One of the largest ships in the world, Oasis of the Seas makes an impression even before you board; the mega-ship looms above its counterparts. The this-can't-be-a-ship effect continues as you board; lined with eateries, shops selling designer goods and logowear, and Starbucks -- and no outside windows -- the ship's Royal Promenade can feel like a mall, rather than a cruise ship.
And yet, Oasis of the Seas has been enthusiastically embraced as one of Royal Caribbean's most beloved vessels, even more than a decade after its launch. At double occupancy, Oasis sails with 5,606 passengers, but during the busiest seasons there can be nearly 6,700 people onboard. Its onboard attractions are so popular that up to one-third of the passengers never even leave the ship in port.
So what makes Oasis of the Seas a hit for the families and active cruisers who love it? The secret is not only in the ship's neighborhoods -- which divide the vessel into manageable pieces, keep bottlenecks to a minimum and provide a dizzying amount of activities -- but also in Royal Caribbean's ability to evolve Oasis over time, sinking $165 million into the ship in 2019 as part of its Royal Amplification initiative to revitalize older ships.
The Boardwalk boasts two rock climbing walls, a carousel, the AquaTheater, the Ultimate Abyss dry slide and the impressive Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade. The aft deck Pool and Sports Zone has the Perfect storm trio of other water slides, a kids splash park, two FlowRider surf simulators, a basketball court, a mini-golf course, a table tennis area, a teen club and a short zipline. Add in the sheer amount of shows, restaurants and bars, and you'll see that it's impossible to be bored on this ship.
Cruising on a ship this size comes with compromises. If you want to see all the shows and entertainment on offer, you must book online in advance, as the theaters are simply not big enough to hold everyone. Specialty dining reservations should be made in advance, too. If you don't like planning your cruise activities before you board or hate lines, Oasis is probably not a great choice compared to Royal Caribbean's more intimate ships.
Cruisers 12 and over must be fully vaccinated, as outlined by the CDC, in order to sail on Oasis of the Seas. Additionally, a pre-cruise antigen or PCR test will be required of all passengers at least 2 years old.
Although children 2 to 11 are not required to be vaccinated, they must take a PCR test upon arrival at the terminal, facilitated by Royal Caribbean at no charge. On itineraries that run more than five nights, they also will receive a second (antigen) test at the end of the cruise.
Pre-cruise tests should be taken no more than two days before embarkation day for passengers 12 and over, and three days for kids 2 to 11. The test for those 2 to 11 should not be taken on the same day of embarkation, as it can alter the test administered at the terminal.
Kids younger than two do not have to be tested.
• Proof of full vaccination, with FDA- and World Health Organization-authorized vaccines (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson)
• Negative COVID-19 test result
• Arrival time on embarkation day must be selected 30 days in advance, on the Royal App
• Check-in to be completed on Royal App
• Health questionnaire (available on Royal App)
• Masks required at all indoor public spaces and while visiting ports where they are required
• Oasis of the Seas sailing at limited capacity
• Physical distancing enforced throughout ship, with signage
• Spaced out seating in dining, entertainment and activity venues
• Designated areas of main dining room for families with children
Off the Ship
• Fully vaccinated groups may book a shore excursion through the cruise line or independently, or choose to explore off ship freely.
• To explore off the ship, families with unvaccinated children must book a shore tour through Royal Caribbean, except at the line’s private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay.
• For Oasis of the Seas’ calls at Barbados and St. Kitts, all passengers including those who are vaccinated must book
Daytime: Casual, with shorts and tees most common inside the ship and bathing suits and cover-ups on the pool deck.
Evening: On sailings of fewer than seven nights, dress remains casual, though shorts and tanks are not permissible in the main dining room at dinner. On optional formal nights -- now called "smart casual" -- men are asked to wear long pants and collared shirts, and women are expected to dress up a bit. Suits, sport jackets and cocktail dresses are the norm, but there is a tux rental shop onboard.
Not permitted: Bare feet are not allowed at any time in any venue, and tank tops are not permitted in the main dining room or specialty dining venues for dinner. Shorts are discouraged at dinner.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
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Loved the ship activities and crew, food not so much.