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GadgetGod

First time RC cruisers (hopefully live) Oasis review April 9-16, 2017

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Hello! We are first time RC cruisers, and I thought a review through our eyes might be helpful to people looking to try the Oasis for a family cruise. Since we are first time RC cruisers, I will share my likes and dislikes, frustrations and joys of our family trip on the Oasis of the Seas. I will offer thanks up front to the members of CC for the advice, tips, and hints I got from the forum.

 

We are scheduled on the April 9-16th western Caribbean cruise on the Oasis of the Seas. It has stops in Labadee, Falmouth, and Cozumel, with 3 sea days. On this cruise is my wife and I, and our daughter. Also on board are two sister-in-laws, my mother-in-law and her sister, and some friends of the family (3 more pax).

 

I intend to update this post on the ship, in a (semi) live manner. Since I plan for this to be a vacation, first and foremost, checking the posts and updating may only happen in the evening, or maybe on the sea days. I have high hopes to keep current, but if my daughter wants to swim (play mini golf, etc.) that will (of course) come first, since I am really looking forward to some down time with the family. We are first time RC cruisers, and other than the research I have done, and reviews I have read and watched, we are a blank slate - so come on RC win us over!

 

Up next - About us and pre cruise planning.

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Following too!! We're on Oasis on 7 May - first time Oasis. Did Freedom May 2016 which we loved!!

 

Looking forward to reading anything you post! Have a wonderful time!!

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About us and pre cruise planning -

This is a family trip that grew in size as we planned the trip. We are a Connecticut family; with my wife, and my 7 Year-old (almost 8) daughter. We like to travel but are not serial cruisers. My wife and I have about 30 cruise-days under our belts during the last 15 years (a 18 days transatlantic on HAL for our honeymoon, and a week on Carnival and Princess prior to that) It has been about 10 years since our last cruise. Between all-inclusive resorts, Disney, a St. Martin timeshare, the Cape/MV, and a beach house on the Connecticut shore, cruising always dropped down the list when it came to planning a vacation. That being said, there is appeal to a vacation that always has something for everyone to do and is lower stress/less work, and I could see us cruising with more frequency.

 

I would say we are foodie-lites. We love to eat out, and will pick a non chain over a chain restaurant if we can. Before my daughter was born, the wife and I would take weekend trips around the country to sample famous and up-in-coming restaurants. However, when I talk about my experiences with the food onboard (and I will), I will try to equate it with a chain restaurant if I can so it translates to a more national audience. We are not hypercritical about our food and rarely send food back, generally the nicer the restaurant, the more we expect from them. (i.e. I expect CraftSteak or Peter Lugers to have a much nice steak than the Outback - but I have had several meals at the Outback and I found them all enjoyable when viewed at their relative bargain level.)

 

There is a chance that food may end up being one of the major themes in this review. I know that it is subjective so I am sorry if you do not agree. Having spent some time reading reviews and lurking on CC, I have lowered my expectations. The food on HAL 10 years ago was exceptional, near Michelin star / top chef quality. I know that is not the case on RC (and likely not on HAL anymore, either) and I am not expecting it. But I am hoping for enjoyable and tasty meals, properly prepared and served. I guess what I am hoping for, using the example above, is a Outback quality steak in the MDR and a Flemings quality steak at Chops.

 

Continued in a bit.

 

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About us/planning continued.

 

This is our daughter’s first cruise. We picked RC because it seemed like a good mix of activity for her, and enough other stuff for us. We were very close to sailing on the Disney Fantasy, but in the end my daughter thought she would enjoy RC more (since she was not interested in the Star Wars at Sea that was the week were were cruising), so that is what we booked. Of all the decisions about this cruise, this is the one I have the most apprehension about. I really hope I am wrong, and it just an unfounded fear from reading too much leading up to the vacation.

 

We loved our cruise on HAL, but it did not seem like it would be the best first exposure to cruising for a 7 year old. She is very excited for the trip, and has watched multiple reviews on YouTube and knows more about the ship and the activities than my wife at this point. For a cabin we selected a Boardwalk balcony. It was one of the last 3 person rooms left on the ship when we booked that had an open rooms on each side. Bonus, it includes the soda package. Once we talked about going on the cruise, my sister-in-laws asked to join us, then my Mother-in-law and her sister joined. We got three cabins on the 10th floor almost completely aft. While not connecting, we hope to open the dividers between the balconies. After we booked, some family friends and their family joined for a total of 11 in our group. A week before the cruise left, one of the family friends did not feel up to the cruise, so she bowed out. The remainder are in a few cabins across the hall (one is now a single). Not bad for booking only a little more than 6 months out.

 

The cruise planner was open for reservations at time of booking, over 6 months out (is that normal?) so we made show, internet and specialty dining reservations, figuring it could be hard to get such a large group closer to the sail date. Made plans for a group of 10 at Chops and a dinner with just my wife and I at 150 CP. A few days ago, the Solarium Bistro went from $20/pp to $0 so we made a reservation there. Made reservations for all the shows, we like going to the theater (my daughter loves Broadway shows), and my daughter is very excited for cats, the ice show and the diving show. (Me, I’m excited for Hamilton the weekend after we get back from the cruise !)

 

As for excursions, we did not plan that early. The plan was in flux, as the group has some mobility issues and even at 60 days out, we did not have a plan. So a little more than a month before departure, we booked the Jamaican Jewel Runaway bay for my family and a few of the group. As for Cozumel, I have been several time before (cruise, dive trips) and really did not have a plan. Based on reviews on CC, we decided to not book an AI and just go to Paradise beach. We are not big drinkers, so this seemed like the better option. No diving for me this trip. I have dove on past cruises, but it is a pain to travel with gear for day or two of diving, and I would much rather spend the day and a beach/pool with my family.

 

Neither the wife nor I are really drinkers. She will have a glass or two of wine given the right circumstance. I will have a bourbon if I am out with drinkers, when it would be awkward to order a soda. We are bringing a couple bottles of wine on board, the cruise line also gave us a few for bringing in several reservations. I will drink mostly soda on board. I am sure at the AI I will have a drink or two, just because. My guess is the bulk of my wife’s drinking will be at the Starbucks, not for coffee, but for the iced tea. If she can get a Starbucks drink card, she will.

 

Continued below.

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About us/planning continued.

 

Since it has been about 10 years since we last cruised, I expect a lot has changed. I know the internet access has! My wife and I both work, and are never truly 100% on vacation. I’m an attorney, so I can at least get coverage within my firm and generally make my schedule free. Wife is in software development, and has teams working around the globe, so she is never really off the clock, On our transatlantic cruise, we had a $1200 internet bill keeping in touch. We were very happy to learn that for around $100 ($8/pp/day) we would have unlimited internet for both of us and (with Wifi calling) would be reachable if needed. Not that we plan to work on the cruise, but life happens and it’s very reassuring to know we are plugged in.

 

With traditional dining in the MDR at 5:30, I am curious if we will be put at a single table, or more than one table near each other. Based on reviews, I was surprised at the ease in which we got the earlier seating. I would have been fine with either, but with a 7 year old and a few 75+ year olds, the earlier time was preferred. When we booked the only thing showing was the later time, but a quick request when booking was met with a can do attitude and when I logged in to the RC site the following day it showed the earlier assignment. No waiting list, no check when you were on the ship. Smoother than I expected.

 

So that is where we stand. Our flight leaves tomorrow evening and we are getting into MCO the night before. We are staying by the airport. Free shuttle, free breakfast. We have Cortran’s shuttle booked for the morning (and return). My SIL are also flying in from Connecticut, but did not get as lucky on the pricing, so they flew in today. They are at a different (still MCO airport) hotel. Cortran's said they would pick both groups up in the same van. Very nice.

 

Ok, I think that completes the preamble. Next update will talk about the travel from Connecticut to Orlando, the hotel, and other day before cruise stuff.

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It sounds like you are pretty concerned about the food so you might want to lower your expectations a bit. I am familiar with Flemings and outback. I would dial it back to Golden Corral in MDR and Outback in Chops. JMO. I would recommend you do Central Park 150 and def the Chef's table.

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It sounds like you are pretty concerned about the food so you might want to lower your expectations a bit. I am familiar with Flemings and outback. I would dial it back to Golden Corral in MDR and Outback in Chops. JMO. I would recommend you do Central Park 150 and def the Chef's table.

 

Thanks for the advice - Really Golden Corral? I have never been to one, but I think I have driven past them. Are they buffet restaurants? I thought I had dialed back my expectations with Flemings and outback! Wow. I will keep an open mind. We are doing CP 150 and will look into the chef table. Key issue is right now CP 150 is the only meal we have scheduled without my daughter. My guess is Chef's Table is not a good one for her either.

 

thanks again for the advice.

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Following along. Have a great vacation!

 

PS - Sure hope you don't have to work. It's one of the reasons we did not get internet. Wanted us to be disconnected from the world.

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This has been my experience. I have cruised on several RCCL ships. I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and we have a lot of good food. I may be biased but you went into some detail and I feel you are similar to me. Def do not take your daughter to Chef's table. It is like 3 hours long.

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This has been my experience. I have cruised on several RCCL ships. I live in the Philadelphia suburbs and we have a lot of good food. I may be biased but you went into some detail and I feel you are similar to me. Def do not take your daughter to Chef's table. It is like 3 hours long.

 

Thank you, I really appreciate your advice. Luckily, we do have family on board to watch my daughter if needed.

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PS - Sure hope you don't have to work. It's one of the reasons we did not get internet. Wanted us to be disconnected from the world.

 

Thanks! I really hope I do not need to work either! I got through a ton of work this week, so I should be in good shape. I am really more worried about my wife, I have a feeling she will have at least a few hours of work while on board. At least if I have to work, I can bill for the time. She is on the clock 24/7.

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:cool:...Hello, Mr. Gadget...If you are a lawyer you must have a small recorder. Take it along...I really helps...Plus save the daily papers...I find it's a great memory trigger after you get home...Remember. It's your vacay...Enjoy it...Plus you will have my review after too...Royal is great for families and the Oasis was made for families..Remember, new batteries for everything that isn't rechargeable. Do you have water safes for everyone?..There are really helpful if you are going to the beach...they hold, money, credit cards, your cabin key...the ones I have hang around your neck...If you don't they sell them on ship...We usually go on Celebrity, the food better sometimes, sometimes it's better on Royal...depends on the ship...If you have any other questions, just post them on the board...We are leaving for Orlando tomorrow morning...We are staying near the port...You do know Orlando Airport is a hour drive from the port..Right?

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:cool:...Hello, Mr. Gadget...If you are a lawyer you must have a small recorder. Take it along...I really helps...Plus save the daily papers...I find it's a great memory trigger after you get home...Remember. It's your vacay...Enjoy it...Plus you will have my review after too...Royal is great for families and the Oasis was made for families..Remember, new batteries for everything that isn't rechargeable. Do you have water safes for everyone?..There are really helpful if you are going to the beach...they hold, money, credit cards, your cabin key...the ones I have hang around your neck...If you don't they sell them on ship...We usually go on Celebrity, the food better sometimes, sometimes it's better on Royal...depends on the ship...If you have any other questions, just post them on the board...We are leaving for Orlando tomorrow morning...We are staying near the port...You do know Orlando Airport is a hour drive from the port..Right?

 

Thank you again SB I will record notes (our firm uses an app on our phones so I will have to tell the Para not to type up my notes! :) )

 

Good idea on the water safe, I have one in my camping supplies, and a bigger one in my dive kit.

 

Don't think I have anything that runs on normal batteries, other than an emergency flashlight and my travel bag always has extra cells in it.

 

Yup on the drive. We first had a reservation at the "resort by the port" but changed it due to the time of our arrival. we don't land until 10pm so better to just get to a hotel by the airport.

 

My iPad die last night! ugh! just ordered a new one for the trip, picking it up on my way home from the office as long as I can leave before the Mall closes. (if not will get tomorrow) I guess it's better that it died the day before the cruise than the day after!

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The port is closer to 45 minutes than an hour from the airport....I drive it everyday. However, we are having issues down here right now with fire....528 (beachline expressway) has been closed in areas a few times the past couple weeks. Orlando international drive (near airport) was blazing yesterday and at least one resort was evacuated. My drive into work yesterday resulted in wearing smoke smell clothes all day. So....depending upon the situation...the drive might be even longer than an hour...........get to the port early for anyone cruising this weekend.

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Looking forward to your review. If you would not mind doing me a favor? Perhaps order the MDR steak as a side to your meal and let me know your thoughts?

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Looking forward to your review. If you would not mind doing me a favor? Perhaps order the MDR steak as a side to your meal and let me know your thoughts?

How do you like your steak done?:rolleyes:

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Looking forward to your review. If you would not mind doing me a favor? Perhaps order the MDR steak as a side to your meal and let me know your thoughts?

 

 

 

Well I am sure I will order a steak at least once in the MDR. I like my steak "steakhouse medium rare" - red warm center. I have a feeling on the ship that is just called rare.

I eat way too much red meat and take my steak seriously. Local butcher does a nice job of dry aging meat, and now that I sous vide my steaks at home, most restaurants are a step down.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Looking forward to your review. We will be on Oasis in 2 weeks, and we traveled on Oasis a few months after it went into service. The ship is wonderful and so much to do and see.

 

My friend SlimBeau is traveling with you. Enjoy your vacation and put down the electronics every once in awhile and enjoy your family.

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Well I am sure I will order a steak at least once in the MDR. I like my steak "steakhouse medium rare" - red warm center. I have a feeling on the ship that is just called rare.

I eat way too much red meat and take my steak seriously. Local butcher does a nice job of dry aging meat, and now that I sous vide my steaks at home, most restaurants are a step down.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Honestly, the steaks are hit and miss. Steaks in the dining room come out at the doneness by luck of the draw, however if you eat at Chops, you will have a better chance of getting what you want. Contrary to what was stated by another poster, the steaks are better than Outback. I would refrain from ordering a Chops steak off the main dining room menu, my previous experience,they brought me a dining room steak and served it when others at my table were having desert.

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Thanks rolloman. I'm keeping an open mind. Really I just excited to go on vacation. The whole family could use it.

We have a meal planned at chops (I think it's the third night)

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Following along. We sail on April 30. If you get a changed, can you please check who the guitarist is in Globe & Atlas and the pianist in Schooner?

 

Thanks!

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