Well let me start with one word, and that would be… WOW! Upon boarding Royal Caribbean’s new and fabulous Oasis of the Seas, you realize you have not just boarded another ship; you have entered a destination!
Now I know you are all thinking this is the world's largest cruise ship! Yes it is, however I do want to ensure you skeptics out there that we never once got lost; the ship is laid out so magnificently that there is plenty of room for everyone. I was onboard with 5,500 other people and never once felt crowded. I would also suggest to those up-market cruisers to enjoy this vessel in a fabulous 2 story Crown Loft suite!
When you step onto the ship you are on the Royal Promenade where you can enjoy shopping or cocktails at several venues: the Globe and Atlas Pub (an English Pub); The Champagne Bar; the On Air club, a sports/media bar; Boleros Latin bar; and the Rising Tide Bar, which goes up 3 stories (on hydraulics), up to Central Park (more on that in a bit) where you can exit or stay in the lounge and it will take you back down to the promenade.
Also on this deck are several dining venues like Sorrento's Pizza where guests can make and take away their own pizza or enjoy it in this restaurant, yum! The Cupcake Cupboard is a gourmet cupcake shop (I thought these confections were amazing), and a coffee bar. You can also reserve your shows at the clock tower in the middle of the Royal Promenade. Above that is The Schooner Bar, a relaxing fun lounge where you can sing along with the piano player or relax and have a cocktail.
Just below the Royal Promenade is deck 4 where you will find a few, very intimate clubs such as Jazz on 4, a lovely little jazz club where we listened to a Great Jazz Quartet. If you want to have your funny bone tickled you will go next door to Comedy Live to enjoy some hilarious mainstream comics in a small intimate club similar to the Improv in NYC. Just across the way is Blaze, a very hip nightclub complete with lighted dance floor where you can dance the night away! Just past the clubs you will find Casino Royale where you can take a chance on one of the 564 slot machines, play a hand of blackjack, craps, roulette orCaribbean Stud Poker. And let's not forget Studio B, the ice skating rink, while very cool J Dazzles is a lovely dance club with cool views above the boardwalk.
The Opal Theater is a 3-story venue that seats 1,380 guests, where one can enjoy great production shows and headliner performers and never have an obstructed seat! The new technology on this stage is impressive and is never before seen on a ship. This showroom is gorgeous!
The Boardwalk is in the back (aft) of the ship where you will find a surprisingly fun, arcade ambience just like the boardwalks of the Jersey shore! You enter on deck 6 and go past the Merry-Go-Round. (We had such a great time on the Carousel of the Seas we got on each time we walked past and we felt like kids again!) What else is there are the Ice Cream Parlor, The Donut shop, Johnny Rockets Hamburgers, and the Seafood Shack. The kids can also take a break and go to Pets at Seas (similar to build a bear): make stuffed animals and take them home as a souvenir. Temporary tattoos are available for all of you sailors. There is Candy Beach where you can find all of your favorite candy from when you were a kid… do you see a theme here? Yep, you will feel like a kid again on the Boardwalk of the Oasis of the Seas!
Just past the Boardwalk are 2 giant rock climbing walls and the famed Aqua Theater, with its diving platforms and giant trampoline, where divers can do flips and amazing dives. It is gorgeous, just over the back of the ship.
Central Park is on deck 8 and is mid ship. It is open air and landscaped with beautiful plants, trees and flowers. To take a stroll thru the park by day or night is a serene and calming experience. You do not even feel like you are on a ship!
There are fabulous restaurants and shops off of the walking path. With 2 skylights you can see the Promenade below and from the Promenade you can see the open sky. You can dine in Chops Grill for steak lovers, 150 Central Park for an upscale fine dining experience. Feeling like Italian? Giovanni's Table is the place to go – a small intimate restaurant with a Tuscan flare. You can visit Vintages for wine tasting and tapas where you can see the world's largest bottle of wine! You can view the art at Art Actually. And there’s the first Coach store at sea!
I was walking thru the park one evening on my way back to my stateroom and ordered a nice glass of wine from Vintages wine bar and was enjoying it on the park at a patio table when I was lucky enough, yes lucky enough, to get caught in a downpour on my way back to my stateroom. There were a few people in the park at that time and we all ran for cover (no worries as there are many places with awnings). Then we all stayed where we were and really enjoyed being caught in the rain in the middle of a park in the middle of the night in the middle of a ship! It was truly an experience I will not forget any time soon.
The Solarium is located forward on the 16th deck; it is a gorgeous, adult only haven of relaxation! They have a freshwater pool and two serine whirlpools, palm trees, cocktail lounge and spa café. This area was just spectacular.
The Pool deck is quite impressive- there are 21 Pools on Oasis (including whirlpools). The Beach Pool is on a "slope" and the tiles are sandy colored and the pool saltwater. It really gave me the impression of being at a beach. A beach party is held here once a week. There is a Sports pool for lap swimming and water sports like pool volleyball, badminton, water polo. The family "H20" pools are vibrant colorful kid's areas, where the pools are a bit smaller for them and they include a fantastic "lazy river" pool for the kids. You cannot miss this: it has so many colorful sculptures of sea animals and is anchored by a large colorful octopus!
Headed to the back of the ship the Flowriders are for your amusement or to challenge you. These two surfing simulators are fun, but a bit of bravery and a little balance is needed to be successful on these babies. (I recommend trying to boogie board before you try the surfing.) But let's talk about another FIRST for a cruise ship, the zip line!
The Zip line is above the boardwalk area and you zip from starboard to port side way above the bustle of the Boardwalk, 9 decks below. I saw several guests give this a try and each of them loved it! It is also fun to watch from below as well. Oasis Dunes is the mini golf course that is set up back just before the Flowriders, it had quite a few golfers testing their putting skills. And not to forget the full-sized basketball court on the starboard side.
I also want to bring your attention to a few things I think are important to remember (or to know) about a ship this size. At each elevator there is a touch screen to find out where you are, what is going on where, dining venues, and if you are not sure where you are it tells you that as well.
Kids are given a bracelet with a GPS-type of technology to track all children onboard. The kid's areas are amazing, from the science lab to the kid's showroom to the baby tots room where infants can nap after playing all day.
The mandatory muster drill (or lifeboat drill) also had a new innovation. On Oasis of the Seas, you do not have to go back to your stateroom to get your life vest; they’re kept at the Muster stations (brilliant, why has it taken so long for a cruise line to figure that one out?)
All in all Oasis is a fabulous Royal Caribbean ship and much fun. It is a destination in itself, so for those who have been there and done that, I invite you to the Oasis of the Seas, you have never been there or done that… YET!