So, when I was first invited on a cruise I was tentative. I had preconceptions based, mainly, on horror stories. I’d never once considered a cruise for our family, based on these preconceptions which is a shame because I now know that most of it isn’t true.
Cruises are bursting at the seams with Octogenarians
It is true, there were some older people on the cruise, but, there was also a huge mix of nationalities, families, singles, couples … and ages from babies up to OAPs. At no point did I feel like I was on set with the cast of cocoon.
Children would be bored, stuck on a ship all holiday
If there was a bored child on-board I didn’t see them. Apart from the, award winning, kids clubs there were three pools, Jacuzzis, a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, mini golf, 3D cinema, entertainment shows, flow rider, discos and character breakfasts. My children find it easy to make friends and I can imagine they’d be happy with the variety of activities on board. Even if your children don’t find it easy to make friends the staff at the kids clubs would certainly make sure that everyone felt included and help friendships along.
I’ll be claustrophobic with all those people on board
On the first day, as 3600 people boarded the ship, went to the restaurant and waited for the ship to set sail I must admit I wondered if it was really going to be for me. There were a LOT of people. But by late afternoon the crowds had dispersed and everyone was off doing their own thing. After that initial feeling of crowds I didn’t get it again. There were plenty of places on board and so many different activities that I can’t imagine that many people had the same experience. I had the choice to have breakfast on my balcony in the mornings and I loved the serene feeling as we docked and I took in the views. There were also areas away from the main pool areas where you could sit/lounge and relax. There were several bars and restaurants offering different atmospheres.
Herding to and fro
I thought we would be herded around the ship from one activity to another. Organised chaos is not my thing. But there is so much going on that you can choose to do as little or as much as you like. With so much choice on board I think it would be difficult for two people to have the same experience. Even with the on-land excursions you can choose to do one of the organised excursions or spend the day doing your own thing – you can even stay on the ship and take advantage of a quiet ship.
Cruisewear is a must
What is cruisewear anyway? I don’t have a clue where my fear of ‘cruisewear’ originates but I imagine beige slacks, elasticated waists, kaftans, pumps and ballgowns for dinner. Apart from one formal night where we dressed up a bit (think nice dress or smart trousers) the dress code was casual during the day and smart casual in the restaurants and bars in the evening.
Cruises are MASSIVELY expensive
Children are given wrist bands and you can have them pre-loaded daily (if you wish) with an amount to spend, or nothing at all, so that when they are on the ship they can get their own extras if need be. But to be honest with soft drinks, cookies, room service, pizza, cakes, water, tea, coffee and frozen yoghurt included I think they’d be hard pushed to spend much at all. There was no pressure to tip the crew (although you could arrange for any member of staff to be tipped at the end of your cruise) and the ship used a cashless system. There were some shops where you could buy things but they weren’t open all the time and at no point were you harassed to buy anything. Merchandise for things like Dreamworks, which the ship favours, were really scarce which lessened the pester power. It made a refreshing change.
When you board the ship at the beginning of the cruise you hand over card details so that at the end of your trip everything can be charged to your account. You can check on your account at anytime on your TV screen. You can even break it down by day or person if you need to.
When I book a family holiday I have a budget. My main worry is how much we will spend once there; meals out, ice creams, snacks, drinks, day trips. Usually it isn’t always easy to work out and although we try to set a daily budget sometimes we go over and on one occasion, last year on the Costa Brava we came under. The thing I noticed about being on the Liberty of the Seas is that most things are included. Any extras you can work out before hand such as excursions, dining in the main restaurants, alcohol packages, and budget ahead for them.
Do you have any preconceptions of cruising? Do you have any questions you’d like answering – just leave a comment below. I’d love to be able to answer them as honestly as possible in my coming posts about my Royal Caribbean Cruise experience.
Here are some examples of prices;
- Independence of the Seas (sailing out of Southampton, UK) – lead-in price from £649 per person on an 8-night Norway cruise, calling at Flam (Norway), Skjolden (Norway), Olden (Norway), Alesund (Norway) and Stavanger (Norway) before returning to Southampton. Departs 18 May 2013 and includes meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
- Adventure of the Seas (sailing out of Southampton, UK) – lead-in price from £999 per person on a 15-Night Central Mediterranean cruise, calling at Gibraltar (UK), Barcelona (Spain), Villefranche (Nice, France), Livorno (Florence/Pisa, Italy), Rome (Civitavecchi, Italy), Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), Cádiz (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal) before returning to Southampton. Departs 9 May 2013 and includes meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
- Brilliance of the Seas (sailing out of Harwich, UK) – lead-in prices from £899 per person for a 12-night Scandinavia & Russia cruise, calling at Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), St. Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia), Gothenburg (Sweden), before returning to Harwich. Departs 27 May 2013 and includes meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
- Liberty of the Seas (sailing out of Fort. Lauderdale, Florida, USA) – lead-in prices from £288 per person for a 4-night Western Caribbean cruise, calling at Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Fort Lauderdale. Departs 12 December 2013 and includes meals and entertainment on board and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.
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