Lauren Dana is Shermans Travel's editorial assistant and resident social media extraordinaire.
Oasis of the Seas
The 6,699-passenger Oasis of the Seas was the largest vessel at sea when it launched in 2009. It has since been eclipsed by two other Royal Caribbean ships (Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas), but this vessel is still a mammoth sight to behold. There are seven "neighborhoods" throughout Oasis, including a bustling Boardwalk with a classic carousel and a Central Park filled with over 12,000 plants and upscale boutiques that are designed to mirror New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue.
On its 10th anniversary in 2019, Oasis of the Seas underwent a $165 million refurbishment. Enhancements include the addition of 59 staterooms (including two luxury Ultimate Panoramic Suites), an updated adults-only area (The Solarium), plus new restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, and more. Oasis currently sails from Miami to the Caribbean (the vessel also visits Labadee, the cruise line’s private island in Haiti); however, in May 2020, the ship will reposition to Cape Liberty, NJ to cruise Florida and the Bahamas (including Royal Caribbean’s CocoCay island).
What We Love
Nonstop Action: It’s impossible to be bored while onboard (pun intended). Watch synchronized swimming shows at the AquaTheater, including its newest, Aqua80, which was added after the 2019 refurbishment. Also, be sure to check out “Frozen In Time,” a figure skating show based on well-known fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen. Thrill-seekers will love the FlowRider surf simulator, the zip line, The Perfect Storm waterslide, and the 43-foot-high rock-climbing walls. The renovation also added the 10-story Ultimate Abyss dry slide. Kids will love the reimagined Adventure Ocean, while teens will gravitate towards the Social298 lounge. Also new is a karaoke bar, a laser tag arena, and space-themed escape room called “Mission Control Apollo 18.”
Inclusiveness: Royal Caribbean is the first certified autism-friendly cruise line. Services such as priority boarding, sensory-related toys, onboard programs, and special meals are available free of charge for guests of all ages who request them.
Best Known For
Family-Friendly Fun: Whether you’re looking to zip down the waterslides, conquer the Ultimate Abyss, lounge on the renovated pool deck, or play around with your little one at Splashaway Bay (new), there is so much to see, do, and explore onboard this megaship. If you need a pool break, head to the Boardwalk pavilion on deck six – complete with a merry-go-round, candy shop, arcade games, and the brand-new Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade – or Central Park on deck eight for an array of shopping and dining options.
Dining Diversity: It's hard not to spend extra for meals on board, from the brightly colored candy at Sugar Beach to the just-added Portside BBQ restaurant (the line’s first barbecue concept), to the classic prix-fixe menu at Giovanni’s Table. There's also Izumi, the cruise line’s hibachi and Japanese dining concept. The complimentary restaurants also provide plenty of options. El Loco Fresh is new to Oasis and serves up classic Mexican eats (tacos, quesadillas, burritos) right by the pool. Head to Park Café in Central Park for New York-inspired breakfast staples like bagels and lox. Boardwalk Dog House is the place to go for hotdogs, while Sorrento’s serves up fresh pizza. The Main Dining Room is a classic favorite if you’re looking for an elevated dining experience (be sure to try the escargot here). For dinner, pop into Solarium Bistro, which offers buffet-style appetizers and desserts plus an array of made-to-order Mediterranean-inspired entrees. Tip: While Johnny Rockets is a specialty restaurant, they do offer free breakfast.
Best Bars at Sea: New, post-renovation additions include the robot-controlled Bionic Bar and the poolside Lime & Coconut Bar. Whether you’re a music junkie (visit Music Hall) or a lover of arcade games (head straight to Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade), there’s a bar on board for everyone. Honorable mentions: Rising Tide (which slowly ascends three stories up), Globe & Atlas (a classic English pub with great drinks and live music in the evenings), and the nautical-themed Schooner Bar.
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Who It's Best For
Cruisers on the Go: There is constant activity on Oasis of the Seas, which appeals to families, millennials, and Generation Xers who play hard. Whether you want to take your shot at winning in the casino or ride the carousel at the Boardwalk pavilion, there’s always something to do. However, if you’re looking to lounge by the pool and enjoy some peace and quiet time, head to the adults-only Solarium. Otherwise, expect tons of action-packed fun and activities; plus tons of noise. Each evening, passengers can choose from several entertainment offerings. Expect dance parties, silent discos, karaoke contests, game shows, trivia competitions, live music, performances, and more – all complimentary, of course.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Line Up: Wait times for the surf simulators and zip line can seem endless. Grab a drink or a snack before you go to make waiting in line less painful. Tip: Arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Watch Your Bill: About one-half of the 20-plus onboard restaurants are considered specialty dining. It’s certainly tempting to splurge on these dining options – which makes it easier to spend more money than you originally planned.
Spa and Gym Extras: While the gym is free to use, classes and workshops are not. And as on most cruises, staffers are trained to hawk products and add-ons in the spa.
Chanize Thorpe is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides and Uptown.
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Oasis of the Seas at a Glance
- Line: Royal Caribbean
- Class: Oasis
- Number of Passengers: 6
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 2009
- Refurbish Date: 2019