Cruising from Miami on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

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Cruising from Miami on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas
Curator’s statement

With a swanky new terminal in Miami, cruising Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas from Florida is an exciting (and convenient) jumping-off point for any cruise adventure. Miami's vibrant cultural and food scene makes your pre-cruise stay an almost secondary mini-vacation for double the fun.

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Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas

Sail into a world of extraordinary experiences aboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, where innovation, luxury, and adventure converge on the open seas.

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Ship Overview

Oasis of the Seas, the original Oasis-class ship of six in the Royal Caribbean fleet, is a bucket list adventure for anyone looking to try sailing on the world’s (now second) largest ship class. With Oasis of the Seas having undergone “Royal Amplification” in 2019 (which is Royal Caribbean’s cruise speak for a huge update and refurbishment), she has many of the later additions like The Ultimate Abyss dry slide, newer restaurants like Playmakers, and updated pool deck themes to liven up the atmosphere. The combination of Oasis being slightly older yet upgraded makes her a great value compared to the newer, more costly sailings found on Wonder of the Seas and, soon, Utopia of the Seas.

For those looking for tips and tricks regarding planning and Royal Caribbean cruising expectations in general, you can find my full guide to Royal Caribbean tips and tricks here.

What to know when cruising the Eastern Caribbean

Cruising from Miami opens up a plethora of options in terms of itineraries. On my sailing, we opted for an Eastern Caribbean route that included Falmouth, Jamaica, Labadee, Haiti, Nassau, Bahamas, and Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas.

For more information about cruising out of Miami, please see my separate guide, a Pre-Cruise Guide to Miami, Florida.

Itinerary Overview
Day 1: Embark in Miami
Day 2: Sea Day
Day 3: Falmouth, Jamaica
Day 4: Labadee, Haiti
Day 5: Sea Day
Day 6: Nassau, Bahamas
Day 7: Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas
Day 8: Disembark in Miami

Falmouth, Jamaica
The port is co-owned by Royal Caribbean and the Jamaican port authority, so consider booking an excursion farther afield (Falmouth is very much a cruise port town and does not make the top ten largest cities in Jamaica). Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios is a top activity in the area and is highly recommended. This excursion has various activity levels to choose from, as hiking the falls themselves is accurately labeled “strenuous.”

Those looking to see more of the countryside (and a bit more of a laidback adventure) should book an excursion to Hampden Rum Estate, founded in 1753. In addition to seeing the full process of distilling rum, they will explain more about the historical highs and lows of the area and estate for broader regional awareness. This excursion also includes lunch at the estate, featuring local staples such as jerk chicken, jerk pork, and Jamaican festival (sweet fried bread). Be forewarned that the Estate’s rum is extremely high-proof, so do not expect to buy a bottle and enjoy its contents as you would an aged rum!

Remember, when sailing from Miami, Jamaica is an hour behind, and the ship will stay on Eastern (Miami) time. On the day you set sail from Miami, turn off the auto-time zone feature in your phone’s settings so you do not have issues getting back to the ship on time because your phone says local time (when the ship stayed on “ship time”). No one wants to be a pier runner…

Labadee, Haiti
Royal Caribbean’s original private destination, Labadee is a peninsula privately owned by Royal Caribbean on the northwestern coast of Haiti. Excursions are booked far in advance at this port, so be sure to look at the Cruise Planner as soon as you book your cruise.

The Dragons Tail Coaster is a fun alpine slide for adults and children alike and provides a great view of the area once at the top of the hill. Reservations can be booked by a specifically timed session or a full-day pass in advance through the cruise planner.

The Dragon’s Breath (seated) or Dragon’s Fire (laydown on stomach) zip lines are the longest over water globally at 2,630 feet and start around 500 feet above sea level. This excursion takes around an hour from start to finish and is a great break from enjoying the beach. Remember to bring closed-toe shoes, shorts, and a shirt when you depart the ship in order to participate.

Cabanas are available in multiple areas of the destination, the best of which is Barefoot Beach, the section reserved for suite guests (though non-suite guests can still book the cabanas within). Those looking for roaring waves to watch from the beach should find loungers along Adrenaline Beach (though know that the waters are often too rough to enter on this side). Adrenaline Beach also has zip lines going overhead, so keep that in mind if you do not want to listen to cheers and caterwauling all day. Columbus Cove is the farthest beach away from the ship. It has calm waters and a laidback vibe with easy access to many of Labadee's other paid activities.

Guests on ships docking at Labadee are not allowed excursions outside those booked directly through Royal Caribbean, as the area has restricted access. Security is very tight, and the private destination area is very safe for guests going ashore. Those looking for a passport stamp can bring their passport to a kiosk in Dragon’s Plaza for an added cost.

Nassau, Bahamas
Many of the best activities in Nassau (not surprisingly) revolve around food and/or water. Food tours are a great way to experience the wonderful local cuisine, such as conch fritters, chowder, and Bahamanian beer.

The be-all, end-all water park at Atlantis Resort is right across the bridge on Paradise Island. It is an unforgettable destination in and of itself (though the price tag seems to agree with that statement). However, new additions to the area, such as Baha Bay Water Park, are also great options at a fraction of the cost.

At present, it is recommended to book excursions through the cruise line when in Nassau unless guests are already quite familiar with this port stop.

Perfect Day at CocoCay, Bahamas
The holy grail of private islands, Perfect Day at CocoCay has something for everyone, including those with no set plans. Remember to check out a towel before leaving the ship, as you will need to bring your own (though they do have a kiosk on the beach if you forget). Bring your equipment along instead of renting from Royal Caribbean for those interested in snorkeling.

Hideaway Beach is the newest addition to Perfect Day at CocoCay and is a fantastic option for adults only (though comes at an additional cost). However, that additional cost gains entrance into arguably one of the island's best areas, where Royal Caribbean has replicated all of Perfect Day at CocoCay’s best features in one location. The area has more bars available to guests, a larger swim-up bar area with a DJ, a heated pool, a pizza/empanada food stall in addition to Snack Shack, a sports bar called On the Rocks, and best of all, the beach was designed as a well-secluded cove to limit waves (and hopefully jellyfish, which are an issue at some of the other beaches across the island).

Thrill Waterpark boasts the tallest waterslide in North America (as well as six other great slide options). For large families, it is worth noting that booking a cabana in Thrill Waterpark might save money versus booking individual tickets.

Those looking to go on Up Up and Away, the helium balloon on Perfect Day at CocoCay, make sure you book through the Cruise Planner as soon as your cruise is confirmed. This books up quickly (but is often canceled/refunded due to inclement weather).

Groups looking for an elevated food and beach experience should book the Coco Beach Club or one of the swanky cabanas within (again, booking a cabana here might be cheaper than individual tickets, depending on the number in your group). The lunch at Coco Beach Club is top-notch, with filet mignon, lobster, and a fantastic tapas spread (amongst other options). Beach loungers in this area come with towels, so there is no need to check out towels from the ship.

Bar service while enjoying the beach loungers across the island is hit or miss, so if you would rather not have to get up and make your way to a nearby bar, consider booking a cabana or day bed at one of the many “neighborhoods” across the island (which come with a dedicated server). South Beach is a bit more geared towards adults (and is the farthest away from the ship), while Breezy Bay and Chill Island are quite close and family-friendly.

Prices fluctuate greatly for Perfect Day at CocoCay, depending on ship and sail date, so consider booking your reservations in the Cruise Planner as soon as your booking is confirmed so you can be sure to snag the lowest prices possible.

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Kelsey Parry

Ship-based Activities

Aquatheater - One of the best features of Oasis-class ships, Oasis’s Aquatheater show Aqua 80’s is not to be missed. Make sure to book reservations through the Cruise Planner website beginning roughly 60 days prior to departure.

Studio B - The ice rink featured on most Royal Caribbean ships (not included on Quantum-class ships) is another must-see element of Oasis of the Seas. Each Royal Caribbean ship’s ice show has a different theme, Oasis’s being called Frozen in Time. Frozen in Time has a storyline that revolves loosely around Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales. The costumes and talent are absolutely top-notch and should be booked in advance through the Cruise Planner website.

Music Hall
- A great two-story venue for music, game shows, and more, featured on newer/updated Quantum and Oasis-class ships (called Dazzles on older ships). Make sure to see Finish that Lyric in this venue, which is a fun competition for those who are lyrically inclined!

Casino Royale - The onboard casino is enormous (just like all Oasis-class ships). It includes a separate non-smoking room (formerly the home of Jazz on 4), and both rooms have plenty of updated slot machines and table games.

Royal Theater - One of the great features of the somewhat older Oasis-class ships is that they still feature Broadway performances. Oasis of the Seas has Cats in a full-scale production that is well done for those enjoying theater.

Blaze/Comedy - Oasis of the Seas has a dual-purpose venue called Blaze, which hosts the Oasis-class ship comedians and nightclub activities (not at the same time). Note both of these activities are 18+ age-restricted.

The Ultimate Abyss - Added during amplification in 2019, this dry slide is featured on Oasis-class ships (except Allure of the Seas) and takes riders from deck 16 aft all the way down to deck 6 aft and is accessed via deck 15.

Perfect Storm waterslides - Three water slides featured on the Oasis of the Seas pool deck. Note that the champagne/toilet bowl slide on the starboard side of the ship usually has a smaller line because many people get stuck in the “bowl” part.

Solarium - The adults-only pool deck section is partially covered at the front of the ship, deck 15.

Crazy Quest - Seemingly back on most Royal Caribbean cruises regardless of length, this adults-only, no-holds-barred game show is hosted towards the end of the cruise in Studio B and is not for the faint of heart (or easily shocked/offended)! Find a seemingly fun group of people and hold on for a wild ride…

Royal Caribbean standbys also on Oasis of the Seas - Vitality Spa, FlowRider, Rock Climbing Wall, Oasis Dunes mini golf, and the sports court (including pickleball).

Dining on the Ship

Specialty Dining - Consider paying extra on an evening or two for a lovely dinner at one of the fabulous specialty dining locations onboard: Chops Grille, Chef’s Table, 150 Central Park, Izumi Sushi, Izumi Hibachi, and Giovanni’s Table (not to be confused with newer Giovianni’s Italian Kitchen).

Park Cafe - Exclusive to Oasis-class ships, Park Cafe is a convenient option for a quick breakfast or lunch, including sandwiches (such as the Kummelweck), build-your-own salads, self-serve drinks, etc.

Playmakers Sports Bar - Playmakers is a great addition to any Royal Caribbean ship, as it provides the first sports bar venue with plenty of television screens and great bar food for an additional cost (unless using the Unlimited Dining Plan).

Portside BBQ - Exclusive to Oasis of the Seas, Portside BBQ has live music in the evenings and GREAT BBQ (at an additional charge unless using the Unlimited Dining Plan).

Boardwalk Doghouse - Included in the cruise fare and has various choices of hot dogs and sausages for grab-and-go dining.

Johnny Rockets - A little-known perk of Johnny Rockets on Oasis-class ships is that breakfast is free and, therefore, a great alternative to the Windjammer or Solarium Bisto on sea days. Note that there is a separate line for milkshakes, which are included in the unlimited drink package.

Coastal Kitchen* - A lovely, upscale dining venue for those booked in Junior Suites and above, connected to the Suite Lounge on deck 17.

El Loco Fresh - This is a great pool deck lunch option at no additional cost, which includes items like tacos, quesadillas, nachos, etc.

Windjammer - Included in your cruise fare and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Note that it also has nightly themes at dinner, which can be found in the daily Cruise Compass.

Main Dining Room - All three decks have the same nightly-themed menu and are included in your cruise fare.

Solarium Bistro - Included in the cruise fare, an easy alternate option to the Windjammer for those who already find themselves forward on the upper ship decks near the Solarium.

Cafe Promenade - The only 24-hour food and drink venue on the ship, Cafe Promenade has a specialty coffee bar (included in the unlimited drinks package), self-serve coffee, tea, water, and light snacks throughout the day.

Sorrentos - Royal Caribbean’s quintessential pizza joint on all ships. Set expectations and enjoy this venue late night, as it is one of the only food options open until about 2 a.m.

Bars on Oasis of the Seas

Boleros - This location is perfect for festive music, specialty cocktails trending toward rum-based, and a great vibe. Make sure to give the Hemmingway Daiquiri a try.

Globe and Atlas - The nightly staple English pub on all Royal Caribbean ships with live guitar music and televisions for important sporting events.

Schooner Bar - Another staple of Royal Caribbean ships, with the largest bar selection. Nightly piano bar performances, daily trivia, and many other activities will be held at this happening location. Try their new cocktail, the Sea & T, if you enjoy gin and tonics.

Vintages - A lovely, laidback vibe makes the wine bar Vintages a great place to have a pre-dinner drink, catch up on the day with friends and family, or even sign up for a wine-tasting course.

Spotlight Karaoke - While most commonly known for hosting karaoke, this bar will feature visual trivia games and televised sports events throughout the day.

Rising Tide Bar - Take a ride and enjoy a cocktail while this bar moves (very slowly) between the Royal Promenade on deck 5 and Central Park on deck 8.

Wipeout Bar - A great spot to watch the excitement of sailaway, the FlowRiders, and the Ultimate Abyss, this bar is at the very aft of the ship, accessed via deck 15.

Bionic Bar - Robotic bartenders make your classic or custom drink right before your eyes.

Starbucks - Technically not serving alcohol, but just as important, this full Starbucks location on the Boardwalk is not included in the unlimited drinks package (but guests are able to use their normal Starbucks app for purchase, if desired).

Other mainstays of Royal Caribbean Oasis-class bars on Oasis of the Seas - Music Hall venue, Casino Royale, Suite Lounge* (for Grand Suite and above guests only), Crown Lounge* (for Crown and Anchor Diamond status guests and above only), Solarium, Trellis Bar in Central Park, Lime & Coconut Pool Bars, Vitality Cafe (for fresh juices, smoothies, and protein shakes included in the unlimited drinks package), Suite Sundeck Bar* (for Grand Suite and above guests only).

Need to Know

Packing Considerations

Eastern Caribbean cruises have myriad routes and stops, with everything you would expect from a warm, sunny Caribbean cruise. Plan to bring plenty of bathing suits, cover-ups, flip-flops, and sunscreen (be sure to check local regulations on sunscreen in places such as St. Thomas). Depending on your excursions, water shoes might be a good idea if rocky beach entrances are involved.

seven-day cruises on Oasis of the Seas will include two formal nights (usually night two and night six), so bring some dressier attire if you feel comfortable. You will see everything from sundresses to ball gowns and tuxedos. Other theme nights include the '70s, '90s, Caribbean, and white nights, so bring along whatever you are able to fit!

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Miami. In need of further inspiration? Check out Amy LaGrow-Rogers’s guide, Pre-Cruise Hotel Guide in Miami & Fort Lauderdale.

Advisor - Kelsey Parry

Travel Advisor

Kelsey Parry

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