Post Cruise Review - Oasis of the Seas - Eastern Med Mini - 13/9/14

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#1
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Hi all,

Here's my review with some images. I attempted a live review, but wasn't able to complete it due to various issues.

A bit about me. I'm a solo traveller. With the except for the first cruise back in 2009, I have travelled alone. In 2009, I'd booked a room for myself, but was travelling with friends for someone's 40th birthday.

I am a Diabetic, Dyslexic and Dyspraxic. I enjoy photography, especially Wildlife, Portraiture and Street Photography. Starting with my cruise from 2013, I've stayed at the starting port for 3 days prior to sailing in order to explore the area where I am travelling from.

I stayed in a B&B called Marina View, which is approximately 3km from the port where the Oasis of the Seas is docked. It is also located near Old Barcelona with easy access to some nice restaurants and easy access to the T3 Bus stop (for access to the Cruise Ship Port) and the main Tour Bus stop.

My plan for the 3 days before the cruise was to go to the Pyrenees for 2 days to visit the mountain and also to do some Wildlife photography.

My only regret on this trip was that I didn't have time to tour the Gothic / Historic side of Barcelona, but at I have a reason to go back in the future.

For the ports of call, I had originally booked the "Exclusive tour of Rome", but had to change my plans the night before due to a swelling of my ankle that developed during the day. I had gone and done the Olive Oil Tasting experience. My trip to Naples was unchanged and went to Capri, Sorrento and Pompeii.

The review will be image heavy, and there will be images that will not appeal to those who are afraid of spiders.

I will cover my thoughts of the cruise later on in thread. If you have any questions, please feel to ask. I might not have the answer, but I am sure someone else will.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=2104491 Cruise Review - Oasis of the Seas Cruise Review

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=2099162 Live Cruise Review - Oasis of the Seas 2014

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1911250 Live Review - Allure of the Seas - September 2013

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#2
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Day 1 - Pre-Cruise vacation.

I arrived into Barcelona Airport about 20 minutes early. I booked a private taxi to take me from the airport to the B&B for approximately 40 euros. Sadly, the driver didn't speak a word of English, so it made it difficult to have a conversation with him throughout the trip.

I arrived to the B&B (Marina View) which was an apartment within 30 or so minutes. The driver couldn't find the place, but as I had booked the taxi some time before, I would have thought they would have either asked me beforehand, or called the B&B to confirm the exact address. Anyway, no big deal, I got there.

As I had already lost half a day at this point (I arrived around 1pm), there wasn't much sightseeing I could do, so I went to lunch at a restaurant called Vegetalia in the Gothica district of Barcelona. The food was edible and ok and affordable (approximately 10 euros for 3 course meal from their set menu, plus the cost of the drink). The service was ok, but not great. You have 2 bar staff and 1 table host, so at busy times, there is a delay in getting the food out. However, that aside, the food was good enough.

I went back to the B&B and enquired as to what to do in terms of sightseeing. I was directed to the SightSeeing Bus which was about 5 minutes away. I booked the excursion, which came to approximately 27 euros. As I wouldn't be able to do much sightseeing, that was a bit expensive, but I wasn't going to sit in my room for the rest of the day, so I went ahead and booked the ticket.

I must admit that the audio commentary was disappointing. Some of the ports either didn't work properly or was distorted which made my ear hurt a little. However, I only wanted to see the Unfinished Cathedral. Here's some pictures from my mini sightseeing tour.











With a bit more time, I would have gone into the Cathedral and also done a panoramic view of Barcelona, as well as explored more of the Gothic / Historic side of Barcelona.

A lot of what I saw is within walking distance of the City Centre. But if speed is important, taking the tour bus would be sufficient, but I would avoid the audio commentary wherever possible. It is expensive for what it is.

In the evening I went exploring around the Gothic side of Old Barcelona and stumbled across the Pasta Bar. They make the Pasta and sauces fresh on site. Is it the best tasting place known to mankind? No, but from my point of view, it was good enough to eat and kept my Diabetes in check. In case you were wondering, why go to a Pasta Bar in Spain instead of a Tapas Bar? If I had more time on my hands, and was a bit more adventurous, I would have tried a Tapas Bar instead. Maybe something to try the next time I am in Barcelona, perhaps?

Any questions so far?
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=2099162 Live Cruise Review - Oasis of the Seas 2014

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1911250 Live Review - Allure of the Seas - September 2013

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#3
Central Illinois
111,972 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Did you make it to Park Guell? Wondering if they are charging for admiission now.
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Bob

Past Cruises

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RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#4
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by clarea
Did you make it to Park Guell? Wondering if they are charging for admiission now.
Afraid not. I only had enough time to take a few shots of the Unfinished Cathedral and a changeover from the Red route to the Blue route and back again on the return trip. But according to their website (http://www.parkguell.cat/en/) it looks like they do charge an entry fee.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#5
So. Fla
64 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by clarea
Did you make it to Park Guell? Wondering if they are charging for admiission now.
We visited Park Guell with a combo ticket for Sagrada and Park Guell Museum purchased prior to the TA on the internet. At the entrance, we were permitted to walk the perimeter and go to the museum but had to purchase tickets to go down inside the park area for 8.00 euros each.

Those tickets had an entrance time like Sagrada.

As a side note for those who may want to decide the best way to get to P. Guell we took the bus from the stop in front of Armani at Placa Catalunya. That was quite a little adventure as well...fun..and it dropped us right at the entrance for 1 click off the T10 ticket.
#6
Central Illinois
111,972 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Originally posted by nomis04
We visited Park Guell with a combo ticket for Sagrada and Park Guell Museum purchased prior to the TA on the internet. At the entrance, we were permitted to walk the perimeter and go to the museum but had to purchase tickets to go down inside the park area for 8.00 euros each.

Those tickets had an entrance time like Sagrada.

As a side note for those who may want to decide the best way to get to P. Guell we took the bus from the stop in front of Armani at Placa Catalunya. That was quite a little adventure as well...fun..and it dropped us right at the entrance for 1 click off the T10 ticket.
Thanks, saving your directions for the next trip to Barcelona.
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Bob

Past Cruises

Celebrity: Mercury
RCCL: Adventure, Allure, Brilliance, Enchantment, Explorer, Freedom, Independence, Legend, Liberty, Majesty, Mariner, Monarch, Navigator, Oasis, Radiance, Rhapsody, Serenade, Sovereign, Vision, Voyager
#7
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Day 2. Still in Barcelona, and 2 days to go to my 1st experience on the Oasis of the Seas.

Today is the National Day of Catalonia, and it has 2 significance. 1. It's 300 years since Spain conquered Catalonia. 2. Catalonians will get to vote in a referendum on the 9th November for its independence. So if you are planning on going to Barcelona around this time.....

I booked a trip via the airlines website a few days before departure, as I was looking for something to do that didn't involve getting involve mixing with the demo that will take place in the city centre. The excursion is Pyrenees Mountain Tour and was organised by a company called Explore Catalunya. Booking it directly with the site is approximately 95 euros, so there isn't much more expensive booking it via the Airline or a 3rd party company.

I had a bit of trouble finding the meeting point, but was lucky to have left early and got to the place on time. The meeting point is opposite the café at Palau de la Musica. The Palau de la Musica isn't easy to find, unless you have a map (or have the data plan to find it on a digital map on your phone). So plan in advance if you do an excursion with this company.

The overall experience to the Pyrenees was good, it's just a shame that not enough time was given. I would not recommend this tour for anyone with any physical difficulties, as there are one or two uphill paths that are steep.













The trip included an hour trip to Vic, which included seeing a historic part of the town and seeing the city square. As it was Catalonia day, there were some people gathered in the town centre in the Vic. This for me was the highlight of the visit to Vic. I didn't have time to go to the old town on my own, so what the guide offered was adequate.

We went to Queralbs where we saw the historic side of the town. Again, not enough time to do the whole excursion, but it's worth the brief visit. If I were doing this on my own, I would skip these 2 parts and head to the Pyrenees, but appreciated the insight to the historic parts of the town.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=2099162 Live Cruise Review - Oasis of the Seas 2014

http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#8
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Next stop, 2000 metres above Sea Level. This is why I took this tour.









By the time we got to the location, I was a bit hungry, so I missed out on going on the Cable Car to the top and walk down. The Food place had a long queue and the service was a bit slow. If I went on my own to this part of the Pyrenees, I would do it myself and get there early.

With all that I have said, I do recommend that people do this tour if they want an experienced tour guide to give them a history of the various parts leading up to the final point. My only disappointment with the tour is the lack of commentary on the way there and on the way back. But I will go back to this side of the Pyrenees and explore the areas I wanted to on my own. But I will also look at doing a hiking tour on the Pyrenees as I would love to see some of the waterfalls I saw on the train trip up from Queralbs.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1911250 Live Review - Allure of the Seas - September 2013

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#10
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Day 3. Pre-Cruise 1 day to go.

Other than going on the Oasis of the Seas for the first time, this is the day I have been looking forward to on my holiday to Barcelona.

I booked a private excursion with Barcelona Birding Point and Carles Oliver was my guide for the day. The organisation came recommended via a friend who had contacts in Spain. As I already knew some of the fundamentals of taking photos, I didn't need any tuition in how to take the shot. All I really needed was someone with local knowledge and able to see the birds and other wildlife.

If you are into Wildlife photography, booking a tour with Carles and Barcelona Birding Point is a must. the drive to the Pyrenees was about an hour from the B&B and we went past Montserrat in order to get to the location. There are no public transport to take you to this location, so a private guide is a must.

If anything, seeing this from high up is worth the trip.





But back to why I went to the Pyrenees to take some photos.









The location we went to was reasonably quiet, so we had no distractions or people getting in the way. The tour cost around 170 Euros. My main frustration was waiting too long to get the shot. This type of tour is for those with patience.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#11
215 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Don't you just LOVE Barcelona? What a great city!
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250 days cruising the ocean & rivers
NCL Gem, 11/16
#12
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Some more images from my visit to the Pyrenees to do some Wildlife photography.











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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#13
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
My last set of images from my Wildlife trip to the Pyrenees.













There are many more images I have, but I won't bore you to death. I will be uploading all my images to my Cruise Diary on that popular social media site shortly.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#14
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
I will do some cruise stuff over the next couple of days. Any comments / questions so far?

My recommendation wherever you go on a cruise is to spend a couple of days in the port town / city you are in and explore it. It will set you up for the cruise ahead.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#15
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Cruise Day 1 - Embarkation Day.

I left the B&B at around 10:30am. I took the taxi to the terminal which required crossing a bridge.



I arrived at the port at around 11am and checked in. No sooner after I checked in, boarding commenced.

As with the Allure of the Seas, there were a lot of similarities, and a few differences. The one thing I noticed was the Car was not in the same place as on the Allure. The little boy who looked onto the car on the Allure was not on the Oasis of the Seas. The restaurant on the Boardwalk was different (I knew this before I went on the ship).

I went to Park Café on Deck 8 an had an early lunch. I expected the Café to be busy, but it wasn't the case. Either everyone is still exploring / boarding the ship, or gone to Windjammer.

Here's some record shots of a few things I found on the ship











The one thing I was looking forward to was Hairspray. I'm glad I got to see it on the Oasis. It's something I can say I have done before Dry Dock.

A bug bear I had was the Cruise Directory. I know all the programs he does on TV is pre-recorded. However, he had 12 or 13 days to record a new program to discover the ship ready for the 5 Day mini-Med cruise. Not a big issue in the big scheme of things, but would have helped if it was updated for the cruise, albeit a one off thing.

I didn't like Drew (the Cruise Directory). He was far too polite and lacked the punch to make it an enjoyable experience. I must admit, after a couple of hours, he reminded me of Joey from Friends, but not as funny. It may be just me, but......

Day 1 wasn't exciting, but I had the opportunity to see the 1 show I wanted to see. The service throughout was ok, nothing wow about it yet.

Any questions so far?
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#16
Myrtle Beach, SC
874 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Your photographs are beautiful.
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Cindy

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#17
So. Fla
64 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
My wife and I are both really enjoying your blog/review of first Barcelona and Oasis and will continue to follow your postings.

Your pictures are magnificent and unique. Barcelona and its surrounds like Montserrat and Tibidabo are so impressive and we look forward to more visits in the future.

We both laughed a little and nodded our head in agreement regarding your comments about Drew and his crew from Oasis..He has a very unique style..He did say his history was that of a Canadian Radio DJ so that may explain it..After a couple days we started to look forward to his upcoming antics on his "Morning Show" He kinda grew on us on the way over so in the end we gave him a Thumbs UP!.
#18
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Originally posted by nomis04
My wife and I are both really enjoying your blog/review of first Barcelona and Oasis and will continue to follow your postings.

Your pictures are magnificent and unique. Barcelona and its surrounds like Montserrat and Tibidabo are so impressive and we look forward to more visits in the future.

We both laughed a little and nodded our head in agreement regarding your comments about Drew and his crew from Oasis..He has a very unique style..He did say his history was that of a Canadian Radio DJ so that may explain it..After a couple days we started to look forward to his upcoming antics on his "Morning Show" He kinda grew on us on the way over so in the end we gave him a Thumbs UP!.
Thanks for the comments.

Sadly, I didn't give him much of a chance to change my opinion of him. Maybe when I go on the Oasis in the Caribbean (sometime in the future), I'll give him another chance (if he is still around). For me Ken Rush is still my favourite Cruise Director on the Oasis class ship. Based on what I have read on various threads, it looks like I am glad I didn't get Amy, as I don't need to be told a lie, I ain't that awesome!!!
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#19
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Just a final comment regarding Day 1. I ate in the MDR. I wasn't assigned a seat during check-in, so I had to go to the Dining Room to get allocated a seat. It was a painful experience waiting to be given a table. However, once assigned, I was shown the table and I was seated with 2 lovely ladies (sisters from what I recall). One from California and the other from Texas (I think!). They remained table companions for the whole week.

I also met a few people from the Roll Call on Deck 15 in the non-smoking bar. It's a shame that I didn't get the chance to meet everyone else.

The highlight of the day was Hairspray.
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http://cruiseforums.cruisecritic.com....php?t=1917158 - Cruise Review - Allure of the Seas 2013
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#20
London
2,586 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
Day 2. Sea Day.

I decided to eat in the MDR for Breakfast for the first time, based on the recommendation from my table companions. I wasn't disappointed, but I was a tad annoyed at being pestered for more coffee. 1st world problems eh? In the big scheme of things it wasn't a big deal, just a minor annoyance.

I met up with a couple of Cruise Critic folks from the Roll Call prior to the Top Tier event.



I must admit that I was a tad disappointed with the event as I expected a bit more from the event. Oh well. (I forgot to mention that this is my first cruise as a Platinum member!)



One of the differences I found was on the Promenade compared to the Allure.



I don't know how to read into this. Does this mean the Oasis of the Seas needs some Graffiti?

I posted a couple of times in a thread stating that the Central Park would be flowerless / plantless. I can only apologise for providing this information, as I only went on what I understood when I was on the Allure of the Seas.





More to follow.
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Upcoming Cruises



Completed Cruises

10-24-2009 (24th October 2009) Liberty of the Seas, 09-09-2012 (9th September 2012) Allure of the Seas, 09-16-2012 (16th September 2012) Allure of the Seas, 09-08-2013 (8th September 2013) Allure of the Seas, 09-13-2014 (13th September 2014) Oasis of the Seas.