Monday, November 4, 2013

Oasis of the Seas, Part One

Well, it's November. It's also been more than a week since John and I disembarked from the greatest ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas, with Royal Caribbean.

It's the behemoth on the left

17 glorious decks of food and fun! But let's back up a bit, shall we?

Yes, we went to Europe in May for our 5th anniversary and it was, hands down, the best vacation in all of my 30 years. But if you know me at all, you know that the travel bug starts itching on the flight home. I simply NEED to plan more trips. The weather being less than ideal in Europe prompted John to agree to a tropical location for a fall vacation. Initially, we considered and priced all-inclusives in Mexico. The value is greater than a cruise. However, we also had terrible weather when we went to Cancun in 2011 so we got cold feet just before booking. A good sale came along on CruCon, a cruising sale site, and it didn't take a whole lot of convincing on my part to tell John to open the purse strings a bit and go whole hog.

In a flurry of phone calls to book, the sale was ending at midnight and you cannot book online (which is ridiculous), we snapped up a Central Park view balcony room with pre-paid gratuities, specialty dining voucher and complimentary spa service on the biggest ship in the world for a song.

While the Western itinerary is always cheaper, the Eastern itinerary is much preferable.


We stopped at both St. Thomas and St. Maarten on our honeymoon aboard the Adventure of the Seas, but love both spots so we did not mind repeating. Nassau was a new port for us. Much research ensued, typically, to find the best options for what to do in each port. Cruising on the Oasis carries the added research of booking your shows ahead of time. Most ships do not require reservations for shows but carrying 6,200 passengers, the Oasis is not most ships. Reservations are free but an absolute must. You can make them on board but you likely will not get your first choice of dates/times and you might be shut out of some shows all together. For instance, the comedy club is the smallest venue on the ship and sold out every performance. You can attempt the standby line but there are no guarantees.

Moving on........

We flew out of Cleveland because of free dog sitting and I used points on the return flight, which was nonstop. If you've never cruised before, you'll hear horror stories of flying in the day of embarkation and missing the ship if your flight is delayed. You'll be duped into paying at least double to book your ticket through the cruiseline because they'll "hold the ship" for you. Do not believe this. Book the air on your own. If you're really a nervous nellie, fly in a day early. You'll still save money even if you incur hotel costs.

An uneventful flight to Ft. Lauderdale by way of Baltimore and we were soon at our hotel, Hyatt Place 17th St. Convention Center. I got a decent price on and it was walking distance to several restaurants and a Total Wine. This was important because you are now allowed to bring on 2 bottles of wine per stateroom. Hooray!

This is getting a bit wordy. Let's move on to EMBARKATION DAY!

We arrived at the port by 11:00 AM. They text and email and tell you that under no circumstances should you arrive at the port until after 12:30. This is also a lie. Boarding usually begins at 11:15 am, give or take. You wait in chairs until it's your turn, which happens quickly. I think we were on board by 11:45 AM. You paid for that first day on ship. Take advantage of it!

These are the gangways of embarkation. Then you are ON THE SHIP!

You enter on Deck 5 crossing over the running track and winding up in the Royal Promenade. Here you'll find shops, bars, clubs, Starbucks, karaoke bar, sports bar, Guest Services and a whole lot more. It's much wider than the RP on other classes of ships. it's also one of the only decks in which you can walk from forward to aft and back without having to go into the room hallways.

We spent a lot of time in the Royal Promenade, specifically hanging out in the Globe & Atlas, an English pub. It was the best place for beer on the ship. You can only drink so many pina coladas before you need a brew.

There are lots of other places in the Royal Promenade but let's move up to Deck 6, shall we? Here you'll find, the Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk is in the center of the ship but is open air above and aft. Here you'll find the carousel, ice cream shop, donut shop (yum!) Seafood Shack, Johnny Rockets, a bar, a couple stores, two rock climbing walls (two!) and the aqua theatre. Lots to see here folks. Not to be missed

The carousel is free to ride and runs just about all day long whenever you want to mount up. Yes, I made John ride it with me. Don't let him fool you. He was smiling the whole time too.


This is the aqua theatre where we saw the show, Oasis of Dreams. It's a combination, diving, synchronized swimming, aerial arts show. The front rows are considered a 'splash zone' but we opted for the loungers further back. It's best to try to reserve this show for the first night if you can. It's weather dependent so if the seas are a-rockin', the show is cancelled. I liked the divers best. Very impressive!

We have so much more to discuss but this post is quite long already. We haven't been to the pool decks, dining room or Central Park. I guess that's a story for another day.......

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