Going to give Royal another try...

tidefan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
So, I am so glad to be cruising again and through a few circumstances, we will be cruising a lot over the next year.

One of those will be a cruise on Oasis of the Seas. I am both hesistant as well as looking forward to the cruise as it will be a chance to give Royal another chance after a less than stellar voyage on the Serenade OTS some years ago. We are avid cruisers and have done many DCL cruises, many Princess cruises, as well as a Carnival and RCCL cruise. I am really looking forward to seeing the ship as so many of you seem to love the Oasis class. Looking forward to exploring it and doing some of the activities. That being said, I do have some hesitancy as we are not Specialty Dining people and the Oasis seems to be full of it. On Princess or DCL, I never feel like I have to pay extra to get good food, so hoping the complimentary food is good.

This will also be an interesting time to compare lines as many of our cruises in the next year are on different lines. We'll be on Virgin Voyages next month, then the Oasis, then the Mardi Gras (I am looking forward to comparing those 2 ships directly), then the Crown Princess, and then the Disney Wish next summer. (I know you all are thinking that we are spending all that FCC we may have had from an year and a half of cancelled cruises.... you may be right... :) )
 

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
I haven't been on Serenade of the Seas, but it is one of their older smaller ships. Oasis class is completely different. The shows to the atmosphere to the activities are "wow"! Oasis as well has been recently amped so it has many bells and whistles. We have her booked for next year and can't wait.
P.S. - We personally are good with the main dining room and stick with it. Don't feel like you need to try specialty if you don't want to.
 

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DizneyNutz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 19, 2004
So, I am so glad to be cruising again and through a few circumstances, we will be cruising a lot over the next year.

One of those will be a cruise on Oasis of the Seas. I am both hesistant as well as looking forward to the cruise as it will be a chance to give Royal another chance after a less than stellar voyage on the Serenade OTS some years ago. We are avid cruisers and have done many DCL cruises, many Princess cruises, as well as a Carnival and RCCL cruise. I am really looking forward to seeing the ship as so many of you seem to love the Oasis class. Looking forward to exploring it and doing some of the activities. That being said, I do have some hesitancy as we are not Specialty Dining people and the Oasis seems to be full of it. On Princess or DCL, I never feel like I have to pay extra to get good food, so hoping the complimentary food is good.

This will also be an interesting time to compare lines as many of our cruises in the next year are on different lines. We'll be on Virgin Voyages next month, then the Oasis, then the Mardi Gras (I am looking forward to comparing those 2 ships directly), then the Crown Princess, and then the Disney Wish next summer. (I know you all are thinking that we are spending all that FCC we may have had from an year and a half of cancelled cruises.... you may be right... :) )
We also cruised with DCL around 8 times before switching to RCCL. We love cruising with RCCL and also the larger ships like you mentioned. We do like the somewhat smaller but not small ships that we sailed on in the resumption to cruising so far since July. We are like you in that we are not foodies and have ALWAYS eaten in main dining venues until this year. Around 17 cruises main dining only and then we tried the unlimited dining package on a short getaway cruise to RRCL's Island (CoCo Cay) in September. Now we have it purchased on our next three cruises because we enjoyed the experiences we have had. And waiting for price drops to purchase for our other 2 we currently have booked also.

I would recommend watching your cruise planner for sales, (especially Black Friday) and maybe purchase either Chops +1 or the 3 night specialty and give some of the other venues a go. You might find that it isnt all about the food but the experience as well. When on sale you can generally find the packages at under $30/ day and if you get the unlimited it includes some lunches as well. WE have the Unlimited for our 7 night trip next week and it was $196. We are looking forward to trying Wonderland this trip with a group of friends we are travelling with. We are also dining at Chops with them 1 night also.

Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, try to find a Facebook group for your exact sailing. Helps having the extra eyes watching things like cabin price drops, cruise planner sales, earlier embarkation postings, etc. We cruise next week for Thanksgiving Cruise and around 3 weeks ago some in our Group (we have almost 500 members) posted there was a major price drop on all cabins. We had our TA check and she was able to reprice our cruise and we got a $1,259 OBC since it was after PIF Date. Hope you have a great cruise this time with Royal and don't hesitate to try something new like we did. wish we had tried the Specialty Dining a lot sooner. Happy Cruising
 

starvenger

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
You've got an interesting schedule ahead of you!

From what I've seen, Virgin is quite different. Not surprising, I suppose. Richard Branson loves being different.

Oasis and Mardi Gras should be an interesting comparison. I haven't been on Carnival yet, but Mardi Gras looks like it's something that is meant to appeal to Oasis-class fans. Heard good things about it.

For Oasis, Black Friday will probably be your best shot at finding discounts. I've traditionally waited until then to book things like photo packages. Coffee card might be a good item to look for as well.

For food, I've found the "free" restaurants to be perfectly fine. Being on an Oasis class, you actually have more free options than on the smaller Royal ships. Off the top of my head, you've got the MDR, WindJammer, Sorrentos, Promenade Cafe, Park Cafe and El Loco Fresh. Plus Johnny Rockets for breakfast. Still a nice view, in spite of the Abyss being there.

As for the specialty dining, I don't know that you're missing much with Chops, Giovanni's and the hibachi grill. Playmakers, Izumi and Portside BBQ are all a la carte, so you could still indulge if you wanted to.
 

tidefan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
We also cruised with DCL around 8 times before switching to RCCL. We love cruising with RCCL and also the larger ships like you mentioned. We do like the somewhat smaller but not small ships that we sailed on in the resumption to cruising so far since July. We are like you in that we are not foodies and have ALWAYS eaten in main dining venues until this year. Around 17 cruises main dining only and then we tried the unlimited dining package on a short getaway cruise to RRCL's Island (CoCo Cay) in September. Now we have it purchased on our next three cruises because we enjoyed the experiences we have had. And waiting for price drops to purchase for our other 2 we currently have booked also.

I would recommend watching your cruise planner for sales, (especially Black Friday) and maybe purchase either Chops +1 or the 3 night specialty and give some of the other venues a go. You might find that it isnt all about the food but the experience as well. When on sale you can generally find the packages at under $30/ day and if you get the unlimited it includes some lunches as well. WE have the Unlimited for our 7 night trip next week and it was $196. We are looking forward to trying Wonderland this trip with a group of friends we are travelling with. We are also dining at Chops with them 1 night also.

Are you on Facebook? If you haven't already, try to find a Facebook group for your exact sailing. Helps having the extra eyes watching things like cabin price drops, cruise planner sales, earlier embarkation postings, etc. We cruise next week for Thanksgiving Cruise and around 3 weeks ago some in our Group (we have almost 500 members) posted there was a major price drop on all cabins. We had our TA check and she was able to reprice our cruise and we got a $1,259 OBC since it was after PIF Date. Hope you have a great cruise this time with Royal and don't hesitate to try something new like we did. wish we had tried the Specialty Dining a lot sooner. Happy Cruising
Thanks!

We won't be trying the specialty dining. I'm sure it's great, but we just don't like spending extra (outside of a Coke package) when we've already spent to get on the ship. I also don't really get the charges for the BBQ place or the sports bar. It's not like that is gourmet food areas...

When we don't sail DCL, we usually cruise Princess, which we really, really like. I hope we really like the Oasis class as well. However, we won't do the ice rink or the rock walls, or that stuff, but are looking forward to just walking around the Central Park area and the Sanctuary (well that's what Princess calls it, not sure what RCCL calls it, "Solarium" I think?) area. Also looking forward to checking out Coco Cay.

Our one RCCL cruise on the Serenade had a number of issues, mainly being the fact that it was the first US cruise after being in Europe and there was some kind of labor dispute, so a number of people did not renew contracts which left them short staffed for the first half of our cruise (they onloaded a number of crew actually from the Oasis while we were docked with her in Falmouth to help staff, as a couple of examples, first, for the first 3 days of the cruise, there was only one person working the main bar by the main pool, second, our first night in Anytime dining, we waited over 40 minutes from when we were sat until we were waited on).

This is a cruise we sort of "fell into", but are really looking forward to. Interestingly, we will be cruising the Carnival Mardi Gras a couple months after the Oasis, so it will be interesting to compare the two...
 
Last edited:

tidefan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 1, 2007
You've got an interesting schedule ahead of you!

From what I've seen, Virgin is quite different. Not surprising, I suppose. Richard Branson loves being different.

Oasis and Mardi Gras should be an interesting comparison. I haven't been on Carnival yet, but Mardi Gras looks like it's something that is meant to appeal to Oasis-class fans. Heard good things about it.

For Oasis, Black Friday will probably be your best shot at finding discounts. I've traditionally waited until then to book things like photo packages. Coffee card might be a good item to look for as well.

For food, I've found the "free" restaurants to be perfectly fine. Being on an Oasis class, you actually have more free options than on the smaller Royal ships. Off the top of my head, you've got the MDR, WindJammer, Sorrentos, Promenade Cafe, Park Cafe and El Loco Fresh. Plus Johnny Rockets for breakfast. Still a nice view, in spite of the Abyss being there.

As for the specialty dining, I don't know that you're missing much with Chops, Giovanni's and the hibachi grill. Playmakers, Izumi and Portside BBQ are all a la carte, so you could still indulge if you wanted to.
Honestly, I have no idea of what to expect with Virgin, even with seeing various trip reports/youtubes, etc. People either seem to love it or hate it. Or both. That will be interesting...

Yeah, we are looking forward to all of these cruises. Getting to compare Oasis to Mardi Gras this close together will be cool. Also, our trip on Princess to Alaska goes to Glacier Bay, which we have not been to before, so we are also looking forward to that in particular on that cruise.
 
  • tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    From what I've seen, Virgin is quite different. Not surprising, I suppose. Richard Branson loves being different.
    Quick update. On Scarlet Lady as I write this. Virgin has completely blown away our expectations. The ship is beautiful and quirky, in a good way. Of note:

    - There is no main dining room. There are various restaurants across the ship and they are all included. Quality has been amazing in all we’ve tried so far. Some are open for lunch as well.

    - The WiFi I am using to type this on is included. So nice…

    - The ice cream place (also included) is not soft serve. It’s real “gelato” style ice cream in either vanilla, chocolate, or red velvet waffle cones.

    - No buffet. The “Galley” is kind of like a food court. Soft drinks are included and the machines are accessible 24/7. There are ramen, taco, burger, sushi, breakfast, panini, salad (think like the “Chopt” place), and a dessert place that has one of those frozen pops carts.

    - Virgin has spaces on the ship in the Galley and elsewhere where they have pre-packaged “grab and go” food. You just grab what you want out of the cooler and go. Things like a charcuterie and cheese box, tres leches cake, Caesar salad, turkey wraps, etc.

    - Interestingly, there is no mask requirement onboard.

    - Show spaces are very different. Not sure how to explain it, but we’ve been to 3 shows in there and it’s looked like a completely different place each time. Acrobatics show tonight was amazing. Shows are definitely aimed at adults.

    - The elevators. Again, not sure how to explain. They are the best we’ve had at sea.

    - The arcade onboard is completely free (as are the foosball, air hockey, and those cool bar shuffleboard tables). The joy of sitting there playing tabletop Ms. Pac-Man…. Also, there is a food stand there that does dressed up hot dogs, pretzels and cheese, and floats, but they also have a candy stand where you can get gummy bears, licorice, etc. Again, included.

    - I had thought that the hammock on the balcony was a gimmick. Now I wonder how I will have one without a hammock. Absolutely love it.

    - The Pizza restaurant is “almost” as good as Alfredo’s on Princess (but, I think Alfredo’s wins by a hair…)

    We will definitely be back on Virgin.
     
    Last edited:

    John VN

    N.Y. STYLE CHEESECAKE RULES!!!
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2003
    Quick update. On Scarlet Lady as I write this. Virgin has completely blown away our expectations. The ship is beautiful and quirky, in a good way........................We will definitely be back on Virgin.
    Thanks for the *while on cruise* update!

    I've been thinking about SL but Port Canaveral is our Port of Choice and lately we've opted for MSC Yacht Club sailing. Really like the *Ship in a Ship* experience. Looking forward to our January's Meriviglia Western and any more updates from you would be welcomed.
     

    tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    Thanks for the *while on cruise* update!

    I've been thinking about SL but Port Canaveral is our Port of Choice and lately we've opted for MSC Yacht Club sailing. Really like the *Ship in a Ship* experience. Looking forward to our January's Meriviglia Western and any more updates from you would be welcomed.
    Haven’t been on MSC, but would like to try it sometime.

    We will definitely be back on Virgin.
     

    RAD

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 15, 1999
    Have you checked our Celebrity? One of the owners of this forum and a TA (Tracey) talk them up as being close to equal to DCL when it comes to service. Their newer ships, Apex and Edge have split their 'main' dining room into four separate rooms, each with a different menu reflecting four different areas while also having some specialty restaurants. There are a ton of videos on YouTube that give tours of the ships. We did the Oasis 5 year ago and for the four adults in the party we all felt that it was just too big.
     
  • tidefan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 1, 2007
    Have you checked our Celebrity? One of the owners of this forum and a TA (Tracey) talk them up as being close to equal to DCL when it comes to service. Their newer ships, Apex and Edge have split their 'main' dining room into four separate rooms, each with a different menu reflecting four different areas while also having some specialty restaurants. There are a ton of videos on YouTube that give tours of the ships. We did the Oasis 5 year ago and for the four adults in the party we all felt that it was just too big.
    We actually prefer Princess, which is similar, and we have elite status with them, so we get free laundry, minibar, etc…
     


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