Do you like shopping malls? Do you not mind crowds? Do you not minding standing in line? If so, then the Oasis of the Seas might be for you. If not, you might want to look at another vacation venue. Overall, this was a slightly disappointing, average cruise. There were a few likes and several dislikes, but not enough for me to say that it was the worst vacation ever or the best vacation ever. Would I cruise with Royal Caribbean and/or the Oasis again, probably not.
First, let's talk about the embarkation/disembarkation. This was a total mess of disorganized confusion and hordes of people. Both ways. The line getting into the cruise terminal was roughly 1/4 to 1/2 mile total. That was just the line for security. The line for the check-in counter was significantly shorter, but the counter was just a jumble of people with no organization at all. The disembarkation was the worst I had ever been through. The line to get off the boat was easily 600 yards long and moved at a snails pace. Once we got our luggage, the line for customs was 200 yards long, moving even slower than the first.
We had an ocean view cabin on the Oasis. I thought the cabin was a little small, compared to Carnival Vista (our last cruise). It was laid out to maximize space, but it did feel a little cramped at times. The bathroom was small too. Very little counter space at the bathroom sink. The shower was rather small too.
The food on the boat was a high note for the cruise. I thought it was better in taste than what the Carnival Vista offered. We ate at 2 specialty restaurants and ate at the main dining room the rest of the time. We did buffet for lunch and breakfast. I was satisfied with lunch and breakfast on the buffet, but the one night we had dinner there, it left me wanting to pack up and go to the main dining room. I though the dinner buffet left a lot to be desired as far as taste and selection. The main dining room was generally good. It seemed like there was a good variety and the quality was good.
Don't get me started on drink prices. Beer was $9.43 for a 12oz or 16oz depending on the brand. You're probably saying "What?? I read that it was $7.99!). Well, yes, it is $7.99 before they automatically add 18% gratuity. Yeah, they add 18% on to just about everything that you buy. You don't have an option, it just gets done. For the light drinker, it makes drinking very expensive. For the heavy drinker, just by the drink package and spend the whole cruise tanked up...
Entertainment. This is were the Oasis shined and fell flat at the same time. I really enjoyed the shows. I thought the shows were very entertaining, with a wide variety of special effects, dancing, acrobatics and musical talent. On the contrary, the "daytime" entertainment (trivia, contests, etc.) was totally lacking. The entertainment staff just seemed disengaged and uninterested. The cruise director, Dan, was a total disappointment. He wasn't funny, witty or otherwise entertaining. To add to that, he was surprisingly absent most of the cruise. Usually, the cruise director is a daily voice or appearance, but this guy was just not there half of the time.
So, with all that said, this is a "mega" ship. There are 6500 guest on board and you will notice that. Royal Caribbean tries to make it not as noticeable with design features like the neighborhoods, which does work. What doesn't work is their reservation system. That was a total and utter joke. All it was good for is making sure that you are inflexible for your dinner plans. The reservations weren't enforced at any show we went to other than the comedy club (which was wayyyy too small). There are lines of people all over this ship. Be prepared to stand in line and stand in line some more on this ship. The interior of the ship really felt like being at the local shopping mall. The only space that didn't feel like the mall was out on the pool deck, which felt like I was at the local water park. I wasn't a fan, but that is just my personal preference. Some may like the "mall" type environment. I didn't care for it.
Our cabin was OK. Rather small, but laid out to maximize space. The condition is starting to show some age. The bathroom was smaller than it should have been. There was a serious lack of counter space by the sink. The shower was very small too. The TV had almost no shows on, other than the cruise line shows (shopping, bridge info, a bad "James Bond" spy parody safety film, etc.). Bed was comfy. Our room steward was OK. He kept the room clean and made up, but we only saw him a few times. We only got one towel animal on the whole cruise...
I enjoy St. Maarten. This was our second trip here and this one was as good as the last. This is the place to buy whatever you want. Jewelry is a good by here, as well as booze. This is a great place to get another free beer while your wife bankrupts you buying diamonds that you cant afford! I recommend visiting Juggies for their $2.99-2 beers and Cuban cigar special. The local guava berry liquor is good too.
Go buy a diamond. Or get a free beer while you wife buys a diamond that you cant afford. Least you get a free beer.