The Arizona Cruisers Invade the Western Caribbean on the Oasis of the Seas, May 9 – 1

#1
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Another week of vacation has come and gone for the 10 Arizona Cruisers who participated in the Oasis of the Seas Western Caribbean cruise. I have written a pictorial review after such cruises the last two years when we did the Allure of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean in 2013 and the Jewel of the Seas, Southern Caribbean B2B last year. This cruise was two years in the making. Finally, after all the planning the time was almost upon us and we had a final planning party at my house in March, two months before the big day.


The cast of characters, from left to right: My DH Steve, me (Ginny), Norine & Gene, Nonnie, Lisa & Steve, Gary & Gail. Missing was Nonnie’s son Greg who had to work that day.

Two lucky couples in our group, Norine & Gene and Gary and Gail were booked on a B2B, so they would be staying on the ship a week longer than the rest of us.

Finally, May 8 came along and we headed to the airport. Six of us were on the same flight and the others would meet up with us at the hotel when we arrived in FLL.


Here are Nonnie and her son Greg waiting to board the SWA flight with us.

Once we landed in FLL we collected our luggage and went to the shuttle area where we got a complimentary shuttle to our hotel, the Hyatt Place in Dania Beach near the airport. When we went on the Allure we flew in two days early and stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66 near the port. That was nice, but pricier than the Hyatt Place. Since we only opted for a one night stay this time we were looking for clean, comfortable and affordable. We were not unhappy with our choice at all. Thumbs up!

Since we did not arrive into FLL until after 6 PM, and hoping to avoid any pre-cruise drama like we had two years ago (see the review) we decide to order pizza and enjoy it at the hotel. The hotel desk gave us the menu from a local pizza place and by the time we were all gathered we had hot pizza in the hotel’s indoor breakfast area and a relaxing time enjoying each other’s company.


The next morning arrived and we were ready to head for the ship after a filling complimentary breakfast. The weather was nice, so we were able to enjoy it in the hotel courtyard.



When we were on the Allure two years ago Lisa had prearranged for a company called Elite Shuttle to take us to the port. The service was superb. They sent two vans with trailers to take about 16 of us to the ship. So, she arranged for them again this year. She told them when she booked there would be 10 people and there would be a lot of luggage. We were lined up and ready to go when Elite pulled up with one van and no trailer. Looking at the luggage we knew there was no way we would fit!


So, Lisa called the company and they responded by increasing the fee on her credit card for excess luggage! So, for Elite Shuttle – thumbs down. We actually managed to get it all into the 15 passenger van, but it was tight and the driver was very apologetic. We were impressed by his packing ability.

Soon we were on the way to the port and this beautiful sight came into view:
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Ginny



October 7,2019 - Adventure of the Seas Snowbird Migration Cruise!

My Bucket List Cruises:
British Isles - Ireland Booked September 2018!
Northeast/Canada Fall Colors -Booked! October 2019!
Italy & Greek Islands altic
European River Cruise
Alaska Cruisetour
Australia/Tahiti
Hawaii - again!


Happy Memories...
Big Red Boat 06/93 (Bahamas)~ Explorer of the Seas 06/05 (Western Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas 04/06 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Monarch of the Seas 12/06 (Baja Mexico) ~ Monarch of the Seas 04/07 (Baja Mexico) ~ Golden Princess 01/08 (Mexican Riviera) ~ Explorer of the Seas 04/08 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Caribbean Princess 05/09 (Southern Caribbean) ~ Radiance of the Seas 09/09 (Cabo San Lucas) ~ Mariner of the Seas 05/10 (Mexican Riviera) ~ Carnival Spirit 07/10 (Alaska) ~ NCL Pride of America 05/11 (Hawaii)~ Allure of the Seas 04/13 (Eastern Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas B2B 05/14 (Southern Caribbean) ~ Oasis of the Seas 05/15 (Western Caribbean) ~ Jewel of the Seas 10/15 (Panama Canal) ~ Harmony of the Seas 10/16 (Transatlantic) ~ Freedom of he Seas 10/17 (Transatlantic)

Oasis of the Seas 2015 Pictorial Review
Jewel of the Seas Southern Caribbean B2B 2014 Pictorial Review

Allure of the Seas 2013 Pictorial Review!

Are you an Arizona Cruiser? Come join the fun! "Never Ending Circle of Friends"
#2
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Before I go any farther let me explain what this review will and will not include. I have very few food pictures. Sorry. Food is not my main focus anymore. While I enjoy cruise food, I have lost 85 pounds this last year (still losing!) and I am now more focused on the other aspects of cruising. I find that the people I am with and the places I go are the most important parts of travel to me. I know it is a big part of cruising to many, but there are a lot of other great reviews out there that do have a lot of good information on the food and dining experiences. We did not do many specialty restaurants,

I will not be scanning and posting complete Compasses. I may scan some parts of some at the end of the review if time allows. We had no children with us, so I know nothing about the children’s activities. There were very few kids on this cruise, but (for the most part) they were happy and fun to be around.

I plan to include a lot of pictures. This was a very relaxing trip for us. Since we had been on this class of ship before and to most of the ports we didn’t feel the need to “see it all”. Our excursions were all beachy and relaxing. So, if you like pictures of sand and sea, you will love this review!

Since we are a bit of an older group (ages late 40’s to late 60’s) and several of us have mobility issues I will point out accessibility issues that we encountered. I personally have a bad knee that went out on last year’s cruise and am now told that a knee replacement is in my future. In the meantime I use a cane for uneven terrains and walk and swim with a knee brace. I can walk forever on a flat surface, but steps terrify me! We even had a wheelchair in the group.

Now on to the ship!

We arrived to the port around 11:15 AM, despite receiving e-mails and even phone calls from RCI stating that there was a mandatory Coast Guard Inspection and we should not arrive until 1:30 PM. Fine. Less of a line for us. Obviously, a lot of people were thinking the same as us as the place was buzzing when we arrived. Despite the organized mayhem curbside the check in process was quick and seamless. We were directed to the Diamond waiting area. I was going to take pictures of the waiting area, but almost as soon as we were seated boarding began and we were onboard before noon. In my Allure review there are pictures of the waiting area and it has not changed since then. It is spacious, clean and has restrooms, vending machines, a children’s play area and plenty of seating in air conditioned comfort.

While we boarded by noon we could not access our cabins until 1:00 PM, as usual with RCI. We met up with the group in Central Park. We knew from our past experience that we did not want to eat at Park Cafe or the Windjammer on boarding day. We ate at Park Cafe on the Allure on boarding day and it was a madhouse. There was no seating inside. We had to eat outside in the sweltering sun. And the Windjammer is always jammed on boarding day. We had planned to eat with Norine & Gene at Giovanni’s as others had reported it was a quieter option open for lunch the first day. Wrong! They are now using Giovanni’s for a special lunch for the B2B cruisers and it is not open to those boarding. So, we headed to the Boardwalk where the four of us decided to try Sabor’s and the others went to the Dog House.

Lots of room at Sabor!




Making tableside Guacamole


Here is possibly your one and only food picture! Steve and I split a chicken quesadilla and rice. There was plenty for both of us. Yummy!


We were happy with a relaxing and satisfying start to our cruise.

#3
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Cabins were open by the time we were done. We were anxious to see our cabin. We had booked two years in advance to get this cabin and now we were about to see it! We had cabin 11329, the very aft port side Boardwalk Balcony cabin with expansive views of the Boardwalk (our favorite spot on Oasis Class ships), the ocean, the Aquatheater below and the activities on the rock climbing wall and the zipliners overhead. Lisa and Steve were in the cabin next to us in 11327 and Nonnie and Greg were across the hall in an OV balcony. When we booked the cabin one of the reasons we were excited about the location was the public balcony around the corner from our cabin. We had visions of group parties out there and relaxing days watching the wake. Then “The Drydock” happened along with all of the hoopla about Dynamic Dining and other changes. But the one that upset us the most was the loss of “our” Secret Balcony! Well, Norine and Gene solved that problem and they booked the new GS 11330 for their entire B2B just so we could still have that balcony access! And just in case they were sleeping in, Gary & Gail booked the mirror image cabin across the way, 11730 for the week! We have nice (wealthy) friends.

We always enjoy that first glance of our cabin and this was just as exciting as the others. It meant our cruise was about to begin!




The balcony held promise of a lot of great times ahead. The partition between our balcony and Lisa and Steve’s was already open.


We were able to wave to Gary on his huge balcony across the way.


We had a great view of the Boardwalk,


And views of the port beyond the ship.


We spent a lot of time on our balcony on this cruise. I will be posting more pictures of the ever changing balcony views as this review progresses.
#4
Perpetual Flip-Flop State
6,309 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Thanks for doing a review! We have one more week to wait... I look forward to the rest of your report and pictures!
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Up Next:

Oasis of the Seas (June 2017) Review
Freedom of the Seas (March 2017)Review
CCL Magic (November 2016)Review&FunTimes
CCL Magic (November 2016)Review&FunTimes
NCL Escape (July2016) Review&Dailies
Allure of the Seas (May 2016) Photo Review/Tips
Navigator of the Seas (March 2016) Review&Compass
Freedom of the Seas (November 2015)Review
Oasis of the Seas (June 2015) Compass, Tips and Oasis Pictures
Freedom of the Seas (Dec 2014); CCL Liberty (June 2014); Independence of the Seas (March 2014); Freedom of the Seas (June 2013); CCL Freedom (March 2013); CCL Fascination (July 2012); CCL Liberty (June 2012); NCL Dawn (A Caribbean Christmas 2011); CCL Legend (June 2011); CCL Dream (March 2011); X Infinity (July 2010); Costa Atlantica (April 2010); NCL Dawn (April 2009); Majesty of the Seas (July 2006); Enchantment of the Seas (October 2005); CCL Fantasy (April 2004)
#5
Virginia
3,954 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
I'm so happy that I found your review. I've enjoyed your others. We're going back on Oasis for a western cruise at the end of August. Because we've done this itinerary 3 times already, I'm looking forward to reading about what you did.

Congrats on the weight loss! 85 lbs is amazing. Keep up the good work!
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Joan

Carnival Vista, Southern Caribbean, December 2017; Anthem of the Seas, Southern Caribbean, March-April 2016; Oasis of the Seas, Western Caribbean, August 2015; Quantum of the Seas, Bahamas, November 2014; Independence of the Seas, April 2014; Explorer of the Seas, December 2012; Oasis of the Seas, Western and Eastern Caribbean, March 2012; Allure of the Seas, Eastern and Western Caribbean, March 2011; Ruby Princess, Eastern Caribbean, March 2010; Mariner of the Seas, Mexican Riviera, April 2009; Brilliance of the Seas, Panama Canal, March 2008; Crown Princess, Southern Caribbean, April 2007; Sapphire Princess, Alaska, May 2006; Mariner of the Seas, Western Caribbean, April 2005; HAL Zuiderdam, Eastern Caribbean, April 2004
#6
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
After settling in, we headed up to Deck 16 where we were to meet up with other members of our Roll Call for an informal Meet & Greet near the flowriders at the Wipeout Bar. There was not a good turnout. I think that between the late boarding pushed by RCI and all of the activities available once onboard most of our planned activities were affected by low turnouts. However, we did meet with a few fellow Cruise Critic members and enjoyed bumping into them throughout the cruise!


The Flowriders were fun to watch for awhile. People were already going strong showing much more talent than I would dare to ever try!




Fleetweek was in town and Deck 16 was the perfect location for a Bird’s Eye view of a visiting aircraft carrier.


After awhile we went to the Wipeout Cafe as some in our group (aka my DH Steve) seemed to be in dire need of a soft serve cone.


The Wipeout Cafe is one of our favorite spots. We like the casual food served, the fresh eggs in the morning, the flavored waters available and of course, the soft serve! But my favorite thing there is the view.


#7
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by APDMOM
Thanks for doing a review! We have one more week to wait... I look forward to the rest of your report and pictures!
Originally posted by joand452
I'm so happy that I found your review. I've enjoyed your others. We're going back on Oasis for a western cruise at the end of August. Because we've done this itinerary 3 times already, I'm looking forward to reading about what you did.

Congrats on the weight loss! 85 lbs is amazing. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for the nice comments. I am glad you are enjoying it so far. It is encouraging to see someone is reading.
#8
Missouri
1,322 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
I'm reading because I love your reviews. Your Jewel review was very helpful with my planning for our last cruise. I don't have any plans to sail on the Oasis but your reviews make me feel like I am on vacation with you so I am following along just because...

Congratulations on your weight loss - what an impressive accomplishment.
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Robin
#9
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Muster drill was at 4 PM. We had our muster in the Aquatheater. Afterwards we headed back to Norine & Gene’s cabin next to our’s for sailaway. They had hung the Arizona Cruiser’s banner already and we were ready to go!


GS 11330 is spacious, carved out of the old “Secret Balcony” that we had looked forward to sharing with our friends.




The bathroom configuration is a bit odd with an elevated tub and shower, but they didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

Soon we were all assembled on the huge balcony and were on our way!


There was a sailaway party in the Aquatheater


And we sailed out into open water on our way to Labadee, Haiti.

#10
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
That night we took advantage of a 2 for 1 special at Chops. I enjoyed the meal there as usual. It was the only night we had dinner in a Specialty restaurant.


I had made reservations for “Oasis of Dreams” the first night, but we let that go and decided to enjoy the show from our balcony instead. I liked not having to rush from dinner to get prime seats. We already had prime seats!






I want to take a moment now to comment on the comfort levels of the Boardwalk cabins, especially our cabin. I really can’t comment on cabins in other locations or decks on the Boardwalk. When out on the balcony you can hear the sounds of the activities below. But with the doors closed the vast majority of the noise is truly blocked out. When there was a movie in the evening we could hear the bass and vibrations from the theater, but they were usually over by 11:00 PM. Also, you must keep your curtains shut if you are changing in your cabin as you can truly see well into the cabins across the way day or night, especially at night. I will go into that later! Overall, I loved it. I love my usual ocean view balconies, also. But these cabins are a unique feature on a unique ship and I am really glad we got the cabin. Great views are always available from both inside and outside the ship. What more could you want?

Good night. Tomorrow we have a wonderful and relaxing day at sea.



#11
Sunny AZ
23,665 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by NemoCrownie
I'm reading because I love your reviews. Your Jewel review was very helpful with my planning for our last cruise. I don't have any plans to sail on the Oasis but your reviews make me feel like I am on vacation with you so I am following along just because...

Congratulations on your weight loss - what an impressive accomplishment.
Thank you, Robyn. appreciate the vote of confidence and I hope I don't disappoint.

And thank you for those who have commented on the weight loss. I still have a long way to go, but I am over half way there! Whoot!
#12
Florida
1,548 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
I'm really enjoying your review. While I have a bit of a long wait until it is our turn on Oasis, I am enjoying learinig as much about her as I can while I wait. I like the direction your review is going as your plans for your cruise sound very much like what ours will be. We even have the same taste in cabins. We are booked in 10327. I can't wait to see the changing views from your balcony!

I also want to congratulate you on your 85 lb weight loss! That is a wonderful accomplishment! Keep up the good work!

I will be following along here, and I expect to go read your other reviews when I'm done with this one. I have already added a note to remember to keep the curtains closed when needed for privacy!
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Nancy




#13
Brisbane, Australia
277 Posts
Joined Oct 2012
Great review so far ... I'm keen to see more of the ship
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Upcoming Cruises
2018 Dec - Taste of Tasmania - Pacific Jewel

Past Cruises
2016 Dec - Comedy Cruise - Pacific Aria
2016 Mar - South Pacific - Legend of the Sea
2014 Dec - NZ&Aust - Celebrity Solstice

2014 Jul - Whitsundays - P&O Pacific Dawn
2013 May - South Pacific - P&O Pacific Dawn
2006 May - Alaska - Carnival Spirit
#14
Sydney, Australia
244 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
I'm very much enjoying the review - especially all the photos. A quick question, have all the "secret balconies" now been taken over by GS? Or are there still one or two available for the general public?
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#15
Litchfield Park, AZ
10,476 Posts
Joined May 2005
All of the secret balconies were changed into suites. The only public balconies are on the upper deck.

We had 11330 for 2 glorious weeks.

Norine
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"Adventure is worthwhile in itself" Amelia Earhart

Next Dream Cruise - Princess World Cruise January 2018 for 111 days LA R/T



Cruises-March 2019 Star Princess Hawaii & Tahiti, -October 2018 Star Princess California Coastal,January 2018 Pacific Princess 111 day World, December 2016 Carnival Inspiration 4 day Family Cruise,October 2016 Ruby Princess Calif. Coast;[SIZE="1"]June 2016 RCI Navigator OTS Baltic; November 2015 MSC Divinia Western Caribbean;May 2015, RCL Oasis B2B Caribbean, February 2015 Crown Princess B2B2BCa Coast, November 2014 Golden Princess Cal CoastMay 2014 RCL Jewel OTS Caribbean, October 2013 Golden Princess Cal. Coast, April 2013 RCL Allure Caribbean, April 2013 NCL Star W. Caribbean,July 2012 Sea Princess Alaska,May 2012 Saphire Princess PNW,April 2011 Seabourn Eastern Med,February 2010 RCCL Radiance, Mexico; December 2009 Golden Princess, Hawaii; April 2008-Golden Princess, Mexico; March 2008-RCL Monarch CA/MX; March 2007-Sun Princess, Eastern Caribbean; June 2006-Tahitian Princess, Tahiti to Hawaii; May 2005-Mississippi Queen,New Orleans to Memphis; January 2004-Costa Lines, Eastern Caribbean; April 2002-Ocean Princess, Panama Canal FLL to SF;December 2001-RCCL, Mexico; April 2001-Renassiance R-4, Tahiti; March 2000-Royal Princess,Amazon; June 1999-Sun Princess, Alaska; May 1998-Carnival,Elation,M/R January 1997-Crown Princess,S Carib; May 1995-RCL, Majesty, W Carib.;January 1995-Dolphin,SS Ocean Breeze,S Carib; March 1993-RCL Viking Seranade; May 1992-RCL, Viking Seranade,CA/MX;May 1991-NCL, Starward, S. Carib
#16
Sydney, Australia
244 Posts
Joined Apr 2015
Originally posted by Quilting Queen
All of the secret balconies were changed into suites. The only public balconies are on the upper deck.



We had 11330 for 2 glorious weeks.



Norine

Good to know thanks :-). As a solo traveller with a modest budget I'm unlikely to ever be able to afford a suite so I guess it's the public areas only for me :-)
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#18
Chicago
242 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Great start! Looking forward to another one of your wonderful reviews. We will be on Oasis for Thanksgiving so I am looking forward to seeing all of your port beach trips.

Congratulations again on your weight loss and wishing you continued success.

Barb
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Up Next:
Allure of the Seas March 2018
Freedom of the Seas June 2018
Past Cruises:
Freedom of the Seas November 2009
Allure of the Seas November 2014
Oasis of the Seas November 2015
Freedom of the Seas December 2016
Harmony of the Seas June 2017
#19
Western, NY
72 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Enjoying your trip report very much

I've got a long wait ahead of me until I cruise the Oasis in Dec. 2016 & this helps me while I countdown the days

I'm also going to check out your other reports - can't wait

Kudos on the weight loss
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Marilee


Sailing Oasis again: 10-22-2017