I love to travel. And now I have children, the chance to show them the world and to visit exciting new places is an absolute joy.
But I confess, a cruise has never been up there on my things to do list.
I had preconceived ideas of what a cruise would be like – and I didn’t like them one bit.
Then I was invited on a cruise holiday with Royal Caribbean to see what I thought of it and, well, I’m a total convert. So here is my Royal Caribbean cruise review.
I was taken on a 5-day Caribbean cruise onboard the Liberty of the Seas with a group of other bloggers. And just wow.
Here are the
preconceptions I had smashed main things I learned:
1. It’s not a floating holiday camp. Far, far from it.
2. The food is amazing.
3. The entertainment is first class. I mean I would have paid to see the 45-minute ice show spectacular – if it wasn’t free that is.
4. A lot of things are free. Or included in the price, should I say, because obviously it’s not free! Like room service and soft drinks and most of the shows and fine dining in the amazing dining room.
5. You don’t feel hemmed in. I had visions of myself retreating to a corner of the ship to escape the hoards of holiday makers. In reality there were times when I could have had a whole sundeck to myself. And the ship was full.
6. You never get bored. There is seriously so much to do. I was on the ship for five days and I felt like I barely touched the sides.
I wrote a ‘walk around tour’ of our ship – The Liberty of the Seas.
7. It really is for families. Royal Caribbean hasn’t just thought about kids, they’ve THOUGHT about kids. Every age group; what they’d like, what they wouldn’t like. Their intention is to innovate and lead the way.
8. It’s really safe. And I’m a big girlie wuss who worries about everything. I got to meet our captain and trust me, safety is taken very very seriously.
9. It is for families. As long as you choose the right class of ship, everything will be tailored to your enjoyment – and that’s whether you’ve got babes in arms or teenage babes.
10. It’s not for those with pots of cash. I honestly thought a cruise would be way out of our budget. Much like a skiing holiday when it’s no longer just the two of you buying a ski pass. But it’s pretty much the same budget as your ‘big’ summer holiday.
11. You will want to go back. Again. And again. And again!
So, were there any negatives?
Well, for me personally I hate the tipping thing. Hate hate hate. It really is a pet hate of mine. You tip if you’ve had really good service. Not if someone has simply done their job.
However, on board the ship you could prepay your tips which just goes against the grain for me. And then you’re left an envelope in your stateroom in which you can tip a bunch of other staff members.
I don’t think this is a Royal Caribbean thing, but rather an American thing, but it just made me uncomfortable having it pushed in my face so.
That said, I didn’t meet a single member of staff onboard that ship who wasn’t courteous, helpful and pleasant. Not the forced kind of ‘I’m hoping you fill that tip sheet in’ pleasant, but genuinely pleased to help you/greet you/serve you pleasant. Which I loved.
The ship is huge. I mean, she’s HUGE.
This is our first view of her. Then it’s on to the port passport control and check in. Thankfully the queues aren’t too bad.
It’s a floating 5* hotel.
We run around exploring like we’re on a teenager’s school expedition, taking photos of everything.
My state room is wonderful. I lie on the bed in a starfish then sit on the balcony and thank my lucky stars I started this blog all those years ago!
We accost Kung Fu Panda star Po as he’s wandering along the Promenade (for yes the ship has a prom). We aren’t frowned upon.
We also get to meet the captain who is just lovely. Po and the ship’s captain: The kids are going to be SO jealous.
I wrote an in depth tour of the Liberty of the Seas interior here.
Also, there’s not much point doing your hair when you’re on deck!
Very high quality. Fine dining in the magnificent dining hall is fabulous. And forget what you thought you knew about having to dress up. You don’t if you don’t want to. There are ‘formal’ evenings but it’s not like you have to look like you’re walking up the red carpet. Of course, you can if you want to!
When the ship docks you can either pay for an excursion, do your own thing or indeed stay onboard and enjoy the facilities as if you own the ship because there is next to no one there!
The view as we arrive in port is stunning.
We opted for excursions on both our Haiti and Jamaica stops. On Haiti we decided to be ferried to a private beach and sip rum from scooped out coconuts.
It was the definition of chilled out.
Haiti is so beautiful and unspoilt. Everyone from the ship was treated to a giant BBQ on land and you could literally just walk off the ship and sit on a beautiful beach all day with the ship sitting in the distance.
On Jamaica we opted for horse riding and climbing the famed Dunns River Falls.
Jamaica is much more bustling and touristy than Haiti.
Our day trip was something to be remembered, but commercialism really has crept in which could put many people off.
We just carried on Tweeting and buying up our body weight in Jerk seasoning.
Not our finest photography moment it has to be said, but LOOK at what we were doing. Amazing (photo courtesy of English Mum).
I loved it. I will be going back. I am a Cruise Bore.