As you may remember last Friday my family set out on a little 3 night Caribbean cruising adventure.
It was our very first cruise, and we all had a great time! Although I think 90% of the fun had to with the fact that we went on this cruise with 10 other families from our new neighborhood. One of my sweet new friends organized a group rate, and the timing was just perfect. Since this cruise would be happening just a few short weeks after the holidays, the hubs and I decided to gift the cruise to our kids for Christmas! I put together a gift bag for each of our kids filled with a couple of disposable cameras, a scrapbook, some stickers, a new bathing suit, sunglasses and flip flops. Then my friend and “cruise director” put together the cutest flyer with all the cruise information as well as a list of all the families that would be attending, and I added the flyer to each of their gift bags.
|Jelly Sandals, Bathing Suit – Nordstom Rack, Trunks – Target, Scrapbook & Sticker – Michael’s|
Admittedly 6 a.m. is not my best hour of the day, so on Christmas morning I didn’t get any video of them jumping up and down screaming with delight. But I hope the memory of their shocked, surprised, excited faces stays locked away in my brain forever.
We cruised with Royal Caribbean on the Enchantment of the Seas. Now that we’re home, bags are unpacked and I’ve had a chance to sit down and think, I’m sharing my first time cruiser’s thoughts on our experience.
|Kid’s Coral Jelly Sandals, Women’s Gold Jelly Sandals|
I wasn’t crazy about the food.
So as y’all know my family is gluten free. I’m happy to report that Royal Caribbean does have quite a few gluten free options in the buffet areas, dining room and on the room service menu. They had gluten free rolls at dinner, gluten free pancakes at breakfast and gluten free hamburger buns as well as gluten free pizza. My kids were pretty happy about all of that. However, the food in general just wasn’t all that great. The service was wonderful. The food, as my husband so aptly described, was like banquet food. It wasn’t bad at all, it just wasn’t fantastic……just nothing to really write home about.
Weather and routing caused some issues.
We boarded Friday afternoon at Port Canaveral, Florida, which was a 6 hour drive for us from Charleston, so we drove in the night before and shuttled over from our hotel. Our original cruise itinerary called for CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s private island, on Saturday, and then we were supposed to stop in Nassau on Sunday. But a couple days before we boarded they changed the schedule and flopped those days which would have been fine except for the fact that the weather turned ugly, and we ended up not making it to CocoCay at all. This was a major bummer as we were all really excited about having a day on the beach in CocoCay. In addition the boat was pretty rocky as they were navigating around the storm. Thankfully no one in our party got sick, but they did put out the barf bags on all the stairwells just in case. The kids didn’t seem to be bothered at all.
Was January a good time to cruise?
I think so, even despite our little blip with the weather. I don’t think storms like that are very common in January, and the benefit of traveling after the holidays but during the winter months is that kids are back in school and the usual “vacation traffic” isn’t an issue.
I wish we had taken full advantage of our Nassau Day.
Nassau is bright and colorful, and I enjoyed walking around just looking at all the buildings.
However I think we made a mistake not scheduling any excursions for that day. My girl enjoyed getting a little hair wrap in the marketplace……….
but I think we should’ve taken advantage of the good weather we had that day and gone to the water park at Atlantis. But hindsight is always 20/20.
Irons aren’t allowed on board.
I packed wrinkle resistant pieces and rolled them instead of folding them into my duffle bag.
Then as soon as we got to our room I hung all of my dresses and used my flat iron to smooth out the very few wrinkles that needed smoothing. On a side note – Y’all that striped swing tank was a Walmart find for ……..$4.97!
I’m glad we had a window, but next time I’d like a balcony.
It was really nice to have daylight streaming in through the window in our room. A friend of ours had a balcony and after seeing it I definitely want one next time we cruise. Waking up to that view and the ocean air with a hot cup of coffee in your hand just sounds dreamy doesn’t it?
Things for kids to do on the ship?
Well, I was a little disappointed with the kids activities or rather lack there of on the Enchantment of the Seas, especially because the Enchantment is touted as family friendly. That being said my opinion is probably largely based on the fact that we never made it to CocoCay so we were on the ship for a lot of uninterrupted hours……..hours that we should have been spending on a white sand beach in the hot, hot sun. 😉 The arcade area was kind of on the small side. There is a kids club (11 and under) and a teen club, and our kids did enjoy themselves very much. But I think that had a lot to do with the fact that they were with their friends. The Enchantment has a really cool bungee trampoline and rock climbing wall, though those activities are outside and were closed during the bad weather.
The numerous shows and dance parties were all great fun. And our group most definitely enjoyed the karaoke as well as the piano bar. There are videos……….but you’d have to kill me first if you want to see them. 😉
I believe this was Wanted Dead or Alive……who doesn’t love a little Bon Jovi? #chucktownrepresenting
We really did have an absolute blast! I’m not sure I’m a “cruiser” though, and I’m not sure if I could handle anything longer than 3 nights. Then again the bad weather we experienced has probably tainted my opinion. I’d love to try a Disney cruise someday…….because y’all know I’m a Disney fanatic. And after getting an up close look at the Disney Dream ship while we were in Nassau, it definitely looks like a good time! And I’d most definitely do another group cruise, without question, in a heartbeat. If you’ve never been on a big group vacation with friends I highly recommend it!
|protecting the innocent 😉|
And a cruise really is awesome for a big group as everyone can just kind of do their own thing and meet up at designated times (*walkie talkies make communicating really easy as there’s no cell coverage), and a cruise offers something for every different kind of person. The guys congregated in the sports bar quite a bit, while the ladies did spa treatments or just laid by the pool. It really was a great vacation for a large party.
All in all I thought the Enchantment of the Seas was good. The service was fantastic throughout. The rooms were good, very clean. The kids really loved the towel animals house keeping left on the bed everyday. It was a good ship for a group and for a family. I just wish the food had been a little better, and that we would have made it to CocoCay. There were no consolations made in regards to us having to skip our stop there though I realize that the weather is completely out of their control. That being said, it would have been nice if they had offered a little something for that disappointing news ………but I guess weather could ruin a beach vacation anywhere.
Regardless we made the best of our vacation time, and we’re so grateful for this amazing group of people that have welcomed our family in to their circle and made life in our new city so much fun! I know the kids thoroughly enjoyed vacationing with their new friends, and that’s what made this trip all the more special for us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to “Julie” our “Cruise Director” for planning, organizing and inviting us to join in on the fun! I’m so grateful to be your neighbor and friend! xxoo – C
Life in general would be no fun at all without my shipmate ( #seewhatididthere #couldnthelpmyself ) who has a way of making everything ridiculously hilarious.
Have you been on any cruises? Tell me about your experiences. What did you love? What did you not like? What’s the best cruise you’ve ever been on? I’ve literally had that song Cruisin’ stuck in my brain for weeks now, and I’m so surprised no one sang that during karaoke. #iloveitwhenwerecruisintogether
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