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I'm new to this forum, so please forgive me if I'm too long winded. We just came off the maiden voyage (so to speak) of the Oasis of the Seas yesterday and were so disappointed that we wanted to share our experiences with everyone so they don't make the same $17,000 mistake that we did. Fair warning...this is a long post, but one I hope you will find a good read. We are not new to RCCL. In fact, we are Diamond (almost Diamond plus) members of C & A. RCCL is the ONLY cruise line we have sailed with since a Sovereign of the Seas in 1988. We have three children, ages 6, 9, & 13, and have not sailed since 2005 on the Jewel which was a wonderful cruise. Our two boys were simply too young to enjoy cruising the past few years, plus I've had some serious medical problems that made it unwise for me to travel. We were really looking forward to the Oasis and booked this "maiden voyage" within 7 minutes of reservations opening for C & A members in Aug, 08. This is where the problems began! Within 7 minutes all of the suites were booked, so we had to settle for connecting balcony staterooms and be wait listed for a suite. Fourteen months went by and our CVP from RCCL changed four times. The initial sail date was moved up a week, My Time Dining was introduced, our suite request was lost and they kind of screwed us with the Labadee extravaganza. For our family it took something off of the special feeling of being on the real maiden voyage. I'm sure that RCCL wanted a few lab rabbits to test this mega ship before taking it to sea for a full 7 day Eastern Caribbean run, so I guess that's a good thing. The real fun began when final payment was due. In a conversation with our CVP, I had said "it's a shame we couldn't get the suite we wanted". She replied that there were plenty of suites available, and I asked why we didn't get a phone call since were supposedly wait listed for one. She said there were no notes in the reservation showing that we wanted one. With a family of 5 we jumped on the chance to have a suite. We opted for the family suite with 500+ sq./ft. of space. Our package was cruise only, and pre-paid gratuities were required with My Time Dining. All said, with cruise care insurance the total package maxed out at a little over $17,000. Let me advise you that $17,000, plus another $2,000+ for enhancements (excursions, gifts and gear and the ultimate romance package) buys you nothing but disappointment. I've read many other posts on this forum about others who had their share of disappointments in non suite rooms. I assure you that I really don't think it mattered. RCCL seemed oblivious to the concerns of the guests, and there was no shortage of excuses. Not one single employee provided the level of customer service that we grew accustomed to receiving from RCCL. Our room steward Lenworth and our waiter Richard and his assistant Rohan were the only people we grew to trust, appreciate and thank over seven nights. Lack of customer service was just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended). The real problems began when we arrived a Port Everglades. The new terminal lacked staff and appropriate signage. Our private shuttle driver dropped off us at the curb with our ten bags and my blood pressure began to rise. Keep in mind that I'm a FireFighter/ Paramedic with over 30 years in the business, so I tolerate very little incompetence and have a very short fuse. In my job I have to perform at 100% all the time, so I expect others to do the same. Also, I generally hold people to there word whether it's spoken or written. RCCL said there would be special agents available and special check in for both suite and Diamond C & A guests. We got a gentleman who said we were in the wrong area and that I needed to bring my party and all of my bags to the other side of the terminal. It was only after I complained about lack of assistance and poor instruction that he found two other persons to assist us. Okay, we were finally in terminal 18 and to the counter for check in without any waiting. We were greeted with a smile and had all of our documents completed and passports ready. The paperwork shuffle was done in a matter of minutes, but it took 15 minutes to get our Sea Pass cards. Then when we proceeded to attempt to go up the escalator to the Suite guest waiting area we were stopped and told we were not permitted. When I asked why I was told that it was for suite guest only. I advised that not only were we suite guests, but also Diamond members. Believe it or not, the agent actually questioned "are you sure you booked a suite"? That was the wrong button to push! I demanded to see a supervisor immediately, because we were now in the terminal over 30 minutes. (Keep in mind the RCCL's target for the new terminal as seen on their website video clips was 15 minutes from curbside to gangway). It took us that long just to get the first set of Sea Pass cards. The request for a supervisor went unanswered, but a more experience agent advised that we had the wrong color cards. We were now sent back to the check in desk where there was now a line of guests. I was visibly ticked off, and again asked for a super. She advised the agent who check us in that she made a mistake and to stop what she was doing and fix it. We're now pushing 45 minutes and our 6 year old was spontaneously combusting because he was hungry and tired of being herded around. We were given new "silver cards" that had Diamond printed on the bottom and allowed access to the VIP waiting area. Once allowed on board we thought the worst was behind us. We were greeted on the Royal Promenade with champagne and smiles, but unlike other cruises no one asked us if we need assistance finding our cabin. I figured that they just wanted you to hang out on the Royal Promenade for awhile, but we had other plans and proceeded to an elevator to head to our suite. We got there and found the cabin steward still doing prep work, so we briefly introduced ourselves, dropped off our carry-on's and headed for a quick, light bite in central park at the Park Cafe. We knew the Windjammer was always a zoo, so we tried another venue. Park Cafe was really nice. They had a wide variety of salads and simple sandwich items. Good food and great service....my BP was finally within normal limits and I had a smile on my face. After two hours of exploring this amazing ship (our nine year old kept referring to it as ridiculously huge), we returned to our cabin which was now stocked and ready for occupancy. Our cabin steward provided us with a brief synopsis of our room and how to contact him. It was the typical banter we've all experienced when we board a ship, but what caught me off guard was that he came right out and said that some of the problems he encountered during the Labadee extravaganza was that the ship was not seasoned. I knew he wasn't talking about a steak, and that what he really meant was that the ship was as new to the crew as it was the passengers. One thing I learned from doing a great deal of instruction and public speaking is to NEVER tell the audience in advance that they might be disappointed by your presentation. I don't know if RCCL advised the crew to use this excuse or if it was just a conscientious steward wanting to tell us the truth, so that we would not receive a poor evaluation due to the influence of other factors. I'm inclined to think that there was some formal communication from RCCL to the crew about the "newness of the ship" because I heard similar jargon from others on the crew including the cruise director Ken. Needless to say, day 2 (a sea day) was no better. My wife and I both had spa appointments. We arrived 20 minutes early to check in and found 1 person working the desk. She had a long line of guests waiting to check in , scheduling appointments, and on top of that she had to answer the phone. It took 15 minutes to check in for our spa appointments. These two particular appointments were included in our Ultimate Romance package that we pre-paid two months prior, and I made it a point to advise her of that fact. She, too, communicated that to the secondary check in desk via telephone while my wife and I stood before her. Well somehow the ball was dropped and our room charge soon reflected both of our spa visits. I gave it a day and found that when I checked our folio activity from the interactive in-room television that both appointments were reversed. Well 2 days latter they reappeared along with a bunch of other charges that were bogus. Suite guests were entitled to complimentary pressing services, 2 items per guest, for the first formal night. Well, we got charged for that. We pre-purchased a case of water for the room and kept it in the fridge. Unfortunately, every day that we used our water the mini-bar dude charged us or it! We took RCCL's four bottles out and set them on the counter and kept ours cold. It didn't matter because he saw a specific number of waters missing and charged us for them. It took until the final night of the cruise to have all of the charges reversed that were supposed to be covered by a package or part of the suite benefits. The real kicker was that on day 3 we decided to use the private, VIP, sunbathing area for suite guests and were denied access because we did not have the right color card. 3 days into this cruise we finally got the right color (gold) card for suite guests but only after complaining to the concierge. We new cards meant new folio numbers which further spelled disaster. Our two sons no longer appeared on our in room TV, and we could not check their individual charges or appointments with the personal calendar feature. This debacle caused my son's Flowrider lesson to mysteriously disappear, and when I called guest services to inquire about it they blamed it on two different computer systems. Now halfway through our cruise, I had spent every day fighting about something, or for something, that we were supposed to be entitled to as a suite guest. I asked to speak to an officer in charge, but never heard from anyone. Our concerns went unanswered. I also experienced a problem with the in-room TV system and could not register my computer to use the Wi-fi system and was told that someone from their IT department would be assigned to take care of it, but it never was. The bottom line...guest services couldn't care less about your disappointments. Other problems included the supposed VIP seating at entertainment venues for suite guests. Even when we had reservations, there was no special seating. It was not until the final night of our cruise that one person checking us into the Oasis of Dreams show said they were aware of the problem and were working on it. Suite guests were also entitled to a full dining option from their suites, but there were no menus in the suites to choose meals from. We didn't care about eating dinner in our suite, but we did want to eat breakfast several days. Room service was terrible. The person taking the call was not sure if we could get what we ordered because they didn't know what suite guests could get and what they could not. The eggs were often overcooked by the time they reached you, and some food was cold. Orders were mixed up. Not a good experience. Our ultimate romance package was supposed to include breakfast in bed on morning. We never received it, nor did we receive our formal portrait and frame. I had to fight to get the portrait cost refunded as part of the package, and they had no frames on board but took your name and address promising to mail you one. (I'll believe it when I see it.) Our family suite had a very nice layout, and could sleep 8 if necessary. We had plenty of drawer and closet space. It was impeccably clean and well maintained by our cabin steward and the balcony was huge with 2 loungers a large table with four chairs, and exterior lighting. There were two bath rooms that were nice, but a little small. The bathroom off of the master bedroom included a single sink, a commode and a bathtub/shower. I'm 5'7 and barely had enough headroom. The 2nd bath had a single sink, commode and glass enclosed shower (poor design, it leaked terribly). I do think the suite was well designed, and sized well, but it was quite pricey considering that we did not get all of the perks promised to suite guests on this cruise. We were also showered with gifts every evening. Beach bags, Beach towels, snacks, cruise in review DVD's and much more. Unfortunately, we did not get 1 item for everyone. Some nights we did, other nights we didn't. Our cabin steward said that he could only give us what he had assigned for us, but there was no consistency. The other thing was that they rationed toiletries. If you still had even a small quantity of shower gel left, you would not get a new one unless you asked. Then if you thought that RCCL could not get any cheaper, our cabin steward advised us not to expect a towel critter every evening, and that he was only permitted to give them on certain nights. While we could care less about a towel critter, I cannot believe that these poor cabin stewards have the job of explaining what you won't get because RCCL has cheapened it's product. Oh, and those little chocolates you used to get on your pillow every night...you only get those on certain nights too. The themed dining room menus and activities we enjoyed so much on our last cruise are now gone. The food quality was decent, but not what it had previously been. We saw our head waiter only once, but we were grateful to have the same waiter, assistant waiter and table for the entire cruise. Breakfast was also just not the same in the dining room. Menus varied, and the food was slow in coming. I guess if you want high quality food you have to pay for it in one of the specialty restaurants. Lastly, I really think RCCL dropped the ball with the entertainment. The Nelson brothers for an inaugural cruise? They could have done better considering that we paid so much more for this cruise than other cruises. The rates dropped precipitously after the maiden voyage. Sure we could have waited, but we wanted the maiden voyage, and we wanted something special. This cruise was certainly not worth the price paid. The shows were not ready. Come Fly With Me, while excellent, was considered a full dress rehearsal, and was actually stopped in progress for a set reset! This ship has been coming for over two years and they could not have the entertainment fully ready for the true maiden voyage? Oasis of Dreams also had technical problems and the full show was not ready due to the inability of the cast to practice due to the rough seas during the crossing according to Ken the cruise director. Now who in their right mind would expect high divers be able to perform in the North Atlantic in late November. I give these performers credit because no amount of money would make me jump from a 70 foot platform into a moving target. The winds on the back of the ship were horrible due to its size. I hope that someone doesn't get killed doing this show. You can't even play golf without the ball blowing around. They don't use real golf balls anymore, but rather the practice type balls that are greatly affected by wind. I'll shut up for now even though I have a lot more to say. Having sailed with RCCL so many times, I truly expected something special. If this ship was to set a new standard in cruising it has not, or maybe it has. It would appear that RCCL has cheapened its product and lowered its standards. We had planned to book an Alaska Cruise while onboard, but have chosen to spend our vacation dollars elsewhere. When you start counting towels, toiletries and towel critters something is definitely wrong. Oh, and by the way we own a decent amount of RCL stock...that didn't make a difference either!

Oasis...Really just a mirage

Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by paemtp

Trip Details
I'm new to this forum, so please forgive me if I'm too long winded. We just came off the maiden voyage (so to speak) of the Oasis of the Seas yesterday and were so disappointed that we wanted to share our experiences with everyone so they don't make the same $17,000 mistake that we did. Fair warning...this is a long post, but one I hope you will find a good read.
We are not new to RCCL. In fact, we are Diamond (almost Diamond plus) members of C & A. RCCL is the ONLY cruise line we have sailed with since a Sovereign of the Seas in 1988. We have three children, ages 6, 9, & 13, and have not sailed since 2005 on the Jewel which was a wonderful cruise. Our two boys were simply too young to enjoy cruising the past few years, plus I've had some serious medical problems that made it unwise for me to travel. We were really looking forward to the Oasis and booked this "maiden voyage" within 7 minutes of reservations opening for C & A members in Aug, 08. This is where the problems began!
Within 7 minutes all of the suites were booked, so we had to settle for connecting balcony staterooms and be wait listed for a suite. Fourteen months went by and our CVP from RCCL changed four times. The initial sail date was moved up a week, My Time Dining was introduced, our suite request was lost and they kind of screwed us with the Labadee extravaganza. For our family it took something off of the special feeling of being on the real maiden voyage. I'm sure that RCCL wanted a few lab rabbits to test this mega ship before taking it to sea for a full 7 day Eastern Caribbean run, so I guess that's a good thing.
The real fun began when final payment was due. In a conversation with our CVP, I had said "it's a shame we couldn't get the suite we wanted". She replied that there were plenty of suites available, and I asked why we didn't get a phone call since were supposedly wait listed for one. She said there were no notes in the reservation showing that we wanted one. With a family of 5 we jumped on the chance to have a suite. We opted for the family suite with 500+ sq./ft. of space. Our package was cruise only, and pre-paid gratuities were required with My Time Dining. All said, with cruise care insurance the total package maxed out at a little over $17,000. Let me advise you that $17,000, plus another $2,000+ for enhancements (excursions, gifts and gear and the ultimate romance package) buys you nothing but disappointment. I've read many other posts on this forum about others who had their share of disappointments in non suite rooms. I assure you that I really don't think it mattered. RCCL seemed oblivious to the concerns of the guests, and there was no shortage of excuses. Not one single employee provided the level of customer service that we grew accustomed to receiving from RCCL. Our room steward Lenworth and our waiter Richard and his assistant Rohan were the only people we grew to trust, appreciate and thank over seven nights. Lack of customer service was just the tip of the iceberg (no pun intended).
The real problems began when we arrived a Port Everglades. The new terminal lacked staff and appropriate signage. Our private shuttle driver dropped off us at the curb with our ten bags and my blood pressure began to rise. Keep in mind that I'm a FireFighter/ Paramedic with over 30 years in the business, so I tolerate very little incompetence and have a very short fuse. In my job I have to perform at 100% all the time, so I expect others to do the same. Also, I generally hold people to there word whether it's spoken or written. RCCL said there would be special agents available and special check in for both suite and Diamond C & A guests. We got a gentleman who said we were in the wrong area and that I needed to bring my party and all of my bags to the other side of the terminal. It was only after I complained about lack of assistance and poor instruction that he found two other persons to assist us. Okay, we were finally in terminal 18 and to the counter for check in without any waiting. We were greeted with a smile and had all of our documents completed and passports ready. The paperwork shuffle was done in a matter of minutes, but it took 15 minutes to get our Sea Pass cards. Then when we proceeded to attempt to go up the escalator to the Suite guest waiting area we were stopped and told we were not permitted. When I asked why I was told that it was for suite guest only. I advised that not only were we suite guests, but also Diamond members. Believe it or not, the agent actually questioned "are you sure you booked a suite"? That was the wrong button to push! I demanded to see a supervisor immediately, because we were now in the terminal over 30 minutes. (Keep in mind the RCCL's target for the new terminal as seen on their website video clips was 15 minutes from curbside to gangway). It took us that long just to get the first set of Sea Pass cards. The request for a supervisor went unanswered, but a more experience agent advised that we had the wrong color cards. We were now sent back to the check in desk where there was now a line of guests. I was visibly ticked off, and again asked for a super. She advised the agent who check us in that she made a mistake and to stop what she was doing and fix it. We're now pushing 45 minutes and our 6 year old was spontaneously combusting because he was hungry and tired of being herded around. We were given new "silver cards" that had Diamond printed on the bottom and allowed access to the VIP waiting area.
Once allowed on board we thought the worst was behind us. We were greeted on the Royal Promenade with champagne and smiles, but unlike other cruises no one asked us if we need assistance finding our cabin. I figured that they just wanted you to hang out on the Royal Promenade for awhile, but we had other plans and proceeded to an elevator to head to our suite. We got there and found the cabin steward still doing prep work, so we briefly introduced ourselves, dropped off our carry-on's and headed for a quick, light bite in central park at the Park Cafe. We knew the Windjammer was always a zoo, so we tried another venue. Park Cafe was really nice. They had a wide variety of salads and simple sandwich items. Good food and great service....my BP was finally within normal limits and I had a smile on my face.
After two hours of exploring this amazing ship (our nine year old kept referring to it as ridiculously huge), we returned to our cabin which was now stocked and ready for occupancy. Our cabin steward provided us with a brief synopsis of our room and how to contact him. It was the typical banter we've all experienced when we board a ship, but what caught me off guard was that he came right out and said that some of the problems he encountered during the Labadee extravaganza was that the ship was not seasoned. I knew he wasn't talking about a steak, and that what he really meant was that the ship was as new to the crew as it was the passengers. One thing I learned from doing a great deal of instruction and public speaking is to NEVER tell the audience in advance that they might be disappointed by your presentation. I don't know if RCCL advised the crew to use this excuse or if it was just a conscientious steward wanting to tell us the truth, so that we would not receive a poor evaluation due to the influence of other factors. I'm inclined to think that there was some formal communication from RCCL to the crew about the "newness of the ship" because I heard similar jargon from others on the crew including the cruise director Ken.
Needless to say, day 2 (a sea day) was no better. My wife and I both had spa appointments. We arrived 20 minutes early to check in and found 1 person working the desk. She had a long line of guests waiting to check in , scheduling appointments, and on top of that she had to answer the phone. It took 15 minutes to check in for our spa appointments. These two particular appointments were included in our Ultimate Romance package that we pre-paid two months prior, and I made it a point to advise her of that fact. She, too, communicated that to the secondary check in desk via telephone while my wife and I stood before her. Well somehow the ball was dropped and our room charge soon reflected both of our spa visits. I gave it a day and found that when I checked our folio activity from the interactive in-room television that both appointments were reversed. Well 2 days latter they reappeared along with a bunch of other charges that were bogus. Suite guests were entitled to complimentary pressing services, 2 items per guest, for the first formal night. Well, we got charged for that. We pre-purchased a case of water for the room and kept it in the fridge. Unfortunately, every day that we used our water the mini-bar dude charged us or it! We took RCCL's four bottles out and set them on the counter and kept ours cold. It didn't matter because he saw a specific number of waters missing and charged us for them. It took until the final night of the cruise to have all of the charges reversed that were supposed to be covered by a package or part of the suite benefits.
The real kicker was that on day 3 we decided to use the private, VIP, sunbathing area for suite guests and were denied access because we did not have the right color card. 3 days into this cruise we finally got the right color (gold) card for suite guests but only after complaining to the concierge. We new cards meant new folio numbers which further spelled disaster. Our two sons no longer appeared on our in room TV, and we could not check their individual charges or appointments with the personal calendar feature. This debacle caused my son's Flowrider lesson to mysteriously disappear, and when I called guest services to inquire about it they blamed it on two different computer systems. Now halfway through our cruise, I had spent every day fighting about something, or for something, that we were supposed to be entitled to as a suite guest. I asked to speak to an officer in charge, but never heard from anyone. Our concerns went unanswered. I also experienced a problem with the in-room TV system and could not register my computer to use the Wi-fi system and was told that someone from their IT department would be assigned to take care of it, but it never was. The bottom line...guest services couldn't care less about your disappointments.
Other problems included the supposed VIP seating at entertainment venues for suite guests. Even when we had reservations, there was no special seating. It was not until the final night of our cruise that one person checking us into the Oasis of Dreams show said they were aware of the problem and were working on it. Suite guests were also entitled to a full dining option from their suites, but there were no menus in the suites to choose meals from. We didn't care about eating dinner in our suite, but we did want to eat breakfast several days. Room service was terrible. The person taking the call was not sure if we could get what we ordered because they didn't know what suite guests could get and what they could not. The eggs were often overcooked by the time they reached you, and some food was cold. Orders were mixed up. Not a good experience. Our ultimate romance package was supposed to include breakfast in bed on morning. We never received it, nor did we receive our formal portrait and frame. I had to fight to get the portrait cost refunded as part of the package, and they had no frames on board but took your name and address promising to mail you one. (I'll believe it when I see it.)
Our family suite had a very nice layout, and could sleep 8 if necessary. We had plenty of drawer and closet space. It was impeccably clean and well maintained by our cabin steward and the balcony was huge with 2 loungers a large table with four chairs, and exterior lighting. There were two bath rooms that were nice, but a little small. The bathroom off of the master bedroom included a single sink, a commode and a bathtub/shower. I'm 5'7 and barely had enough headroom. The 2nd bath had a single sink, commode and glass enclosed shower (poor design, it leaked terribly). I do think the suite was well designed, and sized well, but it was quite pricey considering that we did not get all of the perks promised to suite guests on this cruise. We were also showered with gifts every evening. Beach bags, Beach towels, snacks, cruise in review DVD's and much more. Unfortunately, we did not get 1 item for everyone. Some nights we did, other nights we didn't. Our cabin steward said that he could only give us what he had assigned for us, but there was no consistency. The other thing was that they rationed toiletries. If you still had even a small quantity of shower gel left, you would not get a new one unless you asked. Then if you thought that RCCL could not get any cheaper, our cabin steward advised us not to expect a towel critter every evening, and that he was only permitted to give them on certain nights. While we could care less about a towel critter, I cannot believe that these poor cabin stewards have the job of explaining what you won't get because RCCL has cheapened it's product. Oh, and those little chocolates you used to get on your pillow every night...you only get those on certain nights too.
The themed dining room menus and activities we enjoyed so much on our last cruise are now gone. The food quality was decent, but not what it had previously been. We saw our head waiter only once, but we were grateful to have the same waiter, assistant waiter and table for the entire cruise. Breakfast was also just not the same in the dining room. Menus varied, and the food was slow in coming. I guess if you want high quality food you have to pay for it in one of the specialty restaurants.
Lastly, I really think RCCL dropped the ball with the entertainment. The Nelson brothers for an inaugural cruise? They could have done better considering that we paid so much more for this cruise than other cruises. The rates dropped precipitously after the maiden voyage. Sure we could have waited, but we wanted the maiden voyage, and we wanted something special. This cruise was certainly not worth the price paid. The shows were not ready. Come Fly With Me, while excellent, was considered a full dress rehearsal, and was actually stopped in progress for a set reset! This ship has been coming for over two years and they could not have the entertainment fully ready for the true maiden voyage? Oasis of Dreams also had technical problems and the full show was not ready due to the inability of the cast to practice due to the rough seas during the crossing according to Ken the cruise director. Now who in their right mind would expect high divers be able to perform in the North Atlantic in late November. I give these performers credit because no amount of money would make me jump from a 70 foot platform into a moving target. The winds on the back of the ship were horrible due to its size. I hope that someone doesn't get killed doing this show. You can't even play golf without the ball blowing around. They don't use real golf balls anymore, but rather the practice type balls that are greatly affected by wind.
I'll shut up for now even though I have a lot more to say. Having sailed with RCCL so many times, I truly expected something special. If this ship was to set a new standard in cruising it has not, or maybe it has. It would appear that RCCL has cheapened its product and lowered its standards. We had planned to book an Alaska Cruise while onboard, but have chosen to spend our vacation dollars elsewhere. When you start counting towels, toiletries and towel critters something is definitely wrong.
Oh, and by the way we own a decent amount of RCL stock...that didn't make a difference either!
paemtp’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9244
Excellent view from room !, No obstructions. The room was in the middle of both elevator banks, so the long walks were tolerable.

Don't go on this ship if you have problems walking long distances. Most of the crew we spoke with said they walk approx. 4 miles a day.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews