We have recently returned from a fantastic weekend aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas. We had a fantastic 48 hours as a family but it definitely wasn’t long enough to try everything they have onboard (there are 23 cafes and restaurants alone!) and it has definitely left us dreaming of cruising from port to port whilst sipping cocktails in the evening sun. The kids literally haven’t stopped talking about the weekend, and have gone to bed every night since, singing ‘We will, we will rock you!’. They loved it.
In the run up to the weekend I had posted that I was a bit worried about cruising with my children. I didn’t know what to expect. I worried about what we would wear. Would we need formal wear for formal night on Royal Caribbean? Would we get seasick? Would the children fall off the side (I know I know!) Would there be food that the children would like? Would we get any sleep? Would the rooms work for us as a family? Would the girls be able to stay up late enough for us to enjoy all the ship had to offer? What would I wear (that one again!)
I need not have worried, Royal Caribbean had planned a fantastic itinerary for us and I’ll attempt to give you a flavour of all the things we got chance to do. In case I don’t manage it eloquently enough there is a video at the end that I hope sums it up! Enjoy!
We arrived at Southampton Docks just before 11am on Saturday in time for check in and by 11.30 we were sat in The Cafe @ Two 70 with fresh orange for the kids and taster cocktails for us, marvelling at the size of the ship we had just boarded. Our staterooms weren’t due to be ready until midday so we took the opportunity to feed the kids the first of their many, many snacks/meals of the trip. In hindsight whilst The Cafe @ Two 70 was beautiful, and perfect for me and hubby. He had gorgeous sandwiches, and I had a beautiful caesar salad, the food was possibly a little too fancy for my three girls who really just like plain sandwiches. The staff behind the counter were very accommodating and made them plain wraps but we probably should have located Windjammer for that first meal, for all you could eat jelly! Another little boy we met told the girls all about the fantastic jelly selection! The cakes and the coffee in The Cafe @ Two 70 really were fabulous though and I for one, am glad we found it!
After our lunch, and the girls impromptu dancing show on the stage in Two 70 (Frozen naturally) we made our way to our staterooms. This was probably my major concern. As there are 5 of us, we needed two rooms, as all the rooms on board hold 4 people maximum. Hubby and I had been allocated a room each as the kids obviously couldn’t have a room of their own. The rooms were interconnecting staterooms, each with a balcony. I had turned over and over in my head how that would actually work, and what we would do in the evening as I didn’t think I would want the girls to be in one room and us in the other. I didn’t need to worry as the way the doors worked to connect the rooms allowed us to effectively use the rooms as one room. The ‘interconnecting’ door folded right back on itself with a catch so you could leave it completely open. This allowed the three girls to sleep in one room and us in the other without us having to sit in the dark once they had gone to sleep. Perfect.
One of my other ‘worries’ was whether the girls would fall off the side. Now I know that sounds a bit daft but we have stayed in villas and hotels with patio doors that are easy to open from the inside. I didn’t want the girls to be able to open the patio doors which led straight onto the balcony, which in turn led straight onto the sea. Thankfully Royal Caribbean have considered this possibility and all doors are fitted with child safety locks, which mine certainly didn’t work out how to use.
I could just imagine sitting out on the balcony of one of the rooms, whilst the ship went round the med/caribbean, watching the sun set whilst they slept soundly in the other room. This to me sounds pretty wonderful.
After we had settled into our rooms we met Heledd (from Running in Lavender) and her family at the Sea Plex so we could look after their children whilst her and her husband tried out the IFly. It was a bit chilly on deck whilst we were waiting for them to have their lessons, so I ended up taking them all for more food, this time hot dogs at the Sea Plex Dog House. These went down very very well!
We also made time to see Gigi the Giraffe! We did try to go on the dodgems too. Yes that’s right they have dodgems, however the girls were a little too young as they needed to be 5 to go on. Next time girls!
After that it was time to go in the pool. As soon as the girls saw the first of the 8 pools, they asked if they could go in, then they asked again, and again and again. So we just had to. It was a little cold, but my three are not one to let that put them off. When I say WE had to go in, I mean of course my hubby. I took the opportunity to sit on a lovely warm couch in the sun with Heledd and sip wine. What’s not to like.
After a really good milkshake from Johnny Rocket, one very tired little girl curled up on the same couch after her paddle, and fell promptly asleep. It’s tiring having so much fun.
A safety briefing followed the swimming, everyone on the ship has to go and you’re told where you need to go in case of emergency. On the way onto the ship kids are all given a wristband they have to wear the whole trip with details of the parties Muster point/Emergency point so they can be brought to you if the emergency siren is called. This was reassuring and I also knew that if for any reason we misplaced them, someone would know how to contact us. Thankfully neither safety protocol was needed.
6pm meant Dinner at The Grande for all the family. The itinerary put together by Royal Caribbean had thoughtfully timed dinner early enough for the children to join us. We ate with Heledd and family so there was 4 adults and 5 tired hungry children. The Grande was very swanky and very traditional. When the menu came I panicked a little bit. My girls were definitely not going to eat Papaya Salad or Lobster tails. Again I panicked without need. Whilst on this inaugural trip there was no children’s menu as such the waiter set out the children’s options and thankfully chicken strips and tomato pasta were available! Crisis averted.
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