Oasis of the Seas Caribbean Cruise Blog - February 2016
Parts 1&2

Jan Fisher and I are writing from the beautiful Oasis of the Seas. We are on a “FAM” or advance week of our Caribbean adventure to be sure that we get everything set up perfectly for you, our guests, on next week’s poker cruise. We are traveling with my mom, aunt, brother, and his girlfriend. Throughout this blog, we will be giving you tips to make your cruise better.

We arrived at the cruise terminal at 2:30 p.m. and were on the ship by 2:35 p m. This is a good time to get here since there are no lines. Note: You must be onboard by 3:30 p.m. If you get to the terminal before 1:30 p.m, there likely will be a wait to get on the ship, especially if you arrive before noon. You aren’t usually allowed to go to your stateroom until 1 p.m. so you can have lunch while waiting in many different venues, The Café Promenade on deck 5 is open 24/7 and serves snacks, sandwiches, and desserts. The Park Café on deck 8 in Central Park has delicious roast beef sandwiches, paninins, soup, and a salad bar. The Windjammer Buffet on Deck 16 will be open for a full lunch. Sorrento’s Pizza serves pizza until 3a.m. All of the above venues are complimentary. Giovanni’s in Central Park has lunch for a nominal fee… highly recommended.

Jan and I will be in the poker room from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Please stop by during this time frame and say hello and pick up your nametags and the poker schedule for the week. Also, this would be a good time to register and pay for the tournaments you want to play in during the week. We request your presence at our welcome aboard party at 5 p.m. in Studio B on deck 4. Food and drinks will be complimentary and we will make some important announcements regarding the poker room and ship life in general.

At 4 p.m. the mandatory fire drill is the first activity that requires your participation. Your Seapass card will be scanned at the entrance to your muster station to be sure you attend and every stateroom is checked to make sure no one is hiding out in it. The good news is that you no longer have to wear your life jackets to the drill. The life vests are in your muster station area now instead of taking up room in your cabin.

We had a drink in the diamond/diamond plus lounge before dinner. We ate dinner in the dining room and were very impressed with the food and service. Every night, you will have a choice of many appetizers and entrees and desserts. Some staples are available every night including shrimp cocktail, escargot, salmon, grilled chicken breast, and steak. After dinner we played some trivia and listened to music at various venues around the ship. It was fun, but I would much rather have had a poker game to play!

After a mere 10 hours of sleep, we were awakened by the bells and alarms signaling time for the weekly crew fire drill. This drill will take place next week when we are in Labadee. We were docked in Nassau on day two but opted to stay on the ship because it was very, very windy outside, Last night, we watched the Super Bowl in the Opal Theater with 2,000 of our cruise mates. Today is a sea day. I wish you were here so we could play some poker! In closing our blog from the first 48 hours on the Oasis, here are some tips for you that will make your cruise more enjoyable.

1. Don’t overpack! Bring the minimum you think you will need. The closets in most cabins on the ship are small. Trust me on this! I suggest that you lay your clothes out on the bed and then put half of them back in your closet.

2. Tour the ship’s public areas while waiting to get into your cabins until 1 p.m.

3. Use the safe in your room for your passport, credit cards, and extra money you don’t need to carry around the ship. Make a copy of your passport before you leave home. You should not take your passport off the ship in ports.

4. Don’t bring alcohol, knives, irons, etc. with you. If they are found in your luggage, they will take your luggage to security and you will have to go claim it, minus the confiscated items of course. You will not get them back,

5. Bring lots of sunscreen and a hat to wear. The UV is high in the Caribbean.

6. If you drink a lot of soda or wine, you might want to get a beverage package.

7. If you haven’t already booked your shore excursions, it is too late to do so online, so you will need to go to the shore excursion desk on deck 5 as soon as possible after boarding. You can also order through your cabin television.

8. Get to know the Park Café. Its bagel bar, fresh fruit, and egg sandwiches are a good way to start the day before you go to the poker room. Lunch features scrumptious roast beef sandwiches, soups, Panini’s, and a salad bar.

9. Bring lots of small change with you to tip as you go and for ports. I always carry $1s and $5s on the ship and enjoy putting smiles on the faces of the ship’s personnel when I tip them for service in the Windjammer, room service, etc.

10. Your cabin steward will greet you sometime during your first 24 hours on the ship. Let him or her know if you need ice, extra towels, the beds together or apart, extra blankets, etc.

We just met with the maitre’d in the dining room. We will go over how our dining will work at our welcome aboard party in Studio B on deck 4, but here is a quick summary for now. Our group is reserved in the right hand side of the Grande Dining Room at 6 p.m. Because we know you want to play poker, we have asked for expedited service. This means that dining will take about 75 minutes versus the usual 90+ minutes. Please let Jan, Rita, or me know if you prefer the longer service and we can arrange to put you at special tables within our group. You will need to be at dinner on time every night (6 p.m.) since our tables are only reserved until 6:15.

Card Player Cruises has an open seating policy. You will disregard the table assignment on your Seapass card and go to a table that has a Reserved for Card Player Cruises sign on it. If you want to eat at that same table every night, you will sign the table tent and then it will be reserved for you. It is best to sit at the same table because then your waiter and bus boy will know your dining/beverage preferences.

We likely will write another blog or two to let you know what’s happening on the ship.

We’re looking forward to greeting returning friends, meeting new passengers, and playing some poker!

Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher

Card Player Cruises

View more photos of this and next week!
More photos will be added so check back often.

Part 2


After a week on the Oasis, here are some of our observations: The Oasis staff has done a good job of keeping the ship in top condition. The beds are comfy! The bathrooms in the inside, outside, and balcony cabins are adequate, though on the small side. The food in the dining room and in the Windjammer (buffet) is very good. Each night, you will have a choice of 4-6 appetizers, two types of soup, and at least six different entrees. The desserts are plentiful. The headliner show is always good. Unfortunately I can’t recommend CATS, the Broadway production on the ship. I am a theater junkie and I have never liked CATS, but everyone’s tastes are different and the costumes and talent are good. We noticed that ¾ of the audience left and didn’t return after the first half. The ocean has been very smooth throughout the week and the ship has great stabilizers - I haven’t even needed seasick pills since I can’t feel the ship moving. I actually have to go outside to tell if we are sailing.

Here are some more cruising tips to make your trip even better:

• Wash your hands often. This is a good way to stay healthy on a cruise ship.
• Be on time for dinner. We are instructing the wait staff to take dinner orders of those who are there first without waiting for the whole table to fill up.
• Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat or visor, your passport, a copy of your online check-in papers, your medications and vitamins, and lots of $1s and $5s.
•Don’t pack anything in your checked luggage that you need for the first day since sometimes it takes a while for your luggage to be delivered to your stateroom.
• Jan suggests you might need to bring a sweater, shawl, or sweatshirt, since it can be cold in some spots on the ship.
• We like to tip our cabin attendants on the first day. You will get good service regardless of if you tip extra or not, but we like to see that extra smile on their faces.
• On sea days, there is a great salad bar in the dining room. You are allowed to make your salad to go and can eat it in the poker room if you are playing poker. There also will be a selection of food in the poker room.
• Smile! The ship’s photographers will be taking your picture at every possible opportunity and they must use some special lenses since they make everyone look good. :)
• Be sure to sign up for a Crown and Anchor number. You will get “frequent cruiser” benefits as you accrue days at sea.
• Wake up calls are dependable so don’t forget to schedule them so you don’t miss any poker or shipboard activities.
•If you use a lot of Internet, an unlimited package is offered for $15 per day. There are discounts if you have diamond or higher status.
• Remember the 5-year rule. If something is annoying you at the moment, ask yourself whether or not it will matter in 5 years. If the answer is no, get over it and choose to enjoy yourself instead of being angry or unhappy.

Jan and I are eager to greet you on the ship. Please remember to check in at the poker room between 1-3 p.m. to get your badges. The welcome aboard party will be in Studio B (the ice rink) on Deck 4 at 5 p.m. on embarkation day. Please plan to attend and let us buy you a drink and give you some important information about your cruise.

Join Jan and me on the carousel!

View more photos of this and next week!
Additional photos will be added so check back often.

Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher

Card Player Cruises