Family of 4 (2-14 yr. old teen twin girls, couple early 50's ) living in the Midwest (where it's cold) attempting to recreate the beauty of our previous Spring Break sailing on the Allure. Our overall cruise line history ... Read More
Family of 4 (2-14 yr. old teen twin girls, couple early 50's ) living in the Midwest (where it's cold) attempting to recreate the beauty of our previous Spring Break sailing on the Allure. Our overall cruise line history includes Celebrity, NCL and other RC ships. I have also cruised on Princess and enjoyed it. Trying to figure out if I can be a RC loyalist, but I'm not there yet. The one thing we look forward to is an active cruise.
I will start by saying that we had a great vacation experience. Overall the ship offers something for everyone. To have the best experience it is recommended to know what you want to enjoy because there is a lot to pick from and you can easily end up bored, because you didn't make decisions. It has unique art throughout and the ship is very nice and well maintained. Although it's a large ship it didn't feel overly crowded, but there are a lot of folks contained on the ship. The highlights of the trip include; Embarkation, entertainment, MDR for dinner (scheduled My Time Dining), cabin and shore excursions. All of those items get a 10+. Highlights include:
Embarkation\Disembarkation: 10 minute embarkation process, no counters. I would absolutely encourage pre-check in online. If a picture is needed they take it with an I-Pad before you proceed to the ship. Disembarking was typical and the port area gets rather congested. I would recommended early or late disembarkation. The exit through customs is done by facial recognition which seemed to make this faster.
Cabin: We had 2 adjacent Balcony cabins (4D) the room offers 2 closets and ample storage space. If you are particular about bed location, be sure to ask as some beds are against the sliding glass doors and some are closer to entry way. Also the lights are controlled by having your key card in the reader. The décor is modern and the room is fairly typical. TV is not great. Movies cost over 10.00...for those times you just want to lounge...
Entertainment: All shows were exceptional. My kid had to explain HIRO to me...My favorites were Hairspray, Ice Skate 2.0 and Flight. I was only able to join one comedy show in the large theater and one of the comedians was excellent. The one thing I found annoying was the saving of large numbers of seats. Although they have a rule against it, it was often done and annoying. I recommend scheduling in advance, and if not being in line early for those things you didn't schedule. Pay attention to the Cruise COMPASS on your TV or in the hallways as things are added that you may miss if you just look at the printed Cruise Compass delivered to your room. All of the musical acts performing in different venues were great. The one thing I wish was better is that the pool band was hidden in an alcove between the pools so you could hear the music but not really experience vibing with the band.
Ship: With this being a fairly new ship, it is in great condition and is maintained well. The bathrooms offer the no touch entry and exit and the restaurants offer sinks to wash your hands vs. just using hand sanitizer. The art throughout is unique and nice. The main promenade is well thought out and identical to other Oasis ships. I tried to understand what was exactly different. The casino has a smoker and non smoker side, but no real separator if that is your concern. I did witness staff removing items from those pool chair savers after prolonged time periods. As with every ship, on sea days with good weather get to the pool before 9 for a good spot. I would want other outside venues other than on the running track floor, the Promenade and the pool deck. The ship celebrated their 1 year anniversary during the sailing. Anniversary lanyards and magnets were provided along with a picture of the crew and had special events along with cake and different foods offered.
Now to the opportunities. First off the ship didn't have that fun\happy vibe... lots of people were moving here and there but it more or less seemed like a dead hotel on the water. It was eerily quiet...no laughter buzz... The staff seemed tired, and although responded to requests were not friendly. Everyone seemed as if they were following the script to get the 10 for the post survey review. You rarely saw staff members smiling, or if you passed a staff member in the hallway they didn't greet you or even look you in the eye. This was common. We had a situation where the Bionic Bar didn't quite work as anticipated and the attendant spoke to us as if we were stupid. Annoying.....
The food in the buffet was terrible, cold in some instances and very rarely different. While I may not prefer buffets I have not had an issue finding something I could enjoy. I stayed away. The Mexican spot, El Loco Fresh was a nice change and we ate there frequently. Typically we enjoy dining in the MDR for breakfast and lunch as well as dinner, but the breakfast offered buffet and a la carte and the a la carte was the buffet food for the most part. I am accustomed to having a special offering for a la carte and that was not present. One nice thing about the MDR is that they make omelets made to order. Dinner, however was a highlight and we thoroughly enjoyed the service and food. We had 2 Specialty dinners, Hibachi and Wonderland. Hibachi was great due to the chef and Wonderland was different. We enjoyed the food and the experience, but I can cross it off the list and not go back again. Room service and continental breakfast were lacking. The coffee tasted like mud, and I would ask for extra cream and always get 5 creamers...so I stopped ordering. There is an additional charge for room service and I would say only pay it if you absolutely need to something delivered to you personally and cannot or choose not to get up and go to various eateries...
Service: Our room cabin Jeremiah was great and attentive and proactive without being in the way. In some of the specialty shops we were not acknowledged so we walked out...the guest services area on the last night of the cruise had their lights off. This was annoying because of course many people were attempting to settle a bill and could not see..also a non-welcoming thing to do, understanding they are 24/7. We had drink packages and bar service was good.
Excursions: We had 2, one on St. Marten and one in Nassau. I swore I would never get off the ship in Nassau again, but we were whisked off to a private island and the experience was magnificent. The only downside was that the ports were busy due to Spring Break and you spent a lot of time waiting around, congregating.
Spa and Fitness: My husband booked a massage and was hoping that he could use the amenities. He thoroughly enjoyed the service, but they whisked him off so quickly he didn't get to see the amenities. Typically, I would book access or get a Spa room, but this one is not open to the sun so what's the point. The running track is on a lower deck where the gym can be accessed.
The teens took advantage of the rock climbing wall, mini golf, shuffle board, ping pong, flow-riders etc. video arcade, water and dry slides. They tried ice skating and said the rink was not groomed making it difficult to skate. Couldn't get into Laser Tag because it conflicted with other planned events. We did the Sushi making class and enjoyed it.
Overall, it was another RC experience under our belts. Unless some really great deal comes along I would not sail on this particular ship again. But I'm still partial to RC for the family with NCL running a close tie...Food and service are the tie-breakers on the next ship choice. Read Less