I’ve just got back from a wonderful seven days on board Oasis Of The Seas. This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean after a stunning first outing in January on Mariner Of the Seas around South East Asia. Followers of my profile on here will recognise my propensity for big reviews, and given that Oasis is joint-largest cruise ship in the world with her sisters Harmony and Allure, another lengthy and exhaustive review seems appropriate. Ive divided it up into headings so if you want to know something specific, you know where to look.
Pull up a chair - this might take a while.
We took an Uber from the Universal Studios area of Orlando to get to the port and paid $150 which is, I understand, a little on the pricy side. The terminal in Port Canaveral is a nice and airy space clearly designed with the Oasis class vessels in mind. We went from kerb to ship’s rail in under forty minutes and half of that was taken up waiting for an all clear from the resident Doctor as we had to answer “Yes” to the question of whether we had visited the Middle East in the last couple of weeks (we live there!). Security was fine, everyone was friendly.
The ship –
The ship is enormous. You watch the YouTube videos and any number of reviews about how big the Oasis Class ladies are but nothing quite prepares you for the epic scale of this vast vessel. To give you a sense of perspective, on our drive from Orlando a scan across the horizon from about 30 miles away outlines the huge Kennedy Space Centre buildings off to the left and nothing else on the horizon save for a skyscraper that dwarfs the Space Centre. Getting closer, there is a Han Solo “that’s no moon…” moment when you realise the hulking mass stark against the blue sky that dominates the horizon isn’t actually a building at all but OATS sat quietly at her berth. You really can see her from miles and miles away, but only notice the 110,000 GT Carnival Magic on the other berth as you drive up to the port. Seventeen decks high, well over a thousand feet long and with no fewer than 26 bars and capacity for well over 6,000 other guests. She is coming up for ten years old soon (which is incredible in itself) and I’d be interested to see what areas the later Harmony and Symphony iterations of the class do differently.
One of the things some people refer to when talking about “the megaships” is how crowded they can seem to get. I didn’t find Oasis to be especially crowded at any point save for when diners were queueing for the MDRs to open and in the Windjammer. She is a very well-designed ship in that regard. The movement and flow of passengers around the ship is well-judged.
Interestingly for a state of the art new vessel of this vast size, you would expect seakeeping to be the best out there but it was not. I found the movement – no real pitching as such but a shivering down her keel mainly – the same as on the much smaller Voyager Class Mariner Of The Seas, but much more pronounced. I also noted some long and gentle rolling which can only have come about by the crew choosing not to use the stabilisers, again unlike Mariner. The rolling was interesting. Anyone who grew up with British Rail and P&O ferries in the English Channel and North Sea (or who worked on them as I did when I was younger) will associate the term “rolling” with something more pronounced and dramatic than what you get on Oasis. Because of her massive size she takes a surprisingly long time to roll the three or four degrees port, level then starboard and back to level, and the movement is not unpleasant. It is more soporific than anything. It would look alarming if you took a time-lapse film and sped it up but in normal time it is barely noticeable. We encountered a couple of days of fives backing a gusty six, then four backing five on the last two sea days which you’d certainly know all about on the ferries I mentioned earlier, but Oasis handled them very well. Even so, I’d like to see how she handles a real storm ten etc out in very deep water – my impression is the seakeeping isn’t in the class of Royal Princess and her ilk and I would imagine Oasis would move a lot more in the same seas.
The James Bond/Mission Impossible RC safety video is downright weird and elicited a lot of scratched heads and puzzled faces amongst those around me during the drill but it gets the point across I suppose. RC clearly take safety very seriously and don’t mess about. I always felt safe and am confident that were something bad to happen, the Oasis crew would be very able to get everyone off quickly. There are a few safety features that make the Oasis boats safer than previous ones – not least the lifeboats that hang from upper decks instead of being recessed into the side of the ship. This means they can be used even if the ship is capsized on her side. There are a lot of bulkhead doors everywhere that can be opened or shut automatically from the Bridge as well as hundreds of cameras dotted round. If there were a fire the crew would be able to contain it very fast. This is a state of the art ship and has all the latest safety gadgets and features to match.
We watched the acrobats do the diving show on the Aquatheatre stern and this was stunning, even in daytime. It is a Cirque de Soleil-esque production that dizzies the eye and is about as good as choreography can get. You don’t know where to look next, there’s always something happening. It is superb. We didn’t see any of the ice shows, live jazz, live flamenco or the massive West End style shows but heard nothing but good feedback from the other guests we spoke to. We did catch the parade down the Royal Promenade which was amazing and looked a lot of fun.
The pizza at the Sorrento’s place off the Promenade was great and a daily addition to our food programme. It is thin base, wood-fired pizza that is crispy at the edges, served piping hot. It got daily rave reviews from my pizza-munching companion.
We didn’t try the snacks at the Café Promenade but the cakes looked delicious.
We didn’t try Johnny Rocket’s either save for one afternoon when I went in to see if they sold rootbeer floats (they do). I was met with a glassy, bored stare. I repeated the question and the guy glanced over at something over my shoulder, shrugged and said “We don’t have. Tomorrow maybe”. So that was that. I didn’t bother going back.
We didn’t get to try the Solarium Bistro but heard very good things about the quality of the food there and I dare say with the view from the tables up there above the bridge it must be a joyous place to eat. There’s a great bar there too and my impression is that many families decamp on sea days to the Solarium and stay there all day. It is a lovely spot.
The icecream and cupcakes place on the Boardwalk was great and I had no issue paying the $2-5 surcharge for a tub of Ben N’ Jerry’s. They seemed to run out quite quickly of certain flavours so if you want Phish Food then go early. The cupcake classes they do in there looked a real blast – wish we’d done one of those, they looked great fun. Maybe one to take the kiddlits to.
The hot dog place wasn’t something I tried but my companion did and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The meat and toppings are of a high standard and so seem to be a carry on from the excellent Hot Dog place on Mariner I tried back when I was eating meat. I loved them then, and they seemed much the same here. See my review of the Windjammer (below) to see why the hot dog place is a top alternative to the buffet for a spot of lunch.
We went into the Coastal Kitchen just after lunch as the door was open and was informed by the rather snooty lady behind the desk that the restaurant was for suite customers only. We showed her our junior suite cards and asked to see a dinner menu (as we are entitled to dine there for dinner as we have booked a junior suite, just not for lunch). She repeated that the Coastal Kitchen lunch was only for suite customers, so I asked her again for a DINNER menu and she just dismissively pointed at a stack of them on the side. Not welcoming, and a little unpleasant to be honest so we didn’t bother going back. I probably wouldn’t have minded her Titanic snootiness had we been “steerage class” ragamuffins seeking refuge from the rats and damp to see how the monied other half live but that wasn’t and isn’t the case and I dare say someone a little more argumentative or uptight than me would have made more of this rather unfortunate exchange than merely a smile and a “have a nice day” as I left.
The Windjammer is one of the areas where past reviewers have noted Oasis falls short and I’d agree with that. I’m not sure on the square footage but I think the buffet area is smaller than on the Voyagers/Freedoms and is a much more sterile and soulless place. It is split across both sides of the ship so actually appears half the size it actually is as you don’t use both sides. As a result it is positively minute. Nowhere near as big or as much choice as on other much smaller vessels. Compounding this, it isn’t actually a very pleasant place to eat a meal, not least because it is so ludicrously busy. It reminds me a little of a Granary motorway service station from the 80s in the UK, if you know what one of those looked like. The décor is so subtle as to be non-existent which is a shame. Meals from such a high-up place on the ship way up there on Deck 16, should be a lovely place to while away a few hours, picking at the buffet and perhaps reading a book and taking in the views (which are fantastic). Instead, during lunch and breakfast times there are constant reminders – over the music - to vacate your table so that others can sit down and eat. The Windjammer is nowhere near big enough to accommodate the massive passenger capacity on the Oasis. It feels frenetic and you feel like you are having to bolt your food down and get out. Not nice. I didn’t have an issue with the food per se. It was more or less the tepid equivalent of the Windjammer fayre on the Mariner cruise but without the Asian dishes, so wasn’t as diverse. As a pesca/veggie I found the selection a bit disappointing and the rolling of the eyes and the tutting when I asked for a veggie burger from the (extremely busy) grill chef was a bit unnecessary. The salads were fresh and yummy, the curries and what fish there was, was nice. I especially enjoyed the veggie burger when it came, I’m pleased to report. I don’t think many people truly enjoy a veggie burger as its a bit like asking someone what their favourite type of lettuce is, but RC’s are very nice. Star of the Windjammer though were the moist little coconut macaroons and oatmeal cookies that the lovely Polish lady was coming round table to table to dish out on the St Thomas day. Absolutely delish! My feeling is that the Windjammer is the way it is because RC want and expect the passengers to eat at the other outlets, and if possible pay extra to do it. It became a last resort for us on this trip.
The Park Café is the top alternative to the Windjammer for me. It is airy, less busy and has some really nice sandwiches and pastries, a great salad station and super coffee. We ate for breakfast there most days and everything we tried was great. Its so much nicer and more chilled out than the Windjammer. Try the ciabatta sandwiches and little pots of potato salad - yummo!
150 Central Park was so good we went back. The food is a delicate patchwork of Michelin-standard plates, all very ala mode in terms of culinary fashion. Everything we ate was magnificent. Seasoning immaculate, bold flavours, clever textures, super slick delivery and picture perfect presentation. Very accomplished dining an in one of the nicest dining rooms I’ve eaten in to boot; just off the Central Park area with its plants and Manhattan ambiance. The little salt selection with the warm bread before the starter is a salty wonder. The lobster gnocchi and black cod were outstanding, and I eat Michelin starred food several times a month. Service the first time was a little rushed due to the lovely Talia being extremely busy but nonetheless effective and timely if not very effuse. Service the second time with Jacob was an absolute delight. He is a fantastically funny and charismatic Romanian chap who was more entertaining than most comedians I’ve paid to see. I laughed so much I had tears in my eyes. I’m grinning as I write this. So funny.
Chops Grille was – predictably – superb. We went once and probably would have gone three times had 150CP not been so good. I reckoned on it being the ultimate test of becoming a non-meat eater and I suspect most reading this will agree with me. The food is excellent. It is slick, polished, atmospheric and as with 150CP, a truly lovely place to eat dinner situated off the greenery and evocative stillness outside. In cooler months I’d suggest the greenhouse verandah area would rank as one of the nicest spots to eat on any ship anywhere. The Dungeness crab cakes are every bit as fine as their legendary reputation suggests, and so is the truffled mushroom potage which is probably the loveliest bowl of soup I’ve ever had, spoon for spoon. The bread is warm and fresh, the welcome is cool and friendly. The wine list is world class. The scallops a very well done delight. The tiger shrimps a massive, meaty wonder. My companion’s aged monster steak (advertised as smaller than the hefty circa-500g that arrived and cooked to precise perfection) received very glowing feedback from someone who knows and enjoys her steak more than most. Side dishes were – as always – superb and the cheesecakes and red velvet cake not a let down which is high praise indeed amongst such excellent savoury cooking. We emerged into the humid night after dinner quite unable to fit another bite in. One of the top cruise meals I’ve ever had. My (fictional!) death row last meal would feature a lot of CG food!
Izumi was very different. If you enjoy the shouty schtick and circus stunt theatre and humour then there is a lot here to love. I wasn’t feeling great that evening so enjoyed it but perhaps less than I wanted to. In hindsight I think maybe we might have done better sitting quietly and picking over the ala carte. I did enjoy the lobster truffle sushi while we waited and it was extremely good. The hibachi session was slick (maybe a little too slick) and noisy (likewise) and very entertaining. The skills on show are very impressive for sure and the rice, veggies and meat/fish that ended up on the plate were very nice. Would I go again? Yes but as a group. I’d certainly love to try the ala carte for a sit down lunch away from the noise and heat of the hibachi.
Sabor was an unexpected joy. I love Mexican food but am wary – as are many I think – of mass produced Tex Mex brands slinging defrosted stodge packed with MSG and ready mix Margaritas in novelty plastic cups. I’ll be honest and say I was expecting this from Sabor but gave it a go anyway and was proven delightfully wrong. The food on offer here, whilst undeniably more “Tex-Mex” than “Mex” is rich, fresh, bold and a really fun way of whiling away the hours. The sweet and sour hot margarita was the perfect accompaniment to fresh guac and lovely warm corn chips that I think they make in-house. The salsa is freshly made and pops with spice and tang. The fish tacos were a massive win. Absolutely delicious. Service was very friendly. I’d go back for sure on my next cruise. The Sabor bar outside on the Boardwalk is a frenetic and high-paced place to drink but the frozen margaritas there were super. Not afraid to say I drank a few too many of those over the course of the week! An amusing (to me) footnote: I asked for some hot sauce, as you do. Our server raised an eyebrow and asked how hot I like it. I’m a chillihead. I adore the burn. The hotter the better - and told him so. He grinned at me and came back five mins later. Not with a bottle of sauce as I expected. Oh no. He’d asked the kitchen to blend me up some of their fresh orange Habaneros with a touch of vinegar, some olive oil and a dusting of salt. I was overjoyed. Then my face melted as I loaded up a corn chip with it. It was absolutely delicious – I LOVE habs. But cor blimey was it hot. The top of my head was sweating. My eyes were running. I got the shakes. I actually dribbled down my chin. I lost the power of lucid speech for a few minutes then got a dreamy wonder of a soaring capsaicin chilli high. Absolutely brilliant!!! If you like chilli get them to make it for you – it’s got to be the hottest all natural non-extract sauce I’ve ever tried and all the more exhilarating for it. Super!
The Main Dining Room was pretty good. Portion sizes were smaller than I was expecting but I think this is because many/most around us were having more than one appetizer, more than one main, and then getting two or three desserts. Food was good but nothing to get crazily over-effuse about. It was enjoyable but again, not a patch on the finer diner elsewhere on the ship. I found a lot of the dishes a little bland but that was nothing a shake of salt or pepper wouldn’t solve. The dining room itself is a stylish and well-appointed space stretched across the three decks but with the same menu. The dining rooms have been changed – they are now the same as the ones on the Quantum Class vessels – Silk (Asian food), American Icon (American classics) and Grande (American / Italian / global / classics). Unlike the offerings of the same name elsewhere on the fleet the menu is the same across all three dining rooms which is a little odd given the branding. Another item of interest for (for some) is the amounts some consume in the MDR. On lobster night we had a party of six adults and one child next to us who consumed thirty six (yes 36) plates of lobster tail, on top of dozens of starters and desserts. Quite astounding, though not abnormal according to our (very very busy) server. Service was acceptable but very rushed and it is clear that even with the specialty dining options, on busy sailings the MDR can get slammed. You don’t feel very special, put it that way.
Wonderland was advertised on board and signposted but didn’t actually exist. Evidently Dazzles and the library (?) are being removed at next refit to make way for it. I’d give it a go, although some of the reviews online – not least the unintentionally amusing one for the Quantum class trip on Malcolm Oliver’s excellent cruise blog – do make me wonder how well such an outlet would do on the mass market bucket & spade Florida cruises. I’m doing Symphony Of The Seas on her maiden voyage out of Barcelona in April 2018 so I will be interested to try it.
By and large superb. Aside from the unfortunate experiences at Johnny Rockets and at the Coastal Kitchen we found it to be very good. Helen from the Next Cruise desk was excellent, as was our wonderful cabin steward whose name eludes me for now but who was the best cabin steward I’ve ever had and a really nice bloke as well. There was a somewhat puzzling encounter on the last night in the MDR where we had been speaking to our server about living in Dubai and apparently he had spent some time there also. We noted that the table next to us had been empty all trip and we asked if the couple that had been allocated the table had been in all trip. Our server (an Indian guy I won’t name here who asked us twice to file a customer report on him saying how good his service had been) merely explained – “Oh. Not seen them. They don’t come. They are Jews.”. What a weird comment. Takes all sorts I guess. Good job I’m not Jewish. On a happier note please read on for my experiences on the drinking side.
We drank at more or less all the 26 places on the ship you can order a drink and so it would be daft to go through them all other than to say we enjoyed every drink we had and in all the places we had them. Oasis is a paradise – an Oasis if you will – for those who enjoy a drink. The English pub, the many deck bars, Schooners, the bars in the entertainment district, the Solarium etc. All great. But it is safe to say our “home” (and by this I mean we spent almost as much time there as in our cabin) was the Champagne Bar. Its name is not well chosen. The CB on Oasis is all about the cocktails. As anyone who reads my reviews will know, I’m a cocktail freak and wannabe mixologist. I love them and derive a huge amount of pleasure from mixed drinks. Let me say this – the awesome foursome at the CB on Oasis are some team. You could make a sitcom about them. Allan, the towering Jamaican is the defining presence – a huge and effortlessly cool man with a wicked sense of humour and his hilarious low key banter with the sparkling Francisco – honestly we laughed so much. Then you have David with his disarming smile and sharkish grin who makes the single finest whiskey sour you or I have ever been lucky enough to try. Last but not least you have The Silent Assassin – Raymon from the Philippines. The cocktails are fantastic and they know it. There’s so much pride in what they do, I really respect that. The standouts (and EVERYTHING is good there) were the strawberry cheesecake Martini which was more dessert than drink, complete with Graham Cracker rim. The similar and equally delectable Key Lime Pie Martini. The lip-smacking Flirtini. The Democrat. The superlative Old Fashioned which will knock your socks off. The wonderful Figs In Space. The artful and artisan Espresso, Cappuccino and Nutella Martinis. The wonderful Sidecar. Honestly the queues by the bar tell you all you need to know – these boys are on fire. The cocktails are world class and brim with originality and panache and stand up very positively against the very top varsity that London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Sydney or indeed Dubai have to offer, trust me on that. The people we met at the bar day after day and the memories we shared from laughing so much – it really made the holiday. Wonderful memories and great times.
After all that booze, we ended up drinking a lot of coffee. They serve Seattle’s Best Coffee in the Promenade Café and then Starbucks in the Promenade for a charge. We had coffee from both and there was little to choose between the two other than to say the Seattle’s Best espresso was much better but that the chilled coffees from Starbucks were really nice. They also do “RC Blend” coffee in the other areas of the ship which I find to be actually quite nice. Good tea was, as you’d expect on a US ship with US pax, tough to find so I’d recommend bringing your own if you don’t like anaemic Liptons and similar.
There are several shops. The shopping is actually pretty good. I almost sprung for a(nother) new Omega in the watch place after a couple too many Whiskey Sours as the prices were very good. So too at Tiffany in the garden and Kate Spade on the Promenade. All nice things, nicely priced.
Fellow Pax –
For this cruise approximately 85% Americans, 10% Canadians. Other 5% mainly Brits and Irish, a few Israelis and almost no other Europeans or Asians. A lot of mobility scooters as well. Many quite unwell passengers who all seemed to be enjoying it which was nice to see. However a lot of mobility scooters were not for the (obviously) sickly or old but for breathlessly, morbidly obese 300lb+ pax who seem to really love cruises in the US. I watched one poor lady who must have been 400 pounds easily, unable to move herself and rely on her husband to move her to her two seats in the Windjammer, trembling and sweating with the exertion once there, only to put away (I counted) four heaping plates of carb-laden buffet food dutifully fetched by hubby. And five – yes 5 - Cokes. Then takeaway doughnuts. I later in the cruise saw the hubby pushing her and her dead scooter down the hallway, looking like he was about to have a coronary himself. I would have offered to help but two of the cabin stewards stepped in to put their backs into it. Quite alarming for those not used to seeing such things. That poor woman, I feel so sorry for her. It must be horrible to be like that. I hope she gets the help she needs.
I keep going on cruises and then not doing any of the activities because I’m too busy enjoying the food and the cocktails. So far be it from me to pass judgment on my fellow passengers! I swore blind I’d do the zipline, the rock climbing wall and the Flowrider and I didn’t manage any of them. Not even so much as a round of mini golf. I regret this, but am confident I’ll be more active and intrepid (and less hungover!) on my upcoming cruises on Ovation and Symphony in the next ten months. Even so, they all seemed very well-patronised and looked a lot of fun. I think if you can’t have fun on an Oasis Class ship then cruising isn’t for you.
I don’t have kids (yet!) but my companion does and will be bringing them on the Symphony cruise we’re doing in April, so we spent some time looking at the kid’s facilities. I must say they looked fantastic. Every little thing is taken care of, everything is thought of. The kids we saw on the ship all seemed to be either coming from or going to the kids clubs, of which there are a surprisingly large number, all aimed at a distinct age group. A lot of the folks we spoke to at the CB bar had barely seen their kids those days as they couldn’t wait to get to the clubs and have fun. That’s fairly high praise I think!
Fitness / Spa –
I did a 6-8km run the first two mornings around the promenade deck which is a really nice thing to do and I very much enjoyed it. I took the day off on day three. I found that such is the colossal size of Oasis that merely taking the stairs everywhere made for some very firm buns and aching calves by day seven. I went to the gym and was impressed at its size and by how much equipment it has. My companion did a pilates class which was very good I’m told. The spin classes sold out very fast too so you have to get in quick. We took a tour round the spa areas on the first day and I wanted to do a steam/sauna session but my companion wasn’t keen. The spa area is spread across a couple of decks and a huge area and encompasses every possible treatment and therapy you can imagine and a load you’ve never even heard of. I found myself nodding and pretending I knew what the woman was on about when we got the tour – it is quite astonishingly comprehensive. The hydro/thalasso areas with steam, salt, dry heat and all sorts – very impressive. No idea what it all does but it is impressive! Its not cheap but it is certainly state of the art. I’d recommend anyone to take the tour on day one. Very cool.
A common criticism of RC and indeed of cruises in general is that you are constantly bombarded with the “buy this buy that can I take your photo” selling. I don’t think the selling is as bad or as intrusive as some make out though the photography was much more in evidence than on Mariner at Christmas. It felt like every time I walked into a room they wanted to take my photo, and every time I got off the ship they wanted to take more photos, then more again when I got on again. I didn’t find it intrusive really, it not a big deal and they are fine with you walking past or politely declining. We managed to largely swerve the photos all week but still ended up buying the photo package and accompanying albums as they were very nice and well-done. Otherwise no selling at all really. You have probably gathered I more than got my money’s worth from the premium drinks package so I’d recommend that, and the speciality dining package was genuinely great value.
Internet / wifi –
Yes the Voom system is expensive. That is no secret. But cor blimey is it fast. Its no exaggeration to say the wifi is better and faster than the one I have in my house. It is lightning fast. I haven’t got the faintest how RC manage to do that at sea using what appears to be the same sort of hardware and comms/sat domes out on deck, but it is a totally different proposition to anything I’ve used on a ship or even in a hotel before. It’s incredible. It’s expensive but is absolutely worth it.
We paid circa $2200 for a junior suite. We paid $405 for the premium booze package for one and not the other, $105 each for the dining and $100-ish for the internet wifi for two devices. Service was $120-ish for the week for the gratuities. All in it was about $3k / GBP2,300 for two which we both agreed was superb value. You really can’t go wrong at that sort of price. I tipped the guys in the CB another $250 at the end of the cruise and matey boy my cabin steward a further $50 but that’s discretionary and they absolutely deserved it. All in all great value.
We did our own thing in Nassau and I have mixed feelings about the place. You have to walk the gauntlet to get out of the terminal area through a quite congested and narrow area with sellers and hawkers yelling at you from both sides. They are sometimes a little forceful and aggressive and those with a more nervous disposition may find it a bit traumatic, especially when you get out and they all crowd in front trying to get you to buy their tour or their item. Nassau itself is a bit dirty and rundown in places as well. The old town area is some way off the picture postcard idyll of the Atlantis beach but does not lack "character" or characters, although at first you do have to go looking for it. The usual cheapo tat shops and such are all there and the pirate tat inside is as hackneyed as you’d expect and not especially cheap. Even so the standout is Pirate Republic which I cannot recommend highly enough. The beers are stunning and I don’t say that lightly. Try their conch fritters if you do no other thing in Nassau.
St Thomas was a lot of fun with good shopping but we didn’t manage to go do the rum tasting which was a shame as it looked fun.
St Maarten we went to Maho Beach on our own and watched the planes for an afternoon. A lot of fun. Very cool and great cocktails too, although I got mega sunburnt.
We also did the airboat and airport trip when we berthed back in Port Canaveral. You’d have to say $79 per head is good value as they drop you off at MCO afterwards, given that we paid $150 to go the other way. The airboat was a huge hit – loved it. So fun. Also got to hold a ‘gator which I loved as well. Really recommended. Would definitely do it again – got to be better than a boring old Uber airport transfer!
Stuff We Loved –
• Warm bread, Normandy butter and the fun designer salts at 150CP. Nicer than it sounds.
• Sitting in CB sipping great cocktails and people watching, especially on formal nights.
• Chilling in the jacuzzis cantilevered out over the side of the ship, sipping a Corona and listening to people enjoying themselves as the sun goes down.
• Central Park. A beautiful space.
• The full Coney Island experience with ice cream and carousel rides on the Boardwalk. Lovely.
• Crab cakes and soup at Chops Grille.
• The cocktails – no two bars on the ship are the same and the cocktail experience is incredibly diverse.
• The acrobat fountain show at the Aquatheatre. Eye-popping.
Stuff We Didn’t Love –
• The Windjammer. Poor overall and I don’t think fit for purpose.
• The Jew comment from our MDR server and the attitude from the servers at Johnny Rockets, Windjammer and Coastal Kitchen. Not nice.
• Nassau (apart from Pirate Republic which was ace)
• The congestion outside the MDRs before seating time. Gets very busy and very warm round there.
• The lack of Asian (Thai, Chinese, Korea, Indian, Malay etc) food on board.
• Old TV and sketchy entertainment system that kept restarting for no reason – needs an update.
• For such a big ship there isn’t much daylight. The Radiances for example have a lot more glass.
Some Suggestions –
We can expect Oasis to receive a lot of TLC at her first big refit which will be coming up shortly I would imagine, which will address a few issues. The cabins will surely get a refresh and bigger TVs with better entertainment systems. Bolder colours and more of an effort on the style front would be good – they aren’t very inspiring right now. Wonderland will be added and so too will the Harmony mods, so perhaps we’ll see Jamie’s Italian, the Abyss slide and the water park additions come on if she can take them. I think the Wipeout Café could be relocated to the stern alongside the needlessly large Wipeout Bar, and so perhaps free up some space that could benefit the Windjammer above. Ditto the small shop there – replace one of the Mast/Pool Bars with the shop as surely you don’t really need four bars there do you? Regarding the Windjammer I think they are probably stuck with it the way it is as the kitchens are in the middle of the U shape so they’ll have to get creative on how to free up some room. Are the deckheads strong enough to take some sort of (stylish) cantilever to bring the deck below the Loft Suites out by ten feet or so? Then move some of the kitchen storage and reefer space to where the Wipeout Café is now with some lifts installed? Maybe move the Windjammer entrances out to right onto the lift foyer so the staircases go right into the seating area? Do you really need two Flowriders? (only one was ever running whenever I went round there) – perhaps use the space for an open garden-style open air cinema area – beanbags, popcorn, mugs of cocoa and a big high def flatscreen? I have a feeling one of those would do well over and above the films they show on the Aquatheatre screen. Maybe give it a twist and make it a silent cinema? Given the increasing popularity of “Indian” (I.e.: Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi, Farsi, Nepalese, Goan, Manchurian, British-Indian, Maldivian and Afghan as well as Indian) food in the US and obviously in Europe, a fine-dining/specialty dining option similar to the superb Athol Kocchar one on P&O I think would do very well on the bigger RC ships. Bistro style dishes, really fine ingredients, really well-curated wine list and bold, contemporary design. I think it would do very well where Vintages is now if there is space. Vintages could be easily relocated to a lower deck. I’d approach Hard Rock Café to see if they had any interest in a F&B/retail tie-up on Oasis or Project Icon vessels that might be refitted to Oasis if it does well (and I think it would). Perhaps also latch onto the popularity of the food truck / popup culture by putting in a mini foodtruck on the Promenade or Boardwalk, and maybe on the upper deck near the pool etc if weight allows, that does something different every day. Tacos one day, gyros/shawarma another, sloppy Joes, falafel, chimichangas, funky liquid nitrogen icecream and lollies, lobster rolls and dynamite shrimp etc. Don’t advertise it until the day so it encourages people to go up and check out what’s on offer etc.
A great cruise with a few small things that didn't spoil it (although i dare say if i was Jewish i may think differently). I'd readily go back to cruise on Oasis again and am very much looking forward to trying her sister Symphony in April next year. You know what youre going to get - unbeatable value, amazing ship and wonderful food etc. Oasis delivers in every respect and in a big way, as you might expect from a vessel as big as her. We had a big big time. Read Less