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Jen731

Family review of the Oasis

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Hi everyone, I promised I would do a family centered review for the Oasis as a thanks to all those who helped make all the planning and anticipation so much fun over the past few months.

 

Let me first introduce the cast of characters:

 

Me: Jennifer, 38 SAHM to three daughters ages 12, 10, and 3 and wife to husband, 39. My 5th cruise, DH's 3rd, older daughters 2nd, and youngest daughter's first cruise.

 

Cruising with us are my parents (65), who have been on dozens of cruises, brother (36) and his wife and two children (ages 7 and almost 2), and other brother (31) and his girlfriend. 13 of us to start, but only 11 will stay on board all 7 days... More on that ahead.

 

Our family had not all been together in 18 months. We could not wait to get on the boat and let the fun begin!!!

 

Disclaimer: my husband has the fancy camera and it will be awhile before we get pictures together, so this will not be a picture intense review.

 

Pre-cruise: we fly into FLL on Friday the 13th to meet up with almost everyone. One brother lives in town, so we crash at his house. We have a rental car as do my parents, brothers are both driving their cars to the pier as they are Florida residents. So the plan is to get out 10:30 ish Saturday morning and get the party started.

 

But of course, Saturday morning at 10 my sil is still packing and I am making a last minute walmart run for rash guards. Oh well. We get packed up and make it to the pier around 11:15 or so. Cue utter and total chaos that leaves my nerves shattered and starts my vacation with a headache. The drop off system at the pier is a disaster. We were in the wrong line, the cops are trying to make us do a u-turn and worm back in, we finally make it to the curb and the luggage is so deep we can't even open our doors, porters are yelling at us. Aaaaaaah! Dh and my dad go return the rentals to the airport and the girls (plus one boy toddler) check in without much fuss and stroll onto the ship.

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Geez, I just wrote out a long summary for day 1 and my iPad ate it. Let me try again:

 

The kids predetermined our first stop would be the pool deck. We find the h2o zone, hog a bunch of chairs :D, and get the sunscreen on. We had the pools completely to ourselves except for one other kid. Two things I hadn't realized about the kids pool area:

 

1) babies are allowed in swim diapers, but only in one of the 6ish "kids" pools. Dear nephew is almost 2. He is mostly potty trained and did very well, but imagine how fun it was to try to convince him to stay in the one tiny pool when there were so many other fun pools within walking/jumping distance. Royal Caribbean, if you want to make the baby pool just one tiny little pond, then put it by the boring pools so the babies aren't naturally tempted to roam from pool to pool. Cuz guess what my 3 year old did for about 2 hours straight? She walked from pool to pool to pool. That was her idea of a good time.

 

2) next to the h2o pools is the pool that has a current, like a lazy river, only this one wasn't lazy at all. It was so much fun!! I had a blast spinning around in there like an idiot. But that current is no joke, and I wouldn't let my kids in there without watching them pretty carefully.

 

We had lunch at the Wipeout Cafe, actually brought the food back to our pool tables. It was perfect: convenient, not too crowded, and good food. By this time the rest of the party had arrived and it was starting to feel like a real vacation. The kids got soft serve and before we knew it, it was time to go to the rooms to unpack and let the babies sleep.

 

 

Three additional warnings about kids and the pool area:

1) The pool deck is dangerous. On day one, before it's wet, it is burning hot. Fry an egg hot! My 3 year old screamed in pain when she stepped out of one of the pools.

 

2) The pool deck is also slippery. Not just a little, but really really really slippery. More on that to come, but suffice it to say, our kids were not allowed to walk on the pool deck without one of us nearby. And no running!

 

3) The pool deck is loud. Really loud. Dance club at midnight loud. We had to yell to hear each other over the music and the band. To me, it is a dangerous thing to be that loud, because the kids couldn't hear me if I yelled at them to look out or be careful.

 

And a word of advice, if you have boys between the ages of say 4 and 12, could you please ask them to refrain from shooting the water guns in the faces of small toddlers or adults? You would be surprised how many kids I had to teach that lesson to this cruise. Boys are drawn to those guns, I get it, but I don't want someone else's kid shooting me or my 3 year old in the face.

 

My dh took my older girls to explore and I unpacked while my 3 year old slept. Originally we had booked one room that fit all 5 of us, but thankfully I listed to the advice here and rebooked for not that much more and got two connecting ocean view balconies on deck 8 forward. Technically, the toddler was booked in my brother's room, but she slept in our room and the older girls slept in the other room. This was a great setup, and our trip would have been really miserable all crammed into one room and one bathroom. I just don't see how we would have fit!!!

 

Before I knew it, it was time for muster. We took a snack for the toddler, had an easy muster in the theater, then planned to go to the dream works sail away show, but it was canceled and rescheduled for the next day. Oh well, we got to ride the carousel, then changed for dinner and met everyone in the MDR. Two weeks before we sailed, I emailed RCI to make sure we were all sitting together. Not only did they respond, they sent me a screenshot showing all of us assigned to table 114. Eased our minds.

 

Before we sailed, I bought a ton of the Play Pack Grab and Go sets for the toddlers to take to dinner. The little coloring sheet from the MDR is the same every night and not that entertaining for the under 4 crowd anyway. The character packs were perfect. A different coloring book each night, 4 crayons and a sheet of stickers. All for under a dollar. Genius and very effective! Even the 7 year old enjoyed them.

 

We had a great meal, though we found out that dinners were a minimum 1.5-2 hour commitment every night. The kids were good for the most part, and after the first night, our waiter had fruit waiting for them as soon as we sat down, which helped.

 

Sorry to stop here, but exhaustion finally got me. Will finish day 1 tomorrow!!

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In this age of electronic toys it's amazing how well simple crayons, coloring books, and stickers work! Here's to the "oldies but goodies".:D

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The family staterooms are my favourite staterooms at sea. I much prefer them over two connecting staterooms, especially with toddlers. There's a lot more floor space than two cabins. It's too bad people talked you out of one. :(

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Thanks for the review. Subscribing as we cruised with my 7.5 month old at the time but plan to take her again when she's 2 so looking forward to hearing about your experience and tips.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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VERY good review so far! Good advice, details, and well written. :)

 

Not even worried about seeing the pictures as your writing says it all.

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I agree with what Lou said. great writing so far. Not a wall of words. Thank you.

 

Looking forward to reading more. Will be on Oasis with my 3 year old in August along with another couple and their 3 year old.

 

I really like the idea about heading up to the pool first. I've been considering doing that and I think this convinced me.

 

Can't wait to read more. Thank you.

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This is a great read. Good balance with providing details but not going overboard with them. I'm looking forward to more.

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Where did you get the Play Pack Grab and Go sets?

 

They are everywhere! Try the dollar store, walmart checkout aisles, or the target dollar section. I think I even found them in our Michael's store in their cheap section. Here is a link, but I don't know if the mods will remove it:

 

http://www.dollartree.com/Licensed-Character-Grab-N-Go-Play-Packs/p335243/index.pro

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The family staterooms are my favourite staterooms at sea. I much prefer them over two connecting staterooms, especially with toddlers. There's a lot more floor space than two cabins. It's too bad people talked you out of one. :(

 

I don't think that's what we originally had... i think we just originally had a balcony room that fit 5 people. With a toddler who napped and went to bed early, the two rooms were perfect for us. Plus, on the days we got back from port all sandy and dirty, we definitely appreciated the two showers!!!

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I am in-between loads of laundry and as I look at my suitcases, I thought I'd throw in a plug here for what worked for us and what didn't work.

 

First, I thought we would have a lot of storage space under the beds, but I didn't realize that there are large bags of bedding under the beds. We did have enough room for our big suitcases, but we had to store a couple in the closets.

 

We were very happy we brought a pop up hamper for dirty clothes, actually wish we had brought two, one for each room. The biggest thing I wish we had brought was a magnetic cup to put everyone's sea passes in each night. How many mornings we scrambled around for everyone's cards... !!! I did buy lanyards for the kids' seapass cards and got them hole punched at adventure ocean the first night. There are lots of nooks and crannies to store things in the room but somehow we lost at least one card every night. I wish we had stuck them all in a cup on the door each night, then they would have been safe and sound.

 

I did bring lysol wipes and wiped the room down the first day just for the joy of knowing that I didn't have to wash the toddlers hands every 5 seconds. I also brought a container of liquid pump soap for the bathroom to make hand washing easy for everyone. We washed hands A LOT!!! Especially since my toddler's favorite activity was hanging on the rails of the elevators.

 

An aside - the toddlers LOVED the glass elevators. Mine would get angry if we tried to go in the other side, but at least those that weren't glass had mirrors. She amused everyone by either talking to herself in the mirror, or calling to all the people outside the glass elevators.

 

One more elevator note: the elevators will stop at every floor whether you want them to or not. There's no getting around it. And half the time, the elevator doors will open and the car will be too full for more people. So try to take the stairs whenever you can, it's just easier most of the time.

 

We brought a sealed pack of apple juice to keep in the room, which was good since apple juice is only available at breakfast. We brought a few sippy cups, but two of the lids cracked during the week so we were happy we had a few.

 

I appreciated that there are a lot of hooks in the bathroom for swimsuits and robes and coverups. We brought two swimsuits per kid, which was just about right.

 

I did bring a magnetic notepad and left notes for our stateroom attendant a couple of times.

 

We took 6 suitcases with us and came home with 2 suitcases of clean clothes. One of those had all our dress clothes - I don't consider clothes dirty if you wear them for 2 hours to dinner then change straightaway. We had each brought a couple extra shirts, which we needed to do just in case of spills or accidents, but it is a shame to see all these clean clothes that we didn't end up needing.

 

We brought 3 cans of spray suntan lotion and 2 bottles of oil free face spray, and that was way too little. We ran out of spray by the end of our excursion in St. Martin. Ended up having to buy some on the ship for three times as much on shore.

 

I did save up little happy meal type toys for my 3 year old to keep her happy in the room, but we honestly didn't have a whole lot of down time. We were busy busy busy and the toys were mostly ignored. We brought goggles for the pool for the older kids and bought a cheap ring for the toddler to use in the pool. I put together a little welcome bag for the older girls that had magazines, small bags of candy, gel pens, notepads, and a couple other little treats to use on the trip. Everyone had a cheap pair of dollar store sunglasses to take to the beaches (our family tends to "donate" sunglasses to the ocean every summer).

 

I think that about covers the suitcases...

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The biggest thing I wish we had brought was a magnetic cup to put everyone's sea passes in each night. How many mornings we scrambled around for everyone's cards... !!!

 

I think you did yourself a favor. I don't think the cards to any better with magnets than they do getting too close to electronic devices. You might have been making a lot of trips to guest services to get the cards reactivated.

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I think you did yourself a favor. I don't think the cards to any better with magnets than they do getting too close to electronic devices. You might have been making a lot of trips to guest services to get the cards reactivated.

I agree, stay away from magnets and the cards. Since the cards were on lanyards, just pick a door knob or a hook that the lanyards are put on each night. That should hopefully cut down on the trips to guest services a little bit.

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After dinner we sent my 12 year old to the teen club and ran over to adventure ocean to sign up the two younger girls. We got there right at 8, but the ladies were nice enough to still let us in to sign the papers and get the schedules. Since we were traveling with extended family, I knew my kids would probably not spend a whole lot of time in AO, but we wanted them registered just in case. The AO space is really impressive. The rooms are so bright and fun and I thought it was an amazing space.

 

We noted the great baby/toddler play area and made plans to take the two toddlers as soon as we could. It is open most days from 10 am - 10 pm and has lots of big toys, but no little toys. So they might have a lot of Little People houses, but no little people to go in them. I don't know if that's because they are lost or on purpose, but some of the toys weren't much fun without the play people or accessories to go with them. My daughter did love the playhouse and the treehouse with the slide. And it was nice to have a safe place in the ship where kids could just be kids.

 

My oldest daughter had a great time at the Teen Meet & Greet. She had been emailing with another girl her age after her mom & I met on our roll call. It was such a good idea to let them get to know each other prior to the first night, they both felt more comfortable knowing someone. I would say they had 20+ kids there that first night, but they would not let the kids in one second before 8 pm. They played human bingo (finding someone who fit into different categories like "been to Europe" or "plays an instrument") and hung out.

 

My sister in law signed up my nephew for the nursery every morning at 9 so she and my brother could work out in peace. They gave her a phone to use and by the next morning I fully regretted that we hadn't gone to get phones after getting on the ship. Maybe we just got lucky, but hers worked great and eliminated at least one of us having to call 4 different rooms to figure out where everyone was.

 

I think we turned in fairly early that night, finished unpacking and got ready for the week ahead!!

 

Thanks for the encouragement so far. If you have any questions, please let me know!! I will do my best to answer.

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I agree, stay away from magnets and the cards. Since the cards were on lanyards, just pick a door knob or a hook that the lanyards are put on each night. That should hopefully cut down on the trips to guest services a little bit.

 

oooh, I hadn't considered that. Well, in any case, find a central storage place and stick to it for the week. 5 seapass cards get irritating to keep track of.

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We arrived into Nassau bright and early, but we are not early risers, so we didn't get up early, we got up around 7:45, and went to breakfast in the Windjammer.

 

Okay, so in general, buffets are like torture to me. I love the variety but I hate crowds and getting 3 kids through a buffet is so nerve racking. The older two could handle it, but the younger one wasn't the model of patience. The windjammer on the Oasis is SO BIG. You can walk and walk and walk and walk. That first morning they were totally out of silverware so we had to walk and walk just to find the silverware too, which was frustrating. But the food was decent, and then it was time to get off the ship.

 

Getting off the Oasis was a breeze and that shack they trap you through in Nassau wasn't too crowded at the time. We pushed our way through the dozens of taxi drivers and hair braiders and made it to the Straw Market. The daughters had money to spend from their Grandpa. We shopped around for maybe an hour, then took a taxi to St. Francis Catholic Cathedral for Sunday Mass. It is a gorgeous church and the people were welcoming and nice.

 

By the time we walked back, it was time to get back on the boat. Oh, what a headache. I hate the way Nassau makes you walk through that shack, hundreds and hundreds of people going through two small doors, it's so hot and stuffy. We seriously questioned whether it had been worth it to get off the ship at that point.

 

By this time, the best option for lunch was again the Windjammer. We were gluttons for punishment. Oooh, but the weiner schnitzel on the buffet that day was so good, it was worth it.

 

Time for naps for the little ones, but the older girls were dying to go ice skating, they had talked about nothing else since boarding, so we took them to the ice rink. I thought I had read you had to make reservations, but I was wrong about that, when we went in they said to just come on in. It was not crowded at all, in fact for part of the time our three older girls were the only ones on the ice. It is a really small rink, but that was good because my niece had only been once for a party, so she was a wall hugger.

 

After ice skating it was time to get ready for formal night. We met to get a family picture done on the way into the MDR, then enjoyed a nice dinner. The big kids wanted to go to AO/teen club that night and I really wanted to play Majority Rules, so dh went to put the baby to bed.

 

DD says that the teen Glow party was fun, but none of the kids really wanted to dance, they mostly hung out in big groups. The music was really loud, she says! :)

 

Too bad for us, there was a basketball game playing in On Air, so they didn't do Majority Rules. Instead, my mom, brothers and I hung out to chat, then turned in after a long day.

Edited by Jen731

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I love, love, love a sea day. It is the main reason I cruise. I just love to be on the ship all day, enjoying the ocean out my window and the motion of the boat. Alas, this will go down as the sea day we will never forget.

 

The day started off great. We went to the character breakfast in the MDR at 7:45. I had tried for months to make a reservation to the breakfast, but forget it, they never released them. No worries, our waiter promised us. And he was right, there was plenty of room, we even had an amazing table right by the window since it was just me, my husband, my SIL, and the 5 kids. Eventually my dad came down to join us as well.

 

The characters that day were Alex the Lion, Gloria and King Julian from Madagascar. The costumes were spectacular and I loved that each character had a little song/dance to do when they came out. However, when we sat down, a few people wanted to order from the menu and a few opted for the buffet and of course, as soon as they left, one of the characters came by and we had to call them back. When I did the character meals at Disney, they felt much more relaxed. This one felt rushed, I think we had all 3 characters within maybe 15 minutes? My youngest daughter wanted nothing to do with any of the 3, it was her first character interaction and Alex was first - and Alex is just enormous!! She pretty much buried her head in my lap.

 

After breakfast we decided to take the babies to the toy room in Adventure Ocean to let them play for awhile. They needed it!! I thought we'd stay for an hour, but after 30 minutes, they were begging to go to the pool. We went back to the room to get everyone dressed and phoned the family that we'd be on the pool deck and to come find us for lunch.

 

(Cue the foreshadowing music...)

 

Got up to the pool, busy but not terribly crowded, everyone having a great time. My mom left to take my niece to the bathroom. I saw her come through the doors, looked down at my daughter for a minute, looked up and saw a crowd of people gathering around. My heart sunk and I ran over to find my mom laying on the pool deck. Found out that she had slipped on the insanely slick drainage grate, landed squarely on her knee, and visually I could see it had shattered in two pieces. I knew immediately her vacation was over.

 

The pool attendant called for medical, my kids ran to get towels to make her more comfortable, and my brother raced to find my dad. Thank God there was a passenger who was a doctor in the area who took control and refused to let anyone move my mom until medical got there. She assessed my mom and directed the nurse once she arrived. It took awhile to get a wheelchair to the area and then the doctor thankfully directed everyone how to get her in there. I never saw this lady again, if by some chance she sees this - I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

My dad took my mom into medical and I went back to wait with the family. The kids were totally in shock and I was in hysterics. My dad reported back within half an hour that indeed, her knee was fractured and she would have to fly home for surgery. Thankfully she did not have to be air lifted off the ship, but my dad would spend the next 24 hours on the phone with insurance, insurance and more insurance to try and arrange transportation. I can't even go into what a nightmare that was. And by some stroke of luck, thankfully my mom had insured the cruise for herself and my dad (she thought she had only insured my dad because we feared he would have to cancel for work).

 

My brother and I went to sit with my mom in medical. Thankfully after they got her leg extended, she wasn't in searing pain anymore. I got to meet two of the ship's doctors, two really nice men from South Africa who did their best to help in a bad situation. I asked them if they casted many broken bones and they told me at least 2 a week, mostly "thanks" to the Flowrider!!! At that point, I decided my kids were going to forego the Flowrider for the week!

 

In medical we learned that the Oasis was having engine trouble and we wouldn't be arriving in St. Thomas the next day until 2 pm.

 

After my mom was casted, we wheeled her up to her room - thank goodness the Upgrade Fairy had hit a few days before the cruise and she was in a Grand Suite. No idea how she could have gotten around my room. We got her on her couch and got her some lunch. She was ready for a rest, so I decided to go ahead with the plan to take the older girls and their cousin to see the Hairspray matinee, and my youngest brother stayed to help her while my dad went to Guest Services to start the process of getting them off the boat in St. Thomas the next day.

 

It was so hard to try to enjoy Hairspray, but the kids needed to get their minds off the disaster of the morning. Alas, it was not to be in the end. The show is live and some of the vocals and music are live, but there is clearly a background music and vocal track they are performing to. So during the performance, something happened to the soundtrack and they had to stop the show for a few minutes... came back out and got another 10 minutes into the show and it stopped again... a longer pause this time and people started leaving. Finally they got going, got another 10 minutes into the show and stopped again. The house manager finally said we were getting interference from the Carnival ship that was closely following us and they just didn't think they should continue, but to watch our compass and that they would reschedule for Friday.

 

So we went back to check on my mom and spend some time with her. Played cards and tried to keep her spirits up. We had wanted to eat dinner in the room with her, but quickly realized that 5 kids dining en suite was a major mess waiting to happen, so instead mom forced us to go to dinner in the MDR. Had a somber dinner, then took the kids back to see my mom. My husband took the kids to bed, I stayed with mom a bit longer so my dad could get some more work done, then we said goodnight. So I can't say much about the ship's activities for Day 3. What I can say is this:

 

The pool deck is slippery.

The pool deck is slippery.

THE POOL DECK IS REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY SLIPPERY!!!!!

 

Please, keep shoes on and watch your step. Funny, but for the rest of the week we saw a lot of "caution: slippery when wet" cones out on the pool deck and the staff worked hard to mop up the excess water, but our last day at the pool both my SIL and I nearly busted our butts and we knew what could happen up there. I don't know what else RCI could do to rectify the deck, but I do know that the drainage grates can be even more slick than the regular surface. Please tell your kids not to run and to stay in the pool until they are done instead of hopping in and out and in and out. 8 months of planning and anticipation (and $$$$!) got flushed down the toilet for my parents with one wrong step.

 

My mom had surgery back home on Thursday: 9 screws and her knee wired shut. She is looking at extensive rehab over the next 12-18 weeks and has gone through a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention the disappointment of having to miss the time and experience with all of us. My daughters and I will be going over to help her in the next week or so after she is released from the hospital since she is very much out of commission for awhile. Even as I type this I still cannot believe it happened. Please, be careful on the pool deck.

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Ouch!:( Your poor mother, that is a long recovery time. We were supposed to be on the Oasis a few weeks before you but cancelled because my DH broke his ankle. Hopefully, your parents will be able to sail Oasis again in the future. Best wishes to your Mom.

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