This past week, my family went on a Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Oasis of the Seas. It is the largest cruise ship on the ocean. And when they say large, they really mean HUMONGOUS! You could not even tell that you were on a ship. No rocking or swaying motion at all. It would be hard to get seasick on a ship this big but we still saw a few people with those seasick patches behind their ears.
Just like most things, this ship had its pros and cons. Depending on how you are and what you like to do is whether you would think each feature was a positive or negative.
It had seven separate neighborhoods to simulate things you might find if you were visiting major cities like New York. It had a boardwalk, complete with a full-size merry-go-round and a Zoltar machine like the one in the movie “Big.” A scaled-down version of Central Park which was open air and had lots of different trees, plants, and flowers so you can imagine how humid that section was. A Royal Promenade for shopping and specialty restaurants. If you liked different types of entertainment, there was a comedy club, a karaoke bar, a full featured casino, an ice skating rink, a theatre for Broadway shows, a night club with resident DJ, an Aqua theatre which had water and light shows, a surfing simulator, rock climbing wall, zipline, and much more. The Broadway play during our week was Hairspray. They also have special programs for kids from six months to seventeen years old. For the teenagers, we even had our own night club and hang out room.
The maximum double occupancy is 5400, but our week has 6200 guests. There was also 2200 staff. That’s a LOT of people in one place. The thing is, with so many people you hardly ran into them more than a few times.
For people that want variety, there are twenty-one dining options and over twenty bars but some of the restaurants cost extra.
There are a lot of activities and entertainment options but many times they overlap, so you might not be able to do some things that you want. Because they had multiple entertainment areas you had to reserve your seat for shows which wasn’t always a good thing.
We sailed from Fort Lauderdale, FL and stopped in Labadee, Haiti which is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Costa Maya, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico. We had planned on parasailing in Labadee but the reservations were full so we just hung out on the beach for the day. In Costa Maya we did our own touring and bought souvenirs and did a snorkeling excursion in Cozumel. They took us from the beach and swam out a ways so we saw some cool fish and coral. About the time we were almost done, a big rain storm hit so the guide took us back to shore but told us not to panic as we felt the cold raindrops on our backs. It was definitely a weird sensation.
Oasis of the Seas is definitely a beautiful ship and we were anxious to try it because it was so different from the other ship’s designs. But we will probably not take another cruise on a ship this large as we liked the smaller ships better for lots of reasons.
Getting back home from Fort Lauderdale to California was a long process. We had to disembark the ship by 9:00 a.m. because by noon, they are already letting the new passengers board so the workers have a lot of cleaning to do in a very short period of time. Our flight didn’t leave until 4:15 p.m. so Dad asked a taxi guy to drive us around for about an hour to see some of the sights. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the airport around 10:00 a.m., there were so many people in the same situation so the airlines wouldn’t let people check in their luggage until four hours prior to their flights. We ended up sitting on the floor in the terminal along with several hundred other people just waiting and trying to kill time. After playing on my iPod for awhile, I decided to walk around and show people card tricks. One couple I asked didn’t speak English but the guy nodded his head “yes” so I showed them one card trick. That was a little awkward. We were sitting beside a family who was going home to Michigan so I ended up talking with the two high school girls and teaching them my card tricks which was lots of fun.
Of course we had a plane delay so on our layover in Atlanta, which was more like a “run-over”, we had to run from Gate B7 to B32 in less than 4 minutes. We made it just in time but then the plane still left late because they had to call electricians on board to fix a couple of the TV screens. So we ended up leaving 40 minutes late and getting home about 11 p.m. (2 a.m. Eastern time). I couldn’t wait to get into my own bed but the house was 98 degrees so the A/C had to work overtime all night to get it to a comfortable sleeping temperature.
Jet lag hit the next day but now everything is back to normal. My dog is home from the kennel, all the clothes are washed, and I’m having some friends over this week. I have a lot to be thankful for.