Top 10 reasons to take a Royal Caribbean cruise with your family - my favorite thing

Top 10 reasons to take a Royal Caribbean cruise with your family - my favorite thing
Family vacation? Yes please! A cruise? Yuck.
That was the last place I wanted to spend my money. Tiny rooms. Germs. Drunk people. Too much food. Rocking boat. THAT was the picture in my mind. To waste our hard earned money THAT way was so not going to happen!

Here is the back story. We have never taken a family vacation. I mean a real vacation. Sure we've been to Great Wolf Lodge. A tiny cottage up north (where I did all the cooking). A drive out west (where I packed the coolers). But I'm talking vacation. Everything taken care of. Plans all made. Goal. Relax. Enjoy. Sit back. You know REAL vacation. The kind you read about "everyone else" going on.

We had decided several years ago that we would begin saving for a "real vacation". We weren't sure when we would be ready…but we had a foggy goal. It began to look like a post graduation trip. Possibly the last time we would all be together…because really…who knows. We thought Europe would be amazing.
taken on our Royal Caribbean cruise 2014

Then we met with our friend / travel agent and found out that yes indeed we could afford a Europe trip. We just couldn't afford to get there, unless we wanted to swim. And if anyone knows me…swimming is just not an option! :) Now what? We really had no clue. My heart had been set on Big Ben, the English Channel and maybe, just maybe the Eiffel tower.

Travel agent Mike, sensing my disappointment, and knowing my serious aversion to cruises…threw it out there anyway. You could do a cruise, he said. Biggest ship on the seas, he said. Perfect fun for everyone in your family, he said. I promise, he said, as he looked in my eyes…you will love this trip or I will pay for it.

My first thought. He's bluffing. My second thought. He thinks I'm stupid. My third thought. He really is our friend and he truly wants us to have the best vacation ever. Ok, tell me more. I said. Sell me. He did.
Both my man and I were somewhat convinced that this would be great for the family. Book it. We said.
We came home and told the kids. Of course the smallest person was immediately excited. I mean to her anything outside of Michigan and Indiana is a thrill! The teenage girls were a bit more skeptical…could it be mom's "I don't want to ever go on a cruise" attitude had worn off on them? The man child. Not thrilled at all. {{gulp}} what have we done?

This was winter. By the time spring came we were gaining excitement. May? Just about giddy. June? We couldn't wait.
Time to go! Aside from leaving VERY late for our 3 hour drive to airport, my man, aka Mario Andretti, got us there on time…if not early! An overnight in Fort Lauderdale. Ship in the morning. We were, by now, over the moon excited and let me tell you…it was worth it. It was amazing. It was perfection. I give you - Royal Caribbean - Oasis of the Seas
Now I could tell you all the details about our vacation…but that is fairly boring…I mean look how much you already read! What I will tell you is the top 10 reasons this was the best vacation EVER. (these are in no particular order)

1. The ship is amazing. It's huge! A complete floating city! And it was stellar clean! Not a speck of garbage anywhere. No chipped paint. No dirty carpets. Clean and sanitary. And if you were thinking "ewww" at any moment…there were hand sanitzer stands every where - no excuses.

2. The food. I mean the food. The choices were endless. I could eat as healthy as I wanted to…or indulge in all sorts of "evil". But I loved that it was MY choice. And it was superior. And if, on the off chance, I didn't like something - they took it back and brought me something else!

3. You don't have to spend ANY extra money. We paid our tips ahead of time and we chose to not purchase any of the beverage packages. Like unlimited soda. Or the alcohol package. There was water, ice tea, coffee and flavored water every where - so we didn't feel the need to drink anything else. As for alcohol, I did buy a couple of bottles of wine for week for dinner - I can't even imagine drinking all day long…but that's us. There are restaurants on board that cost money, however, since all our meals were covered and there was a virtual cornucopia of food available, we didn't think it necessary. Did I mention there is a bakery, a sandwich shop, a pizza place, a cafe and ice cream machines available almost 24/7? See what I'm saying?

4. No internet. This means no phones. This means family conversation. This means heads looking up. A rarity. A luxury. It was the best. Again, there was an option to purchase wifi…but we said no. Vacation. We could escape for a week. This may have been my very favorite part. True connection. Real connection. It was magical.
5. The fitness center. Ok, I know some of you just laughed…or scoffed…same thing. But I like to exercise. Some of my kids like to exercise. Noah pretty much thought he died and went to heaven. At one point I was laying on the floor with my girls doing crunches and I exclaimed…."I'm working out…on a ship…and it's moving!" Mind boggling. And if you haven't run around a track when you are out at sea in the middle of no where…then you are totally missing out!

6. The ports. We were in the Western Caribbean - Haiti, Jamaica, Cozumel. Just beautiful. We did choose to spend money on one excursion. Snorkeling in Cozumel - it was spectacular. The water was a brilliant aqua blue. And the fish did not fail us. Everywhere you looked! Every color! I only wish I had an underwater camera! It was a bit crowded with a boat full of people getting out in one spot to snorkel…but much fun. And absolutely worth it! Even the boat ride was a blast. Laying out on the top of the deck. They even served fruity slushy drinks and margaritas on our way back!
7. The staff. Every face was smiling. Every person genuinely wanting to serve and make sure we had everything we needed. It was a multi cultural experience. People from all over the world. We loved that. Each evening for dinner we chose to eat in the same dining room, in the same section, in order to have the same 2 waiters - they made dinner time so special. Remembering our names. Remembering our preferences. The same with our cabin steward. He was such a gracious gentle man. Even though we had paid our tips ahead…we tipped these individuals a little bit more. They earned it!

8. The night life. The options were over the top! We tried to take in as much as possible. A musical…Hairspray. A comedy club. An high diving aqua show. An ice skating show. A headliner. A cirque du solei type show. On top of that there were parades and karaoke and a little club on our floor called Glitter where I did a little dancing with the girls…but mostly listened to the talented band.
9. The promenade. A "street", complete with Starbucks. Did I mention this boat was huge? On the promenade were photographers. The pizza joint. The cafe. The Karaoke bar. And shopping. It was the primo place to people watch. And let me tell you…with 8000 people…there is PLENTY to see! It felt like you were sitting outside at a cafe, on a balmy evening, in a busy - yet exceptionally safe - city.
10. I'm not sure I can stop at ten. So I'll give you several quick reasons!
  • Dressing up / formal nights - so fun.
  • 7 pools / hot tubs to choose from.
  • Room service coffee and fruit on the balcony in the morning.
  • The zip line.
  • The flow riders.
  • The rock climbing wall.
  • The cookies.
  • The no real schedule.
  • The view.
  • The quality of people.
  • The artwork on the ship.
Needless to say…I will never ever diss a cruise again. At least a Royal Caribbean cruise. And you cannot beat the Oasis of the Seas. So there Mike. You win. You were right. We loved it. And IF we never take another family vacation again…these memories will stand the test of time.
****side bar*****
When you wait to take your kids when they are a bit older on a "mega vacation" and to us…this was a mega vacation…two things happen.
  • they truly enjoy and appreciate the vacation….not to mention they will create lasting memories.
  • they are grateful. each one of our kids thanked us repeatedly. with every new experience they expressed heartfelt thanks. and that meant the world!
Have you taken a cruise? What? When? What did you think? I'd love to know!


p.s. and just for fun - a silly little video I made.

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