Note: Cruzely was invited to sail on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas during her simulated voyage from Bayonne, New Jersey. Each day I covered the experience, giving you an inside peek at what it’s like to sail a test cruise aboard one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
You can read each day here:
- Day 1: Boarding and Sail Away (With Big New Rules)
- Day 2: Sunny Sea Day to Try New Things
- Day 3: Casino, Casitas, & Robot Drinks
- Day 4: A Stormy – But Fun – Day at CocoCay
- Day 5: I Saw the Coolest Performance Ever
On the final day of Oasis of the Seas’ six-day simulated voyage, the ship was at sea, sailing back toward Cape Liberty.
The final sea day on a cruise is a bit like “last call.” It’s an opportunity to make sure you get in all the things that you wanted to do during the cruise but haven’t had a chance to get to yet. And if there’s anything that you love to do while sailing, then it’s the last chance you’ll get to enjoy it until you decide to cruise again.
That’s exactly what I did with the day, and thankfully we all had the best weather of the entire cruise. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, the winds were calm, and the seas were smooth.
Of course, with weather this nice, it means taking advantage on the pool deck. In the morning I headed to the Solarium. With the weather being mixed for much of the cruise and the sheer number of things going on around the ship, I spent a surprisingly little amount of time just relaxing. I took care of that at the Solarium.
The spot is adults-only, and even though there are no kids on this test cruise, the entire area is just more relaxing than the regular pool deck. While the pool area has a live band playing and lots of people going back and forth, the Solarium is calm. There’s no music playing. The only sound you hear is the pool fountain. And because of the glass windbreaks, there’s a breeze, but it’s not windy. You aren’t fighting with a towel whipping around while you lay out.
I stayed in the Solarium for about an hour getting some sun, until it started to move toward lunch time. Since today is “last call,” I took my final lunch on the ship to get a dish I had wanted since I first sampled it days earlier. Playmakers is known for huge burgers and bar food, but they also have a couple of unique options — including the Poke Nachos. They feature ahi tuna, avocado, scallions, sriracha aioli, and truffle sauce.
It’s definitely picture worthy and tastes just as good. I’ve never eaten anything like it, but the nachos are fresh, spicy, and has a ton of flavor. Best of all, as part of the simulated cruise, all specialty restaurants are half-priced. The nachos and a Coke came to just $6.
Following lunch, it was time to cross another “to-do” item off the list — the Flowrider. Oasis of the Seas has two of these at the back of the ship, but with the small number of passengers, only one has been running during the trip. Even so, the lines have been short, meaning you can ride about as much as you want.
Now, I’ve done the Flowrider on another Royal Caribbean ship, but it was a short-lived experience. I just couldn’t quite get the hang of it and got quickly swept away. This time was completely different.
Before I could try, however, I had to sign the waiver, do some stretches to prove my mobility, and watch a safety video. Then I was given a wristband to show I was all squared away before I was actually allowed to ride.
With a little instruction, I slid out into the wave on the board. As long as you keep your elbows down on the board, and stay back, it seems pretty easy to get the hang out things. In fact, after cutting back and forth to get a feel for the balance, I was able to ride on my knees. What I couldn’t do? A spin. I tried several times, and each time wiping out horribly.
Following a few sessions on the Flowrider, I celebrated with one drink that I had been wanting to try.
Royal Caribbean revamped their drink menu during the pause, and there are a number of cocktails and mocktails that sound delicious. A couple of highlights that I’ve tried are the Strawberry Blonde, which was light and refreshing (a great pool drink), but also packed a punch. The Watermelon Mint Lemonade (no alcohol) was also delicious. But I also wanted to try one other — Cozumel Sunrise.
The drink is made with tequila, mango, lime juice, and grenadine, so it sounds like a perfect option for a drink on a warm, sunny day at sea. It also doesn’t hurt that I love mango. Unfortunately, this drink wasn’t a hit for me. It certainly didn’t taste bad, but the sweetness of it was too much for my liking. That said, it sure does look pretty!
With the day winding on, I took some time in the afternoon to do what we all dread — packing up. For me packing up the afternoon of the last day is a bit like doing your homework. You don’t want to do it, but it sure is nice to have it done so that you can enjoy your last night around the ship without having to worry about packing at midnight before bed.
One final new protocol to experience is debarkation. Instead of leaving your room first thing in the morning to go wait in a public area to depart, Royal Caribbean is changing things. Instead, you are now welcome to go get breakfast, but then they ask you to go back to the cabin to wait. That way there aren’t large groups of people congregating together.
Final Thoughts About the Test Cruise & the Return to Sailing
With the cruise wrapped up, there are some things that have really jumped out in my time on Oasis of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Is Serious About the Health Protocols
It’s not a situation where they say “please wear a mask indoors” and then things get lax toward the end of the trip. From handwashing/sanitization to distancing to masking to checking the wristbands to show you’re vaccinated, there are a lot of new protocols put in place, and they have been followed closely all cruise.
The New Protocols Take a Couple of Days to Become Routine
I took the first Carnival cruise to return, which was with 95%+ vaccinated passengers. At that time, the onboard experience felt nearly the exact same as before the pause due to the high vaccination level. On this cruise (and others that don’t reach that 95% threshold), there are more protocols in place, and there’s a bit of a learning curve.
For instance, Royal Caribbean has people asking you to sanitize your hands wherever you enter a new space, such as a store, restaurant, or casino. I tried to hand over my room keycard to pay for a meal, and the waiter explained they now just take the room number and name, and type it into the computer instead of handling your card. (Your image comes up on the computer to ensure it’s the right person).
In all, it reminds me of the first day of school where you weren’t sure exactly what to do or how things worked. However, you quickly figure it out and after a couple of days, it feels like routine.
The Fun of Cruising Is Definitely Still There
I can’t think of anything around the enjoyment of taking a cruise that isn’t still there, assuming you are sailing vaccinated. There are just a few more protocols in place.
Live music, enjoying a drink in the bar, eating good food, shows, the casino, exploring ports of call, meeting new people… it’s all still available. If you were to wait to sail again until there are fewer protocols or lower case counts, that’s understandable. However, if you are simply not sailing because you think the protocols will make the trip less enjoyable, that just wasn’t the case in my experience.
Sailing Oasis-Class & From New York Is Like Nothing Else
I’ve been aboard plenty of Royal Caribbean ships, but never an Oasis-class. It’s a completely different experience. The size of the ship lends itself to so many more things to do and see. From the Aqua Theater to the Ultimate Abyss slide to ziplining over the Boardwalk to enjoying Central Park to having a ton of restaurant options, it’s a step above anything else in the fleet or any other line I’ve sailed.
Not being from the area, I find sailing from New York unique as well. As we were docked, I could see the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the World Trade Center and a sweeping view of the entire area. When just sitting in dock is a highlight, you know it’s something special.