Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas
What’s it like to cruise on one of the world’s largest cruise ships? Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas is the 3rd largest cruise ship in the world. Stretching 1186.5 feet in length, Oasis ended up being eclipsed by her two slightly longer sisters, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. Still, this 225,282 gross ton ship with her 6000 passengers and 2300 crew members is a floating wonder. One of our Travel Experts recently spent a week sailing to the Western Caribbean onboard Oasis and shared her experiences. Upon first look, you might ask yourself “how does that thing float?” I remember the first time I saw Oasis, just after she launched in 2008. I thought it looked like an apartment building. Will there be too many people? I’ve been on dozens of cruises, many with Royal Caribbean, but never on this class of ship! While I originally had no desire to sail on a ship that huge, my love of ships made me want to check out this class of ship. Several friends and I booked balcony cabins on a mid-January sailing and we made plans to fly to Orlando and then head over to Port Canaveral which is just about one hour away. When you’re cruising, and flying to the port of embarkation, it’s always a good idea to fly in at least 1 day prior to sailing, especially during the winter. You just never know what sorts of effect weather can have on your flight. My flight was fairly late in the day, so I actually spent 2 nights in Port Canaveral and was able to drive over to the port area the night before my cruise to watch other ships sail away! Once cruise day finally arrived, we hopped into the rental car and drove to the pier. Many car rental agencies have locations close to the port and will offer free shuttles between their office and the pier. After dropping off our luggage we quickly checked in and moved right onboard the beautiful ship! After a quick lunch at Park Café, we dropped off our carry-on bags and set out to explore the ship. If you love sports, check out the zip line, rock climbing wall, sports court or flow rider. Kids, and kids at heart will love the carousel and swimming pools. There’s a gym, spa, ice skating rink and even mini golf. For entertainment, adults love the casino and comedy club. You can see Broadway shoes, ice shows and the high diving show too. You can shop in the many stores on board the ship, including Kate Spade and Michael Kors, not to mention various other souvenir shops as well. For the young ones, Royal Caribbean offers an excellent kids program called Adventure Ocean with age-appropriate activities, some featuring DreamWorks characters. You won’t go hungry, or thirsty aboard Oasis of the Seas either. We dined in the main dining room, Windjammer Marketplace buffet, Chops steakhouse, Giovanni’s Table Italian, Park Café, Sabor Taqueria, Johnny Rockets, Solarium Bistro and Boardwalk Dog House. Those are just some of the close to 20 dining choices on the ship. And as for beverages? Well, you can try the Rising Tide Bar which actually moves! Or there’s Boleros, Trellis Bar, Champagne Bar, Globe and Atlas Pub and even a Starbucks! Like I said, you have numerous options to keep your thirst and hunger away! You can even order room service! Our cruise was to the Western Caribbean and our ports of call were Falmouth, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico and Labadee, Haiti which is Royal Caribbean’s private island destination. Each of those ports offers an array of activities whether you’re happy to just sit on the beach and relax, or do something more active like snorkel or explore sites Dunn’s River Falls or Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza. You can certainly find plenty to do whether you book your excursions through the ship or on your own. Oasis of the Seas also sails on Eastern Caribbean itineraries which may include St. Thomas, USVI; St. Maarten; Labadee, Haiti; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nassau in the Bahamas. The exact itinerary is subject to change and depends on the sail date selected. Check with Royal Caribbean or your travel professional for specific information. Oasis of the Seas has so many things to do that we ran out of time to try everything. I never had time to ride the carousel and I did not see all the shows. Also, there are plenty of other activities as well: bingo, trivia, towel and napkin folding classes, wine or martini tastings movies on the pool deck and countless other things to keep you busy. Many people try to do as much as possible but when I cruise, I go to relax and rest! There truly is something for everyone when you sail Oasis or her sisters, Harmony and Allure of the Seas. When the cruise sadly ended, we were off the ship and through customs and immigration quickly. We went our separate ways back to the airport and another cruise vacation was in the history books. The staff at the pier is able to process the 6000 passengers very quickly and the time exiting the ship to getting to our transportation was less than 15 minutes. The worst thing about vacations is that they pass entirely too fast. I know that I will be back onboard an Oasis class ship in the future! Fair winds and following seas!