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We chose to cruise with Royal Caribbean for the first time to experience what the massive Oasis of the Seas had to offer. We have only ever cruised with Carnival Cruise line prior to sailing with Royal Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas. So my review and rating is given in comparison to the competing cruise line. In our experience (family of 4), the prices for drinks, specialty restaurants, activities, and photo purchases were outrageously more expensive when compared to Carnival's pricing. Drink and picture purchases were almost double that of Carnival's prices. Not to mention an 18% gratuity fee added to all drinks or drink packages. I'm all about tipping wonderful servers and bartenders (which Royal Caribbean had) however, I don't like the tip amount being decided for me. At most restaurants gratuities are only added when there is a large group that requires much work to be done by the server. Not when purchasing one drink. One drink that was already a whopping $14 (like a margarita) and then add the $2.52 making your drink total for one drink $16.52! Because of the pricing on foods and drinks and other purchases it almost seemed like the cruise line is more interested in making money than anything else. Not to mention how much money the cruise itself costs upfront which is significantly more expensive than Carnival cruise lines. But we paid the extra money for the experience...and then paid much more once on board to experience the experience. To say we felt overcharged is a huge understatement. Some information provided by the Royal Caribbean website and vacation planners was also misleading. For example, room service was described as a complimentary food option but the fact that there is an $8.00 delivery services fee was never mentioned. Also, many of the food options were said to be available 24 hours but were not (pizza, soft serve ice cream, etc.). The monstrosity of the ship was very impressive as well as the amount of entertainment options. However, we were not aware that almost every activity guests could participate in required a reservation. We missed out on several entertainment opportunities because they were all booked by the second day on the ship once we realized reservations were necessary in order to assure entrance. Luckily, I booked several shows prior to sailing, so were able to make some shows which were very good. The size of the restaurants, entertainment venues, and certain high traffic areas do not accommodate the number of people on board. This often lead to long lines, large crowds, disorganized experiences, and disgruntled guests. It was a much faster pace on the ship rather than a relaxing time due to first come first serve opportunities. When people are stressed by time constraints and limited seating, that stress often spreads like wildfire to others making everyone a lot less friendly. We saw this happen frequently. While all of the staff was very friendly, most seemed to be very overworked by customer demand. For example, in the main dining hall our servers did their very best to cover large areas and many guests. But they were not as available as Carnival’s servers who are not under the pressure of serving huge numbers and can be more attentive. Overall, I gave this question on the survey a one because we really did enjoy ourselves in spite of the high prices, hidden fees, disorganized embarkation, disembarkation, and the unaccommodating sizes of venues and entertainment spaces.

Royal Caribbean vs. Carnival Experience

Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by lilmisstruthful

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose to cruise with Royal Caribbean for the first time to experience what the massive Oasis of the Seas had to offer.

We have only ever cruised with Carnival Cruise line prior to sailing with Royal Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas. So my review and rating is given in comparison to the competing cruise line.

In our experience (family of 4), the prices for drinks, specialty restaurants, activities, and photo purchases were outrageously more expensive when compared to Carnival's pricing. Drink and picture purchases were almost double that of Carnival's prices. Not to mention an 18% gratuity fee added to all drinks or drink packages. I'm all about tipping wonderful servers and bartenders (which Royal Caribbean had) however, I don't like the tip amount being decided for me. At most restaurants gratuities are only added when there is a large group that requires much work to be done by the server. Not when purchasing one drink. One drink that was already a whopping $14 (like a margarita) and then add the $2.52 making your drink total for one drink $16.52! Because of the pricing on foods and drinks and other purchases it almost seemed like the cruise line is more interested in making money than anything else. Not to mention how much money the cruise itself costs upfront which is significantly more expensive than Carnival cruise lines. But we paid the extra money for the experience...and then paid much more once on board to experience the experience. To say we felt overcharged is a huge understatement.

Some information provided by the Royal Caribbean website and vacation planners was also misleading. For example, room service was described as a complimentary food option but the fact that there is an $8.00 delivery services fee was never mentioned. Also, many of the food options were said to be available 24 hours but were not (pizza, soft serve ice cream, etc.).

The monstrosity of the ship was very impressive as well as the amount of entertainment options. However, we were not aware that almost every activity guests could participate in required a reservation. We missed out on several entertainment opportunities because they were all booked by the second day on the ship once we realized reservations were necessary in order to assure entrance. Luckily, I booked several shows prior to sailing, so were able to make some shows which were very good.

The size of the restaurants, entertainment venues, and certain high traffic areas do not accommodate the number of people on board. This often lead to long lines, large crowds, disorganized experiences, and disgruntled guests. It was a much faster pace on the ship rather than a relaxing time due to first come first serve opportunities. When people are stressed by time constraints and limited seating, that stress often spreads like wildfire to others making everyone a lot less friendly. We saw this happen frequently.

While all of the staff was very friendly, most seemed to be very overworked by customer demand. For example, in the main dining hall our servers did their very best to cover large areas and many guests. But they were not as available as Carnival’s servers who are not under the pressure of serving huge numbers and can be more attentive.

Overall, I gave this question on the survey a one because we really did enjoy ourselves in spite of the high prices, hidden fees, disorganized embarkation, disembarkation, and the unaccommodating sizes of venues and entertainment spaces.
lilmisstruthful’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin
The rooms appeared to be much smaller than Carnival's. Not saying that it was smaller (as I did not compare square footage) but it felt that way. It may have just been the setup.

The bathroom was very tiny. Shower was a tube that I (5'5") lady could barely wash my hair with out banging my elbows on something.
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