Last weekend we had a special trip to Southampton to do one of our favourite things.
We visited a cruise ship; Royal Caribbean’s beautiful Navigator Of The Seas. I though this would be an easy tale to tell, the tale of a ship in a day. We love cruising and as a family have cruised 7 times. Over half of those were with Royal Caribbean, our cruise line of choice.
We felt match fit and ready for this little assignment, but we got it so wrong. You cannot tell the tale of something as incredible as cruising in 1 day. Yes, you will be wowed by the majesty of the ship. Be wowed by the attention to detail and the sheer volume of activities on offer. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg. As a family that loves cruising, we came away knowing we missed so much. Things that can’t be left to the imagination. Because if you don’t see it, experience or feel it, you just don’t get it.
It was a wonderful day, Joe is still buzzing from his FlowRider experience. And Jack is happy he got to have a kick about on his beloved sports court. (Because he spends his cruise on the sports deck) And as soon as we arrived home we all, yes, each and every one of us reached for the Royal Caribbean brochure. We knew what we had missed. All of the things we love, that you can’t demonstrate in a day.
With that in mind I thought I would share the 10 things we love about cruising as a family, prompted by our day on the incredible Navigator Of The Seas.
My head is buzzing with all the things I would share, how amazing my daily postcards could be with a new experience and port every day.
1. Embarkation day, arriving at the terminal, the buzz of getting on the ship with all the other passengers you are going to spend your cruise with. Who you say hi to as you are pouring your coffee, whilst you fill your forms out. But knowing the ship is so huge; you may never see them again. Wandering around the ship, getting your bearings, and the excitement of finding your cabin for the first time, and meeting your cabin attendant who in a weeks time you will be so sad to say goodbye too.
2. Being stood on deck at the sail-away party with a cocktail in hand waving goodbye to people in dock. The feeling of excitement as you set sail for the very first time during your cruise.
3. Getting ready for dinner on the first evening, and walking onto the Royal Promenade (Not all ships have these) The buzz of the Royal Promenade is magical. Being sat in the champagne bar with pre dinner hors d’oeuvre and a glass of champagne, wondering what tonight’s delicious menu will be. I have never had a bad meal on a cruise. There are so many options.
4. The kids desperate to get into the kids club, our two love it, and it is so engaging they never grow out of it. Royal Caribbean tailor the clubs to grow with kids, teens and tweens. And whilst they are in playing gaga ball we can have a sneaky half hour in the casino. Cruise casinos are sparkly and James Bond like, they feel magical. I am not a big gambler but to be all dressed up with a cocktail playing a game of roulette is so exciting.
5. Watching an after dinner show, or ice show. Cruise entertainment is not like land based holiday entertainment. It is so much more professional and engaging. These guys mean business; you leave feeling like you have been to a professional show.
6. Waking up in a new port, and getting off the ship to a new land, new places to explore. Seeing a new and exciting cultures and experiences every day. And getting a taste for places you may want to visit for longer. Or ticking of your list, and making a mental note of what you will visit next time you dock here.
7. Returning to the ship after a day in port, being excited about grabbing your swimwear and heading to the pool to cool down. Getting back on board always feels great.
8. Waking up and deciding to stay on board for the day, because you are on holiday and some days you just want to chill by the pool.
9. Knowing the kids will never be bored; because there is so much to do beside the kids club. Including the FlowRider, a huge arcade, Ice skating, mini golf, climbing wall, and the sports court. And if your kids are like our boys and love sports you will have to force them off the ship.
10. Returning to your cabin in the evening to find your cruise compass, bickering over who gets to read it first to find out what is on the next day. And falling asleep reading it because you were the last to get your hands on it.
The knowing you have got it right.
That the whole family is engaged and happy, you may come home exhausted but you come home happy. And looking forward to your next family cruise, because for some families there is only one-way to travel.