A bit of both actually. Rather than going through all the details, a few observations and stories that made this memorable. Oasis of the Seas is the 2nd largest ship in the world, by the way.  I tried to suppress my neverending questions on how such a beast stays floating – and carefully scanned our escape route and dinghies 🙂 Given we were on a 14th deck – jumping off was unlikely – but tried not to think about it too much.

The cruise:

    • People everywhere. I mean, we knew it. Boarding a ship for 5,000 tourists and 2,000 of crew gives it away. But quickly realized sitting on our balcony, staring at the ocean was the most peaceful and relaxing.
    • Staff fantastic, mostly India, Jamaica, Indonesia – 10 years ago this would be all Eastern Europe so a bit of a shift – makes you double appreciate the immigration needed for Americans to function
    • Food, surprisingly good! Of course, 90% in line for burgers and hot dogs, pizza while you had coconut curry chicken or awesome dal untouched. Sodas flowing in gallons. Waste, can’t even speak about it.
    • Entertainment, something for everyone. Cats, way too long. Diving show, A+. Skating show, also great.
    • Kids club – not a hit for our triplet. They preferred to explore ship on their own, with walkie talkies and the free flow of sodas, pizzas and just lack of oversight. Mum and dad balanced it off with free booze so everyone was happy.
    • Service – everyone shooting for the 10 on Medalia and it showed. In trying as well as in reminding us here and there to pay attention to the survey 🙂 Seriously, top notch, can’t complain.
    • Variety of things to do unmatched – ice skating, surfing, diving, ping pong, basketball, golf, trivia nights, singing, karaoke
    • Pools – so so, not enough and crowded

Some curiosities of our family:

  • Mia insisting on microwaving her empanada. When I suggested we don’t have a microwave in our room, she quickly pointed at the safe where she put the empanadas and was pushing all the numbers to get it going. Once I pointed that out, she quickly moved to a hair dryer and started to blow dry it. Creative, got to give it to her.
  • Walkie talkie masters – that’s what we are – we were on it and it worked like magic
  • Didn’t escape the sickness but it was from sun, not water. Lucas, 2 am, all over the room with me close to following him as I can’t handle the smell. Poor B cleaning it up while everyone else slept (the super husband).
  • Maxie in panic as he lost his ship card 2x, once in Haiti when he was convinced he has to stay behind – in the poorest country of the world!
  • Mum and dad making up for all of the craziness with free booze

First time family cruiser advice to others:

  • the restaurant reservations are not so hard to get
  • book the beach bed in Haiti
  • book the excursions outside of the ship, locally
  • bring walkie talkies
  • ignore the wifi, expensive and super nice to get off the grid for a week – read a book
  • do the spa, staff was great and service excellent
  • bring gym clothes – great gym

Next – the shore excursions – our favorite part of the vacation.