Oasis of the Seas — or what Royal Caribbean likes to refer to as the original “game-changer” — is a nickname is well-earned. The ship is the first of the Oasis-class vessels in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, representing the largest cruise liners on the planet. In fact, outside of this class of ships, there is nothing that even comes close to the size.
Coming in at more than 225,000 gross tons and over 1,180 feet long after a recent refresh in late 2019 (the ship was originally built in 2009), it can carry 5,600 passengers at full occupancy and squeeze in nearly 7,000 when totally full. (Some rooms can carry more than two passengers).
And with that size comes opportunity. On every cruise ship space is a limiting factor as to what you can put onboard. But with a ship the size of Oasis of the Seas, you can have more of everything. That includes more spots for entertainment, more restaurants, more pools, and more things to do.
Combined, that makes Oasis-class ships like this one different from anything else in cruising. That means even if you’ve sailed other ships — including other types in the Royal Caribbean fleet — you haven’t had the same experience as sailing on Oasis of the Seas.
We recently had the opportunity to sail aboard Oasis. Below, we provide a full guide to sailing on the ship, including a tour, tips, things to know, and our full thoughts.
In This Article...
First Impressions & Ship Highlights
When you step aboard Oasis of the Seas, we think the first impression you’ll get is “big.” Having sailed on plenty of large Royal Caribbean ships in the past, Oasis still stands out as having a massive size.
Public areas throughout the ship, including the Royal Promenade, are wide and spacious — almost cavernous. While other ships in the fleet have a similar promenade setup, the size and space provided on Oasis is like nothing else.
This size extends to nearly every aspect of the ship. We found balconies on cabins to be larger. The casino is larger. Bars are larger. Restaurants are larger. Whirlpools and pools are larger.
In other words, if you’ve ever felt cramped on a cruise ship, then things are different on Oasis of the Seas. And as you’ll see below, that space also provides an opportunity to pack more onto the ship for an experience that’s like nothing else.
If you’ve sailed Royal Caribbean before, then the design of Oasis of the Seas will feel familiar. Much of the design and style you find across the fleet is found on Oasis as well. In other words, it’s nice and modern without feeling stuffy.
Of course, the design will vary based on where you are around the ship. The pool deck? It’s bright and colorful with multiple waterslides, tropical-colored casitas, and an upbeat vibe. The Solarium? It’s more modern and “classy” in design with a quieter atmosphere that feels more refined.
The Boardwalk at the back of the ship has the feel of a carnival, complete with a carousel and two 10-story slides winding down from the top deck. Central Park — complete with thousands of plants — is a quiet spot to relax among greenery and muted colors amid the otherwise active ship.
It’s actually difficult to give an overall definition of the design style as it varies so widely from spot to spot across the ship. Some areas feature lots of glass, chrome, and wood tones. Others are clean, white, and modern. But if you’ve ever sailed the cruise line before, then it will definitely feel like “home.”
Activities on the Ship
With so much space on Oasis of the Seas, you’d expect there to be plenty to do. That’s absolutely right. In fact, we think it’s a good thing the ship normally sails longer itineraries as just a few days isn’t enough to experience everything.
Let’s begin with the massive pool decks at the top of the ship. Starting at the back, you’ll find the dual FlowRiders, offering standing waves. Right nearby is the Ultimate Abyss, a dry slide that takes you spinning down to the Boardwalk below. There’s also the basketball court and mini-golf course. One unique activity here is a zipline that will carry you across the open split in the ship and over the Boardwalk.
Moving forward there is a Splashaway Bay for kids, along with three different pools, and multiple waterslides. At the front of the pool area is the Solarium. This adults-only area is one of our favorites. It’s large, beautiful, offers great views, and provides plenty of sun without having to worry about the wind.
Unlike other ships, Oasis has a split in the middle allowing for more open-air spaces even on lower decks. This includes Central Park on Deck 8, which features a winding path through trees and plants. There are plenty of places to stop and sit, and each side is lined with a number of restaurants and shops. There are also bars where you can have a drink and enjoy the scenery.
On Deck 6 there is the Boardwalk, an open area at the back of the ship. Here you’ll find Playmakers (a sports bar), as well as video games, TVs showing sports, and a pool table. There’s a large carousel, as well as a number of small shops and spots to eat. At the very end of the Boardwalk area is the Aqua Theater, which is flanked on either side by two rock walls.
There’s just as much to do indoors. The Royal Escape Room gives you 60 minutes to launch an Apollo mission — complete with a very authentic 1960’s NASA Mission Control — by solving puzzles with clues around the room.
Kids can play in Adventure Ocean, which features a number of high-tech activities for them to enjoy. The Music Hall is a cool multi-level spot to watch bands perform in the evening and also features a pool table to enjoy during the day.
Inside you’ll also find the Main Promenade, featuring a bars and shops. There’s also Spotlight Karaoke and Boleros whether you want to sing… or just listen to the professionals do it.
Of course, cruise staples like the casino and spa are on the ship and likely larger than you’ve seen on any other ship. Oasis of the Seas also offers a jazz bar, comedy club and even an ice-skating rink. Yes, you can ice skate in the middle of the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean always places a big emphasis on entertainment, and Oasis is no different. As mentioned above, there are a number of music and comedy venues for passengers to enjoy. And the ice skating rink — while offering a chance for passengers to skate — is used primarily for ice shows.
Of course there are also the things put on by the crew during the day, including everything from fitness classes to trivia to sports competitions.
In the main theater you’ll find the major production shows, which most recently was a production of CATS. For Broadway fans, it’s a can’t miss.
But when it comes to entertainment, we think the Aqua Theater is a must-see.
The theater is something completely unique to Oasis-class ships. It features a pool with a floor that moves up and down. Sometimes it is fully up and performers can walk on the water. Other times it is down and they can dive in from above. There are fountains to spray water, diving platforms, lights, and more.
Shows here feature swimmers and dancers doing moves in the pool. Performers fly over the audience. Divers jump anywhere from five to 60 feet above the pool. Slackline performers bounce and flip on their lines above the water. And a performer even walks a tightrope over the audience. It’s all set to music and lights, it’s high energy, and there are no lulls.
Let’s put it another way — if you are on an Oasis-class ship, you can’t miss the show. If you haven’t sailed an Oasis-class ship with the Aqua Theater, then just know that you are definitely missing out on something special.
Food & Beverage
What’s a cruise without a bite to eat and something to drink? You will not be disappointed on Oasis of the Seas. Given the size, there are numerous restaurants, covering all types of cuisines and atmosphere.
Of course the main dining room and Windjammer buffet are staples for most people during your cruise. These spots are included with your fare, making them popular. Other included meals are El Loco Fresh (Mexican food), the Solarium Bistro (smaller buffet), Boardwalk Dog House (hot dogs), Park Cafe (small eats and breakfast), and Sorrento’s (pizza).
However, while there are a number of spots that serve small bites and snacks, most meals outside the dining room are specialty restaurants that carry an extra charge.
What you’ll find onboard includes everything from cheap eats like Johnny Rockets to fine dining like Chop’s Grille and 150 Central Park. While restaurants are located around the ship, a number of higher-end specialty dining spots line Central Park. This includes Giovanni’s Table.
Just want something tasty without having to dress up? There’s Izumi Hibachi if you want Asian food. There’s also Portside BBQ, serving Texas-style BBQ up on the pool deck. And Playmakers makes an appearance. The sports bar serves food including burgers and Poke nachos to enjoy while you watch the game.
As for bars, there are plenty all over the ship, so it’s never too far from a drink. Two that will definitely catch your eye are Bionic Bar and Rising Tide.
Bionic Bar features no bartender, but you still won’t forget who serves your drink. Instead of human bartenders, there are two robotic arms that make drink orders. Place your order on the electronic tablet and watch as they gather ice, dispense ingredients and shake everything up.
Rising Tide is one bar that you can’t miss — literally. It’s in the middle of the main promenade. It looks like an ordinary bar, but as you enjoy your drink, the entire platform that it is on rises up several decks like a huge elevator. You can choose to get off in Central Park, or complete the ride back down.
Photo Tour of Oasis of the Seas
What We Liked About Oasis of the Seas
During our sailing aboard Oasis of the Seas, we became big fans of the ship. To us, it’s the perfect mix of relaxation while also having so much to do that you can’t get bored, even on a longer cruise.
For instance, two of our favorite spots on the ship were the Solarium and Central Park. The Solarium offers plenty of space and feels a world away from the rest of the ship. It’s nice to be able to relax quietly without tons of music or huge crowds.
Central Park is like nothing else seen on a cruise ship. It’s a legit park. We found ourselves enjoying breakfast in the park each morning from the small café located there. It’s the perfect way to start the day.
But when you’re ready for something to do, there’s no end to your options. You can sing karaoke, ice skate, zipline, go down a waterslide, watch a game at Playmakers, watch some of the most amazing shows you’ll see anywhere (not just on a cruise ship) and then do it all again the next day.
In short, the ship offers anything you could want on a cruise — all delivered in a massive package.
What Could Be Improved
Where was the ship lacking? When it comes to the actual ship itself, we felt very little. Despite the revamp in late 2019, some areas did feel a little dated in design, but nothing that stopped you in your tracks.
While there are some people who aren’t fans of the size of the Oasis-class ships, our view is the complete opposite. To us, bigger is better.
In fact, the only real complaint we had during our cruise is that we felt there weren’t enough included spots to eat. There seems to be a trend to include the dining room and buffet, but other spots that serve actual meals — rather than snacks — are an extra charge or only open for lunch.
We will always argue for more included options when it comes to dining.
Oasis of the Seas Tips & Things to Know
During our cruise, we picked up a few tips and learned some things about sailing aboard Oasis of the Seas.
The Solarium Is a Can’t Miss
Given its location at the front of the ship, the Solarium isn’t hard to find. But it can be easy to miss. Since it’s at the front, you don’t have to go by it to get anywhere else. Our advice? Definitely check it out. It’s one of our favorite spots on the ship if you’re looking to get away and have some quiet time to just relax.
Check the Door Markers for a Direction Hint
Cabin hallways can be confusing to navigate. They are long, have no windows, and you can’t tell if you’re coming or going. Door markers provide a hint. On Oasis of the Seas they are circles, and if you look closely, you’ll see a small arrow on the outer edge. This points forward so you know if you are heading to the front of the ship or toward the back.
The Best Seat for the Aqua Show
In the Aqua Theater is a performance you don’t want to miss. It’s like nothing else you’ll ever see as performers dive, dance, fly over the audience and more. With a sunken stage, however, it can be a little hard to see everything from the regular seating. That’s why if you’re able, try to stand one deck up against the railing in front of the rock climbing wall. From this raised vantage point you can see the pool stage perfectly.
Enjoy an Open-Air Breakfast in Central Park
Officially, Central Park isn’t listed as a spot serving breakfast. But there is Park Café, serving lighter fare like muffins, croissants, fruit, and the like. We’d suggest grabbing something here and then finding a table in the park (there are a number around). Early in the morning it’s extremely calm and quiet in this part of the ship, making it a wonderful place to eat a relaxing breakfast.
Explore the “Small Wonders” Around the Ship
As you walk around Oasis of the Seas, you’ll see little viewing stations here and there. Some look like a large spyglass and others look like binoculars on a stand. These are called Small Wonders. Look inside each one and you’ll see something unique. We won’t ruin the surprise for you about what’s inside, but it’s definitely worth checking out. Kids especially will love trying to find them all over the ship.
Bionic Bar? It’s Neat for One Drink
Bionic Bar is definitely attention-grabbing. Who can pass up watching robots make cocktails? And if you’re interested, then definitely order up a drink and check it out. It’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else. But in our eyes the novelty wears off pretty quickly. It’s not likely the sort of place where you’ll sit and have a few drinks like you would at a pool bar.
Suites Are Ridiculous
Think of a suite on a normal ship and you might think essentially a balcony cabin with some more space. Not on Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean revamped the ship in 2019 and has some of the wildest suites you’ll ever see. The favorite one that we saw is above the captain’s bridge and offers 180 degree views in the bedroom as it juts out the side of the ship. There are also some of the most luxurious spots you can imagine… if you have the money.
A Secret Arcade Passage for Teens
Have a teenager? The teen hangout area is cool, with video games, music, pool tables, and lounge areas. Also, there is a secret passage to get there. In the arcade, tucked in a corner is a game called King’s Passage that looks like an old ’80s style arcade machine. Beat a level or two on the game and it unlocks the door. The machine swings open revealing a passage between the arcade and the teen lounge.
Best Burger? Check Out Playmakers
There are a number of spots to get a burger on the ship including Johnny Rockets and the buffet. But if you want the best? Head to Playmakers. It’s an upcharge, but you’ll get one of the biggest burgers you’ll find anywhere. If you’re eating here but don’t want something that heavy, we also suggest the poke nachos, featuring tuna. They are delicious and won’t weigh you down as much.
Reserve, Reserve, Reserve… But Try to Go Anyway if You Don’t
With shows and restaurants around the ship, Royal Caribbean is pushing for people to reserve to manage crowds. You can do so through the Royal Caribbean app on your phone. It’s a good idea to reserve as you don’t want to be caught out as the venue fills up. Even so, there will be times that you forget. That’s ok. Head to the venue anyway. If there is space the staff will do their best to accommodate you.
Getting Around is Surprisingly Easy
On a ship the size of Oasis of the Seas, you might think that getting around would be difficult. While it can take some walking, actually navigating the ship is surprisingly easy. It’s well laid out where just about every deck offers a clear path from one end of the ship to the other. There aren’t a lot of obstacles or dead ends that mean you have to move up a deck or two to continue on your way.
Snag a Casita Early
One of the popular spots on the ship are the casitas on the pool deck. These small covered areas offer a couple of loungers, a charging port, and some shade on sunny days at sea.
During our trip aboard Oasis the casitas were available on a first-come, first-served and filled up quickly. We’ve seen other ships where there is a reservation system and a charge attached. So things might be different on your trip. Even so, it’s a good idea to snag one early if you want to have some shade.
Final Thoughts on Oasis of the Seas
To us, there is just something different about Oasis-class ships such as Oasis of the Seas. If you’ve sailed Royal Caribbean before, but not on its biggest ships, then you haven’t experienced all that the cruise line can offer.
Expect the ship to seem almost overwhelming at first given the size. It can take a few days until you feel like you’ve seen all the areas available to passengers. Even so, after some time it becomes familiar. The great thing is that with so much size there is the perfect space for everyone and so many things to do.
In short, if you have an upcoming cruise aboard Oasis of the Seas, then just know that it should be something special — even if you’re a seasoned cruiser.
Are there smoking areas? If you have no phone, does that make things difficult?
Yes, there are areas designated for smoking. On our recent cruise, it was pool decks 15 and 16 on the port side. Also, smoking was allowed in the casino when playing.
If you don’t have a phone, don’t worry. There are ship maps and schedules available.