It’s early Sunday morning and we just disembarked the ship. Overall the process was smooth and efficient. Kudos to Royal Caribbean for mastering this process in a positive and expeditious manner.
Looking back at the week on board, I see many positives and a few drawbacks to consider when selecting Royal’s Oasis class of ships.
World-class Entertainment – no one else has it. One of the benefits of the ship size is the space dedicated to entertainment. From the main theatre (Amber theatre on Allure) to the ice rink and the Aqua theatre out back, this vessel is tailor-made to impress.
(Blue Planet show in the Amber theatre)
Dining venues overall are amazing and we especially enjoyed and recommend the upgrade options at Chops Grill and Park 150 as well as the Chef’s Table (read my previous blog with menu details).
While we didn’t test the Japanese place Izumi, we heard lots of rave reviews from other guests and I will take their word for it
Our favorite spots were the Solarium Cafe On deck 15 which offered a peaceful atmosphere without kids for breakfast and lunch as well as the Park Cafe on deck 8 which has lovely salads and paninis all day long.
Staterooms – we had a balcony stateroom which was spacious and well thought out. It was always quiet amd the stateroom attendant was exceptional. There is no bad cabin on this ship – even the inside rooms were well designed and equipped.
Deckchairs – With big ship size come more guests – 6400 in this case which makes securing a deck chair on sea days impossible. Add to this the inconsistently enforced rules and it turns into a mess. We managed only once to get 2 chairs and that was due to a mid-day rain shower. The crew states no saving of chairs but they don’t enforce it so tons of empty chairs are “held” for friends that never show up.
Children – Our sailing only had 800 children onboard which is low from what the crew told us, yet you run into kids everywhere all the way till 1AM curfew. Crying and screaming children in an 18 amd over Broadway show are not fun – RCCL could do a better job monitoring this. I am willing to risk being called a Scrooge as it is not the kids fault, rather today’s parenting that has gone crazy. I cannot recall ever having been allowed to stay up till 1AM except for New Years.
Windjammer buffet dining and American Icon main dining room are also affected by the passenger count. It is nearly impossible to get seats and there are always lines of 15 to 20 minutes average to get in.
Sabor – is the upgrade Mexican place on the Boardwalk where we had dinner one night. The place was almost always empty and while the surcharge of $20 was reasonable, the concept is not really working. Both Jerry and I have local Mexican places that serve better, more authentic food for less.
Our experience began with the guacamole which Jerry had to doctor up before it had any flavor. We noticed the guests next to us (note that only 6 out of the over 20 tables were occupied) did the same before digging in.
We continued with ceviche amd calamari which were great but the portions were so huge, we were full already before the main courses arrived. We would not return and definitely not recommend it.
Suggestion: Turn it into an a la Carte Taco Bar with chips and salsa and it would be more crowded.
On the positive side, the service was attentive and the drinks were stiff as we like them.
This cruise is perfect for families and group events like birthdays and anniversaries as every one finds something to do and there are plenty of large tables for communal dinning.
Travelers seeking peace and occasional rest in the sun on deck are better served on smaller Royal ships like the Radiance class or with a Celebrity or Azamara Club Cruise.
I hope you enjoyed my reporting along the way. Please share your thoughts and experiences with me on the blog or Facebook.
Till my next adventure in March to Hawaii, signing off. Cheers!