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Old 04-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #1
ps17
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Detailed RCI Oasis vs Fantasy (vs Magic and Disney) Review

Please accept this review as opinion (no flames please) but after years of wondering if we should try RCCL and reading all these threads, we took the plunge. In summary, the Oasis/Allure class are great ships which offer (for us) unmatched experiences which fits our "vacation evolution" and will definately get a slice of the "spend pie". We'll be back to DCL but for now, RCI is part of the consideration.

Background: We have been to WDWover 10 times. As our kids got older, we have migrated to DCL as a preference for vacations. We have been on Magic about 8 times and this past Christmas, just sailed Fantasy.

As we priced a trip for this spring break, for our family of 4, with discount, a Fantasy Western was around $9300 (before on-board extras, travel, hotel). The Allure was sold out. We decided to book the Oasis Western for about $5800 (before expenses) for an equivalent veranda room for 4 people. Categorically, here goes:

Planning and availability: RCI allows you to preplan and prebook all your shows and specialty dining - AND - if the events don't overlap, you can book more than one and repeat - AND availabilty is much better than DCL which is tough to get, say ressies at Palo etc. Having said that, for shows (which you don't have to book in DCL) even if you don't book in advance, we never were shut out of of walking in without booking (your only disadvantage is without prebooking, you lose choice of seating).

Embarkation and debarkation: Hard to compare because we were subject to sequestration so embarkation was a little hassled but our perception is that without gov cutbacks, embarkation for Allure/Oasis is pretty easy and if you wanted, unlike DCL, you don't have to go through the stress/effort/worry of boarding numbers, waiting at the terminal, numbers called.

Special Occasions: If you have that special reunion for large groups of family members especially multigeneral, DCL is unparalelled for providing that "feel" and memory of lifetime. This is due to the service, atmosphere, feel, and activities (such as MDR dining, formal events etc) and service devoted to these.

Overall service and feel: RCI's service was competent and fine. Room stewards were the same. In the MDRs (main dining room), service was competent, prompt, polite, and fine. Guest area services (handing out pool towels etc) was fine. Making drinks etc. bar , spa - all good. As good as it was, there was not that exceptional feel and personal touch that DCL has. The waiters knew your names, but they didn't do magic tricks with your kids, they didn't make those personal connections. When they did, it almost felt forced and not genuine. There were also times when certain things weren't available or possible, they either did not go out of their way to make things happen, or if the answer to your need was a "no", it wasn't the "Ritz Carleton no", it wassometimes the terse "no" you'd get if you were in the carribean. At the end of the day, while RCI service is very good, if you want exceptional immersion with personal feel, DCL is better.

Main Dining Room (MDR). Fantasy and DCL slightly gets the edge. Food quality is probably about the same. Generally very good food with hits and misses depending on what you order. Where DCL has edge is that on a nightly basis, DCLs menu is more varied with choices. At DCL, we always said to ourselves: "so many options, what do I order?" Whereas on certain nights RCI we would say "nothing sounds good". RCI did have certain items such as shrimp cocktail or Caesar salad on a nightly basis, so if you liked that, RCI wins out there. Also, we never felt on RCI like they would make anything you wanted any time (on DCL, if they knew you liked Thai or Indian food, they would make it special). RCI does make the effort to have most of their food fresh (onboard bakeries, butcher shops, fish fileting etc) and you certainly can tell that, however DCL is the likely the same in many cases.

MDR "my time dining" on RCI. This is an option you can select to go the MDRs any time you want (make a reservation for the time you want to dine). This is a great option for those that don't want to be stuck picking between 6 and 8:30.

Specialty Restaurants: This is where Oasis wins out. The options on Oasis are multiple and varied. We ate at Chops, their equivalent of say a Capital Grille or Ruths Chris and it was excellent. We also ate at Izumis - a Japanese restaurant that had the usual sushi/sashimi offerings but also had this thing called "hot rock" where they bring out a slab of, well a hot rock and you can cook slices of steaks, meats, and seafood on it. If you manage not to overcook the meat and use the sauces, it is very good. We also ate at Giovanni's Table - their equivalent of Palo. While we would rate Palo as a five star restaurant, we would classify Giovannis as 4.5 stars. What we did not attend is the multitudes of other specialy offerrings: Dinner in Solarium - great atmosphere with food types tilting towards seafood/middle eastern/healthy fare. 150 Central Park - a multicoarse fine dining experience, similar probably to Remy. Chef's table - a Victorias and Alberts type of place. A wine bar that offers Tapas in a great setting in Central park (one of the great atrium areas - more on that later).

In addition to the the upscale specialty restaurants, Oasis offers other "pay" restaurants such as Johnny Rockets (apparently good according to our son), or seafood shack which actually is better than it sounds: It features items such as crab legs, lobster, if that is the type of food you like. Note that while these places are pay, it isn't at prices that you would pay on land - it more is like a surcharge similar to what you would pay if you went to say Palo or remy - somethimes it is a flat rate - other times, it is a la carte at reduced.

Buffet: Windjammers is probably better than topsiders, however there are select items which one offers which the others don't. Example, we really liked Windjammers asian offerings. Fantasy as a better salad bar and the seafood offerings such as mussels, shrimp, and sometimes crab was often better.

Pizza: We think that Sorrento's on Oasis is pretty good pizza. Slightly better than pizza on the magic. Both better than pizza on Fantasy which we think took a step back. Drawback to Sorrentos vs Magic/Fantasy is that it is not on the top deck of the ship but rather in the promanade atrium.

Burgers/Dogs. We think that Wipeout cafe is same as Plutos on Magic - both probably better than Fantasy which somehow took a slight step back.

The Oasis has a restaurant called park fare (free) that serves great prime rib roast beef sandwhiches along with make your own salads - great food and a great lunch option.

Finally, the Oasis has a lunch buffet up in their adults area solarium which focuses on healthier foods (we never made it there though - too many options.....)

Overall food theme: The Oasis wins out and is conducive to variety choices, multiudes of specialty dining rooms, variety in casual dining for teens. The parents have more choices of dining out. As far as the kids go, they never wanted to go the MDRs because they were busy hanging out with themselves (obviously not the younger ones), going to windjammer buffet which actually was decent for dinner, going to Johnny rockets or seafood shack on their own, or getting pizza. The Fantasy however is more conducive to families spending time together in the MDRs (reunions family time etc). What did we do? We made our older kids eat with us on Embarkation, debarkation, and formal nights but their preference was to do their own thing so we had 3 or so nights where the parents had their date nights with kids running amok all over the ship. See a theme here? As your kids get older into their teen years, they partake in the activities available to them including their own dining.

Note that by the by the middle of our cruise, our 10 YO had preferred to do the pizza, the video game arcades, games, with his friends that he came with as well as the ones he met, the pools/hot tubs etc. Note that as we write this, in retrospect, with news of the drowning accidents, we probably will need to revisit how unsupervised we need to leave the kids as it comes to pools and such.

OK, will save this now

Last edited by ps17; 04-07-2013 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:51 AM   #2
Mekamax
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We've been on RCL, NCL and CCL and just tried our first Disney in Feb. What you are describing for service is exactly what we thought too and have us booking another Disney before they leave Galveston. It that little extra and the way they make things seem magical and I don't think I would have heard the word "no" from Disney for little things like on the others. Price is a big point. Also we do want to try the Oasis or Allure as we just think those are ships that have to be tried once. Too big for us in general but look so neat and love to explore them for a week. Thank you for the review... Looking forward to the rest.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:01 AM   #3
KTills
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ps17 View Post
Please accept this review as opinion (no flames please) but after years of wondering if we should try RCCL and reading all these threads, we took the plunge. In summary, the Oasis/Allure class are great ships which offer (for us) unmatched experiences which fits our "vacation evolution" and will definately get a slice of the "spend pie". We'll be back to DCL but for now, RCI is part of the consideration.

Background: We have been to WDWover 10 times. As our kids got older, we have migrated to DCL as a preference for vacations. We have been on Magic about 8 times and this past Christmas, just sailed Fantasy.

As we priced a trip for this spring break, for our family of 4, with discount, a Fantasy Western was around $9300 (before on-board extras, travel, hotel). The Allure was sold out. We decided to book the Oasis Western for about $5800 (before expenses) for an equivalent veranda room for 4 people. Categorically, here goes:

Planning and availability: RCI allows you to preplan and prebook all your shows and specialty dining - AND - if the events don't overlap, you can book more than one and repeat - AND availabilty is much better than DCL which is tough to get, say ressies at Palo etc. Having said that, for shows (which you don't have to book in DCL) even if you don't book in advance, we never were shut out of of walking in without booking (your only disadvantage is without prebooking, you lose choice of seating).

Embarkation and debarkation: Hard to compare because we were subject to sequestration so embarkation was a little hassled but our perception is that without gov cutbacks, embarkation for Allure/Oasis is pretty easy and if you wanted, unlike DCL, you don't have to go through the stress/effort/worry of boarding numbers, waiting at the terminal, numbers called.

Special Occasions: If you have that special reunion for large groups of family members especially multigeneral, DCL is unparalelled for providing that "feel" and memory of lifetime. This is due to the service, atmosphere, feel, and activities (such as MDR dining, formal events etc) and service devoted to these.

Overall service and feel: RCI's service was competent and fine. Room stewards were the same. In the MDRs (main dining room), service was competent, prompt, polite, and fine. Guest area services (handing out pool towels etc) was fine. Making drinks etc. bar , spa - all good. As good as it was, there was not that exceptional feel and personal touch that DCL has. The waiters knew your names, but they didn't do magic tricks with your kids, they didn't make those personal connections. When they did, it almost felt forced and not genuine. There were also times when certain things weren't available or possible, they either did not go out of their way to make things happen, or if the answer to your need was a "no", it wasn't the "Ritz Carleton no", it wassometimes the terse "no" you'd get if you were in the carribean. At the end of the day, while RCI service is very good, if you want exceptional immersion with personal feel, DCL is better.

Main Dining Room (MDR). Fantasy and DCL slightly gets the edge. Food quality is probably about the same. Generally very good food with hits and misses depending on what you order. Where DCL has edge is that on a nightly basis, DCLs menu is more varied with choices. At DCL, we always said to ourselves: "so many options, what do I order?" Whereas on certain nights RCI we would say "nothing sounds good". RCI did have certain items such as shrimp cocktail or Caesar salad on a nightly basis, so if you liked that, RCI wins out there. Also, we never felt on RCI like they would make anything you wanted any time (on DCL, if they knew you liked Thai or Indian food, they would make it special). RCI does make the effort to have most of their food fresh (onboard bakeries, butcher shops, fish fileting etc) and you certainly can tell that, however DCL is the same.

MDR "my time dining" on RCI. This is an option you can select to go the MDRs any time you want (make a reservation for the time you want to dine). This is a great option for those that don't want to be stuck picking between 6 and 8:30.

Specialty Restaurants: This is where Oasis wins out. The options on Oasis are multiple and varied. We ate at Chops, their equivalent of say a Capital Grille or Ruths Chris and it was excellent. We also ate at Izumis - a Japanese restaurant that had the usual sushi/sashimi offerings but also had this thing called "hot rock" where they bring out a slab of, well a hot rock and you can cook slices of steaks, meats, and seafood on it. If you manage not to overcook the meat and use the sauces, it is very good. We also ate at Giovanni's Table - their equivalent of Palo. While we would rate Palo as a five star restaurant, we would classify Giovannis as 4.5 stars. What we did not attend is the multitudes of other specialy offerrings: Dinner in Solarium - great atmosphere with food types tilting towards seafood/middle eastern/healthy fare. 150 Central Park - a multicoarse fine dining experience, similar probably to Remy. Chef's table - a Victorias and Alberts type of place. A wine bar that offers Tapas in a great setting in Central park (one of the great atrium areas - more on that later).

In addition to the the upscale specialty restaurants, Oasis offers other "pay" restaurants such as Johnny Rockets (apparently good according to our son), or seafood shack which actually is better than it sounds: It features items such as crab legs, lobster, if that is the type of food you like. Note that while these places are pay, it isn't at prices that you would pay on land - it more is like a surcharge similar to what you would pay if you went to say Palo or remy - somethimes it is a flat rate - other times, it is a la carte at reduced.

Buffet: Windjammers is probably better than topsiders, however there are select items which one offers which the others don't.

Pizza: We think that Sorrento's on Oasis is pretty good pizza. Slightly better than pizza on the magic. Both better than pizza on Fantasy which we think took a step back. Drawback to Sorrentos vs Magic/Fantasy is that it is not on the top deck of the ship but rather in the promanade atrium.

Burgers/Dogs. We think that Wipeout cafe is same as Plutos on Magic - both probably better than Fantasy which somehow took a slight step back.

The Oasis has a restaurant called park fare (free) that serves great prime rib roast beef sandwhiches along with make your own salads - great food and a great lunch option.

Finally, the Oasis has a lunch buffet up in their adults area solarium which focuses on healthier foods (we never made it there though - too many options.....)

Overall food theme: The Oasis wins out and is conducive to variety choices, multiudes of specialty dining rooms, variety in casual dining for teens. The parents have more choices of dining out. As far as the kids go, they never wanted to go the MDRs because they were busy hanging out with themselves (obviously not the younger ones), going to windjammer buffet which actually was decent for dinner, going to Johnny rockets or seafood shack on their own, or getting pizza. The Fantasy however is more conducive to families spending time together in the MDRs (reunions family time etc). What did we do? We made our older kids eat with us on Embarkation, debarkation, and formal nights but their preference was to do their own thing so we had 3 or so nights where the parents had their date nights with kids running amok all over the ship. See a theme here? As your kids get older into their teen years, they partake in the activities available to them including their own dining.

Note that by the by the middle of our cruise, our 10 YO had preferred to do the pizza, the video game arcades, games, with his friends that he came with as well as the ones he met, the pools/hot tubs etc. Note that as we write this, in retrospect, with news of the drowning accidents, we probably will need to revisit how unsupervised we need to leave the kids as it comes to pools and such.

OK, will save this now
Interested to hear more about kid activities...how old are your kids? Did they go to the kids clubs at all? What types of activities did they do? Or did the just kind of hang out mostly?
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:13 AM   #4
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I always enjoy reading reviews and opinions of other cruise lines. Thanks for sharing! I think RCCL would be a top contender for us for a non-Disney cruise.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:35 AM   #5
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Pools Sun and Fun: If you like swimming pools, deck areas to lay out and read, drink, or watch the ocean go by, Oasis is for you. There are pools everywhere, there is one in the adult solarium, there are at least 4, 5, or maybe 6 others of differrent types. One of them is a "beach pool" which is Saltwater (but not that salty) with zero entry area for loungers and sunning int he water. Even on the most crowded sea days, the pools never felt crowded. There was always a pool that was inviting for adults to sun in, have a cocktail or conversation, swim. Same goes for hot tubs. There are two in the adult solarium. At least four There is a sports pool with volleyball net more in the ship area. On the fantasy, there is the Donald and Mickey pools and those were always overrun with kids. Likewise, as populated as the ship is, we never had problems getting deck chairs. Oh yeah, there was also a H2O zone.

We think that the Fantasy took a step back with it's pool design. How could you build a new ship this big with such limited pool space? Furthermore, the adult pool on the Magic which was such a great space was gone from the Fantasy. The adult area on Fantasy, while nice seemed very "dry" compared to the Magic or the Solarium which is lush, tropical, and shielded from wind.

The fantasy does have the Dumbotron which Oasis does not so that is a shortcoming as far as showing movies and activities.

RCI Annoyance: We did have to check out pool towels and if you did not return you would be charged $25. While this was extremely annoying and inconvient, we suppose that it did help cut down on "towel lounger hoarding".

Activities: 2 flow riders. 2 rock climbing walls. Full court basketball, ping pong in areas shielded from wind, ice skating, zip line, large arcade, nearby teen spaces, merry go round on the boardwalk. The Fantasy does have the Aquaduck which is a great thing, but overall the edge goes to Oasis.

Layout and ship decor: Fantasy wins out as far as decor along lines of the classic ocean liner, beautiful artwork, public areas, disney artwork, etc. etc. Compared to this, the Oasis, while nice, well looks like a convention hotel. That said, for the three main areas of the ship, the Oasis does have visual appeal in it's area. This brings us to ship layout and central space: The Oasis, in it's massive size hass two massive "stacks" with 3 atriums running down the center. The stacks carry the staterooms with balconies facing outside to the ocean and inside to the atrium area. When you enter the ship, the main "promenade" atrium as you call it is very visually appealing with lights, decor, color. This place is massive - filled with a variety of shops, restaurants, bars, sport bars, food offerings. It really is something else. One of the bars goes up and down and rises directly above to another atrium called "Central Park". This is a lush cobblestone atrium open to sky above. It is filled with restaurants, a wine bar, a coach store etc.

The third big atrium is called the boarwalk which is themed after, well, a boardwalk complete with merry go round, candy stores, more restaurants and shops. The boarwalk opens up to an amphiteater in the back that has two giant screens backed up by the ocean as a backdrop - and also a pool with variable depth floor that is "deepened" for a diving show (with high platforms) - a fairly impressive production. The veranda suites that face the boardwalk on the inside can view back towards the ocean as well.

The Oasis is missing a real "outside promenade deck" so the Fantasy wins out there - for those that like to read, lay out, have solitude, go for walks close the ocean, play real shuffleboard on a teak deck Fantasy wins out. Oasis does have a jogging and walking track altough it is concrete and just doesn't have the same feel as the classic promenade deck.

All three of these atriums are impressive venues in themselves with constant activity, music, shows, parades - Oasis partners with Dreamworks and their is a dreamwork Parade - Of course it isn't Disney, but for us, after a decade of Disney, it is a good change of pace. On this theme, we will point out that the Fantasy and DCL obviously are Disney heavy - and the Pirate night, fireworks, etc. is also impressive, but come cruise #7, our kids don't go to Pirate night any more to see the same choreographed show that we remember.

Spa and Fitness: We are one of those health nuts that feel like we need to work out every day. The fitness facility on the Oasis is large with a variety of machines, free weights, spacious fitness studios, stretching area for situps etc. The Fantasy's rainforest room and area is much much nicer than the equivalent on the Oasis - however the Oasis does have two equivalents of the "mud room" which is an equivalent of the the Magic's Exotic Rasul (Fantasy designers, why did you take this away?). The Oasis also had a great variety of fitness classes, cycling, yoga, aerobics, boot camp. They do charge an annoying fee - more on this later.

Shows and activities: When it comes to music, bands, piano, comedy, activities, shows, comedy, acts, while Fantasy has great offerrings, there is some much volume and diversity in Oasis it is impressive. There is also a casino for those that are interested. The signature acts are the water diving show, an ice show (with sand artist), Hairspray broadway, A Cirque-Du-Soleil style "Come Fly With Me".

Private Island: Disney's Castaway Cay is a 10. Labadee was a 2. For the beach we went to, the water was rocky, the sand was course and pebbly, loungers were hard to come by, service was poor, drink offerrings were poor, dirty bathrooms, shortage of floatys, substandard service (staffed by locals and not ship staff). They did have some nice offerrings such as zipline and the cabanas were nice but overall, Castaway Cay is truly a gem.

As far as western port goes, Jamaica for us was a waste. We like Costa Maya better but that was also what we would term as a generaly undesirable port. In Cozumel, Fantasy's dock is in-town while RCI is little farther out. If you like to walk around downtown, Fantasy is better - but if you like to head south the beaches, RCI is a little closer.

Next section: Rooms, cost, wrapup...

Last edited by ps17; 04-07-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:06 PM   #6
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Great review! Looking forward to the rooms section. I have a hard time figuring out which categories are ocean view balcony ones. I wouldn't want to pay for a balcony to look out at the promenade.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
ps17
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Rooms: Oasis does have a variety of suite offerrings including multistory suites etc. However, for our room which was a standard room for 4 (maybe five) people with pulldown and pullout couch, Fantasy wins out. Size of room, Disney's are largest at sea. Storage space - Oasis was very cramped as far as place to put clothes for 4 people (we still have not learned out to pack efficiently!!).

The two bathroom layout for Disney is flat out better. The sink area, bathroom storage, counter layout is also a big plus. Also, we really missed Disney rooms ability to pull privacy divider curtain. Helps for when it is time for us to tell the kids to go to sleep, or getting up in the morning to go to the gym without waking everyone in room. hower in DCL and Fantasy's shower also much much roomier (with a tub for those of you with little ones that like baths). That said, Oasis' tubular design contains the spray well (pet peave of DH is water on bathroom floor).

Kids club: Hand down, Fantasy wins out. Our 10 YO wanted to go to the club every day on Fantasy. When we took the tour on Oasis, the rooms appeared small and uninteresting. There was some interesting science lab stuff, but where were the computers? Games? Fun things. Our 10YO therefore did not go to the clubs - there was no dining room pickup. This is possibly a problem for those with younger kids who rely heavily so since we did not have that age, we cannot comment on how they are once the kids are there. We just know that the 10 did not find it appealing enough to want to even check it out.

We will have to say that with so many people on the ships, there is very high percentage that your children ages 10 and higher will meet others at the pools and make connections to spend their time.

Back to our original comments, there is almost a dichotomy of vacations: Do you want ones centered round the MDRs where you spend 6 nights, your kids are with you, they are picked up for kids club, this if for you. If you like the vacation where mom and dad wine and dine in a variety of venues, take in ship activities; while kids are running amok enjoying their activites, their own dining venues - with occasional reconnects, perhaps this is for you. Comment on this: In retrospect, there is a leap of faith you are taking on this. The (near) drownings give you something to think about. Also, at the end of the day, you are on a cruise ship with 6000 other people. You have faith in that their demographics are the same as you - vacationing families etc. In the end, it is something to think about.

One cool thing that Oasis has one-upped Disney in the photo department: For most part, no handing people your KTTW cards while you are getting your pictures taken. Disney might use facial recognition software to group your photos, but RCI's system really leverages this - no need to stop and give you your card - the photographers meander and take pictures at many venues - and you keep going with your activities. No time wasted looking through shelves of photos - your pictures are grouped together automatically - there is an occasional software mistake but this is a cool feature. (Gotta get this at home)

Finally costs: We said that before "extras" Oasis was upwards towards $6K while Fantasy was over $9K. Here is the catch: RCI will nickel and dime you to death. For example, basic water, lemonade, ice tea is free. Pop package is spendy and adds up. The specialty restaurants add up ($30 here and there or select alacart). Same thing with spa and fitness - a yoga or fitness class might cost $10 or $15. Some casual restaurants also cost. Also, it is our impression that equivalent offerrings for RCI are more expensive - similar spa offerrings or photo packages cost more but don't quote us.

On costs, we did purchase an alcohol package - for somewhere around $60 per person/day you could drink all you want tips included. This worked well for us and it was convenient to just hand the person the card at the pool and get it back without fumbling.

Crowds: With close to 6000 guests we never felt any more crowded than we were on the Magic or Fantasy. Also, like those ships, there was always a time and place for solitude.

Technology: The Oasis and Allure are technological wonders. Due to size, the ships barely rock so for those that don't want to sail for seasickness, these ships are for you. As a matter of fact, is bizaare as it seams, you almost want some turbulence and rocking to get that at-sea feeling.

In concluding for us, with teenage kids now, we think that RCI big ships (Oasis and Allure)is a likely progression. Why? Because it fits our needs. Because of variety and options for entertainment, food, excercise, sun, rest. We definately will return to the Fantasy (perhaps for family renuions, Christmas sailings etc) and we are already planning a return to the parks, but Oasis and Allure definately will get a slice of our cruise vacation budget for the time being.

Hope you guy liked the review (please remember this is opinion) and hopefuly this does not offend too many people to post on this board.

Last edited by ps17; 04-07-2013 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:24 PM   #8
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To respond to some questions: We had a 15YO and a 10YO. The teenagers being basketball players, spent much of their time there - the also spend time in the teen clubs, walked" around a lot - dined on their own at Windjammers for lunch and dinner, at Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, and the Sorrentos pizza. They stayed up late. Our 15YO, met up with 2 friends that came with from our school.

Our 10 YO also was able to meet another 10YO from the same school as his. They met another boy from the pool - their typical plan was to meet to go to the arcade, go to the pool, "come to my room to play nintendo DS", come with my parents to see the show, etc etc.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:34 PM   #9
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Thanks for taking the time to post that. We are planning our first cruise, and decided to go with Disney since we have 2 young boys who LOVE everything Disney. But we have wondered about other cruise lines to, and think we may decide to try a different line in a few years. Thanks for the unbiased information. :D
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:35 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ps17
To respond to some questions: We had a 15YO and a 10YO. The teenagers being basketball players, spent much of their time there - the also spend time in the teen clubs, walked" around a lot - dined on their own at Windjammers for lunch and dinner, at Johnny Rockets, Seafood Shack, and the Sorrentos pizza. They stayed up late. Our 15YO, met up with 2 friends that came with from our school.

Our 10 YO also was able to meet another 10YO from the same school as his. They met another boy from the pool - their typical plan was to meet to go to the arcade, go to the pool, "come to my room to play nintendo DS", come with my parents to see the show, etc etc.
Did you feel comfortable letting your 10 yo roam the ship alone without your 15 yo?
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:37 PM   #11
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How would you rate the ship experience for young children who have to be either in childcare or with their parents?
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
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Finally costs: We said that before "extras" Oasis was upwards towards $6K while Fantasy was over $9K. Here is the catch: RCI will nickel and dime you to death. For example, basic water, lemonade, ice tea is free. Pop package is spendy and adds up. The specialty restaurants add up ($30 here and there or select alacart). Same thing with spa and fitness - a yoga or fitness class might cost $10 or $15. Some casual restaurants also cost. Also, it is our impression that equivalent offerrings for RCI are more expensive - similar spa offerrings or photo packages cost more but don't quote us.

On costs, we did purchase an alcohol package - for somewhere around $60 per person/day you could drink all you want tips included. This worked well for us and it was convenient to just hand the person the card at the pool and get it back without fumbling.

I am curious on the cost comparison, as we may try another line or two in the future. After all of the extra charges on the Oasis, was the total trip cost similar to DCL, or was it still quite a bit cheaper?

Excellent report, appreciate the time you spent on it. Do you have any pictures from the trip you could share?

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Old 04-07-2013, 01:06 PM   #13
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. . . Hope you guy liked the review
Nice review. Thanks for sharing.

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Old 04-07-2013, 01:35 PM   #14
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Will try to get the questions in one - if I miss something, post back....

1) We think that for first time cruisers, especially those with young kids, DCL is the way to go (specifically Dream/Fantasy). One of our keys was that after so many cruises and kids getting older, it is certainly OK and preferable to branch out. To put it differrently, if you are Disneyaholics, and haven't done DCL yet, then DCL is the way to go.

2) For our 10YO wondering the ship was definately a progression. It started out with us sitting by pool A while he swam in pool A, but then he would wonder over to the aquazone, or circular pool (similar to WDW beach club), or hot tub A B or C, or aqua zone and we never followed him. Also friends we were travelling with and their 10YO were "watchful" over the other pools.

As the cruise progressed, others joined the two of them became a group of friends - they would make plans to go to arcade afterwards. The first night, we would say - you can go to the arcade but then when you are done, you either go to Johnny's room or our room. So we went to some show, but then when we got back to our room at 10:30 their swimsuits were gone - and then when we went up, the 2 10YOs were swimming with their older brother who was 13YO (so they weren't completley unguarded) - then they would go to pizza on their own.

So bottom line, is that it definately migrated to that level. We never were worried. He is a good swimmer. The pools aren't that deep and as good size as each one is, it isn't that far from end to end. He can swim from end to end, or "bottom skip" if he needs to. All that said, upon return and browsing of these boards on the flight back we hear about incident at WDW and on the Fantasy and it does make you think. So, in conclusion, we were fine. Worked out for us, but definately have something to think about. For all the staff members, they should staff the pools with lifeguards and maybe now they will.

Regarding costs, we have not done a detailed analysis and in discussion with DW, we have some incomplete data. My perception was that for this particular cruise, the quote for Fantasy was about $9000 while Oasis was around $6000. That said, for next year's spring break, Fantasy western was about $6000 while Allure eastern was about the same. Our speculation is that Disney possibly charges a higher premium for holiday (Easter) cruises.

As far as extras go, a pop package is $30 per person for the week. The speciality restaurants will run you from $20 a pop per person to $80 pp depending on which one you go to. Of course there is the charge for wave phones if you want, aerobics, and as mentioned we think that the spas and excursions on RCI are more costly (don't quote us). Not a lot of help here but you can probably do your own research for your next cruse when it comes around.

If you go off of the Allure/Oasis class, the price starts to drop even more but the analysis of this review is for those ships only.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:59 PM   #15
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Thanks for the excellent review! My only complaint is that it now makes my decisions even tougher. The Oasis class ships sound awesome and I definitely want to get on one of them someday. Lots to think about, especially for someone who's only cruised Disney since having kids.
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