Oasis of the Seas: A family adventure!

Leaving behind Toronto’s icy grip (okay it was short-lived but icy nonetheless), our anticipation soars as we embark on the Oasis of the Seas Caribbean cruise, a much-needed escape from the frigid north. While my wife is the seasoned cruiser among us, my son and daughter, diligently masked and avoided crowds for weeks, were determined not to fall ill before our grand voyage.

Cain’s Chicken Mishap

Our journey begins with a pit stop at Cain’s Chicken in Miami, a renowned fast-food joint my son insists on trying. Despite the lengthy queues at ten p.m., the chicken fails to impress. Our night’s stay at the Miami Marriott, nestled in a somewhat questionable neighbourhood, is a brief but restless one as we eagerly anticipate the start of our winter getaway.

The Ship’s Grandeur

The moment we laid eyes on the Oasis of the Seas, its sheer magnitude left an unforgettable impression. As we stepped onto the bustling promenade, adorned with eateries, chic boutiques, and even a Starbucks, the ship’s interior evoked more of a mall vibe than a traditional cruise liner, all thanks to the absence of outside windows.

A Crowded Retreat

Despite its immense size, the Oasis of the Seas remains a beloved fixture in the Royal Caribbean fleet, captivating passengers even a decade after its debut. With a capacity of up to 6,700 during peak seasons, the ship’s attractions are so enticing that a significant portion of passengers opt to stay onboard during port calls. Stretching the length of approximately 3.3 football fields, the vessel ensures ample space for everyone.

Cozy Quarters and Nightly Serenades

Oasis of the Seas has a capacity of up to 6,700 during peak seasons, stretching the length of approximately 3.3 football fields, the vessel ensures ample space for everyone.

Our accommodations on the 8th floor, though cosy, lacked windows, making it feel akin to a game of Twister whenever we moved around. As a notorious snorer, I attempted to seek refuge in the bathroom, only to find it too cramped for comfort. My son’s white noise machine proved to be a saving grace against the cacophony of our collective nocturnal activities.

Navigational Quirks and Culinary Delights

Navigating the ship’s maze of decks was a breeze for most, but for the directionally challenged among us, like myself, it presented a daunting challenge. Thankfully, our daughter’s innate sense of direction served as a beacon of hope amidst the sea of confusion.

The culinary offerings aboard the Oasis of the Seas were nothing short of spectacular, catering to diverse palates with a plethora of international cuisines. While my son relished in his beloved veggie burgers and fries, my daughter indulged in a daily ice cream spree, much to our amusement.

Entertainment Extravaganza and Island Escapades

The ship’s array of activities kept everyone entertained, from thrilling water slides and zip-lining adventures to nightly shows and vibrant teen hangouts. While my wife and I grooved to ’80s tunes, our son forged friendships in the teen club, bonding with fellow cruisers from across the globe.

Venturing ashore, each island offered a smorgasbord of adventures, from horseback riding to snorkeling, ensuring there was never a dull moment.


When cruise tourists make a stop in Haiti as part of their itinerary, they usually disembark at Labadee, a private resort destination owned by Royal Caribbean International. Labadee provides an array of activities and amenities for passengers to enjoy during their day ashore. Our time at the resort was spent luxuriating on the soft sands, taking refreshing dips in the warm Caribbean waters, and relishing the breathtaking coastal scenery under the radiant sun.

As usual, my adventurous kids eagerly delved into various water sports activities, including snorkeling, kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing, reveling in the thrill of the ocean’s embrace.

A delightful beachside barbecue awaited us for lunch, offering a delectable spread of grilled meats, succulent seafood, crisp salads, and juicy tropical fruits, satisfying our appetites with flavours of the Caribbean.

Later in the day, the kids embarked on an exhilarating adventure with the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line, one of the world’s longest zip lines, treating them to awe-inspiring views of the coastline as they soared over the vast expanse of the ocean.

As the sun began its descent, we immersed ourselves in Haitian culture, perusing the artisan market for local handicrafts and souvenirs, absorbing the vibrant colours and craftsmanship that epitomize Haiti’s artistic heritage.

Haiti itself is a Caribbean nation situated on the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Despite facing considerable challenges such as poverty and political instability, Haiti boasts natural splendor and cultural richness. Renowned for its vibrant art scene, unique music and dance traditions, and historical landmarks like the Citadelle Laferrière and the Sans-Souci Palace, Haiti offers visitors a glimpse into its resilience, warmth, and hospitality amidst adversity.


Jamaica beckons tourists with a plethora of activities suited to diverse interests, whether exploring its vibrant capital Kingston or indulging in coastal adventures at other ports of call like Ocho Rios, Falmouth, or Montego Bay. Although cruise ships often bypass Kingston, organized shore excursions offer glimpses of its allure. During our visit, our ship anchored in Kingston where the kids reveled in horseback riding through mountainous terrain, immersing themselves in lush landscapes and even taking a refreshing dip with the horses in the ocean.

Some activities tourists might relish in Jamaica are:

  • Beach Escapes: The island’s famed beaches with their powdery sands and crystalline waters offer ideal spots for sunbathing and swimming.
  • Aquatic Adventures: Enthusiasts can dive into a plethora of water sports, from snorkeling and scuba diving to jet skiing and parasailing.
  • Dunn’s River Falls: Near Ocho Rios, this natural wonder invites visitors to scale its terraced cascades or marvel at them from below.
  • Bob Marley Museum: In Kingston, the former home and recording studio of reggae legend Bob Marley provides insight into his life and music.
  • Port Royal: Just outside Kingston, this historic site steeped in pirate lore invites exploration of its ancient ruins.

While Kingston pulsates with cultural vibrancy, it’s wise to heed safety precautions, as certain areas carry higher crime rates. Nonetheless, the city boasts a tapestry of historic landmarks, cultural hotspots, bustling markets, and nightlife hubs.


Nassau is the vibrant capital city of the Bahamas, stands as a sought after haven for cruise tourists seeking sun-drenched adventures and cultural explorations. Nestled on New Providence Island, Nassau boasts an array of activities and sights to enchant visitors.

Our day was spent basking in the serenity of Nassau’s Cable Beach, where crystalline waters lapped against soft sands, Our thirst for adventure led us to dive into a realm of aquatic wonders, embarking on snorkeling excursions to nearby reefs, thrilling scuba diving adventures, and exhilarating jet skiing escapades.

As twilight descended, we toured downtown Nassau where history whispered through the cobblestone streets. Amidst the colonial charm, landmarks such as the Queen’s Staircase, Fort Fincastle, and Parliament Square stood as testaments to the island’s rich heritage. The bustling thoroughfares teemed with vibrant shops, inviting restaurants, and local vendors, added a touch of allure to our evening explorations.

Beyond the beaches and bustling streets, Nassau unveils a tapestry of experiences for curious souls:

  • Paradise Island Excursion: Linked by a bridge, Paradise Island beckons with its opulent resorts, including the famed Atlantis Paradise Island. Here, visitors can luxuriate on pristine shores, explore the expansive water park and awe-inspiring aquariums of Atlantis, or tempt Lady Luck at the casino.
  • Shopping Extravaganza: Nassau’s duty-free shopping scene is a shopper’s paradise, offering a treasure trove of handmade crafts, Bahamian souvenirs, and jewelry. The iconic Straw Market and Bay Street’s boutique-lined promenade invite leisurely strolls and delightful discoveries.
  • Historical and Cultural Delights: History buffs can delve into Nassau’s intriguing past at attractions like the Pirates of Nassau Museum, which unravels the island’s swashbuckling pirate legacy. Meanwhile, the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas offers a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of local artwork and culture.

Nassau and New Providence Island seamlessly blend relaxation, adventure, shopping, and cultural immersion, ensuring an unforgettable sojourn for cruise passengers seeking a quintessential Bahamian experience.


CocoCay, formerly known as Little Stirrup Cay, stands as a private island gem nestled in the Bahamas and owned by Royal Caribbean International. It is a favoured destination for cruise tourists, especially those voyaging with Royal Caribbean, CocoCay charmed my children with an array of exhilarating adventures. The highlight was undoubtedly the Thrill Waterpark, boasting an assortment of heart-pounding water attractions such as waterslides, wave pools, and a sprawling water play fortress, a paradise for families and thrill seekers alike.

Moreover, CocoCay offered my children the chance to delve into the vibrant marine life and kaleidoscopic coral reefs through snorkeling. Renting kayaks and paddleboards allowed us to leisurely explore the island’s coastline and the crystal clear waters surrounding it. Adding to the excitement, a thrilling zip line provided an adrenaline fueled journey over the island and across the azure waters, treating us to awe inspiring panoramic views.

For those craving a more laid back experience, Chill Island beckoned with its tranquil beaches, complete with rentable cabanas, beachside bars offering tropical libations, and hammocks swaying gently in the shade. Guided nature walks and island tours also beckon to guests keen on discovering CocoCay’s local flora, fauna, and captivating history.

Crafted to cater to a diverse range of tastes, CocoCay seamlessly blends adventurous pursuits with serene escapes, enabling cruise tourists to craft their ideal island day. With its enchanting natural allure and an abundance of amenities, CocoCay stands as the quintessential tropical sanctuary for cruise passengers seeking relaxation and excitement amidst the splendour of the Bahamas.

Our Favourite Ship Activities

Exploring the 13 shopping venues and open-air stores onboard Oasis of the Seas

The thrill of adventure knew no age limits aboard the Oasis of the Seas, where my thirteen-year-old son, twelve-year-old daughter, and even their forty-something parents found themselves captivated by an array of exhilarating activities. Some of our favorite experiences were:

The Ultimate AbyssAs the tallest slide at sea, the Ultimate Abyss promised an unparalleled rush of excitement. From deck 16 to deck 6, the ten-story descent was filled with twists, turns, and vibrant light displays, leaving the entire family craving for more. This adrenaline packed ride truly stood out as one of the best activities for families on the Oasis of the Seas.

The Pools

Whether it was swimming in the main pool or lounging in the hot tubs, the entire family relished the poolside fun. Despite the occasional crowd, the inviting waters provided endless enjoyment for kids and adults alike.

Perfect Storm Water Slides on Oasis of the Seas

The Perfect Storm water slides, featuring the Typhoon, Cyclone, and Supercell, were a hit among the older kids. While some rides came with unexpected twists and turns, the entire family reveled in the thrill of these aquatic adventures.

Flow Rider on Oasis of the Seas

The FlowRider proved to be a highlight for my daughter. While some hesitated before trying, everyone eventually found themselves surfing waves and enjoying the spectacle of epic wipeouts.


Offering a unique perspective of the ship, the Oasis of the Seas zipline provided an exhilarating ride over the Boardwalk area.

Rock Climbing Wall

Rising 200 feet above the sea, the rock climbing wall presented an exciting challenge for all. From beginners to more experienced climbers, the entire family found joy in scaling new heights and conquering the wall.

Unlimited Ice Cream

Undoubtedly a highlight for the kids, the unlimited ice cream machine near the pool area was a constant source of delight. With flavours aplenty, it quickly became a cherished Oasis of the Seas tradition for the whole family.

Athletic Court and Fitness Center

Whether it was a game of pickleball, volleyball, or simply hitting the basketball court, our family found joy in the sports court on Deck 15. Additionally, the well equipped fitness center on deck 6 provided ample opportunities for workouts and classes, ensuring we stayed active throughout our cruise.

Spotlight Karaoke

Despite varying musical talents, we all found ourselves drawn to the Spotlight Karaoke on deck 5. While our son eagerly took the stage, we contemplated our song choices and relished the lively atmosphere of this onboard entertainment venue.

The Seas Escape Room – Mission Control Apollo 18

Embarking on a mission set in 1973, we tackled puzzles and tasks in the Mission Control Apollo 18 escape room. Though an additional cost was involved, the detailed setting and immersive experience made it a memorable adventure for the entire family.


Exploring the 13 shopping venues and open-air stores onboard, we indulged in a bit of retail therapy. From unique finds to unexpected freebies like eye shadow pallets, the shopping experience added a touch of excitement to our cruise.

Ice Skating

Ice skating proved to be a hit with our family. Included in our cruise fare, this activity provided hours of fun for our kids and us alike. We enjoyed gliding across the ice during the designated free skate times, relishing every moment of this exhilarating experience..

Oasis of Dreams Aqua Show

The Oasis of Dreams Aqua Show left us in awe with its breathtaking performances featuring divers, acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and dancers. The incredible talent showcased against the backdrop of the ocean made it a truly unforgettable experience.

Oasis of the Seas: Where Family Fun Thrives

Catering to both families and couples, the ship’s diverse neighbourhoods provide endless entertainment options, from the lively Boardwalk to the serene Central Park. However, meticulous planning is key to fully relishing the Oasis experience, ensuring seamless access to shows and dining reservations.

In the end, while Oasis of the Seas may not be for those averse to scheduling and crowds, its boundless offerings make it a dream destination for adventurous families seeking unforgettable memories at sea.

by Myles Shane

photoghraphy by Naomi Hiltz