It’s been many years since Stuart and I went on a cruise. Although we loved it and we still look back fondly on the memories we made, we never really saw it as an option for family travel now that we have 2 young boys. Over the weekend we were invited for a day on board the Independence Of The Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, which absolutely blew us away with the amount of child friendly experiences on board as well as the high quality finish of its many attractions following a recent multi-million pound makeover. I can safely say it turns out we couldn’t have been more wrong about our judgment of cruises for family travel so I wanted to share some highlights of our day if you’re looking into cruises yourself as an option for your next holiday.
We started our visit with a tour around the ship, the enormous size of the ship was something I just hadn’t expected. It was like a village on water, complete with a promenade; perfect for sitting with a coffee and watching the world go by or shopping in the variety of boutiques dotted along the cobbled street. It was fully fitted out with everything one could need during a stay. The staterooms were stunning, a far cry from the tiny, windowless cabin Stuart and I shared on our first cruise. The panoramic windows and private balconies were pure luxury and I could just imagine us waking up to see what spectacular view awaited us each morning, the children’s excitement building from dawn!
On our previous cruise we went off and did excursions each day, but the “days at sea” were quite uneventful. Fighting for space by the pool and not having much to do if the weather was bad. But I felt like we could have all been entertained daily without actually disembarking at each destination onboard the Independence Of The Seas! I wish we had been able to stay longer because having chatted to some other bloggers there on the day it sounded like we had so much more we could have discovered, but there was no peeling the children away from the amazing Splashaway Bay water park and we wanted them to enjoy themselves without rushing.
I left the boys having fun with their Daddy and snuck off to explore more of the ship and couldn’t believe that the huge water park area was just a small percentage of the activities on offer on Independence Of The Seas! Turning each corner or climbing each staircase revealed yet more fun. A few personal favourites would have to be the Flowrider – a wave simulator which looked like so much fun, the SkyPad – a new level of bungee experience with added virtual reality headset and the climbing wall – the perfect view awaits you at the top of the rock!
These activities were just the tip of the iceberg, not only was there a theatre, laser tag, and casino onboard, but also plenty of sports activities, an ice rink and activity clubs for children of all ages. It would be so hard to choose what to go for when the list of activities came out on the daily cruise compass delivered to your cabin door each day.
Midway through the day, and after working up quite the appetite, we headed over to the Windjammer – just one of the many dining options on board. We enjoyed a delicious meal, overwhelmed by the choice on offer – I started with a lobster tail and king prawn salad, savoured a scrumptious beef bourguignon for main (accompanied by every type of carb imaginable) and wolfed down a selection of mouth-watering desserts for pudding before racing back out to have more fun in the sun until it was time to disembark.
I asked over on my Instagram if anyone with children would choose a cruise and SO many people, including those with 4 or more children, came back to say they do them every year and that they were the best holiday ever – where had I been all my life?! We loved our day so much so that we spent the next day searching for Royal Caribbean cruise packages for 2019 because both of us were completely sold on the idea – the hardest part is choosing where of the 249 destinations we would go! We would love to do the Med again because it has so much to offer, waking up to a different culture, language and diverse country each day is something we would love to do more of and a fantastic way of showing the children a lot of Europe, but both Stuart and I have Cuba on our bucket list, so the Caribbean cruise is also very tempting!! (I won’t mention that I also spent a LOT of time reading about their Singapore options too – there is just too much choice!) I would love to know in the comments if you have done a cruise and whether you would recommend it for family travel in 2018!
Thanks so much to Royal Caribbean for having us onboard. Every member of staff made us feel welcomed and they all went over and above to make us laugh throughout our trip. I can definitely say that a cruise is on our travel plans for 2019 and would wholeheartedly recommend it to other families looking for their next holiday.