Lance and I have taken many cruises, over 20, in fact – our itineraries include the Caribbean, Panama Canal, Alaska, Eastern and Western Mediterranean, and the Baltics. Given this history, it is obvious we love cruising as a form of vacation and travel. Recently we sailed on the Oasis of the Seas and had another wonderful cruise. The ship is more than amazing – it is a masterpiece of ship building and we found the staff, food, and accommodations wonderful. This itinerary was booked for the ship itself, we have always loved newer, bigger ships and although we had been to all but one of the ports we wanted to sail on the Oasis. With that in mind, we didn’t book or plan excursions – the thought was that we would look around each port but primarily enjoy the ship.
After coming back home and reflecting on our trip, we were both left with the same thought – we loved the ship, but we didn’t feel that we had the same cruise experience that we typically enjoy. We really missed seeing new ports and cities and realized that this is something that contributes greatly to our cruise experience (as much as enjoyment of the ship). We learned that we cruise to have new experiences in cities and ports. We want to see different places. We want to enjoy planning and anticipating for new port stops. All of this was lacking from our Oasis experience.
Another thing that we missed was the feeling of being on a ship, as others have said, it is almost like being on a large land resort. The ship is so smooth you don’t even feel movement, we missed the gentle rocking that you generally feel while sailing. You didn’t get those “peeks” of ocean on this ship like you do on some others. For example, if you sit in a window seat on most ships in the dining room you can watch the ocean as you sail along. Windows in the portion of the dining room we sat in had lifeboats in front of them.
In the future, a large factor in deciding on a cruise will include the itinerary, not just the ship. Instead of taking a cruise just for the sake of cruising, we now know that the ports are very important to us – important enough, in fact, to take fewer cruises if necessary just to be sure we go somewhere new each time.