If I could live at sea, I would live on the Oasis. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I have fallen madly in love with Royal Caribbean‘s Oasis of the Seas. I can’t begin to tell you how fantastic our cruise was, but yes — it was fantastic! From beginning to almost the end (I didn’t want to get off which is why the end was not so great!), every part of our cruise was filled with fun, excitement, and interesting opportunities never afforded to us on other cruises.
We arrived in Florida the night before our cruise and I am glad we did. We booked this cruise during my high school son’s spring break and well, looks like everyone else was traveling at the same time. This should be no surprise to anyone who knows me, but of course I hit a few snags throughout the day and by the time we got to the airport, we missed our flight. The ticket agent said that all flights were booked that night and we would not arrive into Florida until 6:30 pm the next evening, after Oasis had sailed. I was devastated, but refused to give up. If you are in a situation like this, maintain calm and be nice with whomever you are speaking. My father always said that “you can catch more flies with honey” and that is an adage that I try to follow daily. Patience paid off in this scenario as he was able to get us on another flight. He was even surprised because he had checked a short while earlier for someone else without success. Our flight took us to Philadelphia and we got off one flight and basically walked to the next gate where they began boarding only a few minutes earlier. Florida was a welcome relief and the warm air blowing through my hair reminded me that vacation was about to begin. The hotel we booked in FL offers a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel AND from the hotel to the port. We waited for the shuttle and arrived in our room around midnight and went right to sleep.
The next morning we were up bright and early for breakfast as we were starving and in high anticipation for our cruise. The hotel lobby was packed with guests waiting to board shuttles to the port. After breakfast, we checked out and waited for our names to be called for the shuttle. We arrived to a plethora of buses, cars, shuttles at the port and loads of people just as excited as we were to board the Oasis. After exiting the shuttle, we tipped our shuttle driver and watched the porters load up our bags. Don’t forget to tip your porter $1-2 per bag as well. Bag free for the most part, we headed toward the entrance and made our way inside the building to begin the embarkation process. Signs were large and clear as to where to go and the lighting was good as well. All employees were friendly and helpful and they guided us to the appropriate line. You can see here how light and bright the check in area is and how it is not cramped at all. It resembles the ship in many ways as well. The TV screens above each agent indicates the deck they service and who is available. You also have your picture taken here instead of at the old wooden podiums that you insert your card into. You can see the camera in the middle of the picture as it looks like a black S-shaped microphone coming up out of the desk. Check in was fast and easy as we had completed our SetSail Pass ahead of time and before we knew it, we were on our way.
Before you board your ship, there is usually a photographer or two there to take your picture. They had four separate photographers set up with different backdrops and they were moving people through quickly. It was quick, efficient, and painless and exactly as it should be! We walked up a few short ramps and lo and behold… we were now on the Oasis of the Seas! Breathtaking, gorgeous, astonishing — there aren’t enough adjectives to describe her. We entered on the Royal Promenade level and realized we were standing around gawking at everything, but so was everyone else. Here is one picture looking down on the Royal Promenade. You can see Boleros on the right and the tables and chairs on the right in the foreground is Sorrentos Pizza. The kiosk in the middle with chairs is where the excursions people are although you can book at Guest Relations as well.
Since it was before 1pm when we boarded the ship, the cabins were not yet available, a standard Royal Caribbean practice fleet wide. We wanted to explore, so off we went. There were two weddings taking place before the ship set sail and the brides looked beautiful. Many people headed off to the Windjammer, a staple of buffet dining with the Royal Caribbean line. The Windjammer on the Oasis is located on a deck all by itself although a portion of it is a separate dining venue, Izumi Asian Cuisine. We decided to wander off to Central Park on deck 8 and try one of the new restaurants, Park Café. Here we could have fresh made-to-order salads, paninis, fresh fruit, and more. The food was fresh and light and received a “thumbs up” from both my husband and son. In fact, during this 7-day cruise, we only went to the Windjammer once.
The ship is huge! Let’s not underestimate the size of this ship, which if you put it on its side is bigger than the Empire State Building. 18 decks in all, here is some quick ship information:
- Guest Capacity: 5,400 double occupancy
- Gross Tonnage: 220,000
- Staterooms: 2,700
- Decks: 16 high
- Length: 1,187′
- Max Beam: 184.40′
- Draft: 30′
- Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Getting around the ship you might seem confusing, but thankfully, Royal Caribbean installed these great touchscreen navigation maps all over the ship. Simply punch in your cabin number and a map pops up to tell you where to go. Forget your Cruise Compass, the ship’s daily newsletter, in your cabin? No problem! You can also go to the touchscreen navigation map and look at your entertainment and dining options available by time right on the screen. This will be your new friend!
After 1pm, the cabins became available and off we went to deck 8 with the aid of the touchscreen navigation map. We had an oceanview cabin with balcony for three people. There is a full size bed and the third person gets to sleep on the sofabed in this cabin. Keep in mind that some cabins have the sofabed option while others have the bed in the ceiling that the room steward opens nightly. The cabin felt small at 181 sq. ft., but it might have been because there were three of us. Some things noticeably different on Oasis are the closets, TV’s, room safe, and balcony, but again this is for this room category that we stayed in and may not be the same for all categories. We are used to walking in and seeing the closet on one side and the bathroom opposite the closet. Now there is no closet when you enter and it was located on the same side as the bathroom as a wall by the bed. I did not like this at all because in order to get in the closet, you have to squeeze by the bed. Believe me, I got over it quickly, but I am pretty sure a man designed this layout! The closet is small and there are a few shelves, one of which is occupied by a very small room safe. The TV is a nice flat screen and although the choice of channels are limited, I really didn’t go on a cruise to watch TV. You can review your SeaPass charges, order room service, get tickets to a show, and book excursions right from the comfort of your cabin. The balcony set up is a little different as the side walls are curved, which allow you to see into your neighbor’s balcony. This proved to be something of a miniscule problem for us as we had heavy smokers next to us and the smoke billowed over to our area. We ended up spending less time on the balcony then we usually do, but we were hardly in our cabin on this ship. That’s it for now! More pictures and details to come and believe me — there is so much more to say about this trip!