Sunday, 19 April 2015

A sailor's life for me (sort of)

Ahoy there Sailor ! 
A while back I visited the world's largest cruise ship Oasis of the Seas and it was part of a new fleet being launched by Royal Caribbean - the Quantum ships. This weekend me and big boy are enjoying a pre-inaugural trip on the latest of this fleet, the Anthem of the Seas. As my in-laws live in Southampton we stayed over with Grandma and Grandpa on Friday evening so we could make an early start on Saturday morning. On arrival at the terminal building we were met by these jolly greeters who wished us a pleasant trip and went for the check-in which is all done online using handheld tablets. Security is airport style so we were prepared for this and it was all very smooth. We even managed to pick up some magazines in the terminal building, although - of course - we've been far too busy to read them !!

Mum airways
The lovely folks at Royal Caribbean planned a busy itinerary for us so we got on board promptly and made sure we found our room so we could get cracking with the activities. The first was this amazing skydiving machine called iFly which I thought was only for adults but my amazing and brave boy had a fly too. I was blown away by how well he did and even though he found it a bit overwhelming he made me so proud. 

Brave Boy
One of the cliches you hear about cruises is that you end up eating a lot of food as it's all there. Well, I can honestly say we've eaten a hell of a lot of food this weekend, but it hasn't been all buffets by any stretch. We ate in a Patisserie yesterday afternoon where they served a great hot chocolate for my boy and had a display of beautiful macarons and other petits fours that looked delicious. They were not available to eat, just to look at, but it's just as well really !! There is a lot of choice of places to eat on board and when you have little ones to feed that makes a lot of difference. Having the option for a slice of pizza or a quick bite in the afternoon or late morning can be the difference between a happy child and an almighty meltdown. 

La Patisserie 
Talking of which we also signed up for the kids club on board. Adventure Ocean is over two floors and provides childcare for children in age ranges from 3-5 (Aquanauts) 6-8 (Explorers) and 9-11 (Voyagers). There is also a room suitable for nursery age children. My boy loved it so much in the kids club I had to prise him out of it last night and he was raring to get back in there this morning. For child who isn't always keen on such things he really took to it. The staff are all fully trained and take great care of the children. On a cruise you would have a phone which they can use to contact you on the ship in case of emergency. Royal Caribbean also offer a babysitting service in room where 2 fully trained members of staff stay with your child. It is a paid for service and at $19 per hour I can honestly say it would give me peace of mind knowing I could go out to a show or for a meal knowing my children were being taken care of in room instead of by a monitor system.  

Decorative vintage aprons

Cruises haven't traditionally been seen as family holidays, but this ship has really given me pause for thought when it comes to taking my kids away. The kids club for one and the facilities on board for older children are amazing. On this ship there is a basketball court and circus school during the day and it's used for dodgems or roller disco at night. Then late at night it's a club venue for adults. I even tried my hand at a bit of trapeze this afternoon - photos to follow on social media no doubt. Finding time to do fun things for yourself can be a tough on a family holiday and that was one of my aims with this cruise. I have to admit it felt odd not having a child with me and to wander around thinking about how to spend my time, but it also was quite nice to have a spa treatment - hot stone massage, blissful by the way - and to go and watch a show with a cocktail served in my theatre seat. 

This is the life !
Admittedly, it's a different kind of holiday. The ship has different 'zones' for different interests so there is the pool deck and the Seaplex with games zones and fun areas for children. There are bars and cafes as well as formal dining and plenty of places to stop and have a quick bite or to get a drink. In fact my chosen blogging style is now a touch more decadent as I've taken to treating myself to a glass of bubbly before sitting down to write. I can see this being the way forward for me :) 

In a later post I'll tell you about some of what we got up to on the second day !

Disclosure: We were invited to try out the new Anthem of the Seas ship by the lovely folks at Royal Caribbean and Mumsnet. 

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