Have you ever considered taking your family on a cruise? No, neither had I. How would we feel about being stuck on a large ship, unable to leave when we wanted to? Would we, could do it? There was only one way to find out.
For transparency, Royal Caribbean UK hadn’t requested that I write a blog post about the trip but I am doing so, of my own accord, as feel (hope), it is useful content for my readers.
I spent two nights sailing on the newly refurbished, Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas, as part of a complimentary press trip. How lucky am I? An opportunity to see all the new facilities which are geared towards family. I wanted to get a feel of what it would be like to bring my children with me next time and most importantly, did I think it could be plain sailing?
When it comes to cruises, Royal Caribbean are ideal for families with kids of all ages. Once on-board, it’s hard to take in the sheer size of this 15-deck ship. It’s quite breath-taking at first. The Independence of the Seas, which can accommodate 4,370 passengers, served by 1,360 crew, has just undergone a multi-million-pound makeover with a host of new features added.
The ship has an impressive selection of family-friendly activities and entertainment from pools, hot tubs, theatre, rock climbing walls, trampoline park, laser tag and much more. and An array of family cabins to accommodate groups of varying sizes. And did I mention the ships' indoor promenade, which feature all manner of parades and special events? It took me two days to navigate my way around the decks and by the time I had (just about) managed to remember how to get to breakfast, it was time to go home. A good sense of direction was never my strongest point!
But…this cruise is not just for kids. Adults will find plenty of space to enjoy the holiday just as much as the children. There is a great selection of restaurants, several cool bars and limitless entertainment options. The french martinis were very good. Trust me...I had a few! There is a fitness facility, running track around the ship and a luxury spa with Elemis treatments, could just the holiday medicine you need.
Plenty of family staterooms and loft suites mean there is room for the family to spread out. There's even a Royal Family cabin that sleeps eight. The spa offers special treatments for teens. A vast choice of dining options, including casual eateries like hot dogs and New York-style pizza, as well as a variety of upmarket speciality restaurants, which means no taste is overlooked. Johnny Rockets, the 1950s-style diner, is always a kid magnet and for kids who love sushi, there is a fab 'Izumi' sushi restaurant too.
Once you've enjoyed dinner, the whole family will love the Broadway-style musicals on show in the fantastic on-board theatre. Broadway’s hit musical 'Grease' is now taking to the high seas in a brand new, never seen before stage production. My kids would have been so upset to have missed that. It is their favourite movie! Such a classic, they love to watch the original from 1978 (my year!) with John Travolta. The show may have blew their little minds.
Here's a run-down of some of the new activities on The Independence of the Seas:-
1. Splashaway Bay
The Independence now has more exciting activities. Little cruisers will find big gallons of fun at the all-new Splashaway Bay. This bigger and better interactive aqua park features wild waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and the infamous drench bucket. Don’t miss it when it tips!
2. Laser Tag
As if sailing the seas, visiting new and incredible destinations wasn’t enough of an adventure, we’ve just gone and added Laser Tag! Duck, dive, and zap your way to victory - will you be the ship’s champion?
3. Escape Rooms
Sometimes when you’re on holiday, you can feel your mind slowing down, becoming more relaxed. This is great, and a sign of an amazing holiday, but there’s no harm in getting your brain to pick up speed and start getting back to reality. This is where their brand-new Escape Room comes in! Put your brain to the test, and complete the puzzles to try and make it out on time. Think you can do it?
4. New Trampoline Park
Never before seen at sea, their new trampoline park to be opened. Practise your somersaults and split jumps to really impress your fellow guests. Great fun for adults too!
Strap in, put on your virtual reality headset and soar high into the sky for gravity-defying fun at Sky PadSM. Bounce over craters or compete in zero-gravity games — this brand-new bungee trampoline experience opens a universe of possibility.
So, in summary, what are the benefits of taking the family on a cruise? Firstly, you can forget the stress of hauling all of your family’s supplies from destination to destination. I must say, it was quite nice not to be driving or navigating anywhere for a change.
A cruise means you can travel to several destinations without having to pack and unpack, arrange transportation and hotels. I should also mention that Royal Caribbean also has autism-friendly programming that includes specially trained staff and sensory-focused toys for children with special needs. On many cruises, babysitting is also available for an additional fee.
When it comes to dining, you can have something different to eat every day and they cater for everyone, even the fussiest of junior cruisers! And finally, there’s endless entertainment. It would seem Royal Carribean have genuinely worked hard to find ways to keep little ones busy and there’s plenty of ways to do that on-board. From live shows, swimming pools, slides, arcades, mini-bowling, restaurants, playrooms, mini golf, arcades, surf simulator, zip line, and a rock-climbing wall.
Need I say more? And not forgetting the adults. The spa and fitness centre ensure parents get some ‘self-care’ too.
I would love to take my children with me on the cruise next time. It was not something I had ever considered until now. I think my children are the perfect ages (6 and 8) to explore and enjoy all the facilities, so it’s a yes from me. If it took my breath away, then goodness knows how the children will react when we walk onboard.
This post is brought to you in collaboration with Royal Caribbean UK but all views and opinions are my own.
For more information, visit - https://www.royalcaribbean.co.uk/our-ships/independence-of-the-seas/