This marks our third cruise in three years with the kiddos in tow. This post is in no way sponsored (I wish!) but I still feel the need to let you know that. All opinions are my own. You can read my Symphony of the Seas blog post HERE and my Carnival —- HERE.
Why did we pick this cruise? We have found that in general, we prefer Royal Caribbean over other cruise lines. We did the huge Symphony of the Seas cruise ship two years ago and we wanted to go on another of the huge boats. The Oasis of the Seas very recently got a major facelift and upgrades so we went with it. I am *pretty sure* the Oasis of the Seas was the original mega cruise ship.
The boat is definitely nice. I do feel like the Symphony of the Seas was better though. Things I remember being better: Our state room was bigger, there were outlets on both sides of the bed and in the bathroom and the couch pulled out into a trundle (the one in our room now pulls out into a huge bed and takes up a ton of space when opened). The main areas of the ships are essentially indistinguishable (restaurants, Boardwalk, ice rink, pools, slides, etc.), but the rooms itself was better on the Symphony of the Seas. That’s all that comes to mind at the moment. I will add more if I can think of anything else.
The food on RC ships far exceeds that of any other company. The variety is also above and beyond anything else we have experienced.
The dining staff is phenomenal. I will say though- it seems like across all cruise lines, the waitstaff and cleaning staff are just amazing. So attentive and nice.
There is very little storage in our stateroom. There was definitely more on the Symphony of the Seas. There’s not a ton of space to unpack- snacks, drinks and clothes. Things are just in random piles because there isn’t any place to put things.
Breakfast- I have been going on cruises for many years. One of my favorite things has always been ordering room service breakfast and eating it on the balcony. Now it seems as though the room service breakfast is quite limited. You are able to get fruit, cereals, pastries and coffee/juices. You can no longer get eggs, hash browns, etc unless you want to pay an added fee. I am not sure when this changed but I found this disappointing.
Sleeping situation? Best way to create a separate sleeping space for kids who go to bed early? If you need a separate sleeping space for kids, you may need to get a suite. We’ve heard getting two adjoining rooms can sometimes be more cost-effective. Not sure if Disney offers some other workaround. Otherwise the whole family is all in one room. Rooms vary in terms of trundles, bunkbeds, etc. Check with the cruise line.
Do I worry about coronavirus/norovirus/illness? Yes. Hand-washing and alcohol hand sanitizing is emphasized and mandatory throughout the ship. We are as diligent as we can be. The cruise line does everything they can to protect the passengers. Cruises are such great vacations for us that we accept the risk.
Fav cruise line? Royal Caribbean. We’ve also been on Carnival and Norwegian. Haven’t tried Princess or Celebrity or Disney. Of the three we’ve been on, Royal Caribbean consistently has been the best experience.
Claustrophobic? Not really. The ships are so huge that our kids frequently ask us if we are still on the boat! On sea days the ship can feel crowded at times, but we can always retreat to our room for privacy and quiet. We choose a room with a balcony, which gives us extra space and is incredibly relaxing and amazing. I wouldn’t say it’s any different than being in a really busy hotel.
Packing list, tips for cruise travel? One major tip is check if your cruise ship has laundry available to you. In some cases there is self-serve, in others they’ll give you a decent-sized bag and it’ll be a flat fee of around $25. The rooms are small and there isn’t a lot of storage space. Pack wisely. We bring every possible medicine we could possibly need so we don’t need to go visit the doctor if something straightforward comes up. We might be a bit on the obsessive side…
Day care on the boat? Yes. Day care is available for all ages and all hours. Late-night daycare is extra $. We are always amazed that you can leave your 3 year-old at the activity center until 1am. And No… we’ve never done that!
Best room to get to avoid feeling the motion of the boat? Not sure. We choose a room near the middle of the ship. The ships are HUGE. Being in the middle just makes it more convenient to get anywhere. I am very very prone to motion sickness and have never had an issue. My mom is even more prone than I am and she has almost never had an issue either.
Is it safe to go to Haiti? Royal Caribbean takes you to Labadee, which they advertise as being Haiti. Yes, it is in Haiti. However it’s really just a huge private beach. Unless you book an excursion (not sure if it’s even an option) you’re not visiting Haiti in any really significant way. It is completely secluded and private… and it’s beautiful.
I hope you guys found this post helpful! If you have anymore specific questions- please feel free to reach out to me and ask! Again- this was in no way sponsored by Royal Caribbean. All opinions are my own!