November 2014 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
In short, I do not recommend this cruise. I have now cruised several times and my recent experience with Oasis of the Seas was amongst the worst of my cruising experiences, which is an extreme disappointment given Royal Caribbean's reputation.
Staff: I will begin by stating the positive; I had the pleasure of meeting several employees upon the ship who were truly great people. However, I met an several unpleasant staff members upon the ship as well. Kristen (I am not sure if that is how you spell her first name) from Chicago (she worked often at Bingo) is the most disrespectful employee I've ever encountered on a cruise ship. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she does not belong working on a cruise ship as her hospitality is far beyond lacking. She had the audacity to speak over one of the members of our five-person group. Kristen provided us the wrong information during disembarking and then had the nerve, in front of dozens of other guests, to condescendingly tell said person of our group (a retired detective, and 22 year veteran of the New York Police Department) to try and do a better job. Then Kristin told our member to get out of her face. It is sad that this is how an employee of Royal Caribbean treated a guest and conducted herself in front of dozens of other guests. This altercation will be remembered as the last moment of the cruise for our five-person group.
Food: Experiencing new foods is one of the most rewarding aspects of cruising for me. Unfortunately, the food on Oasis of the Seas was absolutely terrible. When I go on a cruise ship I want to experience food that is part of the fine dining experience and that I am unable to cook myself. Instead, I found myself in search of "real food" when I got on the native islands and craving food from home. The quality of the food, or lack thereof, was underwhelming and a common complaint amongst fellow cruisers. The only great food we enjoyed was at Chops Grille (which had a great server named Julian) which is sad, given that Chops is considered a specialty restaurant and requires and additional fee. It is sad that food of poor quality is provided to people who already paid thousands of dollars for a cruise and great food is only provided if one is willing to pay an additional fee. It goes to show that when one cruises with Royal Caribbean one is merely paying for their presence on the ship itself and must pay much more if one expects to receive the true cruising experience. I should not have to pay additional on a ship for ice cream, a shake, or cappuccino. Nor should I have to wait in line for an extended period of time on a ship. In addition, restaurants were often closed for periods of time making food unexpectedly difficult to find on the ship. I've cruised on other ships where food was made available 24/7. In addition, our five-person group received vouchers for a complimentary dinner at a specialty restaurant of our choice. However, when we attempted to book the dinner we were told that all of the specialty restaurants were booked (we wound up getting in at Chops Grille) and that we could only use our voucher when the ship was at port. I should also note that the staff at Giovanni's had an attitude.
Casino: Don't bother wasting your money at the casino. The casino pays out terrible and doesn't offer comps. We spent over 4,000 dollars at the casino tables and all we were comped was 3 free drinks).
Room size: The man who cleaned our room was very nice, and I found that most of the staff in this department was very kind. As for the rooms themselves, the bathrooms are tiny. I myself am a very small person and even I found the size of the bathrooms (especially the shower) to be quite cramped.
Nickel and Diming: Far too many of the products and services on the cruise ship were nickel and dimed. Sure, soda and alcohol cost an additional charge, as is the cast with all cruise ships - no problem there. But, to pay for a Johnny Rockets milkshake, ice cream, and cappuccino is ridiculous. The arcade even charged guests to play games i.e. $1.50 or so for one game of air hockey. A game of Bingo cost about $37 dollars for the paper game and $67 for the tracker. What is the tracker you ask? It is essentially a handheld digital device that cost more but allows the Bingo player to play 30 games for every one game the old-fashioned Bingo player is playing. And the tracker does all the work for you; you don't have to look for the numbers on the device or mark - it does all the work and tells you if you're a winner or not. The tracker provides an unfair advantage and most of the winners at Bingo were people who used trackers. Trackers are a ploy to make money. What is unfair though is that our group bought multiple trackers at one point. Minutes after we purchased the trackers the Bingo staff announced that they would be selling half-priced trackers (as a means to get more money because Bingo was fairly empty at that hour). In addition, we won a Bingo shirt because of how many Bingo games we played during the cruise. We were told that when worn the shirt would earn us a free Bingo game. However, each time we wore the shirt we received some speech as to how there was a special rule or stipulation that voided the promise. When we finally received the free prize, it was for a section of one Bingo game and not for the full card.
Lack of Availability/Spirit: Nearly everything on the ship is offered during designated timeframes. Ziplining and rock climbing were only available during two small intervals during the day, times which often conflicted with the shows on the ship. The restaurants (even the free-of-charge buffets) were only open at certain times - unlike other cruises I've been on. The ship lacked any spirit. I've been on cruises where the cruise director constantly made announcements of what was happening on the ship throughout the day. The cruise director on other ships had a fun, vibrant presence that really created the cruising experience. There was no such spirit/presence on this ship.
Conclusion: Our group of five is extremely disappointed with Royal Caribbean and Oasis of the Seas. It was our first time cruising together in years and it was a poor experience due to the quality of the cruise. I do not recommend this cruise. Find a different cruise line or at least a different ship; your money will be better spent. Bigger is not always better, as is the case with Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas.
A Disappointed Customer