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This was our second cruise on Oasis of the Seas. We had gone on the same cruise in February of this year and had such a good time and felt that there was a lot we had not seen. And it was time for a vacation... So, this seemed like an easy decision for us. We took a lot fewer pictures this time, but invite you to review the pictures from our first Oasis cruise, if you haven't already seen them.
Overview: The pictures below are arranged roughly by day. It was a 7-day cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale with three port days, stopping in Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Martin. We also had 3 'sea days' on which we took advantage of the many attractions and activities aboard the ship.
Be sure to contact us if you have any additional questions about the cruise, especially if you are considing sailing on the Oasis of the Seas.
Our travel day to Ft. Lauderdale did not go exactly as planned. After pushing back from the gate at PHL, the pilot told us they had discovered a fuel leak in the #2 engine. So, back to the gate, eventually switching to a new plane, and of course, very soon knowing that we would miss our connecting flight in ATL. Long story short, we were glad we planned to travel the day before our cruise! Since we didn't get in to Ft. Lauderdale until a little before 6:00 PM, we would have 'missed the boat'. So, while we did miss our afternoon of beach and sightseeing in Ft. Lauderdale, we still had a relaxing dinner, got plenty of sleep, and were more than ready to board the Oasis on Saturday morning.
We were obviously excited about starting our cruise and were awake before sunrise. We both got some early morning exercise in before breakfast. After breakfast and some final re-arranging of luggage [adding bathing suits to our carry-on], we headed over to the cruise port and terminal #18. Registration was fast and efficient. Once we got on the ship, a few minutes before noon, we headed for the Solarium Bistro, which we knew also served lunch. This turned out to be a wise choice to avoid the crowds at the more well know Windjammer buffet. We were both surprised at how few people seemed to know about lunch in the Solarium, but we definitely enjoyed the relaxed and uncrowded atmosphere. Since this was our second time on the Oasis, we felt that we pretty much knew our way around, and that was a good feeling! We even managed to keep 'port' and 'starboard' straight in our minds.
We took a dip in the pool, unpacked, attended the muster drill, and were on the observation deck [#14] for the sail away. After dinner, we made it an early evening, since we knew we would be arriving in Nassau the next day relatively early in the morning.
We had our plans pretty well set for Nassau. Last cruise we had gone over to Paradise Island. This time we wanted to get to a local beach, but decided to try to catch the 8:30 AM mass at the local cathedral. It was a nice short walk, after getting thru the Nassau welcome area. The actual Welcome Center building was closed for repairs. We got to the church just a few minutes before the mass started. We both enjoyed listening to the choir and their musical accompaniment. We both felt that attending the mass was a great cross cultural experience.
We walked down to Junkanoo Beach, an additional short walk from the cathedral. The sunlight was 'iffy' and neither of us thought that the rough water was worth walking back to the ship in wet suits. So instead, we took some pictures and hung out on the beach for a while. Then we walked back towards town, stopping at two different straw markets, a few shops in town, and ended back at the port area, where we got several conch fritters and a couple of local beers.
We had an early 2:00 PM sail away from Nassau. We spent the afternoon watching the new production of Cats, which we both enjoyed. This was the first formal night. So after watching the sunset and getting dressed up we watched the Frozen in Time ice show and then went to an nice dinner in the Solarium Bistro, which changes to a speciality dining venue for dinner. We both had bison as our main entree.
Day #3 was a full day at sea. We had a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room. We attended part of the Central Park tour before heading over to the Cruise Critic affiliated Meet & Mingle [be sure to check out the Cruise Critic site to meet fellow passenger before sail]. We also attended the Crown & Anchor Society [Royal Caribbean's loyalty program] presentation and free drinks. After that, it was an afternoon and evening of just relaxing. We talked about backup plans since the last weather forecast we had seen for St. Thomas and St. Martin called for 100% and 70% chances of rain respectively.
While there were some clouds in the sky went we arrived in St. Thomas, the weather was definitely more sunny than we had expected. We decided to go with plan 'A', which was to head to for a beach day at Sapphire beach. Literally, as soon as we got out of the taxi and walked the short distance to the beach, the skies opened up and we had a 15-20 downpour. We did the best we could to fine cover, used our beach umbrella to try to shield ourselves, but still ended up pretty soaked by the time the rain stopped. We were a little chilled, but fortunately the water was nice a warm. So we got our snorkel gear and swam around. Among other sea life, we spotted a ~ 3 foot sting ray and swam with it for a little while, enjoying its natural beauty as it skimmed the bottom close to shore looking for food. Finding the sting ray, so of made experience of getting wet worth it.
We had a loud, wild, but fun ride back to the cruise port [Crown Bay not Havensight] and got there just as the rain was starting again. A that point, with the intention of going straight to our cabin to change clothes, we didn't mind getting wet yet again. At one point we had thought of getting bite to eat and then coming back to spend some time in the port shops. However, as darkness seems to come early and the rain evolved to a steady drizzle, we were just as happy to stay on board.
On two mornings, Michael went in search of the Small Wonders art installation. There are 42 of them scattered around the ship. Michael found 36 of them. This companion page has more detailed information on the Oasis of the Seas Small Wonders art installations.
The morning in St. Martin looked very promising, with some bright sun out. The good weather lasted the entire day, although there were some afternoon clouds off of Orient Beach and brief couple of raindrops. We started our day by going to the market in Marigot. We had really enjoyed this town when we stayed on the island for a week back in 2010 and wanted to see how things had changed. We lucked out in that Wednesday was a local market day including several fish vendors. We had a couple of interesting taxi drivers and learned a lot about local reaction to recent hurricane Gonzalo and the government's handling of it.
After leaving Marigot, we took a taxi to Orient Beach for more sun and ocean fun. I had read about damage to several of the beach front food stands. Pedro's, where we had stopped for drinks on previous trips, now had a topless seating area [meaning no roof] and was accepting tips for their rebuilding efforts. We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Orient Beach. We only found a few fish when we snorkeled -- once again very spoiled by snorkeling in Hawaii. While we were sorry to leave, we know that we'll come back again!
After two shore days in a row, we looked forward to having a relaxed day aboard ship.
A rainy morning on the ship, reaffirmed that the 'sun decks' are mostly useless when it rains. This included the Solarium area which has a partial glass roof, but the rain usually blows enough so very little stays dry.
We had planned a late flight out in the afternoon, so that we could spend a leisurely morning on the ship. After breakfast we walked around the ship and took a few more pictures [just in case we hadn't taken enough already], then tried to replicate our last picture from the previous cruise, sitting in the big round chairs at the front of the Solarium.
Our trip thru customs was pleasantly uneventful, as was the short taxi ride to the airport. There was a long line at Southwest for baggages check-in, but we were in no hurry. TSA was a breeze with our pre-check status. Oddly, by 1:30 we were hungary again, so stopped at the local Landshark Bar for some nourishment before getting on the plane. We are now back home with fond memories of our cruise.
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