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Old January 7th, 2017, 08:55 PM
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Default Trying to decide what cruiseline to go with

We are avid Carnival cruisers but decided to try something different and go on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. Now, I worry we made a mistake as I have read so many mixed reviews i.e. too big, too many people, long lines and the ports do not look that enticing to me.. Labadee and Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel. We are going with younger people who want to snorkel, zip line and have fun, but I'm not sure we are going to be very happy with these ports. It seems Carnival has a bit more options for us. I would appreciate anyone's suggestions, advice, experiences with either or Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Thanks in advance
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Old January 8th, 2017, 10:17 AM
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Welcome to Cruisemates!
Out of the ports mentioned, Labadee and Coz, have the water sports and water activities you want..as far as the ship, from what I've read although the occupancy is high, they are so geared towards crowd control, you may not notice that much of a difference...our moderator Donna Nye has been of a couple of these big ships and I'm sure will comment here as well..if I remember, Labadee has a zip line.

I'm not much of a Jamaica fan to be honest, and have read Falmouth has issues, so, check out the ship excursions and see if they offer water excursions, and if they suit your taste...also zip lines here...

I think mixing the cruise lines up is a nice option, and you chose a popular and unique ship,and I bet you'll enjoy all it has to offer.
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Old January 8th, 2017, 11:35 AM
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Keep in mind that opinions are like bellybuttons - everyone has one! Plus, it's a fact that those who want to complain are much more likely to post negative comments than those who had a good time. As I always say, take off the top 20% of the reviews, take off the bottom 50% of the reviews, and read the middle 30% - as those will probably give you a good idea of what to expect.

With that said, we've been on the Allure of the Seas - the Oasis sister ship - and had a very good time. While it's personally not our cup of tea, as we're an older couple and don't need rock climbing walls and wave riders, we found the ship to be something unique that must be tried at least once. It has alot of activities for kids and they will stay busy. And, as we all know, if the kids are happy, the parents are happy!

We never really had any problems with the crowd, except when embarking and disembarking, but that can be said with all ships.

The only thing we weren't real happy with was the food in the main dining room. While it was not bad, it just lacked the quality we have become accustom to with RCCL. Then again, they're trying to feed 5000 people in a very short period of time and it's very difficult to provide that type of quantity and maintain a high level of quality. There's not a restaurant in the world that could do that.

The specialty restaurants were very good.

The entertainment was wonderful! Definitely have to see the shows in the the main show lounge. Also, don't miss the shows in the Aqua Theater and the ice rink.

As for the ports, none of the ports you mentioned are really good for snorkeling. I've been a scuba diver for about 25 years and, unfortunately, my wife can't dive, so most of the time when traveling with her, I have to stick with finding good snorkeling spots. There are some areas that are okay, but not really great, except for Roatan. The West End Beach area is some of the best snorkeling we've seen anywhere in the world. But alas, your itinerary isn't going there.

Cozumel is awesome for scuba diving, but due to the depth of the reef, not good for snorkeling. Basically, the same thing can be said about all of your ports. Bottom line is, fish hang around the reefs because it provides shelter, safety, and food. You're just not going to see alot of colorful fish hanging around a sandy beach. Many people go to Mr. Sanchos or some other similar area for the day, but they can get rather crowded. Snorkeling at Chankanaab is okay, but again, it can get crowded.

There are alot of activities at Labadee to keep the kids busy - the zip line is amazing, albeit a bit expensive. Snorkeling is only so-so, but too many people.

In Falmouth, you might consider doing a one-day pass at an all-inclusive resort.

The one major good thing/bad thing about the Oasis-class ships is that they have to dock, as there are just too many people to tender. This is good, because you can get on and off the ship without the usual waiting for tenders. But it's also bad, because it limits the ports they can get into.

Having been to some of these ports many times, we'll often spend alot of time on the ship, while everyone else gets off the ship.

Pete
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Old January 8th, 2017, 12:25 PM
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Thanks Pete for the recommendations. I suspect we will spend the Jamaica port on the ship which is fine because it seems there is a lot to see so there is that opportunity .. I'm not too thrilled by the amount of people who will be on the excursions but we will make the best of it. You are so right with the reviews as well. We've had a great time on the majority of our cruises but then we will hear someone say how awful theirs was. We are going to make the best of this new experience!
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Old January 8th, 2017, 02:53 PM
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As for excursions, I'm definitely not a proponent of shore excursions offered by the cruise lines. We've been all over the world and always do our own thing or do excursions through independent companies. Sometimes they are the same price, but they are usually alot less crowded and more flexible.

Hopefully, your agent can suggest some options for you to consider, but there are some really good independent companies out there. We've been on excursions where we were the only two people - sure beat doing the ones offered by the cruise line with 40 people.

Pete
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Old January 8th, 2017, 05:49 PM
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I think you may be pleasantly surprised with this huge ship....lots to do on board and best with families/kids, etc. As for Jamaica, best bet is to do an excursion...it is really a beautiful island with lots of interesting excursions....just best NOT to venture out on your own....

I love Labadee, it has changed since I've been there with the zip line, etc...but some nice beaches and they provide a BBQ lunch that is good....great beach day....

Be sure to post back and let us know how you like Royal Caribbean and the ship....have a ball.
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Old February 8th, 2017, 09:01 AM
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Like Pete, I have been on Allure of the Seas; sister to Oasis. I loved it. Never felt crowded; even though we had 4,000 on our sailing. Because the ship is split into so many different neighborhoods; people will hang out in certain parts of the ship. When they do the big promenade parade it can get a little crowded; but there is still plenty of places to sit and watch the parade. They are pretty well versed on crowd control and how to handle the amount of people coming on and off ship. When my wife and I sailed the first thing I told her was; we have to get the grandkids on this ship
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