“Adventure-packed” Harmony of the Seas, the largest ship in the world. Copyright: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
An introduction to Royal Caribbean
Last week I had a discussion with Victoria Hughes (@lost_ahore) about megaships. The first thing that comes to mind about the topic is definitely Royal Caribbean’s fleet. I like to compare this cruise line with my hair after spraying dry shampoo: huge! The company has one of the biggest fleets in the market: twenty-five ships, welcoming passengers in thirty ports of embarkation, in North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia!
Usually I see people describing Royal Caribbean as the company made for families – and I agree very much. For fourteen years in a role, Travel Weekly awarded them with best cruise line in the Caribbean and best cruise line overall! The amount of entertainment options is insane: ice skating, rock climbing, zip lining, surfing, boxing… I don’t think someone can say they’ll be bored aboard one of their ships; but, if you’re anything like me, you may get confused on what to do next!
Ripcord by iFly, a skydiving simulator, aboard Quantum of the Seas. Copyright: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Is Royal Caribbean for you?
Let’s do the math: consider the number of passengers on the ship, plus the time of the year you’re cruising, plus the variety of activities onboard, minus your patience for lines and kids. Mega ships have around 5 to 6 thousand people, what can create a lot of lines – even if the ship is prepared for it; choosing to cruise during the summer or holidays like Christmas, Easter and Spring break may mean that there are more families with kids and teenagers onboard, since they’re out of school. Your choice is between all the fun and adventure and dealing with lines and kids. What’s the equation’s result for you? Tweet me your answer – I’m curious (@stellavkhayat)!
Plan plan plan!
If you think you’re up for it, pay attention to my two golden rules for cruising, especially for mega ship vacation plans. First, know your cruise before cruising! Research the ports and the excursion options and all activities you wish to do onboard: you need to plan ahead, otherwise you won’t do half you the stuff you want – take it from me! Your best friend for it is Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner: after booking, you can make reservations for shows, specialty restaurants, activities and excursions. You can also sign the waiver for activities that require it, for zip lining and rock climbing, for example.
On every Royal Caribbean cruise you receive a ‘Cruise Compass’ each day to explain what is going on around the ship. Always use your Cruise Compass to the full extent of it! Bring a highlighter with you and highlight what you’re interested in. For more seasoned cruisers this is a basic trick, but if you’re a rookie, well, it may be news. Knowing the time of the activities you want to join gives you the opportunity to arrive early and get the best seats. Also, allows you to maximize your days and use embarkation day wisely – there are usually less crowds at the best activities (considering everybody is walking around and eating at the buffet). If you don’t pack a swimsuit with you in your hand luggage (or wear it under your clothes) you are a rookie!
Without a shadow of doubt, consider cruising with Royal Caribbean with a group of friends – beautiful places, amazing activities and your best mates! Keep in mind the little equation presented earlier and the rules I (firmly) suggest you to follow. There is no way cruising like this is just for old people!
This makes me really excited to try Royal Caribbean! I’m taking my first cruise with them next October and I will definitely be putting some of these tips to good use. I’m travelling in the October half term when all of the kids from the UK will be off school, so I’ll have to wait and see how bad those lines are…