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Old 11-23-2009, 04:45 AM
Sandy Sandy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maryland
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Following is a brief review of Oasis of the Seas.

I sailed on a two-day pre-inaugural cruise on Oasis of the Seas. The cruise was geared towards travel industry personnel, travel writers and journalists, some very repeat RCI guests, and several travel agent trade association groups. The following comments are based on the fact that the ship sailed with just 3,200 passengers (a little more than half the actual capacity with all beds filled). Also, some adjustments were made such that some of the usual extra charge items were complimentary to us. Similarly, many of the more upscale dining venues were by “invitation only.” Also, in two night aboard, it was very difficult to see, try, taste and be entertained by everything available on a regular seven night voyage.

Embarkation: the huge newly built terminal in Port Everglades is set up to handle the thousands of people who will be checking in at the same time. There are dozens of computer stations set up as intake, divided by the deck on which your cabin is located. Suite guests have a separate check-in. Upstairs from the check-in area is the “holding” area that seats 4,000 comfortably in a rectangular shaped area. This is also the level from which you enter the gangway to the ship. Check-in is by assigned group. We received a group number when we entered the terminal. During check-in, our documents were checked and our picture taken to be associated with our room key.

We entered the ship on Deck 5, the Promenade Deck. It took my breath away. It has the same general layout as the Promenade Decks on the Voyager and Freedom class ships, but is wider. Many of the names of the stores that line the Promenade will be recognized from other ships: Sorrento’s, Promenade Café, etc.

My cabin was a Category D6, Superior Ocean View with Balcony. This was cabin 14714 on the aft portion of Deck 14. The brochure lists the cabin at 182 sq ft with a 50 sq ft balcony. The room was a bit tight. There were two large drawers, a small drawer that had the hairdryer inside, a few small shelves, and the closet. The bed can be a queen size, or two twins. We had the beds in the twin configuration, and one bed was practically touching the closet. There was also a pull-out sofa, a nice balcony, and a small bathroom. The outlet usually above the desk was on the wall under the desk, and difficult to reach. The room was comfortable but certainly not spacious, and I was surprised at how little storage space there was. We inspected the Loft Suites, which certainly are very nice, and very expensive. Clearly these rooms are not meant to be spending a lot of time in.

Guest Assembly Drill: I was assigned to the Opus Dining Room on Deck 5 as my muster station. We did not need to bring our lifejackets; in fact, lifejackets are no longer stored in the cabins. Our room key was scanned by a staffer holding a hand-held scanner. This eliminates the taking of attendance. We were comfortably seated in the dining room within view of huge electronic screens. It is on these screens that the lifeboat evacuation procedure is detailed. The ship’s crew does not do the demo anymore. It’s all done electronically. One of the techological innovations, as told to us by Capt. Bill Wright, is that the Captain has the ability to be on the Bridge and view the flow of traffic into all the Assembly Stations throughout the whole ship.

Outside each set of elevators in a huge electronic touch-screen directory. You can touch where you want to go, be it your cabin or any public area on the ship, and the directory will give you instructions as to how to get there from where you’re standing, complete with an electronic map. It can show you the closest dining venues to you, the lounges, neighborhoods, or just show you how to walk to your cabin. Very nice feature.

First Impression: The Oasis of the Seas certainly is a dazzler! The sheer size allows for a lot of variety in the public rooms, and rooms of a grand size when necessary. Expect to walk long distances to get back to your cabin, or get from one end of the ship to the other. This could be a problem for mobility challenged passengers, or passengers who tend to forget things in their room and need to run back for it! But you get to know the ship’s layout fairly quickly, which rooms are forward and which are aft, and on which decks are the main public areas you like the best.

Viking Crown Lounge, on Deck 17, is not a 360 degree room on Oasis. There is a large section that is called Viking Crown, but the whole room has been divided into sections that can be used for private parties, meeting rooms, or whatever. I was disappointed that I couldn’t walk around the whole circular room.

The back of the ship from about Deck 6 up is the Aqua Theater, above a pool that’s 18 feet deep, the largest pool at sea. We did not see any high diving shows in our two day aboard, but I’m told the staterooms with balconies that face the Aqua Theater have a spectacular view.

The Windjammer Café on Deck. 16 is large (a phrase you get used to…) with many food stations. I had lunch there one day and it was very good. There are a lot of tables and chairs, and weaving through them to get to an empty table can sometimes be a challenge. Deck 16 also has several bars, pools, two FlowRiders, and the jumping off point (literally) of the Zip Line that goes across Central Park from 9 decks up.

Deck 15 has the adults-only Solarium, and absolutely gorgeous place with lots of seating, its own buffet, and beautiful décor. It even has clamshells for two people, that you usually see on a beach, facing out the windows in one area. Really beautiful. There are several pools on that deck, the H2O Zone, teen areas, whirlpools, the miniature golf area, and more.

Deck 14 forward is the Adventure Ocean area, and it is very large and gorgeous. The rooms are divided up into age groups, with age appropriate facilities and a beautiful lab/research area. One room has a line of several Wii computer stations, but the counselor said they don’t anticipate the kids will spend much time there, as they have many group activities planned. The Adventure Ocean area is open until 2am, but between 10pm – 2am, there is a charge per child.

Deck 11 has the Concierge Lounge and the Library, neither of which I had a chance to inspect. Also, I didn’t get to see the Diamond Lounge.

Deck 10 and 9 have Dazzles, a two-story lounge with a dance floor. Our group had a get-together in Dazzles, and it worked very well. It over looks Central Park via a huge glass window at the front of the room.

Decks 9 and 7 have Royal Caribbean Online rooms, their internet cafes. Each room held about 5 computer stations. These rooms were a surprise. On such a huge and gorgeous ship, these internet cafes looked like small converted closets. I don’t know if these are temporary quarters for those computers, or if the cruise line just doesn’t want you spending time online, but there rooms seemed like an anomoly. I believe the per-minute charge is 65 cents, but less expensive packages of internet time are available.

Deck 8 is Central Park, open to the sky and filled with plants, trees, shrubs and the like. Central Park is lined on both sides with restaurants and cafes, mostly of the extra-charge variety. It’s beautiful during the day, with the sun coming in from above, and is not cold or windy at night. You can get into the Rising Tide Bar from Central Park, and have a drink as it very slowly descends to the Promenade.

You can reach the rock climbing walls from Deck 7.

Deck 6 has very unique features. One is the Boardwalk neighborhood, complete with full sized carousel, specialty coffee and donut shop (pay for the coffee and get the donut free), restaurants such as Seafood Shack and Johnny Rockets. It’s a great area for kids, as counselors are up there playing games with the kids, doing face painting, and very kid-appropriate activities. We had lunch one day at the Seafood Shack and the next day at Johnny Rockets, and both were wonderful. There is also an ice cream parlor (extra charge). On the other side of the deck is the Vitality Spa. This is one of the largest and most beautiful spas I’ve seen, with relaxation room, lots of treatment rooms, a huge gym with all kinds of equipment, and a mini-buffet. The spa is on two levels, and has a mud treatment room among others. They also do teeth whitening there and acupuncture.

Deck 5 is the huge Promenade, lined with stores, pubs, restaurants, karaoke, antique cars, and is home to a full scale parade and 70s disco nights. There is no big cow over a Ben and Jerry’s. That ice cream partnership to be gone from this newest ship. Deck 5 also has the dining room, Purser’s Desk and Shore Excursion Desk. There is a Box Office, where you can reserve dining and show times, if you have not done that in advance. The staff recommends you pre-reserve shows, although they do take walk-ins to fill unreserved seats. Entrances to the main dining room and the main theater are on this deck as well.

Deck 4 has several entertainment options such as the Comedy Live Club and Jazz on 4. The casino and ice skating rink are there as well. NOTE: Do not miss the ice skating show(s). They remain as spectacular, or moreso, on Oasis as on the other ships. We saw two comedians perform in the comedy club, and they were both very funny. We saw the group “Mosaic” perform in the Opal Theater, and although very talented, the sound was way too loud. This is true in many of the clubs and discos, but I understand it could be a generational thing!

We ate in the Opus Dining Room on two different nights, with two completely different experiences. The first night’s service was slow and the food was acceptable. On the second night, in a different part of the dining room, the service was excellent and the food much better.

Bar drinks were good. Service in the restaurants and bars was excellent.

This ship is great for families, with wonderful facilities and lots of activities to keep everyone busy and happy. Adults will love the variety of activities from which to choose. It’s hard to know how Royal Caribbean with handle crowd control at the ports and even aboard the ship when the ship is full. There were some lines for some things already, like restaurants on Boardwalk at lunch time. This ship may not be perfect for anyone with mobility issues, or folks looking for a quieter, smaller, more sedate experience. Be prepared to pay for things once onboard, even if it’s an ice cream or cupcake. For a fun, high stimulation experience with a wide variety of choices for everything, with a lot of other passengers, you’ll like this ship.

I have answered most of the original questions posted in this thread. All the answers are posted on pages 4 and 5 of the thread.

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