As we arrived at the port in Fort Lauderdale the sheer size of the ship, The Oasis of the Seas, was pretty overwhelming. Check-in was a good indication as to how the rest of the trip would be.  Staff were efficient, friendly and welcoming.  Here ,we got our Sea Pass, which is effectively your passport while on-board. You’ll need it for everything; dinner, drinks, shore excursions, the lot. All of your information is on your card and every time it’s used staff can see it belongs to you, as your photo and age are displayed. It serves as a charge card for purchases and as a form of ID for the bars and clubs too. Sorry kids…

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The cabin, referred to as a State Room, was very impressive. The bed was huge, there was lots of clever storage and a private balcony with a sea view. My bags were there ahead of me, himself had to wait, but not for long. Our first impression was very positive and this didn’t change much during the trip but there were things about it that I loved more than others so I’ll break it down as follows:

The Good

The Ship. The Oasis of the Seas was, until recently, the biggest ship in the world. There are 5500 guests and 2500 crew (representing 71 nationalities) on-board at any given time. It has over 20 bars and restaurants, several theatres including an outdoor aqua theatre, an ice skating rink, (yes you heard that right) a casino, zip line, lots of sports activities, an adult only solarium with hot tubs, a comedy club, the list is endless. As a big fan of musicals and theatre I have been to many shows all over the world and I have to say, the shows on-board are first class.

There’s a state of the art gym and running/walking track which means you can exercise at any time of the day, which is a good job, seeing as there is food available every five feet, 24 hours a day. There’s a fabulous spa offering a huge variety of treatments. Hint: don’t pre-book as there is a daily spa special which offers better value. The treatments are fabulous, a real treat.

Every day a ‘Cruise Compass’  is delivered to the room. This outlines dining options, activities, special offers, the weather forecast etc. Read this, it’s full of good information.

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The food is superb. Each night we had dinner in the dining room on Deck 3. You can book in advance; a good idea if you don’t want to queue. Don’t be put off by the word ‘dining room’, it is actually a restaurant with silver service, a new menu each night and an extensive wine list.  The service is first class.

There are two formal nights. Lots of guests take these very seriously and go to great effort. Ball gowns, up-styles, suits for the men and for some of the babies 🙂 I wore a dress, a pretty decent effort for me.

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The Bad

There are lots and lots of people. On the sailing days the pool areas are very busy. The restaurants can be crowded at peak times and there can be queues. Although I never once had to queue for a bathroom, they are everywhere.

Now I’m a huge fan, but there is a hint of  ‘Dirty Dancing’ about the cruise. “They’re having charades on the west lobby” wouldn’t sound out-of-place and as there is so much choice in terms of activities and entertainment, I almost felt like I should be doing something else, instead of reading my book on the deck with a frozen mojito in my hand. Well I was on holiday…

The mini-bar is stocked with soft drinks and water. As our package included unlimited drinks we were surprised to see the soft drinks we had on our bill.

The transfer service from the cruise to the airport can be booked in advance and is very efficient, but a little pricey at $17 a head for the 5 minute journey.

The Ugly

Only one I’m happy to say. A charge of  $6.50 to use the ATM on board. As gratuities are pre-paid,  it’s not necessary, but if you would like the option to tip, bring plenty of small notes and don’t wait to get cash on-board.

Top Tips

  1. Don’t use the ATM on board, it’s extortionate.
  2. Book shore excursions on Royal Caribbean’s website in advance. They are very well organised, with excellent guides, first class equipment and great food (where it’s included).
  3. Don’t book spa treatments in advance. There are daily specials offering better value.
  4. Book dinner in advance (by 4pm) if you don’t want to queue.
  5. If you have an option to upgrade from a basic drinks package it’s worthwhile. It costs about $86 per person but includes all drinks up to $13, (you pay the balance on anything over) water and speciality coffees.
  6. Keep your eye on your bill on your TV screen. They can make mistakes but to be fair they are very efficient in rectifying errors.
  7. Read the Cruise Compass, it’s full of useful information.
  8. Bring small notes for tipping.
  9. Find the self-service frozen yoghurt dispenser on deck 15 behind the band stand.
  10. Try different eating places and entertainment venues each day. Variety is the spice of life!

We booked our trip with Trailfinders who were excellent. They offer some great deals on all types of holidays.  Royal Caribbean offer a range of cruise holidays worldwide. We sailed on the Oasis of the Seas.

I hope you enjoyed my little Clog (Cruise Blog). If you did, stay tuned for the next adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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