Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review by Mike Cunliffe
- Sail Date: September 2011
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
On board, welcoming staff but to be honest, the ship has such a wow! factor you'd be hard-pressed to be excited by a welcome from Poseidon himself. I've been on Voyager, Adventure and Liberty and Oasis is in a different league.
Specifics: even with 6000+ pax you feel this ship is NOT overloaded. We arose each morning at a sedate 9am and found the upper deck (15) to be very unoccupied. We'd no problem in securing a couple of loungers exactly where we desired - starboard side (port side is the smoker's area).
Breakfast options were varied - but we stuck with the Solarium (healthy style food in a conservatory style setting at the front, upper section of the ship_ or the main restaurant (decks 3 and 4, aft, lower, internal section). The former is self-service, the latter being either buffet or waiter service - you choose at point of entry.
Quality of food is better than many cruises we've enjoyed and to be honest, when they *ocked-up my eggs Benedict (in the main restaurant) it was changed in a jiffy - the replacement being perfect.
Lunch options were even more varied. The main dining room offered a buffet or a waiter-served option: the latter split into a guaranteed 30 minute service or a more leisurely service. God bless the Americans..... who else can sully a leisurely experience with a 30minute service? That said, quality was high, service great and speed ....... as you dictated.
Dinner? Better than many cruises including other Royal Caribbean ships although the menu choices seemed to deteriorate slightly as the week progressed. You could (I did) try two starters if you were unsure as to what to select and on the one occasion a steak was returned for correct cooking it was solved speedily and without drama. Good.
We ate in Chops (speciality steak restaurant) one night. We were wise to book this on embarkation day, shortly after settling in to the ship. I think it's difficult to get a booking several days into the cruise. At $30 each this is an experience to be savoured. Sadly, the steak sauces and the desserts failed them...but overall, sitting "outside" in the glass-encompassed street-side area was worth the cost. The steak was good too (although M&S have better - you UK readers may know this).
Entertainment: We'd pre-booked several shows at the "90 days before sail" point. DO THE SAME. There were "wait-lines" for the popular events such as the comedians, the Ice Show and the Aqua Show. All three were good - particularly the Ice Show. The "QUEST" is also worth attending - Richard, the Brit. cruise Director making this a laugh a minute.
Ports of Call: We took the Eastern Caribbean route. Nassau is really worth missing. Seriously. Stay on board or buy a trip but Nassau is dire. St Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands is pleasant enough. we've taken trips there before and it is a "nice" place but the harbour/town (Charlotte Amalie) is full of jewellery shops. It's a tough call to say St. Maarten is better - but I'm saying it. St Maarten is a little more "cosmopolitan" - has the cheapest fags in the Caribbean, good for cigars and jewellery and is, in my opinion the best of the three ports-of-call.
Overall, this ship is fantastic. The decor, cleanliness, SIZE was impressive. Staff were attentive but I got the impression they were overworked. Waiters in the main restaurant were busy to the point of not having time to converse. They had some good offers: Wine - three levels of package offering a modest choice to a quite varied choice and quantities of 5 - 7 - 12 bottles. For the setting the prices were not outlandish. Beer offers - domestic (US) beers in a cooler-bag (with ice) on the upper-decks for approx. $3 a 16oz long-neck. Acceptable. Soft-drink package - get ONE member of your party to subscribe and free soft-drinks then available for the duration when the sea-pass card displayed.
The "sea-pass" card is a combination. ID card, room-key and drinks/etc purchase authorisation card. Think of it as your "on-ship-credit-card". they stick a label on it to indicate you've purchased the Wine or Soft-Drink "package".
Finally, I feel they've brought the level of service back to the level they offered in 2008. Some of the ships in this fleet have lately slipped in quality. Oasis corrects this. I'm curious to know if this is a fleet-wide move or specific to Oasis but I can say.......I'd sail on Oasis and Allure in the future. I do however feel they need to widen the route choice somewhat.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
NassauNASSAU: Port area is dire. Stretch the legs by all means but don't actually feel you are in some exotic location - You're NOT.View All 5,874 Nassau Cruise Port Reviews
I suspect Nassau has the deepest port in the Bahamas and that's important for this ship. Would be ideal to dock her on a day OTHER than Sunday as most of the town if closed.
Allure, departing Ft. Lauderdale on a Sunday rather than the Saturday departure of Oasis might arrive here on a working day - not sure if the place would be any better though.
View Cruise Critic's Nassau Cruise Port Review
St. MaartenSt. Maartan. Part Dutch part French.View All 4,728 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
The ship pulls-in at Phillipsburg on the Dutch part. It's a neat little place, decent shops, bit more up-market than most islands (ie. those no longer closely tied with European Colonial masters) and boasts a decent beach within walking distance.
Typically, two padded deck-loungers, sun umbrella and a "bucket" of five beers with ice is $15-20. Haggle. $15 seems the lowest. Beach-front restaurant food is tasty, decently priced and well-served. It's nice to have a simple, fish dish after the excesses of the ship.
Fags are cheap - cheap - cheap here. Jewellery seemed cheaper as well. lots of people buying duty-free alcohol here as well so I guess it's also a bargain.
Consider walking from the port dock area to the beach/town. It's safe, it's not too far but you can elect to use the $6 ferry service - as many trips as you want all day for $6 each. The beach is clean, the water likewise. Orient Beach is the location for the nudists by the way. The main airport is the "extreme" place where people like to be blown-away by the jet exhausts or overflown by the low-landing planes. Crazy.
View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review
St. ThomasSt Thomas: US Virgin Islands.View All 4,647 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
At least they drive on the correct side of the road :-)
There are worse places in the Caribbean.......and there are better. US cruise liners tend to call here out of some nationalistic support fervour. They rave about the jewellery outlets but to be honest, I believe St Maartan has the edge. Unless ours was one-off the Oasis docked at a point some distance from the usual port. A Celebrity (Dream) was docked in the main port and hence we needed a bus/taxi journey to get to the main town.
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