Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by Globehoppers
- Sail Date: October 2014
- Destination: Transatlantic
RCI originated this TA in both Rotterdam where Oasis was dry-docked for two weeks and from Southampton, both as originating ports. The Rotterdam-Southampton overnight leg was designed to showcase the ship to several thousand travel agents. About 880 paying passengers boarded Rotterdam and approximately 4,000 in Southampton. RCI IT was not set up to recognize passengers boarding in Southampton: no shows could be scheduled, no dining reservations made, and no shore excursions. Every contact with RCCL had to be telephonic, adding to much frustration by both the passenger and the representatives who never had the same story twice.
We scheduled the flight to London using Choice Air, which worked well and resulted in a good price compared to what the airlines wanted one-way. The five-night pre-cruise stay in London was perfect. We stayed at a small hotel in Kensington, the Ashburn, located a block-and-a-half distance from the Gloucester Road Underground station for 3 lines. We covered London using the bus, Underground, water bus, and train system.
Embarkation in Southampton was a disaster. Thousands standing in long lines, sometimes in the drizzling rain, people pushing to get out of the rain and find a place to sit as a result of the extremely long time it took to board. RCI representatives were few and far between. RCI blamed embarkation woes on the port, however, RCI contracts with local representatives to manage embarkation/debarkation. Interestingly, the same embarkation “challenges” were voiced by those embarking at Rotterdam. In addition, Rotterdam originating passengers were required to disembark and re-embark in Southampton with some saying that took 3 hours…
The cabin, JS 10236, was ready by the time we arrived at nearly 5PM (luggage arrived just prior to 6PM). We had scheduled dinner in Giovanni’s Table for 6:30PM, later changed to 6PM by RCI, to make the 8:30PM “Come Fly With Me” show, the only day it was scheduled. Arriving at the restaurant we were told it had been booked by a group at 8PM (the travel agents again – underway scheduled for midnight) and our reservation could not be honored. Instead, we had to “dine” in Oasis/Allure’s terribly designed Windjammer and endure a huge crush of people. The food was almost inedible, pasta so under-cooked it clumped together and other items cold. The Come Fly With Me show was good even if it was the same show repackaged from other names.
JS 10236 is a great room and we obtained a wonderful price by booking through our travel agency and C&A on the first available day. The price for the cabin escalated at least 50 percent over the next several months. The Oasis class JS is a wonderful secret. Walk-in closet, relatively large bathroom compared to balcony cabins, and the “extra” wide space made the cabin very comfortable. The bed was excellent. JS 10236 is on the “bump-out” and has an extra deep balcony with two chairs, two chaise lounges and a table. Our cabin attendant was exceptional. Linens, bathrobes and towels were showing their age and were “thin.”
While this class of ship is a magnificent engineering marvel, accommodating passengers is a struggle for RCI. After a decade of cruising, and 30 years at sea on US Navy ships, I can offer that the problem lies with the middle and senior officers, and with RCI headquarters. For example, the Cruise Director stated that he didn’t know where several common passenger venues were located or what they looked like. NOT a joking matter. He was also unaware of scheduled events during his morning show (which needs to be discontinued).
Enrichment presentations are wonderful and educational events to schedule during TAs, and are very popular on all cruise lines doing TAs. The few lectures offered were miss-scheduled for locations much to small to accommodate interested passengers. Satellite television reception during the TA was poor – which is understandable. However, most ships show a variety of “free” movies for passenger entertainment. Not so Oasis which charges $11.95 per movie (adult films on the system cost less). Some old television shows were recycled all day – the same episodes. RCI boasted that Oasis received a much improved Internet at sea reception capability. Not on this cruise. Dial-up speeds were the norm with numerous lost connections. The new “7-day” Internet package, sold by day and not minute, is an excellent improvement. In-cabin connectivity to the ship was good.
Equipment in the Fitness Center was in poor condition with some machines unusable. The mix of stationary bicycles to treadmills and other aerobic machines is inconsistent with the passenger demographic. There were a total of 4 recumbent bicycles favored by seniors, of which one was broken and one had non-functioning electronics. Long wait time for the working bicycles with some passengers not following equipment use time guidelines and no fitness center personnel available for monitoring. Oasis has a wonderful walking/jogging track which leaves the numerous treadmills unused.
After several days it became apparent that the front-line crew, from room attendants to restaurant servers, were overworked. This was confirmed by several crewmembers. RCI is reducing the staff that directly engages with passengers providing some frustration for both passengers and crew. RCI should be aware that those front-line staff are the face of the company to passengers.
Since we boarded in Southampton and “didn’t exist” in RCI’s IT system for this cruise we did not receive an electronic survey nor an end of cruise summary statement of charges.
The food in the specialty restaurants was “adequate,” but nothing to write home about especially considering the added cost.
We selected the “walk-off” disembarkation option and got in line around 6:10AM and processed through immigration within 45 minutes. Friends with later “scheduled” times told us it took up to 3 hours to disembark!
Lastly, the TV in our room “froze” during an “interactive” process. Calling “maintenance” several times over 3 hours produced only promises to fix, but no action. Finally found the direct number to IT and after several frustrating calls, the IT rep laughed at my frustration. An IT tech was sent to the room after 7 hours only after engaging an officer in customer relations.
We are currently scheduled for 3 more RCI cruises (and one on Azamara which is always wonderful) and somewhat leery of what we will experience…
- Read more Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Reviews
- Read Cruise Critic's Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Review
250,000+ people have entered their email