We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas on June 6th. We booked 2 cabins side by side - 1 for my wife and I and another for my 9 year old son and my mother. We chose a Central Park balcony cabin mainly because of the price. We would have loved ... Read More
We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas on June 6th. We booked 2 cabins side by side - 1 for my wife and I and another for my 9 year old son and my mother. We chose a Central Park balcony cabin mainly because of the price. We would have loved an ocean balcony, but the price difference was too great to warrant the extra cost. Embarkation was very smooth. We arrived at the port at about 11:45 am. We were on the ship by 12:30. I have read many of the reviews before we left and most were helpful. Many of the negative reviews, however, were unfounded. Our ship was full to capacity - about 6700 passengers, roughly 2000 of which were children. As many people said, the ship did not feel crowded most of the time. We have been on several Carnival ships including the newest ones and also the Grand Princess. My review will focus on what I experienced and what Royal Caribbean can do better.
Pre-cruise: We stayed at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The hotel is very nice and the pool area is outstanding. But if you are a non-smoker, this hotel is a no-go at any rate. We had a non-smoking room which was fine, but as you step off the elevator to go anywhere, the smoke is overwhelming.
As I said earlier, we boarded at about 12:30. The check-in process was very easy and well organized. We stopped for a snack and coffee at the Cafe Promenade while we waited for our rooms to open. They opened at about 1:00. The room was very nice. There was a good sofa and table, a good bed and a decent sized balcony. There was also a nice vanity with 3 outlets. The bathroom was adequate but a little cramped. Plenty of storage for a 7 night cruise. The only outlet in the bathroom was for a shaver. Shower was also good but a little small. We had 2 cabins side by side and 2 different attendants. Levi was ours and I do not know the name of the other one. Both were excellent!!!!!!! Thank you Levi!
The layout of the ship is ingenious. This is a true floating resort that almost never felt like it was floating. There was no feeling of motion even in the rain and rough seas except for about 2 to 3 hours on day 6, and even then it was minimal. If you are reading this review, then you probably are already aware the the ship is broken down by neighborhoods. They each serve a unique purpose and make the ship seem more intimate than it really is. The top decks are the sports and pool zones. There is an adult only Solarium with a bistro (anyone can dine - free at lunch on sea days and a $20.00 cover charge at dinner - Less 25% because my mother is platinum). We ate lunch there 3 times and it was outstanding lite fare - awesome miso soup, fruits, salads, vegetables, fish, etc. We did have dinner the final night at the strong suggestion of one of the waiters and I wish I could mention his name and thank him as it was by far the most relaxing and delicious meal of the cruise. More of that later. There are 3 large pools, a great kids zone with a glass whirlpool (spin and cool, not a hot tub). There was a large wading pool in the Solarium. There were several hot tubs on the ship. The ones that look over the ship were fantastic and there were maybe 6 to 8 more scattered over the ship. There was a full sized basketball court used for basketball obviously, and also for zumba classed in the am, childrens activities in the evening, etc. There were several ping pong courts, but it was difficult to play with all the mashed up balls. The paddles were good so if you want to play, bring your own balls. There were the flowriders and the zip line and mini golf on the deck as well. We used the pools quite a bit. The weather was perfect, the ship was full to capacity and there were many free chairs available on all the pools all of the time. There were both salt water and fresh water pools. The sports pool was set up for laps at times and water vollyball at other times of the day. The froyo stand was popular throughout the day. But unlike Carnival, they close all machines down by 6:00 pm. Carnival is 24 hours. Also, there is a popcorn machine that they charge $2.00 for a bag which is free on Carnival.
The Adventure Ocean Kids Zone was below on deck 14. There is also a card and game room on the other end. My 9 year old loved the "camp". He loved playing with the other kids and made many friends. I did make a comment to the staff one day when I dropped him off that the games they were playing seemed a little rough. When I went to check on him a few hours later, he was being comforted by the staff as he got hit in the mouth and hand with a ball. SOOOOOO, we got to visit deck 2 - the medical center. Pretty good care there. Much better than expected. I did not care much for the comment from the Ocean staff that this will make him stronger. Anyway, he has a bad strain, possible hairline fracture in his pinky finger that we will deal with this summer. The staff will take the kids to dinner if they want to the Windjammer buffet, but is the closed down side with a very small selection of pizza, mac and cheese and french fries. We did not realize that and had to start feeding him then dropping him off after dinner.
Dining: The service was awesome wherever we went. The staff was over the top helpful and polite. They said yes to any request we had with a genuine smile. We ate dinner at the American Icon Grill (deck 3) - my time dining with reservations for 5 nights, the Windjammer buffet one night and the Solarium Bistro one night. All was good. The food was between good and great everywhere. Not unbelievable, but never bad. We had the same server 4 times at dinner (I do not recall his name - from India) and he was fantastic. We had breakfast in the room mostly. The breakfast foods are not the best. The breads are great, though. Eggs and bacon not great unless you go to Wipe Out Cafe for breakfast (made to order eggs). But is was too noisy to eat there as they were doing Zoomba and the music was very loud where we sat. You could get a peaceful breakfast at Johnny Rockets or the dining rooms also. I also liked Cafe Promenade as they had muffins and sweet bread for breakfast. Anyway, there is more to eat than you can possibly eat and everyone can find something they like at any time. Using anytime dining I did not expect great service. I got SUPERIOR service there, in the Bistro (free luches), the Windjammer (yes, the buffet), and everywhere else we ate.
Entertainment: FANTASTIC ACCROSS THE BOARD! Cats, not my favorite show and a little long for me at 3 hours, but great production quality. Frozen in Time Ice Show was excellent, The Oasis of My Dreams show at the Aqua Theatre was unbelievable. Earl Turner was incredible (the headliner show), saw a great Jazz quartet 3 nights (Simon?) and loved it. The entertainment was over the top everywhere always. We need to take another cruise just so we can see the rest of the shows and do all the activities we missed!
Ports: We went to Labadie, Haiti and loved it. It is run by the staff from the ship and the food is from the gallys. The bbq lunch was very good and the fruit was the best of the trip. The beach was spotless and the water was very clear. Plenty of places to lounge in in sun or shade. Next was Falmouth, Jamaica. Just did a little shopping at the pier. Then, finally, Cozumel. Took a cab downtown and shopped and ate lunch. It was an adventure and very hot. Could not wait to get back to the ship.
Disembarkation: Extremely smooth. Not rushed at all. very comfortable waiting areas. very fast through customs. got a cab at the pier with no problems.
My biggest gripe was that some of the fellow passengers were talking down about Carnival and that the lowlifes go on that ship. I do not wish to do a side by side comparison, however, we have been on the Conquest, the Fantasy twice and the Magic. So, new and old, big and small. They have all been good. Not at all "ghetto cruises " as I have been told. Carnival does many things right that Royal Caribbean can learn from and vice versa. I would not hesitate to go on either ship again. Read Less