It was time once more for our annual cruise and for May 2017, we chose Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. She is the first of the Oasis class of ships and has been in service since October 2009.
It has been a few years since I boarded a RCI ship!
The cruise departed from Port Canaveral in Florida. After our long flight from London, it was very much appreciated to spend the week just chilling out.
The Oasis did a Western Caribbean itinerary which included Labadee in Haiti (RCI’s private beach retreat), Falmouth in Jamaica and Cozumel in Mexico. We had been to all three ports on previous cruises and opted to skip Jamaica to enjoy the ship and spa.
There are a good variety of types of cabins available on onboard, as found on all of Royal’s ships. Besides inside and balcony cabins overlooking the sea, there are those within a themed area such as Central Park filled with flora and fauna or the Boardwalk with a carousel and colourful neon lights. Of the remaining there are the mini-suites and grand suites.
The cabin we resided in for our Caribbean week holiday was a mini suite that truly outclassed many other “mini suites” on various cruise lines that we have cruised on. Cabin #8236 was located on the Central Park floor. It was very spacious with an entire walk in closet, an enormous bathroom with tub and was also mid-ship with a balcony that offered a spectacular view of the ocean.
Take a look at a selection of Oasis of the Seas Staterooms
We even dined on the terrace as the balcony afforded a table and chairs, as well as chaise loungers. There was also a large flat screen TV. The dresser size is more than sufficient for any clothing you take although you would not be wise to not use the walk in closet, a rarity for cruise ships.
The bathroom was well stocked with L’Occitane products such as shampoos, conditioners and soap bars. There are also two plush and soft bathrobes that are perfect for lounging around the pool or spa areas with.
Although you may think of buffets and endless cocktails when it comes to cruising, Royal Caribbean truly shines with their specialty dining options. With the wide variety of selections on display, there are enough culinary choices to please even the pickiest eater.
Image: Windjammer Cafe
Starting with the buffet itself, the Windjammer Café, actually manages to make a cruise buffet an excellent experience in its own right. Every night, the themes change based on the ports you arrive in. Interested in trying some Jamaican jerk chicken or some Haitian style spare ribs? It’s all possible here!
We enjoyed our experience in the Windjammer Café on one evening, but did tend to favour specialty dining. That turned out to be just as impressive.
Chops Grille, also located in the lovely Central Park district offers the feel and the food of a fine steakhouse. The Park Café is also located in Central Park and serves up Panini’s, wraps and other comfort food in a casual atmosphere.
At Izumi, diners can opt for either a stylish sushi bar or a teppanyaki meal. We chose to opt for the sushi bar and were delighted by all of the varieties available, some of which we had never heard of!
The Mexican delights of Sabor offer not only a tasty treat for all but also a wonderful view of the Boardwalk area whereas Giovanni’s Table has enough Italian pastas and antipasti to please the whole family in the midst of Central Park.
We found the Park Café was an excellent choice for our breakfast, as it not only contains lovely areas to dine al fresco but allows you some tranquillity from the masses.
If you wish to dine at these or any other restaurants for lunch or dinner; make reservations as soon as possible. A tip is to review the dining venues before you leave home and write down dates and times you want to request.
When it comes to entertainment options Oasis of the Seas really shines.
Gamblers will be thrilled to hear that the onboard casino, cleverly called the Casino Royale, takes up nearly an entire floor with an endless row of slot machines and other gaming favourites such as blackjack and roulette.
There are four swimming pools for leisure pleasure; including a children’s pool with colourful waterfall-like statues. My personal preference was at the solarium, near the back (aft) of the ship.
Although it is enclosed, it means that you have a place to swim no matter what the weather is like. It also is considerably less crowded than the regular pools. Don’t worry about not catching any sun though, as it is enclosed in glass the sunshine comes pouring in. There are also some smaller pools in the relaxation room of the spa.
Of course, no cruise is without its show stopping productions and the Oasis of the Seas is no exception. The main attraction on the liner is a full production of Cats at a traditional length of two and half hours. I have seen the Andrew Lloyd Webber production both on Broadway and the West End before and this one was no different in talent and enjoyment.
For me, the standout was the amazing Frozen in Time ice show. Located on Deck 4 at Studio B, the ice show details the life of famed writer Hans Christian Anderson and several of his most popular stories.
This show is perfect for children and others of all ages. The grace of the dancers is sure to amaze, especially when you realize they are performing on a moving ship. The show contains minimal dialogue so it transcends language barriers into a true masterpiece.
Image: Frozen in Time ice show
Another show we enjoyed was the ABBA tribute which also plays at the main Opal Theatre. It presents the groups entire history and combines surprisingly funny jokes with enough charisma to please a general audience; even if you’re not an ABBA fan.
Other options include a Comedy Show and at the AquaTheater, a water and acrobat show. On evenings when the show does not take place, the venue is used as a cinema in which recent films are shown on two large screens.
Although entertainment is gratis, due to the number of passengers, seats tend to get snapped up quickly. Reservations are necessary. This can be done when you embark; however, it is best to do so online weeks before the sailing.
As with other cruise holidays, we never miss out on a trip to the spa. You will feel like you are brand new again after a refreshing visit to the Vitality Spa. The spa contains a wide variety of treatments from basic facials and massages to more exotic options including acupuncture. The massages will rid you of any aches and pains that are troubling you. I left feeling unbelievably relaxed.
Image: Vitality at Sea Spa
The overall décor of the spa is very relaxing with a plethora of soothing colours and dim lights to create a soothing atmosphere. Even the process of being in the waiting room is enjoyable and calming. The enzyme facial deep cleansed my face and left my skin soft and smooth.
Any imperfections such as pimples or frown lines will be diminished by this technique. It’s best to go to the spa during port days as there are often special discounts held on those days. The spa also contains a hairdresser salon that is perfect for a quick cut or a manicure if necessary.
A word of advice; it’s best to make your reservations online before you leave home.
Not normally a fan of Mega-Ships, Myself and my family were rather pleased with our experience and it certainly went beyond my expectations. The way the ship is configured; means there are plenty of private areas and you never get the feeling that you are amongst 6000 other passengers.
Besides enjoying our meals, we found Central Park to be a unique nook to feel open air privacy. Nothing was lovelier than to be sitting within a park-like atmosphere (a first for RCI and the cruise industry). In the evening, there was classical music with strings that made it even more enjoyable.
Another area ideal for a stroll in the evening was in the atrium. Besides the glitz of glass and chrome, walking through the various stores and stopping off for speciality coffees or a pizza, made us feel as though we were in a mall!
Royal Caribbean did a brilliant job and I am certain their other Oasis class ships also offer a refreshing, relaxing experience.
Images and video courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Written by Veronica Shine
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