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About edit4ever

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  1. edit4ever

    Jay M

    Carnival Breeze Deck Map - from the card they hand out at embarkation
  2. Excited to follow your review! We board next Saturday...so your info is very relevant for us. If you get a chance, we'd love to see the cruise compass and dinner menu each day. :-) D & J
  3. Just did this run on Dec 4th. Formal nights were days 2 and 5. Day 5 is lobster night. :-)
  4. Could the mods please change the date in the title to 12/4/16?? Accidentally put in the writing date instead of our embarkation date! Thanks!!
  5. Just disembarked from the Oasis of the Seas, where we spent the last seven days on our western Caribbean cruise, and I thought I’d get some thoughts down while everything was still fresh (and before the mundane needs of everyday life took over once again). I’ll say from the start that my husband and I have experienced our fair share of cruises, and on a few different lines. (We’d actually been on the Oasis once before, back in 2012, and loved it.) This means there are lots of excursions, restaurants and other cruising experiences that we’ve done in the past…and therefore didn’t need to do again. Which means this review might appear a bit basic and missing-the-action for some. However, if you’re the kind of cruiser who’s into finding the best places to lie down with the greatest amount of maximized contentment, as well as where to eat in a way that’s tasty but doesn’t break the bank, and which shows might be worth your time, and what’s up with the internet option, the fitness center and the spa, then I invite you to read on. Embarkation/Disembarkation/General Tests of Patience I don’t know if it’s the time of year we chose of if the ship gods were with us, but all of the cautionary tales we’d read about long lines and reserved times gone awry were absent for us. We arrived at about 11am on embarkation day, and the process to get on-board was efficient and friendly. The only line was the one to get through security. When we checked in we saw that Royal’s system had misclassified our Crown & Anchor level, and so the first thing we did upon entering the ship was to head to Guest Services (we’d worked hard for that bathrobe and wine discount, after all). We used the “charm over defiance” method in our discussion with the staff, and for any other issues we had with our bills, and found that everyone was happy to help us out. (Granted, they may have been helpful even if we’d been less charming, but we figured these people dealt with enough cranky passengers that a nice smile from us might just make up for one or two snarls from others.) The ship is laid out extremely well, with lots of options as to where to spend your time and money, and despite the behemoth size of the Oasis we never felt crowded in or on a line for long periods of time. Even when we showed up at our My Time Dining dinners earlier than we were expected, they were able to get us our table relatively quickly. The Food Hubbie and I are fairly easy-to-please in the food department, and we’re also incredibly light-weighted when it comes to alcohol consumption, so it might not surprise you to hear that we were satisfied with the food…for the most part. We tried two specialty restaurants. The first, Izumi, which was a Teppanyaki-type place, it’s one we hadn’t planned on visiting, but the guys swarming the promenade on the first day talked us into it. (NOTE: we found you can get deals for the specialty restaurants, especially if you make reservations for the first few days of the cruise. Try negotiating, but do it with charm (see above section for more on this technique). Izumi was delicious and fun. The chefs try hard to keep things entertaining, though I will say that the experience relies just as much on the passengers around the table as it does your chef. We had a few cranky-pants people, which didn’t help matters, but it was still worth the money. We also did the Solarium Bistro, which I was excited about because of the healthier vibe. We had made one reservation before we boarded, then let the guy on the promenade sweeten the deal with a second night at a discounted prices. Unfortunately, the food just didn’t pan out. We’d heard that the salad/appetizer and dessert courses were both buffets now, and didn’t mind that at all. But the main entrees were just…bad. Overcooked, and kind of tasteless. They let us each get a half of two entrees to try a variety of things and nothing really came out well. As a result, we cancelled our second reservation. The dining room, on the other hand, was great. We liked the food options and found that the service was attentive and friendly. We’d heard lots of complaints about the food, and while it remained a bit basic in some regards, we also found the food had lots of flavor, and the servers were happy to work with us on a bit of meal-tweaking…or let us try a few different things. The windjammer buffet was…busy, but again, Oasis does a great job with its organization, and those super long lines you see on other ships wasn’t present here. Instead, there are different stations for different groups of items, which helps keep things moving. We often came here for lunch, especially on port days when others were off the ship. For breakfast, we picked up a few things here that we couldn’t get at the Solarium Bistro, then made our way to the Bistro for breakfast. While there are less options at the Bistro, the atmosphere is so much calmer, and it was a nice way to start the day (and not lose each other while one of us foraged for the hard-boiled eggs while the other tried to find the maple syrup). The other places we visited was the Park Café, which offers breakfast and lunch, and which provided some nice options and atmosphere, and Vintages Wine Bar, which is also lovely and quieter. Plus they know their wines…obviously. The Ship, The Room, The Internet As I’ve said, we’ve been on Oasis before and loved it, and, while some cost-cutting measures could be seen or felt, we still loved the options of places to hang out, eat, see things, and do nothing. We especially appreciated the opportunity to walk through Central Park, the Boardwalk, the promenade, and the Casino before and after dinner. There was always action or a show happening somewhere, which meant you could do something, or watch others doing it, at pretty much any time. We spent most of everyday up in the Solarium, where we found both sunny and shaded spots with relative ease throughout the day. There are no hairy-legs contests here, which was the point for us. Also, no kids. Also the point. The loudest things got was when a bunch of Canadians took over the Jacuzzi for a while. But, really, who doesn’t find Canadians charming on some level? Our ocean view balcony cabin was on the tenth deck, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much storage there was for all of our stuff. Our attendant was lovely and friendly. Hubbie and I pre-purchased a full internet plan before boarding, so we were able to get the one-device streaming plan at a discounted rate. It worked fine for us, and we just swapped the internet on our various devices as needed (I tried to use the experience to reduce my internet compulsions, and am happy to say this strategy worked well). Moving between our computer, iPad and phones was not a problem at all…super easy. The signal was great and very fast. So stop worrying. The Activities, Shows, Spa, and Ports We saw several shows while on board, so here’s the rundown. We left Cats at the intermission, but not because the quality of the show was bad. The show itself just bored us, so we probably would’ve done the same thing had we seen it on Broadway. If Mo5aic is performing while you’re on the ship, go see them. Just trust me. We also saw the ice show and the diving show, which were both great. We visited the Casino a lot, hoping for some traditional Texas Hold’em Action, but nobody came to play and the version where you play against the dealer didn’t do it for us. Hubbie had booked me a massage at the spa ahead of time (nice guy, yes?) and it was fine. I nicely warned my massage therapist, just as she started her pitch about the expensive oils she’d used, that I wasn’t buying anything. She said she was glad I told her up front and saved her the time. I visited the Fitness Center each morning to run off the bloat of the day before. The equipment, both cardio and weights, were great. As far as the ports, I can’t be super helpful here, except to say that it seems some of the greatest magic on a ship happens when everyone else gets off of it. We only got off in Cozumel, and that was to visit Paradise Beach, our favorite spot in Mexico and worth the slight hassle of moving our butts down the gangplank. All in All… We met lots of nice people and lots of…complainers. Like everything else, a lot of the experience is about your expectations going in, and your willingness to be flexible around those expectations. One woman I met actually said there wasn’t anything to do on board (what?) and another guy got all kinds of hot and bothered when the server didn’t bring him a second coffee up at the Windjammer on the super-busy final morning. Then again, perhaps this guy was just cranky about leaving the mighty Oasis that day. I could certainly understand.
  6. edit4ever

    **Live From Oasis November 5th**

    Lovin the live review. Going to be onboard in just a few weeks!! DW has two questions about breakfast items - if you happen to swing by the buffet in the morning... Do they have little boxes of All-Bran cereal? Do they have non-fat greek yogurt? I realize these are very specific items - but if you happen to see them them she'd love to know. Thanks!!
  7. edit4ever

    **Live From Oasis November 5th**

    Hopefully it's just a crew changeover and they'll find their feet quickly! As for the avocados...you're likely out of luck. There's a major California shortage and I doubt the cruise lines will want to pay the high costs. Normally Mexico stock up would work - but the workers went on strike...so no Mexico avocados either. http://www.eater.com/2016/11/1/13439646/avocado-shortage-2016
  8. What a fantastic way to preview our January on Conquest! Thanks so much for this... hopefully you make your way to the fitness center and spa. :)
  9. edit4ever

    Live from the Oosterdam Mch 5-12 sailing

    The Pacific is definitely colder than the Caribbean! The water here is in the 60's instead of the 80's. But two things help... on the first sea day - the wind is often at your back matching the speed of the ship... which makes it feel like there is no wind at all. Second... when the sun is out - it tends to be quite warm feeling since we are pretty far south. Of course... the last sea day on the way back up is often cool, cloudy and windy... but any day at sea beats a day on land! The weather can vary out of San Diego in April... it can be sunny and 80 or cloudy with a heavy marine layer and barely get over 60. Tend to get lucky with more of the warm and sunny days... so we'll send thoughts of good weather your way! I would say it's best to bring a light sweater or wind breaker if you want to stay outside for the cool days. Once you hit cabo and south it is nice and warm... and in my opinion... not too hot or humid... the only risk wen you are in the caribbean. I always check the 10 day forecast for all the ports I'm visiting and build my plan accordingly. Just realize it tends to be about 10-15 degrees cooler at sea in the morning or evenings. As for Mazatlan... they could easily switch to Manzanillo or a second day in Cabo or overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta... but until they decide to change it... it's anybody's guess.
  10. edit4ever

    Live from the Oosterdam Mch 5-12 sailing

    Marney- Sorry didn't get around to posting yesterday... Hanging out in the Crow's Nest/Explorations today... stop on by if you get a chance... wearing a light green shirt/tan pants and holding a kindle! BTW for those of you coming on this itinerary... HAL is gracious enough to close the dome over the pool on these cold and overcast sea days. We were not that lucky on Carnival in January. Definitely creates a lot more space for people to spread out and enjoy the last day. Can't believe it's over already... maybe we need to book the 112 day world trip they're offering. :-)
  11. edit4ever

    Live from the Oosterdam Mch 5-12 sailing

    We are in Mazatlan today. Captain slipped her into the dock a bit after 8am despite a thick fog. Definitely seems like more people stayed on board today... but saw plenty heading into town as well. Heavy polica presence just outside the pier and for awhile a military style chopper was circling low overhead. We planned to go over to Stone Island - our usual hangout at Letty's - but the fog bank hasn't cleared the coast at 11:30... so there's no incentive. It seems to be sunnier here at the ship. Code Red is still in effect... which means the hot tubs are still closed as well and you have tofind someone to get a towel for you... they're not in the normal places. Still having a fantastic time aboard!
  12. edit4ever

    Live from the Oosterdam Mch 5-12 sailing

    My DW and I and enjoying this cruise as well! FYI - this is our 11th cruise, but first with HAL. We were wondering what it would be like and I must say... it's fantastic! We are in our late 30's but are finding the pace relaxing and enjoyable. Definitely a more classy feeling than the trip on the Carnival Spirit that we took in Jan. There were only a few Tuxedos at formal night - but I did see them turn away someone in jeans and a T-shirt. So far I would say we will definitely be looking at future cruises with HAL. P.S. For those interested... I am reading and writing this from my 3G Kindle while at sea... for free... connected through the ship cell network with an EDGE connection. This is the 3rd trip with the Kindle and have not had a problem connecting for free on any of them. This includes Carnival, RCCL and now HAL.
  13. edit4ever

    Kindle Downloads?

    I've been down to the Mexican Riviera on Carnival and the Eastern Mediterranean on Royal Caribbean with my Kindle 3G and I can say for sure - I was able to use the cellular radio without charges. Now, it was not very fast and at times it was only a GPRS connection instead of 3G - but it would seem the Kindle 3G is capable of receiving the other types cell signals byonds 3G. I was not charged for this service, I downloaded a book, a game and checked e-mail and facebook on the browser. I'm leaving on Saturday for a Mexican Riviera cruise on Holland - so I will update my results from them when I get back... or maybe while I'm at sea! :) I will say I had some trouble with the Carnival signal until the first port. After connecting to the land based tower in Mexico - I never had a problem connecting to the ships cellular signal while at sea. I don't know if my Kindle was just slow to establish the unknown ships connection - but in the end it worked!
  14. Going on the Jan 14th trip and we're trying to confirm the arrival time in Puerto Vallarta... itinerary says 8am... but is this local time/ship's time? If you remember what time you arrived - can you please post what that might have been and on which clock? Thanks!
  15. Well, having spent two nights at the table with the pre-teens, what we gathered was that there seemed to be a lot of activities for the little ones, but it seemed a bit more limited for the pre-teens, so you're 10 year old might have a bit of a struggle. That being said, the pre-teens at our table didn't seem especially interested in participating, so maybe they just didn't entertain the options. The parents did say that there were some portions of time in-between say later afternoon and dinner, where there didn't seem to be a lot of options for the kids in general. Hope this helps!