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Ken

Age: 51

Occupation:Military

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Oasis Of The Seas

Sailing Date: 2011-01-15

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Before I get into the review, I want to make a recommendation. Go online and pre-book all the shows you want to see, your excursions, and if you want the soda package, do that also. This ship holds over 5,300 people so shows fills up fast. Especially the comedy show, the venue is pretty small, so you want to book that a head of time. They use your Sea Pass card to determine who has made reservations, so if you go to the venue and its open, but you see a line, bypass the line, those are people who didn’t make a reservation.

Pre-Cruise Lodging Our ship sailed on Saturday morning, but we don’t like the thought of rushing from the airport to the port, so like our previous cruises, we came in on Friday and stayed at the Embassy Suites. We also rented a car for the day and explored Ft. Lauderdale on our own; we just find it a little more relaxing that way.

The Embassy Suites is very nice, they have concierge that is very helpful. Also, the Hotel is VERY close to the port; you can see the ship at the port from the upper floors. In the morning they have an awesome breakfast buffet with eggs to order, juices, milk, coffee, fruit, sausage (you get the idea). About 10:30, our transfer to the port showed up and took us to the ship. When we pulled up, we couldn’t believe how big Oasis was; it was very impressive.

Embarkation, State Room, Drill It seems we have issues with the porters every time we go on a cruise; they are either begging for tips or just being rude/bossy to passengers/shuttle drivers. Fortunately, the time with the porters is very short. We got our bags to them and headed to the terminal.

Checking in was a breeze. There was an escort who took us to the line we needed to be in. Since we were staying in a suite, we had a special line, which expedited the process. As soon as we got our sea pass card, we were on the gangplank boarding the ship. It was about 11:30, and we couldn’t get to our stateroom until 1, so we went to the Windjammer and had lunch. When we finished lunch we went exploring this huge ship. 1st we went down to the Opus dining room to find out where our table was for dinner. Ours was really close to the captain’s table on the main floor, deck 3 (the Opus has 3 floors of seating). From there we scoped out the Royal Promenade where all the shops and a couple of eating places are. Then we went down to Casino Royale and to where some of the show venues are. Because we had a suite, we had concierge privileges, so we went up there to make some reservations for a specialty restaurant.

By the time we finished all that, it was 1 so we could go to our room and start to get settled in and get ready for the “drill”. As I said before, we had gotten the Grand Suite; it is the same set-up on every ship we’ve been on. This is a good thing because we know how much we can bring. I think the best thing about this stateroom is the bathroom. It’s really nice; you have dual sinks and room to move around. The whole room is nice with a couch and a couple of chairs and of course the bed is very comfortable. Our balcony was also very nice, it even came with some cushioned lounge chairs with foot rests, very comfortable. The only thing we didn’t like was the light switches; we could never figure out what each switch did! We did notice something right off; there were no life jackets in the room. We thought this was a mistake or they were hidden somewhere. We found out that they don’t keep the life jackets in the rooms anymore; they are kept at your meeting station. In an actual emergency, when you go to your station, you will get a life jacket. Just before the drill we went up to deck 16 and rode the zip line. It’s 85’ long and close to 100’ off the ground (above Boardwalk). My wife was the last one to ride before they shut it down for the drill. Taking the 1st step was scary, but it was fun. Everyone should ride it at least once.

The drill was also different; we were used to always going outside on deck for the drill, but we didn’t on this cruise. First, they had employees everywhere to tell you where to go, until we got to our floor where we were supposed to meet and there was no one there…..we were heading towards the doors to go outside, then we got re-directed back inside…..our station was at the guest relations area. One of the crew was there to scan your sea pass card, to verify you were actually there. It was just a little confusing but it made sense to do it this way.

Shortly after the drill it was time to shove off. We went up to the Solarium to watch the captain back us out of the port. They don’t let anyone out on the heliport anymore. Once we got out to sea it was time for dinner so we headed down to the Opus 3. When we got to our table (121), it was already full, so we sat at the next table (121A). It worked out really nice, because we had awesome table mates (3 other couples).

FOOD All week long the food was delicious. There was a nice variety, and the waiters are always willing to accommodate your special requests. In the main dining room most nights I got 2 appetizers with my meal, and on the 2nd formal night I had prime rib and asked for lobster tail to go with it and it was no problem. For us, the only bad thing was the meals weren’t hot except for the soups. They weren’t cold, just a little warmer than room temperature, more like they had been sitting under a heat lamp for a little while.

I think we ate at the Windjammer only twice on our 7 day cruise. The setup is different on Oasis, where they have stations instead of one long bar. I also didn’t think they had as big of variety either. People we met said we should eat at Johnny Rockets for breakfast, it’s free and the food is better and you can order what you want. It was very good, we had breakfast there the rest of the cruise until the day we left.

Another little hidden spot you should check out is a café in Central Park. This is the place to go for lunch. They have a salad bar where you tell them what you want on it and what kind of dressing, then they mix it up for you. Very good, but, the other thing they have is a fresh cut roast beef sandwich. Folks, you eat this and you won’t go near the Windjammer again.

We also tried a couple of specialty restaurants; we had dinner at the Spa one evening. They serve healthy foods, and it was pretty good. My wife and I aren’t big “health nuts”, but we are always looking to try something new and different. It’s diffenantly worth a try. We also went to Giovanni’s Table for lunch one day. The lunch menu is smaller than the dinner menu, but the food is just as good. We left both places very full. The Concierge also serves a hot lunch too which we tried. You can look down on the Boardwalk as you eat. Then on last place we snacked at was the Splash Zone, it like a small Windjammer, mostly fast food (Hotdogs, Hamburgers), but they also serve tacos, which is what I had. So you can see there’s a lot of variety. The Oasis doesn’t do any midnight buffets or grand buffets and they also don’t do ice carvings, but you really don’t miss it.

Entertainment & Activities There is sooo much to see and do on this ship when you are at sea, there’s no way you can see or do it all, but you can try. I think our favorite show was the ice show and the part we like best didn’t have anything to do with the skating. I’m not going to give it away, you just have to see it for yourselves. The diving show was also really good. To see someone jump off a high dive into a small pool on a moving ship, it was impressive. The ship was also doing the show Hairspray, I never saw the original show or the movie, but, the cast did a good job. I can’t really comment on the comedy show, I wasn’t feeling well and fell asleep. I really liked the Jazz room, and the also had a salsa room. There are so many little “clubs” on the ship so trying to get to them all in one cruise is pretty hard. Overall the entertainment is top notch

We like going to all the trivia contests on board. They also have a scavenger hunt contest too, which is something new. We found out about it at the end of the cruise, but we will get in at the beginning of the next cruise. They still have The Quest, the belly flop contest and the Love and Marriage game, all are worth going to see.

They do something new with your photos they take during the cruise. You used to have to search through all the photos they took on a wall to find yours. Now, every stateroom has a binder; your seapass card has a binder number, you go to the photo area and find your binder all your photos in it. This innovation is GREAT!!!!!

Ports & Excursions It was a 7 day cruise and we went to 3 ports, Nassau Bahamas, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. At Nassau we swam with sea lions. We’ve swam with dolphins twice, this was our 1st time with sea lions. It was really fun and also educational too. The only bad thing about this port was we were only there for about 4 hours, so there wasn’t a lot of time for my wife to shop. At St. Thomas we rode a speed boat which was also very fun. The captain got the boat up to 40mph and did hairpin turns and also reversed the engines so you came to a dead stop in just a few feet. YOU WILL get soaked!!! :) Finally at St. Maarten we went to the French side of the island and spent a few hours at Orient Beach. This beach has been rated one of the most beautiful in the world, and it was. Unfortunately, this was probably our least favorite excursion because the beach was sooooo crowded. It did come with a meal, and you got a lounge chair and umbrella (the umbrella was extra). Be warned, if you walk around you will see some topless women.

Crew/Staff The crew and staff were amazing. Everyone was so accommodating and helpful. Our cabin attendant was always checking with us to make sure we were ok and I was impressed she remembered our names. Our wait staff was also good, we had one waiter who was new and at times got our orders mixed up, but, other than that, they did a fine job and were very accommodating. Out cruise director was hilarious, his thing was to show off his socks he was wearing. Our concierge hostess was also very helpful; she helped us with reservations and getting internet in our room. And lastly the captain, he was fun and had a question and answer session in the theatre. The great thing about it was, he didn’t want to stop, as long as people had questions, he was going to stay there.

Disembarkation We did something totally different this cruise. They have a new thing where you can have your bags checked all the way to your final destination. There are restrictions like time of departure and airline, but if you qualify…do it. When we got off the ship, we didn’t have to look for our bags. When we got to the airport we didn’t have to check our bags. You have to pay for this service, but it is more than worth it in my opinion. We did encounter one problem while getting ready to leave; according to the information we got, we were supposed to hang out in one of the lounges until our group was called. When we got to the lounge, we checked the signs and our group wasn’t listed. We waited about 30 minutes and still nothing. So I called the guest services desk and told them the situation, and they told us to go ahead and leave the ship. Other than that, it was quick and painless.

Conclusion This is our 3rd cruise on RCCL and we have yet to be disappointed. Is everything 100% perfect, no. The things I’ve listed are the “big ones”, there were other smaller things that we didn’t dwell on. Some people expect perfection and if they don’t get it then their vacation is ruined. My wife and I realize not every employee is always going to give you class A service, but we don’t let that ruin a vacation for us. If you sail on the Oasis, enjoy the ship, it’s HUGE. Make friends, we made several, and enjoy the seeing the sights like we do.

Also I noticed this ship only got a 1 star rating, I find that hard to believe. I tried to rate it, and that portion of the web site wasn't working, it would allow me to give it ANY stars. This ship is amazing!!!!!!!!

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