Our first cruise on Royal Caribbean in 8 years has us on the Oasis of the Seas for 7 days, and I have just one thing to say:
(Donald Trump voice) This ship is huuuuuuuge.
Having never set foot on any Oasis class ship before (outside of a very short tour Jen got to do of this one last year), we really weren’t sure what to expect as far as boarding goes. Boy were we shocked. We arrived at the port right around 11am, and by 11:25 were onboard the ship. A ship this size obviously requires a set boarding procedure, and Royal delivers in that regard. Here’s pretty much how it went:
- Arrive at the terminal
- Proceed through security screening
- Go through check-in. We had priority check-in, but didn’t need it. No line at all.
- Follow the signs and staff directions to Gold seating, at which point they tell you where to sit (no empty seats for bags appear to be allowed, BTW)
- Here we waited maybe 10min before they started boarding our section
- Walk up the gangway and get on the ship.
Like I said, 25min start to finish. Easily the most efficient boarding procedure we’ve seen on any ship to date, and got us here in record time:
After boarding, we took a walk down the Royal Promenade and stopped to sign up for beverage packages. We got one soda-only, and one Royal Replenish. We’ll see if they end up being worth it, but one of the nice things about this ship is the presence of Coke Freestyle machines, so we can a variety of sodas. So far, the lines at them have been hit or miss. There are a couple on each side of Windjammer, and a couple down by Sorrentos, with those being the busiest so far.
Anyway, after purchasing the drink packages and walking around the boardwalk area, we headed up to Windjammer to get some lunch. Fortunately, we arrived just as it opened, and were the first people in. Shortly after, the place filled up, and they started queuing people outside, forcing them to wait until there were tables available, so take that as a tip, if you’re hungry, head there right away or you could end up waiting a while. The food itself was pretty good for buffet food, too.
After lunch we did some more exploring, heading to the pool and then down to Central Park before the rooms were ready. That was a mistake while carrying a bunch of heavy bags, as Central Park can get really humid due to the design (open-air, no wind at all). Fortunately, 1pm arrived pretty quick, and we headed to our room to drop our bags and relax. For this ship, we chose a boardwalk balcony on deck 12 at the back of the ship (12729), as the ability to watch the shows at the Aqua Theater sounded intriguing. The cabin itself is a bit tight, and I’m not sure how you could fit all of the stuff a full family of 4 might bring, as the 3 of us had a fun time trying to organize our stuff, but we made it work. Our cabin steward had put up the birthday decorations I’d ordered for Jen, too, so that was a nice surprise for her when we got to the cabin. Here are a few pics of it, along with the view you get of the boardwalk and Aqua Theater:
The rest of the afternoon pretty much consisted of more exploring and some unpacking. We had early seating at dinner, so we headed down at 6pm and were promptly seated. So far, MDR service is much better than the MDR on the Divina, a welcome change. The food was just as good as we remembered, with my prime rib being outstanding. Interestingly enough, I was also given a survey to fill out at the table on how my meat was. I’ve never seen that before, but was glad that they spot-check their work!
My only complaint about dinner was that something else I’d ordered, a birthday cake for Jen that was supposed to be delivered at dinner, wasn’t there. I spoke to the waiter about it afterward and he said he’d never gotten any notification about one, but that he’d take care of it and will have it there tonight. I’ve heard about Royal “forgetting” various items people pre-ordered recently, so was disappointed to experience this myself. It’d give me pause about ordering anything from their catalog for clients.
We’d set show reservations up well ahead of the cruise, but already had one change that impacted the first evening. We had been booked for Cats at 2:30pm on the first sea day, but that show got cancelled, so they moved us to the 8:45 show on boarding day. After dinner, we headed back to the room to change, and before leaving for Cats, hung out on our balcony a bit to watch the opening show in the Aqua Theater. Really cool stuff, and it’s awesome to be able to hang out in the room and watch stuff like this:
After that ended, we headed to Cats. I’ll preface all of this by saying that I’m not in to musicals. At all. There’s the rare exception every now and then, but this is not one of them. I can see why Royal’s having trouble keeping the theater filled for this, and it’s not because of the performers, they’re obviously talented, it’s 100% the play itself. I really don’t get the love-fest for it, and a lot of other people didn’t seem to either, as there were plenty of open seats at the start of the show, which only got worse over the course of the first act. At intermission, we left, as none of us could really take it anymore. I feel bad for the performers, as I’ve read that this isn’t a popular show on the Oasis. I can see why.
Our half-a-play over, Jen headed to the room while Bayley and I made one last pass of the ship. One thing that really stuck out, the Windjammer buffet closes at 9pm, so after that, your only free options appear to be Sorrentos and the café on 5. There are over 6000 passengers on the ship, but the main source of an evening snack closes at 9? Wow. Oh, and I should also mention that the pizza on Oasis doesn’t even come close to any of the 3 styles available on the MSC Divina. Sorrentos is more like me making pizza at home from scratch, and I think all of the pieces we tried were a bit undercooked. I’m really missing the Divina’s pizza right about now. Small issue though, we’re still on an awesome cruise ship, right?
That about covers day 1. More to come as our journey aboard the Oasis of the Seas continues!