The Oasis of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship in their largest class of ships with capacity for 6,000+ passengers and 2,100 crew. It is a beautiful ship with many unique features. Central Park spans about 2/3 of the length of the ... Read More
The Oasis of the Seas is a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship in their largest class of ships with capacity for 6,000+ passengers and 2,100 crew. It is a beautiful ship with many unique features. Central Park spans about 2/3 of the length of the ship on the 8th deck. It is an open-air promenade with trees and plants, real birds and is where 3 of the specialty restaurants are located. Vintages, the upscale wine bar, and Tiffany’s store are also located here. Balcony cabins on the 9 thru 14 decks overlook the park. It is a quieter part of the ship although they have classical music performances some nights.
The Boardwalk is the part of the ship geared towards children with a carousel, arcade, Johnny Rockets restaurant, ice cream a candy store and more. At the end is the aquatics theatre where they have live performances with acrobats and divers. Balcony cabins also overlook the Boardwalk.
There is an ice skating rink where there is an ice show performed several times during the cruise and open time for passengers to ice skate.
The 5th deck is the promenade where there are lots of shops, pizza restaurant, café, pub, and several other bars. This is where many of the daily events are held such as parades, meeting Dreamworks characters, Zumba, and dance lessons. The outside perimeter of the 5th deck is the running and walking track. It is completely covered but only enclosed in certain spots.
The 15th deck is where the swimming pools and hot tubs are located. One area has the kids splash park and pools. The Solarium has a pool area restricted to adults as well as a restaurant. At the back of the 15th deck are the sports areas including a basketball court, rock climbing wall, ping pong tables, 9-hole miniature golf course, zip line and surfing wave pool.
Transportation to Port Canaveral
For people who drive to the port, there is parking next to the cruise terminal at $124 for 7 days, or private lots located outside the port that are less expensive and provide a shuttle to the port.
If you fly into Orlando, RCCL offers transportation for $70 per person. We found a fly, snooze and cruise package through Go Port Canaveral that is a good value. Hotels near the Orlando airport and hotels near Port Canaveral participate and the prices vary based on the hotel. We stayed at the Orlando airport Doubletree. It worked out well for us.
Ports of Call
We went to 3 ports during the cruise. The first was Labadee, a private beach owned and operated by RCCL on a peninsula in Haiti. The main thing to do here is to lay in a lounge chair on the beach. For $95 you can use the zip line that goes a considerable distance from a hillside above the beach down to the beach area. It also has some shops run by locals but we didn’t get back to that part of the beach area. RCCL offered some boat sightseeing excursions and a snorkel trip. We took the snorkel trip and were most disappointed. Although the guys working the boat were great, the snorkeling was in water so shallow that I could stand up in it. One small area had some coral and a few fish. The rest had few fish and just sand and some plants.
The second port was Jamaica. We went on an Appleton rum experience. I thought we were going to the factory, but it was primarily a tasting room. The rum punch was outstanding. They told us about the rum making process and then we tasted 3 of their rums. They of course had a shop where you can buy their rums, but they are also sold in the US. The prices were not discounted at the tasting room. I found it in a port shop for $8 less. After the tasting we were taken to a beach club area for a disappointing lunch. We had time to use their beach where there was a fairly rowdy group of young adults partying. We were able to get transportation back to the ship early.
The final port was Cozumel. We have been to Cozumel many times in the past so we were looking to do something different. We signed up for a secret river and caverns. The time on the website was from about 8am until 3:30. When we arrived on board, our tickets said the meeting time was 6:45am. We went to shore excursions and learned that there is a 2-hour ride to the secret river so we cancelled and decided to go on another snorkeling trip. This one was much better. We saw lots of different fish in an extensive coral reef. We also snorkeled a shallow area that is a starfish sanctuary. It was interesting but we only needed 15 minutes there and we were there about 30 minutes.
We found that the excursion descriptions on-line before the cruise were different from the descriptions that the ship’s shore excursion desk had and even they didn’t have sufficient information to answer our questions. Our experience with other cruise lines has been much better WRT reliable shore excursion information.
There are pros and cons to this ship, and depending on one’s perspective, you may thoroughly enjoy it or be disappointed.
• Even with over 6,000 passengers, the embarkation process went relatively quickly.
• The ship is beautiful and is well maintained.
• The cruise staff and performers work hard to make it fun for the passengers.
• They provide a family friendly environment, especially for people with small children. The kids swim area, kids activities space, Dreamworks characters to meet, Boardwalk activities and more make it fun for little kids.
• Lots of nightlife activity with at least 7 different themed bars, most with live music at night. Some nights they had special events in the promenade area, such as 70’s night. It is very crowded and with everyone standing around, it was hard for me to see what was going on.
• 6 specialty restaurants as options to the main dining rooms, for an additional fee.
• Multiple restaurant options with no additional fee for breakfast and lunch. Johnny Rockets and the Solarium bistro offer breakfast, the solarium also has a lunch buffet but dinner is an additional fee.
• The food in the specialty restaurants Chops Grille and Giovanni's was excellent. We were disappointed in 150 Central Park. The main dining room was good but not great.
• I am a wine enthusiast so we went to two wine tastings at Vintages. It's for groups of not more than 12 and the wines are higher end than the wine tastings held in the dining rooms.
• Only 3 ports in 7 days, if you don’t include Port Canaveral where embarkation and debarkation take place.
• Although we got on the ship smoothly, cabins were not ready until 1:00pm, which means we had our carry-ons in tow for lunch and looking around for the first 90 minutes after we boarded.
• There are lots of extra charges including the $13.50 per day per guest for gratuities, drinks besides tea, coffee and lemonade, some items even on the main dining room menu, specialty restaurants including Johnny Rockets, ice cream, Starbucks, many of the offered fitness classes, some of the activity classes, etc. Internet is pricey at $20 per day, or a 7-day package for $13 a day. The package can only be used for 1 device.
• In order to ensure you can see all the shows offered, you need to book on-line before the cruise. Two weeks before the cruise there was limited availability for reservations. However, you can wait in line at your preferred viewing time and can probably get in since it appeared that they underbook the venues.
• We experienced waiting in lines frequently. Even with reservations, people start lining up for shows 15 – 30 minutes before they open the doors. Some venues were full so getting a good seat required queuing early. Some were not as full so arriving later was not a problem, but we never knew how full any show would be. Guest Services usually had a long line. I had to go back several times before I was able to take care of a simple matter.
• There didn’t seem to be any limit in the number of passengers selecting My Time restaurant seating. For those who did not reserve seating times in advance, the queue to get into the restaurant was extremely long at times. We did not get our preferred reservation times on some evenings but the line was so long for those without reservations, that we left and came back later. I would recommend choosing a set dining time option for this ship.
• The activities on days at sea were disappointing for us. The pool deck is very crowded and noisy. It is difficult to find a chair since people like to save chairs all day. They have the usual cruise ship activities of trivia games, bingo, and spa treatment seminars where their goal is to sell you services. The only movies they showed in public venues were kids movies. There were no cultural lectures and special speakers.
We booked this cruise because it was something different for us. Many people we met had sailed on this ship several times before and love it. From my perspective I prefer smaller ships that spend more time in port, where you rarely have to wait in line for anything, and where gratuities, internet, and some alcoholic beverages are included. Read Less