March 2014 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
My wife, two kids and my mother decided to take a family vacation from the cold Minnesota winter. I had known the Oasis of the Seas was an engineering marvel and one of the biggest ships with the most to do. My wife and I are in our mid-30s and our kids are 10 and 8. My mother, in her 50s, was happy just to get the heck out of Minnesota.
I highly recommend this cruise line and particularly this ship or the Allure (the Oasis sister ship) simply because there is an absolute ton to do on the ship. You're never going to be bored. Rest if you want to, there is literally always something to do and something going on. Each floor has at least 32 elevators (16 aft and 16 stern) and on each floor are large interactive screens that allow you to see what's going on. For us adults, the casino, multiple nightclubs, from 70s disco to 80s and 90s pop to latin to house/rave music and each night club can vary in its wildness. We ended up in a night club one night and got absolutely trashed with a couple from Ireland. We were disappointed to meet a few young people from Minnesota since really we had no interest in hanging out with the traditionally cliquey Minnesotans.
The casino is exciting and spacious. There is a literal mall on this ship with restaurants, shops, sports bars, a Starbucks, tons of kiosks. Central Park is awesome if you're older. Steakhouses, wine bars, a disorganized Pennerra type deli and plenty of places to stroll. Because we have kids, we found ourselves at the boardwalk alot which is outdoors and toward the back of the ship. The kids went rock climbing, watched outdoor movies, water shows, had donuts in the donut shop, ate at Johnny Rockets and at an immitation Joe's Crap Shack. There was a kids club type of program for them that we encouraged them to go to but they did seem a bit frightened (the thought of being babysat). We did feel comfortable letting them explore the ship on their own and do some of their own activities like swimming or going to Starbucks for Frappachinos. The kids were able to play mini golf, learn to surf, etc. The ports were great and Excursions were cool. Definitely a great place to go if you're a young couple or you have a family. Yep, mom met a wealthy guy from South Africa and they hit it off pretty good, so she was just fine - that and having a place to smoke and read her Paperwhite. Ok, so the usual stuff you might hear from people that had a great time.
Now let me throw out a few things that disappointed me. 1) They really let the teenagers sort of take control of the upper decks on the back of the ship. There are designated places only for teenagers. My kids love ping-pong but they weren't allowed to play. They have an arcade and dropped a couple of hundred bucks in their each, but at times, they were kicked out of there too because at certain times it was teens only. At one point, I was shocked to see an organized even that was a hot tub party for teens 15-17 (or was it 14) - but neverthless, this night time hot tub party was a literal sausage fest. Imagine a 30 person hot tub absolutely stuffed with teenagers pretty much fondeling each other. Also, despite the rules about slopping around in your wet feet with no shirt on, RC didn't really seem to care about that. The teenagers were running around, screaming and yelling and playing tag - yeah its great to be a teenager but when mommy and daddy just dropped 15 grand on a cruise you'd think Audrey and Rusty might be able to behave themselves a bit more.
2) The food was a bit lackluster, at least the free food was. Yeah, in the main buffet it was just fine, but if you get to some of the smaller delis and bakeries, it really isn't that good. I think they could work on the quality of their muffins and bakery goods. The formal dining room had excellent food and the service was absolutely impeccible.
3) The immitation Penerra in Central Park was extremely disorganized and a bit chaotic, which people unsure if they should come and get their sandwich when it was done or if it was going to be brought to them - even though everyone got a number. So really a bit more organization there would be nice.
A few side notes, especially for married guys in their 30s:
-The eye candy is fantastic. Some seriously gorgious women floating around the ship. There were a considerable amount of mid 30s to early 40s latin women probably from Spain or Argentina or Brazil who were just knockout beautiful. Sure, there were a few snotty European D-bags around - as there always is on the cruises, but it adds to the flavor and it is pretty funny to watch straight German guys wearing man-capris walking around.
If you're a single guy, ha. You're definitely going to have it easy but I did notice that some of the same single women you would catch at different clubs on different nights so they were still trolling for hookups or a bit of romance on the seas.
Ok, so now my review is rambling.
Ahh, yes! One last thing. I don't like Royal Caribbeans decision to not let you smoke on your room balcony - and that all the smoking on the ship has been shoved to the starboard side of the ship. It is nice to chill and have a couple of heaters and drink (gets you out of your room at least) and you do happen to meet some cool people in the smoking areas but the damn bars close early on the pool decks where you can smoke. They'd probably make more money if they stayed open.
Anyway, had a blast. Totally recommend this ship to anyone. We literally will probabably not be cruising on a different line again. Next time we go will be our third cruise and Royal Caribbean is where we'll be.