3,782 Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and we were attracted by both the opportunity to be on one of the largest ships at sea and by the . Before booking and then for almost every day before sailing we researched the ship, looked at ... Read More
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise and we were attracted by both the opportunity to be on one of the largest ships at sea and by the . Before booking and then for almost every day before sailing we researched the ship, looked at other reviews and spoke with the travel agent about what to expect. We were concerned about a number of reviews that referenced a tired ship and about Royal Caribbean's reported practice of "nickel and diming" guests to extort as much additional money as possible. I absolutely have to address these issues because they are absolutely not our experience. The ship is overwhelmingly big but it is in beautiful order. Yes there is some upgrade necessary. If you are the type of guest who will obsess about handrails that have been bleached by the sun and are in need of sanding and re-varnishing then look elsewhere because your holiday may be ruined! Otherwise, have no fears - it's spotlessly clean, the staff are friendly and attentive and there is much to do. Not once were we approached about upgrades or trips, nor were we pushed for additional tipping or anything else. Embarkation is about a good as you will ever get - we were onboard enjoying our first drink within 15 minutes of reaching the ship and the staff were simply brilliant at their jobs. Reviews have also mentioned that Royal Caribbean have selected the itinerary for our cruise based on ability to make more money for transfers. We are talking about one of the largest ships at seas - it is naturally limited by the availability of ports to handle its size. We started at Barcelona, went to Palma, Marseilles, La Spezia, Civitavecchia and Naples. We paid for a bus transfer at Marseilles and at Palma and the charges were reasonable based on the journey and the fact that the service ran every 20-30 minutes throughout the entire day. No transfers are necessary at La Spezia (other than a short, free bus ride through the port) or Naples (the ship practically docks in the main street! Reviews we have seen have also criticised the Windjammer Restaurant (the main buffet restaurant) for quality of food and limited space. The quality and range of food in our experience was as good as that in the main dining room. We also, always, found somewhere to dine. Speaking with other guests it was clear they had similar thoughts and experiences. Perhaps the quality of the Windjammer explores its popularity? We thoroughly recommend that you try it - steaks, fish, seafood, curries, paella, cold cuts, carved meats, soup, burgers, fruit, stir fry, you name it, it is available and delicious. We tried to vary our venue for breakfast between Windjammer and the Solarium (deck 15) where exactly the same fare is available but with access restricted to over-18's. The Solarium is beautiful and often quiet so again no problems with the lengthy queues some reviewers have reported. Entertainment was great - we attended the Comedy show (an absolute must) and the diving show (very impressive). Less entertaining was the daily regime around the pool areas with a band playing a range (always the same) of reggae tunes. Tuneful this wasn't - the singers were woeful at the harmonies and the drummer was clearly building a shed. Contrast this with one day where we were treated to a genuine talent in the form of a violinist who was brilliant and who established an immediate rapport with the crowd, covering a range of tracks. She also played at night, sometimes solo and sometimes with a brilliant guitarist in Central Park - worth an hour of anyone's trip just to experience how good they both are. I have already mentioned the food - Windjammer excellent, main dining room equally so except for one occasion when my fish dish was clearly overcooked. We also dined in Sabor, one of the pay options - lovely food but enough to feed a small army! Sorrento's is excellent if you want a slice or two of pizza - it's on the Promenade deck (deck 5). Alcohol was a bit hit or miss - beers, wines, liqueurs and some cocktails were very good or excellent, but too many drinks were spoiled by excessive ice and flat mixers and Royal Caribbean really needs to step up to the mark on this - a glass full of ice and flat mixer spoils an otherwise excellent range of spirits. I appreciate that coffee can be a personal choice (and we are not into Starbucks at all), but this was disappointing. The cast majority of places simply offered coffee from a pot and it was dishwater. The exception was the Park Café on deck 5 - proper speciality coffee served with a range of sandwiches (try the turkey or the roast beef) and pastries - excellent. Again a few more places offering the same on a ship this size would be better. We did not take any of the Royal Caribbean excursions - we have previously visited Rome, Capri (Naples) and options for Palma and Marseilles are easily self-sourced. Marseilles is a must visit - the old port is spectacular. La Spezia was a real surprise - great shopping and dining and after a morning spent on these activities we took a private boat ride (23 Euro per person) to Portovenere followed by a boat ride of one hour around three neighbouring islands - fantastic and Portovenere has to be seen to be believed. Palma is excellent and we spent a great half-day wandering round the shops. We also took a hop on hop off bus ride round Naples - two routes for 23 Euro per person and lasting around 3 hours in total - a really great opportunity to see all of the city. Our cabin was an inside cabin on floor 9 - perfectly good, clean and bet and linen excellent. I enjoy running and can thoroughly recommend the Spa and Fitness area - I have seen reviews saying that it is disappointing that there are only portholes for viewing purposes - they are big portholes and if you want a view perhaps you are not putting enough effort into your exercise! All in all this was a fantastic holiday and we would go back tomorrow. We hope others have a similar experience, and if you are scheduled for a stay on this, in our experience you will enjoy every minute - do not believe everything you have read! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our third time with Royal and first time in Europe, over all is good experience and port intensive cruise only one sea day. Got to build in your own off time to make it enjoyable. We explore all of the ports on our own using Rick Steve ... Read More
Our third time with Royal and first time in Europe, over all is good experience and port intensive cruise only one sea day. Got to build in your own off time to make it enjoyable. We explore all of the ports on our own using Rick Steve guide. Most of the port are pretty easy to explore your own and is much cheaper if you on the budget. The ship is huge and with 5000 plus people doesn’t feel very crowed. Make sure book your shows and reserved your dinning even for my time dinning. We found 2 or 3 place we really like and keep going back every day to relax. My only complaint was the food at main dinning room was bad, they give you large quantities but poorly cook. Some night we feel buffet was better option. All of the staff work very hard try to make you feel comfortable. Entertainment staff are great, but you can only pick few you really want to do and enjoy. You will not have time to do everything. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Not a cruise person but choose it bc of 4 kids various ages. The ride was super smooth never a bump. Sunsets amazing and cabins were clean and bed very comfortable. There are no coffee makers which was upsetting but free room service for ... Read More
Not a cruise person but choose it bc of 4 kids various ages. The ride was super smooth never a bump. Sunsets amazing and cabins were clean and bed very comfortable. There are no coffee makers which was upsetting but free room service for breakfast ONLY. All other room service comes with a fee. The food in American Icon was good not great but what i expected on a cruise.. Not a great ship for food allergies as the gluten free options were slim. The ports were very crowded and very hot. Palma was a waste of time as we did off and on bus and it was packed and scorching hot inside and on top of the bus. We were miserable. Provence we did the petit train (you have to take a taxi to the train) to the Cathedral and it was beautiful our lunch was great and we used google translate to read the menu. For pisa we decided to take the cinque terre train to explore the 5 villages. It was so hot and exhausting for our very active and fit family but beautiful. We had a RC excursion to take us to Rome on the train which was easy and comfortable and then we had purchased a better than skip the the vatican tour. It was TOO crowded at the vatican but the tour was worth it. We hired a private car for the amalfi coast. Very expensive and several of us got very car sick. I wish I would have known about this...we never get car sick so we had no idea this would happen but the roads are very windy. The coast is beyond words...we only got to Positano and Sorrento. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We did the Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in May 2019 on the Oasis. The cruise itself was OK. We did have a really good time but there are a few things we would def. change. Boarding was easy. Rooms were ready at 1pm. Food ... Read More
We did the Western Mediterranean cruise out of Barcelona in May 2019 on the Oasis. The cruise itself was OK. We did have a really good time but there are a few things we would def. change. Boarding was easy. Rooms were ready at 1pm. Food in windjammer was good. Sorrentos pizza also great for late night. The hot dog stand was meh. The coffee was awful. There is no creamer - only milk on this sailing. We did not do any specialty dining restaurants. Our server was great. We saw all the shows. Some nights there were jammed packed with various shows and other nights we struggled with finding things to do. We loved the ice skating show, come fly with me and the comedian. PALMA DE MALLORCA - We made a huge mistake by not taking the shuttle. The taxi lines were horrendous and we tried to walk to town and then catch a cab which was also a nightmare. We eventually got cabs to the Bellver Castle and the Cathedral but wasn't worth the hassle. do yourself the favor and pay the 10e for the shuttle. MARSEILLES - Took the shuttle to town 20e and then rented the stand up scooters to go all around town. It was a blast. We then took the petite train to the Notre Dame Church. It was fantastic. LA SPEZIA - We used Italytours.eu to go to Pisa/Florence. It was a long drive. Over and hour to pisa and over another over to Florence and then almost 2 hour drive back. It was still worth it. We were in Pisa for an hour and Florence for 2.5 hours. ROME - Another tour with Italytours.eu. 90 minutes to Rome - Saw Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, Piazza Navona, St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican/Sistine Chapel. It was a long day and we were not crazy about the driver or tour guide but not sure we would have seen as much on our own. NAPLES - Took high speed ferry to Capri. Got a late start and ended up in Capri around 11am. Right when we arrived we brought return ticket. The latest time left for 4:10. Lines for bus were long so we caught a open top taxi to Ana Capri (25e) and then took the chairlift to the peak. We then hiked all the way back down to the port. From there we went to the town of Capri and over to the gardens of augustus. We got back to Naples in time for pizza before heading back to ship. SEA DAY - Though after such a port intense itinerary and rest day was welcomed - we were also ready to go home - would have much rather done the itinerary in reverse starting with sea day then 3 busy ports followed by 2 smaller ports. Overall we had a great time. Flew from Miami spent 3 days in Barcelona in advance. Ready to Plan our next vacay :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to experience a Mediterranean cruise with our daughter and son-in-law. I have long believed in the Royal Caribbean brand and, for the most part, they filled my expectations. The Oasis class of ships are the largest in the world ... Read More
We wanted to experience a Mediterranean cruise with our daughter and son-in-law. I have long believed in the Royal Caribbean brand and, for the most part, they filled my expectations. The Oasis class of ships are the largest in the world so the ship is beautiful and has a lot to offer. I also sailed on its sister ship, Allure, last year. Coincidentally, the same band, Centerpiece Band, performed on both sailings and they are outstanding. Very talented group and a lot of fun to perform with during the Live Band Karaoke activities. In terms of other entertainment, there was not a lot of activities and the theater shows were not as varied as they used to be. RCL's food quality however has declined since I first sailed with them over 15 years ago. It used to be that you could look forward to a high-end entrée in the Main Dining room every night culminating in Lobster Night on one of the Formal Nights. Not anymore...with all the Specialty Dining options that you have to pay extra for, the Main Dining Room food quality has definitely declined. Even at the Specialty restaurants, lobster is an extra fee on top of the extra you paid to dine there in the first place. Our stateroom was great as was our attendant. We have never experienced any issues with that. Our shower had a slow drip which was quickly fixed when we advised our attendant. We booked a Cinque Terre shore excursion through the ship that was cancelled due to rough sea conditions (it was a boat excursion). That happens, but had it not been for our daughter telling us that she received a cancellation notice in her stateroom the night before, we would never have known as they left us no notice. Furthermore, with technology available on the ship, it would be a lot more efficient and effective to do a Push Notification on the App as everyone is always carrying their cell phones with them. The Shore Excursion desk closed at 9pm so they would not help advise us on our alternatives until the next morning. Fortunately, we got some great advise from Guest Services on how to get to Cinque Terre via train. As it turned out, we spent less than 50 Euros to get there for the two of us versus the nearly 400 Euros for the Excursion! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Wanted to see some of Europe and a cruise seemed like a good way to start. This is a port heavy cruise with very long days. You can see lots but in stops like Rome you will get just a very small taste and it's a great deal of driving ... Read More
Wanted to see some of Europe and a cruise seemed like a good way to start. This is a port heavy cruise with very long days. You can see lots but in stops like Rome you will get just a very small taste and it's a great deal of driving and walking. Private tours seem to be the way to go to get the best of each stop. We had an upgrade to a mini suite which was a welcome addition of space. The ship was fully repaired after the accident and you would never know it was so crushed. All shows and activities were running. As there is such a short period of evening time some things were not offered every day. They did try to have everything going on the sea day though. We enjoyed all the dining venues and did not do any pay dining except for Chops Lunch on the first day as we purchased The Key. The Key to us was a great benefit as we had excellent seats for all the shows we booked, full internet streaming and priority disembarking and transfers at all ports. One thing to note is there is No Lobster offered in the Dining Room on Mediterranean schedules. You could purchase it along with a couple of other specialty items separately on any night though. The service and crew were always great and they only disappointment seemed to be with the sports crew. We quite often felt like an inconvenience to them, especially on the zip line. The ship is kept very clean but does need the dry dock as planned later this year. New carpets in rooms and some refinishing of chair cushions but other than a little worn they were fine. Our room steward kept everything stocked and neat in our cabin. The entertainment was good and with The Key we had front row seats for everything. We were even able to enter on occasion without reservations to an earlier show sitting then what we had booked because of it. There weren't many small children on this cruise and I would imagine it would be hard in port with strollers. The roads and venues are really not very wheelchair or stroller accessible. We saw people really struggling in locations like Pompeii. Cinque Terre has a great deal of walking involved and most in stairs and uneven cobblestone streets. Unbelievable beautiful though. We loved this itinerary and would recommend it. Just remember you can't do everything and will need to choose your favorites or stay on in Europe for a few extra days. Private tours give you a much better look at the sites as the RCCL buses can't get into the best stops due to the small winding roads especially on the Amalfi Coast. We used Italy Tour Sharing (Joe Bananas) and they were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise was chosen as a celebration of our anniversary, and remembrance of several difficult years as family caregivers. This was a destination vacation to Europe and this cruise looked like it would introduce at an efficient way. We ... Read More
This cruise was chosen as a celebration of our anniversary, and remembrance of several difficult years as family caregivers. This was a destination vacation to Europe and this cruise looked like it would introduce at an efficient way. We arrived in Barcelona 2 days early to explore the city. Having concerns about not being able to speak Spanish within minutes we knew that this wasn't going to be any problem. The people of Barcelona could not be more friendly. We walked around a lot. It is an easy city to navigate. The Cathedral is amazing in the Gothic. The Picasso Museum doesn't get the love from tour guides as it should. If all you know is his Modernism you should check out his work and this building. A terrific visit. We ate at several cafes off the La Ramblas. Tapas are everywhere so stop have 1 or 2 and find another place. We did like Set de Born restaurant in the Gothic. The Iberco Ham, and grilled squid were the best we ever had. On Sunday we took a cab to the ship. About 20 EUR from center city. Moving through the queue was about 20 minutes. Being that the Oasis was dry docked for a month we were able to go to our cabin. Can I just say here, they say the ship is big, you see video and pictures of the ship. But when you first see the ship, it is huge! We had cabin 11650. Our Steward Deen was there to greet and welcome us. Deen was warm and engaging, he made us feel so welcomed. We wanted for nothing the entire week. We were assigned to American Icon for my time dining. Through out the week we had several servers. Each one was terrific. We did not have one dining experience that wasn't excellent. Where we live we can get some of the best food around, from steaks, any ethnic, seafood. When I had read reviews about the quality of food we were hesitant. The food was well prepared and delicious. Was the prime rib like Keene or Peter Lugars, no, but it was cooked the way I like it and was delicious. I vacation on Cape Cod, no seafood is going to be like that. The fish dinner on Oasis was delicious. We enjoyed ourselves. The first day was Mallorca. We didn't schedule any excursions. We took the bus and went to the Cathedral. It is spectacular. We used audio guide for here. We then walked the area and had a light lunch and people watched. The 2nd day was Marseille. Again we took the bus and walked around the city. It is quite hilly. Again we stopped at a bakery facing the Port and had a light lunch. The 3rd day was Florence. We used RCL tour, the history of Florence. It is a 90 min bus ride from the Port to Florence. Our guide, I forget her name, I'm sorry. Was terrific both on the bus and off. You park the bus and then walk. You walk a lot! There is so much to see and she explains what your looking at. We had lunch in a small restaurant as a group. Enjoyable meal meeting fellow cruisers. At the accadmie we were broken up into 2 groups and got a new guide. She was terrific also. You go through security check point and enter the museum. There is a lot of art here, but everyone is fixated on David. It is incredible. You stay awhile and then its back to the main square for an hour. You can shop, visit Church of Santa Croce. We decided cocktails in Florence was what we needed! Walk to bus. Sleep for an hour and a half. Shower, go to dinner, go to bed. Next morning is Rome. The 4th day. As you can see we are not going to see many shows. Up by 5am, coffee at Prommenade Cafe, light snack. Gangway by 730. This tour we joined was by Italytoursharing. This tour and tomorrows were both terrific independent Tours, we would highly recommend them. You get in a 9 passenger van and drive to Rome, about an hour away. The guide narrates while driving in the craziest traffic we have seen.Rome is Crazy traffic wise!! The driver is worth the money! The Colosseum was taken off the itinerary because of new security measures, but we park across the street and have a great view. The driver takes us to a cafe for a bathroom break and have the best cappuccino while waiting we now have an hour before going to the Vatican. The driver suggests we walk to the Trevi Fountain. He can't drive there. We don't exchange phone numbers within the group or driver. 2 people from the group separate from us and go on their own. We walk to the fountain. Its like Times Square on New Years Eve! We will never find this couple. Now we start getting harassed by the pan handlers, beggars, sellers of crap. One of the girls in our group has a guy try to get into her shoulder bag. Another lady yells at him and he disappears into the crowd but nothing is taken. This place is a dump, I'm done. We walk to the where the van is and the other couple isn't there. An hour later we meet up. Off to the Vatican. We go through the Sistine Chapel and there is nothing like it. It's what you come to Rome for. Because we lost an hour at the fountain we have limited time at St Peter's, but we got to go in and are quite happy. Back to the ship and eat. Tomorrow the last day Naples. Again up by 6. Coffee, more coffee. The Terminal in Naples is the most god awful facility we encountered. You are forced like livestock to walk the length of the terminal. Or take elevator and walk length of terminal. Get to ground level only to be forced to walk back from where you came from to walk past the crappy souvenir shops. It's worse than anything Walt Disney could dream of for picking your pocket. Envision elderly people and young families with strollers schlepping for 20 minutes just to get a bus.. A big middle finger Italian hello to the operators of the Naples Port. You and RCL should be ashamed of yourselves for such a blatant money grab. We took Italy tours sharing again. Our driver, Massimo, was terrific. He suggested driving to Positano first. Shop and have breakfast. Then drive back to Sorrento and have lunch. Then finish in Pompeii. This tour was a calm, sightseeing delight. The scenery is incredible. The food was fantastic. We had a great time. At Pompeii we met our guide. There were some guests that had mobility difficulty. The guide made sure everyone saw what they wanted and if you didn't want to go, you were put in a comfortable spot to wait. A great excursion for the end of our week. Saturday was the 1 cruising day on our cruise. It was windy and cool. There weren't many people in the pools or outside bars. This was the only time you notice how many people are on the ship. We shopped on board. Had some drinks and enjoyed the day. Sunday we had breakfast at the windjammer for the last time and off the ship by 8 am. We had an amazing time. We are already thinking of setting up another cruise but not as heavy on the itineraries. RCL Oasis of the seas, and its employees provided a terrific vacation and we couldn't be happier. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Cruised on Oasis from Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean 7 day. Nassau, Saint Thomas, Saint Maarten. Check in was delayed by one hour for extra cleaning do to some passengers getting sick on the prior trip. I want a clean ship so ... Read More
Cruised on Oasis from Port Canaveral to Eastern Caribbean 7 day. Nassau, Saint Thomas, Saint Maarten. Check in was delayed by one hour for extra cleaning do to some passengers getting sick on the prior trip. I want a clean ship so that was fine. That delay made things a little chaotic in the terminal since everyone that showed up early was not able to board and backed things up for a little while. Still only took a little over an hour to get on the ship. We arrived at the terminal at 11am. Stayed in a standard ocean view balcony stateroom, 12th floor forward, port side. The room was comfortable with adequate room for two. Overall the ship was in good condition, All the staff was very friendly and ready to help. Dining rooms nice and food excellent. Buffet was also good with so many options it was hard to decide what to get. There are too many things to do on this ship to list This ship is huge. However, I think the size makes it seem less crowded than some of the smaller ships. My only complaint is that the smoking areas were right in the middle of all the activities. You could not walk on the main pool and open deck, port side, without walking through the smoking areas. Depending on the wind direction, the smell would travel to all nearby areas. Not Good! Didn't really detract from my trip but be warned that this is the case. My favorite port of call was St. Maarten for sure. Easy to get Taxi/Water taxi. St Thomas taxi area was a joke. I would definitely cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We enjoy Oasis of the seas for our teenage children. There is so much to keep them busy. All kinds of activities all the time and with several sea days, this gives them time to enjoy everything. My boys liked hanging out at the basketball ... Read More
We enjoy Oasis of the seas for our teenage children. There is so much to keep them busy. All kinds of activities all the time and with several sea days, this gives them time to enjoy everything. My boys liked hanging out at the basketball courts and the table tennis, my girls enjoy the pool deck. They all enjoy the rock climbing, dive show and other shows, bingo, listening to the musicians and the planned activities. There are always other kids around to hang with and they really enjoyed making new friends. They also love the pizza shop, hot dog shop, ice cream cones, and eating in the main dining room. Having said that, we have cruised a LOT and this is NOT our favorite ship. It is very crowded at all times and there is a line for everything. From the snack/coffee shop, to getting a slice of pizza, be prepared to wait. It was difficult to find pool chairs on sea days, the bars got crowded and we had to wait for drinks around dinner time, bingo was absolutely ridiculous, there were so many people playing that someone got bingo after only 5 numbers were drawn which really takes any fun out of it. The service was spot on as we have come to expect with Royal Caribbean, from the state room attendant to the servers in the main dining room and the bartenders, everyone gave 5* service. I, personally, just prefer a smaller more intimate ship (without so many lines). But for a family adventure this is certainly the right ship! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I chose this cruise because I have been on the Harmony, and am going on the Symphony,so I wanted to go on the Oasis. It has gotten such good reviews and I remember when it was released all the news around it. The Oasis is a beautiful ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I have been on the Harmony, and am going on the Symphony,so I wanted to go on the Oasis. It has gotten such good reviews and I remember when it was released all the news around it. The Oasis is a beautiful ship! I took my two grandsons, ages 11, and 13. The boys tried going to the pools, but never got in, because they were so crowded. I know its spring break, but...There was plenty to do for the 13 year old, but the 11 year old didn't want to go to the kids club,so he was quite lost. Our cabin attendant,Vincent, was wonderful !! We had dinner in the main dining room, and our wait staff was great!!! Our waiter, Richard, and assistant Raveen could not do more for us. We had a problem in the dining room one night , but it was a problem with the bar service, which we had a lot of other places. Loved the 70's party and the prohibition event. My biggest complaint was the size of the rooms. This is my 15th cruise and NEVER have i been in a smaller room. If I hadn't bought extra storage, we could not have done it. Although it was a good cruise,I don't think I will go on the Oasis again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this cruise to go on a huge ship. It was huge! ......you would not have known there was 4500 passengers....alot of people must have stayed in the canins with balconys.. Balconies are a good size. Only problem, one outside ... Read More
We choose this cruise to go on a huge ship. It was huge! ......you would not have known there was 4500 passengers....alot of people must have stayed in the canins with balconys.. Balconies are a good size. Only problem, one outside pool, kids everywhere, could never get e seat ... Great for kids not for Dinks.... the Windjammer restuarant was always packed and a frenzy at meal times..far better to eat in the dinning rooms. Spending on the ship is in US dollars and when converted back to AUS expensive.. 1 us dollar to AUS 66cents Better to get a drinks package if you like a drink..otherwise average 10 bucks a drink, 15 for cocktails and all in us dollars. Lots of up selling. Never had a massage on board..did this time and it was about $220 AUS each.wow! Orginally booked for 4 ports, one was dropped before we left. one we couldnt get to because of weather..disappointed Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We went on Oasis of the Seas in March. It's a beautiful ship with amazing activities and entertainment. This was our tenth overall cruise (we've also been on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, and Norwegian) and our first with Royal ... Read More
We went on Oasis of the Seas in March. It's a beautiful ship with amazing activities and entertainment. This was our tenth overall cruise (we've also been on Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, and Norwegian) and our first with Royal Caribbean. We enjoyed the cruise overall, but had a very inconsistent customer service experience and a number of issues during our cruise. PROS: -Gorgeous ship. -So many activities on board: carousel, DreamWorks characters and parade, zipline, flowrider, children's splash area, daily trivia, and much, much more. -Amazing shows. The highlights were Oasis of Dreams, Come Fly with Me, the sand artist during Frozen in Time, and the adorable glow-in-the-dark children's puppet show. -Dedicated children's TV channels, which not all cruise ships have. Made a big difference when we were in the room. -The food was the best we've experienced on a cruise. Wide variety and good quality. We didn't try the specialty restaurants. -Seamless embarkation and debarkation experiences. -My kids loved the dedicated playroom. This was a great feature not all cruise ships have. -Babysitting for younger children--even my 15 month old--so parents can enjoy a night out. -Dining: Once we were finally seated, service in the main dining room was generally excellent. Since we have young children, the dining room staff made sure we received our meals quickly, which is not often the case on other cruise lines--including Disney. One of our servers remembered our preferences after the first night and provided excellent service. -Our stateroom attendant formed a bond with our children--they were eager to see him each time we left our room. -Central Park: Very unique and beautiful feature for a cruise ship. We stayed on deck 8 and enjoyed walking through the park to get to the other end of the ship. CONS: -The buffet was always crowded, particularly during breakfast. It was very hard to navigate and find a table, especially with two young children and a stroller. -Ports: There was little communication when we arrived in port, which was surprising, given our past cruise experiences. -Housekeeping always had bags of laundry and carts in the narrow hallways, making it very difficult to navigate with a stroller in order to get to our cabin. -Communication issues: We didn't receive our Cruise Compass the first three days of the cruise and didn't get it until we complained to guest services, so we were a bit lost and missed out on some activities. (We didn't know it was formal night, didn't know we couldn't drop our daughter off at the kids club at certain times, and didn't know about DreamWorks character appearances--characters weren't listed in the app.) -Wi-Fi/App: Constantly lost our connection and had to keep on reconnecting. -Babysitting: We were unable to use babysitting we had reserved for various reasons: one of our shows was canceled, we tried dropping off our daughter at the kids club at a time that was blocked out--unbeknownst to us because we hadn't received the daily schedule (and rather than being apologetic, the staff member simply told us we should have read the daily guide, which we never received), and one time Royal Babies & Tots failed to reserve our babysitting hours--even though we confirmed in advance. When we did drop off our 15 month old the first time for babysitting services so we could enjoy the comedy show, they called us multiple times during the show, forcing my husband to completely miss it. -Shows: While the entertainment was great, you had to reserve everything in advance. Also, one of our shows (Oasis of Dreams) was canceled and rescheduled. -My time dining was difficult. There was often a long wait to make a reservation or request a table. When we finally got to the reservations desk, the dining room kept mistakenly thinking we were part of a party of 13 and made us wait while they figured it out. Once our name was finally taken, there was often still a 15-20 minute wait for a table, which is difficult with young kids. We were given different information from different people about our reservation times throughout the week, which was confusing. -Tiny, claustrophobic shower. This isn't surprising on a cruise ship, but the showers on Disney and Norwegian are better. Difficult to bathe young children in a tiny shower. -Billing: We were mistakenly charged $200 for towels we had returned. They sprang this charge on us at the last minute--I checked our bill after 10:00 pm on the last night of our cruise and didn't see this surprise charge until we received our bill the last morning. When I addressed this issue with guest services, they weren't apologetic at all, but did remove the charge. -Elevators: Elevator doors didn't stay open long enough. Once the doors opened, you had to run to get to the elevator or risked missing it, which was very difficult with a stroller. The sensors on the doors didn't work properly. My young daughter was hit with the elevator door once when exiting. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and 2 kids have Celiac, and thus can not eat gluten or have any cross contamination. We heard Disney and Royal are the two lines to go on if you have that, so having already tried Disney it was time to try Royal. Royals food ... Read More
My wife and 2 kids have Celiac, and thus can not eat gluten or have any cross contamination. We heard Disney and Royal are the two lines to go on if you have that, so having already tried Disney it was time to try Royal. Royals food was MUCH better than Disney in my opinion. I do not have Celiac, so I got to try food that was specially prepared for my family, and the food that was made for the average guest. I read a lot of reviews prior to going on this ship, and saw that gluten-free chicken fingers apparently are impossible to come by. That is UNTRUE. We had it multiple nights and afternoons on the ship ( my 6 and 3 year old liked them ). Ask for Robinson, he will help you out in the general dining room. Gluten free waffles also can be done but has to be preordered. Also we got doughnuts gluten free one morning, but didn’t taste that great. We also did 2 specialty restaurants...Chops and Giovani’s . Both were excellent. Chops had the best filet I’ve ever tasted. We went into the restaurant the day before and found out what is safe for Celiac and what they could make up for us. It was a very easy going experience. My wife felt a little off towards the end of the cruise but we think it was just because of the AMOUNT of food and heavy dairy, but she didn’t get glutened. Both of my kids were good too. The entertainment and overall cruising experience was absolutely wonderful, but just wanted to write a review for all the concerned parents out there with kids that have celiac. If you cruise with Royal at least on this boat you will be fine. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are 60 something cruisers who enjoy a little time to ourselves. We have been on cruises with many cruise lines and this is our third with Royal. We chose this ship on a whim because we saw a Kelsey Grammer movie which featured the ... Read More
We are 60 something cruisers who enjoy a little time to ourselves. We have been on cruises with many cruise lines and this is our third with Royal. We chose this ship on a whim because we saw a Kelsey Grammer movie which featured the ship. We arrived a day early and used the Cruise Line's shuttle to the ship. It was smooth abet the gal loading the buses was a bit short with the clientele. Upon arrival the entire process to get on the ship was smooth and seamless. We were gold but the traffic in the terminal was as such that i dont think the priority would have made a difference. We also did not get to use the key lounge since everything was going so well. KEY was a program that Royal started and I recommend it to everyone (unless I am on the ship and then steer away from it). Key got a great embark lunch at the Italian venue which was outstanding. It has a few more embark features but we did not need them. Our cabin was on the 10th deck overlooking the Central Park. I thought it might be interesting but never really saw much activity in Central Park. Standard cabin with not any fanfare. Got what I paid for. The ship did smell of a cat urine smell the whole cruise that ended up on our shoes so we had to throw them away when we got home. That is where many of the pay restaurants are located. We ate at Johnny Rockets and it was the worst meal we had. The fries and onion rings were old, cold, stale and rubbery. Sandwiches were fresh and okay. The only time to eat here is when the place is crowded. Also ate at the Mexican place on the Boardwalk and seriously $56 for lunch fare was beyond fair. Hot Dog place was disappointing, recommend a deli there. Had two drinks at a price of $23 so we instantly purchased the drink package. Buffet was small and not much imagination for the reason I am guessing is that they have so many other venues that they are trying to get you away from the Buffet. Main dining room was actually some of the better food on the ship. Shows were beyond good. Key access got us the best seats in the house also. We only got off the ship in Haiti, with the exception of the overbearing sellers at the market it was nice. Stayed on the ship for the other stops and basically had the ship to ourselves. Key made our debark incredible. We had a special breakfast and they escorted us off the ship straight to Customs. No wait anywhere. We also used the valet service for the luggage and had no worries until we picked up our bags in St Louis. Recommend this to all. To recap, it was a good cruise but the ship was way too big and you had to search for some of the dining options. It only felt crowed on sea days where there were not enough deck chairs. One more thing, we had a lot of smaller kids on the cruise. No issues during the day but the parents kept them up way past bed time at night and they were cranky. Parents dont do this to them and other passengers. Hope this helps Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and I had one of the best vacations to date on this ship. Just as a reference, my wife and I are in our late 20's, early 30s with this being our 5th cruise together and 3rd with RC. We decided to take a vacation and leave the ... Read More
My wife and I had one of the best vacations to date on this ship. Just as a reference, my wife and I are in our late 20's, early 30s with this being our 5th cruise together and 3rd with RC. We decided to take a vacation and leave the little one home and below are what I think was great, good and needed some help with the ship. GREAT Let's start real positive, the ship rarely feels crowded. I never felt like I was waiting in long lines or trying to navigate through people. Occasionally at peak times in the promenade you might have to weave your way through some people but overall there is so much to do everyone is spread out. The Solarium is great if you want a nice place to relax. Two levels and it has a good number of chairs so you don't have to get out there at 8 in the morning to make sure you get a seat. I believe there were solar reflected windows on that side of the ship as well so you could sit in the sun and not get burnt. Only gripe I have is the pool is small but that means there are room for more chairs. It's a trade off. There is also a small area for food there were they have healthy options. Great spot to grab a little bite to each if you'd like. The food was spectacular. I will also add the the service in the main dinning room was awesome. Our server "Vini" just kept coming to our table with new food to try even if we didn't order it. They had our drinks down by the 3rd day and were always looking out for us. Two quick stories. We had a show that we wanted to see and only had an hour for dinner. We told "Vini" and he rushed everything out to us and we even had time to spare. Second was I had a fork that had some food crusted on the back. No problem, just asked for a new fork. It was less then 10 seconds I had a new fork and someone came over apologizing way more then they need to over a dirty fork. Overall loved dinner and looked forward to it almost every night. Not something I could say about earlier cruises. Getting on the ship was a delight. We got there around 12:30 so I thought we were probably going to be sitting in lines for a least an hour. I looked at my watch and it took less then 30 minutes total before we were on the ship. Was absolutely incredible how fast they were and how many people they had working there. Also note that we are only gold members and so it wasn't like we got to just skip all the lines because of status. The area known as Central Park is breathtaking. On deck 8 in the middle of the ship are real life plants and it feels like you are walking into a real park. At night they often had live classical music playing under the stars, I often forgot I was on a boat. GOOD The shows were good, I might even put in great if we didn't watch Cats. Nothing wrong with the production or anything, it was just odd. Also a lot of people must have thought so because half the people left at intermission as did we. Only way I know is because we got asked if we had seen it yet by multiple people and we all thought the same thing, they just stayed for the rest of the show. Other then that though "Come Fly with Me" was great. Pro tip, sit someone were you can see everything and not under the balcony. They use every bit of the stage and above it as well. Also the Rookie we have seen before but loved it again. The absolute must watch though is the diving show they put on. I was thinking how good can this be? It's absolutely incredible and had me on the edge of my seat. The room was very nice. My wife and I usually go with a balcony but wanted to save a little money and went with an Ocean View room and got a great deal on it. Same layout as a balcony, just without the balcony. We had natural light which was nice and same floor as the my time dinning is a nice perk. Plenty of storage and maybe I'm imagining it but the shower felt just a little bigger then other Royal ships. THINGS TO WORK ON I wouldn't call these bad, lets just say things they should look into improving. The secondary show times we all over the place. They have the main show and then they have smaller shows like battle of the sexes, or finish that lyric, shows like that. They are fun and it's unscripted so anything can happen. Typically you will get done with the main show for the night and then shortly after you have these shows, that way you don't have to wait around for awhile. These were hours after or right as the main shows were going so we didn't make it to them. When we did the host of the events were less then spectacular. And the rooms they put them in didn't always make sense. Either there were a ton of empty seats or everyone was shoulder to shoulder and couldn't see anything because so many people wanted to go. I understand they can't always predict it, but I've been to enough of these types of shows to know that system wasn't going to work. Bar Service needs a little help as well. There would be multiple places were you would go up to the bar and you would have 8-12 people around it and one bartender. There were times you would wait 5-10 minutes for your drink. I'm on vacation with no where to go so not that end of the world but I felt bad for the bartender. Internet prices. I understand this is probably a decent money maker for them but it's 2019. Paying for internet and wifi is odd, charging as much as they do, come on. At least have the option for minutes so that I can say hi to my family back home make sure everything is alright a couple times a week. Instead they make you pay $20 or more a day for internet on the ship. We didn't do it but I would have certainly paid $25 for 100 minutes of internet. 10-15 minutes a day checking up on things is all I need and I think they probably would make just as much if not more because who wouldn't do that? OVERALL This is one of the largest ships in the world and it feels and looks great. I know they are planning on doing a few updates to it soon but honestly my wife and I had a great, relaxing time and any updates that they do will just make this ship sparkle. If you are looking for things to complain about I'm sure you can find them, but why? You are on vacation! Enjoy everything around you! Don't be afraid to try out the mega ship if you haven't already. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is our 2nd time on the Oasis. This cruise was tied to a "Rockin the Caribbean" event featuring singers and bands from the 50's and 60's. We really enjoyed the ship and entertainment. The crew was very helpful ... Read More
This is our 2nd time on the Oasis. This cruise was tied to a "Rockin the Caribbean" event featuring singers and bands from the 50's and 60's. We really enjoyed the ship and entertainment. The crew was very helpful and attentive. There is so much to do on the ship it is hard to take in all the events. The only negative is the stage show "Cats". This show was slow and hard to follow. Even the comedians made fun of the show. We had a ocean view balcony room which is great. The Ports visited were interesting. We have been to Nassau several times so we just visited some of the shops in town. On St. Thomas and St. Marrtean we had excursions which we booked thru "Shore Excursioner". We have used this company on other cruises and find them to be reliable and fair with the price. I would recommend the Oasis for an enjoyable cruise. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 3.8
Enrichment 1.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 3.8

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