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.
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!!!
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!
As you walk across to board the ship you are (once again) amazed by the impressive size of the ship!
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!!!
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!
A closer inspection reveals that these sculptures are actually seagulls with a variety of scenes painted on them…altogether now:”Cooooool!”
And 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!
On The Oasis of The Seas even the smallest kids get a special pool, this one swirls!
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!
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!
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.
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 🙂 🙂 🙂
Time 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!
The 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!
And 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!
Notice how the skies are clearing where we are going Bon Voyage!
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…
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