By Chris Gray Faust
Cruise Critic Managing Editor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Entertainment

Oasis of the Seas Entertainment & Activities

Day & Night

  • Variety of shows, including AquaTheater high-diving, comedy, ice rink revues and the Broadway musical "Cats"; advance bookings necessary
  • Continual free daytime activities such as trivia, pub games, ice skating, dance classes and other similar activities inside
  • Lots to do outside, with a water park, several pools, rock climbing, mini-golf, surf simulators and a zipline
  • Nightlife all over the ship including live music and a bar scene for every taste, as well as an active casino (smoking allowed)

Oasis of the Seas is on high-adrenaline constantly; it's a ship where you can begin your day with exercise classes at dawn and boogie down until way past midnight. This is the cruise to book if you have people in your party who fear downtime, as there is almost always something to see or do.

The bulk of Oasis of the Seas' live entertainment takes place in the Entertainment Zone on Deck 4. Keep in mind that none of the ship's venues can accommodate everyone who wants to see a show; if your heart is set on not missing out, you'll have to book before you get onboard. If you didn't plan ahead, try to make reservations with Guest Services, either in person or over the phone, or show up at the venue at least 15 minutes before showtime to see if you can get in. Comedy-lovers will also want to book shows, as it's one of the first venues to fill up in advance.

Absolutely do not miss the AquaTheater. The 30-minute shows feature a team of Olympic-caliber divers, gymnasts and synchronized swimmers who splash down into the deepest diving pool at sea in a routine set to music.

For shops and bars, head to the Royal Promenade, or for a lovely respite from the buoyant energy that otherwise permeates Oasis of the Seas, check out Central Park, with its 12,175 plants and 56 trees. Central Park is open to the sky and, interestingly, through the use of wind-controlling technology, there's a lovely breeze blowing through the area. Restaurants are quieter here, and there are lots of peaceful nooks for simply curling up with a good book.

Oasis of the Seas Bars and Lounges

Bars are hopping on Oasis of the Seas, and the ship does a brisk business in drink packages.

Bar highlights include:

Blaze (Deck 4): The ship's club, which focuses on hip-hop and modern dance music, can get packed with people prepped to par-tay. The space often doesn't open until 11:30 p.m., and there are frequently people lined up out front to get in.

Jazz on 4 (Deck 4): This jazz club is a must for live music fans. Despite a prominent position in the ship's Entertainment Zone, the club is usually not crowded, and it's a nice place to listen to music without feeling too overwhelmed.

Boleros (Deck 5): Live Latin music and a location in the heart of the ship mean that this club feels energetic, crowded and fun. Since Oasis draws many international passengers who love to dance, be prepared to be impressed by fancy footwork.

On Air (Deck 5): A dizzying array of TVs on the outside of this Royal Promenade bar marks this as sports central for the onboard crowd. And crowded it becomes, particularly on Sundays during football season.

Rising Tide Bar (Deck 5): Sure, it's a gimmick. But who cares? It's fun. Patrons board this hydraulic space on Deck 5 in the busy Royal Promenade to drink and socialize as the platform slowly rises to Deck 8's Central Park and back down again. Do it once for the novelty.

Schooner Bar (Deck 6): Tucked up in a corner of the Royal Promenade, the Schooner Bar does double duty. During the day, it's home to numerous trivia contests. At night, it's a piano bar, where passengers indulge in classic cocktails while singing along.

Dazzles (Deck 8): This two-story jewel box of a nightclub hosts live bands, as well as DJs. It's a truly pretty place to get your groove on; we found it bumping during '80s night. Dancing usually ends around midnight or 1 a.m.

Diamond Lounge (Deck 11): The lounge for those "loyal to Royal" is a two-story area on Deck 11 that comes with a view of the Boardwalk. Members can come in for complimentary snacks and drinks from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Wipe Out Bar (Deck 16): Watching other passengers screw up on the FlowRider is a Royal Caribbean tradition. Why not have a drink in your hand while you do it? (Just don't indulge too much before you take a turn yourself.)

Outdoor Recreation

Three main pools, as well as a covered Solarium thalassotherapy pool that's restricted to those more than 16; nine hot tubs

H20 Zone water park for kids; no water slides until late 2019 dry dock.

Free outdoor activities include two rock climbing walls, two FlowRider surf simulators, mini-golf, table tennis, sports court and zipline

Because it's divided in two by the Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods, the top deck pools and outdoor spaces on Oasis of the Seas can seem too cramped in some areas compared to other mega-ships. Shade, in particular, is at a premium; go early and target the "Beach" saltwater pool as it's the only one with umbrellas.

Oasis of the Seas has lots of fun features to entice kids of all ages, but you'll want to watch out for age, height and weight requirements to avoid disappointment. Also make sure you bring the right gear (socks are required for rock climbing, for example, and closed-toe shoes are necessary for ziplining). One-on-one instruction is free, by appointment, for rock climbing but not for surfing. Prep your kids (and yourself) for wipe outs on the FlowRider; this is not the place to wear your skimpy bikini.

For kids who aren't old enough to do the more challenging activities, there's always mini-golf and table tennis. The Boardwalk, too, with its Coney Island vibe and merry-go-round music, is a charming alternative for young ones. You don't have to have a child in tow to ride the carousel, however. It's free, fun and has plenty of cool painted horses and animals to delight young and young at heart.

Sun-lovers should seek out the lounge chairs around the pools and the Deck 15 Skywalk that runs between them. Deck 14 also has an extensive sun deck, complete with two observation platforms that stick out over the ocean. Suite passengers have their own keycard-accessible sun deck on Deck 17.

The Solarium complex, for those older than 16, is mostly covered, which means the area can get quite steamy on hot Caribbean days. Like the rest of the ship, the Solarium can get crowded on sea days, but overall, we found it more pleasant than the main pool areas.

Oasis of the Seas Services

  • Guest and shore excursion services
  • Future cruise sales
  • Library
  • Card room with board games
  • Photo gallery and camera shop
  • Internet cafe (find Royal prices here)
  • Shops: designer accessories and clothing (Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach, Tiffany & Co.); fine jewelry; Royal Caribbean-branded items; toiletries; snacks; duty-free alcohol and cigarettes; beach and snorkel gear
  • Art galleries
  • ATMs
  • Medical center

Oasis of the Seas Spa & Fitness

  • Large selection of body treatment, facial, medi-spa and salon services
  • Ask about discounts for repeat visits and port-day morning appointments
  • Extra-fee thermal suite features several saunas and steam rooms, as well as heated ceramic loungers (day and full-cruise passes available)
  • Full fitness center with lots of LifeCycle equipment, as well as free weights

Spa

At first blush, the two-story Vitality Spa & Fitness neighborhood on Decks 6 and 7 seems to have it all. There's a cafe with healthy snacks and smoothies, an Elemis product bar, a beauty salon, teeth whitening clinic, acupuncture and a medi-spa, all near the gym.

And yet, the experience is severely lacking. When you check in for a spa treatment, for example, you are sent downstairs to a windowless Relaxation Room in your street clothes and brought in for your treatment without being offered a robe, slippers or other spa amenities (There's nary a lemon in your ice water to be seen, let alone natural light.)

Spa treatments themselves include a variety of facials, massages and body wraps. A 50-minute Swedish massage, for example, costs $119 regularly or $107 with on a port-day morning.

Fitness

The gym on Oasis of the Seas seems small for a ship of its size, but then again, maybe people feel like they are getting enough exercise roaming around. (Pedometer users are almost guaranteed to make their step goals.) The space has windows (although no locker room) and features elliptical machines, treadmills, bikes, free weights and weight machines. There's a Flywheel room, as well.

Complimentary fitness classes include stretch, total body conditioning and abs; indoor cycling classes cost extra, as does yoga on the helipad.

The jogging track on Deck 5 is covered. Inspirational messages urge walkers and runners to keep going. Once around the track is two-thirds of a kilometer; go 2.4 laps to make a mile.

Oasis of the Seas For Kids

  • Royal Caribbean is one of the best cruise lines for families, with smart programming aimed at specific age ranges (3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 11)
  • Oasis of the Seas offers the Royal Babies and Royal Tots program; babies must be at least 6 months to board
  • Tweens and teens have their own hangout areas and programmed activities
  • Oasis of the Seas has a host of family-friendly cabins, with bunk beds and separate rooms
  • Group babysitting is available for a fee from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The outstanding kids' offerings on Oasis of the Seas start with the littlest cruisers. The Royal Babies program accepts infants as young as 6 months old up to 18 months; after that, they are dubbed Royal Tots until 36 months old.

Drop-off nursery service costs $8 an hour, and parents must sign up in hourly increments. Besides the nursery where the cribs are, there is a large stay and play room, where parents can join their very young ones for story time, coloring and free-time play.

Kids

Royal Caribbean's complimentary children's program, Adventure Ocean, is centered on Deck 16. Kids are divided up into three groups: Aquanauts (ages 3 to 5), Explorers (ages 6 to 8) and Voyagers (ages 9 to 11). Programming includes trivia, spelling bees, movies and more advanced science and art projects. Children must be registered and fully toilet trained to take part in activities.

Royal Caribbean is certified as autism-friendly, and this extends to its kids programs. Oasis offers toys that can be borrowed for in-cabin use, as well as movies, games and activities that are suitable for kids with autism.

Adventure Ocean opens at 6:30 a.m. and runs through 10 p.m.; counselors bring kids to lunch and dinner at no cost.

The Late Night Party Zone group babysitting is available for children ages 3 to 11 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Adventure Ocean facilities, for a fee.

Teens

Royal Caribbean divides teenagers into two groups -- ages 12 to 14 and 15 to 17 -- on paper, but in reality, most activities bring all of the young adults together. The teen area consists of three rooms: The Living Room, a hangout area; Fuel, a teens-only disco; and a video arcade. Teens are free to come and go as they want, but the shipwide curfew for all cruisers younger than 18 is 1 a.m., unless they're supervised by a parent.

On a typical sea day, teens can play board games, have a basketball or air hockey tournament, decorate bandanas, go on a scavenger hunt, take a mix class through the Scratch DJ program or take part in a rock climbing wall competition. Theme parties, such as white night and prom night, are scheduled, and teens have their own karaoke contests and trivia sessions, as well as specific times to use the ice skating rink, the FlowRider, the Sports pool and the rock climbing wall.

 

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Information

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas Ship Stats

  • Crew: 2,219
  • Launched: 2009
  • Decks: 17
  • Passengers: 5,400

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