I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy ... Read More
I recently sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time. I've been sailing with Carnival for the past ten years because of the price point. However, since Carnival made wholesale changes (Cruise 2.0), I wasn't very happy with either the food or the entertainment. Also, it seemed that other cruise lines were way ahead of the game when it came to Ships and what was on them, even though Carnival was coming out with some larger ships.
The Oasis of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. The seven different neighborhoods were fun. Central Park was amazing. My stateroom was near Central Park and I enjoyed walking through it to get to the back of the ship and looking at the thousands of plants. Above the park there are balcony staterooms. It hard to believe you're on a ship in the middle of the ocean when you walk through central park.
Compared with Carnival, Royal Caribbean has a much more international, more upscale group of guests. With high diving shows, Cirque de Soleil type shows and ice shows, RCCL's entertainment is far superior to Carnival. The food was also superior, but not by that much.
RCCL's onboarding process is a breeze. A few days before sailing, I got an automated phone call requesting that I get to the port at 2:45pm, however since I was staying at a hotel and had to check out early, I got to the port at around noon and was on-boarded immediately. On Oasis, you board directly onto the Promenade deck, which is busy with tables set up on each side where the crew sells drink packages, dining packages, etc. There is a Starbucks toward the front of the ship on the Promenade deck, which I really appreciated. My stateroom was ready at 1pm.
The My Time dining was a complete disaster and I don't believe they offer it on the Oasis any longer. Although I had reservations, several nights I had to wait quite a while and the maître 'ds were rude for the most part. I was ignored on several occasions while waiting for a table, skipped over so they could seat families and couples. After that, they kept calling out in loud voices that I was a "single". I almost cried I was so embarrassed. Being a single traveler, I was hoping for company during dinner, but for some odd reason, they sat me with other people only on the first night. The rest of the voyage, I was seated alone, even if I was at a table for four. The food was good both in the American Icon dining room and in the buffet on 16. I did not try any of the for fee dining, but I recommend making reservations as all venues were well-attended. Be careful when booking reservations for restaurants that say they are complimentary. Izumi and the Mexican restaurant both say they are free when you book them online, but when I arrived, I was told that they were al la carte and the "free" reservations were so they would know how many people would be there. The prices at Izumi were extravagant. I just don't get the for fee dining on a cruise. Shouldn't the quality of the food be the same across all venues, since you are paying for it? There are plenty of places to get great free food on Oasis, including Central Park, where you can beat the crowds at breakfast and dinner. The Solarium Bistro is free for breakfast and lunch, but has a charge of $20 for dinner. You can also grab a bite for breakfast and lunch at the Wipeout Café. I had breakfast there one morning when the Windjammer was full and the selections were sparse and cold. These venues are less crowded than the Windjammer, however. Personally, I loved the Windjammer. It has great ocean and sports zone views.
Any spa is great. However, Carnival has a far superior spa than RCCL. The Thermal Suite on the Oasis is buried deep within the ship on deck 6. It is very dimly lit and small. There are about six heated loungers, two steam rooms and a dry sauna, along with two rain showers. There is a mud bath room and a couple's hot tub. A package for the thermal suite is available for couples which includes a single use of the mud bath and a single use of the hot tub. The area is very small and they only sell thirty spaces for about $99 on the first day of the cruise. Carnival's Thermal suite is huge and faces the ocean. There are many different thermal chambers along with a thalassotherapy pool (a giant mineral hot tub). It's a place you spend all day looking out at the ocean and up at the sky. Otherwise, the gym is great and the rest of the spa is nice. I got sucked in by a very determined aesthetician when I first boarded the ship. She was at a table set up to sell spa services. I went to her for a facial on the second day of the cruise and she was extremely unprofessional, telling me about her love life in detail. When I purchased one of the products she suggested, she kissed me passionately on the mouth. I was so taken aback!! I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing but push her away and act like nothing happened. There was no mistaking that this was something completely inappropriate. I've never experienced such unprofessionalism in all my years of cruising - and I go basically for the spa pampering! It made me so completely uncomfortable. YIKES!! That took a lot from the pleasure of going to the spa. I did not report it because I did not want to be responsible for someone getting fired.
Royal Caribbean does not cater to the single traveler at all. Internet was offered for "$10 per day," but only as a double occupancy package. So it wasn't $70 for the entire week, it was $140 even though I was traveling alone. They wouldn't budge on that and suggested I "share it with someone else." Okay, as soon as I meet them in the dining room where I'm kept isolated. Geez. I wasn't the only person traveling alone, but there weren't many of us. Also, as I said, they didn't sit me with anyone in the dining room so I ate alone while reading. I mentioned that the maître Ds were rude, but I can't say enough about the fantastic quality of the service in the dining rooms. The waiters and waitresses were absolutely wonderful. I've never had such excellent service. On Carnival, you could spend two and 1/2 hours in the dining room the service is so slow. On Oasis, the service is fast, thoughtful and friendly. The wait staff was concerned that I was alone and came to talk to me every night.
I felt a bit adrift (no pun intended) on the Oasis. There was no central meeting place like on Carnival ships; there are large screens on the Boardwalk, but no movies were shown; no Cruise Director talking to me over the intercom like I was part of a huge vacationing family like on Carnival ships. On RCCL, the single traveler is very much on their own and I really felt it! There were informal singles gatherings, but they were held so late that I never made one.
In summary, the Oasis was a beautiful ship and I enjoyed exploring her, the shows were excellent and food were really great, but RCCL really lacks in it's service to single guests and the spa is lacking. The music around the ship wasn't to my taste - it seemed like a ship full of wedding bands. If you're a single cruiser, know that you are completely on your own on RCCL and except for the cabin steward and the people who actually serve the food in the dining rooms, no one cares. Although Carnival is more for "Joe Sixpack," the crew is friendlier and for that matter, so is Joe Sixpack. Not sure I'll be going on another RCCL cruise again. Read Less