“I didn’t eat that pie,” I told her.
“I know,” she said. “Somebody walked by your table, looking hungry, and you gave it to them.”
“That’s my story,” I said.
“Been used before,” she said.
After all my indulgences, I wandered around Oasis for the next several days, spending nothing more than beer money, noting that a ship with plenty of expensive options also offers nearly as many eating choices that are included in the cruise price.
Evenings brought free entertainment, including a Broadway-style performance of Hairspray and a comedy club routine. Both shows required a reservation for crowd control, which meant no waiting lines, except for the folks who had not made a reservation.
I ate well in cheap mode. I skipped the sushi at Uzumi ($3-$5 fee plus a la carte items) and Italian dishes at Giovanni’s Table ($20 fee) for the healthy Asian fare at the Solarium, free at breakfast and lunch, and the well-prepared dinner buffets at Windjammer Market, an upgrade over the main dining room (attempted only once and my worst meal aboard ship) as the buffet salads were fresher, meats and vegetables tastier, and service better, less harried, at Windjammer.
My favorite place on the ship was Central Park, where during most breakfasts and some lunches you would find me mingling with what I presumed primarily were city folks, accustomed to park sitting with some takeout food, watching the world walk by.
Central Park is unique to Oasis and Allure — a fully foliaged patch situated in the middle of the ship, open to the sky, yet surrounded by eight decks so you are out of wind. Most times, unless the waters beneath are roiling, it’s difficult to remember that you are at sea.
Perhaps best of all is the deli called Park Café, where the coffee, the breakfast sandwiches and pastries are free. Mid-day, while the well-heeled were doing lunch at pricey Chops, I was sitting outside in the park with a book, eating a free roast beef sandwich and yummy cookies from the café.
As any big city dweller knows, a key to comfort is to find a neighborhood and gain some familiarity with what soon feels like home. On big ship Oasis, I walked through Central Park at least 50 times from my cabin, which also was on Deck 8. By the end of the week, I was nodding hello to old friends, some of whom I had shared a table with, for morning orange juice and coffee.
During my six days on Oasis, I had skipped the rock wall climb and flow rider, but did the zip line and water aerobics, ice show, theater, comedy club, game show, karaoke, aqua show, watched some basketball, bar hopped, walked the outdoor track, read, walked a lot of stairs (skipping the elevator), strolled for miles on the three shore days at Labadee, Falmouth, and Cozumel. In between, I ate or snacked at 17 different restaurants, lounges, shops and bars.
Daily, I returned to Central Park, which was my oasis on Oasis.
David Molyneaux writes monthly about cruising. He is editor of TheTravelMavens.com