A little about us. We are a family of 4. Me (aka: CruiseDivaNJ) my husband, Daughter/22 and Son/18. We booked this back in the beginning of 2010. This was our 12th (& the kids 10th or 11th) cruise. Most of our cruises we have left from the NY/NJ area leaving the hassle of flying behind.
DS chose Oasis for his HS Graduation celebration cruise, so off we go to Ft Lauderdale. We flew in the day before and I made plans to see my friend aka “Birthday Sister” who I hadn’t seen in 30 yrs. We stayed at the “Hotel Rennaisance Ft Lauderdale Cruise Port Hotel”- a $17 taxi ride from the airport, very nice hotel and a 2 minute ride to the port (Port Everglades). We made arrangements at the hotel for a taxi ($6.00pp and DH gave them a $5 or $10 tip) to the port. We also booked them to take us to the Courtyard Marriot on our return (we booked a room for the day since our flight home wasn’t until 5:30pm). DH called them when we disembarked and they were there in 2 minutes.
DH and I stayed in a D1 (10198, a balcony hump-cabin) and our kids stayed across the hall in a C2 (10197, a Central Park balcony). Both cabins were excellent locations. Our D1 balcony had a table and 3 chairs. The table is so much better then a short and small side table we’re accustomed to on the Voyager class.
Embarkation couldn’t be smoother; we were on board by 11:30. (yeah, okay maybe I should mention this… I remove my belt- take off my shoes, do everything Im asked. Not concealing or smuggling anything, but there I am setting off the alarms, and yes I had to be “wanded”)
We checked on our cabin at noon and since our cabin attendant was finished he let us in. We left our carry-on’s behind, locked the door and were off exploring. We stopped in to look at Cup Cakes on the Promenade!
We stopped in to IZUMI to change our reservation time and to make sure they could accommodate preparing our sushi rolls using soy paper. In researching IZUMI before we left I was disappointed in the pictures I saw, I did not think Izumi had that Asian flair and decor that it should. I take back any comments I made that Izumi needed better decor! I do believe Izumi has great asian style and decor and affords the perfect vibe.
Oasis Boardwalk & Central Park, first impression, love it- but wouldnt miss it. Agreed, pretty innovative.
Although Oasis is huge, we found it very easy to navigate. It never seemed a far walk anywhere. Maybe it was the mid ship location of our cabins. There were times the ship seemed crowded and times it didnt.
We made it to Johnny Rockets for breakfast once, but passed on it for lunch. Park Cafe became a favorite almost immediately. the roast beef sandwiches, panninis, soup were all very good. The Salad was my favorite. Always crowded, but we were always able to get a table. Tables are also very close together. Between indoor and outdoor seating the tables turned pretty quickly. The flavored water, okay, the Mango flavored water is really good. I didnt taste the others. Ask if the breakfast Egg Paninni has pesto if you are allergic to nuts. It did when we were on board. I thought it was actually a wonderful twist on an egg sandwich served on pannini. But if you are allergic to nuts, this is a breakfast dish one would never think has nuts. One of my favorite breakfasts was a [sesame] bagel with a roasted garlic and sun dried tomato cream cheese and lox.
Viking Crown Lounge was another embarkation day pit stop for us. The ONLY indoor Bar and Lounge with a view to the sea. (I recommend a Pear Melon Martini)
We chose My Time Dining (MTD) for this cruise. We have always gone traditional-late seating and although I prefer that over early/main I still always wished there could be a compromise. I want to start dining at 7:30 every evening! Voila, MTD showed up on board RCI ships. Although available on our Dec 2010 14 night holiday cruise, we still opted for late. This time around, going on Oasis and having to prebook your shows and entertainment, it forced us into trying MTD.
The first night of MTD is not organized. There are 2 lines and both pax with and without reservations wait on either line. We waited around 15 minutes (I was not patient at the beginning and wanted to know why there weren’t separate lines. This is so where DH and I complement each other, he is calm, cool and collected- Me, not so much. This all changes the second night and there are separate lines and MTD runs fabulously!) We were first being shown to a table in an area at the far back that I didn’t like. Before he even got us to the table, I expressed how that wouldn’t work, we turned to a table for four that overlooked the deck below and asked if that would work and we were happily seated there for the rest of the cruise – with the same wait staff, and at the same time (except for the nights we went to Izumi and Chops). MTD for us was the best experience ever!
I can add here, after reading a few reviews prior to this sail that said the MDR food was only so-so, I had no expectations of anything but not-so-good fare. Boy was I surprised. The food in the MDR during MTD for us was way beyond good. I wont say excellent, but totally surprised it was so very, very good.
Unlike my last review where I posted pictures of every plate of food that graced our table of 6, along with a post-it note hand written description, this time the food pictures are sporadic.
The first evening we had reservations for Oasis of Dreams, where, no pun intended, it rained on our parade. We all enjoyed the show, despite the rain and having to exit and take cover. My daughter and I being somewhat more critical of the performance thought the synchronization was off and the majority was more a gymnastics program rather then a dive show. Well, we could have been mistaken, because we were expecting more of a dive show. We did love the diving at the end. Okay, my daughter and I were just picking it apart, it was truly wonderful and very, very enjoyable! Everyone seeing this show will enjoy it. Loved the Red Bull divers. Make reservations, arrive at least 30 minutes prior to show time- and try to get the comfy chairs or you will be sitting on the benches.
Day one- we could not get the cabin water to cool. (Day 2 we immediately called Guest services and it was fixed)
The cabin – – as mentioned in many other reviews and live threads, the outlets are located under the ever-so-tiny desk area. This was an epic fail, but I heard it was corrected on Allure. Also, we felt there was not enough storage at all – and, the safe shrunk! How can it hold your valuables if it is getting smaller? It didn’t affect us, we had a laptop lock for the laptop and locked other stuff in a suitcase. Also, no pullout clothesline in the shower.
Ah, my favorite, our first day at sea!
DH and I had breakfast at Johnny Rockets. I had scrambled eggs (which are the same as on windjamer buffet or if they are ordered in the MDR, they are not fresh eggs scrambled to order), My husband had over easy- a better choice. Nothing to elaborate on. My daughter and I checked out the Coach store, (to my surprise) they had a very nice selection.
My daughter and I shared 2 cupcakes the entire cruise. The Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting and an Apple Pie cupcake with a sweet cream and cinnamon frosting – both were very good.
Sorrento’s – the busiest place on the promenade when folks return from excursions.
Formal Nights on Board Oasis:
Very nice. Folks seemed to all look fab. There are obvious folks in shorts and beachwear about the ship, but we definitely didn’t see that in the MDR. Actually, there was one table not far from us, sorry to say they were looked at – so if you wear shorts, sneakers, tee shirts, yes you will probably stand out in the MDR on formal night as this was the definite minority.
Hairspray was AMAZING. Make your reservations online before you leave – make sure you dont miss it.
Labadee. We all did the zip line in December, this time we voted to just chill on the beach. We took a “one way” ferry from Oasis over to the Columbus cove area. This was not available when we were on Explorer this past December, we surmise they only use it when Oasis and Allure docks (because of the amount of pax). We tipped ($10.00/ 4 chairs) one of the rci locals who helped us with lounge chairs and finding us an area. The buffet lines were long this time. We took the tram back to the pier. We chose not to walk through the markets, so I can’t comment on whether they are aggressive or not. Here are some pictures, (they’re not so great, we were moving and I took them with my Olympus indestructible water camera)
How come I never heard it mentioned….there is an escalator on Oasis. Plus, you “ding” yourself back in. Instead of handing your seapass for them to account for you, you slide it in yourself. There was a line for the ferry as soon as we disembarked on the pier at Labadee. Since this ferry wasn’t available on our last cruise (explorer) we’re surmising that it is used for the Oasis class ships. No clamshell canopy loungers on columbus cove beach, but plenty of shade from palm trees and smooth sand getting into the ocean.
Helipad Champagne Sail Away from Labadee, By Invitation only. This was nice! Unless invited, you can not get to the helipad on Oasis. Today this was a Diamond event.
Everyone took pictures with King Julian, and the Hotel Director, he made a fabulous speech and the Master (blew) the horn a few times (even when a glass fell and broke, if I recall correctly, lol)
IZUMI Tonight. Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom…... I have to admit, I was quite impressed. We are admitted sushi-snobs, (if you didn’t read earlier in this review, we stopped into izumi on boarding day to make sure they could prepare our sushi rolls with soy paper). While waiting a few minutes for our table at Izumi we strolled through the Windjammer. It seemed to be somewhat limited for our palates. While not Nobu or Morimoto’s, for me sushi on board has been long awaited for. Izumi proved to be very good. Everything tasted yummy and delicious. I like that on the Oasis Class ships Edamame and Miso soup are complimentary . My daughter had the Noodle Bowl which is equivelent to Yaki Udon. My son had the beef hot rock and enjoyed it thouroughly. My husband and I tried all the rolls. I liked them all. I thought the Box Roll was great.
Oh Jamaica! I actually love Jamaica. I know, I know some of you hate it, but we have always had pretty good experiences. This was our 3rd time to Jamaica, but (obviously) the first time our ship called on Falmouth. We usually wing it either rent a jeep or hire a private tour guide, it depends on the island. As we were looking into all inclusive places close to Falmouth, my husband came home from his office and said he spoke to an associate who just spent a week at Iberostar suites Rose Hall and recommended it. Other then Oasis- the Ship, this was the highlight of the cruise and our excursions. Wow, I dont often land vacation but I want to book a get away here right away. Falmouth is going to be a fantastic port when complete. I bought Blue Mountain coffee and jerk spices. Within the market area, all the vendors were pleasant and friendly. There was absolutely no one trying to get you to buy their wares. There was no soliciting of any kind. Also, you will find a “Taxi Rate Sheet” small billboard that tells you the set prices to different locations. We didnt need to take towels with us to the Iberostar suites in Jamaica, they provide them for the day. The cost for the day was $75pp, and the cost of a taxi for the 4 of us was [as seen in the picture of taxi rates] – $40 each way. There are taxi’s waiting at Iberostar to take you back to the pier, so dont worry about contracting your first driver to pick you up at a specified time to return to the ship.
Uh Oh, I didnt mention that the candy shack should really offer maybe just one thing in DARK CHOCOLATE? For those of us who stopped eating milk chocolate and would like something a little decadent, like dark chocolate. *smiles*
The Diamond Lounge is fantastic! The folks there (Charmaine and umm, I forgot) were wonderful! It was never crowded. On this cruise, children were not allowed. Since, the policy has changed.
A side note on the towel situation. Of course, I admit it didnt affect me much because I have a special husband who takes care of these type of things while I chill.
The majority of the time there was between 1 and 2 towel stations opened and staffed on the entire pool deck. Only one sea day did we see a towel station in the Solarium staffed. This made it annoying for those of us situating ourselves in the Solarium. To make matters worse, when my husband trekked from the Solarium across to the opposite end of the pool deck, there was only one station staffed with 2 but half a dozen bar servers just standing around- it was a port day late afternoon. As expressed to RCI, we understand the towel situation and the need for this process, but they need to step it up and provide us, the passengers with staffed stations, so it doesn’t take time out of our vacation.
In 11 cruises, our food in the MDR was THE BEST we have had yet…….. You know what, we were very happily surprised. I wonder what makes a dining experience on the same cruise so totally different. We had EXCELLENT wait staff – and, the head waiters were at our table twice a night. They loved us. Everything we ordered came out as it should, not overcooked or undercooked. The only issue we had was one morning with eggs benedict in the MDR – they are ALWAYS hit or miss and if you dont know how they are supposed to be prepared and served, well you just wouldn’t know the difference. We went to Chops one evening (4 of us) and Izumi once for dinner and once for lunch.
Right before we were leaving on this cruise, there was some bragging about the Lasagna on board Oasis. This left me awfully curious, so we all ordered it. It was ok- if you’re Italian you’d expect a lot more. The white sauce on top is just that, a simple white sauce. Come on Royal, this dish needs some cheese! Lasagna must have cheese, not white sauce (poor attempt of a béchamel). My time Dining worked wonderfully for us.
I think a big reason MTD worked so well for us is because I explained how i wanted it to work for us and I didnt leave it to fate, lol. We explained that we have cruised before and always had traditional late seating, and trying MTD was new to us- and we made our reservations for every night online and would like the same table and same wait staff every night. They graciously accommodated us and it was wonderful to have dinner 7:30 every night with the same staff.
I do admit that on the first night it seemed like it was going to be a free for all, but the second night there were separate lines and we never waited more then a few minutes, if at all.
On a side note: As we stroll to Schooner one day we pass the loyalty ambassador, who tried to stuff a banana peel into the box outside the loyalty ambassador desk? A picture is worth a thousand words.
I was asked, “So, did you love Oasis?” I answered with this,” Let me say, yes and no. I think LOVE is too strong a word. I didnt love her basically because other then my balcony or when you’re at one of the pool decks, you dont feel like you are at sea. Everything feels like it is indoors. It was raining when we had reservations at Chops and I didnt like having to get wet. Note: there are umbrellas out when it rains- but they are situated in front of the CP Restaurants. If you are coming out of Chops or 150 Park, its great- you just grab an umbrella…but if you are coming from your stateroom, from an inside elevator and it just starts raining, you are out of luck. Plus it gets slippery out there in the rain so a lady in heels is out of luck trying to even speed up the pace, lol. My husband noticed umbrellas outside of 150 I think it was and grabbed one and walked me to Chops. Would I sail on her again? Yes, for the right price and situation.
Dont forget to check your stateroom television to check your seapass balance. The ice show was very good. Not as long as the ones we have seen on Explorer, but still a fabulous show not to be missed!! The skaters were outstanding! I almost forgot, the most amazing part of the ice show was the sand art artist, it was amazing to watch. [This is not mine, but I found this clip on youtube. If you havent seen it, its really great.
I read everything I could about Nachi Cocom, Mr Sanchos, Paradise something-or-other. For me it was a toss between Nachi and Mr. Sanchos. I was leaning towards a peaceful and chill type of day. We bring our own music, so we didn’t need loud music playing overhead. After reading 99% excellent reviews and seeing wonderful pictures we booked Nachi. We took a cab there ($17 and DH gave the driver $20)
When you arrive, you are greeted by a girl who takes your picture wearing huge sombreros. We purchased the picture, it is 12.00. Initially Nachi Cocom looks great and the service seems to be impeccable; Manuel kept coming over to us to see if we needed more drinks. This was a huge issue, there seemed to be NO alcohol in their alcohol- seriously. If you are a beer drinker then Nachi can work for you. The other issue was the water. The ocean was not beautiful, it was not clear. It was cloudy and the weather the days before were calm. Because of these two issues it makes me also say that the beach should have been raked that morning, before cruise guests arrived. There are plenty of palapas and it is beautiful. The ocean was the big disappointment. Another family that was at Nachi from a CCL cruise said him and his wife had been there a few years prior, and since the beach lost about 15′- and he had promised his little ones beautiful blue water and it wasn’t!
After reading everything online positive, then seeing the ocean, then the worst then anywhere bad drinks, the average food couldn’t make up for it. I don’t like returning with a bad review, but I had to give the facts as they were to us. On our return to the ship, my husband asked the driver (we knew what he was going to say tho) but we asked the driver what he thought were the best beach/beaches to visit in Cozumel when here for a day on a cruise..of course he said Nachi cocom, then we asked where else and he said Mr Sanchos. I cant even offer any advice on where since the driver’s dedication apparently lies with these beach club owners. We had yummy guacamole and chips, average chicken wings, really really good salsa. the chicken fajitas and the grilled shrimp, but they were nothing different then I would make my family for dinner at home. My son liked his ribs and my daughter was annoyed that inside those yummy looking enchiladas (?) was some shredded chicken and no cheese.
Lots of yummy leather boots. I didn’t know this, if I did I would have planned to buy boots. Beware of all the knock off bags that infringe on the copyrights of designers, don’t get sucked in to thinking they are authentic.
When DH and I went through the scanners leaving Cozumel, his Oakleys never came out. If we had to ask over and over at least 4 or 5x for them to look at their scanners to see where my husbands sunglasses were. They never came out. It wasn’t like we weren’t watching and someone could have picked them up. They did not come out of the scanner and it seemed like they didn’t care and weren’t going to do anything until we insisted. It was the oddest few minutes there. DHs sunglasses did get caught up somehow inside the scanner. I kept telling my husband I was glad we weren’t trashed like the girl in front of us because I can be honest in saying that I would have never realized the sunglasses didnt come out of the scanner!
We went to Chops tonight. It was raining and we had to walk from the elevators/entrance to Central Park to Chops in the rain. Its tough to quicken your pace in heels because its a little slippery. A great idea but it needs to be perfected is there are huge umbrellas located outside the restaurants in Central Park-they really need to be located by the elevators as well (or the entrances to CP). Dinner was excellent. [the Tuna appetizer was phenomenal]
The Quest game show was very different comparatively to what we have seen and participated in on Explorer. LOVED IT! There was just so much [additional] improv going on that it lasted over 1.5 hrs. We start off in one section, we’re 6 people. Our section seems dull. We notice a pretty wild section, so we quickly join them. One couple was the newlywed [game] couple from the DC area. DD quickly gets onto the dance floor and starts dancing, this secures her as a co-captain. Another guy who is getting the section pumped is the other captain. We had a great team! Oasis has a resident Disc Jockey as well as a DJ Scratch academy DJ. The resident DJ is a part of Quest along with the Cruise director.
And then….it was time to go home.
[While writing this review, RCI called our home office. *Just off the phone with RCI representative, Pamela. My husband and I conferenced in together when she called. She wanted to know if we had anything more to elaborate on from the comment card we filled out. It was a pleasure to receive this phone call and be able to discuss the few minor faults (ie: D1 fail of outlet placement) as well as recommendations (I think the Solarium age should be 18 and up. Nothing personal to under 18’s, but age restriction should match across the board. 17 & under can not go into the night club’s, they have their own- It would be less confusing if the Solarium mimicked the same restriction) I think kids deserve to act their age and there is nothing wrong with safe horseplay in a pool, just not in the solarium pool. Welcoming 16yo’s that are tumbling out of their lounge-space with 15 yo’s is just asking for rowdiness.) Okay, I said it and now I am done.) We also pointed out all the super-wonderful-amazing aspects of Oasis! We REALLY loved the layout & design of her! it is really very easy to navigate from one end to the other.]