The first time I ever cruised was, on a ship that departed from the USA; you can read all about that adventure here. The addiction that ship gave me is still going strong and my 9th ship also set sail from the USA. I have learnt a lot from the cruises that came in between, for example, I no longer think that you have to climb down a rope ladder to get into a tender…
But one thing that did not change was the feeling of being a British person in a strange new world. Oasis is so mammoth in size that I got that first ship feeling all over again; I found myself wondering how on earth this could all be on a ship that floated upon the sea’s. She is truly mind boggling! And just in case you have never sailed on an Oasis class ship, here are some stats to help you understand her magnitude:
Max Occupancy – 6,680
Crew – 2,198
Length – 1,187 feet
Height – Towers 213 feet above the water
Fun Fact – The ship contains 3,300 miles of electrical cable, roughly the width of the USA
Oasis was my very first Royal Caribbean ship! She set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida and was bound for a western Caribbean itinerary – Calling at Labadee, Falmouth and Cozumel. With only a week on-board it felt like we would never see every aspect of this mega ship. But we were going to give it a good go.
Our cabin was ready straightaway, which I know is not common on all ships. It was pristine and our cabin steward Maha was an absolute gem. On this sailing we had a balcony cabin, the balcony was the biggest balcony I’ve ever had. Granted, it was only my third balcony but still the biggest! My favorite thing about this cabin was hands down the shower of dreams. We all know that cruise bathrooms are tiny so being able to bend over in a shower is a luxury. Well, on Oasis not only could you bend over, there was also no shower curtain! Hallelujah for being able to shower in peace without a shower curtain deciding it wants to be my best pal. There were some tiny maintenance issues such as rust spots on the balcony but nothing that would negatively affect your cruise.
Favorite area’s of the ship!
While exploring I discovered that the places I thought would be my favorites were actually eclipsed by other parts of the ship, I fell in love with.
Royal Promenade: This is definitely the wow factor when you enter the ship; the individual facades of the buildings are reminiscent of a theme park. My personal favorite facade had to be Sorrento’s, the mock stone front was authentically Italian in nature. Although I must profess that I also loved the globe outside of the Globe and Atlas pub. A fun fact about the globe is that it opens up into a stage for street parties. We also had a good giggle at the signposts that bore the directions forward and aft. Something that would help my Mum as she always gets lost on ships.
I spent many happy hours wandering up and down the royal promenade and eating pizza outside of Sorrento’s. But I was not a fan of it being used for street parties. Mainly because it became so congested that you then could not move. But also because they were lame…I’m sorry Royal Caribbean you did a lot of things right however you should never ever touch a white party again. Holding a white party does not constitute doing party dances in a brightly lit street. Please, go take lessons from NCL.
Boardwalk: I thought the Boardwalk would be my absolute favorite part of the ship; while I loved it, it did not take the crown. The reality is there is not much to do there. Although I did ride the carousel like a big kid! A fun fact about the carousel is that it is actually handmade. I could also usually be found eating sugary snacks here, cupcakes and ice cream in the blazing hot Caribbean sun is the dream. I frequently wish to be sat on the aqua theater seats eating Ben & Jerry’s. While my skin turns cherry red.
A fun tip if you are planning on sailing on Oasis is that on the last sea day they transform the boardwalk into an old fashioned seaside resort. There is balloon animals, games, popcorn, toffee apples and cake. All the snacks are complimentary so it is a great way to get that last sugar rush. After all, calories don’t count at sea.
Central Park: This sheer beauty turned out to be my favorite part of the ship. I loved to eat breakfast in the park cafe and wander through the whimsically lit space on a night. Central Park is amazing simply because it is a living breathing organism inside a mega ship, it has: 12,500 plants, 62 vine plants and 56 tree’s/bamboo. It definitely needs more bars adding to it though. I could spend all night there if only there was a more comfy seat to sit upon and people watch.
All cruisers will agree that food is a very important part of cruising. Now I am going to say something bold…I found Royal Caribbean’s mediocre. It wasn’t awful by any stretch of the imagination. But it just wasn’t up to the quality I have had on other lines. I also found it strange that the dining room did not have windows…I missed being able to watch the sunset over the waves.
However there were definitely foods that I still enjoyed, including: Grand Mariner souffle, calamari and lobster. Then again I am pretty sure everyone loves lobster night, who doesn’t love to wave their napkin in the air to celebrate the crew?
We did sample speciality dining on this cruise but Johnny Rockets you were a disappointment. Our waiter was such a hard working soul but the rest just stood around and had a chat. There was no singing and dancing…And the food left a lot to be desired.
Also Americans who read this blog can you clear something up for me, do you not really drink hot chocolate? Because it wasn’t served on this ship and I found that bizarre. I certainly missed it!
This is where Royal Caribbean comes out quite firmly on-top, the entertainment on this ship was the best I have ever experienced at sea! Now Oasis class ships get a lot of grief because you have to reserve shows in advance. But firstly it is actually super easy to reserve shows before you set sail and secondly it is entirely possible to get into a show without making a reservation.
Frozen in time: The ice show on Oasis is based upon the stories of Hans Christian Anderson. It was the first show I saw on-board and it was my number one! So much so that I actually went to see it twice. I was enamored by the ugly duckling and mesmerized by a duo in the emperors new clothes, after all, if you can turn at high speed with another person balanced on your head then you are basically superhuman.
Cats: Now this show can only be described as theater marmite. You either love it or you hate it. My Dad hated it and left at intermission with most of the audience. But Mum and I loved it! Granted, I am a dancer and Cats is based mainly on the medium of dance so maybe I was destined to love it. But seriously Cats has such a talented cast! Magical Mister Mistofflees could turn like a top! Be warned though the songs will stick in your head for days on end. (There is also a chance to do a Q&A with the cast and theater technicians on the last sea day. Followed by a chance to explore backstage)
Oasis of Dreams: Oasis of dreams is the dominant aqua show on-board Oasis of the sea’s. It features alongside a shorter slapstick show called Splish Splash which can be watched without reservations on a sea day. Oasis of Dreams definitely draws the biggest crowd out of any of the entertainment on-board. It is definitely standing room only if you don’t show up early. Once you have watched Oasis of Dreams it is easy to see why – The show is reminiscent of cirque du soleil, it has the ability to give adults the feeling of wonder and magic they had previously only felt as small children. I had no idea how the logistics of the show could possibly work till all was revealed at the end.
Come Fly With Me: Is much more like the traditional show you would expect to see on a cruise ship. The set was spectacular but really I was only interested in the aerialists featured in this show. This high flying show was the only one that I did not feel any desire to see twice. It was a perfectly pleasant way to pass 45 minutes but was not of the standard of the rest of the entertainment on-board.
This was a sticking point for us on Royal Caribbean, it’s not that the staff were rude or unfriendly. It was simply that there wasn’t enough of them. Normally, we sail Princess and the moment you sit down in a bar etc you are attended to by a member of the crew. On Oasis you could sit in a bar for twenty minutes before a member of the crew came to take your order. I know it’s a big ship but Oasis seemed chronically understaffed.
As with nearly every cruise ship I’ve been on Oasis was pristine. I was very glad to see that washy washy was enforced. Plus they had the most catchy song about washing your hands; I sang it all week long. If you fancy getting it stuck in your head you can find it here.
Labadee is one of the private resorts/islands that is owned by Royal Caribbean. When you arrive at this beautiful island paradise it looks like you have stepped straight into a movie set – The lush island greenery made me feel as though I was Moana restoring the heart of Te Fiti. Beyond the idyllic looks the sheer size of the island is truly something to behold. On my first cruise back in 2013, I visited one of NCL’s private islands Great Stirrup Cay. We had to tender ashore and the island consisted of a beach, some market huts and a buffet area. The beach was beautiful there is no denying that but it could not hold a candle to the magnitude of Labadee…
With its custom pier built to hold some of the biggest ships in the world, Labadee has an array of different beaches, a craft market, a water slide, a roller-coaster and a zip line. It is simply mammoth, so whether you want a tan or to thrill seek you will be well catered too. Personally, I’m not a thrill seeker so I could be found on the pure white sands; legs in the crystal clear water and book in hand. I dream daily of being back in Labadee, there is no sea quite that blue in the UK.
Now it is said that exploring outside of the port in Falmouth is not encouraged due to high crime rates. You can of course go on an excursion but since none of them appealed to us we just explored the port. Historic Falmouth cruise port is a 32 acre gated facility serving cruisers only. Much of what is on offer is jewelry stores but it was still fun to spend a few hours wandering in and out of the shops lining the custom cruise port. After which we hopped back on the ship to bask in the afternoon sun. At this point I thought I could never get enough of the Caribbean sun; I learnt later in the week that there was such a thing as too much sun…Lets just say that the flight home was uncomfortable due to sunburn that was virtually radioactive. I kid you not if you turned out the lights I would have glowed! People probably wondered if I was allergic to my own face.
Much like in Jamaica we just had a good shop! Picking up souvenirs for people at home, if you are going to do this itinerary it is worth noting that Cozumel is the cheapest place to pick up presents. Now I did fancy going to the beach at this port because of the breath taking colour of the sea. But the dock that Oasis uses is actually nowhere near the beach! Don’t let this put you off Cozumel in general though; it actually has a number of piers which service cruise ships and some are much closer to the beach.
Oasis of the Seas was not what I was used too and I would not say that I am a Royal Caribbean convert. But I was sad to get off at the end of the week. I do miss Oasis terribly and I wouldn’t hesitate to sail with Royal Caribbean again. Especially after seeing how well they reward their loyal cruisers – They had some of the best perks I’ve seen at sea! Their own bar, own restaurant, own private sunbathing deck and reserved premium seating in the shows. It definitely pays to be loyal to Royal and I know that I will be seeing them in future. Even if they didn’t top my list and beat my favorite cruise line, they do come in my top three – Providing me with a wonderful birthday adventure that restored my faith in travelling as a celebration of my life.