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ashezap

Trip Report! Oasis Of The Seas - 1/6-1/12 - Nurovirus Cruise

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A little background info
 
This trip was me (Ashton) and my partner Matt. We were celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary 1/8, my birthday 1/7 and Matt’s 40th birthday 1/9, so the dates lined up perfectly! I had been wanting to go on an oasis class ship for a long time and have never sailed with Royal Caribbean. I have been on Disney Magic 7 day western, Disney Wonder 4 day Caribbean,  Celebrity Solstice 7 Day Eastern. Matt has only been on chartered music cruises (The Rock Boat, Norwegian Pearl and The Buzz Boat, Carnival something)  So I really wanted to introduce him to the wonderful world of vacation cruises! We saved for a year to make it happen. A few months before we left I was a bit nervous because I had been reading about how Jamaica was not very friendly to gay couples and that their laws are quite different there which made me very hesitant to visit since it was Matt’s big 40th birthday and we wanted to do an excursion that day. I mean I read everything from couples disappearing all together, to gay rights leaders being mysteriously murdered, to just downright prejudiced behavior twards LGBTQ tourists. I was shocked because I’d never known this before and Jamaica seems so easy going. We ended up deciding to go on the cruise and book an excursion anyway because it was a special day and how would they even know?!? 
 
I ended up booking the ultimate dining package, knowing we are foodies and that Matt is a chef and has high expectations for food and probably wouldn’t settle for the food in the main dining room.  We also booked the Chrfs Table and the refreshment package (all non alcoholic drinks) and the Classic Romance Package (breakfast in bed with special menu, champagne &. Desserts in room, free photo and frame, and canapé’s before dinner on 1 formal night) .  
 

Day 1 

 
Embarkation - We arrived about 11:15am  because I was warned against arriving early and having to wait forever. Parking was fine, but the elevator in the garage  took FOREVER. I think it may have been broken so we ended up just walking our bags down the stairs.  My first impression is WOW! This is more people than I've ever seen in line for security to get on a cruise in my life. The line was really long but moved constantly. I also noticed that wow! There is allot of Brazilians on this cruise! It looked like bus loads. I should also tell you that I work directly with the affluent market for a major theme park resort in Orlando so I know about moving people, guest service, safety etc very well and also maybe have some high expectations and my own thoughts and opinions about certain types of guests and crew members. This may not be a popular observation, but I will say that when I see a large group of Brazilians traveling together, I get nervous because of how they sometimes behave in the parks... however, I was pleasantly surprised (other than a few of the normal cultural differences) while onboard. Every captains announcement was translated in Portuguese (doesn’t bother me)  and aside from a little bit of passing, pushing, shoving and very loud yell/talking in Portuguese ... all was good. 
 
We made it to check in upstairs which went very smoothly and after about 30 min total from parking we were on the ship. 
 
There really is nothing like coming on the ship in the promenade and looking around for the first time after watching endless YouTube videos and reading endless reviews I finally get to see it with my own eyes... and wow it didn’t disappoint! It was so cool!
 
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We wondered around for a moment and I was immediately stopped by one of the beverage package guys. I had been considering upgrading from the refreshment package to the full beverage package so we ended up getting talked into just doing it. I like to try new interesting drinks so I thought it might come in handy. At a price of about $640 to upgrade for the both of us... ouch! But it’s our vacation and I saved up for just in case stuff. We then went straight to Central Park and booked the dining I had planned for the week. No problems there. 
 
We went up to the buffet and were greeted with the longest buffet line I’d ever seen... no worries though. I knew this would probably happen because I had done my homework and read the boards!  ... so we went to the solarium cafe and saw another very long line and didn’t like the look of the food at all so we went down to park cafe and found another long line... this is when I learned the cruise was completely sold out... and that maybe the claims that “it never feels crowded even when at capacity” might not be so true. so anyway, again we decided to keep moving and ended up at Johnny Rockets on the Boardwalk which ended up being perfect and included in our dining package. The service was insanely friendly. After lunch they made an announcement that our rooms were ready so we went through Central Park again and gawked at how beautiful it was on the way. We got to the room and it looked as I expected except for a few things. It was missing our welcome champagne That came with the classic romance package and the beach essentials kit I had ordered as well as the reusable cups that come with the refreshment package. I figured that maybe they would deliver them later so I let it slide. I also noticed a few things looked a little rough around the edges... especially the curtain over the balcony door which literally had holes all in it.
 
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Also allot of the glass was super cloudy... I noticed this all over the ship. (Hard to capture correctly in photos)  
 
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Our stateroom attendant came by to show us how everything worked. I mentioned the cups to her and she said he couldn’t help and I had to check with the beverage team... ooookay. I went by one of the kiosks in the promenade later and they gave them to me. So by that time we were off to our muster station in Silk. It was CRAZY hot in there and that’s where I noticed allot of the things people had been talking about in regards to how used the ship looks in some areas. The tables and chairs were all worn on the corners and the stain/paint was coming off in more areas that should be acceptable. I’m surprised they let things get to this point before the dry dock that’s (thankfully) coming soon!
 
The musterdrill seemed odd to me. They didn’t play an instructional video and we sat in an area where we didn’t even see a crew member. But it was so hot and crowded I didn’t care... I just wanted out! 
 
After a very sweaty wait that seemed like forever we went back to our room to find our bags and find that our stateroom was also a million degrees.  We called the front desk who said it was due to the movement of our ship knocking the balcony door open because it has to be closed for the room to cool.... huh? We weren’t even moving yet!! There was also still no sign of the amenities I ordered. I didn’t want to say anything in front of Matt because it was supposed to be a surprise. Anyway, it ended up cooling down later and we went off to explore. We stopped at the spa for a quick tour and I noticed that the thermal suite (a favorite of every cruise I’ve ever been on) was really tiny for such a big ship! Just 4 heated lounges?!? Very strange. Also, the spa staff was almost entirely Jamaican which (for reasons I explained earlier)  made me hesitant to ask about the couples treatment we were thinking about. Perhaps I am too paranoid but I just had a herd time with the Jamaica thing. We left the spa and went upstairs for sailaway. 
 
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The top decks were cool with lots going on... I especially enjoyed this bartender balancing a bottle on his head! LOL 😂  but it was intensely crowded. So much so that we both felt overcrowded, so after a few minutes of checking out the sail away festivities, we decided to go back to the stateroom and watch the sail away from our balcony. 
 
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After a bit, we changed for dinner and headed to Izumi Hibachi (which I knew they would let us use on the first night of our package thanks to amazing tips that I read here!) We both had steak and lobster and it was perfection. Better than any hibachi we have had on land. Royal gets top scores for this one! The chef was hilarious and did a great job. We met a nice couple who sat next to us that I think has cruised on royal over 30 times... just the nicest folks. We enjoyed our dinner conversation with them but never saw them again. 
 
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We then ended up going to Studio B for the “Frozen In time” ice skating show.
 
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We had been told how great it was so we were really excited... now maybe it was the hype or maybe it’s that I’ve been subjected to too much of this type of show at a better quality...  but neither of us were super impressed. It was cool that it was on a ship, of course. The cast was very talented.  The “sand artist” they had that created images with shadows of sand was unexpected and cool. But, it just didn’t stack up against our expectations and the production value seemed super cheesy. Like something pieced together and retrofitted ... like a knock off Disney film or poorly executed sea world show. Not our thing. But that’s ok.
 
 We then went to a late night Comedy show featuring Nora Lynch and Joe Yannety. Now this was good stuff... we both agreed that we laughed harder than we have laughed in years. This was partially due to how Joe handled some heckling from the exceptionally tipsy retirees from the Margaritaville Retirement Community, but more on those folks later. This is another place that makes me wonder why is this very popular club so tiny on such a giant ship? I don't get it. There is always a looong line and I’m very glad I had reservations. 
 
All in all it was a great first day and things were going great so far... we had not yet hit the figurative iceberg that is the nurovirus yet and all was well... for now. So we wondered around a bit more and then went up to our stateroom and went to bed in preparation for our next day!
 
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Stay tuned for Day 2... 
Edited by ashezap
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Thanks for taking the time to report.  Great start!  I hope you received your champagne!

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Day 2 - At Sea 
 
It’s my birthday! 
 
We slept in a bit and Matt was working from his iPad in the room for a moment so I told him to meet me at Park Cafe for a light breakfast. So I ventured out on my own. Since our stateroom is on deck 8, Central Park was right around the corner. It was a beautiful day and I wish I could properly describe how nice Central Park is in the morning with the sun shimmering through the trees and the ocean breeze rolling in. I wish we had more time to spend in this section but it quickly became our favorite “neighborhood”. 
 
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I came upon Park Cafe as it was closing (apparently it closes between breakfast and lunch) and I found the bagel bar. Now this is going to sound silly to you northerners. I am very adventurous with most food but I have a hard time with seafood. This “Georgia boy” has an especially hard time with raw seafood like sushi. Having a chef for a husband is great because I’ll often get coerced out of my comfort zone and I’ve always been quite the foodie. I already moved up to being able to eat sushi rolls that are wrapped in rice (not the sashimi please!!) but I’ve always wondered what’s up with the smoked salmon on a bagel. So I decided hey, I’m on a cruise, It’s easy to try things when they are all “included”.  I went all out and ordered the fresh onion bagel with sundried tomato cream cheese (they had a wide variety), red onion, a thick slice of salt and peppered tomato, capers and thinly sliced smoked salmon. Man was it delicious! I’ve been craving it ever since. Sadly, by the time Matty made it over, park cafe had closed so I donated half of my bagel to him. 
 
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We we sat around for a little bit in Central Park and noticed even the  Central Park chairs were all worn out. 
 
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We decided to go up to the top deck to check out the hot tub situation and yowzers! It was crazy crowded up there! So we walked around a bit and ended up trying the Windjammer again for lunch. It was also very crowded and there were lines and the food looked just ok so we decided to go down to the American Icon main dining room. 
 
I ordered an Asian grilled chicken with papaya salsa which was really good
 
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and cherry crepes which were no soy good. Very bland and soggy. They can’t all be winners folks!
 
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Then we decided we wanted to go to the Martini Clinic scheduled to be happening in the Champagne Bar. It ended up being canceled because not enough people were there. They said there has to be 10 and there were only 8. It really seems like they could have done SOMETHING for the folks who did show up but whatever. I ended up ordering a strawberry cheesecake Martini. It was delicious except for I could only have a few sips because it was so rich and I feel strange about milky alcohol drinks.
 
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I took a few sips and then went back to my old fashioned or Manhattans like I usually do. We spent a bit of time shopping and chilling out in the room again (still too busy and hard to find a chair in the solarium or nearby) and then dressed for dinner at Giovanni’s 
 
Giovanni’s was ok. I had charcuterie, the filet and the carbonara all which were passable as “better than main dining room” but not by much. I have to hand it to Palo on Disney here. It’s been over 8 years since I’ve been on a Disney cruise and I still think about that filet with Gorgonzola sauce and red wine reduction and that decadent chocolate soufflé. Yeah, DCL does specialty Italian like no one else. 
 
I told the server it was my birthday, they mentioned it when I checked in but then nothing ever happened. Strange. 
 
At this point we went back to the promenade and I had a chance to pop into guest services while Matt was in the globe and Atlas and ask about the missing amenities. I was told they would be sent to my room ASAP.  Great! 
 
Then we went to Cats. 
 
Ok. So. I am a huge theater snob. I looooove broadway, I see shows all the time and try to get to NYC every 2 years or so.  I will start by saying I was very impressed in the casts talent here. Easily broadway caliber performers. the production  was a honest recreation of the broadway show and the production value was great. 
 
However, this show is so very dated. It’s slow moving, drawn out, confusing and not for the average cruiser. The costumes, while true to the original production, are sort of ridiculous. It’s not a high energy, feel good, hit you in your face, have a fun night out musical like the ones on the other oasis class ships. At one point I looked over at Matty and he was so confused and uninterested. He was a good sport and tried to enjoy it. I had never seen the show but I knew the tire at the end is suppose to float up into the air but it didn’t work leading up to a disappointing finale of Grizabella just walking off stage. I was glad I saw it but I never need to see it again. I’m hoping they will change out the show after drydock. 
 
After Cats that was pretty much it... we chilled on the stateroom balcony and went to bed as we had to get ready for Hati tomorrow! 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Edited by ashezap

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Loving this review Ashton!  It's like I'm there with ya.  I hear you about the smoked salmon and sushi.  Recently just had my first piece of sushi and it was okay.  OK enough that my wife an I signed up for the sushi making class on our next cruise.

Good job and can't wait for the next phase!

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Great review so far, very balanced on the good and the needs improvement. I feel so sad for you guys though knowing what's coming up.... 

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We were on this cruise too and so far our experiences are matching up...  we had a balcony inside overlooking Central Park and it was a great cabin.  Our room attendant was a gem and our waiter was experienced and eager to please.  I was a bit disappointed that the steam/sauna in the gym was considered an upgraded fee based item as working out and relaxing in the heat is part of my cruising habit.   I agree with the description of Cats in this review, while no theater snob, we have seen dozens of productions of all kinds and I found this one to be top notch, though limited by the thin plot of the play itself.  Still it was a frame to hang pretty much every style of song and dance and the cast was great.  We were not able to get the ice show reservations early so we still had that to look forward to..

 

Since Labadee is essentially a private port I had little interest and stayed on the ship for a light workout and a day of reading, the rest of our group went ashore.  The Park Cafe has an excellent roast beef sandwich and Central Park is actually a nicely landscaped, actual park with live plants.  I was well relaxed and having a fine time.

 

We had a fine dinner and we were all looking forward to seeing Dunn's River Falls in the morning, multiple people from Jamaica have mentioned it so we were up to go see it.  An hour bus trip was not my fave and I expected crowds, but it was a day out and in the plan.

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Just checked with the rest of our party since I am a bit unclear on the timeline...   So our first hint of a less than perfect cruise was the evening we left Labadee, that was the night we had reservations for the ice show and we arrived early to get good seats. As we tried to queue up a staff member approached us and casually mentions, oh this performance is cancelled and walked away.  As we try to figure that out another of the staff arrives to put up a sign and tells us the performance is rescheduled and our reservations are moved to the new time, then adds - if the system doesn't have you just tell them you are from the cancelled show and they'll let you in for sure.

I believe the reason given for no show was "technical difficulties"....

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2 minutes ago, Milwaukee Eight said:

Interesting 

One of the ice shows was cancelled 1/2 way through - right after the sand lady - they had technical difficulties.

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Following along. We were on the Disney Fantasy when Oasis was docked next to us in Jamaica. Curious to hear how everything was on the ship

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I'm sad to read since you had the Ultimate Dining Package that on day two you ate at the buffet and not one of the specialty restaurants. On sea days with that package going to Chops is very nice and relaxing, not usually many people in there.

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Day 3
 
Labadee
 
We slept in again because vacation is basically the only time we can do
this. And upon waking we got ready to go to the beach! When I walked out on the balcony it was really cool to hear the live tropical music and see the mountains and ocean.
 
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We made sure to put lots of sunscreen on and wear our board shorts because as our chef from Izumi said “Labadee is beautiful like heaven but Hot like hell!” LOL.  Getting off the ship was easy. No crowds no lines. I thought having the Haitian dancers at the ship was a nice touch. We had wanted to reserve beach loungers and have a relaxing beach day but they were all sold out before the cruise so we ventured off to explore a bit and then find regular chairs.
 
 Our first stop was the Artisans market. The first building here is a great place to shop where no one bothers you but the row of shops up the hill is horrible!! I’ve never been accosted by so many people. It was worse than walking through Times Square or walking through the straw market. We both mentioned to each other that we were surprised that royal lets that happen... we also seriously doubted that these are the “artisans” that make any of this stuff. The stuff is the typical things you find in guest shops or homegoods type stores. In the middle of the market is a kiosk that say “Artisans Market Survey” with stacks of surveys which leads me to believe it was put there to help keep these guys in line... it’s the only place you can stand where they wouldn’t bother you. But mysteriously all the pens had disappeared from the pen holders. Hmm, I wonder how that happened? 
 
We ended up going back to the first building and bought a few things including a hilarious adult oriented souvenir that is one of those “only in Haiti” type things. If you have been to Labadee and been shopping before, I bet you know what it is. But I will post a picture in its G rated form. 
 
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We then ventured off to the beach. I had read in a review that a great place to snorkel was along the end of adrenaline beach along the rock wall so I asked an attendant to find a spot in the shade and he did well and I tipped him $10 and he ran off without a thanks or anything... ok fine. We had a nice spot and sat for a moment while I got my snorkel gear together.
 
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Just then, the thinnest looking dog came up to us and stared at us. I could tell she was a mom. Poor thing. She walked over to our neighbors chair (who was out and about) and started drinking her alcoholic beverage! So I stopped her and poured some bottled water I had into a cup that she happily lapped up and then ran away. 
 
I was ready to snorkel and went out along the rock wall as reccomended on one of the boards here on CC. I had been told that I probably wouldn’t see much because Labadee isn’t that great for snorkeling but I actually saw a ton! There were lots of fish, big coral formations and anemone. I found several blue tangs, bright yellow fish, parrotfish etc. after about 30 to 45 min I came back to our spot and we went to lunch. The line for lunch even at around 1:15pm was super long. 
 
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We waited and when we finally made it up to the buffet we noticed that several items were swarming with fruit flies. Not just a few. I’m talking 10 to 20 flies at least swarming all over the burger buns. It really seems like the crew could be stationed at these areas shooing flies and serving instead of just letting them go. It wasn’t until later when the ship had been infected that I thought back to this moment and wondered if it could possibly have something to do with it. I reluctantly took a few things that looked to be untouched by the flies and we sat down at the pavilion. 
 
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The food wasn’t great but it was sustenance as we skipped breakfast. The ribs were super chewy and inedible to me but the burger patty and potato salad I found passable. We had another visitor who came over with sad eyes staring at us. So since I wasn’t going to eat my ribs, I shared with him.
 
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I also went back to find the momma dog who was sipping cocktails and shared a rib with her too.We walked back to the ship and sampled a labadoozie which was delicious.
 
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We were looking forward to a shower before dinner... Let’s take a moment to thank the shower head on the ship because it’s wonderful, the pressure is amazing and we never ran out of hot water which was key! 
 
We then went up to the flow rider/sports deck to watch the sail-away. And that’s when I noticed something was different. I was leaning on a railing and then got up for a moment and one of the crew immediately went to the area I was in and sterilized it. Ok. I’m glad the ship is clean! 
 
Then I noticed he was doing it to everyone in the area. Basically just walking in circles sanitizing everything anyone touched. Ok. That’s a little much but I’m still glad it’s clean. 
 
After sail away and some beautiful views we went back down to prepare for dinner. I mentioned to Matt how the people on castaway wave at you with the big Mickey gloves as you are leaving and I thought something like that would happen. I missed it but sailing away from the big mountains was plenty. 
 
Upon entering our stateroom, we saw our champagne... great! And they had placed the hang tag that included the special breakfast for the Classic   Romance Package and a voucher for a free photo. 
 
The breakfast included 
 
assorted breads, danish, cheeses (never got these) 
 
Choice of: 
-Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, hash browns and baked tomato 
-Spanish omelet with peppers and onions 
- Cinnamon French toast 
 
Choice of mimosa or Bloody Mary 
 
... more on this later... 
 
After a moment on the balcony we dressed for dinner and went down to our anniversary dinner at 150 Central Park. 
 
The food here is truly delicious as I’ve read. There are mostly hits but a few misses. 
 
The salt sampling with the bread is really cool... I just wish one of the restaurants on the ship could serve warm bread instead of room temp/cold. 
 
We started with the 150 martini which was a delicious blend of cucumber, lemon grass, basil, lemon, and smooth vodka shaken and served at the table. 
 
Matt had the Lobster Gnocchi which he claimed was alright... not exactly what he expected and the Scallops which were a bit over cooked. 
 
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I had the butternut squash soup (velvety smooth just sweet enough and very good) and the roasted beet salad (I love beets! So it was great. The yogurt poppyseed dressing threw me off a bit but I still liked it.  
 
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We then shared the hand carved tenderloin for two which was AMAZING. The best steak we had on the ship (other than Izumi Hibachi) the sauces of bordelaise and bernaise were rich and delicious and the mahogany black cod with parsnip purée which was tender buttery and delicious
 
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I should also mention our server here was world class top notch. He anticipated our needs and knew exactly what to do. The food was incredible but the service made it all memorable. 
 
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We were running a bit behind for the headliner show so we asked to have our desserts boxed up and I ran them to our room before we headed to the Opal Theatre. We sampled a few beverages along the way including the Central Park fizz in the Champagne Bar which was a concoction of vodka, amaretto, fresh mint, lemon and soda. Really delicious! 
 
Earl Turner was our headliner. He was entertaining with some great oldies but we really felt he was focusing on the 60+ crowd an awful lot with his stories and preaching of how much better things were in the old days.  Still he was mildly funny and entertaining enough. 
 
We went back to our rooms and sampled our desserts a lychee tres leches and a bourbon chocolate tart which we both thought were just ok.
 
I noticed I began to get really stuffed up and started feeling the start of a head cold. So I figured the best thing to do is sleep it off. So after a long night of good eating and drinking we went to bed. 
 
However, it was a long night for Matt who randomly started having terrible muscle cramps and Charlie horses in his sleep. He wouldn’t sleep nearly at all that night which was stressful knowing tomorrow is his 40th birthday and our excursion in Jamaica. 
 
Stay at tuned for what happens next... 
Edited by ashezap
Correct photos

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2 hours ago, MrFunInTheSun said:

I'm sad to read since you had the Ultimate Dining Package that on day two you ate at the buffet and not one of the specialty restaurants. On sea days with that package going to Chops is very nice and relaxing, not usually many people in there.

 

Yeah, we found out for some reason the specialty restaurants didn’t have a lunch menu. I swear I read somewhere that they have a different lunch menu but they were the same as dinner. We honestly weren’t hungry enough for the full menu and didn’t really want to repeat a menu twice. 

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13 hours ago, ashezap said:
Day 2 - At Sea 
 
It’s my birthday! 
 
Then we went to Cats. 
 
Ok. So. I am a huge theater snob. I looooove broadway, I see shows all the time and try to get to NYC every 2 years or so.  I will start by saying I was very impressed in the casts talent here. Easily broadway caliber performers. the production  was a honest recreation of the broadway show and the production value was great. 
 
However, this show is so very dated. It’s slow moving, drawn out, confusing and not for the average cruiser. The costumes, while true to the original production, are sort of ridiculous. It’s not a high energy, feel good, hit you in your face, have a fun night out musical like the ones on the other oasis class ships. At one point I looked over at Matty and he was so confused and uninterested. He was a good sport and tried to enjoy it. I had never seen the show but I knew the tire at the end is suppose to float up into the air but it didn’t work leading up to a disappointing finale of Grizabella just walking off stage. I was glad I saw it but I never need to see it again. I’m hoping they will change out the show after drydock. 
 
After Cats that was pretty much it... we chilled on the stateroom balcony and went to bed as we had to get ready for Hati tomorrow! 
 

 

Full disclosure, I'm the resident CC fan of CATS. 🐱  I was also a fellow passenger.  🤢

 

Tire worked on Sunday night, plus she doesn't really walk off stage, she exits from the upper level of the junkyard.  Not sure what happened to the tire, it has been broken before.  

 

As far as high energy, we all have an opinion, and I find it very high energy. I most enjoy the parts where the CATS come into the audience.  As far as the other Oasis shows, most of them make great movies, CATS, not so much. 

 

Looking forward the continuing saga, and I was just sharing an opinion, carry on

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1 hour ago, ashezap said:

 

Yeah, we found out for some reason the specialty restaurants didn’t have a lunch menu. I swear I read somewhere that they have a different lunch menu but they were the same as dinner. We honestly weren’t hungry enough for the full menu and didn’t really want to repeat a menu twice. 

I didn't think Johnny Rockets was included with the Ultimate dining package.  You got it for free the first day?

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