1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Loved the ports of call on itinerary. Warm and beautiful despite being January. Unfortunately this sailing was the one following the Norovirus outbreak...so we didn't have the usual cruise experience. People on their first cruise ... Read More
Loved the ports of call on itinerary. Warm and beautiful despite being January. Unfortunately this sailing was the one following the Norovirus outbreak...so we didn't have the usual cruise experience. People on their first cruise didn't know any different so it may have not been an issue for them. Until day 6 the staff had to serve at every buffet, and drink station, no salt and pepper shakers ( either to-go packets or they shook it for you), etc...it just kind of took away from the experience. Wishy Washy was everywhere and usually not optional. Staff was constantly wiping down handles, rails, walls, buttons, you name it... We have agreed the food in the buffet areas was better on the Independence of the Seas. However, we were pleased with the Main Dining room and rather than stuff ourselves with somewhat flavorless food throughout the day we ordered several starters, entrees and desserts or multiples of each! No complaints there! We chose to see Oasis of Dreams, Frozen In Time, Come Fly With Me and the headliner show ( Acapella group ReVoiced). All wereamazing! We opted out of Cats. Make sure you reserve your tickets in advance (usually soon after final payment is due). Additionally, make sure you also arrive at least 20 min before showtime just to get a seat! Every show was crowded. My daughter ( age 9) absolutely loved kids club and many times preferred going there over any other activity. It also made it easy to meet up with kids at the pool that she already knew. Disembarking was a complete mess...like it was their first time! We were supposed to disembark at 8:45. We ended up skipping breakfast and making it to the the designated floor before 8...only because the entire deck was full already! Lines were going everywhere and nobody knew where to go. Finally they made announcements and it was a mad dash...and was after 9 before we made it to customs. We had a great time and made the most of everything. QWe are already planning on another Royal Caribbean Cruise! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise based on the variety of activities. We traveled with our adult children, their spouses, grandchildren, and our siblings. We usually cruise with Carnival, but wanted to try the big ship experience. We booked our ... Read More
We chose this cruise based on the variety of activities. We traveled with our adult children, their spouses, grandchildren, and our siblings. We usually cruise with Carnival, but wanted to try the big ship experience. We booked our cruise through the Royal Caribbean website. The site leaves a lot to be desired, our account frequently locked and it was hard to navigate. Embarkation: We arrived at the port around 1:00 pm and were able to walk right in the ship without a wait. This was were the problems started. We did not receive our luggage until 9:00 pm. We received no help from our cabin steward who referred us to security. This meant that we spent our first dinner and show (cats) looking for our luggage. It mysteriously appeared at 9:00 with no explanation. Our cabin and also other members in our group arrived to dirty cabins. The sink in our bathroom backed up every time we used it. The door wall and mirrors were dirty when we arrived and looked the same when we left. There was mold in the track of the shower doors. They were stingy with towels and soap. Don't count on a bathrobe or liquid shower soap on this ship. We didn't even know they put towel animals on the bed until one of our family members mentioned they got one the last day. We booked a balcony room. The room was poorly laid out with a limited amount of closet and room storage. We brought additional clothes because of the lack of laundry facilities (Carnival has washers and dryers). You can send your laundry out for $37.50 for a small bag;. I would be afraid I wouldn't get it back. This ship experienced a Norovirus outbreak the previous week and put "level 3" precautions in place. The staff served all the food at buffets, coffee stations, pop machines, even salt and pepper for your food. I am fine with it, except that it led to huge lines for everything. I feel that additional staff should have been added to compensate for the precautions. The staff was not friendly and probably over stressed about the situation. The entertainment was the only positive of the trip. We took advantage of all the entertainment options and saw all the shows. We enjoyed the Central Park and Solarium areas. Disembarkation: We stood in line for an hour as we snaked through a line of at least a thousand people. We have always used the self serve option, taken our bags from our room and walked off the ship with out an issue. After we were in line for a half hour they decided to open up another exit. We were two ours late getting into port and with the wait to get off, we missed our airport shuttle and nearly our flight. Both my husband and brother got sick while we were on board. We are not sure if it was food poisoning, stomach bug, or a virus. We will not travel Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I don't usually write reviews, but I feel I have the duty to do so as a public service announcement before you spend your hard earned money and coveted vacation time. We are a family of four with teenaged children. We are both ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews, but I feel I have the duty to do so as a public service announcement before you spend your hard earned money and coveted vacation time. We are a family of four with teenaged children. We are both healthcare professionals and have extensively travelled all over the world. This was our 7th cruise, third with RCCL. Here is the review of the ill-fated Jan 6th cruise: First impression of the ship: It was dirty. This being our 7th cruise- first thing my children noticed was that nobody asked us to sanitize our hands entering the ship. A few steps in the ship, the glass counter on the watch display case in the center of the ship had so many fingerprints on- it looked like it hadn't been cleaned for days. I cannot remember seeing a display case with so many fingerprints anytime and anywhere in my life. In the room, the carpet was dirty and under the bed was a thick layer of dust. The bedding had an odour that wasn’t from a detergent. We both felt it smelt like a man who slept in the bed before. The sheets were obviously fresh, so we think it could have been coming from the duvet. Dining: Windjammer: Again the first few days, sanitary conditions lacking. Typical cruise ship cafeteria style with limited opening hours. Only went there for breakfasts and 2 lunches. Windjammer supposedly closes at 11 for breakfast. At 10:48, the supervisor comes around and barks aggressively “interrupt, interrupt, interrupt” over my head- as the guy on the other side of the counter was handing over a slice of toast to me. The guys then dutifully and frantically start putting away the trays and literally pulling the food right from under your hand. Similarly, they start closing the sliding doors to the cafeteria as though a vault is closing. Dining hall: the food served in the main dining hall in the evening is at best mediocre. Essentially the same menu is served every night with the exception of the lobster night. I think this is done to encourage people to try the specialty restaurants, as they get sick of getting the same awful food night after night. Unfortunately, RCCL doesn’t realize people will stop coming to your cruises after you push the boundaries of mediocre too far. Dear RCCL: If we paid thousands of dollars on the flight, hotels, transfers, and cruise ship, we can afford a slice of bread to feed ourselves. We are not a charity case where you think you can pull away a slice of bread at 10:48! And your cafeteria operation is not space shuttle take off- where you must “interrupt” with such panic due to a malfunction! Furthermore, your crappy cafeteria food is not a precious vault where you have to close it with such vengeance to passengers who paid pretty penny for this vacation! It is offensive. Labadee, the first and only port the ship stopped at: The private RCCL beach property---We rented a pricy cabana at the far end of the property, which was nice. The food is served in an open pergola- some chicken was BBQ’d on site, and some food was brought in from the ship. The major problem with this port, however, was the flies. There were literally thousands of flies on the food as it was being served. There is an open washroom area next to the food pergola and the flies are in both places. In all our extensive travels all over the world, I do not recall ever seeing this many flies on food being served ever! Unfortunately there is no other area to eat on this private property and so you either eat the food with flies or starve your children all day or you leave your pricy cabana and return to the ship. Dear RCCL: Do you know that flies are a major vector of infection spread? And do you know having flies that circulate between the toilets and the eating area next to it can spread gastrointestinal bugs and more? If you do, why do you keep serving the only food available under these conditions? If you can’t run a food-safe operation in Labadee, why don’t you allow people to take pre-packaged food off the ship instead? Or serve people brown-bagged lunch from the ship? The Norovirus outbreak: Needless to say, and not to our surprise, the next day after Labadee, we find a young child vomiting in the staircase as we were going up for breakfast. Suddenly, the staff was insisting on hand sanitizers. The communication was limited. The information given to us was not factual. The number of guests on board on the first letter sent to our stateroom was quoted as 9000 (it said 2% of 9000 people on board are sick)- However, it is my understanding the ship cannot have 9000 passengers even at full capacity. We were told on embarkation the cruise was not full and there were around 5400 on board. Their last announcement said 480 passengers were sick- but on the last day, judging from the sheer number of yellow stickers on quarantined rooms, I hardly doubt the reported number of 480 passengers was correct! The absolute worse: The ship crew was sent into absolute frenzy with RCCL version of “cleaning” which was beyond ridicules and, as a health care professional, I know it is ineffective. An army of workers with a bucket of dirty water and some kind of cleaning solution was sent around the ship to “clean” every surface. However, this crew obviously had no training on cleaning essentials. Watching the dirty water in the buckets being indiscriminately smudged on the rails, garbage cans, tables, mirror in the elevator, walls was truly repulsive. Water was dripping from the rails everywhere. One guy was assigned to our hallway to wipe all our stateroom handles- so he walked on the hallway with his rag and bucket every five minutes just pouring the dirty water and his dirty rag from one end of the hallway to next--- essentially transferring all the germ from one stateroom to next. Our next-door staterooms both had the virus- so they basically transferred their gems on their handle to our handle! Every time we needed to get in the room, the door handle was dripping wet with sticky fluid (which is the perfect medium for transferring infections). All the railing on the ship were sticky so bad that my elbow got stuck when I inadvertently leaned on one on the 15th floor. The garbage can tops, the railing, and the elevator buttons were cleaned with same rag and water. And then the same rag was used on the walls and mirrors of the elevators! This is how NOT to clean! The army of fluorescent yellow vest wearing crew with a dirty bucket and rag on hand without a clue or care as to what they were doing- in addition to another army pushing hand sanitizers every few seconds- gave an impression of 1- nobody knew what they were doing 2- we were institutionalized/ under captivity. Dear RCCL: I urge you to ask experts in infection control to teach you how to clean properly. Better yet, at no cost to you, watch a YouTube video on proper cleaning techniques and teach your crew. Have you ever been to a hospital where water was dripping from every surface? Does that even seem logical way of cleaning? Your so-called cleaning was deplorable, unprofessional, ineffective and contributed to your outbreak! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
the staff of the oasis of the seas done so well when the virus was on the ship.They treated everyone so well we missed 2 ports of call as wasn't allowed off the ship as for the virus which couldlnt be helped. ... Read More
the staff of the oasis of the seas done so well when the virus was on the ship.They treated everyone so well we missed 2 ports of call as wasn't allowed off the ship as for the virus which couldlnt be helped. the staff were amazing I will still sail with royal carribean well done all entertainment was great ;cabin was brilliant,dining was1st class food couldn't fault it at all. I really enjoyed the cruise my daughter enjoyed herself aswell this was her 4th cruise as it was mine too. hoping to cruise again next year where too we havnt decided .as ive said once well done royal carribean for all you done . all drinks like cocktails I really enjoyed the staff are very good making them.we stopped at Labbadee which was nice port of call plenty to do the ship staff done food for all the people sailing which was 10 out of 10 very impressed looked after us all very well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on one of RCI’s “Big Ones” and we only wanted three ports so we would have more time at sea to relax. The ship is awesome. Very well laid out. Although there were over 6,000 ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to sail on one of RCI’s “Big Ones” and we only wanted three ports so we would have more time at sea to relax. The ship is awesome. Very well laid out. Although there were over 6,000 passengers we never felt crowded. We chose the dining that allowed us to eat at our discretion rather than choosing to eat at the same time and table every night. Our food and service were exceptional! I’ve been on almost 30 cruises and this ship nailed it in the dining/service category! We made reservations before we boarded and that saved us a lot of time waiting in line. We liked the Solarium area to relax and use the hot tub. Most of the time we could find two chairs there with no problem. It’s quiet and relaxing. Also, there is a Buffet there that doesn’t get too busy so that was very convenient. We went to two shows: “Come Fly With Me” and the Aqua show. Both were great. The comedy show was also great so all the shows we went to were well worth our time. We’re not “Cats” fans so did not go to that. We chose the Wave Runner excursion in Labadee and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our guide spent 15 minutes going through a safety video and making sure everyone was on board with the rules. On the water we had a blast!! I would highly recommend this tour. Labadee is very well laid out and has many different areas to spend your day in. The buffet on the beach was typical (burgers, dogs, ribs, chicken) but it was all good. Our cabin (#11278) was a standard balcony cabin. Arlene was our attendant and she was super!! Very friendly and efficient. FYI there are no outlets by the bed to charge your phone, as a matter of fact there was only one outlet in the cabin (not including the bathroom) and it was located on the desk. It was laid out fine and there is ample space If you use all the cabinets. Tyne only issue was the hair dryer was very weak. Of course, the cruise was badly affected when 500 people contracted the noroviris. We knew something was up when we went to the Windjammer for breakfast and everything was being served by crew members. We couldn’t even get our own water or butter. And the time and effort it took to clean and sanitize a table after someone left was considerable. In the dining room, the servers would sanitize the salt and pepper shakers, sugar bowl and the butter bowl. We arrived in Jamaica that morning and we sat there for about six hours before the captain decided to leave. He made an initial announcement about the delay about two hours after we arrived and made a few more before the big announcement and also that we were leaving. It was during this time he announced people had gotten sick from norovirus. Unfortunately there are many people who come on cruises knowing they’re sick and yet do nothing to stop it from spreading from themselves to others. So many people got sick and it could have been prevented by simple hand washing and practicing good hygiene. The norovirus was and is not the fault of the cruise line. It’s caused by people who don’t care about others. I felt RCI did a great job to try and contain the spread of the norovirus and seemed to have a plan in place from the onset. I commend them for the job they did. I know it doesn’t help those who got sick because their cruise was ruined but I feel it needs to be said that the cruise line did all they could. On the critical side of the review... We were unhappy with our couples massage. They asked us what we wanted and where they needed to focus but they still just did what they normally do. We felt like they didn’t really listen. Massages on the ship aren’t cheap so it would be nice to have them pay closer attention to the answers you give them at the beginning. We were disappointed that the free ice cream was only offered for a limited time during the day. We felt it should have been available until midnight for us late night snackers. Speaking of which, the food choices overall, outside the dining room and buffet after 8:00 pm were extremely limited. The pizza was good but if we didn’t want pizza all you had left to choose from were desserts and petite sandwiches that didn’t look very appealing, at the Cafe Promenade. I feel they could easily improve in that area. Overall we were very happy with the cruise, aside from the norovirus issue. We would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I was expecting a lot more out of Royal Caribbean. Especially after hearing how it would be from ppl that I’ve talked to. The ship itself was very nice. But the food was horrible in comparison to carnival. We only went to breakfast one ... Read More
I was expecting a lot more out of Royal Caribbean. Especially after hearing how it would be from ppl that I’ve talked to. The ship itself was very nice. But the food was horrible in comparison to carnival. We only went to breakfast one time in the main diner and didn’t bother going back after. The pancakes were like rubber. Didn’t have a lot to choose from and they had the same thing for breakfast everyday. On carnival I remember being able to get steak and eggs for breakfast and it was good. I was also expecting the customer service to be a lot better because of what I had been to by other ppl. It wasn’t any better than Carnival’s customer service. (Not saying that either was bad) One more thing is that my wife and I really like is the cruise directors from carnival. They actually make the cruise more fun. We hardly ever seen or heard from the cruise director on Royal Caribbean. On this particular cruise ppl got sick and we were forced to return a day early. And that wasn’t even the bad part of our cruise. It was everything above. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Norovirus hit the ship and got 7 of the 10 traveling with so sick, including a 1 year old and a 5 year old. The crew was doing what they could, it just wasn't enough. They gave everyone free movies and free room service, restricted to ... Read More
Norovirus hit the ship and got 7 of the 10 traveling with so sick, including a 1 year old and a 5 year old. The crew was doing what they could, it just wasn't enough. They gave everyone free movies and free room service, restricted to what the medical staff said they could eat. Room service was just overwhelmed. Our rooms were on the same level but not near each other. I walked on average 11 miles a day between getting food, gingerale, trying to pretend I dont speak English and smuggle crackers out of the Windjammer cafe. I only did that because room service was taking so long. They wouldn't let you take food from the buffet but did let you take it from the wipeout cafe, but they didn't have crackers. They did say they will be refunding the entire trip which is nice but we were celebrating several things on that cruise and those things were all ruined. It's an experience I will not soon forget and I doubt we'll be cruising again. John and Lloyd at table 714 were great for the few nights some our group made it to the dining room. The ship is simply too large. We made it to Haiti and had a great time on the zipline. The vendors there were too aggressive. I think if R.C. said to them back off and people will buy more it still wouldn't help. When we got back on the ship the 1st of our 7 got sick. We didnt think anything of it and the next morning there was a paper attached to our door saying 2% of people on board were ill and of anyone was experiencing symptoms to call medical. My husband called and was told it would be 3 hours before the nurse could get there. It was 7 hours. They wanted him to give them a stool sample and left cup. Happy anniversary to us. Our kids got sick later that day. Same thing with the stay in your room, etc. Nurse took even longer to get to them. Later that night at a show a woman threw up into a wine glass but it was more than the wine glass could hold so it got everywhere. Another man couldn't make it to the restroom and threw up all over the area in front of the elevators. When picked up my grandson at the ocean adventure (day care) vomit was in several areas. And even though the crew was cleaning and washing everything down I never saw 1 carpet cleaner, and I saw a lot of throw up in carpeted areas. Even writing this now is making me a little sick thinking about it. I also saw a little girl cut her elbow and get back in the pool. The staff was all over it and closed the pool down but that's how nasty people are... damn everyone else, I just want to do what I want. People were rude even before everyone was getting sick. Oh and on debarkation my 1 year old granddaughter (that got sick) was not medically cleared to leave the boat but they accidentally hooked that medical info to my daughter's sail and sign card. So they didnt let my daughter off the boat and told the rest of our party to keep moving. So it took some convincing but we said the sick baby was already off the boat. Then at customs it was clear they were not getting paid. They didnt even so much as check a bag or anything! Just "that's a passport alright, okay. Bye". Makes you feel warm and fuzzy doesn't it? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise. We went with 11 other people and were taken care of extremely well. I was impressed with how well the crew took the precautions to prevent any more passengers from getting sick. I was asked if this experience ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We went with 11 other people and were taken care of extremely well. I was impressed with how well the crew took the precautions to prevent any more passengers from getting sick. I was asked if this experience had deterred me from cruising again. This has no way going to keep me from choosing Royal Caribbean again. Our dinner Servers, Mohit and Ikemas were spectacular. We wanted for nothing! We had 2 babies and a 4 yr old with us and both of them had their fruit and milks waiting for them. Ewan stopped by each night to ask about our stay and if we needed anything. As we began the embarkation process, I couldn't believe what a "well oiled machine" this was process was. When we disembarked even with the issues on board the process was just as smooth. I will say that if you have a large group like we did, use a porter to get you to transportation. He saved us 45 minutes in line. Thanks again for the great time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Even though almost 500 people came down with the Norovirus on our sailing, we had a wonderful time. It’s unfortunate that it happened. I feel for those that were sick and hopefully they recover quickly. The staff was amazing and worked ... Read More
Even though almost 500 people came down with the Norovirus on our sailing, we had a wonderful time. It’s unfortunate that it happened. I feel for those that were sick and hopefully they recover quickly. The staff was amazing and worked around the clock cleaning and disinfecting constantly. We were disappointed that we were not able to get off the boat in Falmouth Jamaica but it was the righ decision. They also made the right decision to turn around and go back to Port Canaveral. Royal gave every passenger a full refund on their cruise and a refund on gratuities and drink packages for the Saturday. Despite everything we were able to eat wonderful food, had awesome entertainment for free. Once they announced their were sick passengers, we avoided elevators, touching railings etc and the windjammer café and we’re constantly washing and disinfecting our hands. We will continue to cruise and be vigilant in washing our hands. We would not hesitate going on another cruise with Royal Caribbean cruises. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
First off I want to start by saying we were on the cruise that got returned to port a day early, were aloud off at Haiti, but were not aloud off at Jamaica and Cozumel. Started out as a smooth boarding process, nice, get on the boat and ... Read More
First off I want to start by saying we were on the cruise that got returned to port a day early, were aloud off at Haiti, but were not aloud off at Jamaica and Cozumel. Started out as a smooth boarding process, nice, get on the boat and our rooms are no where near our family as they were suppose to be in fact they arent even in the ballpark of close. But 2nd day we tries to make the best of a bad situation because I was suppose to have a room next to my parents so when our kids were asleep my husband and I might be able to check out the night life of the cruise. We get off at our first port Haiti which was beautiful I'd never been there before, had lunch had drinks it was a great time, get back on the ship and everything does a 180. Nero Virus. My son who was upstairs in the kids section got closed because kids were throwing up on everything, they closed the free play area so our 1 year old really didnt have anywhere to play other than on the floor which everyone was throwing up on. That night my husband and I also unfortunately got sick. Tried to give her to my mom who was not sick but my father , and grandmother were sick and they had not place for people who werent sick to go to sleep. Then our son got sick who is 5. So we had to stay in with him till he had clearance to go out of the room . Then our 1 year old got sick. We didnt even get to come out of the room to experience anything on the ship. Royal Caribbeans daycare after our son was cleared gave our sons Nike jacket to some other kid. Then on top of everything else mixed up the quarantine that was suppose to be on my daughter and put in on my sail and sign card, they would not let me off the ship with my kids and my family and I had all the medicine for her. From start to finish just a horrible experience. By the time you started feeling better someone else in your party started feeling terrible getting sick all over the place. Pick a place, fly to it. Go all inclusive and say yourself the wasted vacation days that you wont get back. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Well, a few days off the boat (and reading about the cruise right after ours with Noro...ug!) gave me some time to finally put down some thoughts on this cruise. A few disclaimers: - I'm providing this purely as my experience. ... Read More
Well, a few days off the boat (and reading about the cruise right after ours with Noro...ug!) gave me some time to finally put down some thoughts on this cruise. A few disclaimers: - I'm providing this purely as my experience. Others on the cruise may have experienced something different. Anyone reading this will likely experience something different. I've been on this and other forums long enough to know that at least someone who is smarter/better looking/funnier/more experienced/etc. than me will have their own opinion and comment below. If you'd like their opinion, I recommend you ask them; meanwhile this is just mine. :) - This wasn't our first cruise, but was our first on RCL and our first bringing our kids (14 and 18) - I ordinarily would not have chosen New Years to travel...not because of the timing or location, but because of the unreal costs that RCL submits you to for going over a holiday. Alas our work schedules and kids' school schedules drove us to this week, so we sucked it up and pressed on. Had we waited a few months and spent as much, we could have gotten one of those super fancy cabins. That said, no regrets. Our cheap cabin was perfect for what we had. Or more specifically, our cheap cabins. Given the age of the kids and size of the rooms, we opted for adjoining interior rooms. Note to families...an extra bathroom goes a long way towards a great vacation! :) - Given the above, I'll admit my expectations were high. We spent a lot for a military family who doesn't get this sort of opportunity often, so we wanted it to be everything and more. In many respects we weren't disappointed. Unfortunately in some, we were. So without further ado...this is pretty long so I'll break each day down, so grab a frosty beverage and sit back! Day -1: St Louis Not our first rodeo, so we knew it was important to get there a day early and avoid all the hassles/fiascos that could happen if coming in same day. We booked our flight from STL-MCO the day Southwest opened its tickets for December travel. $1200 for the four of us, round trip. Not exceptional, but good for us to be able to get there. Dropped the fam and the bags off at the terminal to let them check the luggage while I parked in the lot ($7 per day covered in STL!) and took the shuttle back. They hopped into the security line (TSA pre-check a must, so if you don't have it I highly recommend biting the bullet and doing it). We sat down at the restaurant across from our gate and ordered some food and a few drinks to help get vacation underway. Food was slow, which meant we finished and walked right into the boarding line just in time. I'm A-list due to all my travel, so was able to get onboard before the rest of the fam and they quickly joined and we were off. Full flight given the holidays. It was 30 December and I had a stack of SWA drink coupons that expired the next day....commence OPERATION DRINK COUPON EXPIRATION MITIGATION! Landed at MCO without issue, got bags and headed to transpo on lower level. Had originally planned to stay at a hotel near the airport and drive over the next morning, but then got smart and decided to spend a little more on the room and get us closer to the cruise port. That drove a change from Cortrans to Port-to-Port shuttles, as Cortrans only does morning runs and we landed after 4pm. We got downstairs and called Brenda, who radioed Craig and he arrived about 15 min later. Nice fella with a sweet new van, very clean, seats about 10(ish), and was even decorated for Christmas. He offered us cookies and water and got underway. We were his only passengers, so room to spread out, and the trip was easy with very little traffic. I felt bad...didn't have my hearing aid in so could barely hear him as he chatted the entire way. Checked into the Marriott Residence Inn Port Canaveral (actually did the online check-in) and up to our room. Standard Residence Inn (I'm a Marriott member, so tend to gravitate to their chain), nothing fancy or out of the ordinary except the basketball court outside our window with the family in matching shirts playing ball (they'd end up on our cruise too...damn, should have got matching shirts!). Called an Uber and took off for Grill's Seafood, right next to the terminal so we could scope it out. It was busy, as expected, waited about 45 min to be seated, but the bacon wrapped scallops were so worth it! (we're currently in the corn fields of Illinois...no seafood worth typing about....). Stayed for a while, then Uber back to the hotel where we parsed out the carryon bags for the next day and got to bed. Day 1: Port Canaveral Up about 8, breakfast in the lobby...very crowded, lots of cruise folks had the same idea I did! Borrowed a stapler from the front desk to attach our luggage tags and secured the shuttle tickets. $5 per head one way (some folks left cars at the hotel for the week, so they paid $10 round trip). Was surprised, most hotels have a complimentary shuttle, but given the number of clients I guess this made more sense (I think they sent over at least 4 shuttles with 20 people and bags each!). Drop-off at the terminal was quick...got off, got our bags, and handed them over to the luggage attendant. Well, handed three over. He put them on the cart and left the fourth and moved on to someone else's. No worries...I picked it up and loaded it onto the cart with the other three...didn't really want them separated :) Walked right through security without issues (passports in hand) and upstairs, basically right up to the check-in counter (I think there was one couple in front of us, other Boston Red Sox fans!). Lady at check-in told us this was the fullest the ship had ever been...6500...fun! No issues with our paperwork, we got "group 2" for boarding. Spent a few minutes perusing the lanyard shop (had to represent the Boston sports for the week!) and highlighted to the kids the ever-present Purel hand wash stations. Before long they started calling all the important people (Diamond, gold, etc.) but that didn't take very long and I'd say about 15 minutes after they started boarding we were called--I was amazed at how quickly. Up and in, again no issues, a few cheesy pictures along the way, obligatory "hey buy this package" stations, and just like that we were grabbing a glass of champagne (well sparkling white....) and exploring. Never been on Oasis before. She was HUGE! We made our way through the promenade, then to the back and outside. Explored the aqua theater, the climbing walls, and stopped for a hot dog before grabbing ice cream. And of course a Lava Flow cocktail from the bar by the aqua theater. Bartender was less than enthused that we were there already. But vacation had begun and I wanted to ensure I came out ahead of the drink package :) Touring the ship just increased the excitement (along with a stop at a few bars along the way). Stopped at the spa to make hair appointments for the girls for formal night. We found the teen lounge and the arcade (more on that later), as well as explored all the pools and common areas before heading to the room to check it out. Some have commented on Oasis age. I'll say the common areas didn't look bad at all, she was clean, bright and airy, and it's hard to believe 6500 others had just gotten off a Christmas cruise a few hours earlier. Throughout the week we saw small crews roping off various areas to do some maintenance, but nothing that impacted our trip. Will be tracking to see what "amp" they have in store for dry dock. Stopped by the excursion desk. Had already booked Nassau and St Thomas, but the one I wanted for St Maarten wasn't open online and needed to booked on the ship. Found out it wasn't open because it was full, but he offered to put us on the waiting list. Cool, sign me up! Both rooms! More to follow on this later... Then we headed off to our rooms. We were in 7404/6, towards the front of the ship, as mentioned inside adjoining rooms. Got to the rooms and the door between was locked. Requested it be unlocked, which meant they had to call a supervisor. That took over an hour...somewhat frustrating. The room was as expected, and I was glad they made the beds up right (together for us, separate for the kids). Unfortunately I was less impressed with the readiness/cleanliness of the room. There were still personal items/trash from the previous occupants, and the towels in the bathroom were the rattiest things I've ever seen, to include holes and pieces hanging off as they were torn up badly. One of our drawers didn't work (the ball bearing from the drawer slides could be found in the drawer and all over the floor) and there was no soap in the dispenser in the bathroom. But it's vacation...we had beds and a bathroom, it's all good! Decided to head out instead of waiting for the adjoining door, and took a different route down another hallway...and found our luggage! Not sure how that was supposed to work, as I heard a lot of folks later complaining they didn't have theirs (only to learn they were supposed to get it from the hallway). Anyway, we rolled it back to the rooms and unloaded quickly as to get the stuff hanging and get back on deck. Luggage fit nicely under the beds, we unloaded and hung a lot of stuff, used the closet cubbies for the rest. Really didn't use the drawers at the desk, mostly due to the fact one was broken. Muster drill was short and very generic. Our station was the spa, and the tv's weren't in sync with the audio, so it was interesting to hear and then watch...and then eventually the video just stopped working. The onboard speakers were an issue all week, especially for me even with the hearing aid in. We consistently had a very hard time hearing announcements from the bridge about anything unless we were in our room. I was surprised the bridge isn't connected to the deck's music speakers, as it would have been much easier to hear announcements that way. Anyway, after the drill we headed up to the Solarium and met a great bartender who mixed up some special set-sail drinks, made some virgin ones for the kids, and we watched the ship back away from the pier and get the vacation truly underway. He was the ONLY friendly bartender we met all week. Had hoped to get my daughter comfortable with the teen lounge, but unfortunately it was closed again til 8pm, which also happened to be dinner time for us. That became an issue, as she never really built up a comfort factor going there. Would have been nice for them to have multiple times that day that kids could go get introduced to the program and meet others. My son was a different case. At 18, he's not even allowed in the lounge (just turned 18, still a high school senior), so it made it slightly harder for him to meet folks his age as well. I'm sure he would have loved to hang on the Xbox in the lounge for a while with some of the kids and been fine, but couldn't. Back to the arcade to activate the kids credits and the freestyle cups, and then more exploring to include heading to the pool for the first time. Stopped by the pool bar for a few more drinks. Again, another bartender who just didn't seem happy to have us standing there (not exaggerating...I'm talking a big scowl on his face. And I have teenagers so I know what one looks like!). My favorite pool became our regular spot, the beach pool. Loved how as the ship moved the water would move in and out like ocean waves. Loved even more the drink staff that would come by and grab your card and bring your drinks. :) I will say I could definitely tell a difference between the drinks ordered at the bar and the ones brought out by the traveling staff...weaker for sure, but just meant I had to order more! Back to the room to change for dinner and met up with our steward again, who was finally able to track down someone to unlock the door between rooms. Showered and changed, and headed out a few minutes early to explore more on our way to dinner. We swung down to deck 4 to see the comedy club and art gallery, and found the casino. I'm glad we're not gamblers. The smell of smoke on that deck--without even going into the casino--it overwhelmed us. Couldn't handle it, so we went back up, across deck 5, then back down to deck 4 to enter dinner. Unfortunately the entrance to the MDR is right across from the casino...and the smell was still unbearable there. This was an issue all week, so we tried to never show early for dinner as we'd have to wait there inhaling the awful smoke smell. (should note we had originally planned Cats for 8pm, so had booked Giovannis for 530. But, given my picky eater and some of the 'feedback' we'd received on Cats, and given we'd already seen it before, we cancelled the specialty dining and stuck with MDR and skipped Cats. No regrets! MDR was easily one of the best experiences we had all week!) Doors opened and we were escorted to our table. Just four of us and a table for four, by a window (curtained, so no view). While initially I was bummed that we didn't get to meet others at dinner, I was soon thankful. See, I'm the "mean dad" who wouldn't activate an internet package. So without the distraction of cell phones, our lives were so much better. The fun conversations. The serious conversations. The ability to just relax and not be distracted. It was epic. We sat at table 619 (which is our anniversary, 6-19!) and met Rommel from the Philippines and Jaeyung from China. I think it was the first time they'd worked together, as he could barely pronounce her name when he introduced her, but they were a phenomenal team who made it their personal mission to make our meals exceptional. Selection was good, with some great appetizers, filling main dishes and tasty desserts. I think my son tried the fish of the day every day, and was never disappointed. Rommel was quick to learn our names and interacted with the kids, and Jaeyung was so polite and professional you could see she was nervous and just wanted to do a good job. This was a great team. After dinner we walked the track...we were FULL! Headed off to bed ready to make way to Nassau. I think this night we changed and headed up to the hot tub in the Solarium for a while. Could feel the ship moving that night...not an issue for the boys, but the girls definitely experienced some queasiness. Day 2: Nassau! We got up early to head to Deck 14 forward to see the sunrise. There were a few clouds, but made for a great sky. The wind though...wow! Now I understood why we felt the boat move so much. It was insane! Met a nice family from Canada and chatted about military life for a bit and then went back down to get ready for the day. Had a small breakfast delivered (just the light fare, anything more is $7.95), used this mostly as our extra wake up call each morning, and then made our way out to get underway. The one thing my daughter asked for was to see Dolphins. We had originally booked (through RCL) an excursion in St Maarten to do the Dolphin encounter, but a few weeks before leaving they cancelled it. Was pretty disappointed, but fortunately we were able to react and booked the one on Nassau. Changed our plans, as we had been to Nassau before, and honestly had just intended to stay on the ship that day. Oh well, Dolphins it is, so we took off. Went up first to the pool deck to check out towels...learned it wasn't necessary as they had a station at the gangway when you got off. Also grabbed a few more bottles of water (drink package!) before heading back down. Met up with a few hundred others in Studio B to get briefed on Blue Lagoon, got our wrist bands and made our way off the ship by 0900. I will say this part wasn't as organized on RCL's part. They had about a dozen different groups gathered up in Studio B, and each main point of contact had wrist bands to hand out...which quickly descended into chaos as he couldn't "reach" most groups so they started going to him, which clogged the aisle ways and only confused most passengers, especially those with smaller kids. Once off the ship, a short walk to a ferry gave us the chance to see two other ships in port, at which time the kids finally appreciated the size of Oasis! Ferry ride was about 40 min across the water, pretty cloudy and started to rain, fortunately we were on the port side and the rain was blowing on the starboard so we didn't get wet! (yes, this Air Force guy is pretty proud of his nautical terms!) Great views of some amazing houses along the way, as well as Atlantis. Pulled in to Blue Lagoon and fortunately the clouds started to part. This is obviously a tourist attraction based on the large numbers of folks already there. We had wristbands that said we would do our Dolphin encounter at 11am, and it was 10am so we got off the ferry and hung out on the beach for a while. Water was chilly but we enjoyed some sand time and then sat down for a few minutes when the announcement came for 11am participants to make their way to the animal area. We gathered up our bags and walked over, where we were met by very friendly staff members who directed us down a dock to participate. The dock was quite full. We'd later learn that it was way overbooked. Suffice to say, our 11am encounter started closer to noon. We didn't mind at the time, as one of the trainers sat on the dock and chatted with us during the wait, having the non-performing dolphins do tricks and play with toys. When it was finally our time the ten person group entered the water and it was amazing. One at a time we'd lie in the water with our legs extended and the dolphins would come up from behind and push us a few dozen yards across the water so that we'd literally rise up out of the lagoon. It was awesome. Each person got this chance, then we all got in the water and got to pet, dance, receive kisses and even feed the dolphins. Overall the encounter took just under an hour and was one of the highlights of our vacation. Would definitely do it again! Unfortunately, the delay was costly. We were sternly warned...be on the ferry by 115pm or we wouldn't make it back to the Oasis in time. It was already 1250, and we hadn't had lunch or a chance to see/purchase photos. We divided up, with my wife taking the kids to eat while I waited in line for pictures. That line too was backed up, and by the time I got to the front it was time to go (and found out they didn't take AMEX). My wife ran into a similarly long line at lunch and wasn't able to order, so just picked up a few hot dogs and ran. We rushed to get back on the ship. So only critical feedback here would be to watch for overbooked excursions. Loved what we did, but missed out on the "beach day" relaxing portion of this as well as lunch, and the inability to review the pictures means we're trying still to get our hands on them online. This was likely a once in a lifetime Dolphin encounter, and I'm pretty bummed we don't have the pics to show for (note they don't allow your cameras, so couldn't take our own pics). A quick ferry ride back (with a stop at the hotels along the way for no one to get off/on) and we were back to the port in Nassau. Different arrival location than departure, of course, as they had to drop us off in the tourist district by the shops. Like I said, having been to Nassau before we weren't interested (still a pretty run down area, which always makes us wonder where all that tourism cash goes...), so we proceeded back to the ship. Brief delay as the local militia checked our IDs, then back to the ship. There was a very long line to get back onboard. Dropped off our towels and waited to get through security, then took the stairs. Did that a lot this week, the elevators were just too crowded or slow and we didn't want to waste time waiting on them. The girls headed off to the spa for their hair...so the boys headed for drinks, ice cream and more pool time. Also did some more exploring, watched a little bit of Ant Man on the big screen by the Aqua Theater, and eventually started to make our way back to the room around 545pm. The Promenade was crazy with picture lines, which was something we wanted to do, so we hurried back to find the ladies reading with their hair-do's all fancy and stuff. They always seem to get mad that the guys can SSS (sh*t/shower/shave) in less than 15 minutes :) This was formal night #1 and also New Year's Eve, so we went big. I wore my formal military uniform, we rented a tux onboard (pre-cruise booked, $101) for my son and the ladies had nice dresses. We made our way down to the Promenade for pictures, only to find the first crowd was gone, must have been the early dinner crew. We walked right up to just about every picture line and got some great pics. Met the captain, he was nice but not very talkative, and then made our way to a few more pictures before dinner. Another great dinner from our wait staff, and my daughter--who is a picky eater and normally doesn't eat much--ate like she never had before. Again we were stuffed after dinner and went on our now nightly walk around the track. We went to Dazzles for the "finish that verse" music competition, and eventually got seats and got to watch (wasn't picked to participate, bummer!) At this point we were moving again and once again hitting some significant wind (more on that later), so the effect on my daughter was growing. She wasn't feeling well (seasickness, not noro!) so we tried to walk and entertain her to keep her mind off it. We found the library, a few more lounges, walked outside to the carousel and stopped in the arcade (the old man can still school the 18 year old in air hockey!) before making our way back to the Promenade for the New Year's festivities. This was probably the only time this week we felt the sheer number of passengers onboard Oasis, as lots of folks wanted to be there at midnight for the balloon drop. Lots of champagne....kudos to the wait staff. I simply don't know how they walk with trays full of glasses while the ship is moving that much and there are so many people and still don't spill any!!! The clock struck midnight, I did my annual (very poor) "When Harry Met Sally" impersonation questioning the meaning of Auld Lang Syne, and we headed back to the room for some rest. Found a few towel animals, so the kids enjoyed seeing the steward's artwork. Day 3: At Sea! Vacation. Sometimes it means just being able to sleep in! I don't sleep well, but the rest of the fam does so I hung out in bed listening to the wind hit the ship as we cruised and everyone rested. My wife and I went to the cruise port shopping event (I was trying to be the dutiful husband...suffice to say, I love my wife. Even more after hearing about some of the ladies that go on cruises and their shopping habits!) I think we finally got the kids out of bed around 1030am, and headed to Johnny Rockets for breakfast. Got a table outside and enjoyed the breeze while we sipped on coffee and waited on our meals. You could tell it was the morning after New Year's. Much like I said that night was the busiest we had seen the boat, this morning was the scarcest...people were sleeping it off! Our breakfast arrived and the head waiter tried to help deliver, only to drop my daughter's bacon on the deck. No worries, a full plate of extra bacon arrived quite literally a few seconds later! Everything is better with bacon. My eggs were good, wife and kids enjoyed the French toast and pancakes and we talked plans for the rest of the day. We headed to the sports bar for Star Wars trivia. It wasn't overly crowded, but got the last few seats and geared up for some fun. We're geeks, so it was fun to answer some of the tougher questions (I won't spoil any, but suffice to say I might have schooled the 18 year old on random Star Wars facts even he didn't know!). Unfortunately we did get one question wrong, which I immediately realized when we were reviewing, but one other guy didn't so we came in second. Oh well, it was fun! Still couldn't convince my daughter to hit the teen club, so changed and went to the pool, enjoying the sun and once again the "waves" on the beach. Oh, and the drinks and the hot tub :) One note...remember the excursion we got "wait listed" for when we first boarded...well, they messed that up. We were checking the online account on the tv and found they had signed up my kids, but not us. Apparently he only wait listed their room, not both rooms, and when two slots opened up he assigned it to them. I went by the desk and tried to help him understand, he just couldn't comprehend why I didn't want the two slots. I guess he thought the kids could go and mom and dad could go enjoy themselves elsewhere! But more frustrating, despite all this he kept pushing for others...specifically the back stage/behind the scenes tour. It was a lazy day, just what we needed. I think we might have grabbed pizza...it's all a blur. The kids would sometimes head back to the room to read, or, in my son's case pull up ESPN as the Bruins were playing outdoor hockey in the Winter Classic and unfortunately it wasn't being aired as every tv was tuned into college football. Also a stop at the PADI Dive shop, as our excursion in St Thomas was the BOSS Underwater Adventure, and we had to sign the paperwork in order to get our tickets. Early that afternoon the assistant cruise director hosted our Cruise Critic meet and greet in the comedy club. It was fun, she had a lot of prizes and some cookies. Our family made out well, a BOGO for Johnny Rockets, a bottle of wine, a bingo t-shirt and an hour of internet access. Also fun to meet some of the folks we'd chatted with leading up to the cruise. Then more laying around doing nothing. But being lazy was worth it, that's what vacation is for, and the pool was relaxing. The girls went to a "pamper party" at the spa while the boys checked in at the back of the ship. It was windy and we had reservations for the aqua show, but I was worried the conditions would cancel it. I was surprised to find the performers practicing when we arrived, so we watched for a bit before eventually made our way back to the rooms to grab the girls and get them to the show. The aqua show....WOW! we were simply floored by this performance. But first, the entry. If you have reservations, still get there early. There were only four of us, but even arriving early it was hard to get seats (mostly because of the lady reserving 17 of them for her family, even though most of them didn't show until just as the show started). I'm all for a family vacation and understand wanting to sit together, but taking up an entire row should mean you have everyone there to sit in their seat rather than cause confusion for all the other folks who understandably will walk towards a row of not occupied seats. Anyways....the show. Great effects, great lighting, and amazing performers. Like I said, the ship was moving, so much so I was sure they were going to cancel the show, but didn't. I think we were cruising at about 19 knots, plus the wind and the boat rocking. But these dudes were jumping into a 20-something foot deep pool from 60+ feet in the air. Holy... Go. You must go. See this show. See it twice if you can. Wow. Then back to the room for SSS and head to dinner. More fun exploring and pictures along the way, tonight we decided on being a little more crazy and instead of letting the photographers tell us how to pose we told them. It was fun. Even stole some presents from under the Christmas tree as props for a pic :) Dinner again was amazing, ate entirely too much, and did our nightly walk around the track before my daughter went back to the room to read while my wife, son and I went to the comedy club (18 and over). Two comedians featured, both very adult-natured, and so worth it. First one was from Boston, so we fit right in, and he was spot on. Great interaction with the audience. In fact, he really didn't have a bit, he let the audience drive his act. Loved it. Second wasn't bad, but stuck more to a typical "routine" of one liners and even managed to tick off a woman to the point where she got up and left! :) Day 4: Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas (eventually) Another night of rocking and rolling on the waves, and we woke to the light room service knock at the door (all other days they called, so apologies to the dude who had to see me open the door in my boxers half asleep!). We had planned a leisurely breakfast in the MDR before getting off for our excursion, the room service was more of a helpful wakeup call and a quick coffee before heading down for the full event. Breakfast buffet today was in the MDR American Icon and featured some typical breakfast fare, some salad, fruit and a wide variety of sweets (I didn't really see the lunch part of brunch there?). Had hoped to see an omelet station, but didn't have one. While there the Captain came over the speaker to let us know the ship had encountered significant headwinds overnight, and that our arrival at St Thomas had been delayed by over an hour. We were to dock at 1030 but that got pushed to noon. He planned to "make it up" by staying in port an hour longer (7pm vice 6pm) and we'd receive word in our staterooms as to what the changes to our excursions would be. Ok, I get headwinds. That happens. We'll adapt. We were looking forward to the BOSS Underwater Adventure so we'd be paitent! We went to the Solarium to watch the ship approach the island. It was indeed windy, and we saw some sailboats along the way. As we got to port we realized he'd be doing a 180 and backing the ship in...cool. My daughter had gone back to get some things from the room, so I ran back to get her while my wife and son went to the top and back to see the boat literally back up. When I got to the room we got the call...due to the late arrival, our excursion had been CANCELLED! Ug. I'll admit, this is where I got really frustrated with RCL. There's absolutely no way, with GPS and all the technology available, that the crew didn't know at 0800 that morning (and earlier) that we'd be late. Why couldn't they have told us then? By the time they notified us, 1115am, it was too late to get another excursion booked. I was devastated. This was the one event my son had requested, and now we were without plans for the port we were really looking forward to. So we made our way off the boat and headed to the taxis. I had read about Magen's Bay and we decided we'd head there for the day. Found a driver who said it was the "second most beautiful beach in the world" (but looked bewildered and confused when my typical sarcasm kicked in and asked which one was first). He scurried up a few other passengers and brought us over to a beat up gold passenger van. Others jumped on open-air extended pickups. Price board showed $10 per person to Magen. This was definitely island life transpo at its best! I'm a city boy, and he and I got along great as he had me jump in the passenger seat. I know the role of shotgun...help the driver! I'd call out traffic and he'd jump at openings. My kids were probably comfortable as they're used to my city driving skills. Not so sure about the other passengers! We made our way north across the island and through the hills, til you could finally look down and see Magen's Bay. It was beautiful, but honestly didn't jump out at me like I'd hoped. I think partially it was the weather...slightly cloudy and a breeze. The water wasn't as blue as I'd imagine, and the beach not nearly as pristine. Further, the damage from the hurricanes 18 months ago was still prevalent. The trees were barren, many broken and without palms, and the beach was beat up pretty badly. Upon pulling up to the entrance, we were told there was a $5 fee as the driver pulled to a closed gate. I'm pretty sure that was a scam and had we stayed in the main lane it wouldn't have been mentioned, but we paid and made our way to the beach. I rented an umbrella (which we ended up not really needing) and we spent some time in the water testing out the kids' snorkeling gear that we had bought to use while not on the BOSS portion of the excursion. Unfortunately the water there was pretty boring...nothing really to look at, and the first 10 feet or so were very rocky so wear water shoes. We grabbed lunch. As expensive as I'd imagined. But a good burger nonetheless. I laughed that the bartenders and waitresses in skimpy bikinis were American mainlanders. A little more beach time, then we changed and went to find a taxi back. Slightly confusing as he had told us anyone could bring us home, then when we got there every driver had a list with the family names of folks they had brought out. No worries, we hopped onboard one and made our way back to the ship, with a brief stop to take some overlook pictures. Again, the hurricane damage...just so much left to be repaired on this small island. A quick stop for my daughter to do some shopping, grab the proverbial free Del Sol bag, and my son grabbed a color changing Frisbee and we made our way back to the ship full of sand. Line to get on was much shorter this time, as we were still about 90 min before last call. Headed back upstairs after turning in towels. Showers, etc. and then on our way back to dinner, with the obligatory stop at some of the picture stations. Dinner that night was as phenomenal as every other night. It was "Caribbean Night" so the staff all had their fun shirts on (of course I had to wear mine too!), and they danced during the meal to make it more fun (Chicken Dance is German though, not Caribbean!). Couldn't decide on dessert, so Rommel brought us a few extra. Another lap of the track (had to burn calories somehow!) and then made our way to the Opal for the Headliner show. Tonight we were treated to a show by ventriloquist (what's his name?). We're fans of Jeff Dunham, so this sort of show was right up our alley. We got there a few minutes early, so had a few more drinks (still trying to stay ahead of the drink package!) and watched clips he had of old ventriloquist acts, to include his own before the show finally started. He was ok, one main puppet and some little bits about himself, but the highlight was when he pulled a member of the audience on stage and used him as a puppet. Not sure it would have been as funny with any other audience member, but this due played along as if he were truly a part of the show. It was absolutely hilarious, and we're glad we got to see it. Day 5 Philipsburg, Saint Maarten The ship woke us with the engines once again forcing the ship to do a 180 and back into the dock in St Maarten. Today we went a little heavier on the morning room service call so that we could be ready to get off the ship when it docked (and, truth be told, my daughter simply loved the croissants!). Though we stayed an hour later in St Thomas to make up for our late arrival, they somehow managed to make up two hours and get us to port an hour early. After the obligatory stop for a few photos on the dock (once again we were parked next to two other ships showcasing Oasis' huge footprint), we made our way to the ticket booth for the water taxi. The port shopping folks gave us a coupon for $1 off each ticket, but then the booth said we could only use it at the dock. A short walk later and we got our wristbands, $6 for all day access, and we got right onboard the taxi and headed across to the main area downtown. We didn't have an excursion so we opted to hit a few shops and then spend some time on the beach. My wife diligently collected all the "free charm" coupons she could find, and my son was patient in her and my daughter's hunt for bling. As a reward, we found "The Yoda Shop", a small second floor 'museum' set up by the creator of Yoda. He had a lot of autographed merchandise and some interesting stories, and only charged an arm and a leg to walk through to see it all! Another brief jewelry stop where despite the sales lady's best efforts to get me to spend a few thousand more than I paid for the cruise on bling, and we managed to escape with earrings and a necklace for the wife and some small free pieces as a reward for my daughter. Made our way deeper into town...quickly realized the main shopping area had seen reconstruction after the hurricane, but any deeper and you hit the parts that needed a lot more help. We turned back towards the water, walked past a few more shops (they're persistent in trying to get you to come in!) and made our way back to the main dock area for lunch. There honestly didn't seem to be much in line of options, so we played the typical tourists and headed in to the Hard Rock Café. Passed by the shop and headed upstairs, where we sat at the bar and met a great local bartender who had a huge smile on his face. Ordered a few appetizers and actually activated the free wifi to check in on our puppies, then back to chatting and planning the rest of the day. From the second floor we could see the beach and the activities, and my son quickly focused in on the jet skis. Well, since he lost the BOSS excursion we decided renting a jet ski was the right approach. Our drinks were good (very strong!), I had a Caribbean made Guinness...have now experienced the nectar of the Gods made on three different continents! The food was slow, but good when it finally showed and we had great timing as the place got full quickly. Finished and went to pay...despite the sign/sticker on the door, they wouldn't take AMEX, but after learning that in Nassau I was smart enough to include a Visa in my day pack this time. Bartender was upset we added the tip (a pretty generous one) to the bill instead of leaving him cash. In hindsight I figured out that the restaurant probably takes a chunk of it from him, which sucks. We headed down to the beach and found a few chairs by the water. Of course we were descended upon quickly by the locals who "rented" the chairs. When he said $10 each I started to walk towards the jet ski rental counter, and he quickly followed with "how much do you want to pay". That was slightly amusing, wasn't ready to haggle for a chair, but he was eager to. Offered a combo deal for the chair, umbrella and jet ski, so I paid the $75 and filled out the waiver paperwork. They had about 6 jet skis, plus two more that they used to "corral" people when their time was up. Waited about 15 min before ours came in, and we took off. It was a blast, and my son probably still has bruises on his butt from catching some air :) My wife and daughter hung at the beach playing while we journeyed around the bay. Was able to get up close to many of the ships docked, to include Oasis. Wow. She's just amazing. Alas the jet ski cowboys came to rope us in after our time was up, so we headed back to shore where we put the new Del Sol color changing Frisbee to use in the water for a while. About 4 we started to pack up to head back, and there was a line forming at the water taxi station so it's good we started. No issues, got right onboard the next one and headed back to the port. A few shops along the way after we docked, but nothing we wanted to stop at so we headed down the pier and back onto the ship. Lines were somewhat confusing, as they had a separate entry at the far end of the ship just for crew, but some folks would motion for passengers to still use it while others further up turned passengers away. Nonetheless it was painless and we were through security quickly and back up to our rooms to cleanup. The kids were being lazy and I was eager to get out, so the wife and I headed out and got a drink on the Rising Tide and then sat down in the Schooner for another. We hadn't been to the Windjammer yet (mostly because I was trying to avoid it) but decided to check it out as the wife wanted some nachos. Well, it was Mexican night, so much to my chagrin we went back to grab the kids and headed to the buffet for dinner. As indicated, I was not disappointed by the food in the MDR (I know some reviews have commented on it, but I have nothing bad to say). I also know some folks in the pool had some negative reviews about the specialty restaurants (Chops was a frequent negative review by many folks we met on this trip). But democracy ruled, so we hit the buffet. I stopped at the bar, and waited patiently as the bartender there finished his text conversation before finally looking up and realizing I had been standing right in front of him (he made up for it with a really strong drink!). The taco meat was, well, bland (and very full of beans), the nachos were soggy, and the few other items we got just weren't appetizing at all. The key lime pie...which had received rave reviews...wasn't anything to write home about, and frankly I would have been happy had we never set foot in the Windjammer. Of the entire vacation, this was truly the only "negative" experience I think we had on the ship all week that I would provide critical feedback on. Conversely, not going to dinner as planned in the MDR opened the chance for us to wait in line for space available for the ice show. Originally the family expressed very little interest in attending, as they thought it would have been geared more towards a younger crowd. But after reading some of the other feedback I convinced them we should try it. A quick stop to once again school the 18 year old on air hockey, and we made our way to the line. Glad we did, we were already about 25 people back and we were still 30 min from show time, and the line only got longer from there. No worries, once it started moving we got right in and found four seats. The show was simply amazing. Amazing. On par with the dive show. The ice skaters, despite the boat's movement, were almost flawless in their very complicated routines...to include one segment where the male skater swung the female around and around (a la that old movie "Cutting Edge" when the hockey player becomes an ice skater...but I digress!) with her head quite literally inches from the ice. They did a multi-faceted tribe to Hans Christian Anderson with all his different story tales, the funniest of all culminating with "The Emperor's New Clothes", and one simply phenomenal segment where a Ukrainian artist told a story by manipulating sand art...hard to explain, but I was mesmerized. After my daughter chose to head back to the room while the wife and son and I headed to the Schooner for the Elton John piano tribute. We sat down at the piano itself and sang word for word along with every song. He switched up to Billy Joel, we still sung along word for word with every song. It was actually quite funny, he and I are huge fans of both, so it was a great night to be at a piano bar. Others around the bar laughed and commented to my wife that we must practice at home. Not so much practice as we just love the music, but was still a lot of fun. She headed off to bed, we stayed and sung some more, til about 1 and then finally headed back to bed. Day 6: At Sea Today we got up and decided to hit the Solarium for breakfast before the first of two epic days of relaxation. It was crowded, took us a few minutes to find a table but enjoyed the spread. Bacon. You know the routine. Found a few chairs not too far from the beach pool and spent the day enjoying the sun and making the most of our drink package. The kids explored, even took a towel folding class of their own. My son did the "super heroes" trivia, my wife read, and I enjoyed not being tied to a mobile device that was ringing off the hook. Met a few nice folks in the pool and chatted a while, ran down for a hot dog and some fries, watched my son on the zip line, and then back to the pool for more lazy time. Quite literally the first time in years I've had nothing to do, and it was awesome. I'm sure there was other stuff that day, but who cares! Back to the room via the Promenade for some snacks and saw the crowds all dressed up again for the second formal night. Did our SSS and dressed up again (note, they provided two different shirts with the tuxedo rental, kudos!). Girls had another fancy outfit and like a good military guy I reutilized the one I brought and we headed down for more fun pictures. First one was with the captain again, so walked right up and took that one. Had to highlight the jewelry I bought for the wife and blamed him....what I failed to mention earlier is that the port shopping guide is also his fiancé. She mentioned it. A few times. More than a few times. :) Got a bunch more pictures along the way, actually saw a few other military folks this time (it was so crowded on the first night I'm sure I just missed them) and headed down for dinner. Rommel and Jaeyun were on point, and tonight was crazy busy for them as it was also lobster night. I convinced myself I was on vacation, so I caved and ordered the Chops filet along with the lobster...figured a little surf and turf! I laughed as one of the other waiters had to peel apart the lobster for a girl at another table...made me wonder if that was part of the standard service! Our lobster showed, and it was delicious as expected. Unfortunately the kitchen didn't help our staff out, nor did the head waiter, as Rommel had to go all the way back to the kitchen to retrieve my filet. He rushed out and apologized profusely as he knew the intent was to have both at the same time. We learned that our section of the MDR is literally the furthest walk from the galley. I knew he was trying, and didn't for a minute think it was his fault, but he was over the top apologetic and even brought a few extra lobsters to the table (no complaints from my crew!). They also poured the champagne like it was going out of style, so we obliged. As indicated earlier, feedback on Chops wasn't great, and I unfortunately had to agree. My filet was more done (I had requested medium) than I wanted, a little crispy on the outside and the meat not nearly as tender as some of the others I've had. Cost an extra $20, and in hindsight I should have just gone with the NY strip off the MDR menu and made it easier (and cheaper). Lesson learned. As we tried to leave Rommel brought even more champagne...wow, it was flowing tonight! We took our glasses and departed for our nightly walk around the track en route to the Opal for the acrobat show. Again, another performance that didn't fail to deliver. While there may a lot of negatively towards Cats, the rest of the entertainment on Oasis was great! With a cast of four "main" singers, a group of acrobats and dancers, this troupe wowed us with their skills, and being a former theater stage crew techie, the props/stage were incredible! From folks flying in from above the stage and out over the audience, they captivated everyone and it was simply fun to watch. Glad we stuck around for it, would highly recommend to anyone. Back in the room we were greeted by more towel animals, this time the kids had a monkey hanging from a clothes hanger in the middle of the room. I wish I had my daughter's reaction on video...she probably woke the folks upstairs she jumped so high. Epic. Day 7: At Sea The wife and I got up around 8 on the last day for spa appointments. She was offered a "discount" based on her attendance at the pamper party earlier in the week. We got there and were greeted (or not) at the front desk by a woman who apparently didn't want to be there that day. Still, it was fun to see the rest of the spa attendants checking in, a long line of staff in their uniforms stretched from the desk to the entrance as each signed in...gave you an appreciation for the sheer volume of staff dedicated just to the spa. We filled out the paperwork and were separated to our individual treatments. I met Wanpen from Tailand...which was fortuitous as I was going for a massage and Thai stretching is by far one of the few ways my back responds. She attempted the expected upsell of additional services, but quickly realized I wasn't in the market and backed off without issue. She was quite adroit at her profession, and I was glad this would be the way we wrapped up our trip. When finished I went to find my wife, who unfortunately was unable to receive her treatment due to the machine breaking down (I guess this had happened to them earlier in the week as well). They asked her to come back later in the day and try again. We went back and got the kids moving and made it to the Solarium in time for breakfast just before they shut down the line. They had already run out of syrup and the coffee was empty, but the bacon was plentiful :) Another lazy day, this time we were fortunate enough to go early and find some chairs next to the pool. I will admit, the chair hogs were prevalent on this trip. Frustratingly enough, the same lady who reserved 17 chairs at the aqua show was also like a traffic cop that morning, reserving another 17 lounge chairs for her towels. I say that, as I spent the day in the pool, and pretty sure the only thing that occupied those chairs all day were her towels.... Got a little sun that morning, then lathered up as to not get burned and hung out in/out of the pool while the wife read. Hung in the pool for a while, and the kids went to the flowrider. Lots of fun. Then back to the pool. Kids joined us off and on, finding time for zip lining, and then used the Johnny Rockets coupon we won to go to lunch together. We started to feel a few drops of rain...the first all week, so packed up to head back inside. I laughed. All the people in the pool, already wet, were freaking out over the rain. I guess it did come down a little later, but we were already back inside and missed it. The wife headed back to the spa to try her treatment again, and the kids and I went down to the sports bar for the Harry Potter trivia...that was crowded and lots of competition. I'll admit, I'm the Star Wars expert in the family, but by no means am I the Harry Potter guy so I was of very little help to their cause. That was until the crew member running it say they had hidden a snitch somewhere on Deck 5, and the Muggle of least value to the team should be dispatched. Now this was up my alley, and a chance to grab another drink. Didn't find it, but at least wasn't stuck in the over-crowded sports bar! We also activated our free hour of internet and checked into our flight for the next day. After the wife joined back up we walked a few of the shops (huge watch sale, but man, those things were HUGE! As big as the ship! I just can't imagine wearing a five pound watch!). We had waited til today, and t-shirts were 2 for $20 (always wait til the end of the week!), and then we headed up to the picture station. I had pre-purchased the picture package, $249. No kidding, we had 249 pictures taken. Too funny, $1 per pic! We actually purchased the autographed picture with the captain (I chuckled, as a few folks had asked to get their pictures taken with me while I was in my military uniform...wonder if I could have autographed a few and sold them!?). The attendant showed us how to download the pictures to our cell phones...but at 249 of them we decided to just wait til we got home and download them all from the cloud at once. At least now you know why we stopped at every picture station all week! We showered and changed for our last dinner, and chatted with the kids about the week and how they enjoyed it. Both agreed the dining room staff was the best, and also wanted to recognize the room steward. I had already set a tip amount in my mind, but they chose to supplement it with their own money to recognize these crew members. Will admit, was pretty proud of them for that action. We worked really hard to provide this vacation, and it was good to know our kids recognized the hard work of some of the crew that made it extra special. Dinner was great again, and the champagne was once again flowing freely. We had great conversations about the week, the highs and lows, what we looked forward to (and dreaded) about going home, and some additional conversation with our wait staff. The kids provided them their respective envelopes, and I think Jaeyun was nearly floored when she opened it. Glad we were able to bring some joy to her after the week of her bringing it to us. We got a picture with them and finished our desserts. Rommel must have had time to open his as well, as he came back, his face lit up with a huge smile. The kids still talk about them! We spent some time earlier in the day packing up the bags, but went back one more time to ensure everything was ready. The kids had made a towel turtle for Cleyton and left his envelope with it, and he had left them a nice note in appreciation. My wife and daughter stayed while my son and I went back to the Opal for the final comedy show, the same two we had seen earlier in the week. I won't get into the full details, but the dude sitting in front of us (he was front row) just wasn't wise enough to not pick an argument with the comedian from Boston. He tore him apart, and most of it was rather amusing. The other comedian repeated many of the same jokes we heard earlier in the week, wasn't as much fun this time around. We stopped after to meet the one from Boston and swap Beantown stories. Found out his daughter is also Air Force, so gave him my contact info and told him to have her look me up if she needs anything. Small world. Day 8: The end :( Once again, you could feel the ship shake as the crew turned her around to get back into Port Canaveral. We rose, finished packing up and headed to the Windjammer for breakfast. For some reason, Park Café didn't dawn on me as being an option, or maybe it wasn't open. In any case, same impression. Everything is better with bacon, but even the bacon there was too salty. Oh well. Coffee and some eggs, and we were back to our room to grab our bags. Left our room about 745am. No issues getting off the ship, quite literally walked straight up to customs, they reviewed passports and were out. From ship to garage, less than ten minutes. Called Craig with Port to Port and he was about ten minutes out. Saw him pull in, walked down to the end to meet him and loaded up. Once again, we were his only passengers so we spread out...and crashed in our seats while he navigated back to the airport. Checked in with SWA (waited in A-list line, would have been easier to just do self check in), and made our way to security. TSA Pre-check is a must for MCO...very long lines. Made it through, and planned to go to the Priority Lounge you get with AMEX, only to learn that was in the other part of Terminal A. We left and had to go back through security on that end, which they gave us a hard time over because our gate wasn't there, but acquiesced when I explained we were going to the lounge. Made our way down and in...and it was like hitting a wall. The place was crowded, dirty and few open seats. Not worth all the effort we went through to get there, but we were there so we hung out a while and updated our friends online and went through our pictures. Eventually it got more crowded so we decided to leave and try the USO. The USO...why didn't we just go there first? Place is huge, clean, massive TVs, snacks, couches, and great people who are genuinely nice and interested to have you there...unlike the priority lounge. And it's free. Won't make that mistake again. Stayed there for half a football game, and then made our way back through security...again...I was surprised the TSA didn't flag us for multiple trips through. Had pre-paid for priority board on this flight as I wasn't sure we'd have internet to be able to check in, so we were able to get right on and seats together without issue. Quick layover in Philly and then home to STL. Left the fam to grab the bags off the conveyor belt while I went to get the car from parking. Well, I sat in the parking shuttle waiting for about 20 minutes before we finally headed to the lot. By the time we left, the final bag was coming off the line. Oh well. I was just glad the temp wasn't too bad, about 50, as to not be a shocker after 80s all week. It would snow on us a few days later. Talking about a reality check! Overall...yes, would definitely do this trip again! As indicated, while New Years Eve on the ship was nice, I'm not sure it's a "must do" at that price. I'm confident I could have spent half as much if we weren't shy about taking the kids out of school for the week, but definitely enjoyed our time on Oasis. A few salient points that, again, are specific to me so please understand that any negative comments about my perceptions will be wasted effort to type as I'm truly just providing my .02 cents worth... Rooms: - If you're the type that has to see the ocean as much as possible, then yes, spend the extra to get a view. Otherwise, we spent so little time in our room that the inside room was more than sufficient. I saw some pictures of folks with rooms actually smaller than ours...wow. Ours were tight, but that was why I went with two for the four adults vice having the kids sleep on the drop down beds out of the ceilings. (if my kids are reading this, you owe me!). - The adjoining room was convenient, but not a must. We could have survived with rooms close by/across the hall. - Our rooms were closer to the front above the spa. We felt the motion. Moreso, we felt the beat. Quite literally. If you want to sleep in, don't get these rooms, as Zumba (or something) starts every day in the spa at 0900. And your room will shake from the bass. - Magnets...yes! We did all the homework on what to bring/what not. This one was fun. I had printed small quotes that I posted on the kids' door a few times a day. I think our steward enjoyed them as much as us. But other stuff like the over the door shoe organizer and things like that, well we personally didn't have a need. Food: - We were never disappointed in the MDR. Never. While three of us tried different appetizers every night (my daughter is the picky one, so she loved her Caesar salad!), we never were displeased and asked for something different. Now that didn't stop us from asking for the shrimp AND the caprese.... Main courses were diverse. The fish of the day was awesome. The desserts....wow. - I wish we had done more breakfasts in the MDR, and even lunch for that matter - we're old school, cruised before the "specialty" restaurants were a big thing. Frankly we didn't miss anything. Part of cruising for us is the relationship you build with your dining staff. Floating (ha!) from restaurant to restaurant wouldn't have provided that opportunity so we were happy. Again, our opinion. If you want to go, go. - Johnny Rockets was...well...the same as the fast food place you go to at the mall. Actually, there you get the "diner" experience with folks singing and dancing to 50s music. I don't really see this as a "specialty" and had we not won the BOGO not sure we would have done anything there besides the breakfast (which is included). And at that, the cost of one burger was about the same amount I'd spend on three back home. We were disappointed the shakes weren't included as part of the drink package, but understand that's not a sustainable business model. - Re-read, and then read again my take on the Windjammer. Simply put, this was the disappointment of the cruise, and I'm glad we only went once. - Room service was always on time, only failed to call in advance once, and offered enough options that if we really didn't want to we could have avoided breakfast altogether. - Other opportunities...our bad for not trying more/others. Simply spent very little time in central park, and thus completely missed out on Park Café. Could have tried Solarium for dinner, but see above why we stuck with MDR. Staff: - I think I've bragged on MDR staff enough. Chefs (other than WJ) were good. Steward wasn't as personable as our other cruises, and left a bit to be desired with respect to room standards. Bartenders were simply grumpy all week. I'm all for extra tips (remember the drink package includes 18% on top of every drink), but they would consistently push the printed receipt hoping for more but provided very little in the form of "great service" that warranted it. - Cruise director: never interacted with him personally, but saw him onboard and saw all the videos. This week he also had his very young daughter onboard, and she was featured in his videos. Seemed like a nice guy. Proverbially off his rocker. His assistant was nice, but they didn't click. Seemed forced. - Officers: as indicated, Captain wasn't very outgoing, nor were many of his officers we interacted with. Some really got into dancing during latin night, but mostly just kept to themselves. - Sports: can't say enough good stuff about the zip line/rock wall/flow rider crew. My son is a self-proclaimed zip expert (staffed it at National Boy Scout Camp) and they were great engaging with him. Rock wall had a night climb, which my daughter showed up for just before closure. They initially told her too late, but saw her sitting on the bench looking disappointed and personally came over to issue her the gear and get her up on the wall. Flow rider...they have fun. But the best part was when one of the staff got on a board and "tandem" boogie boarded with a special needs young man who obviously was having the time of his life thanks to this staff member. The audience cheered and clapped, and it just made him that much happier. That is how you win over families on big expensive vacations. - Photographers: as I said, we stopped at EVERY one. Some were personable, others just clicked the trigger. Most tried the typical "ladies with your hands on your hips, guys with hands in pockets", but let us have some fun and choose our own poses as well. On the stairs leading to the globe behind Globe and Atlas they need a higher step stool, all the pics were taken from a too low vantage point and made them appear awkward. Some photographers dressed up on port days like pirates or sailors, fun! Many laughed or joked with me in uniform, faking a salute. Unfortunately the gentleman who checked us out at the end had absolutely no people skills, I wish one of the photographers we'd met during the week would have been there to interact with. - Art: the dude hocking art was just awkward. I think it's a pre-requisite for the job, but he came across as sort of creepy. Funny story too...he was talking a good talk (we call them war stories) with a pair of gentlemen when we walked through on the formal night. He saw me in uniform and clammed up quickly. I think he mistook me for a member of the crew :) - Excursion: I think they need a better trained staff here. Too many mistakes. - Voom: hard to find. We won the free hour, but despite repeated attempts to activate it couldn't until the last day. - Embarkation: great crew in Port Canaveral. Very friendly, eager to set the tone for the week. Activities: - Excursions: Can I beat a dead horse? I purposely went through RCL, despite the added costs, and still only got one of three that we wanted. Frustrating. - Teen club: I've heard RCL does a phenomenal job with the younger kids. This group, while young adults, wasn't very well organized or welcomed. Again, my personal experience with my daughter (she's a military kid, has moved a ton, every two years, does NOT have trouble making friends...), this just didn't jump out as a great bonus. Further, the 18 year old crowd is a tough one. He's not a drinker (international waters...pretty sure they would have served him without question!), but the few "events" they had weren't well organized/advertised/executed. - Pools: crowded, but not overcrowded. Chairs...well, chair hogs. We had a few windy days and the upper most deck was closed, so that drove a lot more folks down to the main level and Solarium, which was another area that a lot of towels enjoyed their day. Look forward to seeing what they do with Oasis in dry dock. Slides? Lazer tag? We never did mini-golf, our bad. But frankly not sure I saw a lot of folks there, so maybe a good place to re-evaluate use of valuable on-deck real estate. - Arcades: lots of "out of order" games, and too damn expensive to justify. One game of air hockey was $2.50. - Other events: we did the late dining, 8pm. Makes sense as you're not rushed to finish the day and get to dinner, but the options available for activities seemed focused on the 8pm timeframe, so we felt like there were times we missed out. Oh well. Wouldn't have changed our dining time so... - Spa: Don't feel like the "pushed" like other cruises we've been on. Although other cruises when you pay for a service, it entitled you to use the spa that day. Not so here. Wish they'd change that. - Cruise Critic meet and greet...very fun! Thanks RCL for doing it. - Trivia competitions: probably need to find a larger venue than the On Air, way overcrowded each time - Entertainment: I felt the on-deck band was good, they kept it up beat. Not so sure about the playlist (Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" about his kid falling out a window and dying? Not really cruise ship material....). As indicated the aqua show and acrobats were awesome, as were the ice skaters. I've yet to hear anything good about Cats so not sure why they've kept it so long, but didn't go so can't really speak to it. I'd think a more upbeat show (I know other ships have Mama Mia, Newsies, etc) makes more sense. The headliner was good, and the comedians as well. Only three couples for Love and Marriage, and each "won" (which, by the way, totally pissed off a lady I was chatting with in the pool!) Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My in-laws purchased this cruise for our entire family of almost 30 people. The entire thing was absolutely designed to take as much money from you as possible. They nickel and dime you mercilessly. I ordered the same drink the entire ... Read More
My in-laws purchased this cruise for our entire family of almost 30 people. The entire thing was absolutely designed to take as much money from you as possible. They nickel and dime you mercilessly. I ordered the same drink the entire time and the price was never the same. I felt psychologically manipulated the entire time by the layout. I understand that it’s a business. But their methods are ham handed at best. I felt like just another head of cattle in their money making operation. I felt like a cog in someone’s personal cash machine. Don’t bother staying onboard when in port. Almost everything on board is closed. Any last minute purchases, you’re out of luck. Anecdotally, the line questioning charges at debarkation was massive. Toss in that virtually our entire party now has the flu. It wasn’t my best cruising experience by far. The boat is far too large and carries entirely too many people. It’s a floating Petri dish. If you really want a pleasant cruise stick with Holland/America. Our party took a vote afterwards and it was unanimous, which is unheard of in this family. None of us will ever travel with them again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We recently returned from our Christmas cruise on the Oasis. Overall the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and good time, there was just something missing and can't quite put my finger on it. We sailed as a family of 4, (Mid 40s and kids ... Read More
We recently returned from our Christmas cruise on the Oasis. Overall the cruise was enjoyable, relaxing and good time, there was just something missing and can't quite put my finger on it. We sailed as a family of 4, (Mid 40s and kids 19/17) and while there was ample food, entertainment and christmas decor, overall I was expecting a little more for a Christmas cruise. We dined in the Main Dining room 6 of the 7 nights and food was acceptabel but not outstanding and after cruising on smaller Royal ships, found the food better on the small ships. Perhaps due to the large number of guests the quality goes down. Can't comment on the speciality dining. Enjoyed the entertainment for the most part, but found Cats a disappointment. The Aqua show was great as were the comedians and entertainers. As for our kids, they found they were caught in an age gap between kids and adults and really found very little that engaged them at this age, even on a large ship. They weren't bored but nothing specifically was set up for this demographic. We were also part of a larger group (19 total) and saw many other large family groups and being a holiday cruise this makes sense, but with this I experienced less socializing between groups as everyone seemed focused on their family or groups. Again this was different on the small ships and summer time of the year. Overall the ship is lovely, crew were great and wouldn't hesitate to travel on the oasis again, there was just something missing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is the 3rd Christmas cruise in a row on the Oasis, and although there has been thorough enjoyment on all. However, this one was over the top, the best. Can't put my finger on what made this year different, except that it was - ... Read More
This is the 3rd Christmas cruise in a row on the Oasis, and although there has been thorough enjoyment on all. However, this one was over the top, the best. Can't put my finger on what made this year different, except that it was - from check in to departure. We embarked the ship with no waiting - went to our cabin and our luggage was already there! RCCL went out of their way to make sure passengers enjoyed their experience. It was a happy ship. The cruise director was experienced and knew what he was about. Handled himself in a most professional manner. He hosted a "chat" with Capt. Petersen which was most enjoyable. The Capt. was relaxed with the group and easy to talk with. There was excellent interaction and rapport with him for a good hour. Coastal Kitchen was remarkable. The menu was varied and the items served were cooked perfectly. Labadee has been upgraded, not that it wasn't very nice before, but it is amazing what they have done with the recreational facilities and the design. Lot of enjoyment just walking around looking at everything. RCCL has put a lot of time, money and energy into making the area very pleasant. Note that the shore excursions were rated excellent because there is no place for a non-applicable choice. The ice skating production is so well done we saw it twice. Aquatics theater - the performance of the swimmers - breath taking. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Just got back from 7-day Christmas cruise on RCI Oasis in western Caribbean. From Port Canaveral Florida, 4 days at sea, and 3 days in port at Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, and Cozumel Mexico. It was a good experience. My bias is ... Read More
Just got back from 7-day Christmas cruise on RCI Oasis in western Caribbean. From Port Canaveral Florida, 4 days at sea, and 3 days in port at Labadee Haiti, Falmouth Jamaica, and Cozumel Mexico. It was a good experience. My bias is home-body and USA road tripper. I have been on several cruises in Caribbean, Alaska, and Hawaii, on several different cruise lines. This was my first with RCI. THE GOOD RCI’s business strategy is spectacular ships, a growing fleet, and meeting new market demands. Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship on the planet. It has a sister ship and 2 more in planning or construction. The ship is 1100 feet long, 17 decks, 6500 passengers, and about 2600 crew. It is fast, 25kts per hour. Spectacular spaces include open “Central Park” on deck 8 midship with café, specialty restaurants, shops, live music, and 1200 live plants. Interior staterooms decks 9-14 have balconies that overlook Central Park. Large indoor “Promenade” decks 5-6 midships with cafes, shops, and bars. Huge Fitness Center and Spa decks 5-6 forward. “Solarium” decks 15-16 forward has adults only (age 16+) pools and whirlpools, with plexiglass overhead. Decks 15-16 midships have children’s and family pools. Decks 15-16 aft are sports decks with full size basketball court, putt-putt golf course. 2 Wave Riders, 2 climbing walls, zip line, teen only zone, and casual cafe with kid friendly buffet. “Boardwalk” deck 6 aft has carousel, shops, casual eateries, and Aqua Theatre. There are 9200 (yes, 9200) pieces of art with data plaques all over the ship. Dining 3 dining rooms decks 3-5 aft serve dinner at 6PM and 8PM by assignment. Dinner includes choice of 7 appetizers, 7 entrées, and 7 desserts. The food is the best I have had on any cruise and portions are perfect, not too much, and not too little. (I gained weight with plenty of exercise.) One dining room serves breakfast by order. Windjammer Café serves best breakfast, lunch, and supper buffets I has seen on any cruise or anywhere for that matter. You can eat there during hours without assignment. Mostly adults in dining rooms, families with small kids go to Windjammer or any number of casual eateries. Dozen or so specialty restaurants (extra cost) on the ship. Nightlife and shows 1400 capacity Opal Theatre decks 5-6 forward has nightly shows and movies. Several comedy and music venues deck 5 forward including ice rink for shows and skating. Promenade has piano bar and guitar pub. Casino deck 4 midship. Aqua Theatre 6 aft has water shows and large screen TVs. Fitness Center (gym) Best and biggest gym I have ever seen on a ship. As good as my local Planet Fitness. Plenty of LifeFitness treadmills, elliptical, and cycling machines, never fully occupied even at peak hours. All the LifeFitness weight and cable machines. Full set of dumbbells and one Smith machine. Only limitation is maximum of 4 people can occupy free weights and Smith machine area. (No squat rack or barbells.) Plenty of open space for mat work. Yoga and Pilates classes. Walking/running track is outside on deck 5. About one quarter mile. Downside is views are obscured by lifeboats on sides and bridge on bow. Spa Biggest and best spa I have seen on ship or anywhere. More than 50 offerings for various massage, facial, sauna, heat, hair and nail services. Somethings I have never seen at a spa – acupuncture and teeth whitening. Staterooms Seems like slightly larger than my other cruises. Steward service morning and early evening while out. My wife and I had outer stateroom with balcony over port side while my two adult daughters had inner stateroom across the hall with balcony over Central Park. SCUBA You can take classes and get PADI certified on ship. Ports I’ve been to several Caribbean ports and beaches, and they each offer the same things – same weather, same topography, same people, same food and beverage, same shopping, same activities. So, it really makes no difference to me which particular Caribbean island or beach I visit. Labadee is RCI’s private beach on Haiti. It offers a very nice beach for sunbathing and playing in the sand and water, an awesome zip line across the beach, and a safe casual picnic table lunch buffet with ship food and servers. There are a couple of shops with licensed merchants and uniformed police that insure that merchants stay in their kiosks and not bother people on the beach. There is also a fenced off flea market on the backside of the property with more aggressive hawkers, but uniformed police to make sure they don’t go outside their fence. I skipped the flea market. Falmouth Jamaica has a four square block shipping district at the port which is fenced off. Merchants are licensed, friendly, stay in their shops, and not overly aggressive. There are plain clothes police. If you go outside the wire, you will be greeted by mobs of more aggressive street hawkers. Cozumel is a Mexican island eleven miles east of the Yucatan main land. There is a small shopping area at the port. There are uniformed police, drug sniffing dogs, and magnatometers. My family took a 3 hours bus tour which stopped for 45 minutes to shop downtown. Merchants were friendly, stayed close to their shops, and were not overly aggressive. Afterwards we travelled about 20 miles to a beach and restaurant on the other side of the island and stay about 90 minutes before returning to port. Tourists should rightly be concerned about cartel violence on the mainland, but Cozumel seems a bit isolated. We did see two federales (police) complete with tactical gear and assault rifles slung to their chest walking peacefully together downtown. I felt that Cozumel was safe, and our Mexican guides took very good care of us. Embarkation and Disembarkation Embarkation was quickest and easiest I have experience. We stayed at the Port Canaveral Radisson the night before. We used the onsite long-term parking. Took the scheduled shuttle from Radisson to Oasis that morning. Minimal waiting at Radisson, five-minute drive to Oasis. Dropped off luggage, had priority check in (through travel agent) and about a half hour later were onboard. Even though there was a partial government shutdown which included Customs and Border Enforcement, I didn’t perceive any extended delay. Allowed into our staterooms about an hour after getting onboard. Disembarkation was quick and easy too. Had to be out of staterooms by 0830. Waited in Opal Theatre (had breakfast at 8AM). Even though scheduled last to disembark at 1030, were off at 10AM. Even with partial government shutdown, only waited about 20 minutes to get through customs. Did not have to make any declaration beyond saying that each of my family members returning with less than $800 in goods and not more than one liter of alcohol (no tobacco). Waited 15 minutes for shuttle to fill before 5-minute ride back to Radisson. THE NOT-SO-GOOD Oasis is a huge ship, consequently, there is a lot of walking to get to various venues. The elevator banks are only at forward and aft parts of the ship. No elevators midship. No corridors directedly connect starboard and port sides below deck 15 because of Central Park, Promenade, and casino. No eateries were open between 10PM and 5:30AM. On other cruises, we had a buffet somewhere at all hours of the night. The beverage packages are expensive and only make economic sense if you consume more than eight carbonated soft drinks per day. Desserts were average in spite of appetizers and entrees being excellent to outstanding. Ice cream was sold only at one Ben and Jerry’s shop for an extra fee. Soft serve was limited at couple of cafés and poolside with limited hours. Seems like dining too early at 6PM, and too late at 8PM. 8PM dining means 10PM show and late night most every night. You can choose Windjammer café or specialty restaurant at a better time, up to you. RCI does not cater so much to very young children like other cruise lines such as Disney. Onboard WiFi cost $11 per day. There are no desktop computers available on the ship outside the business center. Had one too many days at sea, but can’t do much about that. Cruise usually has to be 3,4, or 7 days. There were no golf excursions if that is your cup of tea. THE NOT-SO-UGLY Each Caribbean island and nation has unsafe and undesirable sides. It appears that RCI has found safe places and excursions for passengers onshore. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean ship but probably my 12 th cruise. I had low expectations after reading prior reviews and dealing with the cruise planner people via telephone. However once on the ship we were really pleasantly ... Read More
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean ship but probably my 12 th cruise. I had low expectations after reading prior reviews and dealing with the cruise planner people via telephone. However once on the ship we were really pleasantly surprised. Let me start by saying that a week prior to the cruise we were able to change from the 8 o’clock seating to my time dining However this information was never conveyed to the dining staff a nightly we had issues getting our table After a lot of aggravation most nights we were able to secure a table in the main dining room with a fantastic Duo of servers. The The food in the main dining room and at the other free venues was much better than previous Royal Caribbean cruises in fact it was some of the best cruise food we’ve ever had Another glitch we had was we had made a reservation when we got on board at chops but because we enjoyed our main dining room servers so much we canceled the reservation two days ahead of time however Royal Caribbean even though they took it off of our cruise planner still charged us for the dinner and it took three tries to get it off of our bill A disappointment on the ship was the gym There was plenty of equipment that much of the equipment did not work well and there was never any staff to Fine to assist with it The ship was clean and well kept with plenty of staff We had a balcony room on the Central Park level we did notice that only she would be out that’s worked and that was frustrating There are also very few amenities in those rooms I see only thing that was provided was soap and shampoo conditioner in the shower it was the bare essentials We did not partake in any of the ships tours as we have been to those ports before Laboratory Laberdee was our favorite stop by please be advise that the tender does not run to get you back to the ship and no one tells you this when you take the tender in the morning We always found plenty of deck chairs so there was no issue to reserve seats extra early even during a full Christmas cruise we always found plenty of deck chairs so there was no issue to reserve seats extra early even during a full Christmas Cruise. Even though the ship was a full capacity we never felt the fullness of the ship and often found quiet places Something the staff could do better is enforcing the no children role in the solarium hot tub‘s and the Gym. Which it to a private tour in Cozumel through Viator. Chocolate, tequila and tacos at Discover Mexico. This was excellent. The shows were great But we did leave Cats midway. It was quite long I’m not really uplifting The diving and the eyeshadow were wonderful as well as the comedians on board Finally we all had facials or massages at the spa and truly enjoyed them however the pressure to upsell it’s quite evident Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for a Christmas cruise for the family. Embarkation was smooth. Arrived about 10:30, stood in line for 2-3 minutes, and then received our stateroom cards. We boarded with the Platinum group and headed ... Read More
We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas for a Christmas cruise for the family. Embarkation was smooth. Arrived about 10:30, stood in line for 2-3 minutes, and then received our stateroom cards. We boarded with the Platinum group and headed to make dinner reservations, show reservations, and purchase a couples thermal spa pass for two of our guests. I had made reservations for many of the shows before we left and I am glad I did. Most every show was sold out before the ship even left port. Dinner reservations were very easy to make. Just know that if you want to eat hibachi in Izumi, you need to make your reservations pretty quickly as they only have three tables. We purchased the Ultimate Dining Package during the Black Friday sale so we ate in a specialty restaurant every night except for Christmas day. Dining: Service is really hit or miss in all restaurants. Overall, the food was very good. Chops and 150 Central Park were our favorite places to eat. The hibachi at Izumi was pretty bad--mushy rice and an overly-dramatic chef. We stayed away from Windjammer because it was so crowded and the food quality was the worst we have seen on any of our 20+ cruises. Overall, the food choices on the ship are great and no one went hungry. Shows: There is no shortage of things to do on the ship. The "Cats" show wasn't our taste at all and we left after the first 15 minutes. The comedy shows were funny and the water show was entertaining despite there being no understandable story-line. Ports: We did not get off the ship at Labadee. We decided to stay on the ship and enjoy it while everyone else was gone. At Falmouth, we walked around the port shopping area. While in Cozumel, we shopped and enjoyed a lunch at Pancho's Backyard. We chose this particular cruise for the ship and not so much the ports, but we were horrified to see the RCCL will gladly charge you $50.00 if you would like to volunteer at a homeless shelter for a day in Falmouth. Corporate greed at its worst! Stateroom: We had a Central Park View Balcony and loved it. We enjoyed the view and listening to the classical music in the evening. Our cabin steward, Erickson did a great job taking care of us and we appreciated his hard work straightening our room twice a day. Spa: Two of our guests purchased the couples thermal spa package. Overall, the spa was filthy and too small for the number of people using the spa. The private area for the mud treatment and whirlpools was very dirty as well and the spa staff were very unorganized. They would not purchase this again. Issues: We purchased a Refreshment Drink Package for my husband which has always included Evian water. This was a real problem this cruise. The only water most bars had to give to package holders was plain drinking water. When we asked Guest Services about this, they explained that every bar should have the Evian and asked which bars we had visited for water. This kept happening and when we asked again, they said that the package did not include Evian water. Something was up with the whole deal. We did stop make an unscheduled stop in Nassau early on the second day and we wondered if they might have stopped for supplies. The soda from the freestyle machines and in the restaurants was awful! We will not purchase another drink package. I realize that people do not go on cruises to watch T.V. but the programming available on this ship is AWFUL! The only saving grace was that there were some free movies in the on-demand movie options. The free movie options disappeared after the third day of the cruise. When one of the people in our party asked about the free movies, she was told that there was a technical problem and they had someone fixing the problem and everything would be restored soon. When I called later, I was told that there actually are no free movies in the on-demand offerings and that the free movies that were there the first few days was a mistake. They need to get their stories straight. This has happened to us on two other RCCL sailings. My theory is they offer them for a few days with the hope that you will purchase a movie when the free offerings disappear. Overall, we had a great time. The ship is huge yet we never felt it was crowded thanks to a good layout by the ship's designers. The ship and its furnishings are definitely showing some wear and tear, but it is a great ship with activities for of all ages. My best advice would be make your show reservations early, stay away from the spa, and download some movies or shows to your iPad for late-night viewing in your cabin. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
Friends had told us how much they liked the Oasis so we decided to book the cruise. We were very pleasantly surprised by the friendly crew, great selection of dining options and the variety and quality of the entertainment. The overall ... Read More
Friends had told us how much they liked the Oasis so we decided to book the cruise. We were very pleasantly surprised by the friendly crew, great selection of dining options and the variety and quality of the entertainment. The overall atmosphere of the ship was beyond our expectations. Even though the ship was at max capacity it really didn’t feel crowded. Our dining experience in the main dining room was stellar. Since they were serving over 6000 meals we had lowered our expectation but were pleased to be wrong. The Oasis of Dreams show was amazing. Particularly considering the ship was moving. We really enjoyed the variety and skill of the performance. We have never had an easier disembarkation and trip through the customs. We will definitely cruise on the Oasis again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
The first night's dinner sent me to the medical facility with nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. I was diagnosed with gastritis. I knew it was food poisoning from dinner, but the medical staff would not even whisper the ... Read More
The first night's dinner sent me to the medical facility with nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. I was diagnosed with gastritis. I knew it was food poisoning from dinner, but the medical staff would not even whisper the words. Little did I know then that a few cruises later the ship would return early because of a gastrointestinal outbreak. Embarcation was the smoothest I have seen for 6000 people. The dining room is not big enough for the staff to squeeze around each other between the tables with toddlers running around unsupervised by lazy parents. They removed the daily newspapers from the fleet, which we didn't like, and they added alot more shops and ways to charge you for what used to be free. The gratuities rose again. You can't eat breakfast until 630am, which left us and 75 other people waiting in line from 6am to 630am for the windjammer to open. You can no longer get coffee 24 hours a day or just sit in the windjammer reading in quiet. The sanitation of the windjammer has gone down. Servers walk right by dirty tables to chat with other workers rather than clean up tables in front of waiting guests. I cleaned up tables a few times myself. The tables in the windjammer were dirty from the night before when we entered it at 630am. Just terrible. Because I could not get a hot egg from the windjammer, (all are premade and cold) I had to ask Edwin, an officer, to please ask a cook to make me a hot egg. The quality of the food in the windjammer was awful. While we were eating, a staff member interrupted our breakfast to try to sell us dinners at the various specialty restaurants. They really push this kind of thing. They try to milk you at every turn. It gets old really quick. Drink Packages! Massages! Specialty Restaurants! Climbing Wall! Ice Cream! SHOPSHOPBUYBUYBUY! Want to watch a movie in your room? Fork over $11.99 honey. It used to be free, but not now. The quality of the guests has slid some too. For example, I saw a few children in diapers with their parents in the adult-only hot tubs. Really? Do we all have to marinate in your child's piss and poop? If you do this kind of thing, dear reader, stop! After many years on RCCL and Celebrity, we finally made Diamond level, which has nice perks, but even the Diamond lounge was not wheelchair-accessible. Big chairs block wheelchairs and scooters from getting to the lower level. There is no wheelchair access to the upper deck of the Diamond lounge. Stairs only. The Comedy shows and the Love & Marriage show came on way too late.I hears from several guests that the CATS show was great, just too darn long. We saw the synchronized swimming show and the ice skating show which were wonderful! For daily trivia games, the venue could not hold all of the people who wanted to play. This kind of thing is not difficult, RCCL. Come on now! The Scooner bar was not wheelchair accessible because of the pole. RCCL could have designed the bar a little different to allow for the width of a wheelchair, but they didn't. Our room steward was the worst guy we have ever had in our 29 cruises. He was supposed to know that we needed 2 extension cords for our cpap breathing machines, as well as distilled water for both of us. We could not go to bed for four long hours after we arrived in our cabin before the cords arrived. We never got the clothes hangers we requested so we had to live out of our luggage the whole time. Several times we came back from breakfast or dinner to a dirty cabin. Not once was our cabin vacuumed or dusted or trash cans emptied. After 4 days, he put hand soap in the shampoo dispenser! This seems to be the new RCCL standard of quality. Our mattress caused me back pain. Complaining about the room steward got us nowhere. Our room steward was, however, quick to call our attention to the tip envelopes. As a small perk, we got two soda cups which were good for only 3 drinks per day, but the soda machines were frequently out of ice. Your unsuccessful attempt at getting a drink was counted as one of your three allowed. The infinity adult hot tub was wonderful when it didn't contain a stray child in diapers swimming in it. The charge for laundry was way too high. Our cabin was located on deck 14 with an interior balcony. We never slept one good night because of the noise from constant music, screaming kids and running people on the deck right above us. Our first excursion was a dolphin swim at the Atlantis resort. The ship hauled us all in an old, ratty bus with my manual wheelchair hitting other guests and landing in the stairwell, which is unsafe and illegal for it to be blocking the exit. According to the shore excursions brochure, lunch was included. Not so! I had to spend $53 for a water and a fish sandwich that a gas station would refuse to serve, and argue with the shore excursions people to get reimbursed. While they were clearly in the wrong, they argued about how much we had spent. I got the cheapest thing on the menu! They referred us to the Atlantis resort operator instead of telling the truth that they screwed up. Most of the activities were geared towards children, and there was no quiet place to sit away from noisy children. During our 2nd excursion, at Buck Island, St. Thomas the captain of our boat accidentally broke my personal prescription lens snorkeling mask then denied doing it. She refused to replace it at first, but then handed me one of the lesser quality snorkel masks on her boat and called it even. I had to argue for the next 3 days with the shore excursions desk people that my custom prescription mask was worth alot more than the used mask she gave me. She didn't break my mask on purpose, but she didn't admit fault when it was clearly her fault. The third excursion was at St. Maarten, the Ultimate snorkle and beach. We saw 1 turtle, 1 ray, fire coral, and 1 very big something. We received a free specialty restaurant coupon from our wonderful travel agent so I ordered crab cakes. The crab cakes were full of corn with one tiny flake of crab. I saw the servers talking among themselves when they should have been working. I am certainly glad that I did not pay for this poor meal and even poorer service. We asked for the gratuities to be removed, but guest services would only remove two days worthfor only one of us in the cabin. I had to argue about that little oversight. In the main dining room, my food allergy was not remembered by the kitchen or the staff. Once I got all 3 courses at once! There was no room on my table for 3 courses, so my husband had to hold one plate in front of him. What's going on here? Basically we paid the same for this cruise but received an awful lot less. We are never going to waste our money on RCCL again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
With 20+ cruises under our belt we decided to finally try the biggest with Royal's Oasis of the Seas. Some recent reviews were not favorable. We found almost everything wonderful! The staff in every department was friendly and ... Read More
With 20+ cruises under our belt we decided to finally try the biggest with Royal's Oasis of the Seas. Some recent reviews were not favorable. We found almost everything wonderful! The staff in every department was friendly and helpful. Room attendant exceptional. The shops in the Prominade were filled with enthusiastic young people that just wanted you to enjoy the cruise. Some reviewers mentioned the age of the ship and maybe in need of some work (kinda like me). We have been on one year old ships with issues that needed addressing, so a suggestion would be to overlook minor things and just enjoy. Many food choices available throughout the ship, from pizza, salads, sandwiches, buffet, etc. and all were good. Since tastes differ the main dining menu has enough variety to satisfy pretty much any wish. I always get 2 or 3 offerings so that I could discover a new favorite. Chefs table was nice since they offered two for one on days that needed participants. The same at the steak house. Just be friendly and ask the head waiter quietly. Even without the drink package they will give you 40% off bottles of wine if you ask quietly! I never get the drink package because I bring two bottles of wine and a bottle or 2 of spirits. My last review received a question on how to bring on spirits. Amazon has "rum runners". Check them out on YouTube. The comedians, Ice show, main showroom, dive show, all very good. The exception was the production show Cats. It was awful. About half the audience walked out within 20 minutes, us included. I would have left 10 minutes sooner but my darling wife said we needed to give it a chance to have some entertaining value. Nope, nada, zip. When she glanced at me then rolled her eyes I knew she had given up also. Don't worry about having 6,000 guests causing lines. We did not have any issues. First timers need to book the free shows weeks in advance of cruise date because seating is limited. A line will form for non-ticketed folks 10 minutes before showtime. You will still get in! Just seats could be scattered. Try the Oasis. You will love it. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
What we enjoyed: Food was excellent in the Silk Dining Room. Jean our waiter did a wonderful job along with his associate. The variety and temperature of the food was great. The service was quick and the one mistake we had with a steak ... Read More
What we enjoyed: Food was excellent in the Silk Dining Room. Jean our waiter did a wonderful job along with his associate. The variety and temperature of the food was great. The service was quick and the one mistake we had with a steak temperature was quickly rectified. Had a voucher for free special dinner & lunch, ate at Chops for both, was ok, but don't spend money on it as the main dining room was better. The variety of venues to eat was great. We really liked the solarium café as a getaway from the crowds. We really liked the RCCL All Access Tour as it gives you an interesting look at what it takes to run a large ship like the Oasis.Worth the money for this one. The Aqua show, Frozen and the Headliner were great shows. We did not see others as I made the mistake of making reservations for the late shows thinking the early dinner service would take too long to make the first show times. My fault on that one. What needs improvement: The boarding process – confusing, not enough signs as there were so many people there, they blocked the signs and staging areas. More RCCL people are needed to assist. The activities for 55+ while at sea. Since we are not athletic, rock climbing, surfing, basketball, ice skating, ziplining are not for my wife and me. The art auctions and watch/diamond shopping is ok to look at, but then you are done with that activity. How about a current movie in the Opal theatre during the day? How about a cooking class demo? How about dog/cat club discussion? Or a veterans group, an IT computer group discussion? There has to be something other than Bingo for our age group other than sitting in a bar with drunken people. Please make your voice heard to make the Casino smoke free. We were able to tolerate the smoke free side for a short time, but even quickly walking through the other side, I starting coughing from the smoke. The smoke actually got in our clothes even sitting on the smoke free side. There has to be an area on deck you could dedicate to the smokers. Lastly, If you are not allowed an extension cord in the cabin, RCCL needs to provide outlets near the bed. We had ours confiscated. They will not returned it your cabin on the last day, instead they made us stand in another line outside of the terminal to retrieve our property. Port Excursions: Taste of Nassau Walking Tour: Captain Ron our tour guide did a wonderful job of providing history and stops a restaurants to sample the food in Nassau. I would highly recommend it. One note: Not a tour for limited mobility – due to the stairs involved and the uneven streets of Nassau itself. St. Thomas Sightseeing and Shopping Tour: (Sunny Listion Tours) Worst tour we have ever taken on a cruise. Had to ask multiple people where to find the guide at the port. There is no access for limited mobility. They had to fold up my wife’s walker and shove it in front of her to hold on the bus. The bus dropped us off at a flea market type area for shopping. An hour later we had a different guide who just said get on a different bus. The trip up the mountain was like Mr. Toad’s wild ride. There are no doors or ropes/chains to keep you from sliding out of the bus. Had to lean in from the side of the bus to keep from getting hit by tree limbs along the road. There roads are very narrow with scary hairpin turns passing other vehicles. We got off the bus parked on a hill at the top of the mountain. When we left to go down the mountain to the beach for a few people, we had to switch buses again. There was very little narration for this wild ride through St. Thomas. I would not recommend to anyone and it should be removed from the AAA list for member safety or have a warning placed on it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
My parents gifted us this cruise for Christmas, and we had a great time! We stayed in a 2 bedroom Grand Suite (sky class) room 10244. My husband and I shared the smaller room with our 7 month old son, my brother slept on the futon-type ... Read More
My parents gifted us this cruise for Christmas, and we had a great time! We stayed in a 2 bedroom Grand Suite (sky class) room 10244. My husband and I shared the smaller room with our 7 month old son, my brother slept on the futon-type couch in the living room area, and my parents stayed in the larger bedroom. We were all comfortable, especially since we usually stay in inside cabins and are used to the tighter sleeping accomodations. I will focus on the baby aspect of this cruise, since I had trouble finding much information on cruising with a baby when I was preparing for this trip. Overall, I think it went very well, but we have a pretty chill baby. First off, we preordered baby food, diapers, wipes, and bottled water for formula. None of the items I ordered matched the pictures on the website, except for the water. The diapers pictured are Huggies Snug and Dry, which is what I have been using for overnight diapers since my son is still too small for the smallest size of true overnight diapers. However, what we got was Huggies Little Snugglers (36 count size 2). The baby food pictured was Geber Organic stage 2. We received regular Geber, stage 1 (which is half the size) - 2 squash, 3 sweet potatoes, 2 carrots, and 2 prunes. The wipes we received were not baby wipes, but Cotonelle wipes (like the kind adults can use too). We ordered the 12 pack case of 1 liter Evian bottles, and that was as pictured/advertised. All items were in our stateroom on arrival. The pack n play provided was clean and adequate, although they do not provide fitted sheets for it, so bring your own. It fit (snugly) between our bed and the wall. We used the pull down bunk beds to store our clothes (still in our packing cubes from the suit case). We brought a small swing for our son, since he still takes naps in the swing and it was a necessity. It fit, unassembled, in our large hard sided suitcase. It is the Fisher Price take along swing and seat. Take extra batteries and screwdriver to reassemble if you bring the swing. Instead of using burp cloths, we opted to ask for extra wash cloths and use those while on the boat. Worked great! We brought the OXO tot on the go travel drying rack for drying bottles and it fit perfectly at the end of the bathroom counter. Also a full size bottle of babyganics dish soap. For dirty diapers, since we didn't have our diaper genie, we used the diaper baggies that come on a roll, to cut down on smell between room cleanings. Since we were in a suite, we had access to a tub for bath time, which worked fine. For the stroller, we opted for a car seat/stroller caddy combo. We brought our Chicco KeyFit30 car seat, which we brought on the plane since we bought him a seat, and also used in the rental car to the ship. We used the Chicco Caddy stroller that the car seat snaps onto, and it worked great. The handles fold down, which is convenient on the elevators of the ship to make extra room. We did also bring our Lillebaby all seasons carrier to wear our baby during the drill on the first day, since you can't use the elevators. We used it during the dive show at the Aqua Theater as well when we had to stand the whole time, since we got there too late for a seat. Our son is still too small for the high chairs provided on the ship, so after trying it out for one dinner, we opted to bring the car seat/stoller combo into the dining room at dinner, fold the handles down, and pull it up to the table. It took up no more room than a chair. When it was time to feed him, we took turns holding him on our lap. We were never offered any pureed food for my son in the Main Dining Room or Coastal Kitchen, but did not ask either. I think if we really wanted/needed it, it could be done according to other reviews I read. One thing to note, if you are in a suite, you have access to the suite deck at the pool. However, there is no elevator that goes to that deck, so we couldn't easily bring our baby up there in the stroller. Other items that came in handy: stroller fan for days in port, baggies for putting ice in for keeping bottles cold, OXO travel spoon with carrying case, wipeable bibs, clorox wipes for cleaning surfaces/plane surfaces/toys, travel lysol to spray down pack n play/plush toys that fall on floor, noise machine, sound-only baby monitors, extra batteries for swing/fan/toys, medicine kit with OTC baby meds (tylenol, saline nose spray, gas drops, etc.) since these are not readily available anywhere. We also opted to keep the items that we knew we couldn't replace easily on the ship in a rolling suitcase that we kept with us when we boarded, instead of checking, so that there was no chance of it getting lost. We did not use the kids babysitting service, but did sign him up on the first day just in case. The suites area of the beach in Labadee had plenty of shady chairs, where we set up shop and our baby napped. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
This is my 3rd cruise with RCCL and my 6th overall. This was by far the best one. I was worried about being on such a big ship with 6000 passengers as I have only been on smaller ships before. It was never a issue. There is always ... Read More
This is my 3rd cruise with RCCL and my 6th overall. This was by far the best one. I was worried about being on such a big ship with 6000 passengers as I have only been on smaller ships before. It was never a issue. There is always something to do and we were never bored. I had read the reviews about the ship being old and showing its age, Not true. It was not brand new but was well maintained and clean. The staff were all professional and we never had a issue. We stayed in a junior suite and it was much more comfortable then we were used to. Only issue we had was we were not able to have dinner in the Coastal Kitchen that suite guest could use. By the time we tried to get in it was already reserved for the cruise. Not a big deal the main dinning room was great. The entertainment on the ship was top rate. Cats was excellent and the diving show is something not to miss. I read lots of negative reviews of this ship and I don't see what people are complaining about. I work in a service industry and know hard it is to please some people and RCCL are great. No matter what you do some people will not be happy. I recommend this cruise for everyone. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
The two of us got onboard Oasis on 12/9 to enjoy the 8-day Western Caribbean tour. Overall, the experience was positive, as 85-90% of the trip was well organized and executed. The reason for 2-star rating were those few situations which RC ... Read More
The two of us got onboard Oasis on 12/9 to enjoy the 8-day Western Caribbean tour. Overall, the experience was positive, as 85-90% of the trip was well organized and executed. The reason for 2-star rating were those few situations which RC could resolve, but they apparently have chosen not to. The ship was spacious, well maintained, and with a lot of amenities. Plenty of activities to choose from. Quality entertainment. Decent dinning options. Our stateroom was in great shape. The ship crew was exceptional. On the negative end, dinning arrangements did not always function properly. WindJammer Marketplace, being the main dinning option on the ship, was designed inadequately, often crowded and introducing long waiting times. On multiple occasions waiting staff hijacked our attention while we were eating to advertise premium dinning choices. This practice was completely unacceptable since we felt cornered and were left without options, except to either be rude toward them, or put up with their efforts to upsell. In general, the campaign geared toward advertising and squeezing every dollar possible out of passengers' pockets, as orchestrated by RC, was a bit cheap and tasteless. Paid arrangements must be commercial free. Finally, the alcohol policy. We all know why most companies do not allow it onboard, and while there is a strong argument, both pro- and against bringing alcohol on the ship, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for RC to confiscate it from passengers (as they actually do). Prohibiting the consumption of bring-your-own alcohol in staterooms is quite outrageous. Apart from these few 'ethical' nuances, the journey was a pleasure. The professional crew, the variety of ship amenities, and the availability of entertainment options will satisfy most tastes. A 'hidden gem', the Delight Duo, performs classical pieces almost daily in Central Park on deck #8. Highly recommended to all who enjoy listening this music genre! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We sailed on this ship last year. Same time of year. Last Year checkin went smoothly. This year not so. We are Diamond and usually have priority boarding. It’s one of the perks or always has been. It was last year. After waiting in line ... Read More
We sailed on this ship last year. Same time of year. Last Year checkin went smoothly. This year not so. We are Diamond and usually have priority boarding. It’s one of the perks or always has been. It was last year. After waiting in line for well over an hour we finally got on too late for lunch buffet. Our original time for boarding was 11:30. We got an email from RC telling us not to arrive until 12:30. Apparently 6000 others got the same email. Entertainment was great. Room was great along with our outstanding stateroom attendant, Joey Barcelona. Food was mediocre at best. I think RC is cutting corners everywhere. There seemed to be less staff in all areas especially clearing tables in Windjammer and Solarium Bistro. Solarium is supposed to be over 16. I guess the rules only apply to some. There were children there every time we were there and no one said anything to them. The ship is beautiful and kept very clean. We will continue to sail with RC as most others cruises have been great. We were just disappointed with this one. Read Less
Oasis of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 3.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.9
Service 4.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 3.9
Rates 5.0 3.8

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