October 2015 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
Being a loyal RCL cruiser, I must say that this boat and cruise experience was by far the worst of the 12 cruises I have done with Royal Caribbean. The dinner situation when it came to my time dining and seating was rediculous. Even with reservations, you would have to stand in line for several minutes, sometimes watching others without reservations being escorted in while you continued to wait in line.
This was just one example of several different experiences with this particular boat (Oasis of the Seas) that just seemed to not have a handle on keeping things organized properly. The first night we were told all the shows were cancelled only to find out that some shows never to be repeated actually did happen. That was just day one, over the course of this cruise we as a couple had several bad experiences where shows were either cancelled or experienced technical difficulties, only to be cancelled after sitting and waiting an hour for the show to happen. In all of the 5-6 shows on the boat we had 4 different shows cancelled after waiting in lines or for an hour to see them...add to that that the aquatic show actually got cancelled 2 times on us in particular meaning we waited 3 different times for at least an hour or so, as it has limited seating to see the show once. The reservation system does not guarantee your seating, basically so you have to show up early!
This cruise also had an emergency situation which most cruisers that I talked to felt was handled very poorly. Apparently a person jumped overboard only to land on a lifeboat, the crew was trying to get to this person, but the boat never started slowing down at all in the several minutes this event was happening. Then once the person actually fell, the boat sailed in circles for 5-6 hours looking for a needle in a haystack. There would have been a much better chance if say the boat had slowed down, plus this person may not have been pulled through the propulsion of the boat if it was stopped, where as that may have happened as we never tried to slow while this event happened. This catastrophe lead to another instance of absolutely no planning on the crews part as it delayed our arrival. This cause the few hundred people planning to leave the boat early to turn into thousands literally trying to get off the boat during the early departure procedure time. We were down very early for this departure and told we were in line on one end of the boat only to be told 15 minutes later we were not a line and had to get into a different line that now had literally hundreds of more people more than when we originally were told we were in a line by a crew member. It got worse from here as our line actually now stretch the entire length of the boat and they put other lines into our line basically putting hundreds of people in a different line in front of us even though that line was formed after ours. We stood in line for more than three hours for early departure, The crew seem to not have a clue how to handle a situation like this, so obviously emergency procedures are in serious need of changes or at least training so someone has a clue. When you get on the boat they ask if you have flights and what time....this should be in a system or database, gee once an emergency situation happens maybe we could ensure those people can actually get off the boat, or realize that this emergency situation and going to completely change the amount of person planning for early departure.
With all this happening, think about this, you plan your cruise to enjoy it, you plan your events, with other events in mind, so running into constant problems like this...well it pretty much completely ruined this cruise. While sitting there for hours waiting on shows not to happen we met several other people that cruised often and the theme was the same. Several stated they had been on the sister boats of the Oasis of the Seas and they were much better organized and did not run into these problems. To be honest, this was such a bad experience, after never cruising with any other company other than Royal Caribbean, I am actually considering trying them as this experience serious hurt RCL reputation for me. The only reason the rating is not lower is that at least the food was decent, although I have had better preparation on other RCL boats and I am loyal to a fault at times. I probably will not utilize Oasis of the seas in the next few years for sure, hoping for a crew changes for the better.