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  1. Everything I write here is from my perspective and may not match someone else's opinion. I want to use this time to say that English is not my primary language. This text is a product of nine years in the Swedish elementary school system in the seventies and the eighties. And we all know the seventies were the seventies. You might find some writing and grammar oversights. If the number of posts is dropping during the week, we likely have a lot of fun. I'll try to keep adding more and respond to all the questions you may hold. You lovely bunch, have likely already seen countless hours of footage from Oasis and hundreds of photos. So please excuse me if you view another picture of sliced roast beef in a kummelweck roll for the 356th time. I love arranging the holidays as much as I like traveling on them. I am using lots of tools to help stay prepared. My preferred weapon for this is tripit.com. I also keep a binder to keep all documents and a few bits and parts together. I am sure there is a proper diagnosis for my behavior. So who are we? My name is Mikael, and I write this. With me on the trip is as always, my lovely wife for the last 26 years Kerstin. I work as a field service engineer, and my wife is a registered nurse. We live in a middle-sized area about 21 km northwest of Stockholm, Sweden. History and booking: After our first cruise, on NCL Getaway in 2016. We fell in love with the cruising holiday product. After this, we have been on MSC Divina and Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the seas for a back to back cruise. We want to cruise more, but the prices for the trans-Atlantic flights and the pre-cruise hotels are draining a hole in our vacation budget. When we investigated the possibilities to get to the cruise, we had so many choices ranging from direct routes to flights with layovers. The layover flights usually are the more inexpensive alternative. After careful searching for a lengthy time, we noticed a ticket sold by Virgin Atlantic with a layover in London Heathrow. For this ticket, we paid almost four hundred USD return. That covered checked bags, and we made this our choice. We are flying coach class, so we can afford to travel more. Its an uncomplicated equation for us. A few hours of cramped travel equals one more holiday week a year — an absolute win-win for us. Pre-cruise travel Itinerary: December 6th Radisson Blu Airport Terminal December 7th 07:15 CET - 09:35 GMT ARN - LHR https://www.flightview.com/flight-tracker/SK/525?date=20191207&depapt=ARN 10:15 GMT -12:05 Club aspire lounge 12:55 GMT - 18:05 EST LHR - MIA https://www.flightview.com/flight-tracker/VS/5?date=20191207&depapt=LHR EDT 19:25 pick up the rental car at Alamo. EDT 19:45 Arrive at the Holiday Inn Express Miami Airport Doral Area EDT 20:00 Papa Johns on order EDT 21:05 Lights Out. December 8th EDT 07:10 Hotel Breakfast. EDT 08:00 Last Minute Shopping at Walmart and Walgreens. EDT 11:00 Return the rental at the airport. EDT 11:15 Board the Almo courtesy bus from the airport to the port. EDT 13:00 Raid the buffet and get that bar tab going. With this part completed, let's go forward with our semi-live travel report. Although we live so nearby to the airport, we decided to go a day earlier and check-in at the Radisson BLU Arlanda Terminal hotel. I reserved this with points that I have gained during many of my work trips. We had to add breakfast, which is an extra cost at this hotel. The price is about 160 Sek or $ 16 per person. This arrangement is rare for a hotel in Sweden. It may sound like an overprice to pay for a simple breakfast, but this is more like the breakfast in the windjammer than a typical American hotel breakfast. At 7:00 pm, there are only two real possibilities to get to our flight. The first obvious choice is a taxi for about 60 dollars. The second choice is to drive. There is no problem to find a parking space at Arlanda. Pick from outdoor to heated indoor parking. You have to let the wallet decide what right for you. As winter is officially here in Sweden, the choice fell to a covered parking space near the terminal. This cost almost 90 USD for the ten days we are gone. Indoor parking may not be the most affordable option. Still, it sure beats an open-air parking space with the risk for iced windows and a few inches of snow surrounding the car when we return. The drive to the airport was smooth even in the light rain, and we arrived after about 35 minutes. We drove on a more or less an empty highway to the airport. We pulled up to the indoor parking space and headed up the ramp to the 3rd floor. That gives us direct access to terminal 2. Our first stop today is the Radisson hotel at SkyCity. All terminals on Arlanda airport connects with indoor walkways, and it is a comfortable walk for about 15 minutes. After the check-in at the front desk, we went up to our room. Our room is on the first floor, and we checked out the amenities and bed. After the compulsory bed check, I headed down to the self-service kiosks to get my luggage tags and boarding cards. So we can use the self bag drop at the star alliance area. Time well spent that will give us a few extra minutes to enjoy that pricy breakfast at the hotel. Now its time for the room tour. This hotel room is not large more on the small size, but it is adequate for a night's sleep. The room is clean and decorated in a trendy Scandinavian style. The bathroom is bright and tiled from floor to ceiling. Here we will most likely sleep well in the bed that is not in the bathroom. We headed down to SkyCity to get something to eat. The choice fell on the restaurant "on my way." And what does a swede eat at the airport, Swedish meatballs of course. That plate of restaurant meatballs with lingonberry and sweet pickled cucumber and the velvet-smooth cream sauce are as good as it gets. After that dinner, we went back to the hotel room to shower and wind down before the early wake-up call. More to follow in tomorrow
  2. Hey all! I thought it would be fun to do a live blog for a short trip on the Oasis this coming week. Quick summary and intros are in order: About us and pre-cruise: It will be myself and best friend Mel, just 2 girls in our early 30s. This was a fairly “last minute” trip as far as cruises go; we booked it a little more than a month ago (mid March) after a quick convo about how we both wanted a short getaway. (^ that’s us in Alaska last summer - fun tidbit, that’s where we are from) I live in central NC now so I will be doing a direct flight from Charlotte to Miami; and Mel will be coming from Atlanta so will be doing a direct from ATL to Miami. We coordinated our flights where we both land around 9-930am Sunday morning to meet at the Miami airport— yeeeep, the morning of. I know all the seasoned cruisers are gasping in anxiousness for us but yes, fingers crossed everything goes as planned. We got the earliest ship boarding at 11:30. This is my 4th cruise ever, my most recent was actually also Oasis in Feb 2019. Mel has been on 7+ but this is her first ever Royal Caribbean (mostly Carnival previously) so I’m really excited for her to experience this ship! I know it has had a revamp since I was on it last. I should also note that this is our first time cruising together. Stateroom, extras, etc: We are average Joes’ and will be staying in an ocean balcony room (deck 7, forward). As far as “add ons;” all we did were internet packages. Went back and forth on the drink package as we both do drink some [alcohol] but the math didn’t really make sense for us (we don’t drink soda or anything other than water really either) so we were okay just paying as we go. FOOD, glorious food: We both LOVE food. I should mention that I am a vegetarian incase that interests anyone else following along. We opted for the late traditional dining (8:00). We chose that over the early 5:30 seating (too early for us) or the My Time Dining because we agreed we like the traditional with same waiter each night and eating late allows us to get in more snacks throughout the day (haha). No major plans for specialty dining ahead of time but we may end up doing something once we are on board if it looks/sounds good and of course based on availability for reservations. Plans, excursions, fun, etc: Neither of us are huge scheduled people while traveling so we are very much along for the ride. In this case, the trip is more about the ship for us. We’ve both been to Costa Maya and it wasnt anything super exciting to us, but we do plan to get off the ship. USUALLY when I’ve cruised I’m with my boyfriend or a smaller group and we go explore on our own or book private tours (outside the cruise company); but being somewhere we aren’t as excited about and being just two girls in our 30s we aren’t feeling as brave so we decided on just paying the $55ish to do a trip to the beach thru Royal as we felt it was simpler and safe that way. We didn’t do a ton of research (again, wignin’ it) and it just sounded simple. Give us sand and beautiful water! As far as fun/entertainment we are interested in catching the Aqua 80s show and then we will see when we’re onboard what other things we may want to check out like comedy shows, etc. We plan to get lots of relaxing time (and hopefully sun) on the pool deck. I hope you all enjoy following along. We are pretty easy going and I plan to share info along the way about packing, the embarkation process, capacity, food, fun, service etc (including pictures of course).
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