“After my 10-year-old’s effort I had to seriously lift my game when putting together this blog post. The pressure was enormous. Getting upstaged by the kids happens pretty regularly but I thought I was safe when it came to work stuff!
As you know recently my 10-year-old and I were invited to join a repositioning cruise from Brisbane up to Singapore on Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas. My daughter was very keen and I was interested as I had never cruised before. Also, I was dubious it would be a good holiday option for our parents.
It was great! And I was wrong! I think parents, particularly those with young children, will love these cruises as a holiday option.
My daughter went to the first session of the complimentary Adventure Ocean Youth Program on the first day and basically abandoned me at every opportunity over the rest of the cruise to go back. This left me with loads of time to do whatever I wanted, it was bliss!
The kids club caters for three age groups – 6 months (minimum cruising age) to 2 years, 3-12 years and teenagers – and each section has loads of activities to entertain the groups for extended cruises. Normally care is available for at least 9 hours a day at NO ADDITIONAL charge and the kids love it. It is in a dedicated and secure part of the ship with child care staff who the kids appear to adore.
My kids are a little more user-friendly now but I remember very well getting back from a family holiday when they were younger and feeling even more tired than before we left. We almost had to have time to recover from the holiday before going back to work.
Travelling with a young family is often a nightmare but I am here to say that cruising is a great way for everyone to return relaxed and happy! If the kids are fussy eaters you will love the buffets where the quality of the food is excellent and the range of options is extreme. Parents with growing teenagers will also be fans. If you are settling the kids in for the night you can order room service 24/7. All food and tips are included in the cruise fare.
The vast majority of the ship is enclosed so going to the pool or to meals means at no point can your little one fall overboard (that was one of my big concerns). There are no luggage weight restrictions which families can struggle with when travelling.
Annabel and I did a day trip to an island and met a lovely couple in the spa. They had two kids under 6 and told us it had cost them more than $300 to go to Airlie Beach for the day and that babysitting on the island was $35/hour with a minimum three-hour booking. I told them how surprised I was about how suitable the ship was for families with young kids and when we compared costs, the cruise won handsomely!
Organised day trips are an additional expense but you do not have to do them, you can just get off the boat and do your own thing. Wi-Fi is also not included in the fare, it is available but you are supposed to be on holiday anyway!
All the staff are magnificent no matter which of the 60+ countries they are from. They make you feel welcome, look after everything 24/7 and keep the ship clean and sparkling. There are hand sanitizers on every deck and there use is mandatory before each meal, which I think is great.
While I was looking forward to relaxing I was not expecting to have as much fun and alone time as I got, given I was travelling with a 10-year-old. She had a great time and I had a great time (and although I recall a couple of great table tennis sessions with Annabel I DO NOT recall losing at all). Plus, it turns out that cruising is not only for the well off! It was significantly easier, safer and more cost effective than a similar length trip to any Australian destination I could think of and vastly less expensive than an international trip!
The good news for Brisbanites is that from December 2015 to April 2016, and October 2016 to April 2017, Royal Caribbean will be basing Legend of the Seas in Brisbane! So Brisbane families can join a Royal Caribbean International cruise from their doorstep without the need for additional travel. I suggest parents with young kids consider cruising for a holiday as everyone wins!”
– by Big Bad Brad, who was a guest of Royal Caribbean
This blog post is sponsored by Royal Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean has incredibly imaginative ships that offer skydiving, surf riding, ice skating, rock climbing, bumper cars, circus schools, and Dreamworks experiences all in the middle of the ocean. Its four ships sailing in Australia include the two largest Australian-based ships (Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas), Radiance of the Seas, and Brisbane-based Legend of the Seas. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com.au