B2B Oasis of the Seas (RC) Feb 7th - Feb 14th (7 days) The Breeze (Carnival) Feb 14th - Feb 22nd (8 days)
8 of us flew from Canada to Fort Lauderdale the day before our first leg of this B2B. Our 13 year old son does not travel well, and he was sick on all three flights. We booked all of our transportation through the same company, we called them from airport, and by the time we gathered our luggage they were there to pick us up. We booked 2 hotel rooms at Holiday Inn and Suites, Sawgrass Mills. One for 5 of us, and the other for 3 of us. When the 5 of us opened our room, we found a gutted room. No carpet, no furniture, no sink even...just a safe in the middle of the room. The other room was fine. Because it was a Friday and we were in Fort Lauderdale, they had been booked full for months. They apologized profusely. They had just purchased the hotel, and were still renovating and working out the kinks. Our son laid on the couch in the lobby as they called around to other hotels, hoping to find a vacant room for us. After quite some time they finally found a hotel with 2 rooms available for us...at their expense. They also gave us $20.00 for the cab ride. We had to call the company that was transporting us the next day to The Port, to change our pick up location. We waited almost 1.5 hrs for a cab to show up and take us to other hotel, again, because it was a Friday night. In that time we saw 3 other couples come in to find out there were no reservations for them in the system and they were turned away. One couple had rented a car, to drive to Miami the next morning for their cruise, and knew months ago that there were no vacancies in Miami on a Friday night. They had resolved to sleep in the rented vehicle. I can't remember the name of the hotel we were sent to, but it was definitely a high end hotel. We were given the only 2 rooms left, which turned out to be a huge conference room, with a kitchenette and a meeting room with a table for 16, and very large bathroom, but only one queen size bed...for 5 of us. Our son didn't care, he had finally found a bed after being sick from 6am when we got on the plane, to which was now midnight. My cousin and her families room was 1 queen and a small pull out couch. The hotel that sent us there didn't mention how many occupants would be in the room...but it didn't matter anyways, since these were the only 2 rooms available. Hubby and I stayed with our son in the big conference room, and the five others stayed in room with bed and pull out couch.
Embarkation and Cabins on The Oasis :
We got to The Port at about 11:30am. We were told to show up at 2:30 for our boarding time, but had to be out of hotel by 11:00 anyways. The lines moved quickly, and very efficiently. The staff were inviting, and despite the previous evenings adventures we were already loving this cruise before we even got on the ship.
We were all very hungry by the time we got on The Oasis. We went strait to The Buffet since that's where it seemed everyone else was headed. I will write more about the buffet below.
We had our luggage delivered very quickly.
On The Oasis we had two cabins between the 8 of us. One was A Family Balcony cabin which had a queen bed, and large pull out couch, and a bunk bed off to the side, built into the wall which couldn't be put up and down. The bed and pull out couch could be separated by a thick curtain. There was plenty of storage space and closets in this particular cabin. The balcony was quite large, and all 5 of us could be out there comfortably. We were impressed, altho it looked nothing like the pictures posted on RC website. We were on deck 11. Cabin 11172. Other 3 family members were just down the hall in a Balcony cabin, 11208.
Embarkation and Cabins on The Breeze :
Our Transportation showed up at Fort Lauderdale Port about 20 minutes after we debarked from Oasis. We were there far earlier than we had planned. We did not have to wait long in lines, nor did we have to wait long for our zone to be called. The staff were friendly and accommodating. Again, we headed strait to the buffet hoping it was better than the buffet on Oasis and it was. This time we had three balcony cabins side by side, with two of the cabins having a joining door. With the partitions removed, our balcony was huge ! These balcony cabins were larger than the balcony cabin my cousins family had on The Oasis. Not by much, but there was definitely more wiggle room at the end of the bed. Bathrooms were bigger as well. We were on Deck 9 in cabins 9212, 9216, and 9220. It was one deck below lido, a short walk to stairs that took us very close to lido and buffet.
Muster Oasis vs Breeze :
Both were painless. We couldn't believe how quickly The Oasis got everyone to their stations...and there were so many of them. Staff was everywhere directing everyone where to go. It was done and over with before we knew it. The Breeze was similar, and they had staff spread out all over to demonstrate the drill, with some humour involved.
Food Oasis vs Breeze :
The Oasis :
We were not impressed with the buffet on The Oasis but figured it was because we had just spent a week in Montego Bay at a resort with a grand buffet. The 4 kids said they liked the buffet better on this ship. As the week went on, we were less and less impressed with the buffet, but it didn't matter, because the MDR definitely made up for it. Breakfast was better than lunch. The kids ate dinner there once, I believe it was sushi, and Chinese that night. Every night they had a theme to their dinner buffet, from BBQ to Italian. The rest of us didn't eat there for dinner because we were so pleased with the menu and service in MDR. We didn't end up booking in any of the specialty restaurants, again, mainly because we were so pleased with The MDR. We had chosen "my time dining" but still had to choose a time every night, which we didn't have to do on "my time dining" on The Breeze. We never waited more than 2 minutes to be seated on The Oasis. We all must have ordered 2 escargot every night, and they were on the menu every night. They were very very good. Lobster was offered on both elegant nights and it too was very very good. I am a pescatarian, and there was always several choices for me. We had the same wait staff for all but 2 of the dinners. Our 13 year old had a hot chocolate and tea before he even got seated. They were very accommodating. I don't think the 8 of us had one complaint during our dining on Oasis aside from blaming their MDR for not being able to fit into any of our clothes for the second half of our B2B. Lol. Every dessert I had was better than the last. Between the 8 of us, we probably tried most of the menu, and everyone had their favourites. Some that come to mind are The Lobster Bisque (we all raved about this soup...it was that good.) The Escargot was so good that I think we all ordered 2 of these apps after having tried them the first night. Far better than the ones on The Breeze, and The Escargot was on the menu every night, on the The Breeze only 2 nights and one of those nights it was Baked Escargot that wasn't the same. Shrimp Cocktail was on the table almost every evening as well, and they were bigger, and seemed fresher than the ones on The Breeze. The cocktail sauce was sweeter as well. One of my favourite starters was The French Onion Soup and Creamed Wild Mushrooms. Hubby loved The Caprese Salad, Crab Cake, older kids liked Scallops in Cheese, and The Creamed Mushroom Soup was excellent. My favourite main course was The Eggplant Parmigiana, and I can't wait to have it again. Everyone loved The Braised Beef Duo, which was a short rib and a beef shoulder. My cousin said The Lamb was cooked to perfection. Hubby loved The Fillet of Beef Tenderloin. The Fish Seafood Plate was very good, came with cod, scallops and shrimp. One night there was some very big shrimps in a garlic sauce...it was also memorable. On another night I had a Fishermans Plate with lobster and garlic shrimps, and it was also very good. All of the desserts looked wonderful, and we tried many of them. The Sticky Bread and Butter Pudding was my favourite, and again, one of those things I can't wait to try again on our next RC cruise. I loved The Creme Brûlée on both ships, but RCs was sweeter, and one night it was Banana Creme Brûlée, which is my favourite. I enjoyed The Rum Baba Yeast Cake with Vanilla. I didn't like The Grand Marnier Soufflé at all, but that's not Carnivals fault, I just didn't like that type of eggy dessert, and had never tried it before. The carrot cake was yummy, and The Key Lime Pie was one of the best I have ever tried. I guess I was expecting a bit more out of The Baked Alaska, and I know I tried it one evening, but I can't even remember it, so it must not have been that good to me. Older kids loved The Moist Rum Chocolate Cake. My cousins hubby had ice cream every evening, and different flavoured sherbets that he said were very good. Hubby and older son always ordered The International Cheese Plate, and enjoyed them as well. We had pizza almost every evening on The Oasis...it wasn't great, but it wasn't bad either...if you were willing to wait, you could have them cook you up one with your choice of toppings, if not, there were always 4 or 5 different ones ready. There was a little sandwich/donut/coffee shop which was free. The donuts were interesting, I never tried the sandwiches, but from what I remember, everyone wanted pizza instead. There were so many places to eat on The Oasis, some free, some for a charge. I believe 25 different places to be exact. We ate mid afternoon salads at one spot called Park Cafe in Central Park and sat at an outdoor bar close by almost every day. They offer breakfast as well, but we tried it once, and never went back. They had egg wraps and panini sandwiches, cereal and fruit, but non of us found it was very good. The salads were made to order, and were very good. You could also get hot and cold sandwiches there, chips and nachos. In hindsight, I wish we had tried at least one of the pay for restaurants, but again, MDR won us over. A few of us tried Johnny Rockets, which was about $6.00, but included whatever else you wanted, such as onion rings and fries. I had the veggie burger, and it was not good. Our 13 year old was looking very forward to these burgers, he was very disappointed. A milkshake cost an additional $6.00, which my son said was the only thing that tasted good. Everyone but me had a few chilli dogs on The Boardwalk...and said they were pretty good. Son bought an ice cream in the ice cream shop where they also had cupcakes. There was a decorating class going on when we were there. Son said the ice cream was better than the free ice cream, but at a cost, I only let him get ice cream from there once. We totally took advantage of room service. One of my favourite things was the Caesar Salad...the dressing in packets was very good, and I liked that I could put as little or as much as I wanted and that the lettuce wasn't sitting in dressing until it arrived. The room service pizza wasn't the same as the pizza place, it was awful.
The Breeze :
On The Breeze we found the opposite...the buffet had more choices, and those choices were better, and warmer when suppose to be, and colder when suppose to be. You can make an amazing salad at The Market Place. We all liked the speed and choices available at The Omelette Station, the french toast and pancakes were much better on this ship, as was the presentation. The Sweet Spots had excellent dessert choices that changed for every meal. On one of the last days, when the rest of my family went to check out the SeaDay BBQ, I went down to the buffet and found The Chocolate Extravaganza ...every station was serving up cakes and donuts dripping with chocolate that you could hold under a chocolate fountain...they had these banana chocolate wontons...I still dream about them ! That was my most pleasant surprise on The Breeze. Had no idea it was going on. Everyone else...did not like the BBQ at all. Guys burgers was a hit with the whole family...(me included as I just asked for cheese and bun, and filled it up with veggies and pickles and condiments)...and I had my share of fries as well. 13 year old probably ate there 2 times a day to make up for the burgers he couldn't stomach on The Oasis. We all enjoyed the pizza at Pizza Pirates, and was perfect for a late night snack, where you could also get lasagne, meatball subs and salad. We found ourselves there late into the evenings on more than 1 occasion. Again, our 13 year old ate there several times throughout the cruise. So much so, that they would start preparing his as soon as they saw him if there was a line up. Room Service was used at least once daily, usually breakfast. We usually waited about 25 minutes, as we never put our cards out, and would just order when we woke up from the TV. The grilled cheese sandwich was very good. I liked ordering the chocolate cake and cookies a few times for balcony time. We also had tea every morning, hubby likes honey in his tea, and when we forgot to add that when ordering, they would call up to cabin and ask if we wanted honey this time. We thought that was a nice touch. Son loved waking up to hot chocolate and toast and fruit every morning. Of course we still headed down to the buffet after what we dubbed...our pre-breakfast breakfast. The most memorable meal of all was the first evening in The Steakhouse. The first evening they give the table a free bottle of wine. We booked on line a few weeks before the cruise, and they confirmed our booking, but could not confirm the time. It was Valentine's Day...and being the first night of the cruise they could not seat us until 9:30. 6 of the 8 of us went. Everyone should try The Steakhouse. My lobster was excellent, hubby had a humongous steak. We all enjoyed everything. The house wine went well with our meals. The escargot was delicious, loved the french onion soup...I had an apple in a puff pastry for dessert. The staff went well out of their way to mix a drink for my cousins daughter who was suffering from bad cramps, by warming some liqueurs for her. The chefs sent out little apps for us in between courses, mini burgers for the men, and the best tomato soup I have ever tried for the ladies. The breads and spreads were so good. We left there stuffed. We did not go to The Italian Restaurant, but the kids went to Bonsai Sushi, and said they were surprised at how much they got with their order. They said it wasn't the best sushi they had ever had but it wasn't the worst either. They enjoyed their meal there. We did "my time dining" on The Breeze. This meant, dine when you are ready. We were usually told 30 - 40 minutes, and were given a buzzer to let us know when our table was ready. We never waited more than 15 minutes and with the bar and plenty of seats, the wait was not an issue. The MDR was a different story. The service was slow. We were served by so many different people, we didn't know who was who. Our 13 year old seemed almost invisible to the waiters. It took forever, almost every evening for him to get his hot chocolate and a hot tea. The food wasn't nearly as good as The Oasis MDR, but there were some meals that were much better than others. On the last night I ordered a dish with pasta and seafood, called Seafood Newburg, and it was not only the worst tasting meal on the cruise, it was the worst tasting meal I have ever had. The noodles were not cooked on the inside, but were mushy like glue on the outside. On the plus side, the rhubarb pie was amazing ! I also had the warm chocolate melting cake once, probably the first night as I always look forward to it. Non of us really liked The American Table, altho we thought we would. One thing to mention here is lobster was only available the first elegant night on The Breeze. You could order lobster from The Steakhouse for an extra charge of $20.00. On The Breeze some of our meals were very good. I liked The Mushroom Cream Soup, and Little Necks Clam Chowder ( I believe everyone enjoyed this chowder). My favourite meal of the cruise was The Teriyaki Salmon, and hubby loved The Baked Meatballs so much that he ordered two more. The guys all ordered Duel Filet Mignon and short ribs...and they all agreed it was their favourite meal on this cruise. Baked Onion Soup was very good, but not quite as good as on RC. 13 year old loves The Alligator Fritters, and Frog Legs. Some family members tried The Braised Rabbit and said it was something they would order again next cruise. We all had Fried Shrimp which most of us enjoyed more than The Oasis fried shrimp. My cousin loved The Roasted Pumpkin Soup. Their dessert choices were few in comparison to Oasis, and not nearly as good, but my favourites were Bitter and Blanc (one of my favourite desserts from both cruises)...and The Banana White Chocolate Bread Pudding tasted amazing ! Older son tried Butter Popcorn Pot De Creme, just because it seemed so different. It was, and altho he said it was interesting, he would never order it again. I enjoyed The Creme Brûlée on both ships, very similar, with RCs being a bit sweeter, perhaps too sweet, and if I had to chose between the two, I would probably pick Carnivals, altho I liked the banana slices on The Creme Brûlée on one of the evenings on Oasis. My absolute favourite on The Breeze was The Rhubarb Pie. I'm still dreaming of it ! In fact, all their pies were very good, I tried The Apple Pie and the kids all ordered The Cherry Pie. Didn't get to The Tacos again this cruise, altho I passed by it several times a day. Everyone has that "thing they planned to do but never got to it" on a cruise...and that was mine.
Who Comes Out On Top : Oasis wins this one, because of the MDR, and the vast amount of choices to dine.
Carnival pulled up closer simply because of The Steakhouse, and the fact that their buffet blew Oasis away. (According to the adults anyways)
Drinks/Packages Oasis vs Breeze
The Oasis offered several different drink packages. They were affordable, and fit our needs. Hubby got The Select Package, which included beer, wine, non alcoholic cocktails fountain soda and 20% off bottles of wine. It cost $35.00/day. I got The Premium Package that included fancy cocktails, wine, spirits, beer, bottled water, soda and 20% off bottled wine. This cost $49.00/day. There was an ultimate package which offered everything including premium coffees, teas and fresh squeezed orange juice for $55.00/day. Drinks were unlimited. We knew we would be drinking and relaxing, and know we got our money's worth and then lots more. I tried so many different drinks, and so many were so tasty.
The Breeze drink package policy is different than Oasis. If one person in a cabin wants to purchase the drink package, everyone in that cabin must buy the drink package. It is a one size fits all, at one set price, and there is a limit of 15 drinks per 24 hr period. The package was $49.95/day. We had $470.00 dollars OBC, so decided a big chunk of our spending money would be spent on drinks, and we were not planning on spending money at The Spa, or much at The Shops, that this would be most practical for us.
Who Comes Out On Top : Thats a No Brainer...Oasis wins hands down, for price, options and no limits...
Bars/Entertainment Oasis Vs Breeze :
There were so many bars on Oasis, 7 days was not enough, each bar had its own personality, and vibe. We spent a lot of time on The Rising Tide Bar, going up and down to the different decks. It wasn't a big bar, seats maybe 35 tops, but we always had a table and seat...guess the novelty wears off quick on most, but it didn't for us. The bartender made the best drinks on the Oasis. We spent a lot of time in On Air Bar...where they held the Karaoke. My hubby sings, and he entertained everyone, and winning The Superstar Karaoke Contest. He was given a very nice trophy. The piano bar was called Schooner Bar...kind of a let down, however the entertainer in that bar could sing better than the one on The Breeze. Hubby sang along with the singer a few evenings. He was offered singing gigs on the cruise. There was a bar called Globe and Atlas that had a solo guitar/singer. There were always a lot of people in that bar. There was a Jazz bar on Deck 4, a place called Boleros on Deck 5 that played mostly Latin music. There was The Champagne Bar, with the most comfy seats EVER...very nice and relaxing. We went to the dance clubs, Blaze, and Dazzles, one with a live band that played mostly 80's tunes, and the other playing the most recent dance tunes. There was a cigar bar, and so many outside bars, including a very nice one in Central Park. Everywhere you turned there seemed to be another bar, not only that, it didn't have to be a bar and you could still get any drink you wanted. At the pizza place you could get drinks, at the coffee/sandwich spot you could get drinks. We met many nice cruisers each evening.
The bars on The Breeze were not as plentiful, but they were well placed, and spread out. We probably spent more of our bar time in Red Frog Pub playing darts, and this silly ring swinging table game. It was never packed, but had an excellent bartender and waitress that were there every night that we popped in there. Hubby did not like the way the karaoke system was set up, the sound was bad without a monitor. He sang with The Band as often as Live Karaoke was held which wasn't often enough, or long enough to fit all the singers in. The Liquid Lounge was usually pretty quiet...with only a handful of dancers on the floor no matter what time of the night. We never stayed for more than one drink at a time. We liked the bar on The Serenity Deck, and Red Frog, and Blue Iguana on Lido, and we really tried to like The Piano Bar...we had heard Ben was the best in the Fleet...but the passing around of hats that thousands of other cruisers have had on their heads wasn't our thing and he never seemed to even get 1/4 of a song in before it was switched. The routine was the same every night...
The entertainment on Oasis was excellent, and we enjoyed all the shows. We missed the first half of Cats due to hubby making the finals in The Superstar Karaoke, but what we did see was very entertaining. Come Fly With Me was my favourite, and our 14 year old couldn't stop talking about how neat the light show was during the performance. Frozen In Time was The Ice Show, and it was short, which was nice because it was right after we saw Cats. The only show we missed was Oasis of Dreams, again, because hubby had placed in The Finals and we had to go to that and the next time it was scheduled the ocean was too rough for the divers in The Aquatheater. The comedians were funny, but not nearly as entertaining as the ones on The Breeze. We saw 2 very different comedy routines on Oasis. They were held in far too small a room for the amount of people in line wanting to attend. We also went to a "Majority Rules Game Show"which really wasn't that fun.
We missed quite a bit of the entertainment on The Breeze, due to our drawn out dinners in The MDR, but we did catch Divas which was very entertaining. Hasbro The Game Show was another one of those meant to do, but never did. We missed it on The Sunshine as well. What we enjoyed most on The Breeze was The Comedians...Al Ernst, Jason Blanchard, Chas Elstner and Lester Bibbs were all very good. The comedians on The Breeze were far better than the ones on Oasis. We went to Battle of The Sexes, which was not very entertaining, as one of the hosts was hard to understand with his accent and had to keep asking the other host what was written on his paper. It didn't help that the "coach" for the men's team didn't listen to the answers from them and instead came up with his own weird answers. After that they had some sort of "Love and Marriage Game" and we laughed so much. We also went to The Adult Game Show The Quest" and had a blast. It was a lot of fun. Matt (The Cruise Director) was always very entertaining. I wish we had seen Motor City, from what we heard, it was very good too. There was a hypnotist names Asad, and somehow we missed him. Wise words to a cruiser...always check your Fun Times or Cruise Compass, and check it twice. Altho we missed him, we heard many cruisers talking about how enjoyable he was. What we also liked about The Breeze entertainers, is that they were always seen out and about after their shows, dancing in the atrium with other musicians and getting the crowds dancing. There were many photo opportunities with all the entertainers. They would be seen chatting with cruisers after their shows.
Who Comes Out On Top : Oasis, but The Breeze is a very close second simply because of the comedy shows. I don't feel it fair to compare the two when we missed a lot of what The Breeze had for entertainment, including Motor City, Latin Nights and The Brits. We also missed The Comedy Juggler, but we heard he was not vey good at juggling and he wasn't very good at comedy either.
Staff/Cruise Directors and Fellow Cruisers Oasis vs Breeze :
We found the staff in The MDR exceeded our expectations in every way on Oasis. Our daughter-in-law was motion sick for the first few days of the cruise, and the wait staff made up little plates for our son to take to her. The chef served my cousins daughter as rare a steak as he could as that's how she prefers them. Our room attendant took care of our needs and at the same time didn't bother our daughter-in-law while she dealt with her motion sickness. Cabin was kept very clean, and we have no complaints. Bartenders and wait staff on Oasis were very friendly, and very good at their jobs. We never waited long for a drink, no matter where we were. Staff was always accommodating, and in a pleasant, upbeat mood.
We can't say enough praises about our Cabin Attendant on The Breeze. John was amazing. He worked so hard, and he was always seen, and knew all our names. He played a few songs for us on hubby's guitar. He was especially attentive to our 13 year old son. Made him feel like this was "his cruise" and that made us all happy. He is one of the ones you will never forget, no matter how many cruises you will go on. Most of the employees on The Breeze, particularly the ones in The Lido Market Place were busy cleaning up constantly. Hubby and I witnessed one incident where a child was dining alone, and licking the salt and pepper shakers, and putting them in his ears and rubbing them on his neck. When he left the table, we let one of the employees know, and he took them away, just to put them down on another table.
Drew Devine was our Cruise Director on Oasis. He seemed to be everywhere announcing every show and every event, and he hosted The Belly Flop Contest. But we never saw him out and about mingling with the guests, that's not saying he wasn't, but we never saw him.
Matt Mitchum from The Breeze on the other hand was always mingling with the cruisers, he was out giving free hugs, and selling t-shirts on lido, he hosted many of the shows, was very personable, funny, entertaining, and very good at his job. We would hear him first thing in the morning on the intercom, and see him all over the ship into the late hours. He is also one of those you will always remember.
We didn't meet a rude person on The Oasis. Most people were very pleasant, and we met many cruisers over the course of the week.
On The Breeze, there were rude people at every turn. These rude people either left all their class at home, or never had any to begin with. Waiting in line with my son for The 3D Thrill Theatre...30 minutes before the first show, which only fits 28 people at a time, and we were 6th in line. 3 minutes before they start letting the first 28 people in, a mans wife, 3 kids and 3 friends that the kids had met all budded in line, pushing the rest of us back, and 10 seconds later another guy lets 2 of his buddy's in line ahead of us too. A person behind me complained to the employee, but she did nothing. Would not have mattered anyways, because once you get through the first door, there is a little waiting area, and whoever gets closest to the door gets to sit in the front, which are the only seats worth sitting in, and the seats are all level, and the screen practically sits on the floor, and all you see for the bottom half of the screen is people's heads. Will write more about Thrill Theatre. There were so many people who budded in line, who would save lounge chairs for hours at a time, who would push their way through lines. In The Comedy Club we had 3 people plop their butts right down on the table in front of us where were would be putting our drinks. We had to actually complain, and the announcer simply asked that no one sit on the tables. We got rude looks and snide comments from these cruisers for the rest of the cruise. On the last port day we spent some time on the beach in Grand Turk, but it was overcast, so we all headed back to the ship and decided to have a few drinks and use one of the hot tubs. We found an unoccupied one near the pizza place. All 8 family members had to immediately leave the hot tub when a mother, father and their baby enters the hot tub. The baby had a diaper on, and band aids on its face and leg. Their was crumbs and jam all over his face. My hubby complained, and was told they would go talk to the parents. We all grabbed pizza before heading back to our cabins, which took 5 minutes or so, and when my husband peeked his head back out to look at hot tub, that family was still in there. The rudeness was endless.
Who Comes Out On Top : The Breeze...altho we met many rude cruisers on The Breeze, we also met some great people, friendly people, happy people. Everyone was nice on Oasis, but the people on The Breeze seemed to really enjoy meeting each other, and chatting.
Matt also helps The Breeze come out on top here...he was "Made" to be A Cruise Director on Carnival. Our Cabin Attendant on The Breeze gets an AAA+++ from all of us.
Ports Oasis vs Breeze :
On Oasis we visited :
Nassau, Bahamas : We were in Nassau at 7:00am until 2:00am. We walked around the shops and stores, found a coffee shop, and 7 of us headed to the beach by Atlantis. The cab ride was $20.00 for the 7 of us. It was 9:00am, and it felt so early to be at the beach. When my cousin and I were looking for a washroom we somehow walked past the security guards at the gate to Atlantis Resort. They didn't notice us and we didn't notice them. We found the washroom and walked around the resort for awhile. It wasn't until we heard one of the kids yelling to us from way down the beach that we were not suppose to be there, that we realized. The day in Nassau was short, but on the plus side, the beach was just starting to get busy when we left. Our cab back to Oasis was also $20.00 for the 7 of us. The rest of the day was spent exploring the ship, or I should say, some of the ship.
Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas :
We ported at 10:00am and didn't have to be back on ship until 7:00pm. We went to some of the shops, and then took a cab to a beach...7 of us again, daughter-in-law stayed on the ship. The cab cost us $16.00 for the 7 of us. It started at $30.00, but my cousin will always get a deal, or move on to the next cab. The beach was a bit of a drive. We all ascended onto this all inclusive resort, and a beach that really wasn't that nice. It cost $7.00 to rent a lounge chair, I was the only one to get one. I also bought a very thin cheap tourist towel for $15.00. I was glad when we all decided to head back to the ship hours before we had to be back. The cab driver agreed to $20.00 for the 7 of us, but her open buggy fit at least 20, and she refused to leave until she was full with cruisers heading back to port. So we waited about 15 minutes and then headed back. Will not be a port that sticks out in my mind.
Phillipsburg, St Maarten :
We walked to the beach after buying some cold coconut water. It was going to be a hot day.This was our favourite port out of the 6 we visited. What a beautiful place, with wonderful locals. We had such a good time listening to the bands, dancing, finding deals in the shops, drinking tasty drinks that were actually cheaper if you had alcohol in them. One of the bands let my hubby sing. Only a few of us actually made it down to The Beach, but they came back up shortly after. We saw the smallest bar in the world. My cousins daughters brother and wife were vacationing in St Maarten and they met us for drinks and a visit. We all had a blast that day. 13 year old and daughter-in-law stayed on the ship, and said the ship was empty. Son practised his mini-putt.
On The Breeze we visited :
Aruba : we got to Aruba at 9:00am, and didn't have to be back on the ship until 10:00pm. It took 2 Sea Days to get here. We took cab to the beach that the locals recommended. I can't remember the names of any of the beaches we went to. This beach went on forever, and the sand was nice. There was a lot of activity going on in the water, with jet skis and peddle boats, and tube rides. The water was nice and warm as the day was too. It's windy in Aruba tho, and the sand blasts were not all that fun. After waiting about a half hour for a couple to leave from under a shaded hut, I quickly grabbed all our belongings to get some shade. Everyone else spent quite a bit of time in the water. We had a lunch at an outdoor beach bar, and it was very good, even tho it too got dusted with sand. It was a beautiful place to visit, but I could never live in Aruba. We headed back to the port before 5:00pm.
Curacao : We all decided that we had done enough beach time, hubby was burned and didn't want any sun. We wandered around the shops, and had to wait for the bridge to swing back to go over to the other shops. It was a rocky day in the ocean and the wind and the swaying bridge made us look and feel like schools of fish being swayed back and forth. Our son found some neat things in the shops, and was able to haggle. We decided to head back to the ship, and by taking one wrong turn we found ourselves directly behind an unsafe part of town. We could see the ship from where we were, and had 3 men with us, but the "feel" from one block to the next left us all feeling like we should get back to the ship and out of this area immediately.
Grand Turk : We were there at 9:00am and had to be back on the ship at 5:00pm. The island is 7.5 miles long. They had many very over-priced shops, cruisers looked, but I didn't see many buying anything. The beach was right there, and we found a decent spot. It was overcast this day. I don't think we stayed on the beach much over an hour. The beach was crowded, and the drinks and munchies were expensive. We headed back to the ship and found a hot tub at the back of the ship and spent the afternoon sipping drinks.
We had full intentions of doing excursions on most of the islands. We spent a grand amount of time researching them and deciding which ones we would like to try, and where. In the end it just seemed that the islands we went to on this B2B were all about The Ocean Beaches ! We were on this cruise to spend time together as a family, and have some fun. Beach Days seemed the perfect relaxing thing to do. Everyone including seasoned cruisers and the locals recommended the beaches we went to.
Who Comes Out On Top : Oasis, because we loved St Maarten. We have no desire to visit Grand Turk again. Loved Aruba, just didn't like the sand blowing. Getting on and off the ships was very quick, except in Nassau, Bahamas, where security check was slow.
Activities : Oasis vs Breeze
The Oasis is so big, and had so much going on at all times of the day, and night. Our 13 year old spent a great deal of time playing mini-putt. The older kids tried out The Flow Rider, so did hubby. 13 year old and hubby climbed that massive rock climbing wall. The both of them just go up and up and up. We watched The Belly Flop Contest, was fun. Just hanging out on all the different types of loungers with icy cocktails on Serenity was an "activity" that my cousin and I really enjoyed on Oasis, while the others were out exploring the ship. They had so many different types of seminars, and classes...from The Basics of Blackjack, Identifying Gems, Look 10 Yrs Younger Today, Pain Free Feet, Wrinkle Free Me, Introduction to Acupuncture, Wine Pairing, Art Appreciation, Cupcake Decorating, you name it, there was a seminar about it. We didn't attend any other than a diamond shopping seminar which was quite informative. If you are into "shopping" and "higher end" shopping, then Oasis is the cruise for you. From Kate Spade to Michael Kors, Regalia to Invicta, where we never noticed a good deal, and their stock seemed to be someone "dated" We had a family mini-putt tournament one evening, the course was fun, but not as challenging as the mini-putt on The Breeze. We liked The Boardwalk, but didn't go through there more than twice. The majority of our afternoons were spent on decks, and Central Park, and Promenade. Non of us tried The Zip Line, it looked kinda wimpy, and it was only open select hours and there was always a line up. There were hot tubs everywhere ! Some were open all night. It was nice the way they lit up the decks. We don't gamble, but the casino was always very busy. We liked The Touch Screens found all over the ship which could tell you everything from what was going on at that moment, how to get there from where you were on the ship to how many diners were in any given restaurant at that time. It helped us a great deal when navigating throughout the ship. There were always seats available no matter where you chose to go, except for where they held the comedians shows and a few of the "Adults Only Game Shows," at Comedy LIVE, which had line-ups and couldn't accommodate the cruisers wanting to attend. Our 13 year old never signed up for the kids program. He always had plenty to do, and seemed busy and on the go most of the time. When asked what family members favourite things to do, hubby, my cousin and I all said The Rising Tide Bar was our favourite thing to do. It only held maybe 35 people, so the staff operating it had plenty of time to chat with us about their cruise life and family back home. We met several cruisers, both seasoned, and new to cruising. The bartender on The Rising Tide was behind the bar no matter what time of day or evening (and there were both day and evening, many days and evenings...lol) he made the best drinks on the ship, hands down. Cousins hubby acted as our personal Cruise Director, always knowing where everything was happening. The older kids, 17, 21 and 26, spent evenings dancing, hot tubs, and socializing. Our 13 year old liked playing mini-putt, room service, our large balcony, and Come Fly With Me.
The Breeze :
The Breeze had a lot going on too, it just seemed we missed quite a bit of it. Again, it was most likely because our time spent in MDR was sometimes a very long evening. We would see the comedian, then have to leave and get in line again for the next comedian. The Punchliner Comedy Club had plenty of room to accommodate its patrons, and still a few of the patrons thought the best seat in the house was on the tables in front of us where we would be putting our drinks. These people didn't move when we asked them, so cousins hubby went and complained to announcer. He said something over the mic asking people to please not sit on the tables, and they finally moved. We were subject to dirty looks from them for the remainder of the cruise. When not at port, we spent time on Serenity, and locating all the "secret decks." We spent time at the lido bars, and more time on our balcony than on Oasis. We had all three balconies with the partitions removed. We had another family mini-putt tournament, and enjoyed this course better than the one on Oasis. We liked Ocean Plaza, and the seats. They had karaoke with the band, however it was never long enough to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate. On The Breeze, the adults all said the comedians were the best part of the cruise. Our 13 year old ate A LOT of Guys Burgers, and Pizza. He enjoyed The Thrill Theatre, and room service. The older kids spent time doing a bit of everything, spent a lot of time on The Lido, watched a few Dive In Movies. They too enjoyed pizza every night, and Guys Burgers. Daughter-in-law was the only one who spent time at The Spa, and she went during a special on a manicure and they did a wonderful job. My cousin and I went to Tea Time on The Breeze. We had been told this was a not to miss event. Maybe it's because I was expecting more that I was disappointed, but it was nice I guess. A couple sat with us, and they were from Canada too. We were served our choice of tea and little sandwiches, 3 or 4 different types, and then a small tray of desserts is wheeled around.
Who Comes Out On Top : 7 out of 8 of us said Oasis, 13 year old said Breeze hands down, because the cabin attendant made him feel like this was "his holiday" and treated him very well, and he also loved room service on The Breeze.The adults on the other hand felt there was so much to do on Oasis, so much to see. However, The Breeze isn't that far behind because when asked about our cruise, one of the first things we bring up are how funny the comedians are, and our wonderful dining experience in The Steakhouse on The Breeze.
Where We Spent Our Money : Oasis vs Breeze
Hubby's Select Beverage Package cost $281.75 US, ($366.28 Can) with the rate of exchange the day we checked out at $1.00 US costing us Canadians $1.30. My Premium Package cost $394.45 US, ($512.79 Can) We spent a total of $ $676.20 ($897.07 Can) We wasted $17.08 US ($22.20 Can) at Johnny Rockets, hubby had some laundry pressed which cost $17.79 ($23.12 Can) 13 year old spent $20.00 US ($26.00 Can) at arcade (where half the games were out of order) and $2.88 US ($3.74 Can) on an ice cream from Cups and Scoops on Boardwalk. We were surprised to find on our Account Statement that we only left $12.00 US ($15.60 Can) in tips for drinks, but given that 15% gratuities is added into the cost of the drink packages, and we also pay 15% in gratuities for the cruise itself, we neither felt we were being cheap, nor did the waiters pay us any less attention for not receiving previous tips on drinks served to us. Our bill totalled 711.31 US ($930.96 Can) as we also received $34.64 US ($45.03 Can)credits in cruise tax. If we shopped...which was a big part of The Oasis, we surely could have spent a lot of money. We noticed a lot of people browsing Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Guess, etc, but not a lot of buyers. The liquor sales were offering free samples, and there were amazing deals, and I noticed cruisers spending more money on that than anything else. They had the typical buy 4 at $10.00 each, the 5th is free type deals. I actually found the watches and jewelry on The Breeze nicer for some reason. There were no extra charges on Oasis to do things, aside from lessons on The FlowRider which were $75.00 US for an hr. Our bill only includes 3 of the 5 of us in the cabin, hubby, 13 yr old and myself. The older kids did not buy drink packages, and opted instead to buy their bottles from the gift shop. I believe the bottles of vodka they bought were $75.00 US ($97.50 Can) and 1 of them bought the Royal Replenish Package at $19.00 ($24.70 Can) they also bought several drinks in the bars. We used room service at least twice a day and always gave $2.00 or 3.00 tips. We never dined at any of the specialty restaurants, and because we never went on any excursions on either cruise, the most we paid per person to get to a beach was $4.00. The most expensive item purchased was a $15.00 US towel in St Thomas, which fell apart after the first wash.
The Breeze :
Our drink packages were $49.95/person/day. We opted not to get it the first day since we were dining in The Steakhouse with a free bottle of wine, and had also brought a bottle of wine with us which we drank that evening. Hubby's and I both had to buy the package at $57.44/person/day ($74.67 Can)/person/day. For 7 days (since we didn't get the package on the first day) that amounts to $402.08 US, ($522.70 Can)/person. We spent $804.16 US, or ($1,045.40 Can) for the 2 drink packages which were limited to 15/person/day. Hubby and I spent $90.00 US ($117.00 Can) in Steakhouse with tip, and worth every cent considering we received a free bottle of wine. Hubby's got his haircut for $35.00 US ($45.50 Can) 13 year old spent $7.95 ($10.34 Can) twice before he told us he could buy the Thrill Theatre pass for $13.95, which gave him unlimited access to the 15 or so minute shows. Hubby and I went once each also. 13 year old spent $15.00 US, ($19.50 Can) at arcade. We did laundry on The Breeze spending about $15.00 US ($19.50 Can) We bought $40.00 US ($52.00 Can) on costume jewelry at the buy 4 get 1 free sales. I bought $70.00 US ($91.00 Can) in bracelets from Gold By The Inch, and hubby bought a chain for $90.00 US ($117.00 Can) and he received a matching bracelet for free. He had bought a chain on The Sunshine 14 month prior, and it was tarnished, and when he brought it back they gave him a brand new chain. This helped in his decision to buy this one. Again, we never spent more than $4.00 on a ride to the beach. Hubby bought a nice shirt in curaçao at one of the local shops for $15.00 US ($19.50 Can) I bought a few little toys at $5.00 US ($6.50 Can) and we ate a lunch in Aruba, which cost 3 of us $30.00 US ($39.00 Can) we used room service probably twice a day and always gave $2.00 or $3.00 tips.
Who Comes Out On Top : Oasis, we were able to customize our drink packages, with both my hubby and I spending $676.20 US ($897.07 Can) on unlimited drink packages. On The Breeze our drink packages were $804.16 US ($1,045.40 Can) and were limited to 15 in any 24 hr period. Our drink packages were $127.96 US ($148.33 Can) cheaper on The Oasis. We were able to spend more on The Breeze because what they had in the shops was more affordable, and as far as the costume jewelry, looked nicer. The Breeze also had some very very nice used Rolex Watches, that many cruisers were admiring, however, I didn't see any buyers. We found the perfumes and make-up on both cruises to be over-priced.
The Math : Oasis vs The Breeze
We had to sit down and do the math on this one, since we had heard so many cruisers say to us after telling them we had just got off Oasis, that they would love to try a big ship like Oasis but could never afford it...we heard this time and time again. To be fair, we had to break it down into cost / day / person since Oasis was a 7 day cruise and Breeze was an 8 day cruise.
The Oasis : 7 day cruise
The Family Balcony Cabin for 5 : Deck 11 Cabin # 11172 F8
Cost $5,279.16 US ($6,598.95 Can) for our 7 day cruise. Each occupants cruise cost $1,055.83 US ($1,267.00 Can) which equals $150.83 US ($181.00 Can) /person/day. The rate of exchange used from US to Canadian Funds was 20% on the dollar, since that was the exchange rate when we paid the majority of the cruise fare. By the time our cruises came around our rate of exchange was at just over 30% on the dollar.
The Balcony for 3 : Deck 11 Forward Cabin # 11208
Cost $4,216.00 ($5,059.20 Can) for 7 day cruise, which equals $1,405.33 US ($1,686.40 Can) / person which equals $200.76 US ($240.91 Can) /person/day.
The Breeze : 8 day cruise
The Balcony for 3 : On Deck 9 Forward, Cabin 9216, Cabin 9220
Cost $3,399.30 US ($4,079.16 Can) but we got $220.00 in 3 different price drops which made the cruise cost $3,179.30 US ($3,815.16 Can) we added $288.00 US for the three of us in gratuities for a total of $3,467.30 US ($4,160.76 Can) Each persons cruise cost $1,155.77 US ($1,386.92 Can) or $144.47 US ($173.37 Can)/day/person. We also had $470.00 US On Board Credit, which equalled $156.67 US each, or $19.58/per day
The Balcony for 2 : On Deck 9 Forward Cabin # 9220
Cost $2,836.20 US ($3,403.44 Can) but we got $489.88 in price drops which made the cruise cost $2,346.32 US ($2,815.58 Can) we added $168.00 US in gratuities for the two for a total of $2,514.32 US ($3,017.18 Can) Each persons cruise cost $1,257.16 US ($1,508.59 Can) or $157.15 US ($188.57 Can)/day/person. There was no On Board Credit and the price of the cabin in this category kept getting higher and higher as the cruise got closer, as the cabin for 3 had several price drops which resulted in a lot of OBC.
To sum it up, The Oasis was a bit more as expected, but not by much. A Balcony on The Oasis on Deck 11 for 3 cost $56.29 US ($67.54 Can) more per day/person than A Balcony on Deck 9 on The Breeze. Sharing A Family Balcony Cabin on Oasis between the 5 saved us considerable amounts of money compared to splitting the cabins into 2 Balcony Cabins for 2 in one and 3 in the other. The cabin was large enough, had a lot of storage, and a thick curtain to separate the large pull out couch and bed, and bunk beds off to the side in its own cubby which were very comfy. There was an extra long desk as well, and the balcony was large in comparison to the balcony my cousin and her family had. Interesting to note, it was $12.00 US cheaper per person per day to stay in a Forward Cabin, over a Mid Cabin and my cousins Balcony Cabin was right next to the first Cabin classified as Mid, and they saved $252.00 US by choosing that cabin.
Who Comes Out On Top : Oasis (but our 13 year old says The Breeze)
Being drinkers when we vacation was a big factor in Oasis coming out on top. We liked that not everyone in the cabin had to buy the drink package. We liked that there were several different drink packages to choose from. We liked that there was no limit to the drink package, and we liked that it came out being considerably cheaper than The Breeze as well. We didn't mind that our cost per day on Oasis was a bit more, simply because the MDR was that excellent, the shows were very entertaining, and we didn't feel nickel and dimed the way we did on The Breeze. Carnival seems to be doing away with so many "extras" as of late, there was no amenities basket at all, and our free drink coupon has now been replaced with a free bottle of water...because, according to Carnival, cruisers would rather have the water. Our cabin attendant told us they will be discontinuing the little chocolates soon as well. We thought The Thrill Theatre was over-priced, in fact we couldn't understand why it wasn't included for free. It really wasn't worth $7.95 and even our 13 year old said he went to fill time, but if he were using his "own money" he probably would have only checked it out once. We did see lobster on the menu twice but one of the nights it was just included in one of the dishes, with shrimp I believe. Escargot only made its appearance once, and on one occasion it was not traditional escargot. On Oasis we had them every night, and they were very good. Lobster was on the menu twice on Oasis, and they were bigger, if not by much...and when I say bigger, I don't necessarily mean big, as they seem to be shrinking as time goes by. Some evenings were so slow in MDR on The Breeze, and we didn't like the way our 13 year old was ignored, and as much as he didn't like the MDR, our cabin attendant made up for, and it was him that made our vacation one to remember for our 13 year old. He really went out of the way for him, treated him extra special. I'm not sure if he does that for all kids, and young teens on his deck, but he turned our 13 year old into a cruiser for life. The Breeze also had The Steakhouse, and we all totally recommend that all Carnival cruisers should spend an evening there. We seriously will book 2 evenings in The Steakhouse next time, as we all enjoyed it that much. There were so many choices when it came to things to do on Oasis, so many bars, so many clubs, The Boardwalk always seemed to have so many different activities for the little kids going on. Serenity on Oasis was huge, and beautiful with several different areas and types of loungers, and set up totally away from Sports Square, unlike Serenity on The Breeze...which is so close to The Slides and Sports Park that there is no serenity at all. What we enjoyed most about The Breeze was the friendliness of most of the cruisers. You really got the feel that these cruisers embraced their vacations, and let lose and had some fun on what was most likely their week off for the year. What we disliked most about The Breeze, was as many nice cruisers as there were, there were just as many rude ones. We liked the price drops on The Breeze, and The OBC, which was time consuming to research every week/every day but well worth it, and it paid for one of our drink packages. We liked Matt, we liked the comedians, and some of us liked The Buffet much better on The Breeze. The Breeze also has Guys Burgers, which is a hit with the whole family...The Oasis has Johnny Rockets...and it was a hit with no one. The Pizza Pirates was better than the pizza on Oasis. The art was far more interesting on Oasis. The photographers were more professional on The Oasis and they had better packages to chose from. On The Oasis, the employees were upbeat, and smiling. We could see a lot of disgruntled employees on The Breeze.
What We Missed :
Oasis of Dreams, the diving show in The AquaTheatre.
Behind The Scenes Tour...
Trying out at least one of the specialty restaurants.
The Breeze :
The Taco Bar
Behind The Scenes Tour
Hasbro The GameShow
Will we cruise again on Royal Caribbean ? Most definitely, in fact we are researching cruises right now, but we will book another Family Cabin to keep it affordable.
Will we cruise again on Carnival ? Most definitely, but it probably won't be The Breeze. We just enjoyed our cruise so much more on The Sunshine. Maybe it's because it was brand new at the time, being the second sailing out of New Orleans, maybe it was because it was our first Carnival Cruise. We all know we will sail her again someday.
When all is said and done...we can't wait to cruise again soon. We hope this review was helpful.