Read part one here.
Day one – July 10, 2010
After a morning of announcements over the Oasis of the Seas’ PA system, we got off the ship and headed to the casino …
(Hard Rock Hollywood) to play poker! Before that, we toured some of the amazing cabins. There are two- story lofts overlooking the sports courts and putt-putt golf course as well as huge suites that sleep 8 or 9 and overlook the aqua park and theater. The passenger disembarkation process begins at 6am which is good for those wishing to catch early flights. The entire procedure is finished by 10am, quite an amazing feat for the crew and more than 6,000 cruisers! We reboarded the ship about 3pm and settled back into our same cabin.
Our cabin is nice, but a bit smaller than balcony rooms on most other ships. It is advertised as 182 square feet. The amenities are very comfortable (have we mentioned the “comfort” beds that are wonderful?), but the first week the room air conditioner was mediocre at best. We mentioned it several times to maintenance via the front desk during week one but nothing happened and there was no follow-up. We spoke to the concierge in the Diamond Lounge tonight (the lounge is for those guests who have reached Diamond status by cruising ten or more times with RCCL) and as I write this blog on evening #1 of cruise #2, the room seems cooler…. Stay tuned for updates on that.
We watched the Rockin’ Rhythm Nation Parade on the Royal Promenade earlier tonight (we missed it the first week) and were blown away by the talent from all departments as well as the amazing sound system and colorful costumes. Then we joined in for another game of music trivia with the piano player but were disappointed that it was the same songs as week one. While we know that the entertainment will in most spots be repeats of last week, how tough would it be to have more than one version of Name That Tune? There are many who do this cruise as back-to-backs (much like CPC will do next year on the new Allure) so change the games! We checked out the Windjammer for a light supper and then headed to the main theater to see “Hairspray” a second time. I am guessing we’ll see it again before the week is over. The talent in this show is the best we’ve ever seen on a cruise ship and certainly could rival the best Broadway has to offer!
Trivia for the day – there are 2,104 crew members on the ship with a combined 6,627 years of experience. I am guessing that the Oasis took the best of the best!
Day two – July 11,2010
We slept late again, imagine that. Perhaps this is a pattern when there isn’t a poker room to attend in the morning? I started the day off by going to a “Hairspray” dance class out on the Aqua Theater and then to the gym. Linda walked the track four times… 2.4 laps is a mile on the outside track so that gives you an idea just how large this ship is. You don’t get dizzy running tight circles. While I was at the gym, Linda went to a dance class that featured Michael Jackson steps. We also saw the “sexiest man” competition and truly some guys deserved to win, while others should have stayed in bed! Later in the day we played the ’80s music trivia and finished second, and also general knowledge trivia where we fared the same. The bagpipe player (yes, there is one on board) roamed the promenade and entertained but did interfere with some activities due to the loud nature of the instrument. Salsa class again was offered in the afternoon and was fun.
Before dinner, the captain addressed the formally clad crowd for his “welcome to my ship and introduce the staff” speech and then we enjoyed a stylishly late dinner in the “My Time” dining room, clearly not dressed formally. After dinner, we went to the Aqua Theater for the amazing show ”Oasis of Dreams” featuring high dives, gymnasts, synchronized swimmers, and other amazing talents. It was breathtaking and wondrous. For me to explain it, I would just say it’s a little bit of Mystere, O, and Ka all rolled into one. It was then back to the showroom to watch the last performance of Hairspray. The talent continues to amaze and dazzle us and the staff delights us with their friendliness.
As previously mentioned, our air conditioner in the cabin didn’t seem as good as it should be. Somewhere along the line, the engineer must actually have checked into theproblem as it seems a bit better today. There was an ’80s music disco party in the Dazzles Lounge and we stopped by briefly… it was too crowded for my taste. Since we hadn’t eaten in nearly 2 hours, we stopped on deck five for pizza before heading to the room at 2am.
Trivia for today –Did you know that Oasis of the Seas has two incinerators that can burn 25 cubic meters of garbage in 12 hours? What an efficient way to reduce and dispose of waste.
Day 3 – July 12, 2010
We were in port today, on the private island of Labadee, Haiti. It is eerie to think that just the other side of the mountain is poverty, hardship, and a country in ruins from the recent earthquake. Where we visited was a lushly landscaped oasis with beautiful beaches, private cabanas, jet skis, zip lines, snorkeling as well as many, many other first-class activities combined with several cafes where we could enjoy gourmet buffets of chicken, ribs, burgers, shrimp, etc. We were on the island about an hour before returning to the ship in time to catch the daily trivia game, Tribond, a game at which I seem to excel! We scored 14 out of 15, mostly due to my ability to figure the common denominator of three words given, yet still we only finished second. We also visited one of the many pools and enjoyed swimming and relaxing to the sounds of a great band during the sailaway festivities.
For dinner, we ate at Chops, one of the optional pay restaurants, and enjoyed a leisurely dinner of appetizers and fine steaks. Linda read aloud from a book she checked out at the Library aboard. Actually, there was no check out procedure. The library is the honor system and you are merely asked to return that which you borrow. She’s been buried in this book about the only survivor of a Navy Seal mission that turned catastrophic in Afghanistan. It’s a true story called Lone Survivor written by Marcus Luttrell. It will bring out the patriotism in anyone.
After dinner we watched the comedy show and were pleased to see two new acts aboard since last week. They were very funny and were impromptu so likely we’ll see them again this week since the act will definitely have different material because the crowd will be different. After that, we caught the end of the Love and Marriage show. The cruise director, Richard Spacey, makes even the silliest of shows quite entertaining. We have learned from the other cruise staff that he is a joy to work for and he is very, very energetic, silly, fun, and charming. I know our guests will find him captivating.
Several interesting and great things about this ship include an interactive board at the end of the elevator banks where you can punch in questions and get immediate answers. For those who’ve had too much liquid libation, there is even a “find your room” option where it will diagram the route to get from “you are here” to your cabin. Also, there is an option to see what is happening at that moment according to the daily cruise compass…. It’s great if you’ve left your daily schedule in the room. In the cabin, another great feature is the big-screen, flat TV and the pay-per-view movies. While the movies are steep at $12 a piece, there is a huge number of options from which to choose including new releases as well as some classic older selections. There are also free movies available on some of the channels. Tomorrow we are at sea so I am sure there will be lots of silly on board activities we’ll join. More to come!
Day four - July 13,2010
Again, we slept in but before I went to the gym, we attended an Improv workshop. It was entertaining but the funniest part about it was how “IQ-challenged” some of the attendees were. We were given some easy “exercises” in comedy that for some, were quite a problem. I guess Second City isn’t in their future. Afterward I went to the gym and ran the track three times but the humidity made it more of a challenge than I liked, and I retreated to the gym to do my weights. Linda joined me for lunch at the Central Park Cafe which is one of our favorite lunch spots. They have tasty roast beef sandwiches, and salads made to order with a plethora (good word, eh?) of toppings and dressings. We then headed to the Aqua Theater for the afternoon production show Splish Splash Comedy Aqua Show which even with the technical problems they had, was very entertaining and amazing. The talent on this ship is second to none…. but I digress.
We had a meeting with Alan, the on board ship coordinator and Savio, the guest relations manager. They gave us a tour of the huge conference room where we’ll build our poker room during the September 25 cruise. We spent some time with them providing our feedback about the Oasis and the cruise experience. Mostly the ship is awesome and some of the places where they fall a little short are things that will get fixed in time (other than Izumi!) We told them of the wonderful restaurants we’d visited and how amazingly great the service is in every department. Well done, RCCL!
The evening began with dinner at Giovanni’s Table, where we dined outside in Central Park. There are more than 12,000 live plants and trees in the park area and it is just lovely. There are photographers who will take your photo in a myriad of poses and by swiping your card when he “shoots you,” it is very easy to find you photos electronically rather than by looking through photos of 6,000 of your not-so closest friends. We then set out for a marathon of shows. We enjoyed the comedy show for the second time this week. Tonight’s headliner show was billed as “Two Funny Guys” who were, in fact, quite funny. They are touted as Las Vegas performers but I’ve never heard of them, nor has Linda, but if we remember, we can Google them when we return. Or not…. Next, we went to the Quest, an always good time. It’s an adult scavenger hunt and showcases Richard Spacey, the Cruise Director, at his silliest and zaniest. He has grown men and women taking off clothes, putting on clothes of another, and showing tattoos best left for a loved one. It’s all good. From there it was off to bed albeit too late to call it an early evening!
Day Five – July 14, 2010
We are in Costa Maya today. I just realized that there are only three sleeps left before I return home. Where did the time go? Linda and I had breakfast in the Windjammer before going our separate ways for the day. She went into town and had two one-hour massages on the beach for $20 each. Not a bad deal. She enjoyed the shopping along the boardwalk and in the shops at the newly built pier. I remember from my last visit there how nice and laid back it is without the high pressure sales of some other ports we’ve visited. There is a huge swimming pool in the port area before you venture out into the actual city. She took a dip before returning to the ship and was surprised to find the pool salt water!
I joined an RCCL excursion and did two tanks of some great scuba diving. The water temperature here is much more to my liking than on other recent cruises recently. Whether it’s the time of year or the port, I’m just saying that 85* water works well for me. The dive was well organized and I went with the smaller of the three groups from the ship so was on a boat with only five divers, rather than like last week when there were 26. That was just too many people all on the same reef at the same time. The visibility was much better as well. I am already looking forward to tomorrow when I go diving in Cozumel.
When I returned to the cabin, Linda was there and talked me into going to the ’70s disco trivia…. me in my towel and swim suit! It’s a good thing we went since we finally nailed one and took down the coveted prize of a coffee mug! Later I got dressed in my very best clothes I’d brought (can you say I don’t do formal night?) and went to the concierge lounge compliments of the guest relations manager. It is a beautiful private lounge reserved for suite guests and diamond plus members. The room is stunning…it is spread over two floors and overlooks the Aqua Theater. Upstairs they have the “Chef’s Table” which is a $75 per-person sit down gourmet dinner with wine pairings. Though it is far more food than I can eat and includes numerous amounts of wine, which I don’t drink, I wish it was a good value for me to go as it looked so awesome. I know some of our guests will enjoy it and for the price, if you enjoy fine dining and good wine, it looks to be a “must do.”
Next we headed to the Solarium for dinner. It is a $20 per person healthy dining alternative. We’d seen the menu in the lounge and wanted to try it. On our way there, we got off the elevator at the wrong floor by the Windjammer so decided to look to see what they were serving. We immediately ran into Henry, who’d been our assistant waiter most nights last week in the My Time dining. He asked us where we were sitting so he could dash off to get us our hot water, ice, and Lipton tea bags. Not wanting to disappoint him and also happy to have another opportunity to tip him, we ended up eating there and the found the food to be perfectly suitable for our taste. The view from the Windjammer is second to none, high atop the 16th deck. After dining we caught the second half of the ice show before returning to our cabin for an early night. Tomorrow, Linda has an 8am tour to Cancun, and I have a 9:15 am dive trip.
Day 6 – July 15, 2010
It finally happened… Linda got up and was out the door before I! It must be a red letter day. She left at 7am for her trek to Cancun and took a 45-minute ferry ride and a one-hour bus ride each way just to reach Cancun. There was three hours of free time in Cancun and Linda took a taxi tour of the city and island, had lunch, and did some shopping.
I slept in until a comparatively late 8:30. Finally trying the Diamond Lounge for breakfast (they only serve until 10am) before my trip, I was pleasantly surprised by the array of fresh fruit (something slightly lacking on this ship) and the English muffins and bagels complete with toaster and cheeses, jams, and spreads. Topped off by a complimentary cappuccino, I was set. I walked to the end of the pier to meet my dive group and found the sign along with many, many other tour signs at the edge of the pier. And there we sat, and sat, and sat. Clearly, they could have moved the trip back an hour as it was very disorganized. Once the dive shop staff decided it was time to go (by whatever standard was used), off we went to board two taxis and head to the dive shop. I wasn’t impressed by the dive shop or the equipment. While it was ok, they had nothing size wise for fins between small and large. Hmm…. anyway, it started off badly and our group of eight was unhappy to be kept waiting in a huge downpour on the ship with little cover. Of course, we all knew we’d be getting wet today anyway, right? We motored a short distance to our first dive on the Santa Rosa wall, one of my favorite dive sites, and each of us had a little problem with our gear. Nothing serious but a little unnerving. Some tanks were switched, a regulator was swapped out, and into the water we went. Any bad feelings about the dive went away as soon as we descended to 60 feet of clear, warm, beautiful water. It was a perfect dive… bottom depth of about 90′ (except for one guy who had to hit 115′ for some unknown reason) for 10 minutes then back up the wall in ten-minute increments to our safety stop at 15′. The dive time was about 45 minutes and it was lovely. The dive shop also had a videographer who shot the entire dive and made the video available for purchase. Anyway, dive two was lovely as well and we saw the biggest turtle I’ve ever seen in the wild. That will definitely make me buy the video! The site was San Clemente and I remain faithful to Cozumel as being my favorite dive destination for never letting me down.
Once we both were back on the ship, we went to yet another trivia game; this one was TV theme song Name That Tune. Of the 20 questions, I knew exactly one. It was all recent shows, not the stuff I’d have been good at had the questions involved the classic shows of the 60′s and 70′s. With my addiction to TIVO, I rarely hear the lead-in music any more and was lucky to have joined a team that did watch the shows. Amazingly, we won and I earned yet another useless gift! We enjoyed the second production show of the week, Come Fly With Me, as much the second time as the first and highly recommend every bit of entertainment we’ve seen on the ship. We opted for the Windjammer for dinner and found seats in Henry’s section. He’s the assistant waiter whom we’ve adopted and who has adopted us…. always providing us good service and the fixins for our brewed Lipton Ice tea without us having to explain why we need hot water and copious amounts of ice. Intending on an early evening, we found more inane TV to watch and again didn’t get to sleep as early as we’d have liked!
Day 7 – July 16, 2010…the last day of the cruise!
I got up fairly early and did a brief workout before meeting up with Linda for a backstage tour and a question and answer session with the cast of Hairspray. It was a fun experience and we were able to meet the actors who played two of the leads in the show and tell them how much we had enjoyed watching them perform. We learned about the fat suits they wore and how some of the stunts were done. After that, we grabbed some lunch and attended the “meet the captain” briefing and learned of his 40-year career with RCCL and how he became one of the two captains of the Genesis Class’ Oasis Of the Seas. Also, a brief movie was shown that discussed how the Oasis was built and so forth. It was a very informative hour. From there, we went to the Sunshine Celebration at the Aqua Theater then on to our first of three trivia games of the day. We actually won the RCCL trivia, not too surprising since we have been on so many of their cruises.
In the evening, we saw the fountain farewell show in the Aqua Theater, caught up on some email, and ate at the Windjammer. Linda finished a book about the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. There’s always last-minute chores like packing, completing the survey, and hurrying to do all the things we had neglected during our trip such as visiting the few venues we hadn’t yet seen. Even though we were on the ship for two weeks, we hadn’t found time to miniature golf, zipline, use the Surfrider, or visit most of the shops. Somehow we managed not to buy any artwork, go into the ice cream shop, or eat any of the yummy looking cupcakes in the Cupcake Hut.
The two weeks on the Oasis of the Seas were thoroughly enjoyable. You will love the ship, the food, the staff, and the entertainment. I am looking forward to my return in September!