After the amount of photos I shared on my Instagram page, I’m sure anyone “keeping up” knows that Ben and I went on a family cruise vacation back in March. Somehow, someway I still have photos to share from that trip. The ship we set sail on was Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas. It was a seven day, eight-nighter cruise out of Port Canaveral from the east coast of Florida. Does the ship name ring a bell? You might remember that Ben and I cruised on this same ship for our honeymoon two years ago. It was amazing to come back aboard only to see that the Oasis was just as beautiful and gigantic as we had remembered. Today on the blog, I’m sharing a travel photo diary with the photos that Instagram didn’t see (and OK ya caught me – some are super close to the ones that they did). I’m also including a cruise Q&A at the bottom of this post answering the questions that you submitted via Instagram Stories.
I know what you’re thinking. A seven day, eight night cruise!? That’s a COMMITMENT. Well, you’re right. It’s definitely a lengthy amount of time to be out on the open water, but in the best way. Royal Caribbean is one of my favorite cruise lines. There’s no shortage of all you can eat food, fantastically scenic ports, and extravagant onboard entertainment to keep the vacation rolling. Our cruise itinerary for this trip led us to stop at the following ports: Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Marteen.
In Nassau we walked around the port going in and out of bars. Ben and I had our own mini bar crawl from Fat Tuesday, to Señor Frogs, all the way to Never Say Never Again Bar. This vacation marks my first time inside of Señor Frogs and I have to tell you guys that it was everything I expected and more. Shot trains, dancing, strong drinks. It was a TIME. And I was having all of it.
St. Thomas was beautiful. We spent most of our time in this port on a tour bus excursion. I couldn’t get over the bright blue water and the tall mountains. We stopped at multiple scenic spots which was great for photos. Our last stop included a touristy shop with a “famous banana daiquiri” to boot. Of course I ordered one. Of course it was delicious. Of course I told myself it was like drinking a healthy fruit smoothie.
Our final port visit on our cruise was to St. Marteen. Ben and I had fun walking around the port while our hands gripped giant locally made mojitos. We spent a couple of hours poking in and out of shops looking around for souvenirs before heading back to the ship. I will say that I totally spaced on the fact that St. Marteen is home to the Princess Juliana Airport where airplanes fly incredibly close to onlookers at Maho Beach. I’d consider it a supreme Instagram worthy spot and epic experience. I only wish I had remembered it sooner. While I kick myself for not taking advantage of that, I know I’ll make up for it the next time we visit St. Marteen.
Since I shared so much of this trip on Instagram, I asked you guys to submit questions via Instagram Stories for a quick blog Q&A. I loved getting to answer these questions for you. I’d like to stress that these answers are solely based on MY EXPERIENCE. It’s always best to check with your cruise line or specific ship you are sailing on for more direct and complete answers to any general questions you may have for cruising. Thanks to all that submitted questions!
Is the alcohol drink package worth it?
I 100% think that the alcohol drink package is worth the expense on shorter cruises (3-4 dayers). Drinks are basically in your hand with the snap of a finger or, ya know, the flash of your cruise card with the beverage sticker on it. It also allows you to expand your drink selection a bit and try drinks you wouldn’t normally order in “real life”. This is cruise life we’re talking about here, so I believe in living it up as much as you can while onboard. These alcohol drink packages might also include other drink selections such as specialty coffees, and sodas.
On longer cruises (7 dayers) it’s harder to give a definite “yes” on the alcohol package being worth the cost, because it’s totally circumstantial. You have to ask yourself if you can drink enough every day to make it worth it (way easier to do on a shorter cruise than a longer one). It’s very important to consider your port days as well. Are you getting off the ship at all for excursions in those ports? Those can take up a good chunk of your day and cut into your drinking time. Keep in my mind that drinks provided on excursions normally aren’t included in the alcohol drink package.
If one person in the cabin buys the drink package, do the other people in the cabin have to?
In my experience – yes. Any cruise I have been on where I have purchased the drink package, it required all of my cabin mates to have the drink package as well. I believe there is a loophole to this rule for the alcohol package if the person you’re traveling with is either: under 21, or if they are pregnant. You’ll want to double-check with your cruise line to be on the safe side though.
Do you have recommendations for onboard restaurants on the Oasis (not included in the free food)?
Whenever I cruise I typically stick with the free food provided. The variety is always nice because you can try things for free that you wouldn’t normally try otherwise. That being said, on Ben and I’s honeymoon cruise we did try out a couple of Oasis’s onboard restaurants just for the sake of going “all out”. We tried out Izumi, an Asian-inspired dining option and Sabor, a Mexican restaurant. Although I can’t remember what the heck we ordered, I know we didn’t leave disappointed. They were both a nice switch up from the free food offerings.
What’s included in the cost of the cruise?
You’ll have to check with the specific cruise you are taking, because I believe they are all different when it comes to what’s included in the cost. For the ones I’ve been on there’s always free food, free entertainment, onboard shows, free drinks (water, lemonade, tea), sport courts, pool access, gym access, and a variety of activities (some ships have rock walls, flow riders, ziplines, etc.) included.
Did you feel that there were more families or more singles on your ship?
On the Oasis, it felt like a mix. Royal Caribbean does a great job of providing a wide range of entertainment for both families and singles. In my opinion if you’re looking for more of a party cruise you would book with Carnival. If you’re looking for more of a family vacation you’d book with Royal. It’s just the overall atmospheric feel to the cruise (again, totally my opinion) although neither are repellant of either group.
What’s the best way to get a good deal on a cruise?
This one is tough to answer because I don’t do much of the research or booking. I know building loyalty with a cruise line will help get you promotional offers in the mail. Cruise lines are always running specials online so if you have a cruise in mind that you want to go on, then you should be checking their website almost daily. I asked my stepdad and he recommended gambling a lot while on board also gets you promotional deals in the mail. And nope, he’s not joking.
Have you ever been on other cruise lines? What sets Royal Caribbean apart?
The only other cruise line that I have been on is Carnival. I feel that Carnival is what you book when you’re ready to party, while Royal has more of a relaxed feel to it. I truly enjoy both cruise lines, but those are just the general overall atmospheric differences in my opinion. Both are a blast though and I have NEVER left disappointed feeling like I didn’t have “enough” fun. I can say that Royal’s food quality and options are better than Carnival’s food (again, totally my opinion).