January 31, 2023

Finally on the Oasis Jan 29, 2023

I was scheduled on the Oasis at the end of November, sailing with my children.  As happens in life, things happen.

I needed sinus surgery, itself not a difficult procedure but the only date she get an OR scheduled at ORMC was the Friday after Thanksgiving. Sailing was scheduled for two days later on Sunday,  but doctors felt best that I not travel for several weeks after surgery.

Less than 14 days until departure Royal was kind enough to bend thier rules and allow me to change my sailing date, of course for a $200 change fee. Much better than canceling and dealing with the travel insurance.

Sailing out of Miami with just Lynn and I traveling, we decided to stay in the Ft Lauderdale area the night before. We will have a leisurely drive to Ft. Lauderdale then drive to the port Sunday morning.

The night before departure I receive a mesage from Royal that there will be difficulties getting to the port because of a marathon race Sunday morning. I am so glad we have made the plans we did.

I spend considerable time trying to figure out which roads will be the best to get to the port. In the eternal wisdom of local Miami officials they say the port will remain open, but there is no suggestion on how to get there. The list of closed roads is extensive, but without local knowledge, of limited value.

Google searches on the subject reveal how to get there normally, not with most streets closed.

A route is mapped out. Only about 8 blocks on local streets that are NOT listed as being closed.

We have reservations In Pompano Beach. The drive in uneventful, the traffic easy. As always we do those last minute check in of items that can be done on the way to the ship.

McDonalds for breakfast. This seems to have become the norm on the drive to a cruise ship. The only time I ever stop at one.

Traffic moves well until the exit from I-95. It appears nearly all the traffic wants the same single lane exit we do.  The delays being.  Bumper to bumper cars and trucks, most of the time progress is slower than I walk, and I walk pretty slow.

After over 2 hours of very little progress a sympathetic officer understanding our plight, removes a barricade and allows vehicles headed to the port a shortcut leading to the port tunnel. Police traffic control was actually the biggest part of the problem. This one was the only I saw and traffic was a total gridlock.

Over two hours for eight blocks.  The consolation, I knew it was going to happen, I am not the only one stuck in traffic, and I still have 4 hours to navigate the last mile to the ship.

The entrance into the port is easy, then it happens again. Roads are blocked and all traffic  is directed into one big traffic jam.  The normal traffic pattern doesn't work because all the passengers that are trying to leave the port can't because of the traffic problems in Miami Proper.

Finally I can escape the logjam and head to terminal A, home of The Oasis of the Seas. 

Quickly directed to luggage dropoff,  I unload the two suitcases and drive into the garage over the terminal.  There are plenty of spaces. Just out of principal I head to one of the upper levels and find a parking spot very close to the elevator.

The elevator down is next to the terminal entrance. Staff is waiting to direct Pinnacle passengers. Escorted up a special elevator, literally seconds to go through security check. I really need a restroom, spot one nearby and make them wait. The journey resumes. Passport is checked, onwards to the ship. Not counting the restroom it was less than 3 minutes from locking the car until being on the ship. Impressive, especially after spending so many hours getting thru Miami.

After a quickly downed cocktail, one of the next stop is to make reservations at Coastal Kitchen.  I am booked for My Time Dining, but due to my own negligence don't have any reservations. Royal has changed My Time to begin at 6:45, later than my preferred dining time. A 6:00 reservation is booked for tonight, additional days will be on a day by day basis. Fair and understood as the Coastal Kitchen is reserved for Suite passengers first.

The cabins are ready just before 1:00. We are located midship, closer to the aft elevators on deck 7. Unpack and head back to the Suites Lounge for cocktails and sailaway. Coctails are definitely needed after this day.

4 PM comes and goes. Still in port, no word from the crew or captain. No one is surprised that we don't sail on time. Besides passengers, new crew and trucks with provisions faced the same transportation debacle we did. 5:00, 5:30, then 6:00 still no update and still tied to the dock.

No other ships have left, it is time for dinner. Finally two Carnival ships depart, then  an NCL.
About 6:30 we depart. Never a word from the captain or cruise director.

The coastal Kitchen is about 70% full. The filet was absolutely perfect and the service just as good. I wish I could say the same for a group of 6 passengers several tables away. Very drunk, loud and offensive. They disrupted the entire dining room and adjoining Suites Lounge. The MaitreDe spoke to them several times, but his words were effective for only a few minutes. And of course the servers continued to fuel the behavior by pouring many more drinks.

Yes I, and independently other guests, had converstaions with the manager on the way out. Of course I understand the difficulty of his position, but this was some of the most disruptive behavior I have ever seen in any dining room, and certainly a clear violation of RCCL passenger conduct policy.

I am assured  the offending parties will not be in the Coastal Kitchen for dinner during the remainder of the cruise, and I am able to secure reservations every night at 5:30.

After dinner a brief stop at Schooner bar. definitely not a Kelly. Quiet time in central park listening to piano music then a set of jazz at Jazz on 4.

The seas are very calm the skies clear with the moon directly overhead as we head to a 7:00 AM arrival at Coco Cay tomorrow morning.