Embarkation Day: Oasis of the Seas

Filed under: Ports/Activities

It amazing how you watch your cruise countdown click down for SO LONG and then all of a sudden, it’s here! Boarding Day!

This embarkation day was a little different than past boarding days for us because this one involved having our girls tested for COVID at the port before we could board the ship. They already had a PCR and antigen test prior to our arrival in Miami because I was worried the PCR wouldn’t come back in time so I found an antigen as well (Royal currently requires a PCR or antigen pre-cruise test). I was worried their PCR tests would not come back in time, and in fact there were so many logistic issues getting the PCR results that I just never checked them because we had the antigen tests!

So, how did the day go?

Wake Up and Leaving the Hotel

Our boarding time had been set for 3pm (that was the time we selected during our online check in). When I woke up this morning, I decided to see if any earlier times had been made available. There was a 12pm slot open so I took it! We got packed up, made a quick CVS run, and then hit the road from the Hyatt Regency Miami to Port of Miami. Our hotel had taxis arriving regularly so I had not scheduled an Uber or other transportation. The hotel did not offer a shuttle to port, which was fine. A shuttle to port has never been a deal breaker or motivation for me to book a particular hotel. The ride took about 10 minutes and cost $25 cash. We did check Uber pricing. For most of our time here it has been in surge pricing and economy Uber was priced for 3 passengers at $30 and Uber XL would have cost $45.

Arrival at the Terminal

We arrived at the terminal, and in true Jamie fashion, I didn’t have my luggage tags printed. If you dont have yours, FEAR NOT, the porters at the terminal are happy to help tag your luggage. They can also tag boxes of diapers and other things you’d like delivered to the room! Tipping is customary. We tend to tip about $2 per item, minimum $10.

Port of Miami Cruise

The lines were LONG. We heard many reasons for the lines from lack of security staff to unruly passengers from the previous weeks sailing. The rumor floating around was that a family refused to disembark and had to be removed! I don’t like leaving on debarkation day either but hiding on the ship is not a tactic I’d attempt! Apparently, it ends in removal from the ship.

The line, however long, did start moving and the staff at the terminal were friendly and helpful, letting us know exactly where we needed to be, and where to go next. We were directed to a line specifically for families needing testing. We met a really nice family while waiting in line!

When we got to the front of that line we were asked to show our:

  • Set Sail Passes– I had the Set Sail passes for our whole family loaded on my phone and they scanned them easily

  • Negative Pre-Cruise Tests– also all loaded on my phone with screenshots

  • Vaccine Cards- for this I had paper copies

We then went through to a testing area where we registered each child and had them tested. It was simple and the staff doing the testing was excellent with kids. They gave the girls a temporary wristband indicating they were in the testing phase; they had been tested but had not received results.

Once they had completed their tests we went to a waiting area. We were told our results would be emailed to us within about 45 minutes to an hour. We were able to connect to the Terminal A wifi to await the emails. Michael said the terminal WiFi speeds were good (200Mbps down/250Mbps up). After waiting for about 20 minutes, we were ushered up to check in despite our results not being emailed yet. They said if we hadn’t gotten the emails by the time we were done with check in, we could sit in a waiting area on the third floor. At check in we were asked for passports and had our pictures taken. They provided us with temporary paper set sail passes. The Set Sail cards are on your stateroom door waiting for you.

We then proceed to security. While in the line for security our emails with our negative test results came though! We then knew we wouldn’t need to sit in the waiting area after security and would be ready to board the ship. Security was much like that of an airport where you put your belongings in bins to go through the scanner and you walk through the metal detector.

After passing through security we went to the third floor to go through our final check point before boarding the ship. At this step we presented our paper set sail passes and our emails with our negative tests results from the PCRs that had been done at the terminal. They removed the wristbands the girls had been given in the testing zone indicating that they had been tested and cleared for boarding!

After that we were given the green light to walk the gangway and board the ship! What a sense of excitement and relief! We made it!

Checking Out Our Room, Complete All The Things!

We’re staying in Ocean View Balcony cabin 8266. The rooms are clearly updated. When the ship was amplified in 2019-2020 all of the furniture was also replaced and it is evident. Everything is in excellent condition. This is a standard ocean view balcony room. We had the beds set up together and the sofa converts to a bed. The balcony is also a standard size. If you’d like a larger balcony I suggest checking out the cabins on the “hump” on the sides of the ship. There was an AO schedule, masks for kids and adults, and some cookies waiting for us!

Sometimes when I unpack I take EVERYTHING out of the packing cubes and put it in drawers. Because this is a standard room with more limited space, I unpacked the packing cubes and put them directly into the drawers and shelves. This helps me to keep everything organized and compartmentalized.

Once we found the room, there’s quite a few things that are taken care of right at the start. We wanted to start booking shows, get internet access, book our oldest in Adventure Ocean and the little one in Adventure Ocean Junior, and get specialty dining all tidied up. Adventure Ocean and the Shows are particularly high demand/limited availability, so that’s where we started.

For booking shows, the App didn’t immediately let us reserve through the app. Instead we were directed to Guest Services to join a line of dozens of other equally determined AquaTheater enthusiasts. By the time we were in line, the App starting allowing reservations, and we started reserving. Despite these Type A personality actions, we still didn’t get a few of our first picks.

Next, we were off to Adventure Ocean. There’s a lot to talk about there, but for now I’ll just talk about the Day 1 necessities. Adventure Ocean Junior is for 6-36 months and Adventure Ocean is for 3-11 years old. Unfortunately, the reservation systems aren’t linked and so with a 2-year-old and 5-year-old we needed to match reservations in both systems. We were allowed to book 8 hours on the first day, with some limitations to booking on days at port with those spots currently being reserved for guests with Royal Caribbean excursions booked. The hourly rate for the Late Night time was $7. I think it’s important to note here that the number of hours you’re allowed to book will vary from sailing to sailing depending on the number of children onboard.


Mustering is so easy now! Use the Royal App to review the safety briefing. There is a brief video we had the kids watch that at least kept their attention. Kids over 3 should wear a band with their muster station the entire duration of the cruise. The bands were provided for us in our stateroom. After completing the required steps on the App, you are required to visit your muster station to be signed off. I’m pretty sure this delayed our departure because they will not leave until everyone has visited their station. The visit lasts less than 4 minutes and then you’re back in action!

The safety briefings are very big on knowing the emergency signal, your muster station in the event of an emergency, and steps to perform during an emergency. Basically, if you are in your room, get warm clothes and your medicines, and head to your station. If you are living your best life on the deck, simply put down that Goombay Smash and head straight to the muster station without going to your room first.


Because we have unvaccinated kiddos, we were assigned to the unvaccinated dining room on Deck 4. We chose early dining at 5:30 to better increase our chance of making it to some of the early shows that would be available for unvaccinated kids.

I actually LOVED having the dining room for unvaccinated kids because we were SURROUNDED by families. I didn’t worry as much about how the little one would do with dinner because there were toddlers at every table around us. The servers were also incredible and so amazing with the kids. We could not have asked for better waitstaff. They tended to the girls every need, cut Audrey’s steak for her, brought her ice cream and extra broccoli, and were so patient.

As soon as we sat down we asked them to bring out some fruit for the girls which they brought out right away and said they’d be sure to do the same for the rest of the week.

The chef came by to say hello and our server helped us schedule some specialty dining for later in the week so we didn’t have to go to the reservation desk.

As for the meal, I had a crab cake and French Onion Soup for starter, prime rib for entree, and Royal Chocolate Cake for desert. Hubs had the same but Key Lime Pie for desert. Audrey had kid’s steak, fruit plate, TONS OF BROCCOLI, and strawberry ice cream. Palmer made a mean dent in some chicken strips (which were actually really tasty), and two cookies that happened to travel with us by means of toddler death grip for the evening.

Starbucks and Promenade

The Promenade on Oasis is absolutely stunning! After dinner we went down to the Promenade to do some light shopping, pick up some lanyards and grab a Starbucks! Coffee for me and Michael and Cake Pops for the girls. Palmer found a little flamingo in one of the gift shops that she just had to have!


We returned to our cabin after dinner and our stateroom attendant had opened the pull out sofa and set it up for the girls. He will come back in the morning and close it so we have room during the day.

Every night I like to place an order for some coffee, juice or milk, and light breakfast to be delivered to the room. I need my coffee before I’m ready to go out and greet the world! I also like to get a little something on the girls’ tummies before they get hungry and cranky. It just makes the day start nicely. You will have order forms in the room. You write your room number, number of guests, and time for delivery on the front and then select your items on the inside. Continental breakfast is complementary and the American breakfast has $7.95 fee plus an 18% gratuity. Hang the form outside your door by 3am and voila! Easy breezy!

We finally hit Diamond level for Crown and Anchor this trip. Related to this, you get 4 drinks (up to $13 value) a day per person at Diamond level, including kids. That equals 16 drinks/day. Day 1 totals: 4, and only because Michael couldn’t leave 16 free drinks on the table. He went to one of the bars and got some sodas for the room. No issues at all. This is a total game changer when it comes to the need for drink packages or any refreshment related packages. We’ll see how the week goes, but early impressions are looking good!


Overall, I would say the day was a huge success. Travel days are hard on everyone and even with all the happy photos you see, I can assure you, even we don’t get by without meltdowns. I can absolutely see why some parents who did not know what to expect can find the day frustrating. I think cruising right now is challenging because it requires massive amounts of preparation and organization but we’re also expected to be flexible and patient, taking changes of plan in stride, and for parents, and moms, that can be challenging. That said, for us, we wouldn’t trade it for anything. The iPads are all put away. Audrey is convinced that Miami is actually “Mom’s-ami” because she thought I was calling it “MY-ami”. Palmer has a flamingo stuffie that may have become her best friend. The never ending rotation of the daily record has skipped, if even just for a few days, and that’s a good and necessary thing.

Tomorrow, a Perfect Day at Coco Cay! Our stateroom attendant left us towels for tomorrow so I can check that off my morning to do’s!

Check tomorrow to see how our day goes!