I’ve been missing cruising, big-time. We almost pulled the trigger on a 7-night cruise out of Cape Liberty down to the Bahamas, but decided to wait until 2018 for our next family adventure on the water. While digging around online for some information, I discovered that Matt over at Royal Caribbean Blog has a podcast! As a podcast enthusiast, I was really happy to find his show and subscribe. I’ve been missing the cruise life and Matt’s podcast gave me a dose of cruise nostalgia. As I listened to Episode 201 – Two (wrong) things, I compiled a short list of our own “wrong things” to share. In this blog post, I’ll share three activities we skip on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Our Cruising Family
We are a family of three…my cruising buddies are my husband Graham, and my seven-year-old son Nate. Here’s a short description of our cruising background:
- I spent four months living and working on board the Disney Wonder in late 1999-2000. This is when my love of cruising took hold. I was only 22, and my cruise contract as a Beverage Server with Disney Cruise Line was the first trip I’d made away from home on my own. Shortly after the end of my contract, I went back to the Wonder as a guest of a friend who was an officer. for one cruise.
- I didn’t cruise again until June 2015, when I earned an all expenses paid 7-night cruise on board the Adventure of the Seas thanks to my direct sales business. Our cruise departed San Juan, and our ports of call included St. Croix, Antigua, St. Marten, St. Lucia and Barbados. Graham stayed home for this one, making this cruise a girls trip. I vowed to bring him along the next time!
- I did just that on our next cruise in January of 2016, when Graham joined me on a leadership retreat on board the Independence of the Seas. It was his first experience on a cruise ship and I knew he was going to love it. I was right! We went for a four-night cruise down to Cozumel and back. Together we decided our son would probably love coming on a cruise, so we began to research our next family vacation with Royal Caribbean.
- Our first cruise as a family was a 5-night cruise from Tampa down to Key West and Cozumel with our son on board the Brilliance of the Seas, a smaller ship that was really beautiful and easy to get around on.
What We Love About Cruising
Now that you know our family’s cruising background, here’s a quick profile of the three of us and what we love about cruising:
- I’m a wife, mom and home-based business enthusiast. I love cruising because I love waking up in new places every day or two, with something new to see and experience. I love to get a specialty coffee at Cafe Promenade and bring it back to our stateroom to enjoy on the balcony, while watching the water. I’m a fairly active person, so while I enjoy time at the pool, I also like to use the ship’s running track if it’s not too hot outside. As a former bartender and beverage server, I also enjoy taking advantage of the drink packages Royal Caribbean has to offer.
- Graham is a husband, dad and hard-working carpenter and entrepreneur. He loves to watch and sometimes play poker in Casino Royale. He enjoys watching his favorite NFL team, the Buffalo Bills, in one of the venues on board. He’s constantly browsing online for good cruise deals. His favorite drink on board the ship is a Captain’s Call (Kahlua and a touch of cognac topped off with piping hot coffee, whipped cream and chocolate shavings).
- Nate is our son, and he was seven years old the first time he has the pleasure of cruising. He loves hanging out at the pool the most, so our next cruise will be on one of the ships that features the H2O Zone. He loves to spend as much time as he can in the Adventure Ocean club where he can do lots of fun activities and make friends with other kids on board.
Now you know about my family and what we love about cruising. Next, I’ll share more about our cruising preferences. Maybe some of this will strike a chord with you and your family, too. If you’re first-time cruisers doing research about what activities to plan on your future cruise, I hope you’ll find this information helpful.
Activities We Skip on a Royal Caribbean Cruise
- We skip dining in the main restaurant. Although Royal Caribbean offers the My Family Time dining option, this option may not always be available when you book your cruise. We much prefer to eat from the buffet in the Windjammer. We appreciate the fact that it’s very casual, and best of all, we can each eat whatever food we enjoy most without having to make any special requests. We’re also a very casual family and we don’t like to have to change our clothes for dinner. We love the flexibility, ocean views and casual setting at Windjammer, so we eat there as a family. We set aside one evening for Graham and I to dine alone in one of the specialty restaurants on board, such as Chops Grille or Giovanni’s Table, while Nate has fun in Adventure Ocean.
- We skip seeing the shows. If musicals, comedians and hypnotists are your thing, then by all means, seeing the shows on board Royal Caribbean ships will be a lot of fun for you. These aren’t the kinds of entertainment options we enjoy, so we skip the shows on board. We do enjoy listening to a jazz trio or pianist at Schooner Bar before our date night dinner out. Our son would never tolerate sitting through a musical performance in a theater, and he’s sensitive to loud noises, so we’d prefer to hang out together somewhere that’s more suitable to our taste.
- We skip the sail-away party on the upper deck. We’re not a fan of crowds or really loud music, so we steer clear of the upper decks during sail-away, as the ship leaves port. Our favorite way to enjoy this part of the cruise is to watch the other boats in the harbor from our balcony. Our son loves to see the pilot boat, if possible, and he and Graham especially like to watch whatever else is happening in the port as we gently drift away to sea. We’ll usually grab a drink to bring back to our stateroom so we can enjoy this experience comfortably as a family.
We can’t wait to head out on another Royal Caribbean cruise in 2018!
Do you cruise Royal Caribbean with your family? What activities do you prefer to skip?