Monday, July 23, 2012

Cruising with Royal Caribbean

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We just got back from our 8 day cruise on Royal Caribbean, and we had a fantastic time.  It was both Mark and my first cruise ever, and it definitely didn’t disappoint.  I am convinced that cruising is the way to travel.  It is so convenient to have everything you could want right on the ship, and wake up every day in a new place to explore.  This definitely will not be our last cruise.

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Royal Caribbean (RCCL) is a great cruise line.  Granted, we don’t have anything to compare this cruise to, but we both thought they did a great job.  We were greeted in our stateroom with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, that were complimentary.  It was a very nice surprise and set the tone for the rest of our cruise.

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We sailed on Splendour of the Seas, which, I think, is one of RCCL’s smaller ships, but it was plenty big enough for us.  It had 2 main dining facilities, along with a few smaller ones, a family friendly pool and also an adults only pool, a couple different bars, a casino, a large auditorium, a large lounge, and lots of sitting areas all over the boat.

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We had a balcony stateroom, and we both agreed that that is definitely the way to go.  We absolutely loved being able to sit out on our balcony and listen to the waves or watch the scenery go by.  We had originally gotten the balcony because we were planning on bringing the kids and then we changed our minds and decided to leave the kids with grandma.  We’re glad we kept the balcony though.  Our stateroom might have felt cramped with 4 of us in there, but with just two of us, it was perfect.

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All of the following photos were taken from our balcony.

VENICE

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CORFU, GREECE

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SANTORINI, GREECE

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NEAR EPHESUS, TURKEY

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ATHENS, GREECE

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The food on the ship was great.  We didn’t eat at either of the specialty restaurants, but we did do the “my time dining” where we could choose what time we wanted to eat every night, instead of having to eat at either 6pm or 9pm.  You could call ahead for reservations, but that never once worked for us – no one ever answered the phone during the designated call times, which was a bit annoying but oh well.  Even without reservations, we never had to wait more than 20 mins to be seated.  Most of the time we sat with other people.  Usually it was a lot of fun talking with people from all over the place, but once we got stuck with 2 people that didn’t even speak English, which was awkward.  Another time we sat with a family that wasn’t much interested in talking, so they just talked among themselves and we talked to each other.  There was plenty to choose from on the menu, so we always found something that we liked.  I liked that the portion sizes weren’t huge, so you could have the 4 course meal and not feel completely stuffed by the time you were done.

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The onboard entertainment was pretty good too.  They had one main dance crew, that consisted of 3 guys and 3 girls, along with a professional dance couple, and then 2 male and 2 female singers.  They did 2 of the main shows and then the singers also performed during other times throughout the cruise.  The singers were excellent.  The dancers were pretty good, but even to my very novice eye, I noticed them screwing up a few times.  Even the professional couple messed up a couple times.  They also had a really good pianist from Italy do a concert, Ann Annello sang for us, a group from England, Blake, also sang, and they had a variety show put on by some guy who was in “The Grinch”.  All were really entertaining, and we enjoyed going to all of them.  (Something we probably wouldn’t have gotten to do if we’d brought the kids with us.)

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I think RCCL does a good job of keeping the cruisers entertained.  Besides the nightly shows in the theater, they had lots of trivia games to play, karaoke, dance lessons and parties in the Centrum and game shows that you could watch or participate in.  Some of our best memories were from the things to do on the ship.  Scottish Bob would sing Frank Sinatra in karaoke every night.  (He was from Scotland.)  We had quite a few laughs on the Battle of the Sexes game show.  One of the tasks was to blow up balloons and pop them in between two people and this guy blew up his balloon so it was about 4 inches in diameter or less and then just started whacking the crap out of the guy he was supposed to be popping it with.  I had tears I was laughing so hard.  Other game show was love and marriage where they had a newlywed couple, a couple that had been married for 3 years and a couple that had been married for 48 years playing.  One of the questions was, “Name the person your husband was with before you”, and the lady that had been married the longest said “He said I was the first.”  Everyone in the audience did the collective “Awwww.”  When her husband came out and was asked to answer the same question, his answer was “I don’t know.  There were several.”  LOL!  When they asked the guy from the middle couple that question, he was hesitant to answer.  We were sitting behind Scottish Bob during the show and he said, under his breath, “It’s because he’s name was Brian.”  I cracked up.  It was probably a little awkward since the entire theater was quiet, waiting for the dude to answer, but then everyone around Scottish Bob burst into laughter in the middle of the silence.  Quite a few good times were had with everyone else on the boat.

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Overall it was an amazing trip – probably one of my favorites to date.  Mark and I talked about the kids a lot (of course), and how we’d love to take them on a cruise sometime.  We’ll probably wait until they’re old enough to actually enjoy it though.  I’m sure they would have had fun on this one, but it was HOT every day and Ben would have been miserable being carried around in the Ergo in the sun and heat, and we would have been miserable carrying him.  Some day we’d like to go on a cruise to Alaska or Hawaii or the Caribbean with our families so we can all enjoy a relaxing vacation.  It’s funny how when you’re with kids day in and day out, you crave a break from them so badly.  But then when you finally get it, you spend the majority of the time missing them.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful we didn’t take the kids and I think this is just what Mark and I needed to reconnect, but we missed the kids.  I’m glad Mark’s mom and cousin were able to come over and take care of the kids for us though and spend some time with them.  I didn’t worry about the kids a bit since I knew they were in good hands, but I did miss them. 

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As usual, I am still way behind on my blog posts, and it doesn’t help that I got pretty darn sick the day after we got home, so I’m still recovering from that a bit.  But I’ll do posts on each of our ports of call in the near future.  In the meantime, go book a cruise!!  You won’t regret it!

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PS:  You can click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.

6 comments:

Evan, Courtney, Porter & Eli said...

Well ooh-la-la lady! Love all your fun and fancy dresses and date nights! Glad it was a fun time :)

Anna said...

Oh I can't wait to go on a cruise!

I already KNOW it's going to be my favorite vacation ever!!

You look beautiful all dressed up and I hope you and Mark had a great time (baby free! yay!)

Alison said...

I have been on the fence about cruises, but this makes me want to go ASAP!!! LOVE your ivory one shoulder dress BTW!!!

Alison said...

I've been considering going on a cruise too, but was hesitant. Now I want to go (especially since were up here by Seattle and can do an Alaska cruise)!

Your pictures are great, and I love all your dresses! Beautiful!

Brittney said...

Sounds like it was fun!

Donna said...

I am glad you had a good time. Shel and I did also. Love those grandbabies. So much fun being with them all day and loving on them. Hope I can do it again. Love Donna