Saturday - Time to board the Oasis of the Seas

We wake and both glance at each other and say "today is the day".

We shower and head out for breakfast at Joe's Diner again, then a stop at Starbucks (boy it is busy in here when there are a lot of ships in port).

We can't really get on before noon and we are not in any real rush.  So we relax in the room and check out around 11:45 and head down to the lobby to see about getting one of the shuttles.  The hotel has a service (I believe it is contracted out) that will take you to the port for $6 per person.  They transport everyone in vans every 15 minutes or so.  They hold around 10 people and they fill it up and go stopping at all the piers.  Since we didn't make a reservation ahead of time we would have to wait until 12:15 to get a shuttle.  We thank them and head to the front of the hotel to the taxi stand where a taxi is waiting.  We get in and we are off and at the pier at 11:55 and all for a total of $10 which included the tip.  So I guess if you want to get there faster, and cheaper, take a taxi.

The terminal is huge and very well laid out and easy to maneuver.  This is a dedicated terminal just for the Oasis and the Allure and it shows.  Right away the signs and art work around peak our excitement. 

We are directed thru the normal security scanning (no problem with the two bottles of champagne), then put into the row for our deck that has only one other couple ahead of us.  We proceed to the check in counter and the gentleman give us the health form to fill out.  It is basically the same as Princess' form but much nicer filling it out here at the check in then trying to fill out in a line.  He takes our passports, our credit card and our boarding pass.  Note everything was filled out on line ahead of time and saved lots of time.  He then takes our pictures for security right here, love this and much more efficient.  However once we had this done when boarding the Golden last Sept in Vancouver.

We are directed to the photography station where they have at least four stations set up, possibly more and they swipe our sail and sign card and we pose together, and separately.  The card swipe makes it easier to locate your pics later.

Led upstairs where there is a bit of a line but it moves quite fast and we Bing our card thru security and we are led up the gangway.  This ship has two gangways that open up on deck 5 the main promenade.  In all we are on board the ship at 12:15 - very very efficient, I am impressed.

Boardwalk view

We are on board the Oasis and we enter right near the antique car and I drop my mouth, WOW we both say.  Turn our head one way and say WOW again, turn the head the other way and WOW - is this really a ship?  HUGE and boy there are a lot of people here right now!  But it is crowded in the public areas right now because we can't get to our cabins before 1 pm so everyone is wandering with their carry ons.

I see a station set up for the wine package and I decide I may as well buy it now (this ends up being a bad idea buying it here in the end - stay tuned).  We get the 7 bottle wine package for $180 plus 15% gratuity and we are given a paper receipt and told to take to the dining room tonight to get the package.... okay.

Since I had purchased the Central Park dining package I had to now go and make our reservations for our other two restaurants (Chops and 150 Central Park).  Up to deck 8 -- Central Park and we had no problem at all getting reservations for either of these locations for any of the days we wanted, but note we were there right away, places did fill up as the day went on. 

The Park Cafe is right here too and we had heard so many great things about their sandwiches so we headed that way, but the line is out the door and there is not a seat to sit anywhere!  We wander down the Central Park a little more to Vintages (their wine bar that offers tapas for a fee) and sit down and I get a glass of wine and a plate of bread with cheese $3 for the tapas, $10 for the wine.  We run into Fran and Curt here and catch up with them.  We sailed with them four years ago on the Emerald and when we heard we would be sailing with them again we arranged to meet up.

Vintages


Just after 1 pm we head to the cabin.  When we walk in right away we like it.  Bernie see the Romance package on the table by the couch.  It consisted of the Champagne, four mini cupcakes, strawberries, but he is wondering who sent it?  There is no card with it?  No information.... I keep looking but I finally have to tell him it is from me and I try and recall what I had written in the card (my romantic side coming out).  He smiles.... points for me.  There is suppose to be more items in the package (breakfast in bed, picture, picture frame, canapes, sweets) but no idea how we are suppose to get these items.    We will wait to see if anything comes to the cabin about it tonight.

Now back to the cabin.  Here are my views of the cabin.

PROS

 - large flat screen tv
 - couch
 - lights around make up mirror
 - lots of little shelves to store lots of stuff
 - large balcony and balcony floor is nice to walk on
 - nice lighting through out cabin (night lights, and dimmed light in bathroom for nighttime)
 - big shower
 - lots of plugs (although hard to get at under the desk, but Allure corrected this)
 - closet has two bars to accommodate two rows of clothes
 - bed is very very comfortable, including nice pillows
 - room is very quiet, don't hear our neighbours or their tv at all
 - great magazine/paper holder

NEGATIVES

 - no ipod docking station (as was described)
 - no light on these balconies (there are some lights on the ocean facing balconies) I like to read out here at night
 - closet is small and so close to the bed that it makes it hard to access especially shoes at bottom of closet
 - sink/counter is very very low, and sink is small
 - no robes provided
 - have to ask for conditioner/shampoo/lotion not provided automatically
 - Central Park balcony can get noisy when Caribbean Steel Drum band plays even with door closed
 - it isn't private, you can see into opposite cabins
 - no mailbox or name tag on cabin

Here is some video I took of our cabin, the first one is our bathroom and the second is the rest of the cabin.  The video was taken a different day - oh and mind the mess.




Our cabin third from left, two down
 
Our bags are not here yet so we decide to wander and explore the ship.  It has been a long time since we have done this since most ships we are on we have either been on them before or the layout is so similar to other ships that we don't need to explore.  This is exciting.

We first head to the Park Cafe as it has quieted down and we get a nice lunch.  I get the famous roast beef on a bun and Waldorf salad.  Bernie has a panini and Greek salad and we both have a bag of chips.  Liked the food and loved the chips - a definite treat, something we don't get at home often.

Central Park Cafe
 
Central Park Cafe

Apparently the ship is full, and everywhere we look we see a much younger demographic and lots of families, lots of kids.  We feel very comfortable with the age of the passengers.

Announcement comes that Muster Drill will be soon and we make our way down to deck 5 and the Champagne Bar (our Muster Station).  Beautiful lounge!  As we enter they scan our cards.  What is nice is we don't have to get our life jackets like on Princess, which makes things less crowded and especially when it is done it isn't a mass rush to return the life jackets to the cabin. 

Champagne Bar, very nice Muster location!  That tv straight ahead is what we tried to watch

We are directed to watch one of the two video screen (large TV) for a video on what to do in an emergency.  But the place is packed and people are standing all around me and I can't see the screens for the life of me.  We are told you can also watch the video in your cabin.... okay no problem for me but I would think for first time cruisers it could be handy to actually practice putting it on and off and explaining emergency procedures. 

A couple beside us is on a back to back and they said they HAD to go to the Muster again.  Really, that sucks and I am thankful that is not something Princess does.  Considering how little we learned here and it is the exact same muster station seems a little redundant.

We head over to the Starbucks to get our first latte at sea from Starbucks, okay I know I a little nuts, but that is my one addiction, okay maybe my second, cruising is my first.  The prices for the drinks are the same as on land, the outlet looks exactly like one at home they even have the same pastries, of course all for a price.  Also a 15% gratuity is added to all orders automatically.  They have a machine similar to a debit machine that you swipe your card then you are given the option to add even more of a tip than the auto 15%, and for some reason I felt bad when I said no to the additional tip, personally I can't believe they would even ask this. 

Bernie paying with the debit like machine
 
Starbucks on the Promenade


We head up on deck for sailaway, hard to find a quieter place, the open decks are busy but not crazy, we head aft to watch sailaway.

Stay tuned for our evening activities.

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