My family recently cruised aboard the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas ship in August 2016. This ship is noted as being the third largest in the world – only slightly smaller than the Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Our family was extremely excited about this prospect but also had no idea what to expect. We had been on many Royal Caribbean mid-size ships but this is a totally different experience. My husband Denis graciously agreed to do a write up of our personal experiences that I am sharing for people to get a good idea of what you might experience on an Oasis class ship. This is the first post in a series that will detail each day of our week long cruise onboard.
Day 1 - Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale Florida:
After a 2400 kilometre (23 hour) drive from Toronto to Fort Lauderdale, we arrived at the offsite Port Parking around 12:30 pm. Checked the car in, unloaded the luggage onto the Port Shuttle and were on our way in about 15 minutes. No issues on check-in and the attendants were helpful and efficient. This may not be the most elegant parking around the Port, but at $44 U.S. for the week, certainly a great deal. The trip to the Cruise terminal was less than 15 minutes and we were dropped off right at the Oasis baggage area.
At first glance, the line-up for security seemed to be quite long, but again, the timeframe was probably less than 20 minutes. Once through security we entered a short line for deck 9 to pick up our Sea Pass and proceed onto the ship. This process seems much more organized for the Oasis (or perhaps this particular port) than other check-ins we have gone through in that, for this check in, it is deck specific. Check-in time was 10 minutes.
Once onboard, it took a few minutes to grasp the overwhelming size of the ship. Regular cruise ships are large in their own right, but the Oasis is immense. As you stand in the Royal Promenade on deck 5 just after boarding, it is hard to believe you are on a cruise ship. Live greenery is everywhere including flowers, trees and hanging or crawling vines. As you walk towards either end, it feels like being in a modern shopping mall with shops, restaurants and boutiques on each side. Looking up through the open middle of the ship there are staterooms with balconies that overlook the Royal Promenade, the Boardwalk and Central Park.
We decided to head to our room and get settled in before exploring the ship. Our plan was to actually do most of our ship orientation in the evening to avoid the myriad crowds that were bustling about during the very busy check-in period. This was the first cruise we have taken where we had a balcony. I must say, for me (not so much for Kim), the idea of a balcony was intriguing and I was not disappointed. The floor to ceiling and wall to wall window on the starboard side flooded our stateroom with light which made it feel bright and airy. The balcony itself is 6 feet deep by 8 feet wide and has a small round table and 2 comfortable chairs. Looks like a great place to start the day with a coffee or to watch the sunset with a glass of wine. I am sold. Before unpacking and settling in we enjoyed a bottle of Sparking Wine that was an amenity provided as part of our group booking.
We then headed to the Boardwalk Dog House restaurant to try their specialty hot dogs. This is one of the several complimentary restaurants on the ship. It has a variety of hotdogs and sausages with themes from Germany, Austria, New York City and some variations on popular toppings. Nothing fancy, but really good dogs! This is a place I may visit from time to time on this cruise.
We walked around the Boardwalk and then did a quick stroll through the Royal Promenade before heading up to Deck 16 to the Flowrider and Zipline. This is supposed to be a very busy area during the cruise and we were advised to try and do the Zipline just after boarding to avoid the lineups. The strategy worked and after picking up our Wipeout (name of the sports and activities area) bracelets, we were harnessed up and zipping over Central Park 9 stories below. The Zipline isn't long by most standards, but it is a surreal feeling doing it on a cruise ship.
We walked around a few more areas just taking in the ship and being awed by its vastness and amenities. Afterward, we headed back to our staterooms and prepared for dinner.
Kim had arranged dinner at Giovanni's, the specialty Italian Restaurant on board the ship, to celebrate my birthday. The restaurant is in Central Park and has a very European ambiance. We chose to eat inside as opposed to El Fresco to take advantage of the air conditioned dining room. Our waiter was from the Philippines and was very pleasant although he did seem a bit unsure of himself on occasion. He explained the traditional Tuscan style of serving food where appetizers and pasta are shared and the entre is an individual serving. We chose a tomato and bocconcini salad, a prosciutto and cheese bread, and a beef carpaccio as our appetizers. Everything was very tasty and there were no leftovers. Kim chose a garlic shrimp and I selected the beef tenderloin as our entrees which we split between us. Ian had the ricotta ravioli and Laura chose the beef tenderloin. The portions were not large, but certainly adequate and we probably would have overeaten if we had decided to also share a pasta dish. We each selected dessert from the dessert tray, with mine being the caramel rum canapes.
After dinner we headed to the Schooner Bar for the welcome trivia and were introduced to our host Max from Montreal. The trivia was geography based and there were one or two questions on Canada that we got that few others did. When it came to some of the U.S based questions we did not fare so well. Our final score was only 8 out of 20, but the winning score was 9 so that kind of eased the embarrassment a bit.
After trivia, we started heading to the Aqua Show as Kim had made reservations. It turned out that the show was re-scheduled because of inclement weather (lightning in the area, although we didn't get any rain) so we headed back to the Schooner Bar for the Movie Themed Trivia. We fared much better this time, scoring 15 out of 20, but the winning team got a perfect 20 out of 20 plus a bonus question. The object of this trivia was to listen to a short music clip and answer which movie the clip was from.
We took one last walk around the upper decks and then Kim and Laura headed to our staterooms. Ian and I went to the Comedy Show on the 4th deck. The first night's comedy show is rated PG13 (although there were a few kids in the show that were much younger than 13). The acts were very funny and there was much spontaneous interaction with some of the audience. It was quite a good show and I am looking forward to seeing the performers on the Adult Comedy night.
First day was a busy one but our first impressions are excellent. Can’t wait to see what else we will experience on our first day at sea tomorrow.
Read Day 2 - click here
Read Day 3 - click here
Read Day 4 - click here
Read Day 5 - click here
Read Day 6 - click here
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.