hockey!) before making our way back to the Promenade for the New Year's festivities. This was probably the only time this week we felt the sheer number of passengers onboard Oasis, as lots of folks wanted to be there at midnight for the balloon drop. Lots of champagne....kudos to the wait staff. I simply don't know how they walk with trays full of glasses while the ship is moving that much and there are so many people and still don't spill any!!! The clock struck midnight, I did my annual (very poor) "When Harry Met Sally" impersonation questioning the meaning of Auld Lang Syne, and we headed back to the room for some rest. Found a few towel animals, so the kids enjoyed seeing the steward's artwork. Day 3: At Sea! Vacation. Sometimes it means just being able to sleep in! I don't sleep well, but the rest of the fam does so I hung out in bed listening to the wind hit the ship as we cruised and everyone rested. My wife and I went to the cruise port shopping event (I was trying to be the dutiful husband...suffice to say, I love my wife. Even more after hearing about some of the ladies that go on cruises and their shopping habits!) I think we finally got the kids out of bed around 1030am, and headed to Johnny Rockets for breakfast. Got a table outside and enjoyed the breeze while we sipped on coffee and waited on our meals. You could tell it was the morning after New Year's. Much like I said that night was the busiest we had seen the boat, this morning was the scarcest...people were sleeping it off! Our breakfast arrived and the head waiter tried to help deliver, only to drop my daughter's bacon on the deck. No worries, a full plate of extra bacon arrived quite literally a few seconds later! Everything is better with bacon. My eggs were good, wife and kids enjoyed the French toast and pancakes and we talked plans for the rest of the day. We headed to the sports bar for Star Wars trivia. It wasn't overly crowded, but got the last few seats and geared up for some fun. We're geeks, so it was fun to answer some of the tougher questions (I won't spoil any, but suffice to say I might have schooled the 18 year old on random Star Wars facts even he didn't know!). Unfortunately we did get one question wrong, which I immediately realized when we were reviewing, but one other guy didn't so we came in second. Oh well, it was fun! Still couldn't convince my daughter to hit the teen club, so changed and went to the pool, enjoying the sun and once again the "waves" on the beach. Oh, and the drinks and the hot tub :) One note...remember the excursion we got "wait listed" for when we first boarded...well, they messed that up. We were checking the online account on the tv and found they had signed up my kids, but not us. Apparently he only wait listed their room, not both rooms, and when two slots opened up he assigned it to them. I went by the desk and tried to help him understand, he just couldn't comprehend why I didn't want the two slots. I guess he thought the kids could go and mom and dad could go enjoy themselves elsewhere! But more frustrating, despite all this he kept pushing for others...specifically the back stage/behind the scenes tour. It was a lazy day, just what we needed. I think we might have grabbed pizza...it's all a blur. The kids would sometimes head back to the room to read, or, in my son's case pull up ESPN as the Bruins were playing outdoor hockey in the Winter Classic and unfortunately it wasn't being aired as every tv was tuned into college football. Also a stop at the PADI Dive shop, as our excursion in St Thomas was the BOSS Underwater Adventure, and we had to sign the paperwork in order to get our tickets. Early that afternoon the assistant cruise director hosted our Cruise Critic meet and greet in the comedy club. It was fun, she had a lot of prizes and some cookies. Our family made out well, a BOGO for Johnny Rockets, a bottle of wine, a bingo t-shirt and an hour of internet access. Also fun to meet some of the folks we'd chatted with leading up to the cruise. Then more laying around doing nothing. But being lazy was worth it, that's what vacation is for, and the pool was relaxing. The girls went to a "pamper party" at the spa while the boys checked in at the back of the ship. It was windy and we had reservations for the aqua show, but I was worried the conditions would cancel it. I was surprised to find the performers practicing when we arrived, so we watched for a bit before eventually made our way back to the rooms to grab the girls and get them to the show. The aqua show....WOW! we were simply floored by this performance. But first, the entry. If you have reservations, still get there early. There were only four of us, but even arriving early it was hard to get seats (mostly because of the lady reserving 17 of them for her family, even though most of them didn't show until just as the show started). I'm all for a family vacation and understand wanting to sit together, but taking up an entire row should mean you have everyone there to sit in their seat rather than cause confusion for all the other folks who understandably will walk towards a row of not occupied seats. Anyways....the show. Great effects, great lighting, and amazing performers. Like I said, the ship was moving, so much so I was sure they were going to cancel the show, but didn't. I think we were cruising at about 19 knots, plus the wind and the boat rocking. But these dudes were jumping into a 20-something foot deep pool from 60+ feet in the air. Holy... Go. You must go. See this show. See it twice if you can. Wow. Then back to the room for SSS and head to dinner. More fun exploring and pictures along the way, tonight we decided on being a little more crazy and instead of letting the photographers tell us how to pose we told them. It was fun. Even stole some presents from under the Christmas tree as props for a pic :) Dinner again was amazing, ate entirely too much, and did our nightly walk around the track before my daughter went back to the room to read while my wife, son and I went to the comedy club (18 and over). Two comedians featured, both very adult-natured, and so worth it. First one was from Boston, so we fit right in, and he was spot on. Great interaction with the audience. In fact, he really didn't have a bit, he let the audience drive his act. Loved it. Second wasn't bad, but stuck more to a typical "routine" of one liners and even managed to tick off a woman to the point where she got up and left! :) Day 4: Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas (eventually) Another night of rocking and rolling on the waves, and we woke to the light room service knock at the door (all other days they called, so apologies to the dude who had to see me open the door in my boxers half asleep!). We had planned a leisurely breakfast in the MDR before getting off for our excursion, the room service was more of a helpful wakeup call and a quick coffee before heading down for the full event. Breakfast buffet today was in the MDR American Icon and featured some typical breakfast fare, some salad, fruit and a wide variety of sweets (I didn't really see the lunch part of brunch there?). Had hoped to see an omelet station, but didn't have one. While there the Captain came over the speaker to let us know the ship had encountered significant headwinds overnight, and that our arrival at St Thomas had been delayed by over an hour. We were to dock at 1030 but that got pushed to noon. He planned to "make it up" by staying in port an hour longer (7pm vice 6pm) and we'd receive word in our staterooms as to what the changes to our excursions would be. Ok, I get headwinds. That happens. We'll adapt. We were looking forward to the BOSS Underwater Adventure so we'd be paitent! We went to the Solarium to watch the ship approach the island. It was indeed windy, and we saw some sailboats along the way. As we got to port we realized he'd be doing a 180 and backing the ship in...cool. My daughter had gone back to get some things from the room, so I ran back to get her while my wife and son went to the top and back to see the boat literally back up. When I got to the room we got the call...due to the late arrival, our excursion had been CANCELLED! Ug. I'll admit, this is where I got really frustrated with RCL. There's absolutely no way, with GPS and all the technology available, that the crew didn't know at 0800 that morning (and earlier) that we'd be late. Why couldn't they have told us then? By the time they notified us, 1115am, it was too late to get another excursion booked. I was devastated. This was the one event my son had requested, and now we were without plans for the port we were really looking forward to. So we made our way off the boat and headed to the taxis. I had read about Magen's Bay and we decided we'd head there for the day. Found a driver who said it was the "second most beautiful beach in the world" (but looked bewildered and confused when my typical sarcasm kicked in and asked which one was first). He scurried up a few other passengers and brought us over to a beat up gold passenger van. Others jumped on open-air extended pickups. Price board showed $10 per person to Magen. This was definitely island life transpo at its best! I'm a city boy, and he and I got along great as he had me jump in the passenger seat. I know the role of shotgun...help the driver! I'd call out traffic and he'd jump at openings. My kids were probably comfortable as they're used to my city driving skills. Not so sure about the other passengers! We made our way north across the island and through the hills, til you could finally look down and see Magen's Bay. It was beautiful, but honestly didn't jump out at me like I'd hoped. I think partially it was the weather...slightly cloudy and a breeze. The water wasn't as blue as I'd imagine, and the beach not nearly as pristine. Further, the damage from the hurricanes 18 months ago was still prevalent. The trees were barren, many broken and without palms, and the beach was beat up pretty badly. Upon pulling up to the entrance, we were told there was a $5 fee as the driver pulled to a closed gate. I'm pretty sure that was a scam and had we stayed in the main lane it wouldn't have been mentioned, but we paid and made our way to the beach. I rented an umbrella (which we ended up not really needing) and we spent some time in the water testing out the kids' snorkeling gear that we had bought to use while not on the BOSS portion of the excursion. Unfortunately the water there was pretty boring...nothing really to look at, and the first 10 feet or so were very rocky so wear water shoes. We grabbed lunch. As expensive as I'd imagined. But a good burger nonetheless. I laughed that the bartenders and waitresses in skimpy bikinis were American mainlanders. A little more beach time, then we changed and went to find a taxi back. Slightly confusing as he had told us anyone could bring us home, then when we got there every driver had a list with the family names of folks they had brought out. No worries, we hopped onboard one and made our way back to the ship, with a brief stop to take some overlook pictures. Again, the hurricane damage...just so much left to be repaired on this small island. A quick stop for my daughter to do some shopping, grab the proverbial free Del Sol bag, and my son grabbed a color changing Frisbee and we made our way back to the ship full of sand. Line to get on was much shorter this time, as we were still about 90 min before last call. Headed back upstairs after turning in towels. Showers, etc. and then on our way back to dinner, with the obligatory stop at some of the picture stations. Dinner that night was as phenomenal as every other night. It was "Caribbean Night" so the staff all had their fun shirts on (of course I had to wear mine too!), and they danced during the meal to make it more fun (Chicken Dance is German though, not Caribbean!). Couldn't decide on dessert, so Rommel brought us a few extra. Another lap of the track (had to burn calories somehow!) and then made our way to the Opal for the Headliner show. Tonight we were treated to a show by ventriloquist (what's his name?). We're fans of Jeff Dunham, so this sort of show was right up our alley. We got there a few minutes early, so had a few more drinks (still trying to stay ahead of the drink package!) and watched clips he had of old ventriloquist acts, to include his own before the show finally started. He was ok, one main puppet and some little bits about himself, but the highlight was when he pulled a member of the audience on stage and used him as a puppet. Not sure it would have been as funny with any other audience member, but this due played along as if he were truly a part of the show. It was absolutely hilarious, and we're glad we got to see it. Day 5 Philipsburg, Saint Maarten The ship woke us with the engines once again forcing the ship to do a 180 and back into the dock in St Maarten. Today we went a little heavier on the morning room service call so that we could be ready to get off the ship when it docked (and, truth be told, my daughter simply loved the croissants!). Though we stayed an hour later in St Thomas to make up for our late arrival, they somehow managed to make up two hours and get us to port an hour early. After the obligatory stop for a few photos on the dock (once again we were parked next to two other ships showcasing Oasis' huge footprint), we made our way to the ticket booth for the water taxi. The port shopping folks gave us a coupon for $1 off each ticket, but then the booth said we could only use it at the dock. A short walk later and we got our wristbands, $6 for all day access, and we got right onboard the taxi and headed across to the main area downtown. We didn't have an excursion so we opted to hit a few shops and then spend some time on the beach. My wife diligently collected all the "free charm" coupons she could find, and my son was patient in her and my daughter's hunt for bling. As a reward, we found "The Yoda Shop", a small second floor 'museum' set up by the creator of Yoda. He had a lot of autographed merchandise and some interesting stories, and only charged an arm and a leg to walk through to see it all! Another brief jewelry stop where despite the sales lady's best efforts to get me to spend a few thousand more than I paid for the cruise on bling, and we managed to escape with earrings and a necklace for the wife and some small free pieces as a reward for my daughter. Made our way deeper into town...quickly realized the main shopping area had seen reconstruction after the hurricane, but any deeper and you hit the parts that needed a lot more help. We turned back towards the water, walked past a few more shops (they're persistent in trying to get you to come in!) and made our way back to the main dock area for lunch. There honestly didn't seem to be much in line of options, so we played the typical tourists and headed in to the Hard Rock Café. Passed by the shop and headed upstairs, where we sat at the bar and met a great local bartender who had a huge smile on his face. Ordered a few appetizers and actually activated the free wifi to check in on our puppies, then back to chatting and planning the rest of the day. From the second floor we could see the beach and the activities, and my son quickly focused in on the jet skis. Well, since he lost the BOSS excursion we decided renting a jet ski was the right approach. Our drinks were good (very strong!), I had a Caribbean made Guinness...have now experienced the nectar of the Gods made on three different continents! The food was slow, but good when it finally showed and we had great timing as the place got full quickly. Finished and went to pay...despite the sign/sticker on the door, they wouldn't take AMEX, but after learning that in Nassau I was smart enough to include a Visa in my day pack this time. Bartender was upset we added the tip (a pretty generous one) to the bill instead of leaving him cash. In hindsight I figured out that the restaurant probably takes a chunk of it from him, which sucks. We headed down to the beach and found a few chairs by the water. Of course we were descended upon quickly by the locals who "rented" the chairs. When he said $10 each I started to walk towards the jet ski rental counter, and he quickly followed with "how much do you want to pay". That was slightly amusing, wasn't ready to haggle for a chair, but he was eager to. Offered a combo deal for the chair, umbrella and jet ski, so I paid the $75 and filled out the waiver paperwork. They had about 6 jet skis, plus two more that they used to "corral" people when their time was up. Waited about 15 min before ours came in, and we took off. It was a blast, and my son probably still has bruises on his butt from catching some air :) My wife and daughter hung at the beach playing while we journeyed around the bay. Was able to get up close to many of the ships docked, to include Oasis. Wow. She's just amazing. Alas the jet ski cowboys came to rope us in after our time was up, so we headed back to shore where we put the new Del Sol color changing Frisbee to use in the water for a while. About 4 we started to pack up to head back, and there was a line forming at the water taxi station so it's good we started. No issues, got right onboard the next one and headed back to the port. A few shops along the way after we docked, but nothing we wanted to stop at so we headed down the pier and back onto the ship. Lines were somewhat confusing, as they had a separate entry at the far end of the ship just for crew, but some folks would motion for passengers to still use it while others further up turned passengers away. Nonetheless it was painless and we were through security quickly and back up to our rooms to cleanup. The kids were being lazy and I was eager to get out, so the wife and I headed out and got a drink on the Rising Tide and then sat down in the Schooner for another. We hadn't been to the Windjammer yet (mostly because I was trying to avoid it) but decided to check it out as the wife wanted some nachos. Well, it was Mexican night, so much to my chagrin we went back to grab the kids and headed to the buffet for dinner. As indicated, I was not disappointed by the food in the MDR (I know some reviews have commented on it, but I have nothing bad to say). I also know some folks in the pool had some negative reviews about the specialty restaurants (Chops was a frequent negative review by many folks we met on this trip). But democracy ruled, so we hit the buffet. I stopped at the bar, and waited patiently as the bartender there finished his text conversation before finally looking up and realizing I had been standing right in front of him (he made up for it with a really strong drink!). The taco meat was, well, bland (and very full of beans), the nachos were soggy, and the few other items we got just weren't appetizing at all. The key lime pie...which had received rave reviews...wasn't anything to write home about, and frankly I would have been happy had we never set foot in the Windjammer. Of the entire vacation, this was truly the only "negative" experience I think we had on the ship all week that I would provide critical feedback on. Conversely, not going to dinner as planned in the MDR opened the chance for us to wait in line for space available for the ice show. Originally the family expressed very little interest in attending, as they thought it would have been geared more towards a younger crowd. But after reading some of the other feedback I convinced them we should try it. A quick stop to once again school the 18 year old on air hockey, and we made our way to the line. Glad we did, we were already about 25 people back and we were still 30 min from show time, and the line only got longer from there. No worries, once it started moving we got right in and found four seats. The show was simply amazing. Amazing. On par with the dive show. The ice skaters, despite the boat's movement, were almost flawless in their very complicated routines...to include one segment where the male skater swung the female around and around (a la that old movie "Cutting Edge" when the hockey player becomes an ice skater...but I digress!) with her head quite literally inches from the ice. They did a multi-faceted tribe to Hans Christian Anderson with all his different story tales, the funniest of all culminating with "The Emperor's New Clothes", and one simply phenomenal segment where a Ukrainian artist told a story by manipulating sand art...hard to explain, but I was mesmerized. After my daughter chose to head back to the room while the wife and son and I headed to the Schooner for the Elton John piano tribute. We sat down at the piano itself and sang word for word along with every song. He switched up to Billy Joel, we still sung along word for word with every song. It was actually quite funny, he and I are huge fans of both, so it was a great night to be at a piano bar. Others around the bar laughed and commented to my wife that we must practice at home. Not so much practice as we just love the music, but was still a lot of fun. She headed off to bed, we stayed and sung some more, til about 1 and then finally headed back to bed. Day 6: At Sea Today we got up and decided to hit the Solarium for breakfast before the first of two epic days of relaxation. It was crowded, took us a few minutes to find a table but enjoyed the spread. Bacon. You know the routine. Found a few chairs not too far from the beach pool and spent the day enjoying the sun and making the most of our drink package. The kids explored, even took a towel folding class of their own. My son did the "super heroes" trivia, my wife read, and I enjoyed not being tied to a mobile device that was ringing off the hook. Met a few nice folks in the pool and chatted a while, ran down for a hot dog and some fries, watched my son on the zip line, and then back to the pool for more lazy time. Quite literally the first time in years I've had nothing to do, and it was awesome. I'm sure there was other stuff that day, but who cares! Back to the room via the Promenade for some snacks and saw the crowds all dressed up again for the second formal night. Did our SSS and dressed up again (note, they provided two different shirts with the tuxedo rental, kudos!). Girls had another fancy outfit and like a good military guy I reutilized the one I brought and we headed down for more fun pictures. First one was with the captain again, so walked right up and took that one. Had to highlight the jewelry I bought for the wife and blamed him....what I failed to mention earlier is that the port shopping guide is also his fiancé. She mentioned it. A few times. More than a few times. :) Got a bunch more pictures along the way, actually saw a few other military folks this time (it was so crowded on the first night I'm sure I just missed them) and headed down for dinner. Rommel and Jaeyun were on point, and tonight was crazy busy for them as it was also lobster night. I convinced myself I was on vacation, so I caved and ordered the Chops filet along with the lobster...figured a little surf and turf! I laughed as one of the other waiters had to peel apart the lobster for a girl at another table...made me wonder if that was part of the standard service! Our lobster showed, and it was delicious as expected. Unfortunately the kitchen didn't help our staff out, nor did the head waiter, as Rommel had to go all the way back to the kitchen to retrieve my filet. He rushed out and apologized profusely as he knew the intent was to have both at the same time. We learned that our section of the MDR is literally the furthest walk from the galley. I knew he was trying, and didn't for a minute think it was his fault, but he was over the top apologetic and even brought a few extra lobsters to the table (no complaints from my crew!). They also poured the champagne like it was going out of style, so we obliged. As indicated earlier, feedback on Chops wasn't great, and I unfortunately had to agree. My filet was more done (I had requested medium) than I wanted, a little crispy on the outside and the meat not nearly as tender as some of the others I've had. Cost an extra $20, and in hindsight I should have just gone with the NY strip off the MDR menu and made it easier (and cheaper). Lesson learned. As we tried to leave Rommel brought even more champagne...wow, it was flowing tonight! We took our glasses and departed for our nightly walk around the track en route to the Opal for the acrobat show. Again, another performance that didn't fail to deliver. While there may a lot of negatively towards Cats, the rest of the entertainment on Oasis was great! With a cast of four "main" singers, a group of acrobats and dancers, this troupe wowed us with their skills, and being a former theater stage crew techie, the props/stage were incredible! From folks flying in from above the stage and out over the audience, they captivated everyone and it was simply fun to watch. Glad we stuck around for it, would highly recommend to anyone. Back in the room we were greeted by more towel animals, this time the kids had a monkey hanging from a clothes hanger in the middle of the room. I wish I had my daughter's reaction on video...she probably woke the folks upstairs she jumped so high. Epic. Day 7: At Sea The wife and I got up around 8 on the last day for spa appointments. She was offered a "discount" based on her attendance at the pamper party earlier in the week. We got there and were greeted (or not) at the front desk by a woman who apparently didn't want to be there that day. Still, it was fun to see the rest of the spa attendants checking in, a long line of staff in their uniforms stretched from the desk to the entrance as each signed in...gave you an appreciation for the sheer volume of staff dedicated just to the spa. We filled out the paperwork and were separated to our individual treatments. I met Wanpen from Tailand...which was fortuitous as I was going for a massage and Thai stretching is by far one of the few ways my back responds. She attempted the expected upsell of additional services, but quickly realized I wasn't in the market and backed off without issue. She was quite adroit at her profession, and I was glad this would be the way we wrapped up our trip. When finished I went to find my wife, who unfortunately was unable to receive her treatment due to the machine breaking down (I guess this had happened to them earlier in the week as well). They asked her to come back later in the day and try again. We went back and got the kids moving and made it to the Solarium in time for breakfast just before they shut down the line. They had already run out of syrup and the coffee was empty, but the bacon was plentiful :) Another lazy day, this time we were fortunate enough to go early and find some chairs next to the pool. I will admit, the chair hogs were prevalent on this trip. Frustratingly enough, the same lady who reserved 17 chairs at the aqua show was also like a traffic cop that morning, reserving another 17 lounge chairs for her towels. I say that, as I spent the day in the pool, and pretty sure the only thing that occupied those chairs all day were her towels.... Got a little sun that morning, then lathered up as to not get burned and hung out in/out of the pool while the wife read. Hung in the pool for a while, and the kids went to the flowrider. Lots of fun. Then back to the pool. Kids joined us off and on, finding time for zip lining, and then used the Johnny Rockets coupon we won to go to lunch together. We started to feel a few drops of rain...the first all week, so packed up to head back inside. I laughed. All the people in the pool, already wet, were freaking out over the rain. I guess it did come down a little later, but we were already back inside and missed it. The wife headed back to the spa to try her treatment again, and the kids and I went down to the sports bar for the Harry Potter trivia...that was crowded and lots of competition. I'll admit, I'm the Star Wars expert in the family, but by no means am I the Harry Potter guy so I was of very little help to their cause. That was until the crew member running it say they had hidden a snitch somewhere on Deck 5, and the Muggle of least value to the team should be dispatched. Now this was up my alley, and a chance to grab another drink. Didn't find it, but at least wasn't stuck in the over-crowded sports bar! We also activated our free hour of internet and checked into our flight for the next day. After the wife joined back up we walked a few of the shops (huge watch sale, but man, those things were HUGE! As big as the ship! I just can't imagine wearing a five pound watch!). We had waited til today, and t-shirts were 2 for $20 (always wait til the end of the week!), and then we headed up to the picture station. I had pre-purchased the picture package, $249. No kidding, we had 249 pictures taken. Too funny, $1 per pic! We actually purchased the autographed picture with the captain (I chuckled, as a few folks had asked to get their pictures taken with me while I was in my military uniform...wonder if I could have autographed a few and sold them!?). The attendant showed us how to download the pictures to our cell phones...but at 249 of them we decided to just wait til we got home and download them all from the cloud at once. At least now you know why we stopped at every picture station all week! We showered and changed for our last dinner, and chatted with the kids about the week and how they enjoyed it. Both agreed the dining room staff was the best, and also wanted to recognize the room steward. I had already set a tip amount in my mind, but they chose to supplement it with their own money to recognize these crew members. Will admit, was pretty proud of them for that action. We worked really hard to provide this vacation, and it was good to know our kids recognized the hard work of some of the crew that made it extra special. Dinner was great again, and the champagne was once again flowing freely. We had great conversations about the week, the highs and lows, what we looked forward to (and dreaded) about going home, and some additional conversation with our wait staff. The kids provided them their respective envelopes, and I think Jaeyun was nearly floored when she opened it. Glad we were able to bring some joy to her after the week of her bringing it to us. We got a picture with them and finished our desserts. Rommel must have had time to open his as well, as he came back, his face lit up with a huge smile. The kids still talk about them! We spent some time earlier in the day packing up the bags, but went back one more time to ensure everything was ready. The kids had made a towel turtle for Cleyton and left his envelope with it, and he had left them a nice note in appreciation. My wife and daughter stayed while my son and I went back to the Opal for the final comedy show, the same two we had seen earlier in the week. I won't get into the full details, but the dude sitting in front of us (he was front row) just wasn't wise enough to not pick an argument with the comedian from Boston. He tore him apart, and most of it was rather amusing. The other comedian repeated many of the same jokes we heard earlier in the week, wasn't as much fun this time around. We stopped after to meet the one from Boston and swap Beantown stories. Found out his daughter is also Air Force, so gave him my contact info and told him to have her look me up if she needs anything. Small world. Day 8: The end :( Once again, you could feel the ship shake as the crew turned her around to get back into Port Canaveral. We rose, finished packing up and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. For some reason, Park Café didn't dawn on me as being an option, or maybe it wasn't open. In any case, same impression. Everything is better with bacon, but even the bacon there was too salty. Oh well. Coffee and some eggs, and we were back to our room to grab our bags. Left our room about 745am. No issues getting off the ship, quite literally walked straight up to customs, they reviewed passports and were out. From ship to garage, less than ten minutes. Called Craig with Port to Port and he was about ten minutes out. Saw him pull in, walked down to the end to meet him and loaded up. Once again, we were his only passengers so we spread out...and crashed in our seats while he navigated back to the airport. Checked in with SWA (waited in A-list line, would have been easier to just do self check in), and made our way to security. TSA Pre-check is a must for MCO...very long lines. Made it through, and planned to go to the Priority Lounge you get with AMEX, only to learn that was in the other part of Terminal A. We left and had to go back through security on that end, which they gave us a hard time over because our gate wasn't there, but acquiesced when I explained we were going to the lounge. Made our way down and in...and it was like hitting a wall. The place was crowded, dirty and few open seats. Not worth all the effort we went through to get there, but we were there so we hung out a while and updated our friends online and went through our pictures. Eventually it got more crowded so we decided to leave and try the USO. The USO...why didn't we just go there first? Place is huge, clean, massive TVs, snacks, couches, and great people who are genuinely nice and interested to have you there...unlike the priority lounge. And it's free. Won't make that mistake again. Stayed there for half a football game, and then made our way back through security...again...I was surprised the TSA didn't flag us for multiple trips through. Had pre-paid for priority board on this flight as I wasn't sure we'd have internet to be able to check in, so we were able to get right on and seats together without issue. Quick layover in Philly and then home to STL. Left the fam to grab the bags off the conveyor belt while I went to get the car from parking. Well, I sat in the parking shuttle waiting for about 20 minutes before we finally headed to the lot. By the time we left, the final bag was coming off the line. Oh well. I was just glad the temp wasn't too bad, about 50, as to not be a shocker after 80s all week. It would snow on us a few days later. Talking about a reality check! Overall...yes, would definitely do this trip again! As indicated, while New Years Eve on the ship was nice, I'm not sure it's a "must do" at that price. I'm confident I could have spent half as much if we weren't shy about taking the kids out of school for the week, but definitely enjoyed our time on Oasis. A few salient points that, again, are specific to me so please understand that any negative comments about my perceptions will be wasted effort to type as I'm truly just providing my .02 cents worth... Rooms: - If you're the type that has to see the ocean as much as possible, then yes, spend the extra to get a view. Otherwise, we spent so little time in our room that the inside room was more than sufficient. I saw some pictures of folks with rooms actually smaller than ours...wow. Ours were tight, but that was why I went with two for the four adults vice having the kids sleep on the drop down beds out of the ceilings. (if my kids are reading this, you owe me!). - The adjoining room was convenient, but not a must. We could have survived with rooms close by/across the hall. - Our rooms were closer to the front above the spa. We felt the motion. Moreso, we felt the beat. Quite literally. If you want to sleep in, don't get these rooms, as Zumba (or something) starts every day in the spa at 0900. And your room will shake from the bass. - Magnets...yes! We did all the homework on what to bring/what not. This one was fun. I had printed small quotes that I posted on the kids' door a few times a day. I think our steward enjoyed them as much as us. But other stuff like the over the door shoe organizer and things like that, well we personally didn't have a need. Food: - We were never disappointed in the MDR. Never. While three of us tried different appetizers every night (my daughter is the picky one, so she loved her Caesar salad!), we never were displeased and asked for something different. Now that didn't stop us from asking for the shrimp AND the caprese.... Main courses were diverse. The fish of the day was awesome. The desserts....wow. - I wish we had done more breakfasts in the MDR, and even lunch for that matter - we're old school, cruised before the "specialty" restaurants were a big thing. Frankly we didn't miss anything. Part of cruising for us is the relationship you build with your dining staff. Floating (ha!) from restaurant to restaurant wouldn't have provided that opportunity so we were happy. Again, our opinion. If you want to go, go. - Johnny Rockets was...well...the same as the fast food place you go to at the mall. Actually, there you get the "diner" experience with folks singing and dancing to 50s music. I don't really see this as a "specialty" and had we not won the BOGO not sure we would have done anything there besides the breakfast (which is included). And at that, the cost of one burger was about the same amount I'd spend on three back home. We were disappointed the shakes weren't included as part of the drink package, but understand that's not a sustainable business model. - Re-read, and then read again my take on the Windjammer. Simply put, this was the disappointment of the cruise, and I'm glad we only went once. - Room service was always on time, only failed to call in advance once, and offered enough options that if we really didn't want to we could have avoided breakfast altogether. - Other opportunities...our bad for not trying more/others. Simply spent very little time in central park, and thus completely missed out on Park Café. Could have tried Solarium for dinner, but see above why we stuck with MDR. Staff: - I think I've bragged on MDR staff enough. Chefs (other than WJ) were good. Steward wasn't as personable as our other cruises, and left a bit to be desired with respect to room standards. Bartenders were simply grumpy all week. I'm all for extra tips (remember the drink package includes 18% on top of every drink), but they would consistently push the printed receipt hoping for more but provided very little in the form of "great service" that warranted it. - Cruise director: never interacted with him personally, but saw him onboard and saw all the videos. This week he also had his very young daughter onboard, and she was featured in his videos. Seemed like a nice guy. Proverbially off his rocker. His assistant was nice, but they didn't click. Seemed forced. - Officers: as indicated, Captain wasn't very outgoing, nor were many of his officers we interacted with. Some really got into dancing during latin night, but mostly just kept to themselves. - Sports: can't say enough good stuff about the zip line/rock wall/flow rider crew. My son is a self-proclaimed zip expert (staffed it at National Boy Scout Camp) and they were great engaging with him. Rock wall had a night climb, which my daughter showed up for just before closure. They initially told her too late, but saw her sitting on the bench looking disappointed and personally came over to issue her the gear and get her up on the wall. Flow rider...they have fun. But the best part was when one of the staff got on a board and "tandem" boogie boarded with a special needs young man who obviously was having the time of his life thanks to this staff member. The audience cheered and clapped, and it just made him that much happier. That is how you win over families on big expensive vacations. - Photographers: as I said, we stopped at EVERY one. Some were personable, others just clicked the trigger. Most tried the typical "ladies with your hands on your hips, guys with hands in pockets", but let us have some fun and choose our own poses as well. On the stairs leading to the globe behind Globe and Atlas they need a higher step stool, all the pics were taken from a too low vantage point and made them appear awkward. Some photographers dressed up on port days like pirates or sailors, fun! Many laughed or joked with me in uniform, faking a salute. Unfortunately the gentleman who checked us out at the end had absolutely no people skills, I wish one of the photographers we'd met during the week would have been there to interact with. - Art: the dude hocking art was just awkward. I think it's a pre-requisite for the job, but he came across as sort of creepy. Funny story too...he was talking a good talk (we call them war stories) with a pair of gentlemen when we walked through on the formal night. He saw me in uniform and clammed up quickly. I think he mistook me for a member of the crew :) - Excursion: I think they need a better trained staff here. Too many mistakes. - Voom: hard to find. We won the free hour, but despite repeated attempts to activate it couldn't until the last day. - Embarkation: great crew in Port Canaveral. Very friendly, eager to set the tone for the week. Activities: - Excursions: Can I beat a dead horse? I purposely went through RCL, despite the added costs, and still only got one of three that we wanted. Frustrating. - Teen club: I've heard RCL does a phenomenal job with the younger kids. This group, while young adults, wasn't very well organized or welcomed. Again, my personal experience with my daughter (she's a military kid, has moved a ton, every two years, does NOT have trouble making friends...), this just didn't jump out as a great bonus. Further, the 18 year old crowd is a tough one. He's not a drinker (international waters...pretty sure they would have served him without question!), but the few "events" they had weren't well organized/advertised/executed. - Pools: crowded, but not overcrowded. Chairs...well, chair hogs. We had a few windy days and the upper most deck was closed, so that drove a lot more folks down to the main level and Solarium, which was another area that a lot of towels enjoyed their day. Look forward to seeing what they do with Oasis in dry dock. Slides? Lazer tag? We never did mini-golf, our bad. But frankly not sure I saw a lot of folks there, so maybe a good place to re-evaluate use of valuable on-deck real estate. - Arcades: lots of "out of order" games, and too damn expensive to justify. One game of air hockey was $2.50. - Other events: we did the late dining, 8pm. Makes sense as you're not rushed to finish the day and get to dinner, but the options available for activities seemed focused on the 8pm timeframe, so we felt like there were times we missed out. Oh well. Wouldn't have changed our dining time so... - Spa: Don't feel like the "pushed" like other cruises we've been on. Although other cruises when you pay for a service, it entitled you to use the spa that day. Not so here. Wish they'd change that. - Cruise Critic meet and greet...very fun! Thanks RCL for doing it. - Trivia competitions: probably need to find a larger venue than the On Air, way overcrowded each time - Entertainment: I felt the on-deck band was good, they kept it up beat. Not so sure about the playlist (Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" about his kid falling out a window and dying? Not really cruise ship material....). As indicated the aqua show and acrobats were awesome, as were the ice skaters. I've yet to hear anything good about Cats so not sure why they've kept it so long, but didn't go so can't really speak to it. I'd think a more upbeat show (I know other ships have Mama Mia, Newsies, etc) makes more sense. The headliner was good, and the comedians as well. Only three couples for Love and Marriage, and each "won" (which, by the way, totally pissed off a lady I was chatting with in the pool!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Loved the ports of call on itinerary. Warm and beautiful despite being January. Unfortunately this sailing was the one following the Norovirus outbreak...so we didn't have the usual cruise experience. People on their first cruise ... Read More
Loved the ports of call on itinerary. Warm and beautiful despite being January. Unfortunately this sailing was the one following the Norovirus outbreak...so we didn't have the usual cruise experience. People on their first cruise didn't know any different so it may have not been an issue for them. Until day 6 the staff had to serve at every buffet, and drink station, no salt and pepper shakers ( either to-go packets or they shook it for you), etc...it just kind of took away from the experience. Wishy Washy was everywhere and usually not optional. Staff was constantly wiping down handles, rails, walls, buttons, you name it... We have agreed the food in the buffet areas was better on the Independence of the Seas. However, we were pleased with the Main Dining room and rather than stuff ourselves with somewhat flavorless food throughout the day we ordered several starters, entrees and desserts or multiples of each! No complaints there! We chose to see Oasis of Dreams, Frozen In Time, Come Fly With Me and the headliner show ( Acapella group ReVoiced). All wereamazing! We opted out of Cats. Make sure you reserve your tickets in advance (usually soon after final payment is due). Additionally, make sure you also arrive at least 20 min before showtime just to get a seat! Every show was crowded. My daughter ( age 9) absolutely loved kids club and many times preferred going there over any other activity. It also made it easy to meet up with kids at the pool that she already knew. Disembarking was a complete mess...like it was their first time! We were supposed to disembark at 8:45. We ended up skipping breakfast and making it to the the designated floor before 8...only because the entire deck was full already! Lines were going everywhere and nobody knew where to go. Finally they made announcements and it was a mad dash...and was after 9 before we made it to customs. We had a great time and made the most of everything. QWe are already planning on another Royal Caribbean Cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Just returned from Oasis - Eastern route - after taking Western one year ago. This year's experience was even better than last year because of a much better dining experience. Last year, My Time Dining was a disappointment overall. ... Read More
Just returned from Oasis - Eastern route - after taking Western one year ago. This year's experience was even better than last year because of a much better dining experience. Last year, My Time Dining was a disappointment overall. This year we chose early dining and our server Vaibhav and asst Claire at table 564 in Grand DR were outstanding. The American Icon for breakfast and lunch was always impressive. Windjammer was chaotic at times but well managed. We even tried Johnny Rockets for a fun lunch but opted not to try other optional restaurants. Arrival at Port Canaveral was again the most organized port we've ever experienced - kudos to all the helpful staff there. We chose a Boardwalk balcony - 10329 and it proved to be spectacular- offering both views of the ocean along with the Aqua Theater events. Highly recommended especially if you like an aft view. Once again the entertainment was very enjoyable everywhere except we avoided Cats after being disappointed last year. This massive ship offers such a variety of acts and venues. Glad to see that smoking is being very restricted. Crazy ridiculous drink prices are very evident even with highly promoted packages. Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten were good stops that still displayed the horrific hurricane damage from 2017. They're still trying to recover especially in St. Maarten. Disembarkation was organized considering well over 6000 pax. We opted to self-disembark. Overall a great experience despite such a large ship. Anxious to see what the Oasis two month refurb this fall will have to offer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Fitness customer service representatives are unfriendly and rude unless you buy their package. They have steam and sunna rooms. But customer needs to pay package in order to use them. This is very basic service; but it is not available for ... Read More
Fitness customer service representatives are unfriendly and rude unless you buy their package. They have steam and sunna rooms. But customer needs to pay package in order to use them. This is very basic service; but it is not available for regular customers on this ship. It seems this fitness centre is too much focused upon extra sales as we observed that they only care for those buying their service packages. We told them we’re unhappy and want to put our comments. The lady said GO AHEAD. Here we are. Entertainment shows are great. We enjoyed diving, skating, Tony Tillman, and other concerts. Boarding organizational work is impressive for over 6,000 passengers. Fine dining services are exceptionally great, professional, and friendly. Quality and quantity of food are very good. House keeping staffs are hardworking and friendly. Their service is excellent. We also observed lots of kids enjoying the facilities onboard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Second time on ship. Enjoy back of ship overlooking boardwalk & diving show (rm 11725). Extra spiffs (soft drink pkg and 1 meal at Johnny Rockets) come with the Boardwalk rooms. Quiet location …. dead end hallway with only three ... Read More
Second time on ship. Enjoy back of ship overlooking boardwalk & diving show (rm 11725). Extra spiffs (soft drink pkg and 1 meal at Johnny Rockets) come with the Boardwalk rooms. Quiet location …. dead end hallway with only three rooms past this room. The Market Place (Lido Deck on most ships) offered a good variety of food however limited sitting area. Disappointed it closed before 9pm. Dining room on 3rd floor (The Grill?) was our FAVORITE place to eat for lunch. a la carte or buffet …. EXCELLENT food. Assigned dining was on the fifth floor. We had six around our table ….. cramped. The table was small and walk spaces …. tight. Although dress code was long pants, other than formal nights, many men wore dress shorts, including myself. Now the bad ….. felt the ship was heading toward being a Carnival Ship. Loads of small kids. Screams and noise reverberated through he Boardwalk and hallways. Found kids wandering noisily through Casino and Adult areas of the ship. Dining room and shows compared our group with prior cruisers wanting more applauds and screams. Insulted when asked to give standing ovation for chefs and waiters, because we didn't want to be outdone by previous cruise. Ship is to be refurbished adding water slides and other young adult entertainment. Enjoyed the MEGA ship first time, Second time around not as much. Expect there won't be a third time. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Our group consisted of 6 people, my wife and myself, our two adult daughters, our son-in-law and our 7-month old granddaughter. We are "loyal to Royal", having completed 14 cruises with RCCL, many of them with our daughters when ... Read More
Our group consisted of 6 people, my wife and myself, our two adult daughters, our son-in-law and our 7-month old granddaughter. We are "loyal to Royal", having completed 14 cruises with RCCL, many of them with our daughters when they were younger. This was our third experience on Oasis-class ships. Overall, we had a good time, and I think this class of ship is ideal for a group with a broad range of ages, as the various neighborhoods offer different experiences for different interests. But there were certainly opportunities for Royal to improve the experience. Booking a family group We needed three cabins for 6 people -- a couple, a single and a family of three. To my surprise, a 7-month old child counts as a full fare paying passenger, so with the single supplement for my younger daughter, we would wind up paying the equivalent of 7 passengers' fares for our group of 6 (there was no "kids sail free" deal when we booked). To get around this, we split up into three couples, with my son-in-law and granddaughter in one cabin, my two daughters next door, and my wife and I in a third cabin. Once on-board, we reconfigured the sleeping arrangements with no one from Royal being any the wiser. Seems like we should have been able to book the cruise with the room arrangements the way we wanted for the same price, but had to MacGyver the solution ourselves. Embarkation We had a mixed experience on this cruise. Our prior cruise (in November '18) was the best embarkation we'd ever had (Anthem of the Seas from Cape Liberty), so my expectations were very high that Royal had implemented the same innovations for Oasis. No such luck. Arrival at the pier was chaotic. We arrived around 11:30 a.m. by car, and the departing passengers were still in the process of picking up their luggage, so the simultaneous drop-off and pick-up activity made for a very crowded terminal. After getting through the drop-off, pier-side parking in the garage was very quick with lots of availability. Once into the terminal, the line-ups were significant. As Diamond members of the C&A society, we expected a bit of a fast track, but that didn't start until after security screening. The screening process was OK, and once we got into the Diamond line, we were processed quickly and were able to board the ship straightaway. Specialty Dining Our Travel Agent had a deal available that offered us one specialty dining experience per cabin, to be booked once we got on-board. We usually dine in the main dining room, and are always very pleased with the food and service there. But since the specialty dining was a "freebie" we decided to use it. By the time we got around to trying to book a dinner time, things were pretty well fully booked. So if you're thinking of specialty dining it's a good idea to book ahead, or if you have a deal like ours, as soon as you step on board. We booked 150 Central Park. Very nice food and attentive service, and no feeling of being rushed. The only disappointment was the "table side Caesar salad" ... true to the menu, the salad was prepared at our table side, but the dressing was already pre-made. In shoreside restaurants where we've had this, the server made the dressing from fresh ingredients right in front of us, starting with cracking eggs and whisking in the olive oil. At 150 Central Park, they might as well have brought out the bottle of Kraft dressing and poured it into the bowl. Table side Caesar salad done the Royal way is a "why bother". Overall the experience at 150 Central Park was OK, but not something I would pay extra for. As a "freebie" it's OK, but next time around I'll look at some of the other alternatives before returning to 150. Child Care The Royal "Babies and Tots" child care program is excellent! For a low fee ($6 per hour in the daytime and $8 in the evening) you can leave your child in the nursery so you can enjoy some "adult time". My daughter and s-i-l did this a few times during the week. They'd read ahead of time about the need to get in line early to book your times, so we went there directly after getting on board. It was a bit of a wait, but managed to book the times they wanted. If you plan to use this service, it's great, but be sure to plan ahead to get the times you want. Dinner time on formal nights book up very quickly. Poolside There is a special-purpose Baby Splash Pool on the pool deck, designed for babies who aren't toilet trained -- they are allowed in the pool as long as they are wearing a special swim diaper. This was great for our granddaughter, it gave her a first pool experience. Royal is one of the few lines we could find that really catered to parents of young babies, and we can't say enough positive things about this -- it allowed us to really enjoy a 3 generation holiday. Windjammer Buffet This is normally my "go to" choice for breakfast, but on this ship there is no custom omelette / fried egg station, or at least none I could find. You could get fried eggs and omelettes, but they were all pre-made and not necessarily the way you wanted them. We also had two times when there was a huge line up to get into the Windjammer, extending out the doors. We've never experienced this before. In those cases, we turned around and went to the Central Park Cafe for the meal we were looking for, and there was no line up there. Overall, our experience with the Windjammer on Oasis was disappointing. Our prior cruise on Oasis, and our cruise on Allure both had better Windjammer experiences, so hopefully Royal is aware of the problem and is working on improving it. Entertainment The main production show on Oasis is the musical CATS. Strange choice. Aside from the one big song (Memory), there's not much to this show. Many people left at intermission. And it's a frequent enough happening that the comedian in the Comedy Club (great venue) jokes about it when he says "Welcome to the Comedy Club, an intimate venue seating 60 people, which is still more than see the 2nd act of CATS". We sat through both acts, and the singing and dancing were excellent, but overall the show wasn't that entertaining -- which is what I thought of the show when I saw it 30+ years ago in Toronto. Other entertainment on the ship was excellent. The Aqua Show is a must-see. The Comedy Club is great for stand-up, and the Jazz Club had performances by some of the cast members of CATS, doing both Jazz and Broadway standards. Neighborhoods One of the real strengths of the Oasis-class ships is the "neighborhood" concept. Central Park, in the middle of deck 8, was our favorite, an area mostly used by adults. The Central Park Cafe was a good spot for a light breakfast or lunch, without the line ups of the Windjammer buffet. Vintages wine bar is there, along with a couple of the specialty restaurants. The Rising Tide bar stops in the middle of Central Park, and you can ride it down to the Promenade on deck 5. Kids are the focus of the Boardwalk, with it's hot dog stand, carousel, candy shop and Johnny Rocket's diner. We stayed away from that area mostly, as it's pretty chaotic, but if you have young kids, it's the place to be! While the ship was full of kids of all ages, we found many spots we could hang out that were relatively quiet. The Solarium, at the front of the ship on the pool deck, is an adults only retreat with lots of loungers, a restaurant and bar. Fitness There is a well equipped fitness facility on-board, and an excellent walking / running track on deck 5. The track is 666 meters long (about 725 yards), so you don't have to go around in small circles like on most ships to get a significant distance. It wasn't very busy, and from some spots on the track you get a good view of the ocean (or port) as you walk or run by. This is one way Royal has really taken advantage of the overall size of this class of ship, it is the best walking/running track I've used on any of our cruises. Service The service in the Main Dining Room was excellent, and the team we had looking after our table ensured that we had a high-chair for the baby, and a fruit cup and steamed vegetables at the table quickly, so she had something to play with (or eat) while the adults contemplated the menu. The only negative in the MDR for us was the wine service. We started getting a glass of wine at the Champagne Bar just before dinner and carrying it into the restaurant, so that we wouldn't be sitting waiting for 15 minutes for our wine order. We've had this same experience on other Royal sailings, I think it's their service model to really limit the number of Bar Servers on duty in the MDR. Disembarkation After a very optimistic start (our luggage tag numbers were called about 30 minutes ahead of schedule) disembarkation was a disappointment. Just prior to us getting to the gangway, Customs & Immigration shut down the process due to a backlog of processing people. We waited more than 45 minutes in line before the flow of passengers started again. A real positive for Royal in all of this is that several of the ship's Officers made appearances in the line up to apologize for the delay. They did what they could to ensure that we were informed of what was going on, and I give them credit for this. They also brought a drink cart around to offer people coffee & juice while they waited. Once in the luggage warehouse we quickly found our bags and then joined the big snaky line to speak to an Border agent. One of the largest ships in the world was in port, and CBP only had half of their inspection lines open. This isn't under Royal's direct control, but I would expect they could influence the number of agents. I contrast this to the disembarkation from Anthem of the Seas last November, where each passenger could choose to line up to see an agent, or step in front of a camera which used facial recognition to determine if the person was OK to proceed, or needed to go to "secondary inspection". We chose facial recognition, and were waved through immediately without any delay. This innovation should be implemented across the fleet! Overall While my review may sound negative, overall we had a good time with the family, and would recommend Royal Caribbean, and an Oasis-class ship, to anyone looking for a multi-generation vacation. A key tip is to make sure you sign on to the Cruise Personalizer well in advance of your trip and book your main shows and any specialty or MyTime dining you want. Once you're on board it's much more difficult to find the times you want, and the way they schedule the shows, you may find that dinner conflicts with your preferred showtime. If you take an hour ahead of time, it will save you lots of frustration while on board. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We were three couples staying on the 10th floor with three water balcony rooms. Rooms were typical smaller size but very functional. Ship was amazing and embarkation and debarkation was way better than expected. Not sure why people ... Read More
We were three couples staying on the 10th floor with three water balcony rooms. Rooms were typical smaller size but very functional. Ship was amazing and embarkation and debarkation was way better than expected. Not sure why people complain it was so organized. Ship is laid out awesome with different areas to enjoy. Ship while huge never felt crowded with 6000+ guests. Never had to worry about finding lounge chairs. We found 6 together every day. The dining room food and service was top notch. Ship was very clean. Getting off ship at ports was very easy and well organized. We never ate at any speciality restaurants as really no need as the dining room is awesome and food great. We ate at buffet a couple times for lunch and breakfast but all the rest we spent breakfast, lunch, and all dinners in the dining room. We had MTD but booked a reservation for 7:30pm each night which was when we went most nights. A couple times we showed up early at 6:30pm and never waited more than 10 min to get a table of 6 people together. All staff were amazing. Would highly recommend and can't imagine why anyone would give negative reviews about any part of this ship and staff. If you don't like that you need to spend $$$$ and go on a private yaht cause you can't expect anything more than this for the price we paid. Awesome, great, will do again for sure. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise for several reasons: (1) It was 'bout the only week we could go this Spring, (2) We'd never been on an Oasis-class ship before and wanted to try it on for size, and (3) It had a couple of ports we'd not ... Read More
We chose this cruise for several reasons: (1) It was 'bout the only week we could go this Spring, (2) We'd never been on an Oasis-class ship before and wanted to try it on for size, and (3) It had a couple of ports we'd not been to before -- Labadee (RCL's private island) and Falmouth, Jamaica. Embarkation: It was easy. We arrived about 11:30am and there was a crowd, but it went smoothly. Our bags were taken at the shuttle, we then waited in a long but moving line for security, and then were pointed to our check-in lane, which was quick. It took about 20 minutes from the time we walked into the terminal. Entry was in the middle of Deck 5, the shopping promenade. Sorrento's pizza place was at the entrance and a lot of folks stopped to dine there. But this day, we made our way to the Windjammer buffett on Deck 16 for lunch. More on that in the Food section below. Cabin: We choose an Inside Balcony overlooking the Boardwalk as it was relatively inexpensive and came with some nice perks, like a free soda package for two and a free meal at Johnny Rockets. We liked our cabin. It was larger than we'd experienced on older ships and the bed was actually comfortable (not a cushioned-cot like on some others. Also, the couch was full-sized, not a two-person love-seat, and the TV a nice size. However, in hindsight, an inside balcony overlooking Central Park would'a been nicer. We'd read that the air there gets stale, but when we visited Central Park (our cabin was on the same deck), we always found the air to be fresh. To get more of an at-sea sensation, an outside cabin would be necessary. Food: For breakfast and lunch, the Windjammer had a decent variety of food well presented, with eggs cooked to order at breakfast and a carving station at lunch. We did not try it for dinner, but it would likely be similar. Despite being jammed with peep, there were tables to be had and an active cleaning crew. On days with very high demand, there was a short line at the door and someone to show you to an empty table. Mostly we ate dinner in the main dining room (my time) and the food there was generally good. But there were a few misses: Tough steak (save that for Chops Grille) and the seafood linguine should be avoided (chalky pasta, cold seafood * watery sauce). The lobster (Day 5) was yummy and the deserts were excellent. Johnny Rockets was mediocre, both for the free breakfast and for lunch (think McDonalds), although I liked the onion rings.. We thought the pizza at Sorrento's was actually good. We also went to Chops Grille (got a voucher for a freebie) and were greatly impressed. The steak was very tender. The bernaise sauce was great, but the wine sauce tasted like enhanced A1. From now on, we'll include it in our plans. Entertainment & Activities: The quality of the entertainment was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed "Frozen" (ice skating), "Come Fly" (acrobatics), "Dreams" (aquatics), "Cats" (broadway musical), the headliner rock band, and their comedians. Being of a certain age, we did not do _any_ activities, but from what we could see, the flow-riders, golf, zip line, etc., were all in fine condition. Ports of Call: Labadee, their private island was fun. There was some confusion with the tram to Columbus Cove (no ferry that day), as we should'a taken the "small" tram which goes over sand, resulting in a little walk. We tipped the fellow who set up our lounge chairs $10. The lunch-spot was right behind us. In Jamaica, we did the little-Appleton Rum tour and enjoyed that, but thought it overpriced. In Cozumel, we'd done the West-side beaches 3x already, so choose to do the Mayan ruins and the rougher East-side beach tour, which was different, and also fun. Level of Service: Excellent at all venues. Our cabin steward was particularly attentive and got an extra tip. One improvement to suggest: For reserved seats, it'd be better to rope off rows than have someone shoo people away. Disembarking: Surprisingly fast and efficient. Breakfast the Windjammer at 8:30am, and as we descend to our waiting lounge at 9am, our bag #25 is called. The longest wait was for our shuttle bus. Summary: I was apprehensive about sailing on such a large ship, and ended up with mixed feelings. RCCL does a really good job of providing a largely enjoyable experience, and yet, the mass of humanity and size detracts from the notion that you're actually "at sea." Still, I'd do it all again for the entertainment and comfort value, but not where I want my experience to be more personal and my attention to be more seaward. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Oasis of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 3.8

Find an Oasis of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click