So I got the very lucky opportunity to join some a group of bloggers onboard the Oasis of the Seas for a little media tour of sorts sponsored by Royal Caribbean. This ship is literally the biggest cruise ship on the ocean. The best part of course is that my family got to come along! It was a whirlwind getting here and we are first time cruisers.
Here is what I’ve learned so far:
- Let my husband pack. He’s better at it.
- Royal Caribbean’s website was awesome. We watched every possible video we could before we came. It made things so exciting for my kids!
- Snap! Do you know even kids need passports now for things like cruises, or even if you are going to Canada . . . We had to use a 24 hour service to get ours back in time (and of course, rushing passports is going to be pricey, so it's much better to plan ahead). Thinking out loud here – it’s probably good to have current passports for your whole at any given time. You never know when something might pop up short notice! (like this) Did I mention you can enter to win a cruise for your family HERE?
Things I googled (I'm not even lying):
What happens if there is a Tsunami while I’m on a cruise ship?
ANSWER: You'll be fine
Which pirates were really in the Caribbean?
ANSWER: Blackbeard was a real guy!
Travel Odds and Ends:
- Probably a good idea to fly in the day before and book a hotel. If you are traveling the same day you plan to depart on the cruise that can get tricky if you have any flight delays.
- If you are staying at a hotel the night before your ship departs, be sure to ask if your breakfast and transfer are included.
- Take empty notebooks for your kids to keep a travel journal.
- You can take a DVD player on the airplane, but my 6yo pointed out that a laptop works too. (sad I didn't connect those dots)
The food! It’s no lie that you will gain weight on the cruise. The food is included, unlimited and FABULOUS! (with the exception of alcohol and a few other specialty restaurants). There is even an amazing little donut shop on deck. Heaven! Um. There is also a cupcake shop on board. I've avoided it at all costs. I don't even want to know if they are good or not.
I’m not sick! I was super afraid that I or my kids would get sea sick. We have queasy stomachs - like the kind of people who get sick on trampolines and swingsets. While I can feel the ship move sometimes – I haven’t felt a bit sick. If you do feel sick? They are stocked with what you need. Motion sickness pills, magnets and essential oils are just around the corner if you have a problem.
Working off the food: We take the stairs lots. Took the kids 12 flights the other day. That was a little extreme.
Vitality Day Spa - There is a phenomenal spa and gym on board. I'm not sure about running on a treadmill on the sea - but they have classes of all kinds, lots of equipment, an enormous track that goes around the deck of the boat (2 laps = a mile), and lots more.
We've been exploring all of the pools and on deck fun. They have a boogie boarding machine, a surfing machine, miniature golf, loads of pools and hot tubs. I'll post some favorite pics as soon as I figure out how to separate video files from photo files. Yikes!
And then there’s free poolside ice cream . . . my daughter had 5 ice cream cones this afternoon. Expecting some sort of sugar crash soon.
OK - one more thing! For a tech nerd. This is heaven! We all checked out the iPhone with the Royal Caribbean app that locates the people you are traveling with on the ship. LOVE it! Look at this wonderful woman bearing tidings of great joy!
(my apologies for not being able to crop out bikini lady in the back...)
I’ve never left my kids in a daycare before. Like ever. But this place blew me away. They have a program called "Adventure Ocean". Here is what they did today: Pirate parade, Science/Volcano Experiments, Face Painting, Storytime, Art, Freeze Tag, Adventure Art from Crayola, and they even fed them. Was also really impressed with the way they handled allergies as well. They are a no egg/nut/dairy zone. Speaks a lot of peace to us moms who've got kids with allergies.
AND – all of the staff have degrees in early childhood education and receive A LOT of special training by Royal Caribbean. I truly felt in safe hands.
Crayola is highly involved in the art programs. We participated in the Color Explosion party, Model Magic volcanos, something new every day. Our hotel room looks like my kitchen bulletin board. But in a good way.
And in case I haven't convinced you yet about the joys of cruising with kids . . . What little boy doesn't love looking to the sky and thinking his ship is captained by Optimus Prime. (I haven't had the heart to break it to him that Optimus is not at the helm)
The Mama’s Guide to Royal Caribbean Cruises
Thinking about taking your family on a cruise? Are you a cruise rookie? Maybe a seasoned cruise veteran looking for something new? Are you confused by everything the world of cruises has to offer? Have you possibly thought: How do I plan a cruise in the first place? At first glance, you might be feeling a tad bit overwhelmed about preparing you and your family for this undertaking. This is especially true for first time cruisers. How do I plan for it? Organize? What about the kids? The flights? Which airline is best for kids? What should I expect? Should we even take the kids? Which cruise should we do? We get it. We’ve been there before. We’ve felt those same fearful emotions you’re probably experiencing. You can stop stressing about this adventure you want to embark on. Because Today’s Mama has you covered. Here’s what every Mama needs to know about cruises. The Mama’s Guide to Royal Caribbean Cruises provides planning, travel tips, scientific reasons for going on a cruise, family hacks, advice, cruise resources, finding flights and more!
More on TodaysMama.com: