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A First Time Cruiser’s Review of Oasis! Spring Break Cruise 4/1-4/8

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As a newcomer to the cruising world, I discovered Cruise Critic while planning what was supposed to be our first cruise, Anthem of the Seas in February 2018. That cruise wasn’t in the cards for us...our entire family got the flu in the days leading up to the cruise. Yes, it happens! We were down for the count. There was no way we could go. Thank god for travel insurance!

 

So, with my husband feeling better than me, he scrambled and planned a new cruise. I am our family’s vacation planner. I can’t tell you the hours I spent planning that Anthem cruise. However, under the spell of the flu, I couldn’t have cared less what new cruise was planned! He took over, the sweetheart that he is, and planned our Spring Break cruise on Oasis! (A quick call to a travel agent works wonders!)

 

Who we are: a family of four from Rochester, NY. Hubs, me, and our two kids, daughter age 13 and son age 11. We have another son as well, he’s 19 and away at college. The kids’ school breaks don’t line up anymore, so he didn’t come on this trip with us.

 

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Here is our college age son

 

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Here are our younger two who came on the cruise

 

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Here’s me and hubs with our oldest on his first day of college!

 

 

We try to take a family vacation once a year. Our daughter has celiac, so that sometimes dictates the type of vacay we take. We’ve done Disney A LOT because they are the gold standard for food allergy cuisine! But Disney is $$$$ and we just couldn’t keep that vacation budget going every year. Our friends who have a celiac daughter sailed Royal last year and had great success, so we thought we’d give it a whirl.

 

Once I was feeling better (it literally took three weeks to feel like myself again—it was horrendous) I repacked our suitcases. We didn’t need the cooler weather clothes we would’ve needed on our February cruise out of NJ! We decided to drive to Florida to save some bucks. We drove to Florida last year for vacation as well, so we knew it wouldn’t be too bad. WiFi in the car doesn’t hurt, either!

 

We left for our long-awaited cruise on March 29. We drove the 29th and 30th arriving in Florida just before dinner on the 30th. The cruise didn’t leave until 4/1, but we decided to take an extra day on 3/31 to go to Kennedy Space Center. We had a voucher for tickets already purchased for what would have been a port stop in Port Canaveral for the Anthem cruise, so we wanted to be able to use those.

 

Pre-cruise we stayed at the Fairfield Inn Marriott in Titusville. Planning our cruise last minute meant hotels closer to the port were full, but this hotel was great. Served our needs, and it was a good location for KSC as well.

 

Excited for our first adventure to KSC! Love starting an already exciting vacation with an extra outing the day before, a little mini-vacation.

 

Kennedy Space Center was fantastic! We all had so much fun. Atlantis was our favorite building with so much to do!

 

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We took the bus tour after lunch. We all liked it, but our son was bored at that part. Once the bus tour was over, we would have liked to see more of the Saturn V building (I believe that’s what it was) but a bored 11 year old means let’s keep this train moving! So we called it a day, with a very happy experience at KSC.

 

After a short rest at the hotel, we went to the huuuuge Ron Jon store in Cocoa Beach. We picked up some rash guards and t-shirts. Then we had the BEST dinner at a tiny place on Merritt Island called Mi Island restaurant. They have great food and do awesome with gluten free. My daughter had so many choices here, and the food was excellent. I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially if you have celiac!

 

Ok—being the newbie that I am, this part of my review, trying to figure out how to post pictures, has taken me two days haha. So I’ll post this, and tomorrow, embarkation day! (I’ll post a day of our cruise every day....)

 

 

 

 

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Oops—just realized I said we are a family of four! Obviously we are a family of five! But just four of us took this trip.

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Thanks for taking the time to post a review! We love the Oasis and DH and myself will be on her next February!:cool: Looking forward to hearing about your experience!!:*

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Nice start- following along. Have cabins on hold for our first RC cruise although we have sailed other lines. We are also from Rochester, NY but moved to SC in 2005 to escape the winters!

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Embarkation Day!

 

None of us could sleep the night before the cruise. We were so excited to embark on this first ever kind of trip. This was our first time to any type of island, first time out of the country, except for Canada, so this was a big deal!

 

We weren’t sure how to approach embarkation day...the timing getting to the port, etc. But it went really smoothly, so apparently we did it right! We arrived at Port Canaveral at 10am. After unloading bags to porter, we got in line for security at 10:12. We got up to security at 10:21. We got in the check-in line at 10:34. Completed check-in at 10:42. Then we sat and waited until they began calling people to board at 11! If only we were in a suite....we would’ve boarded at 11! Maybe someday. For now, we were lowly Green group, no crown and anchor status. Woo hoo! Green group called at 11:16! Got the obligatory photo taken at 11:21, and officially boarded the ship at 11:26!

 

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Upon boarding, we didn’t know which end was up, but there were so many people ready and willing to help. We found the MDR so we could talk to the maitre d about our daughter’s celiac. We were also able to make our reservation at Giovanni’s at this time. They had a table set up right there. Doing all of this took from 11:30 until about 11:50. Then we needed to figure out lunch.

 

I swore when I was planning our embarkation day that we WOULD NOT go to the Windjammer on embarkation day. Would. Not. Well you know what they say about the best laid plans....

 

Somehow we ended up in the Windjammer for lunch. I don’t even know how it happened. One minute I thought we were headed to Park Cafe, and the next minute I was standing in the windjammer. Determined 11 year old with a better sense of direction than an almost 50 year old always wins. Haha.

 

So I decided to make the best of it. I asked for a chef for my daughter and out came the cheeriest, nicest chef, ready to make her anything she wanted. She’s not hard to please. “Burger and fries, please?” That was all she needed to say. Then I tracked down hubs and my determined 11 year old, and what was this, a table by the window? And the next thing I knew my daughter’s lunch appeared, delivered by the cheery chef:

 

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Once we left windjammer about 12:30/12:45, there was a line to get in. Ahhhh, there’s the crowd! So my advice: timing is everything.

 

After lunch we were like fish out of water. We didn’t know what to do first. We registered our son for Adventure Ocean (oh look! another line! This would become a theme) Then we went to our room (by now it was after 1) and dropped our carry ons and my son changed into a swimsuit. Hubs and son headed for Flowrider. Whatever my daughter and I did for the next two hours is beyond me. It was a blur. Hubs was texting me trying to tell me where they were, we walked from one end of the ship to the other, kept getting turned around, walking in circles. Not the best use of time, but we had a lot of laughs!

 

Fast forward to late afternoon, we got our luggage and started to unpack. Best things we ever brought: our clothesline, an over the door organizer and strong magnet hooks. I used the magnet hooks to hold up the over the door organizer on the wall. We used it to hold bathing suits, goggles, sunglasses, socks, etc etc. With four people in a balcony cabin, it was tight. Not impossible, but tight. This organizer and the strong hooks made a huge difference in storage.

 

Our dinner in the MDR that night was great! We had early traditional dining. It was smooth sailing, the food was great, we had a really nice first dinner.

 

That night, my son decided to go to Adventure Ocean. We hung out with our daughter and decided to check out Sorrentos for some gluten free pizza! It worked out really well. You order the pizza, you wait 15 minutes and you get a whole GF pizza to yourself! We brought it to the room and had a nice time on our balcony. It wasn’t my daughter’s favorite GF pizza ever, but it was fun.

 

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Next up: our first At Sea day....

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for all the nice comments! I’d reply to each one individually, but honestly, I have no idea how. Lol. Just figuring out how to post pictures has sent me over the edge! 😂

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Yay! I’m loving reading about all your GF adventures on Oasis! Looking forward to more. By the way, I showed my wife (who doesn’t read travel forums) your Celiac at Sea post & she was super happy after reading it, so thanks for that again!

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Also, I’m surprised how good that pizza looks in the picture! GF pizza as a rule isn’t usually very good (with some exceptions), but that pic actually looks appetizing! Sounds like maybe it didn’t taste as good as it looks, though I still foresee several of those in our future (5 year olds are easy to please with cheese pizza...even if it isn’t the best!)

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Gatordad—I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Yes, you’re right about the pizza. It wasn’t great, but she ate half of it! She was happy to be doing something like someone without celiac would do their first night on a cruise!

 

I also forgot to mention above, part of the blur of the afternoon, I’m remembering now, included my daughter and I tracking down GF ice cream in the Windjammer. (Again with the Windjammer!) She was so hot and just wanted a cool dessert. And wouldn’t you know it, they were so helpful, even in the midst of the crazy afternoon, and she got a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream! Don’t be afraid to ask—they are a wonderful staff. And sometimes maybe they can’t make something happen, but you know they will try their hardest.

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First full day at sea!

 

We woke up bright and early ready to see what our first sea day had to offer.

 

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We knew from the lines we had on embarkation day that this sea day would probably be more of the same. It was a recurring theme throughout the week. That was the one frustrating part for us—the lines. I think it was because it was a spring break cruise and there were 2,000 kids on board! They all wanted to do the same thing at the same time!

 

We got ready for the day quickly and headed out to the Flowrider. No one was in line yet so we played a little mini golf and ping pong. Little did we know that ping pong would be so hard to come by throughout the week. Every time hubs and son went back the tables were full, or there were no paddles or all the ping pong balls were crushed!

 

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The Flowrider line was starting so my son hopped in line and my daughter and I got in line to do the wristband/waiver at the Flowrider desk.

 

TIP! Get in line early on embarkation day to get your waiver settled and get an activity wristband. Even if you sign the waivers pre cruise online, you have to go to the Flowrider desk and get a wristband. Child and parent need to be present. Many many people didn’t know about this, and stood in line for the zip line or Flowrider and when they got to the front had to go get in the line at Flowrider desk for the waiver and wristband! The lines here to get the wristbands are huge and lengthy, so do it ASAP when you board!

 

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Only his second time on the Flowrider! He loved it.

 

However....the LINES. Oh my goodness, it was unbearable. He did one turn on it this morning, then didn’t want to stand in the line that had formed while he was on.

 

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Sweet daughter and I decided to try the zip line while my son was on the Flowrider.

 

TIP! To ride the zip line you must be wearing sneakers. Not sandals or flip flops or even Keens sandals. Many people kept getting out of line for not having the right footwear. You also have to be a certain height and weight, and they do have a scale and weigh you! You have to be 75 lbs minimum. Can’t remember the height.

 

Then it was on to rock climbing!!

 

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TIP! You must be wearing socks to rock climb and you cannot be wearing a wet bathing suit. They will send you away. Some learned the hard way. Waiting in line and not wearing the right thing.

 

All this activity and figuring stuff out made us hungry! We ate in the Main Dining Room for lunch. It was FANTASTIC. They have a menu to order from, or a big salad bar and buffet area. Or, you can order something from the menu and get the buffet! The salad bar is fantastic—you tell them what you want and they make the salad for you. It is absolutely delish. They had good GF choices too. My daughter got the shrimp risotto for every MDR lunch we had!

 

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After lunch my son decided to go to Adventure Ocean. He had a good experience the first night and they were doing activities he liked. He didn’t last too long at AO though because it was so crowded. Over 60 kids in a room not much bigger than a classroom. He said he spent most of the time waiting for a turn. More waiting! It was a recurrent theme all week.

 

 

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Sea day, cont’d.....

 

My daughter and I relaxed on one of the sundecks in the afternoon. The choice of chairs was slim. About half of the chairs were actually occupied. The other half had towels on them...the infamous chair hogs at work! We didn’t mind, really. We found a couple of chairs with a view of the ocean, which is all we really wanted anyway! Not a prime location, but we were on a cruise! That’s what mattered.

 

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After dinner in the MDR (it was formal night—somehow I don’t have a picture!) we walked around the ship and happened upon Central Park—our favorite part of the ship!

 

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We were in bed early....the next day is Labadee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love the report-hate the lines! We are considering Oasis next Spring break. I think our trip next month will be easier on the lines & crowding bc kids are still in school, but next year my daughter will be in kindergarten so I’d prefer to go when she’s out of school. It’d be the same exact week you were on the ship. Were lines so bad you wouldn’t do it again? Or just a part of the hassle of traveling anywhere families go en masse during school breaks?

 

We are spoiled traveling during off times for many years, but will soon be forced to get on the same schedule as most families with school-aged children. Looking forward to more report & pictures!

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My family was on the same cruise. We expected it to be busy but found the crowd often overwhelming. I felt like we either spent so much time waiting in line, searching for seats/chairs, and fighting the crowds that doing so interfered with fully being able to enjoy the cruise. That being said, we still had a good time. We will likely just avoid another spring break cruise.

 

 

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Gatordad and Lawstuff—we found the crowds and lines did interfere with our full enjoyment of the cruise. I know cruises pretty much always sail full, but the amount of kids on the cruise was unreal. Maybe that’s why it felt so crowded? Don’t get me wrong, I like kids! I have three! But it was definitely overwhelming. I read before our cruise so many people saying even with 6000 passengers, Oasis never felt crowded. That must be because they weren’t there on spring break! And Gatordad, yes, the lines were off-putting enough to steer us away from a spring break cruise. We already booked a cruise for our President’s week break in February next year. It’s still a school break, which we are unfortunately tied to, but not everyone gets an entire week off for President’s week, so we are crossing our fingers. We booked on Adventure to see if maybe we are smaller ship people. Time will tell!

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Gatordad—my husband just made a great point. Next year, your kids will still be small. Too small for the zip line, Flowrider, rock wall...that’s where we encountered most of the frustrating lines. Your kids will love the carousel on the Boardwalk which never seemed crowded to me. The ship will be crowded and full of kids, and the pools will be insane, but you won’t have the lines I mentioned to contend with!

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Gatordad—my husband just made a great point. Next year, your kids will still be small. Too small for the zip line, Flowrider, rock wall...that’s where we encountered most of the frustrating lines. Your kids will love the carousel on the Boardwalk which never seemed crowded to me. The ship will be crowded and full of kids, and the pools will be insane, but you won’t have the lines I mentioned to contend with!

 

Thank you for the honest feedback. I’m not a major fan of crowds & lines (really, who is?), so I typically try to avoid the most crowded times anywhere. But a February trip isn’t an option for us, so it’s spring break, summer or taking our daughter out of school for a week (already doing that in November, so don’t feel comfortable doing it twice in the same school year). It’s good to know what to expect if we decide to do it!

 

Looking forward to more review & pictures! :cool:

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I'm enjoying your review so far, your family is adorable! :) Looking forward to reading more.

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Gatordad—my husband just made a great point. Next year, your kids will still be small. Too small for the zip line, Flowrider, rock wall...that’s where we encountered most of the frustrating lines. Your kids will love the carousel on the Boardwalk which never seemed crowded to me. The ship will be crowded and full of kids, and the pools will be insane, but you won’t have the lines I mentioned to contend with!

 

Gatordad- I was on the same cruise and completely agree with the above. We have a 12 and 8 year who were not interested in doing the zip line, Flowrider, or rock wall even though I think my 12 year old could have. I never had any problems with lines. We spent a lot of time on the Boardwalk and had only short lines at the carousel. The only time the ship felt crowded to me was on the sea days when we tried to enjoy the pools. The first sea day we couldn't find a chair or lounger anywhere! The second sea day we were able to find a lounger but the pool was so crowded that you could hardly move. After enduring being kicked and pushed for about an hour, we gave up and got out.

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Day 3 — Labadee!

 

We woke up bright an early and caught our first glimpse of Labadee, Haiti

 

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I can’t describe the excitement we all had of seeing our first port. Since the extent of my worldly travels consisted of the World Showcase in Epcot, this was a big day!

 

Our day started at 8am with a Flowrider lesson for my son. Ok, wait. I’m getting sick of all this son and daughter business. I wasn’t using their names because I noticed a lot of other reviewers not using their kids names, so I followed suit. But not saying their names and repeating son and daughter is even annoying me, so their names are Sophie and Jack. Whew. I feel better.

 

Ok, so 8 am, Flowrider lesson for Jack. He got the hang of the Flowrider quickly the first couple of days, but we signed him up for a group lesson to teach him a little more, but mostly to give him more turns on the Flowrider than he was getting with the ridiculous lines. He was maybe going once an hour, and that was generous. So we expected him to get many turns in an hour group lesson of 6 people. Wrong. He went twice. It was only 6 people, but each person got lengthy turns. If the people are falling a lot, it takes time to get back up, start over, get your balance, etc. So it wasn’t everything we wanted in terms of frequency of turns, but it was a great experience getting the one on one attention from the teachers. These two, Vladimir and Jade, were amazing. Here’s a few pics:

 

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Vladimir was excellent. Jack loved him. He worked the rock wall too, and was so great with the kids.

 

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Jade was excellent too. She had a real rapport with the kids as well.

 

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Joking around after the lesson. You can’t beat those beautiful hills in the background!

 

After the lesson we changed and got everything together for Labadee! We had a 10 am jet ski excursion planned!

 

When we were choosing excursions for Labadee, I imagined Sophie and I would grab a nice shady spot on the beach and Steve (aka Hubs) and Jack would go jet skiing. Then Sophie, my quiet, calm child says “I’d like to go jet skiing!” Oh shoot. That means guess who will have to drive. A jet ski. No bueno. But I took one for the team and signed us all up for jet skiing.

 

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Off the boat and officially in Haiti!

 

 

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Great report, thanks. We are sailing on Allure in June so I'm loving all the Allure & Oasis reviews and info.

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Day 3, Labadee, cont’d

 

Labadee was gorgeous. Perfect weather, beautiful surroundings.

 

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I love fountains. Big or small, wherever we are, after the hundreds of fountains we have seen on our vacations, I still somehow end up shocked and thrilled at the sight. “LOOK! A FOUNTAIN!” My kids are used to it. Now I don’t even have to say anything, they see one and automatically go sit by it for the picture they know is coming.

 

We went right to the jet ski area and this place was like a well oiled machine. So organized. Totally punctual. My kinda place. Here is a view of the jet ski area:

 

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So pretty here. And it only took about 20 minutes for me to finally get a picture without people in it.

 

They take everyone into a small room for an instructional video. I was sweating bullets at this point because I was terrified to be minutes away from driving a jet ski. In the ocean. I took the video very seriously, and everyone else was asleep, I believe. Then they ask for the experienced riders to raise their hands, and they put you in order according to how fast you think you’ll go. I just raised my hand straightaway and said “I’ll be last!”

 

They set us all up on the jet skis, and I literally could not remember any of the video. Sophie remembered a lot, thank god, so she was coaching me. And I became BFFs with the instructor who would be in the back, Keno. He was so confident in my skills. Haha, oh Keno, you have no idea.

 

We took off and I was happy at the 4 mph idling speed. Keno wasn’t having it. I sped up so as not to completely embarrass my family. Aside from the fact that I was screaming “KEEEEENOOOO” at the top of my lungs the entire time, it was actually fun! I was stressed and scared and exhilarated all at the same time. And what a lesson for Sophie. She saw me overcome true fear. And see my pride after it was over.

 

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These two show offs were at the front of the pack the entire time!

 

At one point on the jet ski tour, two Haitian men came up on kayaks with small things to sell. I had read about this and was prepared. Sophie chose a pink carved turtle. It was beautiful. We bargained a little on price (we ended up paying $12) and the man was so nice and gracious. It was a great, unique experience for Sophie to do shopping from a jet ski! It’s her favorite part of trips—shopping!

 

After we parked the jet skis (not easily for me, I might add) we decided to go back to the boat for lunch. The previous night at dinner, our headwaiter gave us the opportunity to order Sophie a GF lunch that he’d have available for her on Labadee, but we opted to not order it and come back to the ship to eat. Seemed easier, and that was her preference, so that’s what we did! On the way back to the ship we took some photos...I’ll post those in a separate post.

 

 

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