Background: I have traditionally been a luxury or upper mainstream cruiser, and cruise for relaxation and for destination. Since retiring I have branched out and Royal Caribbean has filled primarily a niche role for me as the line of choice when I want to cruise out of my home port of Baltimore. I am more of a small ship person but was curious about the Oasis class ships. The primary obstacle for me booking them has been the limited itineraries they offer. The transatlantic seemed to me to be the right opportunity to make a first hand impression. While I am reviewing this is a single cruise, it was technically a B2B consisting of a 3-day minicruise from Rome to Barcelona and a 12-day transatlantic to Ft. Lauderdale. I had a cabin change in Barcelona.
Summary: I think I have high standards and don’t give out stars easily. I have had cruises where I thought there were things that were just plain wrong; this was NOT one of those. I had a wonderful time and felt that this could be the right ship for many reasonable people but not for me, and I feel much richer for having done this once but think there are better options for me for the next time.
Ship info: The word for this ship is BIG. It’s perhaps a bit deceiving though because the greatest difference in dimensions is width. My largest prior ship was Queen Mary 2. The 2 ships are fairly comparable in length, QM2 is only 55 feet shorter than the Allure’s 1187 feet. Allure is one or 2 decks higher but the big difference is in width, a whopping 213 feet vs QM2's 131. Even that’s not quite as simple as it seems; in effect, for most of it’s length the top 10 decks are almost like 2 70-foot wide ships separated by a 70-foot skylight. The central space is divided between Central Park midship, a quiet oasis lined on the sides by shops and restaurants, and in the aft Boardwalk, a Coney Island atmosphere complete with a carousel and fast food type restaurants. Below Central Park is the Royal Promenade, a fairly large space dotted with shops and restaurants as well as guest services.
Most of the time I was in 11719, a balcony overlooking Boardwalk. It was nice because about 40 degrees of my field of view was the ocean. It was well appointed with 4 US and 1 european outlets, a mini-cooler, and wide desk. Most of the cabins are set up in pairs with adjoining doors. The common wall has a little jog where the cabin to the right is about a foot wider at the balcony end than at the hallway end. The bed is placed in the wider section and I found the cabins with the bed near the balcony suit me better than having the bed nearer the door; in that case I found the bed made access to the closet a bit awkward. For the first 3 days I was in 10183, a Central Park view balcony. The balcony was nice but offered only interior and sky views. The bed in that cabin was annoyingly close to the closet.
I took a disembarkation tour which, in addition to a drive around the city neighborhoods included a walk through the city’s riverwalk and a 90 minute boat tour of the harbor and the city’s canal. The tour ended at 1 at Ft. Lauderdale airport or at 2 at Miami airport
The port of Civitavecchia is about an hour’s drive or train ride from Rome. I spent 4 days in Rome pre-cruise and could easily have spent more. Highlights for me were the Pantheon, Vatican, Forum, and Coliseum, and just a vibrant, interesting city to walk around. I spent some time in Civitavecchia in 2010 but not this time. It is a very nice small town without a lot of “sights”. The walk around the beach is very nice.
I had a private tour arranged through my roll call to Pompey and the Amfali coast through Miles and Miles who did a very nice job. Mt. Vesuvius is also a very nice option.
This was my turnaround day, and I spent most of my time first visiting a laundromat, Wash & Dry in Barcelona and unpacking in my new cabin. The laundromat was a bit on the expensive side but fine except that it gets very busy when 2 big ships are in town. I’ve taken city tours twice and Royal offered an excursion to Montserrat that I might have taken if not changing cabins.
I had a ship’s tour to Mirbella, a charming but not overwhelming city about an hour from Malaga. On a previous call there I visited the Caves of Nerja, quite a nice choice.