Our family wanted to do something special for Spring Break. We first thought about going South in a nice resort but then my husband had the idea of going on a cruise instead. The youngest kids never been on one and we thought it would have been fun and relatively easy. We decided to go on the ship “Oasis of the Seas”. It’s a ship owned by Royal Caribbean International. It’s the world’s largest ship and known to be a great one for families. There are 6 300 passengers so you can imagine how big it is. Since we are a family of 6 – including 4 kids with different ages (2, 11, 15, 17), we got a suite to be more comfortable. The suite also has free Wi-Fi which is always nice to have.
We first traveled from Montreal to Orlando. The flight was short and easy. Then we took a taxi to go to the port where we directly got on the ship. Checked in was fast as we were one of the last ones to get on. We then went in our suite and waited for the baggage to arrive. The suite was wonderful and perfect for us. We had a living room with a coffee machine, fridge and a big balcony with the view on the ocean. There was 2 bathrooms and 2 bedrooms, which was perfect. One room had one queen-size bed and 2 bunk beds, and the other room was another queen bed. We put the crib in our room, so we could close the door during nap time.
Activities on the ship were very varied and meant to please all age groups. You can do anything from ice skating, rock wall climbing, flow rider, zip lining, mini-golf, arcades, movies and table tennis. They do have a sport court where they have sport activities for both children and adults. They also have other family activities such as bingo, karaoke and a variety of shows.
For the little ones, there are activities such as parades, face painting, carousel and balloon twisting. They also have day camps for children, so parents can enjoy some free time. They have an area for babies and toddlers as well. For older children, there are various activities planned for them according to their age group throughout the day. They also have a teen group as well. We didn’t do any of those activities as none of the kids wanted to go.
For adults, there are shopping areas, art auctions, beer and wine tasting, dance classes, cooking classes, a variety of shows and the casino. We went to an ice skating show, a diving show, the Cats show and an adult comedy show. During the shows you can order drinks and snacks. We enjoyed most of the shows except Cats, which we found very long and boring.
You can obviously enjoy the pools on the board as well as the Jacuzzis. There is music outside which is nice. There is also an area for children and toddlers which is great. There are however no slides. If you don’t go with children, there is also an area on the ship reserved for 16years+ called “solarium”. They have a nice buffet for lunch in there with slightly healthier food choices.
They have a gym and a spa of course. The gym has windows and features elliptical machines, treadmills, bikes, free weights and weight machines. There is also a jogging track that goes around the ship. Moreover, they have a beauty salon, a teeth whitening clinic and acupuncture, as well as a juice bar where you can get fresh juices and smoothies.
Of course, they have a variety of restaurants, cafes, bars and lounges. Some are free while some have a fee. We tried all of the nice restaurants for dinner as we wanted great food and a nice experience. The food was great, and so was the wine and service. Servers are fun and friendly. My favorite restaurant on board was the one called “150”. A restaurant that is great to reserve with children is the Mexican restaurant. Our kids also enjoyed the Japanese restaurant when the Chef cooks in front of you. It was very entertaining.
For breakfast and lunch, they have restaurants with both buffets and an “a la carte” service. We tried both but we mostly ate at the buffet for convenience. There is a lot of fast food but you can find decent choices. For breakfast, I personally ate a lot of fresh fruits and green tea, and for lunch I mostly ate hummus, salads and vegetables. There is a large selection of food that would please most people. They also accommodate gluten-free people. If you are a coffee drinker, you will enjoy the Starbucks on board. They sure have better coffee than the one you will get on board for free.
During our cruise, we did 3 stops: Haiti, Jamaica and Mexico. We didn’t have the greatest weather so because of that we couldn’t get off the boat in Haiti. We were very disappointed since the waves weren’t that big and we were really looking forward to get off the ship. The second stop in Jamaica was great – we spent the day in a resort enjoying the sun and beach. The third stop in Mexico was just ok. We went in a national park to see dolphins and walk around and enjoy the beach but there was literally no beach and it was pouring the whole time so we had to get back on the ship soaking wet. We were all so cold, especially after having gone in the ocean with the dolphins in the rain.
Overall, we had a great time even though we missed the first stop and didn’t enjoy the last one. It’s not easy to travel as a family of 6, especially with children of different ages. The kids however enjoyed the cruise and so did we. I think it can be an amazing vacation and life experience for families, but it truly depends on your personal preferences in terms of vacation. I believe that next time we will go in a nice resort instead. A cruise is very expensive too, especially with all the additional fees. I also personally prefer adventurous trips and not go to places that are too touristic but with a big family it’s more difficult.