Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Final Comments and Comparison Between RCI and Princess

First this is my personal experience of the cruise and our experience as a couple that have cruised numerous times, have no kids, I am in my late 40s and Bernie is his mid 50s.

After sailing for a week to the Western Caribbean on Oasis these are my final thoughts.


  • the bed
  • tv
  • shower stall
  • lights around the mirror, lighting throughout cabin especially bedside lights and the night light in the bathroom
  • couch in room
  • magazine/paper rack
  • balcony furniture and balcony flooring
  • lots of plugs.

Did Not Like: 
  • closet too hard to get into and not very big
  • small bedside table
  • not enough drawers
  • can hear what is happening up on the the pool deck when band is playing
  • TV doesn't have enough channels and miss all the dedicated movie channels and shows that Princess shows
  • sink is way too small and very low
  • no toiletries other than soap is provided unless you ask
  • no chocolates every night
  • no glasses (other than the two in the bathroom) provided in the cabin or napkins
  • no house coasts provided


  • wow it is huge
  • relatively easy to figure out where things are after a while
  • loved all the interactive screens throughout the ship made maneuvering around very fluid
  • lots of pools and chairs
  • liked the solarium but could be better executed as it got very loud in there sometimes
  • Opus Theater is huge and beautiful but hated all the pillars that blocked views
  • on board stores - there are numerous stores but they are all over the ship and they are small and hard to find something when you are looking for something. 
  • disembarkation/embarkation was done so smoothly on this ship because the gangways were so easy to get to
  • Dazzlers and Viking Crown Lounge were stunning
  • The Art throughout the ship blew me away, every little detail of art was thought of - very impressive
  • Central Park - I loved the concept of the park like atmosphere
  • the gym/spa area was huge and impressive
  • loved the outside jogging track
  • loved the reclining seats with foot stools around the sun decks

Didn't like:

  • too big
  • didn't feel like I was on a ship, felt very little movement and hardly ever saw the ocean
  • no outside Promenade Deck to walk around or sit out on and look out at ocean
  • No venues (except on top decks) where you could look out at the ocean
  • shore excursion desk was in a bad spot in the middle of the Promenade and no real queues
  • no big movie screen like MUTS, really missed watching a movie on a lounge chair eating free popcorn (Oasis charges for popcorn)
  • to attend the big shows you need reservations or you have to line up and hope for space
  • cabin numbering was odd, use to even on one side, odd on another, not here, there was no rhyme or reason to the numbering
  • lots of pools but hard to find a seat right next to a pool (similar on Princess too), and especially hard to get a seat in the Solarium during busy times.  The pool in the Solarium is an odd shape and more of a plunge pool, and area gets very noisy
  • did not like the lounge chairs that were not a solid piece of material but were plastic straps going across them
  • you have to go to a towel station to get towels (Princes you have them right in your cabin and replaced daily) here if you don't return the towel you are charged $25

  • good but nothing spectacular
  • pizza was some of the worst we have ever had, worse than frozen pizza
  • donuts never tasted fresh
  • some venues (i.e. Promenade cafe) have a 20 minute window when you can't get the food even when it is right in the display case cause they don't change over till 11!  Found a lot of venues that were not open yet or were closed, don't ever recall experiencing this on Princess
  • love the Starbucks store and that the prices on board were the same as on land, but automatic 15% gratuity is added
  • Johnny Rockets was okay, certainly not worth the extra fee.  Their burgers were good but find Princess' fresh grilled burgers at the Trident Grill much better and free
  • Giovannis was just okay, service was very poor and venue was way too noisy
  • Chops we loved the food!  Everything was great but again the venue was very noisy and service was so so
  • in the dining room we felt the menu was limiting and would of like more options.  Didn't like that you had to pay extra for items like lobster, or good steak.   Also they ran out of escargot and was never available.  Service in dining room was so so
  • Windjammer we hated the layout and that you had to walk thru the food area to enter and to leave the room, making the area very crowded.  Prefer that the Horizon Court closes off their buffet area so if you are just walking in you are not in among the food stations.
  • Food in Windjammer was okay but definitely below what I have enjoyed on Princess
  • cups of juice, water, ice tea are sitting in trays, but staff fill cups here too and often spill the liquid causing all the glasses to sit in half an inch of liquid creating drips when you lift the glass, this causes drips onto the floor or onto your clothes
  • hamburgers and  many food items had been sitting a long time and looked dried out, on numerous occasions we saw staff add water to many items and stirring, yuck
  • meal at 150 Central Park was very good and we felt it was worth the added costs
  • Solarium buffet is a nice venue that was often under utilize but loved that is was all healthy options
  • room service menu was limiting and did not like that the only way you could get morning breakfast was to order it the night prior, there was no option to order breakfast the day of
  • Central Park Cafe is a nice option with a variety of salads, sandwiches and fruit, loved the chips! 

Overall Experience:

  • staff were very friendly and attentive and helpful.  However level of service was definitely not what we are use to.  We encountered a few errors in orders, bar drinks or requests with steward, this rarely happens on Princess.
  • Embarkation and disembarkation was the most efficient I have ever seen.  They have this down to a science.  Even disembarkation/embarkation at each port was handled very smoothly - loved this.
  • activities on board were far less than what we are use to, or at least the activities we like to do.  We love trivia, games etc and on this ship we had only one or two of these type of activities to do a day.
  • however their family type activities, like meet the characters or parades were plentiful but not something we are interested in
  • the prizes they offered for activities were very good, much better than Princess
  • there were just too many pay options, sure you can certainly sail without paying an extra dime but it seemed every time we turned around I had to ask does this cost?  Often the answer was yes.
  • most lounges were very very noisy and hard to find a nice bar to have a drink and chat
  • Boleros was a great venue but they allow smoking.  Not sure if other bars allowed smoking as we did not visit all of them but we did notice the smoke smell in Boleros because it is open to the Promenade so when you sit at Starbucks you smell the smoke, and on a few occasions we left because of it
  • still with smoking RCI allows smoking on balconies that face the water, but balconies that face the Boardwalk or Central do not allow smoking and there is a clear sing on the door of your balcony to this affect; however we say at least three different cabins across from us smoking, and we could smell smoke coming from a balcony near us.  I am glad that Princess does not allow smoking in any cabin or balcony but does have designated smoking areas that I can choose to go to or not.
  • we really like the age of the passengers we defiantly like we were with people more our age and enjoyed more children on the cruise and most of them were very well behaved some not so much but then again some adults were not well behaved either.  Age on Princess is much older and we often feel young on board, but we make due and meet really great people.
  • music playing in the public venues were more our style and we often would be signing along, it was more current music

Things we really missed from Princess

  • great food
  • higher level of service
  • views of the ocean while sipping a coffee in the International Cafe
  • International Cafe to get a quick snack and people watch
  • Vines wine bar
  • the numerous game type activities in the evening
  • Movies Under the Star
  • Sanctuary
  • Great burgers and great pizza
  • Horizon Court Layout and lots of seating
  • storage space in the cabins
  • afternoon daily tea service
  • warm cookies and milk that are handed out throughout the ship
  • fruit in the cabin daily
  • log of the cruise at the end of the trip
  • port information that includes history and practical port info
  • port lecturers or interest lectures
  • numerous comedy acts throughout the voyage
  • chocolates on our pillow daily
  • housecoats
  • large floral bouquets throughout the ship
  • channel showing where we were in the Caribbean
  • free beach towels
  • free carry bag with Princess logo, handy to take to the beach
  • the mail slot for each cabin along with our name tag (never thought about it before until we didn't have it on Oasis)
  • laundry on each floor
  • large library with numerous books available
  • enclosed pools on numerous Princess ships
  • walkable Promenade deck with lounge chairs
  • pub lunch
  • Horizon Court buffet that is open from first thing in the morning till 11 pm

Things we Really Liked About Oasis we Wish Princess Did:

  • interactive TV with menus, room service, venue business, events happening
  • great beds
  • great lighting in the cabin and couch in the cabin
  • comfortable reclining chairs with foot stools around the pool area
  • the screens all over the ship to direct you to a location, tell you what is going on NOW, very helpful
  • the entire ship is so beautiful, I really loved all the art work everywhere and every time I looked I saw something new
  • the production shows were some of the best we have ever seen on the seas and even many we have seen on land
  • embarkation/disembarkation done to a perfection
  • the diversity of the passengers, numerous variety of languages in the passengers as well as a much younger group
  • the gym including the running track, well done
  • lots of elevators and even though sometimes it was harder to get an elevator than other times they were efficient and numerous

Final thoughts:

This was a trip that I talked my husband into because I really wanted to see the big ships either Oasis or Allure.  We never had any intention of changing lines permanently but we were curious to see how RCI handled things.  We did enjoy the cruise but in the end we know that Oasis and RCI are not a fit for us and what we like.   At this stage in our life we like to take longer cruises and really get away from everything.  We like peace and quiet with good food, good service and good wine.  We like to rest up on our trips and visit exotic locations.  We enjoy the feeling of being on a ship and the movement and views of the ocean.  We also prefer the longer itineraries that Princess offers.

Even though Oasis wasn't for us I would not have any doubts to recommend it to a family with kids or a couple who like to be active and busy.  It is like visiting Disneyland, it will be expensive, you will be busy, it will wow you, there will be lots of kids, and you will probably need a vacation after your vacation.

In the end we are glad we went but we also can't wait to get back on Princess.

Thank you for reading - if you would like to follow and learn more about Princess check out my facebook page Cruise Princess Cruiseline with Vickie


  1. Hiya

    Wow this is a great review. Whilst I agree with lots you say I can confirm many of your concerns are not like that on a 'normal' RCI ship. I've always worried about these LARGE ships and now I know for sure I'll stick to the regular sized ones. I've never struggled for a seat in Windjammers or in the Solarium etc although I do miss some activities that you get on Princess. Great write up.

    1. I agree Julia....We went on RCI Mariner recently, and although we loved and still love Princess, we were definatly impressed with RCI and plan to cruise with them again, (as well as Princess), but may stick to RCI's smaller ships. RCI Mariner service, food, and entertainment was fantastic from embarking to disembarking. We will book according to price, home port, and destination with both lines. But first, Princess new ship Royal is booked for 2013...yea!! (Debbie Cassell)

  2. Thanks Julia for your comments. I believe that is most definately the case, the Oasis is huge and because of that it may cause some discrepencies in service especially. But since we love Princess and the perks we now get it is hard for us to go to another line when we could sail to similiar ports with Princess with a product we know we like. Bernie and I agree that if there was no other ship that was going somewhere we wanted and RCI did we would go again.

  3. Vickie, I thoroughly enjoyed your review. I have sailed RCI three times now and have never experienced the issues you had on this cruise. Didn't have them on Oasis,either. That having been said, I see the comparisons through your eyes and now look forward to experiencing Princess in August! Already impressed with some features: carry on pop and water; self service laundry and irons; no charge for excursions until 48 hours prior to sail so you have time to reserve and think it over; more water views ( although this was unique to was the Windjammer lay-out . I wish we had met onboard, but I will continue to follow on FB! Sue ( sleehan)

  4. I used to work at a buffet and EVERY buffet adds. Water I food that is drying out. It's just like if us be cooking it and too much water evaporated andnunhad to add a little more. It's because the heating elements causes it to evaporate.

  5. The Mariner of the Seas at 138,000 tons is about the right size for most people. Our favourite is a the Jewel of the Seas and its sister ship, the Serenade, which at 90,000 tons fit our needs perfectly. Anything larger than the Mariner(which we've been on twice), is too large for us. Because of the reviews we have never considered the Oasis or the Allure. Most reviews comment on too many people, long waits for seating in restaurants, or in the Windjammer, and excessive, especially at night. For families or younger adults, these mega ships may be ideal, but for middle-aged(or older)couples like us, stick to the medium-sized ships.