November 2015 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Cruise on Oasis of the Seas
We booked our cruise on the Oasis of the Seas for a 7-nights from November 28th to December 5th, 2015 with Online Vacation Center in February 2015. Since I receive their newsletter regularly, when I got the email way back in February 2015, I convinced my boyfriend to try a cruise for a change. I must say that he wasn't interested in a cruise at all! For my part, I had already 4 cruises under my belt, so, normally, it was not a priority for me to do a 5th one... But, when I read the newsletter, the fact that the ship was THE BIGGEST in the WORLD, all the incentives offered by OVC, and, of course, the cost of the cruise... There was no way I would miss this opportunity. So, I told all that to my boyfriend and, to my greatest surprise and pleasure, he said YES!!! I, then, called our couple friends and they also agreed to come with us. I contacted OVC by phone and talked to Grant, one of their consultants. He was great in explaining everything and we will definitely book with him again in the future for another cruise.
Now, on the review of the pre hotel stay. First, we decided to go the Fort Lauderdale a day prior to the departure of the ship. We stayed at Richard's Motel, in Hollywood Florida for one night. We arrived at Fort Lauderdale at noon and got to the Motel at around 12h45. Every thing was perfect. I had made reservations and the room we had was big (2 double beds, a full kichen) and located two steps from the pool. We enjoyed our stay there and would gladly go back there for a more extended stay. We left the hotel the next morning at around 11h30. We got to Port Everglades about 15 minutes later. Since I had cruised before, I never expected the boarding to be so fast. Let's not forget that this ship contains almost 5000 people not counting the crew!!! But, impressively, before 1h00 p.m., we were eating at the Windjammer Buffet and relaxing on the ship!!!
We then headed for a tour of our "home" !!!! Oh my God!!! What a ship it is!!! It is huge and beautiful!!!
We had chosen cabins with balcony - view "Central Park". Great choice!!! On previous cruises, I had stayed in "inside cabin", "oceanview cabin" and "suite with veranda oceanview". This kind of cabin was new to me so it sounded good and I did not choose wrong. The cabin itself is large, has lots of storage space and the view was great. We were on the 12th deck (cabin 12205). Our room attendant was the best!!! Since we had our cabins side by side, we asked our attendant to open the glass barrier between us so we could easily access each other's cabin without going in the hallway.
Now, the ship itself: Awesome!!! Central Park is a beauty beyond words!!! After seeing our pictures taken in Central Park, our friends and family called us "liars"!!!! They could not believe we were on a ship. They argued we were on land somewhere!!! The Boardwalk: Again, magnificient!!!! The carrousel, the climbing walls, the restaurants, the decor ... everything is unbelievable!!! The Promenade with its Casino... just WOW!!! The Pool area, the Solarium, everything is just GREAT!!!
The food onboard the Oasis of the Seas: First of all, let's not forget that we were 4 with a different perception for food taste: Nevertheless, I must say that all 4 of us think the food (the variety, the quantity, the quality, etc.) was EXCELLENT. From the Windjammer Buffet where we ate mostly all our breakfasts to the Main Dining Room (ours was the American Icon) where we had almost all our dinners to the Wipe Out Café, the Promenade Café and the Solarium Café where we had most of our lunches. Not once, did any of us complained about the food or the service. Thanks to OVC, we had vouchers for one dinner in a specialty restaurant. We chose the Chops Grill and had Filet Mignon along with all the trimmings and, of course, a bottle of red. THANK YOU SO MUCH OVC, that meal was delicious and we will always remember that special time.
With our booking, OVC gave us many incentives including: pre-paid gratuities, 2 vouchers for a specialty dining experience, $200 onboard credit and a welcome onboard bottle of champagne at arrival. These incentives, in itself, are practically worth the pricing of the cruise. After calculation, these incentives have a value of $525,00; the cruise itself was $799,00 - so anyone... do the math!!!!
For us (my boyfriend and I), we finished the cruise with a credit pending of ,59 cents!!! And, we did NOT deprieved ourselves of anything. I am a coca-cola addick... so first thing I did when I boarded the ship was get a "soda package" for $56,00. My boyfriend and his friend bought bottles of red wine every night on rotation. Her wife also bought the soda package after the 3rd day at sea. Us girls, we treated ourselves to fancy alcool cocktails in the afternoon.
The variety and the quality of the shows on the ship is great. We really enjoyed the tribute to Abba with Abba Cadabra. They were great !!!! People complain about the lenght of the Musical '"CATS"... as far as I'm concerned, Abba Cadabra could have lasted 4 hours and I would not have missed one beat!!!!
The skating show "Frozen In Time" is fabulous! The costumes, the decors, the artists, everything is so beautiful !!! I loved the "Ugly Duckling" and the "Emperor's New Clothes".
Us girls went to the Comedy Show. The main reason the guys didn't attend is the fact that we are french canadian and the guys are not really bilingual. And there was no way we were going to translate every joke... loll So, we went and enjoyed that comedy show greatly. The 2 comedians are very good.
We also attended the show "Come Fly With Me", which is mostly an aerial and acrobatical show. WOW, a plane, a air balloon, etc, on the ship! The show was spectacular!!!
Unfortunately, due to technical problems, we did not get to see the show "Oasis of Dreams" at the Aquatheater.
We did not attended the Musical "Cats". First, because of our mates' lack of bilingualism and secondly, because of the poor reviews it got (show too long - 2 1/2 hours, not interesting enough for that long, people leaving at the break,etc...)
Now, on to the excursions offshore. First, I must state that we did not book any excursions with the ship. If there is one thing I can complain about, that would be it: the extremely high priced excursions offered onboard. The four of us got off the ship in Nassau and bargained an island tour with the taxi company "Big Daddy". We got a 3 hour tour, visited the Atlantis Hotel & Casino, the Fort, the Ocean, a local market, etc, in private with only the taxi driver for $150,00. On the ship, a similar tour is over $250,00 for 4 adults.
Same thing in St-Thomas except is was more a touring bus. We were about a dozen and the driver took us all the way to the top of the mountain for great views and pictures to take. I wanted to go swim at the Magen's Bay Beach but, due to the fact that it had rained every day the week before, that beach was closed but I still got the chance to take pictures of that natural beauty that is part of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world !!! That tour was $25,00 each person. On our way back, our couple friends and myself decided we wanted to be dropped of downtown for a bit of shopping. My boyfriend went straight back to the ship. The 3 of us at a wonderful time in Charlotte Amalie, did a lot of shopping and went back to the ship a couple of hours later. It was $4,00 each for the ride to the ship.
Our last stop was St-Martin/Sint-Maarten. Again, at the pier, we bargained a private taxi and had a great tour of both countries on the island. We stopped at a view point for pictures and drinks. Fabulous - even took a picture of a whale!!! The taxi driver dropped us for a quick stop at the beach near Juliana International Airport just in time for us to watch a boeing arrive and pass just about 20 feet over our heads!!! That taxi ride was $30,00 each.
Let's now take about pre-made reservations:
I would greatly suggest that, once your cruise is booked and it is 90 days or so prior to departure, you sign in on Royal Caribbean official website and plan your dinning and shows. I did all that, and believe me, there is 2 line-ups for these venues... the reservation already made line-up and the non-reservation line-up. Since I had booked my time-dining, I never got to wait more that a few minutes to be taken to our table for dinner. I had also booked all the shows I wanted to see: Never waited in line, got to choose my seating (always in the first rows, etc.). The people with no reservation would wait until about 10 minutes prior to the show and only the remaining seats would be offered to them. It is true, the shows are offered many times during the week, but who wants to spend hours and hours waiting in line... I sure don't!!!!
Since every good thing must come to an end... the last day arrived. Our plane back to Montréal from Fort-Lauderdale was only at 9h30 p.m. We were able to stay on the ship until 11h00 a.m. that final morning. The disembarkation went has smoothly has did the embarkation a week ago and at noon, we were dropped off by the taxi at the airport. The waiting part from noon to 9h30 p.m. was long and dull but, we got to pass the time browsing through our thousands of beautiful pictures!!!
The epilogue of it all is: My boyfriend, who did not want to take any cruise is now the person I refer to friends and relatives to "sell" the cruising industry!!!
Once again, on behalf of my boyfriend and our couple friends, I want to thank Online Vacation Center and specially Grant for the wonderful service !!!