We chose this cruise for several reasons: (1) It was 'bout the only week we could go this Spring, (2) We'd never been on an Oasis-class ship before and wanted to try it on for size, and (3) It had a couple of ports we'd not been to before -- Labadee (RCL's private island) and Falmouth, Jamaica.
It was easy. We arrived about 11:30am and there was a crowd, but it went smoothly. Our bags were taken at the shuttle, we then waited in a long but moving line for security, and then were pointed to our check-in lane, which was quick. It took about 20 minutes from the time we walked into the terminal.
Entry was in the middle of Deck 5, the shopping promenade. Sorrento's pizza place was at the entrance and a lot of folks stopped to dine there. But this day, we made our way to the Windjammer buffett on Deck 16 for lunch. More on that in the Food section below.
We choose an Inside Balcony overlooking the Boardwalk as it was relatively inexpensive and came with some nice perks, like a free soda package for two and a free meal at Johnny Rockets. We liked our cabin. It was larger than we'd experienced on older ships and the bed was actually comfortable (not a cushioned-cot like on some others. Also, the couch was full-sized, not a two-person love-seat, and the TV a nice size.
However, in hindsight, an inside balcony overlooking Central Park would'a been nicer. We'd read that the air there gets stale, but when we visited Central Park (our cabin was on the same deck), we always found the air to be fresh. To get more of an at-sea sensation, an outside cabin would be necessary.
For breakfast and lunch, the Windjammer had a decent variety of food well presented, with eggs cooked to order at breakfast and a carving station at lunch. We did not try it for dinner, but it would likely be similar. Despite being jammed with peep, there were tables to be had and an active cleaning crew. On days with very high demand, there was a short line at the door and someone to show you to an empty table.
Mostly we ate dinner in the main dining room (my time) and the food there was generally good. But there were a few misses: Tough steak (save that for Chops Grille) and the seafood linguine should be avoided (chalky pasta, cold seafood * watery sauce). The lobster (Day 5) was yummy and the deserts were excellent.
Johnny Rockets was mediocre, both for the free breakfast and for lunch (think McDonalds), although I liked the onion rings.. We thought the pizza at Sorrento's was actually good. We also went to Chops Grille (got a voucher for a freebie) and were greatly impressed. The steak was very tender. The bernaise sauce was great, but the wine sauce tasted like enhanced A1. From now on, we'll include it in our plans.
Entertainment & Activities:
The quality of the entertainment was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed "Frozen" (ice skating), "Come Fly" (acrobatics), "Dreams" (aquatics), "Cats" (broadway musical), the headliner rock band, and their comedians. Being of a certain age, we did not do _any_ activities, but from what we could see, the flow-riders, golf, zip line, etc., were all in fine condition.
Ports of Call:
Labadee, their private island was fun. There was some confusion with the tram to Columbus Cove (no ferry that day), as we should'a taken the "small" tram which goes over sand, resulting in a little walk. We tipped the fellow who set up our lounge chairs $10. The lunch-spot was right behind us. In Jamaica, we did the little-Appleton Rum tour and enjoyed that, but thought it overpriced. In Cozumel, we'd done the West-side beaches 3x already, so choose to do the Mayan ruins and the rougher East-side beach tour, which was different, and also fun.
Level of Service:
Excellent at all venues. Our cabin steward was particularly attentive and got an extra tip. One improvement to suggest: For reserved seats, it'd be better to rope off rows than have someone shoo people away.
Surprisingly fast and efficient. Breakfast the Windjammer at 8:30am, and as we descend to our waiting lounge at 9am, our bag #25 is called. The longest wait was for our shuttle bus.
I was apprehensive about sailing on such a large ship, and ended up with mixed feelings. RCCL does a really good job of providing a largely enjoyable experience, and yet, the mass of humanity and size detracts from the notion that you're actually "at sea." Still, I'd do it all again for the entertainment and comfort value, but not where I want my experience to be more personal and my attention to be more seaward.
Security line was long and slow, but otherwise, embarkation was very efficient and quick. I estimate about 20 minutes from entry into terminal to boarding the ship.
They could do a better job of explaining that the trams to Columbus Cove are different than the trams to the other stops. But otherside, very relaxing, and the food on the island was tasty and a nice touch.
This was a fun-way to kill a few hours since we didn't was to do Dun River Falls again or the other active tours. This one does _not_ go to the actual Appleton Estate, but rather a small lot where there's a building in which Appleton rums are sampled, explained and sold. Then there's a limited local lunch of jerked pork or chicken and rice w-beans. There is a beach option which is not in the description. It was overpriced (like many cruise excursions), but a fun way to kill a few hours.View All 10 Appleton Rum Estate Reviews
We'd done the West-side beaches (Chank... & Nachi) before, and so wanted something different. This offered both the Mayan ruins and a beach on the rougher East side of the island. Our guide was very knowledgeable and thorough. We enjoed lunch at the beach-side restaurant they took us to, but felt we should'a been told is was cash only ahead of time. Fortunately, we had enuff and the meal was excellent.View All 69 Mayan Village and Beach Reviews