We went on a cruise in the Western Caribbean in February. We sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea’s, which is one of the largest cruise ships in the world. I decided to compile a list of the highlights on the ship from my recent cruise. There are tons of things to do on this gigantic cruise ship and I definitely didn’t get to everything (I wasn’t even close), but my family and I did manage to experience quite a few of the ship’s attractions.
- The best thing about the Oasis of the Sea’s (if you ask me) is Central Park. The area takes up about half of deck 8 of the ship. It is full of live plants, trees, and flower gardens. There are meandering pathways leading between the flora. The area is unlike anything you could imagine encountering on a ship at sea. It is very tranquil and typically quiet. There are shops, restaurants, and bars flanking Central Park. At night the whole area is artfully illuminated and they feature live performances by classical musicians. I always found Central Park to be relaxing; it even features a nice manmade breeze flowing through it.
- Since I started with Central Park, I feel like I need to list the Boardwalk next. While Central Park may be more geared towards adults, the Boardwalk is definitely a place for families. There is a large handmade carousel (which my kids adored). There is also a hot dog stand, ice cream parlor, arcade, and Johnny Rockets lining the sides of the Boardwalk. The grand aqua theater sits at the far end of the area. We watched one show there that was pretty entertaining. There was also face painting and carnival games for children on the Boardwalk at times.
- The Pool Deck is always a popular place on cruises to warm destinations. Our recent cruise to the Caribbean was no exception. We spent a lot of time by the many pools. There were actually three main pools, plus the H2O Zone for children, and a pool in the adults-only Solarium. I was in the H2O Zone with my two kids quite a bit. I actually swam a little in a couple of the other pools, too. The Beach Pool was pretty cool because it had a sloped entry and the first couple rows of lounge chairs were actually in a couple inches of water. The pools were pretty cold when I was in them, but at least they didn’t taste like saltwater.
- There are several adventurous activities on the ship. There are two Flow Rider surf simulators. I watched people surf on those a few times with my son. Most people wiped out right away, but when we came back to watch the advanced surfers they never fell. There are also two rock climbing walls. I tried that out for the first time and it didn’t go too well. I found out it is a lot harder than it looks. I guess I need to practice some more. The third adventurous activity that is unique on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class is the zipline. They actually have a zipline that you can ride nine decks above the Boardwalk. It is over 80 feet long.
- Chops Grille was phenomenal. Chops Grille is one of several restaurants on the ship that cost extra. My wife and I went there because there was a bit of a wait to get into the main dining room and we were short on time. We absolutely loved our steaks and the excellent service. My wife enjoyed it so much that she wanted to return with her whole extended family two nights later for her birthday dinner.
- Another place we frequented was the Royal Promenade. The Royal Promenade is a feature on many of Royal Caribbean’s ships. It’s essentially like a mall; it is home to several shops, restaurants, and bars. The area is three decks high, so it feels extra spacious inside. My favorite spots in the promenade were Sorrento’s for its thin crust pizza and the Globe and Atlas Pub. It had the English Pub feel to it and had a better beer selection than most bars on the ship. That’s also where I watched the Eagles win the Super Bowl. We also watched a nice Dreamworks parade go through the Royal Promenade.
- Bonus: My four-year-old son’s favorite place on the ship was the miniature golf course (that and the carousel). We played golf many times and he loved it every time. They had nine holes of golf and a little practice putting area. Noah preferred to bounce around and try different holes, but never did them in order. He also refuses to follow my instructions on how to hold the club and struggles with his putting quite a bit, but he has a great time anyway so I can’t complain.
That’s my list of highlights on the Oasis of the Sea’s, but again there was plenty more to see and do on the ship. We were always with our kids so we had to gear our entertainment towards them. As a result, we skipped several things like the jazz club, comedy club, and even the shows in the main theater. There is apparently a nice Broadway-style performance of Cats. We did watch a performance on the ice rink and were impressed with that. There are also times when open skating is offered on the rink. The complimentary dining options are good, but we loved Chops Grille like I mentioned earlier. There are several other specialty dining options, but we didn’t try any of the others. I’d argue that there is truly something for everyone on most cruise ships, and that’s definitely the case on an enormous cruise ship like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Sea’s.