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Non-Vegas Trip Report--7 day cruise on the Oasis of the Seas

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Casino Hotels' started by IowaRyan, Jul 8, 2012.

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  1. IowaRyan

    IowaRyan Low-Roller

    Jan 2, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    While we all love Vegas every so often other trips beckon, since I know at least some of my fellow board members like cruising I offer this short trip report.

    Pre-Cruise details

    I, my wife Carrie, our son Mitch, and our son Tyler and his fiancée Molly, flew out the day before from Des Moines to Ft. Lauderdale on American with the obligatory layover in Dallas. The flights themselves were relatively smooth and hassle free. For the first time in memory we had connecting gates reasonably close to each other with ample time to go from one to the other.

    We stayed at the Rodeway Inn & Suites Airport/Cruise Port in Ft. Lauderdale. For those in a hurry I’ll offer that this place is OK for a one night stay before a cruise; however, this place is worth a few lines of copy so bear with me. The hotel itself is a classic ‘70’s style of motel, meaning most of the rooms are on the ground level and are accessible from the parking lot. In addition to the rooms there is a small restaurant/sports bar which serves passable food; there is a small pool with a collection of dingy chairs and tables, a breakfast area where you can have complimentary breakfast, a kiosk for a small local car rental agency and a gift shop.

    The whole place is somewhat dated and just a little “off.” For instance, the kitchen for the bar/restaurant is across the hall from the actual seating area—this results in waiters bringing food in through the front door of the bar, the same door customers are walking in and out of. The breakfast area is arranged in a rather haphazard fashion which results in people tripping over each other while trying to get to whatever food items may interest them. While the breakfast is complimentary there are numerous sign around the area urging you to tip the attendants.

    The room itself was OK. There was some mold on the ceiling of our room which almost made my wife insist on moving rooms at Midnight. I told her I was supremely confident that it was not toxic black mode, and that we’ve stayed in worse. Not surprisingly we walked out of the room the next morning without any ill effects.

    What really makes the place memorable though is the manager—Izzy. We met Izzy while we were having a late lunch after checking in. He asked up which cruise we were going on, and then gave us a brief rundown of the ship, indicating it was one of his favorites. He indicated he has been on over 50 cruises and was a Royal Caribbean Platinum member. After taking the cruise I must admit I found most of his observations of the ship to be spot on and the tips he offered helpful. He asked us if we were planning on taking the complimentary shuttle to the Cruise port the next morning, when we indicated we were he started to try to up sell us on the “early shuttle” which cost $2 per person.

    When I asked him why we would do this he indicated we would be able to board the ship earlier than other passengers—he smugly said with a straight face that because we were staying at his hotel we would been given special boarding privileges. I sat there, mildly amused at this outright and completely preposterous lie, and told him we’d think about it. We ended up taking the early shuttle just because I thought the cruise terminal would be more comfortable than the lobby of the hotel. It was a good investment of $10 even though the VIP treatment Izzy promised never materialized. Overall Izzy was more interesting than annoying, he did seem genuinely interested in making our short stay enjoyable, but was not above trying to make an extra buck as well. The boarding process was smooth and uneventful and we were on board, but not able to go to our stateroom, by 11 am.

    The Ship Itself

    The Oasis of the Seas, along with its sister ship, Allure of the Seas, is the largest cruise ship in the world. It has the requisite shopping mall, numerous bars of various themes, a large pool area, including an area dedicated to families, a large main dining area, a nice spa with a large gym with plenty of machines and a passable amount of free weights, and an adults only Solarium. It has a small zip line, along with the obligatory rock climbing walls and the “Flow rider” pool. It also had an ice skating rink, a library/card room, and other attractions that don’t spring to mind.

    Two areas of particular interest were the Boardwalk area which had a free Carousel for the kids, and a Donut shop. It had several retail shops aimed at kids or their parents plus Johnny Rockets and a Seafood restaurant where you eat for a nominal fee. It also had an area dubbed “Central Park” which was quite nice and served as the area for all the premium restaurants. It also had a free deli that offered delicious shaved roast beef sandwiches, Panini sandwiches, and other deli fare. Lastly, of perhaps particular important to this Forum, a small casino that offered horrible odds on every game—any desire I had to play craps was squashed when I saw they offered single odds. The Oasis was populated by over 6,000 paying passengers, a number it handled surprisingly well. Overall it was nice enough ship, but my personal bias is for a slightly smaller ship with fewer passengers.

    The Staff and Food

    The last time we cruised with RCL I was disappointed by the staff and the food, in both respects they have improved somewhat. All the staff we had contact were pleasant and professional. Our room was always cleaned early; our waiter and assistant waiters were true gems.
    The food varied from OK to pretty good. The daily selection was broad enough to offer someone for everyone and I got to try a few things I generally don’t have at home (peach soup). Hardcore foodies would be unimpressed at best, and on some nights disappointed, but overall it met the fairly modest expectations I had. We chose not to eat in any of the premium restaurants.

    The Ports of Call/Shore Excursions

    The Ship stopped in Labadee, Haiti, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico. In Labadee RCL has a private island where you can go zip-lining, ride a roller coaster and do other shore excursions. The highlight of the stop was the private beach and barbeque offered on shore. The zip lining was fun; the kids also went jet skiing which they liked although they chafed at the requirement of “following the leader.” For someone who’s never jet skied before it’s probably worth the money, for anyone who’s jet skied before it’s horribly overpriced considering the time you get ($90 for 30 minutes) and the restrictions on what you get to do—who wants to just run in a straight line anyway?

    In Jamaica the boys and Carrie went to Dunn’s River Falls while Molly and I played golf at Cinnamon Hill Golf Course. I’ve climbed Dunn’s River Fall 3x, for those who have not done it it’s definitely worth the trip once, maybe twice. After climbing it three times I passed. Cinnamon Hill Golf course is a very nice golf course and offered a playable yet challenging experience.
    In Cozumel my wife and I chose to just wander around the shopping area while the kids went on a Segway tour and then snorkeling off the beach. They said they had a good time. Carrie and have been to Cozumel several times and just could get excited about another snorkeling excursion or any of the other offerings.

    In summary, everyone had a nice time, but the next time I go on a cruise it’ll be in the Mediterranean. I saw the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá three cruises prior, I’d like to see some Greek or Roman ruins next time. :peace:
  2. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

    Jul 29, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks! I always wondered what the Oasis would be like. I love a library on a ship--what a combo. lol. The ice skating rink sounds exotic. haha....One day I want to do the world tour type of cruise. One day.
  3. LucyR.

    LucyR. VIP Whale

    Feb 17, 2012
    Los Angeles,CA.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I love to cruise too...

    I am a VIP on Carnival Cruiseline. I like that cruiseline the best for single me because there are lots of activities day and night.

    I will be cruising again on the old Carnival Inspiration ship for Halloween.
    I am looking foreward to cruising 4 nights to Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.

    Thank you for your cruise report. I don't like those super large ships.
    I prefer the mid-size ships.

    I prefer to stay at the Mariott Hotels in Florida before a cruise.

    I stayed at the Hampton Inn one time and it was real nice.

    The hotel you stayed at seems to be a lousy hotel to stay at. I would never stay there even if it was free.

    I am real happy that your whole family members had a wonderful time.
    I wish I could invite the whole family to cruise with me but I don't like the cruise rules that if someone changes their mind.... I don't get the deposit
    back because it is saved for a future cruise for that person who may never go on a cruise.
    I am starting to lose interest in cruising because of all the rules. Plus, I have to pay extra because I cruise solo and they charge double for just solo me.

    It was fun reading your cruise ship report. Thank you, Lucy
  4. BCguy

    BCguy Low-Roller

    Jun 29, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Enjoyed reading that.
    We cruised on the Oasis last October although we did the Eastern itinerary. Your description of the ship was spot on. We had a great time despite the hordes of people on board. I think we might try the Allure next year and do the Western route which you did. Glad you had a good time.
  5. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

    Apr 23, 2009
    Calgary , Alberta , Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report .....I'd love to do a Mediterrean cruise too one day
    I've cruised once .....Feb 2003 via Carnival
    Tampa to Grand Cayman, to Cozumel , to New Orleans back to Tampa on the Inspiration also

    For a first time cruise , I had a wonderful time ..... and would do it again !
  6. Its Only Money

    Its Only Money VIP Whale

    Oct 7, 2007
    Looking for a hot craps table.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Very nice timing on the post. I am debating the Oasis for the Eastern next June. Thanks for the write up.
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