I’d never considered a cruise for a family holiday choice, until I read a book by author Milly Johnson called Here Come The Girls. In the book four friends went on a cruise and I remember thinking “mmm, perhaps a cruise might be quite interesting after all”.
When Ollie and I were invited to sample Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas as part of their Royal Mums blogger campaign, to experience a real family cruise, after running around the room doing a happy dance, I jumped at the chance. What an opportunity!
After travelling down to Southampton, we stayed in the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel on the Friday evening and then headed over to the docks on Saturday morning. The first thing that hit me was the sheer size of the ship, it was absolutely enormous! After going through passport control and security, as we walked onto the ship the next thing that I noticed was how plush the surroundings were. The younger kids were taken into Adventure Ocean to get some play-time, with Matt who was brilliant with the youngsters and the older kids were taken away to experience the Flow Rider surf simulator. We then went onto the H2O zone where Ollie had tons of fun with water fountains, archways, water firing cannons and swimming pools.
The kids were then invited to make cheeseburger cup cakes which were pretty awesome. Following this, we moved to the ice-rink to receive cocktails for the adults and a welcome speech from the captain before watching a brilliant ice-dancing show.
We had a fabulous 3 course lunch, where the Captain of the Ship and the Hotel Director came around to chat to us all, and they were both really interesting people and talked about their life on board and what their responsibilities were. I was gobsmacked to learn that there were around 1300 staff. An afternoon of free time followed to explore the ship further, which in our case meant back to the H20 zone for a spot of sunbathing (me) and fun in the pools and splash zone (Ollie).
Wow! What an amazing day. It was a whirlwind tour of the ship, but one of the best days out I have ever experienced. Ollie was completely overcome with excitement about his day. Talking to other families onboard, they said that on cruises they have already been on, the kids have such a great time and don’t even meet up with the parents unless it’s time for food! I also found it really interesting looking at the type of passengers that were there. There were young couples, families, older people and it seemed to accommodate everyone.
Onboard this ship there is a shopping area, an ice-rink, a boxing ring, a running track, umpteen places to eat and drink, a spa, a rock-climbing wall, a fitness centre, a mini-golf course, a golf simulator, a bungee trampoline, a zip-line and full-size sports courts. I couldn’t believe that all of this can be experienced on a ship.
This taster day totally changed my mind about a cruise holiday. I can honestly say that I would love to go on a family cruise on one of these awesome Royal Caribbean ships. There are Dreamworks parades experience, featuring Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and the Penguins of Madagascar to name just a few of these familiar characters. This sounds like so much fun and it would be an absolute dream for Ollie and I to experience this.
Or would we rather cruise around the Caribbean? The world is our oyster! Think we’ll start saving right now!
Here’s an example of a 14-night Spanish Mediterranean Cruise with costs:
Join Royal Caribbean International’s (www.royalcaribbean.co.uk; 0844 493 2061) Independence of the Seas on a 14-night Spanish Mediterranean cruise only from £1,149 per adult and £899 per child, but check current price by visiting the website direct (based on four people sharing an inside stateroom) .
Price includes transfers and a 14-night cruise departing from Southampton (England) and calling at Vigo (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Ibiza (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Barcelona (Spain) and Cadiz (Spain) before returning to Southampton; meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
The price is based on 28 June 2014 departure.
For more information or to book or see www.royalcaribbean.co.uk, call 0844 493 2061