Cruising, Is it Right for Me?

Cruising, what is all the hype about? My parents are in their 60’s and have cruised for many years, I’m talking donkeys’ years, whatever that is, but you get the picture.  In 2013 and after years of pestering us to join them we finally gave in, mainly to keep the rents from bothering us over and over again. It is quite possibly one of the best decisions we have ever made as a family.

Is a Cruise Right for Me?

Harris Family

Me, Eden, Hollie & Jamie | Photo: Claire Harris

Now then, if you’ve instantly said to yourself “er heck no, how does that thing float?” then you’re not alone. And if like me, (pre-cruising), Titanic springs to the forefront of your mind then, you guessed it – you’re not alone.  I actually stood at Southampton Docks shaking like Rihanna in her “work” music video. Yes you know the one, work, work, work, work, work and some other words, which I never could fathom. There I stood terrified at the sheer size of this ship that was casting a shadow over the city’s Ikea building. I swore there and then that I was not going to step foot on Royal Caribbeans’ Independence of the  Seas.

Fast forward five years to a polar opposite reality.  Let me formally introduce myself; Good day all, my name is Claire and I’m a cruising addict!

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Royal Caribbean Has It All

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line currently has 27 ships within the fleet, which increases regularly, ensuring this cruise line is at the top of the cruising game. They are consistent in design, forward thinking and pleasing their loyal customers – cue “Loyal to Royal”.  The cruise line has very recently released their newest ship; Symphony of the Seas – the largest ship in the world holding 6,680 passengers.  The ship has wow factor features including: water slides, the tallest slide at sea (Ultimate Abyss), zip line, ice rink, aqua theater, laser tag, flow rider, Central Park, numerous pools, splash area and countless eateries, not to mention shops!  Boredom does not exist in the WOW world of Royal Caribbean. Hopefully, (1st hope in my blog) that will be material I can write about from experience in the not too distant future.  Cruising with Royal Caribbean couldn’t be any more effortless, with straightforward booking and online check in, smooth embarkation, super friendly staff tripping over themselves to help anyone in need, the most stunning ocean views on a daily basis, encompassing sun rise and sun sets that you can only ever experience at sea and excursions galore at each and every destination.  The cruise is all-inclusive, not to mention luxurious.  The only thing you may find difficult is whether or not to get off the magnificent ship at each port,  and the only question you’ll ask yourself is “what can I eat now?”

Independence of the Seas

Royal Caribbean

Independence of the Seas | Photo: Claire Harris

Independence of the Seas is the UK’s favorite new ship, now I can tell you from experience that this ship has soul, an atmosphere like no other from the moment you step on board.  My family and I have been blessed, sailing  “Indy” five times in the past 5 years, not bad for a stubborn someone who was never stepping foot on the ship. From the moment we arrive at Southampton docks our all-inclusive, luxury holiday begins.  Hollie and Eden always ask to go straight to Sorrentos for a slice of Pizza because according to the them, there is no other pizza like it, and I have to admit I’m partial to a slice, or two, which is probably why I have to be rolled off the ship after two weeks cruising around the Mediterranean.  NOTE:  DO NOT GET ON THE SCALES WHEN YOU ARRIVE HOME!  No sooner have the girls devoured their pizza they will be found strengthening their swimming skills in a pool of their choice, more often than not the main pool, which has a massive screen, showcasing popular movies suitable for all ages.

I have a fond memory of last years sailing, relaxing on the outer edge of the main pool, slightly submerged in the shallows, soaking up the rays whilst watching Top Gun with my husband by my side, I mean Top Gun!  Oh yes I do love an 80’s classic.  After the swimming, the girls may go rock climbing, yes there really is a climbing wall on board the ship.  Of course, by the time their feet have reached the deck they’re hungry (again) and know only too well how to help themselves to the free poolside Ice cream.  We are not talking out of a freezer in a packet kind of ice cream, oh no, we are talking smooth, whippy, lever pull as much as you can fit in the cone vanilla and chocolate ice cream – unlimited!  A couple of cocktails (adults of course) later and it’s already time for Muster, Muster in short, is a practice drill that all passengers are required to attend before the ship sets sail. It’s all aboard top deck for sail away, where the party gets in full swing.  All like-minded passengers gather and wave farewell to the land humans, quite often with a smug look on all of our faces.

There is just about enough time to shower up in the stateroom before dinner and taking in an always breathtaking ice skating show. Thereafter, a headliner show in the Alhambra 3 tier theater, right before giving in and resting our heads for the night in our Super king sized bed.  The peaceful look on our daughters faces, all tucked up in their own beds, dreaming of the adventures that lie ahead is the last thing we see before we shut our eyes and dream away…

All of this whilst still in the English Channel!

Final word…

So, is cruising right for me? Cruising has helped carve a collection of memories that will last a life time and these moments, these memories, they are our riches…

-Claire Harris

Claire Harris, founder of FirstInitialSea, is a self confessed cruising addict with a serious love for travel. She lives in the United Kingdom with her husband and their three girls. This article first appeared on her website’s blog page. Make sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram and check out her website to follow her adventures!

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