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Age: 53

Occupation:travel writer

Number of Cruises: 30

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Oasis Of The Seas

Sailing Date: 2009-12-1

Itinerary: Caribbean

This was the first revenue cruise for the Oasis Of The Seas. The ship is simply breathtaking with all 7 neighborhoods offering a good balance of things to see and do. Despite the size of the ship it was easy to traverse. I never felt crowded and lines were mostly non-existent. The staff was outstanding. The were very pleasant and personable. There are so many dining venues and bars that you can eat and get a drink at a different place each day and never repeat them. There were some technical and operational issues they need to resolve, however. The interactive TV sets in the cabins didn't work correctly on the first day. The reservations system had problems. Shows were not ready and some were rescheduled without telling people who had reserved seats. Cabin noise was unsatisfactory in the forward part of the ship.

Overall though, it was a very nice cruise and the ship really lives up to the media hype. It is a self-contained resort at sea.

Dining room food was typical for Royal Caribbean. Good but not memorable. The multitude of dining options meant I couldn't try everything in just 4 days. 150 Central Park is touted as an upscale dining experience with rising star chef KeriAnn Van Raesfeld offering a mult-course tasting menu. This was a sensory experience but some might find themselves still hungry at the end. It was well worth the $35 fee. Please note this is a set menu and not a typical restaurant where you order ala carte from a menu.

The Seafood Shack was lackluster, and a lot of that has to do with mediocre ingredients. It was a disappointment given they charged $8.95. Johnny Rockets served up their excellent burgers and was quite satisfying- worth the $4.95 fee. On Oasis, Johnny Rockets also serves breakfast (free).

The Windjammer buffet was smaller than on other Royal Caribbean ships. The food was typical buffet grade fare.

A new area is the Solarium Bistro. Complimentary breakfast and lunch is served, with the focus on healthy foods. At night it is an extra-fee dining venue with entrees all being 500 calories or less. It was popular.

Sorrento's pizza was excellent, as were the sandwiches at Park Cafe. In many ways these two places were the most enjoyable to me.

Small sandwiches and snacks were available at the Cafe Promenade and the Mondo coffee bar.

Overall the food was good and I enjoyed it.

I had cabin 9506 which is a standard outside cabin all the way forward. The cabin was spacious but there were some problems. Noise was a major annoyance. Even in seas of just 7 feet or so there was this almost constant banging. I think it was water colliding with the box-like insets which surround the ship's anchors. On the last day at sea the banging was gone but then the seas were calm too. Another noise problem was from the flushing of toilets in cabins above me and adjacent to me. I heard every single flush.

My cabin safe was not attached and I could slide it out of the closet and walk off with it. I had to wonder if anyone from the shipyard had done a walk-down of every cabin to look for problems.

The bed was very comfortable and the shower was adequately sized. The room had attractive artwork and tasteful colors.

They on-board activities centered around the installed "wow" stuff such as the zip line, the two flow-riders, the two rock-climbing walls, 4 pools (including one with a beach-like sloping entrance), the ice rink, and of course the extremely popular carousel. It was fun at every turn and everybody looked to be having a great time.

The shows were outstanding. The new ice show "Frozen In Time" is based on the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. It was beautiful. "Hairspray" is featured on Oasis and is the full 90 minute show. It was excellent. The "Oasis Of Dreams" water show was not ready for various reasons and we were presented an shortened 20 minute version. What I did see was very good. Divers going from 70 feet into a small pool caused gasps from the crowd.

We only went to Labadee. The new pier there makes this a much better place. When in Labadee "the" tour to do is the zip line. It is one of the longest in the world and takes you over the ocean at speeds of up to 50mph. Not for the faint of heart.

This was a nice cruise and I'll be back. Some have gone on record as saying the Oasis is too big and holds too many passengers. On the contrary I found it to have many intimate areas, outstanding crowd control, and very easy to get around. Entertainment was top notch. Service was great. Food good. If you go, avoid cabins in the forward part of the ship and you'll be fine.

Embarkation took me less than 15 minutes from front door to the ship. Debarkation was even quicker, with my going from ship to sitting in the bus in 9 minutes. Amazing.

Oasis Of The Seas will be a popular ship and is a destination in itself. Who needs the ports?

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