Cruise review 2013
This cruise is our first on oasis of the seas- it is an Eastern Caribbean cruise; a seven night one, leaving from Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale; from 3/23 to 3/30 stopping at Nassau Bahamas (3/24), Charlotte Amelia , St. Thomas (3/26), and Philipsburg, St. Maarten )3/27). The rest are sea days.
We are in cabin 10240 (deck 10), owner suite on deck 10 and are diamond members too. We went with our 14 year old son.
This is our first cruise on "the biggest ship in the world." We have cruised 7 times before all on RCI. All of our other cruises were on their smaller ships; radiance and voyager class. We booked all our shows in advance. In addition, we booked the 3 restaurant package-- chefs table, 150 Central Park and chops.
A week before departure we got a letter telling us that our reservation for Oasis of the Seas aqua show was canceled and rescheduled, however the rescheduled show was for the same day as hairspray and we had 15 minutes to get to the next show, not a good idea- we didn't want to run from one show to another. We figured the concierge could change that once on board. We also got an email from the concierges Allan and Charmaine- a nice touch outlining the benefits of a suite guest.
We got to the pier at FT. Lauderdale at 10:30 am; pulling up to the pier we got a glance of the ship. It was big, huge as it was docked near a smaller Carnival ship. Check was quick no line for suite guests- right through to the suite guest waiting area by 11:00 am. At 11:30am boarding began- no line and up 3 gangways.
Our first stop way the windjammer- a nice roomy place. We got seats near the port side window. It was over crowded by noon. They had the usual fair set up to avoid people bumping into each other. We each had a piece of honey stung chicken, only available on departure day, good as always.
We left the windjammer (deck 15), walked down the steps and headed to the Concierge Club (CC) (deck 11)...it is not called a "lounge" on this class of ships. My guess is because it is a very large 2 level space that serves a full breakfast and lunch by menu; we wished the other "lounges served full meals too. To our surprise the CC was empty. We introduced ourselves to Allan and Charmaine, who became our new best friends, and sat down by a large 2 story window. The menu was a nice selection from mini sliders, salads, shrimp and calamari, our DS favorite. Also free sodas, champagne...our food arrived hot, the way we like it.
Left around 1pm to check our room. Our Owners Suite (OS) is very nice. A 4 person table greets you when you walk in, we used it to have dinner twice, plenty of space....3 big lounge chairs---one with an ottoman, a 3 person couch(converts to a full size bed). In the living room a 42" flat panel TV, in the bedroom a 32" flat panel TV...in older OS there was only 1 TV and it rotated from one room to the other..only being able to watch in one room at a time...not so here...again our DS loved this...so did we. Two big closets and lots of drawer space in both rooms..a desk in the bedroom too....did I say the room was big....with lots of storage space...perfect for a 14 nighter-let alone a 7 nighter...we wished this was a 14 night cruise, like some of our other ones. The bathroom was big, separate shower, Jacuzzi tub, double sink and lots of drawer space. Some comments about the room: there is a bright LED light in the center of the shower, when you look up, it's right in your eyes; they should have a diffuser on this light. Also one of the fixtures above the sink is being held together with duct tape. Guess these items will be taken care of in dry dock?
We meet our room attendant Kemuel, he was great all week. He removed the "high priced" stuff from the refrigerator so we could put our carry on soda in it...yes you can bring soda on board. Kemuel also gave us a big bottle of water each day and of course ice in the bucket 2X's a day...he also gave us a pitcher of ice water 2x's a day....in addition to robes and slippers. He was fantastic.
Our room greeted us with a fresh fruit basket, a basket of cookies and dried fruit too. As we started to unpack our carryon bag, the horn sounded (4pm) and it was time to go find our emergency safety area. Walked down to deck 5...no life vests needed? We watched a video and heard a message from Captain Patrick. If this were a real emergency, and people panic, I'm not sure this would work. I hope you not I ever need to find out.
On our way back to the room, we stop for a cappuccino (this machine became my best friend during the cruise-visiting it 5 or so times a day-I miss it now as I write this)...Allan helped us make reservations for 150 Central Park and Chops, as we bought the 3 restaurant dinner package....tonight at 7pm is the Chefs Table..never did it before, but heard great things about it.
Back to the room...our one piece of luggage arrived and we unpack it...at 7pm we go to the library and meet 3 other couples who will be dining with us....champagne is provide by a waiter as we chat with the other couples. Two are from North Carolina and one from Boston. We are all escorted to the 2nd level of the CC and seated at a wonderful table set just for us. During this intimate 5 course meal, paired with wine...the Chef comes out and describes the ingredients and preparation of each dish. A separate wine Stewart describes each wine that is paired with the meal. The full meal lasted 3 hours (7-10pm) we stayed a chattered with everyone for about another hour. The Chef gave each woman a cook book and the gents got a Chefs Table apron as a gift. By 11pm, we were stuffed and went back to the room...also very tired from the anticipation and boarding. The meal and experience was great, we highly recommend it and would do it again.
Aaron ate at the Windjammer, he said it was good....a hamburger and french fries.
This was his first time in the teen program. Before he was in Adventure Ocean...love it...but we signed him in and out...this time he was able to roam free...we bought walkie talkies to keep in touch. He also had to check in with us for lunch and let us know where he was/going to and arrived at all times. He said the teens were friendly and had many activities planned throughout the cruise.
Port of call Bahamas 7:30am-1:30pm
Due to being a short day we decided to stay onboard and explore the ship.
Breakfast was in the CC pancakes, bacon, and coffee. The CC provides a relaxing atmosphere and great view. I booked Aaron a private lesson for one of the flow riders ($60). He had a great time. We played ping-pong too. It is a beautiful ship and never really seemed crowded. W e watched the team workout for the aqua show- they are talented athletes.
A small lunch at the CC- sliders -another great choice.
More zip line and walking around. Aaron didn't feel good around 4 PM- too much zip line- so we had diner in the room. Shrimp cocktail, soup, steak- the steak was a bit tough and Ii only ate half.
Day 3 - Sea Day, nice weather
Breakfast at CC, waffles -which were excellent- walked around Central Park. Had birds chirping and live trees-a nice relaxing place to walk, sit and read a book. Off to the cruise critic meet and mingle. Not a big group between 20-25 people showed. All the give-a- ways were won by one big family, 11 people in their group. Met FLSteve from the board, talked to him pre cruise online- very nice guy. We went back to my cabin and talked some more. We have a lot in common..hope to cruise with him in the future.
Lunch at the CC shrimp and calamari
Something happened and they canceled hair spray for today. Went to CC, Allan was great and rebooked us for later in the week.
Aaron went on rock wall. It was much bigger then those on radiance and voyager class ships. He found them challenging and hard to climb.
Diner for us was at 150 central park, again a nice meal. Similar to the chefs table, as the preparation and ingrediance were described. Afterwards we went to the aqua show, Oasis of Dreams, while I thought it was just diving and swimming it was much more and really worth seeing. The show had a theme and was "circ du solie 'ish" in style. Some very talented swimmers and gymnasts. About half way through the shows they experienced technical difficulties which delayed the show by 15-20 minutes but once fixed it went on as planned unlike hairspray which was canceled all together due to technical difficulties.
After the show we went up to the CC for a cappuccino and back to the room. Aaron stayed in the teen program playing dodge-ball till 11PM.
Day 4 Charlotte Amelia St. Thomas
After breakfast at the CC-where else- always great service and views. We had scheduled the helmet dive at Coral World. The weather was overcast and drizzly and we hope it clears up.
DW decided she didn't want to dive so we went to the Concierge to change her ticket to an observer while it was at the last minute the Concierge said -NO Problem- love hearing those words while on vacation. The helmet dive was excellent about 20-30 minutes under water with a polycarbonate helmet, walking under water...saw some nice fish....coral world is great place to visit with the whole family..a touch tank, shark and sting ray feedings and a relaxing environment too.
Came back and had dinner at park cafe. Setup was like a cafeteria in NYC. We had handmade mixed salad with a choice of toppings and a good roast beef sandwich with seafood soup- a good choice for an early diner. Afterwards up to the CC for a drink and some appetizers. The concierges are great, a hello by name every time. Off to the head line show, Scott Record a musical comedy impressionist. Better than expected and very enjoyable. Afterwards we went to the casino to "make a deposit." We did some exploring on the upper decks, lots of nice spaces on this ship to explore. The Solarium looks like a good specialty restaurant. We spotted two teens with full bedding pretending to be sleeping in the elevator. Security showed up and we heard that they were thrown off the ship at the next port. A "0" tolerance policy is in effect, way to go RCI, parents should be supervising their kids better. Walked along the board walk had an ice cream cone and went to bed.
Day 5 St. Maarten
The weather is over cast and rainy. Breakfast, as usual, is in the CC. I had a spinach and mushroom quiche. Our excursion is the Tiki Hut which includes a snorkeling lesion for morning, a "bucket list" item for me. I noticed that part of table we were eating at had a sharp glass edge due to a piece broken off. I mentioned it to an officer who came by and asked how our breakfast was. He said he would address it. This never got corrected during our cruise???
The rain started coming down hard. Our snorkeling trip was a bust-again. One day we will get to do this. Concierge credited us the price of the excursion. DW and I took our jackets and walked around the pier. DS stayed on the ship and played dodge ball with teen group. Always bring water proof jackets on a cruise. DW brought a cruse charm for her Pandora bracelet and a pair of earrings. I got Aaron a t-shirt. We had lunch at the pier, curry goat roti very tasty and a guava berry colada.
We are back on the ship by 4:00 PM. For dinner we went to Azumi the Asian restaurant. It has $5 cover charge to walk in the door and ala carte pricing. We sat at the sushi bar and asked for 3 surprise dishes. They have a "hot rock" dish, in which you cook your own food on a 500 degree rock...seemed a bit of gimmick to us, but might be fun for kids. The food was just ok- I guess we are spoiled by NYC sushi restaurants. While it was nice to check the place out we would not go back. If you have a good sushi restaurant in your town, this would be a disappointment.
We went to the ice show after; very talented and recommend seeing it.
After wards we went to dazzles as they had rock-n-roll karaoke. It was a total disappointment though. None of the songs selected where rock songs. Anita Baker is in not rock-n-roll. They need to reevaluate this. In addition the live band backing up the songs was to keyboard heavy
Day 6 Sea Day-nice weather
We went for breakfast at the Solarium Bistro on deck 15- big mistake. The turkey bacon and banana pancakes were luke warm/cold. I like my food hot. Granted, they do provide a healthier food selection. On to the loyalty ambassador to book our next cruise.
Check our account. It seems DS's cancelled excursion was not credited? Make sure you check your account every other day. Planed to go for "new york' pizza but the place was packed. Even worse there were just people sitting there and not eating. A restaurant is not a hang out spot. I find it very inconsiderate. I say, sit, eat, relax a bit but then move on so other people can sit and eat. So back up to the CC for lunch we go.
Later we're going to the splish splash comedy show in the aqua theater. This was a very funny show and another exhibition of talented athletes. One problem...people were standing and sitting on the steps, blocking the isles...despite being asked by the activities director, Amy Flecter not to do so, doing this blocked the isles for the performers who were running down the aisles to the stage and performing in the isles, making it dangerous for the performers and spectators. RCI should have some security/users to ensure the steps are clear....some people are very self centered and inconsiderate...I hope anyone reading this does not do this or allow their kids to do this....arrive to the show a bit early and get a seat, stand in the back or go to the next show....this occurred at all the shows..the ice show and theater shows..it's shame.
We then went to the schooner bar to play "name that movie song". We had a drink and some fun...we didn't win, but had a good time.
Tonight is formal night, so we ordered dinner in our room....the lobster was very good, but the food was not as hot as it should be. I know it was traveling to our room. One thing RCI should do is place a table cloth over the table to make fancy and leave the cart to use to place dirty dishes on them.
After dinner went to "Broadway Hits". The two lead actors from hairspray performed songs from other shows in the Viking Crown Lounge. the Lounge is very nice with a nice view on deck 17. The male performer (sorry forgot his name), who plays the role of the mother in the show was excellent-he did some good Broadway tunes, as well as, some comedy songs. The female singer, who plays the lead, has a "belters" voice. She was unable to modulate her voice and therefore way to loud for the room. We hope she will be better in the show and a larger venue tomorrow.
Day 7 cruise day
Outside temps were cool. DS is playing dodge ball and having a great time in the teen program...doing some rock wall climbing too. Breakfast in the CC. Resting g on our veranda writing and reading for the morning. This afternoon we have Hairspray and Come Fly With Me shows....dinner is in Chops.
Hairspray was just OK. We didn't know anything about this show...none of the songs or the story line. The cast was talented, but the show didn't WOW us or seem to have any memorable songs. The hour and half show seemed to drag. It was a good way to kill some time.
Didn't make it to Come Fly With Me...Went to Chops for dinner, I had the rib eye and DW had the filet...my was tough and fatty, seems to have gone down from the last time. The lighting was very dim . Went to the CC for a cappuccino, never disappoints.
The sad part now is packing to leave the ship. We will carry our bags and walk off the ship. Our tag stated we were to leave at 7:15am....that is not happening, we will stay as long as we can.
We will wait in the CC....having my last cappuccino and danish. Called my cousin, who was picking us up and met him at 11am.
The ship was better than we expected...we thought it would be too large, but that was not the case. Lots of open space to rest and walk. Only seemed crowded at the windjammer, which we only went to one...DS who at there often said it wasn't bad. We still think they can have better crowd control at shows.
lots of space, two TV's, great balcony....we think the best value when traveling