January 27, 2017

Eastern Caribbean on the Oasis

It has been six weeks since my cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse. Christmas was celebrated, The decorations packed away, the train club had a major two day show last weekend, and my daughter Alyssa closed on her house Friday, January 13th. No she is not superstitious.

Even though her house is only 6 years new, she has correctly chosen to completely paint and carpet before moving in. One of the advantages of living with a parent, there are no deadlines.

Probably 15 years ago my doctor advised me to no longer be climbing ladders, but we all know we do everything our doctors suggest. I do what I can to patch walls, change door locks, and remove closet shelving in preparation for painting.

Packing for my cruise doesn't start until Sunday morning on the day of departure January 22nd. Fortunately I have packed often enough that it is a pretty easy process. As I drive to the port the weather is threatening with a fast approaching strong cold front that has already produced heavy storms in Georgia and North Florida. I arrive at the Park Port Canaveral Parking by Radisson and within a few minutes I'm on the shuttle headed to the ship.

The Oasis is one of the largest cruise ships in the world, and has been based at Port Canaveral for only a few months. The traffic is a little congested, and the process to clear security is a little slow, but not nearly as bad as I have seen some other times. Once past TSA security, check in and boarding the ship is a breeze. There is a line to enter the Windjammer, but once inside there are available seats.

My stateroom is ready by 1:00 and the real shock was that my luggage arrived at my cabin by 1:30, the earliest that I have ever received luggage.

I very rarely pick a specific cabin, just taking what is available or randomly picked by my travel agent or some automated system. The cabin location is good, but it is the smallest I ever remember. There is about 16 inches of walk space beside the bed, and only 18 inches of clothes rod. It will be adequate, as my cabin needs are rather minimal.

The Oasis has been refurbished since my last time on her. The Diamond lounge has been moved to a smaller location. New suites and space reserved for suite guests has taken over what used to be the Crown Lounge.

My assigned station for the muster drill is the Aqua Theater, an outdoor venue on the aft of the ship. The skies look like they will start a downpour any second, but the drill is completed and I return to inside before any rains come. The Captain announces that our scheduled stop in Nassau has been canceled because of the front moving south over the region, and instead we will add a stop in San Juan. He is going to run full speed to in an attempt to stay in front of the cold front. Our expected arrival in San Juan is 4 PM and we will stay until 11:00 PM. I didn't hear a single person complain about the change as it is very probable if you have ever cruised the Caribbean, you have been to Nassau.

Right after the muster drill I head to the Diamond lounge. When I arrive it is already 75% full. I think more people are turned away than are able to find seating. The layout is very poor for the bartenders and servers. They are trying to work in the same space that people are trying to get to the appetizers. I am sure everyone is eventually served. Personally I find it amusing that one of the most recently designed ships has such a poor arrangement for the staff. I would expect that a new design would provide a better work flow not a worse one. One of the disadvantages of having an engineering background, I analyze things too much.

I head to the dining room at 5:30. The prime rib was good, and the service a little slow as is expected on the first night. A young lady from the Philippines is our head waiter. Very refreshing in that she was helping by serving ice water as she visited her tables. As seems to be my fate, two people never showed up for dinner, the remaining five of us had an enjoyable time.

Very large ships like the Oasis are able to offer bigger production shows compared to smaller ships. Cats is the main theater show, and will play several times this week. The shows are included with the cruise fare, but it is advisable to make reservations if you want to attend at a particular time. Often even those passengers without reservations are able to find seating. I make reservations for the main shows later in the week.

Because of the high winds the aqua theater show has been canceled for tonight, and will be rescheduled.

I retire early, long before the Jazz Club, Piano Bar, and English Pub swing into action.

No comments: