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Hello, follow up question about planning our first cruise in 3 years.

We have previously cruised on two of the Oasis class ships, at the time, each was the newest of the class. Had a third planned on of the original Oasis ships, which was cancelled early in the pandemic. We have done both a Western and an Eastern Caribbean cruise. Sailed once from Fort Lauderdale and once from Miami. The kids really enjoyed Miami but we also had a little more time there to do things.

We would like to do another Caribbean cruise, and know how much we have enjoyed the Oasis class. It really seemed to offer something for everyone in our group of 6, and the ship is a destination in itself. Now I’m considering what to prioritize in choosing our next cruise … there are now options out of Galveston and Orlando, as well as Miami, but the best fit for timing would mean either a repeat of ship or some of the same ports as previous trips. We haven’t been to Coco Cay … is this a must do? A couple of the itineraries have both Coco Cay and Labadee.

What do you prioritize when booking subsequent cruises within the same region of the world? If we like Oasis class, will we be disappointed with a different class of ship even if it offers new ports to visit? (I know this is a personal preference but would like to hear your experiences.) 

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I think it depends on who is cruising and why. I love to cruise and love different aspects about it. I don’t care about roller skating or climbing a wall, but care about other entertainment and activities and service. So, I can be content on different classes of ships. For some, especially if there are kids to entertain, then check to see what is offered, particularly on sea days. Ports are important to me, but I find that when I do the same place multiple times, there is always something new to see or do. Personally, if you really enjoyed a cruise, nothing wrong with doing it again. I would prob try something different, but tried and true are good!

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1 hour ago, Castle Cruiser said:

We haven’t been to Coco Cay … is this a must do?

If your kids like a beach day, water parks or a pool day, then yes, it's a great destination.

1 hour ago, Castle Cruiser said:

If we like Oasis class, will we be disappointed with a different class of ship even if it offers new ports to visit?

What things did you specifically like about Oasis class? What were the spots that you made sure to go back and see on your second time on an Oasis class ship? 

I'm assuming you went on Symphony and Harmony since you mentioned being on both of the ships that were newest at the time.  If you enjoyed the variety of live entertainment, you're not going to find that on the other ships.  Oasis class dominates in that since they have the Aquatheater venue, main theater and ice skating rink for shows. Quantum class doesn't have the ice rink, but they do have 270 which has some shows.

Quantum class also doesn't have water slides, but they do have bumper cars, Northstar and iFly which are fun activities.

Freedom class and Voyager class are relatively similar, with Freedom being slightly larger. You'll find water slides and some other fun activities that were on Oasis class, but just not as large of a variety. They do have the ice rink on those ships as well and some have added features such as the Sky Pad.

If you aren't looking to make the ship your destination and want to use it as a means of travel to ports, there's nothing wrong with the other classes of ships. They are smaller and have less to do onboard, but the Radiance class and Vision class ships are more typical of cruising in the past where there's more ocean views on the ship and less interior windowless spaces.  These ships don't have ice rinks and waterslides but can still allow you to relax and get to ports that can't take a larger ship. You'll also be dealing with less people.

That said, we love the Oasis class and have done them over and over again.  We often don't even get off the ship at the ports since we've done them over and over again.  The ship is the destination and since we cruise often, having a lot of choices when it comes to activities, entertainment and dining is important to us.

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Personally, I would rather repeat a ship that I liked than do the same ports, but if the only choice for a cruise was to do the same ship and ports, I would definitely do it and be sure to choose new/different excursions.  I would also be sure to build in different activities onboard that you didn't have an opportunity to do last time.  

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I would engage family members to discover their priorities.  I believe my son learned a lot seeing Mayan pyramids in Mexico, but he also enjoyed Coco Cay.  The key point is that we found interesting things to do together.  By the time Oasis class was built, he cared more about mingling with other high school students than riding the water slides.

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Thanks for your thoughts so far. The kids enjoyed the water slides, sports court, laser tag, etc. as well as just exploring, getting pizza or snacks and drinks at their leisure, etc. Some enjoyed the shows but not everyone was keen on all of them. I’m realizing that smaller ships like Voyager still have many of these attractions and offer new itineraries such as the Southern Caribbean. This is opening some other possibilities.

 

*Adding that I just noticed that Navigator is doing sailings on the Pacific coast which is ideal for us, and so I’m now thinking this is a good option for both a new (and fun) ship that the family will enjoy, as well as a new cruise destination.

Edited by Castle Cruiser
Learned of an additional option that I wasn’t previously aware of
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If I had to choose between repeat ports and repeat ships, I'd pick repeat ships. Especially on an Oasis Class. There's just so much to do, see, experience that there's a good chance you didn't really get to do it all the first time around. Plus, you know the ship now so you won't spend time getting lost Lol.

Galveston is okay. The biggest drawback to Galveston is that you have to fly in to Houston Hobby and it is an hour drive away from the island. The cost of shuttle/ride share isn't great. Plus lodging. But Galveston is really pretty and nice. It's also an interesting new vibe if  you've only sailed from FL because the passengers that leave Galveston are majority Texans. We flew in from Chicago and were in the minority of people who traveled to the port. So the music and atmosphere tend to skew a bit more country.

I'd also LOVE a double private island itinerary. Best use of your drink package, free beach/pool day, free food and no regular folks to get in the way of your fun.

I think, if you like Oasis, don't go down more than Voyager class. These still have a promenade which means promenade parties, water slides on most, the ice skating rink, main theater production shows, great dining and shopping. Anything beyond that will seem like it is SEVERELY lacking and for your family may be best on a port heavy trip where you spend more time off the ship than on.

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5 hours ago, CrimsonCruiser said:

If I had to choose between repeat ports and repeat ships, I'd pick repeat ships. Especially on an Oasis Class. There's just so much to do, see, experience that there's a good chance you didn't really get to do it all the first time around. Plus, you know the ship now so you won't spend time getting lost Lol.

Galveston is okay. The biggest drawback to Galveston is that you have to fly in to Houston Hobby and it is an hour drive away from the island. The cost of shuttle/ride share isn't great. Plus lodging. But Galveston is really pretty and nice. It's also an interesting new vibe if  you've only sailed from FL because the passengers that leave Galveston are majority Texans. We flew in from Chicago and were in the minority of people who traveled to the port. So the music and atmosphere tend to skew a bit more country.

I'd also LOVE a double private island itinerary. Best use of your drink package, free beach/pool day, free food and no regular folks to get in the way of your fun.

I think, if you like Oasis, don't go down more than Voyager class. These still have a promenade which means promenade parties, water slides on most, the ice skating rink, main theater production shows, great dining and shopping. Anything beyond that will seem like it is SEVERELY lacking and for your family may be best on a port heavy trip where you spend more time off the ship than on.

Thanks … lots of helpful things to consider.

 

We are currently strongly considering trying a cruise on the west coast on the Navigator. With the recent amplification, there still seems to be many of the things we enjoyed on the Oasis class, and the ease of a relatively short and direct flight vs flying for most of a day with a connecting flight is very appealing. That being said, I’m coming to understand that I will need to temper my expectations, and that the cruise experience will differ from the Caribbean cruises we have enjoyed.

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