What's Not to Like? A Very Pleasant Week: Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by FLAHAM

Oasis of the Seas 5
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What's Not to Like? A Very Pleasant Week

Sail Date: November 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
First time on Royal Caribbean, two prior cruises on Norwegian. I traveled as a participant in a duplicate bridge (cards) tournament at sea (a group of about 125). A lesson from an outstanding teacher at 9:00 a.m., followed by morning, afternoon and evening games each day. Never got off the ship. My companion lounged by the pool, shopped at the ports and attended all the performance venues.

Embarcation was easy. We arrived at Port Everglades about 1:30 p.m. About 25 minutes after parking in the surface lot adjoining the ship we were in our cabin. As we had lunch before leaving for the port, we explored the ship in the afternoon. Our bags were in front of our cabin when we returned from dinner.

We sailed in full suites on Norwegian. As I would spend so much time playing bridge, we took a Junior Suite on the Oasis. I was very impressed. The cabin, including bathroom and storage, was spacious and well-designed. I have a touch of claustrophobia that did not kick in at More all. The cabin was in excellent condition (as was virtually all of the ship). We particularly enjoyed a late night glass of wine on the balcony (which was uncrowded with two chairs, a table and a lounger), listening to the wake and watching the stars and occasional passing ships. I also enjoyed reading on the balcony (e-readers are the greatest!).

We had dinner in the main (Opus) dining room on four evenings. Due to the evening bridge games, we had the early (6:00 p.m.) seating. I would describe the food as "average." It mostly ranged from just acceptable to good, with an outlier or two on each end of the spectrum. My lamb shank was particularly good. The lobster on the second "formal night" was not. I found that the attractive design of the three-story dining room, the cheerful and attentive service, and the friendly talk with others at our table for eight added greatly to my enjoyment of the meals.

We also had dinner at 150 Central Park, Giovanni's and Chops. 150 has a single tasting menu with six small courses. I found the dishes to be hit-or-miss, but overall it made for a nice experience. Food at the other two was significantly better than the main dining room. Could I get a better meal near my home in Miami? Certainly. However, I liked having two very good meals on the cruise.

We divided breakfasts and lunches between the Windjammer (main buffet) and the Park Cafe. I liked them both. The Windjammer had an interesting array of choices and the Park Cafe had very nice sandwiches and salads. These meals were better than I typically eat while home.

I enjoyed having the soda package. I carried my special cup around for the week like a royal scepter and filled it frequently at the "freestyle" soda machines. It is now a souvenir on my knick knack shelf. Bartenders and restaurant waiters also poured me soda with no fuss or hesitation.

Every staff member I observed was both friendly and hard-working. I was impressed. The few small requests that I made were promptly attended to.

My companion was pleased with the evening performances. She strongly recommends making advance reservations online to avoid waiting in line and the substantial possibility of finding no seating available.

If you are able to control your luggage unassisted, disembarkation is also a cinch. We left our cabin about 7:00 a.m., walked off with no crowds, and were in our car before 7:30.

I won 4 master points during the bridge tournament!

I hope (and predict!) that your cruise on the Oasis will be as enjoyable as mine was. Less

Published 11/28/13

Cabin review:

Unexpectedly spacious and well-designed. This extends to the bathroom and storage. My touch of claustrophobia did not kick in at all. Great balcony was uncrowded with two chairs, table and lounger. A very significant upgrade over a balcony cabin.

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