Oasis of the Seas creates an amazing spectacle, even from the dockside, it dwarfs all other ships.
The gargantuan effect continues as you board – the ship’s Royal Promenade gives the impression of a shopping mall, packed with shops ranging from Michael Kors to Tiffany, more than it does a cruise ship.
Built in 2009, the ship was an industry innovation at the time, offering a number of ‘first-at-sea’ initiatives, including a replica of Central Park, containing more than 12,000 live plants, with two large interior areas open to the sky. It’s quite impressive. In fact, the onboard attractions on the Oasis of the Seas are so popular up to 30 percent of the passengers don’t disembark off the ship in port.
I think one reason more people want to stay on Oasis of the Seas throughout the cruise is because of the amenities. Beyond Central Park, it features seven distinct neighborhoods, essentially carving it into manageable areas and ensuring that its passengers don’t feel crowded. At the front of the ship, you’ll find the Solarium, a two-story complex of loungers, hot tubs and pools. This was a great place to enjoy an afternoon cocktail. Its peaceful atmosphere continues a few decks below with Central Park joining with the Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre. These areas of the ship tend to be somewhat child-free, perfect for those who want some quiet time.
And while Oasis has been around for a number of years now, it received a massive refresh after a 2014 dry dock. During renovations the huge Dining Room was divided into three separate main dining rooms, each with a different name and ambiance. Suite passengers receive a private restaurant – Coastal Kitchen, an airy Suite Lounge and private sun deck.
Cruising on a ship this size does come with certain requirements. If you want to see the shows and entertainment, you must book online in advance – particularly the Comedy Club and AquaShow, as some of the venues aren’t big enough to hold everyone.
If you enjoy specialty dining, you’ll also want to make those reservations in advance – we particularly liked the new menu at Central Park 150. Some lines simply can’t be avoided, like the Windjammer buffet – It can get very busy during peak hours, so it’s better to choose one of the other venues for breakfast or lunch.
In saying this, the ship has plenty of spots that don’t feel crowded. If you stay on the ship during a port day, you might be lucky enough to be the only one in the amazing infinity hot tubs.
Many of the ship’s main activities, such as the Zipline and FlowRider, open before the vessel leaves port, so those who make it early can have a turn. The FlowRider was great fun, and the staff are on-hand to help first timers like me.
Overall, Oasis of the Seas is genuinely an amazing ship, offering features that I’d never seen before. It impresses the eye, even before boarding, and there is something for people of all ages.
We thank Royal Caribbean and the crew on Oasis of the Seas for this amazing experience.