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Oasis of the Seas
The Largest Cruise Ship

by Francine Silverman

January 2012: In the wake of the Costa cruise disaster in Italy and the intestinal illness on the Princess cruise, we boarded the Oasis of the Seas with some trepidation. But from the moment we registered, Royal Caribbean’s professionalism was evident. We were on the cruise to celebrate my husband’s 70th birthday and our daughter’s 40th. A veteran cruiser, Amy was amazed at short lines and the speed with which we were ushered through.

With more than 6,000 passengers, it takes a concerted effort to keep crowds contained. Until we departed and were in the Customs terminal did a bit of chaos occur. Part of the secret of this highly organized line is its huge staff of friendly and efficient employees. I overheard a passenger comment that he’d been on the Allure (Oasis’ sister ship) and preferred the Oasis, but didn’t know why.

Indeed, the Oasis has that special something that is hard to describe. Is it its depiction of New York City’s Central Park as an elegant, tree-lined oasis, the merry-go-round on the Boardwalk that attracts as many older folks as youngsters or the Super Bowl excitement? My husband was worried that he’d miss the Super Bowl but it turned out that it was broadcast on three decks, each with a giant screen and food service.

A woman told me that on other cruise ships she was bored in the evenings, with nothing to do. The entertainment on the Oasis is first class and scheduled nightly. The ship’s design is spectacular and there are hand sanitizers everywhere, but the food is just passable to good. The good news is that in addition to the dining room, there are several complimentary eateries where you can get everything from pizza to health food. Generally speaking, the food is better in these free restaurants than in the dining room. Another advantage to this arrangement is that if you don’t care to participate in formal nights in the dining room, you can eat in these eateries in your shorts.

As the largest cruise ship on the sea, with 17 decks and 1184 foot long, there’s lots of walking to and from activities. As active people, we counted the walking as part of our exercise routine and really slept well!

The only negative I can report is regarding the excursions
not the content but the logistics. For example, we didn’t know that in Labadee, Haiti we would dock at a beach and in Falmouth, Jamaica in a town. Had our daughter known that the ziplining was over the water in Labadee, she might not have signed up for it in Jamaica, where she had to travel to the beach.

Also, we signed up for the Dolphin Experience on the ship and paid $87 per person for what we thought included swimming with the dolphins. But when we arrived at the site we were informed that it would cost another $20 per person to really bond with them. We paid and It was a wonderful experience and worth every penny.

We just wish there weren’t so many surprises.

Francine Silverman hosts the Blog Talk Radio show, Ship to Shore with Silverman and you can listen to her interview Linda Coffman, the Cruise Diva, here.

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