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Oasis of The Seas Day 7: The Adults Only Pool and Sundeck

26 Aug

Hi Everyone!

Well it is the end of an amazing week aboard the Oasis of The Seas!  We have been at sea for the last two days and besides the Dreamworks Parade we have spent the vast majority of our time at the Adults Only Pool.  But it is much more than just a pool, it is an entire area comprised of two levels at the front of the ship that is sectioned off for passengers over 16 years old.  It is designed with a bit of zen and a lot of glass but there are also plenty of openings so that there is a very nice breeze blowing through to keep you cool.

Don’t get me wrong, we love kids, we are planning on having kids, but for two adults on a vacation on their own it is wonderful to have an area where nobody is running around or screaming or splashing.  We actually didn’t even discover this area until about day 4 since there were so many other things to do and see on the ship.  We also thought that it was just going to be a small area around a pool, when in actuality it is a small pool and jacuzzi surrounded by a very big area!

Here is our first view, you can see the bar and someone gesturing to a seat, you definitely need to get here a little early to get the best seats, but most of them are very good.  We actually preferred this area as it was out of the direct sun and we already had pretty good tans from the first few days!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-BarHere is what the ocean looks like, you can see how the sun deck blocks the wind (and the rain if it happens) but is also open to allow a breeze.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-OceanAt this point we took a quick break so that Jany could check the main camera.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-EntryI took the opportunity to get a shot of the beautiful Zen pond on the first level.
Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-ZenHere is a nice shot of what we were looking at from our lounge chairs.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-Main

And here is what we were looking at when we laid back on our lounge chairs…if only I could package the feeling I had at this moment and sell it!Oasis-of-The-Seas-Adults-Only-SkySo that was our final day on the amazing Oasis of The Seas.  We had such an amazing time I know that this series of posts have not even done it justice.  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a relaxing but fun and adventurous vacation.  There is not too much to say about our disembarkation, it went smoothly, we loved our stateroom attendant and tipped him generously.  Luckily Jany arranged all of the tips on night 6 and so we were able to take it easy on our last night.  I hope you enjoy your vacation as much as we did and if you have any questions about anything at all please leave a comment below.

Bon Voyage!

Josh and Jany

Here are the links to all of the previous posts in the Oasis of The Seas series:

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

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Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

4 Aug

Ahoy Fellow Cruise Enthusiasts!

I decided to combine days 5 and 6 because we mostly spent day 5 relaxing on the beach without our camera.  We chose to do the 4 X 4 St. Maarten and Beach Escape for a couple of reasons: First, I love Jeeps and second, we wanted to just relax on the beach for most of the day.  We had a great time and actually got to see a lot of St. Maarten and spend some nice time on the beach.

Here you can see me plotting out our course for the day…approximately.

st-maarten-oasis-of-the-seas

When we got back to the ship we were scheduled for our only return to the Main Opus Dining Room for dinner.  As discussed in previous posts we were not very happy with our first night in the main dining room and decided to visit the 150 Park Central specialty restaurant the next night.  We were so happy with the experience that we dined at the other specialty restaurants the following nights. But the customer service on Royal Caribbean lived up to its reputation and they followed up with us to see why we were not happy with the main dining room.

The Maitre’D promised to improve our experience by giving us a table that was separate from everyone else.  It was definitely an improvement but the service was still a bit slow so we decided to return to our beloved 150 Central Park on night 6.  It worked out great because they change the menu for 150 Central Park halfway through the trip so we were able to try a whole new menu and it was just as delicious as the first menu!

The chandelier is the highlight of the Main Opus Dining Room.

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But our love of the specialty restaurants is old news from previous posts.  The main purpose of this post is to tell you the importance of arriving early to the Dreamworks Parade on the promenade!  The Dreamworks Parade only happens on the days at sea.  On the first day we showed up about 30 minutes before the parade was going to start and we could not even see what was going on.  There were so many people in front of us on the parade route that we could only catch glimpses of the performers, but we knew from the little bit that we could see (and from the applause and cheers) that we were missing an incredible show.  So we vowed to show up early for the next parade.

We decided that arriving almost two hours early for the parade would ensure us a front row seat.  And luckily we were right!  But not by much because we got one of the last front row seats on the route.  You might think two hours is a bit excessive but if you want a seat instead of standing it is worth it.  The time waiting for the parade passed quickly, as I grabbed a couple of beers and watched the people while Jany went to check out some of the awesome shops on the promenade.  Her favorite was a cupcake shop where she bought a couple of books and a few cupcakes for us.

They started setting up for the parade about an hour before it started and we could tell it was going to be incredible.  This is also when the rest of the passengers started showing up and I had to do the old “Sorry this seat’s taken”.  I was only defending one seat so I didn’t get much argument but there were a few people that were defending multiple seats and there were some minor arguments…enough to keep me entertained.

The parade was so worth the wait.  All of our favorite Dreamworks characters were there, including the crazy lemur from Madagascar and the whole cast from How To Train Your Dragon!  Yes we are adults but we love the modern computer animated features…who doesn’t?

It starts with an incredible acrobatic display.

oasis-of-the-seas-acrobatThen the lion from Madacascar shows up with the scheming secret service penguins!

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oasis-of-the-seas-parade-penguinsThen Puss in Boots makes an appearance on the Rising Tide Bar!

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And finally the family from How to Train Your Dragon shows up!oasis-of-the-seas-parade-dragon

The show lasted around a half hour but it was full of fun and entertainment and it is one of our best memories from the cruise!  Remember the early bird gets the front row!

Below are links to the other posts in the Oasis of The Seas series…

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship

Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship

1 Jul

Hello Again!

Today I am going to tell you about our time exploring the (mostly empty) ship while the rest of the passengers were away on excursions in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  It may seem like a strange idea to skip out on a chance to visit an island that you have never been to but we were so fascinated by the ship that we really wanted some “alone time” with it.  Since it was our first time on the ship and since we had already decided we would definitely be back we wanted to get a chance to take some pictures without many other passengers around.

One of the best things we  did (and by we I mean Jany) for this vacation was to bring a tripod for our camera.  Since it was just the two of us, the only way we could get shots of us together would be to ask someone to take a picture of us and we are not big on bothering people so we knew that wouldn’t happen much…or at all.  So Jany brought her tripod and it leads to this…Tip: Bring a tripod for your camera so you can take some shots of yourselves around the ship without having to bother anyone.

The first couple of days we tried to take a few shots but since there are approximately 3,000 passengers on board there was always someone walking in and out of our shots.  So we decided to forgo Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas because we knew most of the passengers would be off the ship and we would have some privacy.  It definitely paid off as we were able to explore the ship by ourselves with nobody else around…it was great!

Here is the first shot we took in front of our favorite restaurant…there is a waiter attempting a photo bomb in the window if you look closely!

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany 150Here is another shot in fabulous Central Park, none of this would have been possible without the tripod…did I mention I love my wife?  She thinks of everything and she’s smoking hot!

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany ParkAs we made our way to the Boardwalk at the back of the ship the doors opened in front of us and we were treated to this spectacular display of how the carousel animals were made!  Being a big fan of woodworking I was totally fascinated by this!  Here is one of the first stages…

Oasis of The Seas Horse1And here is the next stage where the carving is happening, notice the hands with the chisel showing exactly how the artist made the cuts!

Oasis of The Seas Horse 2And here is the finished product on the actual carousel, this carousel was so cool, it had so many different animals and the work was so intricate!  Notice the rabbit behind the horse, one of my favorites!

Oasis of The Seas Horse 3Here is another one of my favorites: The Lion!

Oasis of The Seas LionAs we left the carousel we were greeted by a very old friend…it’s Zoltar from the movie BIG!!!  Seeing this guy just brought back so many childhood memories because BIG was one of my favorite movies as a kid…wasn’t it everyone’s?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-ZoltarWhen we got to the end of the display we turned around to take in what we had just seen and I snapped this shot of Jany taking a couple more pics, notice the tripod that we used for so many of our great shots.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Jany-CarouselThis little monkey was so perfect we just had to take a shot of him, just one of the countless details that Royal Caribbean has put into the Oasis of The Seas.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Dancing-MonkeyHere is another awesome character, this bear looks like Teddy Ruxpin, is Royal Caribbean just extracting memories from my childhood and manifesting them before my eyes?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-BearAs we left the carousel and headed out to the main boardwalk we had to turn around again and take it all in.  Look at the staterooms that look down on the boardwalk, I was still happier with our ocean view balcony but these were cool also.  You can see the Johnny Rockets to the right of the crazy guy with the balloons.  Overall it is made to look like a street with the lamp posts and banners…amazing!

Oasis of The Seas Jany Boardwalk

Our tripod took another picture of us at the mechanic this time, now this is a memory of my adulthood that I would rather not have been reminded about but at least I got the girl!  Why is there a moose crossing sign?

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany CarHere is the rock climbing wall that scaled in 46 seconds flat!  Wait was that in my dreams?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Climbing-WallHere is the famous Aquatheatre where they have an awesome Swimming and Diving Show that you have to see!  Notice the diving platforms all the way at the top by the crown on the Royal Caribbean logo, they actually dive from those!  There are also two giant screens where they play movies for the kids and the kids at heart.

Oasis of The Seas AquatheatreAfter a long day of hardly working we decided to relax at the mini golf course, you can see that the guy on the right is marveling at my skills.  You can also see the basketball court on the other side of the ship.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Josh-GolfSo that was our wonderful day alone with  Oasis of The Seas, I know we would have enjoyed St. Thomas but I am so glad we spent a day by ourselves on the ship.  That night we went to Giovanni’s Table, the last of the three premium dining restaurants on board and it did not disappoint, even though it was the lowest price of the three.  Next trip we will probably do premium dining every night, although we may spend one night at the main Opus Dining room because or second time there was not as bad.  I will tell you about our second night in the Opus dining room on the next post.

All in all I continue to be amazed by this ship, even now writing this post I am in awe of the amount of detail that was put in to every corner!

Below are links to the other posts in the Oasis of The Seas series…

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow

25 Jun Oasis of The Seas Rising Tide Underneath

Aaarrrgh!  Shiver me timbers!

I’m not a pirate but this was our first day at sea and it is better than repeating “Ahoy Mates!” again and seriously annoying Jany (actually she thinks it’s funny).

In this post I will tell you about Day 3 on the ship, we were completely at sea all day as we would not arrive at the next port until very early the next morning.  So it seemed like a perfect opportunity to explore the ship, unfortunately, that is the same exact idea that most of the other passengers had.  So it turned out to be a little crowded but we still got to see much more than we had seen so far, and boy was there a lot to see!  But if I had to do it all over again I would listen to this… Tip: Spend most of Day 3 relaxing by the pool because many of the activities and attractions will be crowded because it is the first full day at sea.

This was also the first morning that we had breakfast outside of the main Opus dining room.  We had seen that you could get a good breakfast, including an omelet station, at the Park Cafe’ so we tried it and it was very good and less crowded than Opus.  So continued our love affair with Central Park that had begun the moment we first laid eyes on it and had blossomed further with the previous night’s visit to 150 Central Park.

Park Central is literally a park at sea, there are all kinds of wonderful plants and trees, as well as flowers, sculptures and even birds!  There are also two awesome giant skylights that look down to the Royal Promenade below and perhaps one of my favorite watering holes in the world: the Rising Tide Bar that actually rises and lowers between the Royal Promenade and Central Park every 15 minutes!

Here is a map of the park so you can get an idea of how it is laid out.  As always, click the image for a larger view.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Central-Park-MapHere is a zoomed in version of a previous shot from Day 1, this way you can get an excellent idea of what the park looks like from above.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Central-Park-Overhead This is the sign that greets you as you enter the park, it makes me happy just looking at it!Oasis of The Seas Central Park SignThere are several beautiful abstract sculptures located throughout the park as well as numerous benches where you can sit and enjoy the scenery.  Notice the variety of plants and the attention to detail of the copper lamps that light the walkway.

Oasis of The Seas Park SculptureI believe this is an Iron Egret but feel free to send me your opinions!

Oasis of The Seas Central Park Bird This is one of my favorite shots because it shows you one of the flower covered trellises and the beautiful walkway…sigh…can’t wait to go back!

Oasis of The Seas WalkwayHere are some of the amazing flowers, they all have a sign to tell you what kind they are, these are called Cornocob flowers…JK.
Oasis of The Seas FlowersThis is what it looks like when you are on the Royal Promenade level looking up through the skylights.

Oasis of The Seas Inside SkylightAnd here is a side view of the Rising Tide Bar!  This shot was taken in the morning so the bar was not open yet and it was stationary at the Park Central Level, but when it is open (afternoon, evening, night) it goes up and down every 15 minutes, definitely one of the coolest bars I have been to…not that I have been to a lot 😉

Oasis of The Seas Rising Tide WalkHere is a shot of the doors to enter the Rising Tide Bar as it is on it’s way up to Park Central, they stay shut until the bar arrives and then the outside doors open first followed by the inside doors, a very good idea for a bar that travels three stories every 15 minutes!

Oasis of The Seas Rising Tide DoorsHere is what the Rising Tide Bar looks like from underneath when it is up at Central Park and you are down at the Royal Promenade…what can I say…sweet, it looks like a spaceship or did I have one too many?

Oasis of The Seas Rising Tide UnderneathThe attention to detail on the Oasis of The Seas is astounding; this is the floor below the rising tide bar that fills up with different colored fountains when the bar goes up, Aaarrgh!  Shiver me timbers!  Why I am cursed to be a landlubber!

Oasis of The Seas Rising Tide BaseOK normally you probably shouldn’t go visit the bow (front) of the ship right after visiting the Rising Tide Bar, but we were on a photo expedition and not a drinking expedition so we decided to take a trip to the bow of the ship.  It is so clean and fancy that it deserves a bow tie and a it’s designers should take a bow, the only other bow I can think of comes with an arrow and that doesn’t really apply here so my epic pun is done…sorry to disappoint you!

Here is a shot of one of the observation decks with a telescope.  See how it has rails and glass walls so that even the stupidest (drunkest) of passengers can continue their voyage without tumbling over the side.

Oasis of The Seas Observation DeckHere is the love of my life and her sweet Canon EOS Rebel taking the shot that I will show you below.  Also you can get a sneak peak of the adults only pool (at the top left of the shot) which became our second favorite part of the ship after Central Park.  I will tell you more about it in an upcoming post.

Oasis of The Seas Jany Camera Here is the shot she was taking in the above pic, the very front of the ship has a helipad…for countless reasons.

Oasis of The Seas BowAfter our photo tour we grabbed some drinks and decided to go check out the Dreamworks Parade that was starting on the Royal Promenade…but it was already so crowded that we really couldn’t see anything or even get near the parade.  This is one of the few times when you definitely felt that the ship was overcrowded.  There were so many people that had been staking out a spot on the front lines of the parade route for hours that anyone who arrived less than 2 hours before the parade really couldn’t see anything.  But we could hear from the cheers and excitement and see little glimpses of an awesome parade, so we vowed to stake out a spot on the next day at sea which would be Day 6 so check back for our awesome strategy and sweet pics.   But for now here is another Tip: The Dreamworks Parade occurs only on the days at sea (3,6,7) so plan one day where you will stake out a spot on the front lines of the parade route, it will be well worth the couple of hours you spend there waiting!

After our parade fail we got ready for our second premium dining experience, this time at Chops Grille which is the Steakhouse option.  We loved our experience again although it was not as mind blowing as 150 Central Park it was still delicious and so much better than dining in the main Opus Dining Room with so many people.  We both agreed that it was once again well worth the extra money and we decided that the next night we would visit the last (and least expensive) of the premium dining options: Giovanni’s Table!

So Aaarrgh!  We spent a day at sea, I hope you enjoyed it and below you can find links to all of our other Oasis of The Seas posts.

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park

20 Jun Oasis-of-The-Seas-Atlantis-Paradise-Island

Ahoy mates!  (Jany is really getting tired of that)

Today I am going to tell you all about our first full day of vacation, our trip to Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and the grand finale of the day dining at 150 Central Park!

So the day started very early because for some reason the Oasis of The Seas leaves Nassau at 2pm.  This is probably because of the long distance to the next port of Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, because you actually spend Day 3 at sea as the ship chugs along at a pretty good pace.  The early ship departure time leads to the following Tip: On Day 2 you need to get up and off the ship by 7-8am at the latest or you will not have much time at all to relax in Nassau. It also means that to be safe you will want to already be on your way back to the ship by 1pm and even earlier if your excursion is farther away.  This fact did not bode well for us because neither of us are morning people and we both tend to procrastinate, which is why we are perfect for each other…awwwww!

Anywho, we knew we would not be up at the butt crack of dawn to get breakfast and get off the ship so we opted for a basic, and relatively inexpensive excursion which was the Discover Atlantis Tour (Code NS03).  We had never been to Atlantis Paradise Island so we wanted to check it out and figured this would be a good way to see it.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Atlantis-Paradise-Island-2

We could have also just gotten a taxi and explored on our own but we figured the cab fare would be about half the cost anyways and this would be a good way to get a tour of such a huge resort.  Many people, especially families, opted for the Atlantis Aquaventure which gives you access to the waterpark but since we are well past our water sliding days we decided to spend $59 per person instead of $165 per person.  Unfortunately, the trip did not start out great and we were not very happy with the boarding of the boat that would to take us over to Atlantis.   For some reason they did not have a complete ramp from the dock to the boat so we actually had to step on a couple of rocks to get to the boat and Jany almost slipped and broke her ankle…that would have been no fun at all.  I think it was because the water was very choppy so they didn’t want to use the full ramp but still they should have come up with a better solution!  But once we got to Atlantis things went much better, the inside of the resort is beautiful and the tour started out great.  However, once we finished the bigger sights they wanted to take the entire tour group through the aquarium and the tour guide was kind of rushing through things.  We wanted to take our time and take some pictures so we abandoned our tour group and set out on our own.

The aquarium was awesome, it was so cool seeing such huge creatures through floor-to-ceiling windows so it felt as if you were standing next to them in the ocean!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Atlantis-Aquarium-1

My favorite part was probably the tube that you walk through that is on the bottom of the aquarium so all of the sea creatures are swimming around and above you!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Atlantis-Aquarium-2

We headed back to the ship relatively early so we could get a good seat near the pool, but most people seemed to have the same idea because it was somewhat crowded by the time we got there. But there was still basically no line at the pool bars, probably because there are a few main bars and then several satellite mini bars as well as many servers stopping by to make sure you were filled up.  The ship started to leave around 2:30pm as it was waiting for the last stragglers to show up.  We enjoyed our time at Atlantis and took a few parting shots on the way out, as well as a great shot of the lighthouse and all of Atlantis Paradise Island!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Atlantis-Paradise-Island

We hung out for a bit and had a few more drinks and decided we would start getting ready for our much anticipated dinner at 150 Central Park.

Since we were going out to the fanciest restaurant on board we decided to get all dressed up for the occasion.  When we got to 150 Central Park we were treated with first class service from the moment we walked in the door.  Their idea is to have a 5 star restaurant at sea and the entire staff was amazing!  We knew we were in for a treat when the multiple types of bread were served with multiple types of butter and even several varieties of salt!  The server was so attentive, he knew what we wanted before we did!

He recommended an excellent wine for us and you can see the beautiful container with the six types of salt!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-150-Central-Park-Wine

Now I must tell you that you do not have a choice on the menu, as is the case in many 5 star restaurants the chef sets a 5 course menu that is out-of-this-world and slight modifications can be made.  This was a concern for me because I am a very picky eater, I’m not a fan of nuts (except salted peanuts to Jany’s amusement), mushy things, beans and many other things, but I loved every single thing that the chef put on my plate.  Jany does not like red meat, although she is not a full vegetarian, so the chef was able to substitute thinly sliced chicken for the meat.  So you can ask for modifications which they are incredibly receptive to and you will be amazed at what lands in front of you.  The Florida Lobster Salad in particular was…shut-the-front-door-good.  And everything else was excellent, we were probably full by the third course but we could not stop.

Here is what we looked like after the dinner!  Tip: Ask for the sweet giant green chairs only a few tables have them!


Oasis-of-The-Seas-150-Central-Park-Josh Oasis-of-The-Seas-150-Central-Park-Jany

In the end we agreed that it was one of the top few dining experiences of our lives, it was well worth the $35 per person charge and we would recommend it to anyone and everyone who sails on the Oasis of The Seas!  Bonus Awesome 150 Central Park Tip: They have two menus, one for the first few days and then another for the last few days, we went back for the second menu and were blown away again!!!

So ended our Day 2 on Oasis of The Seas, we had full stomachs and happy hearts and went to bed with smiles on our faces looking forward to the next 5 days! 🙂

Check back next week for Day 3 at Sea and more tips!

In case you missed them here are the links for the other Oasis of The Seas Posts:
Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1

18 Jun Oasis of The Seas Kids Pool-2

Welcome to the 2nd in our ongoing series of posts about our trip on Oasis of The Seas…if you missed it here is a link to Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning

After one year of planning the day was finally here!  We were so happy on our way to Port Everglades (which is not in the Everglades but in between Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood) that we could barely contain our excitement.  We had packed everything we could think of and triple checked our list because on our last cruise we had forgotten our big camera and the only pants I took were jeans.  Jany basically took everything she had, which is a ton of stuff, I was actually worried her luggage would take up the entire room and might cause the ship to capsize!

The only bad thing about planning so far in advance is that it feels like your departure date is never going to arrive…but then…finally…it does!!!

We called ahead the day before and were told that the soonest we could board the ship was 2pm.  For some stupid reason we listened to them and so we took our time finishing in the morning and left Miami around 1pm to get to the port which is about 45 minutes from our house.  It took us about 30 minutes to go through the boarding process which included checking our bags, passing through metal detectors, getting our pictures taken for our SeaPass (onboard credit card) and confirming our passports.  By the time we actually got on the ship it was around 2:45 and we were very unhappy to see that we were one of the last ones to board and most of the passengers were already in their bathing suits enjoying the pool or a drink at the bar!  This was the ONLY negative part of boarding so I wanted to get it out of the way first so I can tell you about all of the good stuff but this issue is very important because it is almost as if you lose a half day of your vacation if you don’t board as soon as boarding is possible!

General Cruising Tip:  Call the cruise company several times and speak to several different people to gauge exactly when you can get on the ship because it may be earlier than they say.

Oasis of The Seas Specific Boarding Tip: The ships seems to board around 10-11am, even though it was still hard to get a direct answer, this seemed to be the consensus from the many people we spoke with.

Here is a pic of us at the passenger registration inside the port terminal, the process was very smooth and you can see the cameras that they take your picture with.  They also issue you the SeaPass which is basically an on board charge card since… Tip: There is no cash used on board except when gambling your savings away in the casino this is the same for every cruise ship.  So make sure you bring enough cash to gamble and to use in the ports of call when you get off the ship but you won’t need any on the ship.

Oasis of The Seas Check In This is a shot of the inside of the port terminal, it is decorated very nicely and really sets the tone for the awesomeness you are about to experience on board The Oasis of The Seas!!!

Oasis of The Seas Check In Building

Here we are at our first official photo spot (there are many throughout the cruise) where they have professionaly photographers pose you so that they can sell you the pictures later on.  Even if you don’t plan to buy any (we didn’t at first) go ahead and take the shots, because during the cruise they will display them in a special section of the ship where you can go and look at them, and you never know you might love the shot like we did and go ahead and purchase some or all of them!  Can you see the happiness on our faces?  I don’t think I have ever smiled that big!

Oasis-of-The-Seas-All-Aboard-Picture

As you walk across to board the ship you are (once again) amazed by the impressive size of the ship!

Oasis of The Seas Boarding

This will be your first experience on the ship, although it seems somewhat anti-climactic a closer look reveals that this is also a running track that goes around the entire ship…of course we are currently going the wrong way but who cares we are on the ship!!!

Oasis of The Seas Boarding Runway

Okay so this is how cool the elevator shaft is…let me repeat that…this is the ELEVATOR SHAFT!  Isn’t it awesome?  At this point I am like on cloud 9…hundred!

Oasis of the Seas Elevator Sculpture

A closer inspection reveals that these sculptures are actually seagulls with a variety of scenes painted on them…altogether now:”Cooooool!”

Oasis of the Seas Elevator Sculpture Close UpAnd then you get outside to the top deck and an explosion of fun and color awaits you.  This is the kids pool and boy did I want to be a kid again but it’s OK because I already feel like a kid again on this ship!

Oasis of The Seas Kids Pool-2

On The Oasis of The Seas even the smallest kids get a special pool, this one swirls!

Oasis of The Seas Kids Pool-1

This is the Sports Pool, it is where they host volleyball and water polo matches for the passengers as well as other events.  Check out the incredible architecture and the floor-to-ceiling windows!

Oasis of The Seas Sports Pool

Here is yet another pool, this is a standard pool for everyone (we will discuss our favorite later: the Adults Only Pool!) this pool was always a little crowded but it was also closest to one of the main pool bars…I wonder why it’s so crowded 😉

Oh yeah, and check out the bottom right of the photo for a view of the on board Park!

Oasis of The Seas Pool Deck

Here is a better view looking down at the park, I don’t even know what to say I am speechless at this point, somehow I feel we will be spending a lot of time at this park over then next 7 days.

Oasis of The Seas View of Park Ah yes I wouldn’t be a good Irish-Italian-German-Russian if I didn’t stop at the first bar I passed and make an order.  This is also where I noticed the “Beer Bag” which is insulated and filled with ice so it acts as a mini cooler.  You can buy the bag and then they refill it for relatively cheap compared to buying one beer at a time.  So I bought it 🙂 🙂 🙂

Oasis of the Seas Pool BarTime  for a quick break from pictures and a return to some good tips.  I already mentioned the need to arrive early, but there is another very important First Day Cruising Tip:  You may not get access to your room and your luggage until a few hours after you board the ship, they are still cleaning the rooms from last week’s guests.  Our solution was to take a big back-pack, it had room for cameras, sunblock, and even bathing suits even though we decided not to use them.

So after checking out the ship for a bit and having a couple of drinks (Jany loved the Frozen Pina Colada) we headed down to our room to see if we could get in and sure enough it was ready and our luggage was inside, below is the view right after we walked in, Jany is already on the phone calling to tell her Mom how amazing the ship is!

Notice how spacious the room is when the balcony is added, it was also great to have the flat screen TV that gave you the ability to not only watch TV and movies, but also to keep track of your account and even reserve dining times and excursions.  The TV also had a live view of a camera on the front and back of the ship and a GPS screen that showed the location of the ship on a map!

The couch was also a great feature because it meant we could actually relax inside the room sometimes.  We would often leave the door slightly open so we could hear the waves while we relaxed and watched some TV after a long day…but this backfired one time in a spectacular way.  I guess because of the on board park there are actually birds that go with the ship and one night one of the birds flew into the room!!!  We just watched it and waited and after about 5 minutes of checking out our room he flew back out the balcony door, maybe he had gotten food this way before!

Oasis of The Seas CabinThe bed was very comfortable and spacious and had reading lights for both sides of the bed, I slept closest to the balcony since Jany did not want any more birds landing on her!  You can also see the bathroom in this shot, which was a decent size for a cruise ship, slightly bigger than a closet.  One of the things we liked most about the bathroom was that the shower was a glass enclosure so you did not have a shower curtain rubbing up against you.  Overall we loved our room!

Oasis of The Seas Cabin2And now on to departure from the good ‘ole US of A.  You can see that the South Florida summer weather pattern was starting to set in with clouds and overcast skies but we were leaving all of that behind!  You can also see the Jacuzzi that sticks out over the water with more floor-to-ceiling windows.  Being able to experience the departure from our very own balcony is something we will never forget!

Oasis of the Seas Leaving FloridaNotice how the skies are clearing where we are going Bon Voyage!

Oasis of the Seas Leaving Florida 2

To finish up Day 1 we headed to dinner at 6pm because Tip: It is usually best to book your dining early because most of the shows start around 8pm or 10pm and 10pm can end a little late when you have had a long day of awesomeness! On our way to the main dining room we passed this awesome alligator coming out of a manhole cover wearing a fedora, just another nice little touch that you will find all around the ship.  Now dinner was another story read on to hear why…

Oasis of The Seas Alligator

So Royal Caribbean has always had great dinners, with exceptional food and superior service, which is why we prefer them.  But the dining in the main dining room was a bad experience and I have a couple of theories as to why.  So we were able to get our own table (I discussed our aversion to group dining in the previous post) but the problem was that we were very close to the tables next to us, I mean if somebody wanted to pass between us we were getting a part of their body way too close to our bread.  I think because there are sooooooo many people on the ship they have to cram everyone in very tight, this is actually one of the only times on the ship where we really felt it was too crowded.  We waited a very long time for our bread and then for our wine and then for our food to finally arrive and our server was usually nowhere to be seen or pretended to ignore us when we were trying to signal him.  This was so not the dining experience we had grown accustomed to on Royal Caribbean.  But I have another theory as to why the service was poor…they want to push you to the premium restaurants on board where you pay anywhere from $10-$40 per person.  I cannot confirm it but having been on a few Royal Caribbean cruises I can tell you that this is what it felt like.

So we complained to the maître d’ after our dinner and he apologized profusely and assured us that he would contact us to make things right for our next dinner.  That was nice and what we have come to expect from a top shelf cruise line, but we were still very doubtful that we would enjoy our next dining experience no matter where he sat us so we made one of the best decisions of our trip when we got back to our room.  We turned on our TV to look through the premium dining options and decided to go all out and go for the most expensive one at $40 per person for a night at 150 Central Park.  OH MY GOD I cannot tell you how much my mouth is watering just thinking of the food and the overall experience that we had on Night 2 at 150 Central Park.  I will tell you all about it in the next post but at the risk of being excessively hackneyed in my praise it was…literally…to die for!

Thanks for reading and I look forward to writing about Day 2 (and 150 Central Park!) for you on Friday!

Here are the links for the other Oasis of The Seas Posts:
Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning

16 Jun

Ahoy Mates!

A couple of weeks ago Jany and I went on the best cruise vacation of our lives!  We spent 7 days on the Oasis of The Seas and to say that this ship is impressive is a massive understatement, I would describe it as breathtaking, awe inspiring, amazing and one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  It is so big and cool that it is going to take a few posts to give it justice, so check back over the next week for days 1-7.  But first, to help you understand how we ended up on the Oasis of The Seas, we have to start with the a quick history of our cruise travels…

The first cruise that Jany and I went on was a bit of a disaster.  We went for 3 days on the Majesty of the Seas which was an awesome ship…back in the late 90’s.  But when we went in 2010 it was already well past its heyday.  Actually Jany and I had both been on it as teenagers and had fond memories of it.  But at this point it is a second-class ship, and it has a bit of an old man who has given up on showering odor to it!  But since both Jany and I knew that we wanted to go on Royal Caribbean (we had heard horror stories about Carnival’s food and service) we thought it was our best option.

The Doomed Couple

The Doomed Couple

But choosing the Maleficent of the Seas was not the worst of our decisions…there was actually a tie for worst decision which was between getting an interior stateroom (no windows) and deciding to sail during hurricane season.  Tips: Never get an interior stateroom and never ever ever ever sail during hurricane season…it’s cheaper for a reason.  We should have just turned around and left when we entered our stateroom saw two magazines with, I kid you not, Leonardo DiCaprio on one cover and Kate Winslet on the other!

Just in case you thought I was making this up!

Just in case you thought I was making this up!

Sure enough the captain could not let that irony be lost so he ran right into a tropical storm on day 2 while we were out at sea.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm

I can remember the boat listing back and forth violently at almost a 45 degree angle and waves crashing into the hull while we curled up in fear on our bed.  We could hear what sounded like the hull cracking every time the waves hit and I think if Jany had not been hopped up on enough Dramamine to take down a small horse she probably would have died of a heart attack or at least puked her brains out.  So those are the memories of our first cruise together.

But we are brave and stupid and so when bad things happen to us we just go ahead and charge back into battle!  Of course we had learned so much from our first cruise that our second was actually a great experience.  A year after Maleficent of The Seas (and before the start of hurricane season) we boarded the Norwegian Sky by NCL and proceeded to our exterior stateroom with its own…wait for it…balcony!!!  Tip: The balcony is the only way to go, trust me it is well worth the extra money.

Beautiful Shot of South Beach Miami Beach by Joshua Reich

The view of South Beach from our Balcony on the Norwegian Sky

You feel like you have so much more room, you have your own private view and it gives you a reason to actually relax in your room for a bit instead of feeling like you just need to shower change and get out.

Our Awesome Balcony!

Our Awesome Balcony on the Norwegian Sky!

The Norwegian Sky had some great features, it was much newer than Maleficent of The Seas and had some cool decor and good food.  This was also our first experience with private dining on a cruise.  Tip: If you have never cruised before you should know that if you are not careful you will dine at a big table with other people that you have never met and you will eat at the same table for dinner each night at the same time.  On Maleficent of The Seas this was the only option, they figured since the ship was an antique they should make the dining antique as well.  But the new trend is private dining where you can sit at a table with only the people you are on the cruise with…and maybe not even them if you are cruising with family members that annoy you!  And you can choose your dining time.  And since Jany and I do not annoy each other that much we loved sitting together alone each night at dinner.  All in all it was such a great trip that we immediately started planning for our next cruise the much anticipated 7 days on Oasis of the Seas!!!

We planned for this trip for over a year, it is definitely the longest in advance that I have ever planned a trip.  We knew we wanted a great balcony and by booking early we were able to get one on the top floor around the middle of the ship.  Tip: It’s better to be in the middle of the ship because you feel the rocking of the boat less than you do at the front or the back. We also knew that we wanted to sail in May because it was before hurricane season and also not too early in the year that it might be too cold outside for a couple of Floridians.  So we settled on the first week of May as it worked with our schedules.

A sneak peak of our Oasis of The Seas balcony

A sneak peak of our Oasis of The Seas balcony

A word on travel agents…in my opinion they are best for people who are either retired or wealthy enough to take multiple trips per year.  This way they can be on the lookout for great deals and opportunities and in this case they serve a purpose.  But for the working class that only has time for one major vacation per year they can be more of a hindrance in some ways.  We had always booked directly through the cruise company, and for Royal Caribbean Jany was even a member of the Anchor and Crown Club which got her special treatment.  But this time I told a friend of mine who was a travel agent about our plan and he asked that we book through him because the cost was the same and he could make some money plus he said he would have a bottle of champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries in our room upon arrival.  So we figured why not…well here is why not: when we called Royal Caribbean to ask them questions they saw that we booked with a travel agent so they told us that we should direct all questions to the agent.  This was a bit annoying but understandable as they are paying the agent a commission.  So we contacted him but it always took him a day or two to get back to us.  It may not seem like a big deal but for two people who were counting every second until the biggest vacation of their lives it was a big deal.  In the future we will go through the cruise company.

But there is a lot more to planning a 7 day cruise than just picking a cabin and a date and Royal Caribbean does a tremendous job of supplying you with tools to plan.  The best thing they do for you is provide a website where you register with your cruise information and the site is personalized with all the details of your trip.  So you can check a countdown of days to sail, see exactly where your room is located on this ship, get a checklist of things to remember to pack and most importantly reserve your dining times, excursions and shows in advance!  This feature is incredibly important because there are close to 3,000 people on the ship (did I mention the ship is ginormous?) and so shows, excursions and dining times can fill up fast.  Tip: Do not wait until you are on board to sign up for shows, excursions and dining times as your preferred selections and times may not be available.  We were very interested in a couple of the comedy and dance shows and we knew they would fill up quickly so we immediately reserved our spots and then based on the time of the shows we reserved our dinner times.  We also reserved the two excursions that we wanted because they were among the more popular.  One of the main complaints that we read about the Oasis of the Seas is that it was too crowded, and while this can become an issue if you are not prepared, we spent our time preparing and were rarely inconvenienced by the crowds.  One of the main situations where we needed to be extra prepared was during the Dreamworks Parade, which will be discussed in a later post.  But all in all if you prepare well you will not have too much of a problem with crowds.

So to sum up the planning portion (which is a major aspect of a 7 day cruise on an incredibly popular ship) you need to:

  1. Book a balcony cabin around the middle of the ship
  2. Deal directly with the cruise line
  3. Spend a LOT of time on your personalized website choosing shows, dining and excursions
  4. Get all of your ducks in a row, and by ducks I mean passport, tickets, cameras, iPads, books and anything else you can’t live without
  5. BONUS TIP:  They might tell you boarding begins at 2pm, but they are lying to make their lives easier, get their around 10am and you will be one of the first on board and have what feels like a whole extra day on the ship, we will cover this in the next post in more detail
A quick preview of the Oasis of The Seas

A quick preview of the Oasis of The Seas

Here are the links for the other Oasis of The Seas Posts:
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

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