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RC - Oasis of the sea 1st timer [beginners questions]


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First of all, i apologize for the silly 101-questions, this is first time i am sailing and found this board to rescue me.

Here we go: My reservation is for the Oasis of the sea Eastern Caribbean cruise (7 nights) on the 20th of May. Occean view balcony (14th deck)

1) Beverage packages: From what i read, there should be some discounts/sale at some point, but it has been 2 months now since i made the reservation and i've not seen any discounts on the packages [ deluxe package remains to be at $55/p) and both people in the same room must purchase it? now my wife(to be) doesn't drink much alcohol, why shall i purchase her a deluxe package, is there anyway around this? 

2) I am really lost when it comes to food on the ship!!! I read a couple of topics about dinner and that there are 2 options for that. What about breakfast and lunch? what are the restaurants on board and what times do they operate? are they all included in the package or do we pay extra?

3)  In the plan my cruise website, when i check the dining options, the website says I cannot reserve this right now, does it open reservation a certain time before cruise day?

4) It says that the ship starts sailing 4.30 PM on the 20th of May, what is the latest time i can check in the ship? How long does the process take?

5) Internet package - shall i purchase that package now, or wait for a discount as well for this?

6) Do you recommend i choose/buy my off shore excursions now, or wait to find deals on the ship?

7) The cruise itinerary is Orlande, Labadee, St. Maartin and San Juan - Do you recommend any in particular shore excursions?

8) Shall i pay the gratitude package from now as well or do it on ship? i don't really understand the system.

Thanks a lot for your help and once again i apologize for these questions, i am sure they were answered 100 of times before. Also if you have any advice for first timers, it would be great.

cheers:)

Ramy 

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1 hour ago, RGobran said:

First of all, i apologize for the silly 101-questions, this is first time i am sailing and found this board to rescue me.

Here we go: My reservation is for the Oasis of the sea Eastern Caribbean cruise (7 nights) on the 20th of May. Occean view balcony (14th deck)

1) Beverage packages: From what i read, there should be some discounts/sale at some point, but it has been 2 months now since i made the reservation and i've not seen any discounts on the packages [ deluxe package remains to be at $55/p) and both people in the same room must purchase it? now my wife(to be) doesn't drink much alcohol, why shall i purchase her a deluxe package, is there anyway around this? 

2) I am really lost when it comes to food on the ship!!! I read a couple of topics about dinner and that there are 2 options for that. What about breakfast and lunch? what are the restaurants on board and what times do they operate? are they all included in the package or do we pay extra?

3)  In the plan my cruise website, when i check the dining options, the website says I cannot reserve this right now, does it open reservation a certain time before cruise day?

4) It says that the ship starts sailing 4.30 PM on the 20th of May, what is the latest time i can check in the ship? How long does the process take?

5) Internet package - shall i purchase that package now, or wait for a discount as well for this?

6) Do you recommend i choose/buy my off shore excursions now, or wait to find deals on the ship?

7) The cruise itinerary is Orlande, Labadee, St. Maartin and San Juan - Do you recommend any in particular shore excursions?

8) Shall i pay the gratitude package from now as well or do it on ship? i don't really understand the system.

Thanks a lot for your help and once again i apologize for these questions, i am sure they were answered 100 of times before. Also if you have any advice for first timers, it would be great.

cheers:)

Ramy 

Welcome to cruising...the best type of vacation if anyone ever asks me :12_slight_smile:

1) Your cruise is still pretty far out.  They probably won't offer sales this far out.  Usually when you are with 3-4 months the sale prices start showing up.  Same with Internet.  You could always purchase now and just re-price it later if sales show up.  I often do that, especially if I am sure I will get it.  Worse case scenario is if the price goes up.....

6 & 7) Can't really comment.  We are not really shore excursion people.  We cruise to sit on the ship and relax mainly.  However, when we do shore excursions we usually do it through the ship because I am paranoid about being one those "pier runners"....

8) I am always a believer in hanging onto my money for as along as I can so I do not pre-pay gratuities.  It gets automatically loaded onto your Sea pass card then charged to your credit card once the cruise is over.

Enjoy your cruise.  The Oasis is a beautiful ship.  She'll spoil you for future cruises...

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1 hour ago, RGobran said:

1) Beverage packages: From what i read, there should be some discounts/sale at some point, but it has been 2 months now since i made the reservation and i've not seen any discounts on the packages [ deluxe package remains to be at $55/p) and both people in the same room must purchase it? now my wife(to be) doesn't drink much alcohol, why shall i purchase her a deluxe package, is there anyway around this? 

There are exemptions for having to buy package for both of you. You can read about them here: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2017/10/04/royal-caribbean-requiring-all-adults-same-stateroom-purchase-unlimited-alcohol-package

As for discounts/sales on your drink package, you have to keep checking back. There's no rhyme or reason, but most of the sales tend to focus on sailings in the next 90-120 days or so.

1 hour ago, RGobran said:

5) Internet package - shall i purchase that package now, or wait for a discount as well for this?

Buy now for the pre-cruise discount.  Unless you're Diamond Plus, you will save more now.

1 hour ago, RGobran said:

6) Do you recommend i choose/buy my off shore excursions now, or wait to find deals on the ship?

Depends on what you want to do.  If you know for certain you want to do something and it would be heartbreaking if that excursion sold out, book it now.  

If you're less inclined to any particular excursion, there's little harm in waiting.

Once advantage of booking now is you can break up the total cost of the cruise.  Anything you book onboard will be charged at the end of the cruise to your SeaPass account.

1 hour ago, RGobran said:

7) The cruise itinerary is Orlande, Labadee, St. Maartin and San Juan - Do you recommend any in particular shore excursions?

Check out our Shore Excursions board.  Tons of great recommendations there!

1 hour ago, RGobran said:

8) Shall i pay the gratitude package from now as well or do it on ship? i don't really understand the system.

I like to pay gratuities in advance to help break up cost of the cruise.  One less cost later on.

The gratuities cover the dining room staff and your stateroom attendant.  Here's an overview of that: http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2015/05/19/first-time-cruisers-what-you-need-know-about-gratuities-royal-caribbean

Keep in mind, purchases you make onboard (drink packages, drinks, spa services, etc) have an additional gratuity that is not covered by your daily gratuity.

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For #1 and #6, I recommend budgeting a fixed amount every month, on top of any monthly payments you're making toward the actual cruise fare (you're doing that, right? :10_wink:), and use that money to purchase one thing each month at its current price. Then, if a sale comes along and you see something you bought in the Cruise Planner is now less, you just do the following:

  • Click the "Purchase History" link at the top of the Cruise Planner screen
  • Find the old purchase and cancel it; you'll get an email immediately confirming the cancellation, and your credit card will be refunded within a few business days
  • Now look up that item in the Cruise Planner again, add it to your cart, and buy it again

I've had some cases where the site didn't take my perfectly valid card for the new purchase, even though it was the same card I used for the original one. In those cases, I just called Royal at the number on the bottom of the Cruise Planner pages and had them re-purchase it for me.

Advantage of this approach is you spread out the cost, like @Matt mentioned, and also you lock in the price on the off chance it increases later on. It does happen every so often, so better to have some price locked in and then re-purchase if needed.

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We did not sail on the Oasis, but on Harmony...so very similar.  Here are some things that you might find useful:

* Unless for transportation reasons, I wouldn't wait to get on the ship late, I would get on as early as I could in order to enjoy an extra day on the ship.  These ships are HUGE and having that extra time allows you to get your bearings, as well as see and experience some of the cool stuff available, while it is less crowded.  We were given a check-in time around noon, but arrived at 10:45 and were literally on the ship by 11:00.  

* There are more places to eat on that ship than you can actually do in a week...and most are covered by your cruise fare.  That was actually one of the drawbacks I found on these huge ships.  There would be a place that I liked to eat, but I wanted to try the other stuff too and never made it back to some of those places that I liked.

* Lunch - Park Cafe was actually a very nice place to grab lunch.  It was never crowded and had a pretty good selection of sandwiches and salads.

* You might find it nice to splurge one night (or two) in one of the specialty restaurants. We did Chops Grille for dinner and Sabor for lunch and loved it.  

* When we went to book our My Time Dining, I kept getting a notice that I couldn't do that.  However, a poster on here posted a workaround that allowed me to get in and do my scheduling.  If you still have trouble, shoot me a message and I will see if I can find that post.

* Check your cruise planner for when the shows become available to reserve.  There are TONS of people on the ship wanting to see the same shows you do.  Getting our reservations in for the times we wanted just gave me some peace of mind that we would be able to see everything on a schedule that suited us.  With that said, plenty of people got into the shows without reservations...but you have to line up well before the show time and hope that you make it.  On our sailing, Grease was the headliner, and it had an enormous line.  I doubt everyone in that line got in.

* As another poster suggested, you can go and order things like drink packages, internet, even excursions now and then keep checking the Cruise Planner.  You may find things go on sale and you can just cancel your original purchase and re-buy.  I did that with my drink package, internet, and some excursions on our trip (not huge savings...but savings nonetheless).

* Check the Cruise Planner religiously for sales and for when things like show reservations become available.  I would also book as much stuff online as possible and only use Guest Services or the Excursion Desk if I absolutely had to.  Not that they give you bad service, actually just the opposite.  However, there are lots of people on that ship and you will end up spending valuable vacation time standing in line to do something you could have done online.

* Research the blog portion of this site (not just the message boards) for posts about the Oasis.  You will find a ton of information out there that is kind of cool to know before you board.

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6 minutes ago, Buzzard05 said:

We did not sail on the Oasis, but on Harmony...so very similar.  Here are some things that you might find useful:

* Unless for transportation reasons, I wouldn't wait to get on the ship late, I would get on as early as I could in order to enjoy an extra day on the ship.  These ships are HUGE and having that extra time allows you to get your bearings, as well as see and experience some of the cool stuff available, while it is less crowded.  We were given a check-in time around noon, but arrived at 10:45 and were literally on the ship by 11:00.  

* There are more places to eat on that ship than you can actually do in a week...and most are covered by your cruise fare.  That was actually one of the drawbacks I found on these huge ships.  There would be a place that I liked to eat, but I wanted to try the other stuff too and never made it back to some of those places that I liked.

* Lunch - Park Cafe was actually a very nice place to grab lunch.  It was never crowded and had a pretty good selection of sandwiches and salads.

* You might find it nice to splurge one night (or two) in one of the specialty restaurants. We did Chops Grille for dinner and Sabor for lunch and loved it.  

* When we went to book our My Time Dining, I kept getting a notice that I couldn't do that.  However, a poster on here posted a workaround that allowed me to get in and do my scheduling.  If you still have trouble, shoot me a message and I will see if I can find that post.

* Check your cruise planner for when the shows become available to reserve.  There are TONS of people on the ship wanting to see the same shows you do.  Getting our reservations in for the times we wanted just gave me some peace of mind that we would be able to see everything on a schedule that suited us.  With that said, plenty of people got into the shows without reservations...but you have to line up well before the show time and hope that you make it.  On our sailing, Grease was the headliner, and it had an enormous line.  I doubt everyone in that line got in.

* As another poster suggested, you can go and order things like drink packages, internet, even excursions now and then keep checking the Cruise Planner.  You may find things go on sale and you can just cancel your original purchase and re-buy.  I did that with my drink package, internet, and some excursions on our trip (not huge savings...but savings nonetheless).

* Check the Cruise Planner religiously for sales and for when things like show reservations become available.  I would also book as much stuff online as possible and only use Guest Services or the Excursion Desk if I absolutely had to.  Not that they give you bad service, actually just the opposite.  However, there are lots of people on that ship and you will end up spending valuable vacation time standing in line to do something you could have done online.

* Research the blog portion of this site (not just the message boards) for posts about the Oasis.  You will find a ton of information out there that is kind of cool to know before you board.

I believe this post should be pinned for first timers, so many valuable info. Thanks Buzzard. 

Yes, i still can't access my time dinning. 

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The drink package and the internet packages will go on sale at some point prior to your cruise, I would say at least a couple of months out.  You just have to keep your eye out for it.  You will get the drink package for $45 pp, maybe even $43 pp.  Even if you are a moderate drinker, I think it is worth that price.  There are bars and restaurants everywhere you turn on the ship, people walking around with cool looking drinks, the atmosphere of it all, etc.  You will want to drink more than usual, and it is so easy to do.  Just my take on that.    

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8 minutes ago, RGobran said:

I believe this post should be pinned for first timers, so many valuable info. Thanks Buzzard. 

Yes, i still can't access my time dinning. 

For my last two cruises, dining opened up at about 170 days out and shows opened up at about 150 days out. Keep checking your cruise planner. There's no set date. I have noticed that they usually pop up on Fridays. Your drink packages will probably start to go on sale about 3-4months out. We're sailing in March and our drink package just went down to $43/day last week. Also keep an eye out in a few weeks for Black Friday. Last year they had many sales in the cruise planner during that time. So anything you pre-purchase now can be re-priced then as well.

 

4 hours ago, RGobran said:

Most helpful board on the internet...Thanks a lot Matt,Sabrina and JLMoran

I wish i can help some future first timers the way you helped me :)

 I couldn't agree with you more. I love this community here. Over the years I have learned so much myself from the people here. And even after many cruises I am still learning new things. The people on these boards are wonderful. Not critical or snarky like some other boards and always positive. 😊

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6 hours ago, RGobran said:

Yes, i still can't access my time dinning.

Regularly checking the cruise planner really is mandatory - Royal is consistently inconsistent - I can already book dining for the Symphony Transatlantic which is still 368 days away! Dining became available anytime between October 12 and yesterday - didn't check in between as I was cruising the mediterranean. Might be a new record for booking dining so far in advance?

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54 minutes ago, Neaxan said:

Might be a new record for booking dining so far in advance?

I wonder if it has anything to do with the new ships.  I had the same situation when Harmony first came out.  I had access to reservations WAAAY far in advance.  Much further ahead than any other cruise I had ever been on.  Interesting coincidence.

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On ‎10‎/‎24‎/‎2017 at 9:17 AM, RGobran said:

First of all, i apologize for the silly 101-questions, this is first time i am sailing and found this board to rescue me.

Here we go: My reservation is for the Oasis of the sea Eastern Caribbean cruise (7 nights) on the 20th of May. Occean view balcony (14th deck)

1) Beverage packages: From what i read, there should be some discounts/sale at some point, but it has been 2 months now since i made the reservation and i've not seen any discounts on the packages [ deluxe package remains to be at $55/p) and both people in the same room must purchase it? now my wife(to be) doesn't drink much alcohol, why shall i purchase her a deluxe package, is there anyway around this? 

2) I am really lost when it comes to food on the ship!!! I read a couple of topics about dinner and that there are 2 options for that. What about breakfast and lunch? what are the restaurants on board and what times do they operate? are they all included in the package or do we pay extra?

3)  In the plan my cruise website, when i check the dining options, the website says I cannot reserve this right now, does it open reservation a certain time before cruise day?

4) It says that the ship starts sailing 4.30 PM on the 20th of May, what is the latest time i can check in the ship? How long does the process take?

5) Internet package - shall i purchase that package now, or wait for a discount as well for this?

6) Do you recommend i choose/buy my off shore excursions now, or wait to find deals on the ship?

7) The cruise itinerary is Orlande, Labadee, St. Maartin and San Juan - Do you recommend any in particular shore excursions?

8) Shall i pay the gratitude package from now as well or do it on ship? i don't really understand the system.

Thanks a lot for your help and once again i apologize for these questions, i am sure they were answered 100 of times before. Also if you have any advice for first timers, it would be great.

cheers:)

Ramy 

Ramy - first off welcome !!!  this is a great blog and you already have great information

4)  agree get to the port early if you can and get on - get some lunch and walk around the ship - this is the one day
that you can look around and get into all the venues and see the ship areas.  Its a big ship and I tend to focus
on certain areas while sailing but explore on Day 1.  Lunch in the windjammer is always the best on Day 1

6)  shore tours are personal in nature.  You can get off in all these destinations and just walk around as well
Old Town San Juan is very nice to go see - and I just walk the shops and shore in St Maarten.  Labadee is the
private island and usually everyone's best beach day - you will enjoy that.

7)  gratuity can be confusing - but pre-paid amount of $13.50/day pays for your room steward and dining servers
But you will have gratuities added on for other items onboard.  All gets charged to your room account which you balance
at the end of the sailing with CASH or a Credit Card.

Vintages wine bar is one of my favorites and I always go nightly and get to know the staff, they even have small
tapas plates which are great to have while trying the wine.  I agree if you can get to 1 specialty dining (cover charges
are to tip that wait staff since its not the dining room) its worth trying something more intimate.

Enjoy the planning - its part of the fun!

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On 10/24/2017 at 8:17 AM, RGobran said:

First of all, i apologize for the silly 101-questions, this is first time i am sailing and found this board to rescue me.

Here we go: My reservation is for the Oasis of the sea Eastern Caribbean cruise (7 nights) on the 20th of May. Occean view balcony (14th deck)

1) Beverage packages: From what i read, there should be some discounts/sale at some point, but it has been 2 months now since i made the reservation and i've not seen any discounts on the packages [ deluxe package remains to be at $55/p) and both people in the same room must purchase it? now my wife(to be) doesn't drink much alcohol, why shall i purchase her a deluxe package, is there anyway around this? 

2) I am really lost when it comes to food on the ship!!! I read a couple of topics about dinner and that there are 2 options for that. What about breakfast and lunch? what are the restaurants on board and what times do they operate? are they all included in the package or do we pay extra?

3)  In the plan my cruise website, when i check the dining options, the website says I cannot reserve this right now, does it open reservation a certain time before cruise day?

4) It says that the ship starts sailing 4.30 PM on the 20th of May, what is the latest time i can check in the ship? How long does the process take?

5) Internet package - shall i purchase that package now, or wait for a discount as well for this?

6) Do you recommend i choose/buy my off shore excursions now, or wait to find deals on the ship?

7) The cruise itinerary is Orlande, Labadee, St. Maartin and San Juan - Do you recommend any in particular shore excursions?

8) Shall i pay the gratitude package from now as well or do it on ship? i don't really understand the system.

Thanks a lot for your help and once again i apologize for these questions, i am sure they were answered 100 of times before. Also if you have any advice for first timers, it would be great.

cheers:)

Ramy 

1. As others have said...watch your cruise planner because the price will change

2.  On Oasis, The Wipeout Cafe is always a great choice for breakfast.  You can order eggs/omelets and it takes a few days for the new cruisers on Oasis to learn about It.  Jonny Rockets is another good choice 

3. One of the first things we do after we get on the ship is to head to the dining room and find our table.  If don’t like it or our dining time...We ask for a change while we are there.  If you want to eat at any of the Specialty Restaurants, you can to the one your interested in and sign up.   They will also have signup tables all over the ship.

4. We like to get to the port early and drop our bags off.  We then drive to Park and Cruise drop the car off...Have a cold beer...The Women have their Formosa’s  Then we hop on the shuttle for the short trip back to the ship.

5. You just need to watch your cruise planner for the internet package to go on sale. We did get a super deal one cruise...Got the drink package and internet package combined for less the going drink package.

6. We usually buy our tours on ship...Except for our Alaska cruise.  They we so expensive we wanted to pay or them before the cruise. Book your onboard shows as soon as you can.  The Oasis has its own SMALL comedy club and if you don’t have reservations, you might not get in.

I think you will like the Oasis...Its huge with a lots of people but lots of places to avoid the crowds.  

 

 

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I apologize however, I'd like to hijack this thread for a moment. If I should start a new thread and delete this post, please let me know. My girlfriend and I are also going on Oasis of the Seas in March. We were looking at the 3 Night specialty restaurant deal that's currently available. Do you get to pick the 3 restaurants you want? or do they automatically get assigned to you? Thanks. Sorry again for hijacking your thread.

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18 hours ago, Shockey1655 said:

I apologize however, I'd like to hijack this thread for a moment. If I should start a new thread and delete this post, please let me know. My girlfriend and I are also going on Oasis of the Seas in March. We were looking at the 3 Night specialty restaurant deal that's currently available. Do you get to pick the 3 restaurants you want? or do they automatically get assigned to you? Thanks. Sorry again for hijacking your thread.

Here's an overview of the dining packages and how they work: https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2016/01/28/spotlight-royal-caribbean-dining-packages

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Just got off the Oasis two weeks ago...

As far as the beverage package, for several months prior to our sailing, the price never dropped below $55.  You will get emails saying its on sale, but when you go into Cruise Planner, it would say $55 pre cruise deal.  We ended up paying for it, but did not get our moneys worth.  It is a convenience, but next cruise we will probably just go a la carte or buy the 10 drink punch card.

The dining options are endless!  Giovanni's Table is a really nice venue and has some incredible italian entrees.  The Filet there is possibly better than Chops.   I would definitely recommend it!

If you are staying in  Port Canaveral pre cruise, I recommend lodging at the Homewood Suites.  I have stayed there as well as the Radisson and Residence Inn, and Homewood Suites tops them.  For dinner, I recommend Grills Seafood at the Port.  It is on the water, has live music and great food.  

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