Bring on the adventure

It's travel time.  And finally it's time for me to report back on the mini cruise we all did last week. 

"Dear family.. would you like to come to work with me next week?"

"Errr.. hmmm... well....."

"It means coming on the largest cruise ship in the world for a couple of days to see what it's like...."

Cue three small children scarpering to google what was involved, followed by immediate packing!

So yes, we were invited on the newest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet - the Symphony of the Seas, to get a small taster of what a family cruise would be like. (all details to be found by clicking on this link).

And genuinely - I don't know where to start.  Surely cruising is for old people having dinner with the captain, geriatrics playing shuffleboard, lots of American in Hawaiian shirts?  That's what everyone said to me when I said I was beyond excited at going on a taster cruise - it's something that I've always wanted to do.  I have always thought it would offer something for everyone and more.  (and yes - getting dressed for dinner with the Captain really appealed to me.  I know, I know - I just thought it was all very  Agatha Christie and what's not to love about that.) 

Turns out, I wasn't wrong (ok so I was about the Agatha Christie thang...).

Let's start with the accommodation.  There are five of us, so we had two rooms - one for three and one for two.  We stayed in their balcony suites which are suitable for up to a family of four.  The standard is easily that of a five star hotel.  L'Occitane toiletries in the sizeable bathrooms, kingsize beds for the adults and full size double sofa beds for the children.  HUGE tv's, coffee and tea making facilities, walk in wardrobes, room service and a movie list to rent that Blockbusters would have been proud of.

Full size sun loungers on the balcony..

And before we go any further, I should mention the elephant in the room for many... sea sickness.  I will hold my hands up and say this was a real concern for me.  I'm not great on a ferry, am awful on smaller boats but honestly, a cruise ship of this size, you can't feel it moving.  It sounds bizarre but genuinely - there is no rocking or motion at all. 

So it was up to the children to create their own motion and there is PLENTY of opportunity for them to do that.  

First up the Zip Wire.  Yes - a zip wire.  Yes THAT high!  Yes that is my daughter... 

Followed by indoor laser tag.  And then it comes to the ones that my children loved the most. 

A full sized climbing wall (actually there are two).  Whilst we're here - that to the left is a slide, the Ultimate Abyss that goes from the top of the ship right down to the bottom.  Can you imagine how over the moon the children were?

Full sized carousel?!

But the jewel in the crown for them was anything water based.  Three huge water slides - which they said were as good as any they'd been on. 

However it was the Flowriders that they spent most time on.  One for surf boards and one for body boards.  There is a height restriction - my two older ones were ok for both but the 9yr old could only go on the body board simulator (to be honest, he really wouldn't have been able to cope with standing up on a surf board). 

Here they are on their body boards...

And then the 11yr old, rocking it surf style.

Food, the world really is your oyster.  I couldn't even count how many restaurants and bars there were but one thing I do know is that there is something for everyone.  From Michelin starred quality dining to street style Mexican, diners, pizza places, italian restaurants, ice cream parlours, Starbucks to Japanese.  I would go so far as to say there isn't anything you can't get onboard. 

One thing that I've only seen on this ship though, is the Robotic bar... perfect entertainment for adults.

Speaking of entertainment for adults, it's not just the kids who will have a ball.  So don't laugh, but yes, there's a running track.  I KNOW RIGHT?!  And me, with my new love of a little jog, couldn't have been happier. 

Not to mention, a full size theatre (genuinely bigger than most West End ones I've been into), a casino, acrobatic shows, swimming pools and an adult only relaxing area.  

Yes, the adults more than enjoyed themselves...

Yes, the Aperol was flowing.  Seriously, as if you needed anything to else to prove how awesome they are.

But of course, I'm sure you're mostly interested in what does one wear on a cruise?  That's the best thing - no rules.  You can wear what you want on these Royal Caribbean cruises - well.. within reason.  Smart casual was the dress code but certainly it wasn't Black Tie (and I'm assuming no one would rock up in a thong and trainers....)  For me, it was all about the dresses.  Layers are also a good idea.  A VERY good idea as it does get chilly on deck when you're out at sea - although I'm sure this will depend on where you cruise and at what time of year.  And err the weather obvs!

Jumper - FWP by Rae (gift current)
Skirt - La Double J at Matches (sale aw17)
Trainers - Ishikawa at Quattro Rish (current)
Jacket - Tu at Sainburys (ss17)
Bag - Rae Feather (gift ss17)
Sunglasses - Chloe from Very Exclusive (aw17)

Dress - Lolly's Laundry at Quattro Rish (current)
Mules - Pretty Ballerinas (gift current)
Belt - Topshop (ss17)
Bag - Hill & Friends (gift current)
Earrings - Alice's Wonders (gift current)

Tee - MKT Studio (gift current)
Skirt - Free People from Selfridges (ss17)
Bag - Rae Feather (gift ss17)
Sandals - Aspiga (gift current)
Jacket - Tu by Sainsburys (ss17)
Sunglasses - Chloe from Very Exclusive (aw17)

Dress - Ganni (aw17)
Belt - Topshop (ss17)
Bag - Hill & Friends (gift current)
Blazer - Baukjen (part of paid partnership ss17)
Mules - Pretty Ballerinas (gift current)

And then en famille... we did take the husband - he was Chief Photographer.

We were absolutely blown away by our experience and as a family would love to spend longer on a cruise.  We flew to Barcelona and did a little tour in the Balearic Ocean - it was very much a taster of the ship.

For me - the advantage comes in having everything you could want for a family holiday at your fingertips, whilst also being able to explore new places every day.  The attraction comes in combining culture (I would love love love to visit European cities of interest that we just haven't taken the children to because they'd only be interested in going for one day) with pure relaxing and unadulterated fun. 

I haven't even mentioned the Kids' Clubs as they weren't open because we were on a Press Trip.  But they would add a whole new dimension of freedom for both the children and enabling us to have a break as adults.  I think they would work for children of any age.  The clubs they do usually offer are a Royal Babies and Tots which runs from 6months to 3 yrs old.  And then for the older children, from 3 to 11yrs (divided into three age groups within that range) whilst at sea the clubs run from 9 to 5pm and then 7 to 10pm.   For the teens, the daytime activities vary but staff hosted night time activities will keep them entertained from 8pm to 1am.  BOOM!  Mine are all desperate to go on another cruise - just which one do we choose?  

Would love to be able to answer any questions you may have - only one that will be tricky is when it comes to cost as that really does depend on when you go, where you go and the accommodation and package that you choose. 

This post has been written as part of a paid partnership with Royal Caribbean.  All views are my own, unedited.

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11 comentarios:

  1. Sea sickness is the biggest factor for me. It’s the vibrations from the engine that get me, even a jacuzzi can make me ill! Could you notice them or was it just simply too big?
    Also my kids are 5 and 4 and I have visions of them being able to fling themselves over the side at any given opportunity! x

    1. Honestly, you can't feel ANYTHING. As in, you don't even notice when you're moving... The children are so so so safe, I can't tell you. Mine thought it was as good as Universal Studios and keep asking when they can go back. For me - it does combine the best of both holidays.

  2. Love the post and great to hear you enjoyed it. You deserve it for all the work you put in you blogs😃😃

  3. Love the post and great to hear you enjoyed it. You deserve it for all the work you put in you blogs😃😃

  4. Our first cruise was a Royal Carribean Mediterranean one, perfect for sightseeing, culture and fun. Maybe a week for starters. With no kids at home now we have gone right up the luxury spectrum now and are going on the maiden sailing of the Scenic Eclipse in September. Once you get the cruising bug I think it stays with you. XX

    1. Oh that sounds AMAZING! I have to say I think it's a holiday we will definitely do again. xx

  5. I know people love it and mates have said the same about it being perfect for everyone, but I just couldn't handle the people. Also would be worried about seasickness (I do believe you tho but you were in a big cabin on deck with a view!). At the end of the day it's personal preference - I wouldn't go to an all inclusive resort either cos I like my space, and we like to tour, but one day in eg Naples isn't enough - I've seen tripadvisor posts from cruise guests wanting to visit Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Amalfi coast in one day. Plus I like wandering the streets at night once all the day trippers have gone home ;-)

    1. Your week in Suffolk tho at the coast - now THAT sounds fantastic

    2. Totally agree - it's horses for courses! Wouldn't it be a dull world if we all loved the same thing!

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