Oasis of the Seas - A True Oasis
Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, whose maiden voyage was December 5, 2009, was the first in her class, which at the time were the largest passenger ships in the world.
Although the Oasis has a guest capacity of over 6,600 and over 2,100 crew members, it’s rather easy to navigate your way around the ship. Normally when I cruise it takes me 2-3 days to familiarize myself with the ship’s layout but this one was rather easy. It’s broken out into seven different neighborhoods.
With lush trees, plants, flowers and park benches throughout this area, you really do feel like you’re in Central Park. This area has an uptown feel, with high end shops and restaurants offering fine dining. You can also board the Elevate bar, which slowly moves down two decks before it returns to Central Park.
Stroll back in time to an old-fashioned carnival themed boardwalk which features a working carousel, arcade games, a hot dog shop, a sports bar and of course the famous Johnny Rockets diner. You can also access the rock-climbing wall and the Aquatheater. If you’re a sports fan you’ll want to stop in at Playmakers Sports Bar. You’re sure to catch your favorite team on one of their many television screens. Be sure to order the nachos and wings and tell Ernesto and Igor I said hello! We weren’t exactly sure what the Aquatheater show was about, but we thought we’d make time to see it, and we’re glad we did. High-tempo music from the 80’s mixed with an extremely talented group of synchronized swimmers, divers, dancers and aerialists culminated into one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.
This indoor space has shopping, bars and live entertainment. We spent time here each morning drinking our coffee at Cafe Promenade before heading out to breakfast. After our evening entertainment we enjoyed drinks on the patio at the Globe and Atlas English pub. If you like pizza but don’t like all the carbs that go with it, Sorrento’s pizza is very tasty but has a guilt-free thin crust.
Pool & Sports Zone
This area is home to the miniature golf course, zip line, Flow Rider surf simulator and water slides. We played several games of miniature golf and after all these years together my hubby still continues to try to win. We’ve zip-lined in other countries but this is a good option if you’ve never tried it before because the length is short. Beside the zip line is the Portside BBQ restaurant. You can try walking past this restaurant but the aroma from their kitchen will lure you in. During lunch you can enjoy live contemporary country music.
Home to Broadway-inspired shows, comedians, musical entertainment and the casino. We enjoyed the comedians and the ice-skating production based on an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson. The Legends of Rock aren’t just a bunch of musicians playing rock music from the 70’s. They’re all veterans of various bands such as Steppenwolf, White Lion, Great White and even Ozzie Osbourne’s band. If you love 70’s rock music, don’t miss this show.
Vitality Spa & Fitness
You can recharge your batteries at the Vitality Spa and work off all/most/some of the delicious food you ate. The state-of-the-art fitness center has a multitude of treadmills, elliptical machines, free weights, weight machines, yoga mats and a spin room. We spent time each day in the fitness center so we wouldn’t feel so guilty about eating dessert every night. The spin classes are a great workout but there is a fee for the extra classes. Don’t forget to stop at the Vitality Cafe for a protein smoothie after your workout.
Children of all ages will enjoy this area designated just for them, which includes a water park and an outdoor teen lounge. You’ll have to trust me when I say your kids won’t be bored on this ship.
Oasis has some of the best food I’ve ever tasted on a cruise ship. We ate in the main dining room most nights and we were never disappointed. They had a varied menu and surprisingly large portions. We also visited a couple of the Specialty dining venues, and we didn’t mind paying the extra fee for the quality and the ambiance. Admittedly, the main dining room is very busy, so it was nice enjoying a quiet dinner for two nights.
I’m not a fan of buffets but the Windjammer Cafe has a surprising variety of food choices that were very tasty.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience on the Oasis of the Seas. For now, she’s sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey, which is a quick 7 hour drive from northeast Ohio. Between gas, tolls and parking you’ll spend around $200, but overall this is still saves you money versus flying to Florida and paying for two Uber trips, especially if you’re bringing the family.
Contact me for more information about the Oasis of the Seas or any of the Royal Caribbean sailings. I’m happy to find a ship and itinerary to meet your interests.
A river cruise can be a scenic vacation that includes culturally-rich locations, an intimate setting (fewer than 200 passengers), and a variety of activities at each port of call. Although this type of cruise may seem relaxing, choosing a the right one can be both confusing and frustrating. With so many rivers and cruise lines, how do you make a choice?
First let’s take a look at the benefits of a river cruise:
When choosing a river cruise, here are a few things to consider:
1. Choose a River
I always advise clients to first choose a river. Most first-time river cruisers are interested in visiting multiple countries and crossing off several bucket list items in one trip.
2. Choose a Theme
Are you a foodie or a wine lover? Are you fascinated with castles? Or maybe you are interested in Christmas markets. Theme cruises are plentiful these days, so you are sure to find one to your liking.
3. Choose the Time of Year
The river cruise season runs March through December. The Summer months are generally considered the most popular months for European cruises. Spring and Fall months may offer a good alternative for smaller tourist crowds and lower pricing. Christmas market cruises begin at the end of November and continue until just before Christmas.
4. Choose the Cruise Line
Choosing a cruise line may be the most confusing: some cruise lines include gratuities, airport transfers and port charges in their cruise fare and others do not. I will make the comparisons for you, along with any current promotions, so you can make an informed decision.
Finally, below are a few tips to help your vacation run smoothly:
Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa
This Punta Cana paradise is a destination-must for any couples or families looking for the picture-perfect tropical getaway. Although the resort has 730 pristine and spacious rooms, you’d never know it; even when the resort is at capacity, there’s plenty of room for quietude and personal enjoyment whether you’re in one of the eight restaurants, ten bars, three pools, the Genesis Casino, or lounging on Bavaro Beach (one of TripAdvisor’s top 25 beaches worldwide) protected by an off-shore reef. But for those times when you want to let your inner socialite shine, there’s plenty of day-and-night entertainment going around to be shared with your friends and neighbors whom you meet during your stay. And among all the timeless festivities, the Royalton Plaza hosts their signature All-White party where guests adorn in only white attire to drink, laugh, and dance the night away with the live entertainment
Cruising During a Pandemic
I recently sailed on a CDC test cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. There were 900 guests on a ship that holds over 6,000. The purpose of the test cruises is to make sure the crew adhered to and enforced the healthy sailing parameters set forth by the CDC.
The goal of this article is not to persuade you to cruise right now. Rather, my goal is to educate you on what’s really happening on these ships so you can make an informed decision on whether to cruise now or wait.
The majority of the check-in process is done using the Royal Caribbean app. You’ll need to register and upload a photo of yourself and scan your passport. This makes checking in at the port a breeze. With so few people on the ship, it took us about 10 minutes from the time we entered the port building until we entered the ship.
When you check in using the app, you’ll need to choose a port arrival time. If you arrive earlier than you check-in time they’ll make you wait. Staggered check-in times allow for social distancing and they won’t make exceptions for this.
All guests and crew on this cruise were vaccinated but we still had to provide a negative PCR test 3 days before our sail date (changed recently to 2 days). We also had to show proof of vaccination before entering the terminal and then again inside the terminal.
Royal Caribbean had begun working on an electronic version of the muster drill before COVID descended upon us. During the 18 months when they weren’t sailing they worked on completing this through their app. Gone are the days when they close down the bars and all guests go to their assigned muster stations for the hour-long safety briefing. Muster 2.0 is now available on the app. You view the safety video the day before you sail then after boarding you report to your assigned muster station and check in with a crew member.
Safety and Cleanliness
The crew works relentlessly to make sure all common areas of the ship are sanitized: the escalator hand rails, stairwell handrails, elevator buttons, and tables and chairs. Every restaurant, store and entertainment venue has Purell sanitization stations at every entrance and exit. You’re required to sanitize when entering and you’ll be turned around and reminded if you happen to walk past the station.
Tables and chairs have signs on them indicating if they have been sanitized. If so, you can occupy the table and they’ll come by and flip the sign to the opposite side that will tell the next guests they cannot sit there until sanitized. All self serve drink stations are now manned by a crew member who will hand you the drink of your choice. The buffet restaurant still exists but you will not be able to serve yourself. A crew member will fill your plate.
Masks are required whenever you’re indoors unless you’re sitting down and actively eating and drinking. If you happen to sit in an indoor common area to listen to music you must still wear your mask unless you have a drink in hand.
Masks are not required outdoors unless you’re in a crowd. Masks are worn by the crew both inside and outside.
In indoor entertainment venues every other row is closed for social distancing. You must also have at least one seat between you and the next party. Reservations via the app are required at all entertainment venues and many restaurants to ensure social distancing.
Luckily I didn’t have to visit the medical facility while on the ship but all medical facilities on every ship in the fleet are now hospital grade.
Not once did I feel unsafe on this ship. The purpose of the CDC Healthy Sailing guidelines is to ensure health and safety protections for travelers (crew and future passengers) and port personnel prior to resuming passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of spreading COVID-19. The key word here is “mitigate”. COVID-19 seems like it will be with us for some time to come so it will be impossible to eliminate the risks.
When you feel confident enough to cruise, I’ll be here to help you find the right ship and itinerary so you can take that vacation you’ve been wanting and needing for almost 2 years now.
Taking a trip without travel insurance is a gamble. So many things can happen between the time you book and the time you depart, as well as while you're travelling. Here are the top 8 reasons why people purchase travel insurance.
1. Life happens! Trip cancellation insurance can help reimburse you in the event you have to cancel your trip,
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Protect your investment by purchasing a travel insurance plan that fits your needs. I'm happy to assist you with this so you can travel stress free.
Source: Allianz Travel