In May I was fortunate to experience a Mediterranean cruise as part of a Royal Caribbean educational. Before then I had never been or thought about cruising and my only point of reference would have been what I had seen in the 80’s on the ‘Love Boat’ and my feelings that it is something to do once you retire. I had an expectation of it being very expensive, lots of buffet style food, cabaret singers and meeting the same people over and over again. My expectations were completely unfounded and it has opened my eyes to a whole new way to travel and explore the world. I can’t wait now to share the experience with my husband and son.
I flew direct from Dublin to Barcelona and after a very smooth check in process at the port, boarded the cruise ship early to make the most of my time. I indulged in a manicure and pedicure at the spa on the cruise ship and enjoyed a lovely lunch with a glass of wine all before the cruise even departed from Barcelona. Therefore I was very relaxed and already in holiday mode before the cruise had even officially begun.
I was very impressed with my cabin which was a deluxe ocean view stateroom with balcony. The bed was exceptionally comfortable and I would highly recommend upgrading to a room with a balcony as it makes the experience extra special. It was lovely to have breakfast on my balcony having arrived in a new location or just to sit out in the evening and enjoy a glass of wine.
The ship could accommodate over 3,000 passengers therefore it had a big cross section of people from a variety of different nationalities, ages, and backgrounds. Cruising would definitely suit couples, groups of friends, and particularly families. I was impressed with the facilities available for children of all ages and that they offered such excellent facilities for the normally difficult to please teenagers.
Cruising is a great way to get a little taster of each place the ship ports at. On my cruise we started from Barcelona and then also visited Ville Franche and Ibiza. You usually have most of the day to go and explore the place either by yourself or on one of the land excursions on offer. However it is impossible to get bored even when at sea all day. The cruise ship has so much to offer that you would never have time to do it all. Just a few examples of some of the facilities include swimming pools, fitness centre, rock climbing wall, mini golf, spa, promenade with its own English pub, shops, café, champagne bar etc. The Promenade was amazing and had a live show (parade) along it every night. I also even went ice skating one night!
Royal Caribbean cruises are also great value for money, it was great to be able to have breakfast in bed as part of your package or order something from 24 hour room service. Onboard everything although this was a European cruise, was in US dollars which currently means you are getting a great rate of exchange and could purchase duty free goods when the ship is at sea.
I am now part of the converted and would highly recommend cruising!!