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ashezap

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

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Thank you so much for your review.  You are an articulate writer.  I had never heard of Xcaret before and now after some research,  we would like to go there.

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Great review.   Loved your frankness and foodie (which I am not) perspective.   Sorry you weren't well on the trip but glad you didn't get the worst of it.   Please follow up with details of the refund process.    I'm actually quite impressed with how RCL handled the whole situation.  I hope you, in your first person perspective, are as well.

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1 hour ago, Trinam2 said:

Thanks for the review. Quick question, I haven’t heard of the couples bath but I’m intrigued. Did you book onboard? Was it worth it? Tia

 

I did book it onboard and it was absolutely worth it for like $80 total for both of us. It was a completely private room. The use a kelp powder in the water that smells nice and there is low lightning inside. The only thing is the water temperature could have been a bit warmer but it was fine. It was especially worth it because the public hot tubs were so crowded and we didn’t want to catch anything so a private bath was perfect for us. It was one of the only times we got to truly relax! They also offered a package on embarkation day for $280 which included this bath, a mud scrub and steam from private experience for one hour and the thermal suite for the week. I would have done it if the thermal suite wasn’t so small. 

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15 minutes ago, zdad59 said:

Great review.   Loved your frankness and foodie (which I am not) perspective.   Sorry you weren't well on the trip but glad you didn't get the worst of it.   Please follow up with details of the refund process.    I'm actually quite impressed with how RCL handled the whole situation.  I hope you, in your first person perspective, are as well.

 

Thank you! I really enjoy writing reviews like this. We were only told that the refund would be coming in the next two weeks so I’m not exactly sure what it will be or what will happen. Either way, I’m definitely happy with how they are handling it, all things considered. So glad you enjoyed reading! I’ll post an update once I hear something. 

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24 minutes ago, ashezap said:

 

I did book it onboard and it was absolutely worth it for like $80 total for both of us. It was a completely private room. The use a kelp powder in the water that smells nice and there is low lightning inside. The only thing is the water temperature could have been a bit warmer but it was fine. It was especially worth it because the public hot tubs were so crowded and we didn’t want to catch anything so a private bath was perfect for us. It was one of the only times we got to truly relax! They also offered a package on embarkation day for $280 which included this bath, a mud scrub and steam from private experience for one hour and the thermal suite for the week. I would have done it if the thermal suite wasn’t so small. 

Thanks so much for the info! I think we are gonna try it out.

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13 hours ago, MrFunInTheSun said:

 

Here they are, will come in handy for your replacement cruise. 😀

 

Giovannis lunch menu

 

22B4CFDA-FF25-46F7-A443-8040311C13F2_zps

 

Chops lunch menu

 

1DA63E88-D453-45FD-AD1E-AC7E9BC98FAF_zps

This was not the menu for Giovanni's Lunch on this cruise. We ate lunch twice and the menu was more than a one pager. Included several different salads, a plethora of pasta selections,  a Giovanni's Burger plus more extensive dessert selections. and the antipasti meat/cheese board.

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Great review my fellow Georgian! (Okay, post Georgian, lol. Still counts!) So they don’t refund your packages? While i was reading your first couple days, I nodded and read out loud to my husband about the flies on the food. When hearing the news in the media about a supposed intestinal virus, my immediate thought was “I wonder if some the food at the cookout could have had bacteria and that’s what caused the outbreak.” Then you mentioned the cookout and possible contamination. I realize it’s supposed to be easy to catch viruses on a cruise but for it to spread that quickly after just leaving Labadee, one would have to wonder. All it takes is one large container that could serve about 300 having bacteria in it. I’m sure we will never know for sure. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Wonderful write-up!!! 👏🏼👏🏼

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11 minutes ago, SAHMof3 said:

Great review my fellow Georgian! (Okay, post Georgian, lol. Still counts!) So they don’t refund your packages? While i was reading your first couple days, I nodded and read out loud to my husband about the flies on the food. When hearing the news in the media about a supposed intestinal virus, my immediate thought was “I wonder if some the food at the cookout could have had bacteria and that’s what caused the outbreak.” Then you mentioned the cookout and possible contamination. I realize it’s supposed to be easy to catch viruses on a cruise but for it to spread that quickly after just leaving Labadee, one would have to wonder. All it takes is one large container that could serve about 300 having bacteria in it. I’m sure we will never know for sure. 🤷🏼‍♀️ Wonderful write-up!!! 👏🏼👏🏼

 Yup!! I was thinking the exact same thing. It really grossed me out and I was about to take a picture and thought... no that’s too gross and then I’ll look like one of “those” people. Lol... but here’s to the next vacation! Hopefully much better! 

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agreed that this was a very comprehensive review of the Oasis and a unique cruise.

After reading the media reports who found people who thought the experience of the outbreak was nightmarish I was really curious where this critique would go.    I'd say my experience matches, and this review is spot on.  Aside from the missed ports (we've missed ports for weather so...) the outbreak experience was disconcerting but really just one of the risks here.  I'll add that once we knew it was happening, every twinge hiccup and passing cramp made us worry "oh my is it starting?" but after my wife's food poisoning, none of us had any impact.  The food poisoning will make me re-think ever eating at the private beaches again - we will see.

 

There is not much to add to such a comprehensive account here but I'll note that I did find the lines, kids, and some offerings of the huge ship less attractive than my experience on smaller ships.  On arrival staff warned us AWAY from the Windjammer several times but the alternatives were crowded too.  In the Windjammer we once had to wait to be allowed inside during a peak - though that did have the advantage of being given a table when we were allowed in (better than the alternative of sending scouts around to find and camp on a table while people go to the buffet in shifts).  The idea of making show reservations was also odd, but made sense I guess.  The phone app was really bad though, Royal might consider new IT people... (seriously) it was hard to use and clearly hard for Royal to maintain when things change...  I heard people in line trying to figure out who really had a reservation and what time (of three choices they found) might a show actually be running...

The counter to the crowds is the variety and quality of the entertainment.   Since I cannot remember the last time I saw an "Olympic" caliber diver or figure skater up close I found both the diving show and skating show very entertaining.  Yes some dives over-rotated and one skater caught an edge and fell - but WOW the pool and ice were postage stamps and I was sitting up close.  Same for the production of Cats... we sat fourth row and loved the up close (not so keen on the play itself).  As a last example of "tastes vary" we thought the arial show was great but the vocals weak - not bad singers but kind of uninspired versions of songs we love in the original... for one Phil Collins song I was captivated by the acrobat and when he took bow and the song continued I found myself wondering why they were still singing (like I said, just my opinion).

 

On the whole though the Oasis is a "must try" due to Central Park and the inner balcony, though sometimes noisy, is a totally unique cruise experience.  We went to sleep and awoke with absolutely NO indication we were at sea.  Despite the virus outbreak, I cannot wait to do it again.

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Ashezap -- Great review - thanks for sharing! Hope your next cruise is stress free!

Edited by nancronin

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16 minutes ago, davelinde said:

agreed that this was a very comprehensive review of the Oasis and a unique cruise.

After reading the media reports who found people who thought the experience of the outbreak was nightmarish I was really curious where this critique would go.    I'd say my experience matches, and this review is spot on.  Aside from the missed ports (we've missed ports for weather so...) the outbreak experience was disconcerting but really just one of the risks here.  I'll add that once we knew it was happening, every twinge hiccup and passing cramp made us worry "oh my is it starting?" but after my wife's food poisoning, none of us had any impact.  The food poisoning will make me re-think ever eating at the private beaches again - we will see.

 

There is not much to add to such a comprehensive account here but I'll note that I did find the lines, kids, and some offerings of the huge ship less attractive than my experience on smaller ships.  On arrival staff warned us AWAY from the Windjammer several times but the alternatives were crowded too.  In the Windjammer we once had to wait to be allowed inside during a peak - though that did have the advantage of being given a table when we were allowed in (better than the alternative of sending scouts around to find and camp on a table while people go to the buffet in shifts).  The idea of making show reservations was also odd, but made sense I guess.  The phone app was really bad though, Royal might consider new IT people... (seriously) it was hard to use and clearly hard for Royal to maintain when things change...  I heard people in line trying to figure out who really had a reservation and what time (of three choices they found) might a show actually be running...

The counter to the crowds is the variety and quality of the entertainment.   Since I cannot remember the last time I saw an "Olympic" caliber diver or figure skater up close I found both the diving show and skating show very entertaining.  Yes some dives over-rotated and one skater caught an edge and fell - but WOW the pool and ice were postage stamps and I was sitting up close.  Same for the production of Cats... we sat fourth row and loved the up close (not so keen on the play itself).  As a last example of "tastes vary" we thought the arial show was great but the vocals weak - not bad singers but kind of uninspired versions of songs we love in the original... for one Phil Collins song I was captivated by the acrobat and when he took bow and the song continued I found myself wondering why they were still singing (like I said, just my opinion).

 

On the whole though the Oasis is a "must try" due to Central Park and the inner balcony, though sometimes noisy, is a totally unique cruise experience.  We went to sleep and awoke with absolutely NO indication we were at sea.  Despite the virus outbreak, I cannot wait to do it again.

So you were also on this cruise? Your wife got the poisoning? And you guys did not. See, had it been Nurovirus, you’d more than likely have it pretty soon after exposure being as close as you were. It can incubate up to about five days. I teach medical training classes and Blood-borne Pathogens is a class I teach and we discuss food born illnesses versus viruses. This sounds more like bacterial food than a virus.  Of course only extensive testing could tell for sure. 

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27 minutes ago, SAHMof3 said:

 I nodded and read out loud to my husband about the flies on the food. When hearing the news in the media about a supposed intestinal virus, my immediate thought was “I wonder if some the food at the cookout could have had bacteria and that’s what caused the outbreak.” Then you mentioned the cookout and possible contamination. I realize it’s supposed to be easy to catch viruses on a cruise but for it to spread that quickly after just leaving Labadee, one would have to wonder. All it takes is one large container that could serve about 300 having bacteria in it. I’m sure we will never know for sure. 

 

It will be interesting to see if the CDC confirms norovirus or not.
I was not on shore in Labadee but some in our party noted not just the flies but a few other food handling risks including low temps in serving trays, bare hands, and repeatedly topping off trays (leaving very old food in the bottom over time).  I'm no food handling expert though...  I can only assume Royal lost enough revenue and gained enough bad publicity to be all over figuring this out to the extent it is preventable.  Since the number of staff infected was low they must have at least one data point to indicate if those staff went ashore in Haiti and ate there... 

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1 minute ago, SAHMof3 said:

So you were also on this cruise? Your wife got the poisoning? And you guys did not. See, had it been Nurovirus, you’d more than likely have it pretty soon after exposure being as close as you were. It can incubate up to about five days. I teach medical training classes and Blood-borne Pathogens is a class I teach and we discuss food born illnesses versus viruses. This sounds more like bacterial food than a virus.  Of course only extensive testing could tell for sure. 

 

Yes I was in a party of 4, in two cabins on this cruise - my wife got sick and we did not.

I've got a bunch of friends who are med students so I quizzed them on this and they confirmed that Norovirus is highly communicable while the food borne bacteria infections are not.  For my wife with the onset of symptoms (~10 hours assuming food in Haiti was the source) duration of symptoms (~8 hours) and extent of symptoms (vomiting only) our unprofessional opinion was food borne...   However we heard anecdotes of people with symptoms for 48 hours, full range if GI distress and acute enough dehydration to indicate IV fluid replacement...  though age and general health could play a role.  My wife and I are <60 and in excellent health.

 

From looking at the CDC web site, Royal was required to collect samples and there will be some testing done and reported.  It is certainly possible that they were hit with both a virus and a food poisoning event that combined made the numbers large.  I also wonder if Jamaican authorities are more critical of inbound illness from Haiti than if the ship had come direct from another port?
 

For sure Royal knew something after leaving Haiti because we all got letters in the cabin the next morning.  The rumor the day we were booted from Jamaica was that 2% infection was threshold trigger for concern that day though even still the claim was being denied admission at the port was highly unusual.  The next day the captain sounded dismayed to report the number infected was still rising... so my guess was they passed 4% then.   The CDC report for the numbers on returning were over 6%

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First of all you both look extremly young.   Not old enough to be married 2 years.   Second the consecutive dates thing is too cool.  

 

Thank you so much for the good review.  You gave me a lot of information.  We have a Oasis booked and I am leery of it.  I am not a crowd or buffet person anyway.  But hubs wants to do it.   Independence is my favorite class ship.   I am surprised at the condition of the ship you showed. Such a shame how quickly it has detoriated, but a lot of people i guess use it.

 

We are big Disney World people.      Not for the parks so much as for the food.  Some great restaurants!   After your review I am thinking the dining Package may be a good idea.   We will be there for my January birthday next year.   maybe an appropriate gift to myself.   you really sold it 

 

We always stay on the ship and enjoy the peace when in Labadee.  It is enjoyable  when others in port.   We walked away from the food, couldnt do it with the conditions.    

 

I am sorry you missed your ports.  Our first cruise was Empress out of Ft. Lauderdale.  in the middle of the first night  there was a big bump.   the propellor fell off the ship.   RC said it was an act of God , no compensation  and we would be skipping ports and stayed in Key West  then coco cay.    we for some reason were given a 500.00 obc,   i bought a sweet diamond necklace and tell everyone Captain Johnny gave it to me.

 

As far as the woman staring at you in the elevator.   My Atlanta born dad told me when i was about 11 and a man was freaking me out staring at me.   My dad told me to look him in the eye count to 10 and smile real big.   Ha ha.  i still do it to this day.  freaks them out!

 

Thanks again for info and Happy Birthdays and Anniversary

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6 minutes ago, davelinde said:

 

Yes I was in a party of 4, in two cabins on this cruise - my wife got sick and we did not.

I've got a bunch of friends who are med students so I quizzed them on this and they confirmed that Norovirus is highly communicable while the food borne bacteria infections are not.  For my wife with the onset of symptoms (~10 hours assuming food in Haiti was the source) duration of symptoms (~8 hours) and extent of symptoms (vomiting only) our unprofessional opinion was food borne...   However we heard anecdotes of people with symptoms for 48 hours, full range if GI distress and acute enough dehydration to indicate IV fluid replacement...  though age and general health could play a role.  My wife and I are <60 and in excellent health.

 

From looking at the CDC web site, Royal was required to collect samples and there will be some testing done and reported.  It is certainly possible that they were hit with both a virus and a food poisoning event that combined made the numbers large.  I also wonder if Jamaican authorities are more critical of inbound illness from Haiti than if the ship had come direct from another port?
 

For sure Royal knew something after leaving Haiti because we all got letters in the cabin the next morning.  The rumor the day we were booted from Jamaica was that 2% infection was threshold trigger for concern that day though even still the claim was being denied admission at the port was highly unusual.  The next day the captain sounded dismayed to report the number infected was still rising... so my guess was they passed 4% then.   The CDC report for the numbers on returning were over 6%

 

I was thinking along these lines (food poisoning + virus) as well.  I was in a party of three, and my husband was sick the evening after we left Labadee.  His symptoms were sudden and subsided in less than 12 hours although he was exhausted the next day or so.  My daughter and I were in the cabin with him and we did not get sick.  What is notable is that my daughter is a vegetarian and I am a pescetarian - in Labadee we ate very little and no meat or fish -- her because she didn't see much she liked (I think rice was the extent of her food there) and me because I didn't like many of the choices and I was concerned about the food temperature.  Neither of us ate anything there without utensils (no finger foods), and we did both use the hand sanitizer.  Hubby used hand sanitizer, but ate some items without utensils.  

 

My husband also mentioned how they had hand sanitizer set up by the buffet on Labadee, but no one was using it. 

 

I got my first refund today - I had a credit balance on my onboard account after all charges and that amount was refunded - that refund included the one missed day, plus all port charges.  I believe the remaining 6 days (except for the port charges) will be coming in a couple of weeks they said.  They also provided a $200 allowance for those of us who had to book a hotel, we have to file a claim for that as we booked a Disney hotel for the unexpected night on land.

 

Royal Caribbean did a fabulous job handling this, the only thing I could even possibly fault them for was not being quite aggressive enough with pushing handwashing, etc... early in the cruise, and the food handling in Labadee. I would hate to be an accountant at their home office having to figure out all the refunds.   The crew was wonderful, but obviously stressed.  Our stateroom attendant told me (when I directly asked) they all have to give up their normal time off in Port Canaveral to work on sanitizing the ship - and that is not a simple task.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, monkeyinhat said:

First of all you both look extremly young.   Not old enough to be married 2 years.   Second the consecutive dates thing is too cool.  

 

Thank you so much for the good review.  You gave me a lot of information.  We have a Oasis booked and I am leery of it.  I am not a crowd or buffet person anyway.  But hubs wants to do it.   Independence is my favorite class ship.   I am surprised at the condition of the ship you showed. Such a shame how quickly it has detoriated, but a lot of people i guess use it.

 

We are big Disney World people.      Not for the parks so much as for the food.  Some great restaurants!   After your review I am thinking the dining Package may be a good idea.   We will be there for my January birthday next year.   maybe an appropriate gift to myself.   you really sold it 

 

We always stay on the ship and enjoy the peace when in Labadee.  It is enjoyable  when others in port.   We walked away from the food, couldnt do it with the conditions.    

 

I am sorry you missed your ports.  Our first cruise was Empress out of Ft. Lauderdale.  in the middle of the first night  there was a big bump.   the propellor fell off the ship.   RC said it was an act of God , no compensation  and we would be skipping ports and stayed in Key West  then coco cay.    we for some reason were given a 500.00 obc,   i bought a sweet diamond necklace and tell everyone Captain Johnny gave it to me.

 

As far as the woman staring at you in the elevator.   My Atlanta born dad told me when i was about 11 and a man was freaking me out staring at me.   My dad told me to look him in the eye count to 10 and smile real big.   Ha ha.  i still do it to this day.  freaks them out!

 

Thanks again for info and Happy Birthdays and Anniversary

I just got off the Grandeur of the Seas and we had a 3 night dining package. We used it to try all 3 specialty venues and even went to Izumi another time (4/9 nights in specialty venues) and DH said he wished we got the full dining package and went every night to specialty places. They were soooo much better than the MDR (and buffet). I say this as another Disney dining fan (we are DVC and go to the World 3 times a year and a big focus for us is the dining...love food and wine too). 

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8 hours ago, davelinde said:

 

You make a good point.  My wife just saw the one bartender react and we were only guessing about what could cause the reaction.  To be clear, our waiter, headwaiter and room attendant all went out of their way to apologize to us for OUR inconvenience and none of them gave any indication of the impact on them personally (tips or otherwise).  Although the 7th day tip was refunded we trued that up (and then a little more) for our staff.

 

The room attendant did  tell us (when asked) that this has happened to her before, but only in her prior Pacific routes and that she has never seen a ship denied a port.  She also noted that if it impacts too many crew there are more problems, eg that in addition to the captain taking steps to minimize passenger impact (for the obvious reason) he is also responsible for crew and must keep them healthy (for the less obvious secondary impacts there).  Per the CDC report, only 17 crew (of 2150+) were impacted.  Also because they brought on more crew I never saw anything short staffed.

 

For sure as we left it looked like a lot of people were doing a lot of work (including entertainers running food service), so I can see how a bartender might well understand that he was about to put in a terrible long weekend cleaning...  Thanks for pointing that out.

Current CDC report lists: Crew: 31 of 2,169 (1.45%). Passengers who reported being sick: 561 of 6,285 (8.91%). 

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Will we see the results of the CDC testing? I live in the same town as the CDC headquarters. Just wondering if they’ll report the results on the news. If anyone hears anything, please report here on CC! 

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1 hour ago, joyful1nh said:

 

I was thinking along these lines (food poisoning + virus) as well.  I was in a party of three, and my husband was sick the evening after we left Labadee.  His symptoms were sudden and subsided in less than 12 hours although he was exhausted the next day or so.  My daughter and I were in the cabin with him and we did not get sick.  What is notable is that my daughter is a vegetarian and I am a pescetarian - in Labadee we ate very little and no meat or fish -- her because she didn't see much she liked (I think rice was the extent of her food there) and me because I didn't like many of the choices and I was concerned about the food temperature.  Neither of us ate anything there without utensils (no finger foods), and we did both use the hand sanitizer.  Hubby used hand sanitizer, but ate some items without utensils.  

 

My husband also mentioned how they had hand sanitizer set up by the buffet on Labadee, but no one was using it. 

 

I got my first refund today - I had a credit balance on my onboard account after all charges and that amount was refunded - that refund included the one missed day, plus all port charges.  I believe the remaining 6 days (except for the port charges) will be coming in a couple of weeks they said.  They also provided a $200 allowance for those of us who had to book a hotel, we have to file a claim for that as we booked a Disney hotel for the unexpected night on land.

 

Royal Caribbean did a fabulous job handling this, the only thing I could even possibly fault them for was not being quite aggressive enough with pushing handwashing, etc... early in the cruise, and the food handling in Labadee. I would hate to be an accountant at their home office having to figure out all the refunds.   The crew was wonderful, but obviously stressed.  Our stateroom attendant told me (when I directly asked) they all have to give up their normal time off in Port Canaveral to work on sanitizing the ship - and that is not a simple task.  

 

 

Only a small percentage each week get time off in Pt Canaveral.  Most folks needed for turn around.  I can see if you waited three months for your turn that would be rough.

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Very interesting review.  I was curious about what happenened on this cruise and how everything was handled.   You have written a well balanced review of the positives and what needs work and improvements on this ship.   I hope you make it back to your missed ports in the future and have a wonderful experience there.   

 

Wishing you you well and safe travels,

Barbara

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Ashton, I'm very curious about your private hot tub time. This sounds amazing. Do you have pics of this? Exactly what was included. 

And heres the big one, the public hot tubs are so full of chemicals. Burn your eyes, was the private one one less chemicals

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Thanks for your nice review.  And thank you for not dragging it out or using cutesy phrases for weeks and weeks.   I find it impossible to read those types of reviews and rarely continue after the first or second day.

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