Great Unexpected Pleasures of Cruising

Let me begin by telling you about the main A La Carte dining rooms on the ship. On our ship, every passenger, if they desired, was appointed to a table of up to ten people at one of the two sitting for diner. You had the same wait staff for each dinner and you could get to know them and the people at your table well over the journey.

Obviously, the food was first class. There were two menus; the first was the regular one which offered the same meals each night. The second changed each meal offerings to tempt the taste buds. Many of the meals were unknown to us needing us to ask our waiter to explain what was in each course.

With all the choices available, I decided that for every course in every dinner I would chose a different offering. I was able to do this without choosing a course I did not like. There were always four courses. No course was large so that you never felt that you had overeaten. (You could always walk around the promenade deck a few times to wear off the extra weight).

Throughout the cruise, there were many theme nights. There was a French and Italian night to give two examples. The wait staff would dress up in national costumes to add even more flavour to the night. (These also occurred in the buffet restaurant).

Towards the end of the cruise the menu featured lobster and for desert all the waiter and many of the kitchen staff marched in with Bombe Alaska to top things off.

Depending on the duration of the cruise there were dress-up nights in these restaurants. Guests dressed up in their finest. Long flowing gowns were worn by many of the women escorted by their menfolk in tuxedos. While others like myself wore a jacket and tie. On one of these evening the night was begun by the creation of a champagne pyramid in the ship’s atrium. There, if you wished, you could add a bottle of champagne to the pyramid while getting a photograph taken to record the event.

Have you ever been to an “English afternoon tea”? On our ship, at three thirty in the afternoon, such an event was held in one of the main restaurants. The waiters wore white gloves and served tea, scones, little sandwiches, cakes and slices. The scone, in particular, were delicious served with jam and cream and were made to a different recipe to those normally eaten in Australia. At each of these sessions you sat with different people. That was always interesting.

There were many other dining options available to the passenger from the buffet (open from 5am to 11pm) to the pizzeria to the cafĂ© offering burgers and the ice cream parlour. If coffee was your “Thing”, a coffee card was available to reduce the cost of speciality offerings of coffee.

On special occasions during the cruise, the kitchen staff would produce ice carvings and carved animals and other figures out of fruit. It was amazing watching their skills at work.

River Cruising vs Ocean Cruising

On the other hand, the traditional river cruising of Europe means a long plane flight before your cruise states. (It is only recently that areas in South and Eastern Asia has become river cruise destinations).

So the first considerations that must be made by an Australian wishing to cruise are the cost and time involved in both before a decision is made either or both ways.

Let me now discuss the differences and similarities between each type of cruising.

Our first ocean cruise was on a ship with 2000 plus passengers and a thousand plus crew while our first ever river cruise contained only about 180 passengers. That is the first different you notice. Then you go from a ship with fourteen decks to one with only three. The river boat was 135 metres long while the cruise ship might be up to 300 metres long.

Even though there are two or more thousand passengers travelling with you on a cruise ship, on most occasions, there is not a feeling that the ship is crowded. On the other hand, river cruise boats with less than two hundred passengers only feels crowded at the evening meal as there is only one restaurant on board. Ocean cruise ships have many dining choices.

On the river cruise, passengers are off the boat each day on organised tours as part of their cruise. So there are not any planned activities on the boat during the day. On an ocean cruise, there are many activities on the ship in which passengers may indulge, daily.

The ocean cruise provides a greater variety of entertainment from the big musical productions in the theatre to more intimate entertainment in the various bars or in the atrium. On our river cruise, we had a singer entertain us at morning tea, afternoon tea and during the evening providing us with a variety of music types to fit the time of day. As well, traditional entertainers from each country or locality came on board to give us a performance of their music.

Both types of cruising offer off boat tours that can be booked by guests with ocean cruises providing many more tour options. With the river cruise, there is something to see and do each day off the boat. Firstly there is the included, guide led tour of the city followed by a chance to wander around that city at your leisure. Some days you might visit two cities. On most ocean cruises, there will be days at sea where you can just relax or indulge in the activities provided by the ship. On a river cruise, most of the movement of the ship is carried out at night.

On a cruise ship, there are several public areas in which to sit and relax. They include bars, a library, an Internet room, pool decks and a large atrium where light refreshments are served. The river cruise boat has a lounge which includes a bar and this is where the entertainment occurs. The river cruise boat has a sun deck on the top of the boat as well.

Getting on and off the ship/boat is much easier on the river cruise simply because of the numbers of passengers involved. This means getting to do off the boat tours is easy and quick.

River cruising, because of the size of the boat and no lifts, would be extremely difficult for the disabled or elderly who find getting around difficult. The ocean cruise lines are able to do a great job looking after the disabled and elderly.

Info of Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International is the world’s most popular single cruise brand. They own eight biggest ships the world currently has. The latest ship launched by them can accommodate more than 5,000 passengers. With extensive public spaces and amazing deck plans, these ships provide every single passenger with a fascinating experience.

Other than having all kinds of basic amenities one can think of, these gigantic water crafts also has innovations like ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls, surfing stimulators on board. This means, even if you are the most active person in the world, you will never get a chance to get bored while on a ship owned by this cruise line. These ships have activities, amenities and itineraries designed for appealing people of every age group, energy level and taste.

People would enjoy their stay in a Royal Caribbean ship irrespective of the fact whether they are active vacationers or just interested in relaxing for a few days. The cruise line, since the day of its inception, has catered a wide variety of customers including honeymooners, families, singles and retirees.

As mentioned above, ships owned by this cruise line visit a number of ports, all of which have truly breathtaking locations. All the ports of call these ships visit are filled with excitement.

One of the most exciting places you will get to visit as a passenger onboard is Alaska. It’s the land of wildlife and wilderness. There are more natural wonder sin store for you in this locations in form of glaciers.

Royal Caribbean cruise liners will also take you to ports in Bermuda, Bahamas and the Caribbean islands. If you are a true travel enthusiast, you must be aware of the fact what kind of thrills these places have in store for tourists. The ships owned by this famous international cruise line will allow you to experience all.

Planning Family Cruise

Check on the children’s facilities.

Verify if the ship provides essential items that your children will need. If you have a young kid traveling with you, check if they have cribs, high chair, toys and other stuff that children need. You might as well ask if they have a special menu for children.

Ask if they provide babysitting services.

Now this is really important, as you cannot be with your child all the time. The reason you had the cruise is to relax and unwind, hence, you cannot always be with your child. A babysitter can give you the break that you need so you can go to the spa, have a swim or enjoy the dancing. Do not forget how much it cost, by the way.

The activities conducted onboard.

Inquire on the programs they have for the family. Cruise liners have a program of activities for the whole family to enjoy as well as those intended for children depending on their ages.

The cabins.

You can either get a separate cabin for your children or get one that can accommodate the whole family. Whatever your choice is, make sure that everybody will be comfortable and safe for the children. If you are a family of four, I would suggest you get the standard cabin, as it has 4 beds.

Your luggage.

Ensure that everything you need is packed inside your luggage. Traveling with kids would entail to bring more kid’s clothes. Toiletries such as lotion, baby wipes, alcohol, etc. must be included in your luggage. Bring a first-aid kit, and have plaster, seasick pills and other medical items that may be needed during your travel.

Great Cruise Destinations

The Caribbean

Top of the list is the Caribbean, often considered as the epitome of a dream cruise. This popular destination is very much the “traditional” cruise; most people who think of cruising imagine the white sands and warm waters of the Caribbean. Choice wise, the cruises to the Caribbean split off to either cover the eastern or western islands, with the main difference being the islands you visit; both locations allow you to enjoy many opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving, para-sailing and jet skiing.

The Mediterranean

The second most popular cruise destination; often seen as one for those who enjoy variety. Mediterranean cruises tend to be popular amongst those who enjoy experience many different countries and cultures on one trip. With all the destinations on offer in the Mediterranean, the cruises to this part of the world tend to run for longer periods of time, allowing you to get the most of places such as Rome, Barcelona, Italy, Turkey, Venice and the Greek islands. These far ranging trips really do allow for a wide range of travel experiences.

Alaska

Off to cooler climes with our third destination, Alaska. Cruises usually visit this impressive coastline between May and September to avoid the harsh winters. A cruise to Alaska is a great way to soak up some of the beauty and wonder of the great outdoors, with views of rugged mountain ranges, dense forest and spectacular coast from the deck. The area is also well known for its wildlife, with whales, bald eagles and bears being the most popular sightings. Shore excursions on an Alaskan cruise tend to be fairly active making them a great way to get some exercise and stretch the legs, dog sledding, hiking and wildlife tours all allow you to get the best out of your trip.

Take A Dog With You On A Cruise

  • First, you need to find a ship that allows pets. While many cruise ships accept service dogs, which assist the blind, but the vast majority of ships don’t have the equipment to handle canine passengers. There are some exceptional cruise ships that do allow pets on board, but it’s best that you check with the cruise line or a travel agent to see if the cruise line allows taking pets along.
  • When you are making reservation find out about kennel availability, and reserve it as soon as possible. For example on Queen Mary 2, Kennel space is extremely limited, so if you don’t book it in advance, you might not get any free space.
  • Before you step on that cruise ship, make sure you have proof of the health certifications and vaccinations of your dog from the veterinarian. Especially get the evidence that your canine friend is rabies proof. You probably will need these documentations to get your dog onboard, or you will need them if you are travelling by air.
  • Check with the agriculture department or embassy of any countries you might be visiting on the cruise to be certain that your dog meets their entry requirements.
  • Notify the cruise ship if your dog has any special needs, such as medications or dietary requirements. The cruise kennel staff might be able to accommodate the dietary needs, but you will have to bring sufficient medication to last the entire voyage.
  • Check with any hotel and airline that you will make use of before or after the cruise for pet policies. Most airlines do allow air travel for pets but policies vary from time to time and often it requires advance preparations. Hotels might ask for additional fee for your dog or not allow pets at all.
  • For your pets comfort pack it’s special bedding or toys so that your dog feels comfortable on the cruise line. Check with the cruise line that you can bring personal stuff for your dog. Visit your dog regularly if it’s staying at the ship’s on-board kennel.

Cruise Activities for Children Under 12th

If you are the parent of a child under the age of twelve, you may be questioning whether or not they ought to accompany you on your next cruise. That is since a big number of cruise lines have tailored their cruise ships to children of all ages, including those under the age of twelve.

You are encouraged to keep cruise line activities in mind if you have yet to schedule your cruise ship booking. The activities for kids, under the age of twelve, will differ from ship to ship. That is why it is necessary that you analyze each ship before making a decision. Regardless of the fact that activities will vary from ship to ship, there are numerous activities geared towards children, under the age of twelve, which can be discovered on almost all modern cruise ships.

One of the most popular activities found aboard a cruise liner is a gaming room. Game rooms are common on the majority of cruise liners. They provide children, under the age of twelve, a safe place to have a good time and be a child. Numerous cruise ship arcade spaces are staffed with the cruise line’s workers, however this must not discourage you from keeping an eye on your child. When leaving them alone in an arcade space, you are motivated to use your finest judgment.

All vacation cruise ships are equipped with a swimming pool. In addition to an adult sized swimming pool, wave pools can typically be discovered aboard a number of popular family themed cruises. A wave pool is a swimming pool in which there are artificially generated, reasonably large waves, similar to those of the ocean. Wave pools are most common in water parks and are very popular with children under the age of twelve.

In addition to a swimming pool and an arcade room, a lot of cruise ships have an onboard film theater or a performance stage. To identify if the movies on the ship are suitable for your child, you should always make sure to check the cruise ship’s movie schedule.

Restaurants and other dining centers on your cruise ship are likely to cater to kids, under the age of twelve. Lots of restaurants have kids menus. These menus usually consist of tasty, but kid sized meals. The cost of your kid’s meals will differ from ship to ship; nevertheless, numerous cruise ships provide discount rates on meals for children under the age of twelve. On some ships, food is included with the total cost of your cruise.

Many ships have day care centers. These child care centers are centers that benefit both moms and dads and their children. Because a cruise ship is likely to have passengers of all various ages, many child care centers are grouped together by ages. The cruise lines employ counselors, each with childcare education experience, that are there to make sure everyone in these small age groups have an amazing time.

The few services, activities, and centers listed above are simply a few of the many that are targeted to kids, aged twelve and under. You may want to think about scheduling your next family trip aboard a cruise ship if you are pleased with the above pointed out services, activities, and child care centers.

Pack Well For A Cruise Holiday

List Down The Necessities

One of the major mistake that people make while travelling is that they take a lot of unnecessary stuff with them which later becomes tough to carry and to look after. So, if you want to get the best out of your ride then make a list of the important daily routine things that are necessary, you should make this list a week before the trip in case you miss on anything which you can add later.

Swimsuits!

While you are heading to your trip, don’t ever forget to pack your swimsuits as those are critical for you if you want to enjoy your ride. It is but obvious that you would go for swimming while you are on board and its sunny outside. Planning to go in the pool? Put your swimsuits in the luggage right now!

Kid Items

People who are travelling with their children are the ones who have to be more conscious about their packing. You need to put all the necessary things that your child needs in daily routine.

First Aid Box

Another most important thing is the first aid box which is a must if you are travelling with your baby. Although the cruise you are travelling on already has first aid facilities but yet you know better what suits you more so don’t forget to pack that emergency box.

Winter And Summer Clothes

Just keep this in your mind that you are travelling in water and you have to pass through many areas which have different weather. Some places might be cold, and some might be super sunny so always back both warm and winter clothes so that you can enjoy every weather.

Emergency Kit For A Cruise Travel

Headlamps And Flashlights

Just in case the power of your ships is gone and it is dark everywhere and you’ve got you, kids, along then flashlights and headlamps are a must for you. Headlamps would be more preferred as they can easily be worn on the head and are easy to use than a flashlight.

Food Storage

The worst situation that can come up on your cruise travel is that if you get stranded on the cruise and the water and food supply of the cruise have come to an end. In that case, you don’t have to panic and just use your food storage that you brought with yourself. Buy the food which has got some proteins and vitamins in it so that you can maintain your energy levels.

Medicines

You yourself are aware of what medicine you need in case you or your child gets sick. And on the other hand, it might be possible that the cruise is not having the medication that you require, so always bring your own medicine box. It is but a fact that everything on a cruise ship is double the price and so is the medicines, so avoid spending too much money on the unnecessary stuff rather bring it on your own.

Power Banks

As said earlier, there are situations that reported a complete power shut down in cruises and people were deprived of lights and batteries. In such cases, you must have power banks with you that can charge your mobiles and tablets so that you can stay in contact with your family and friends and keep them updated about your cruise travel.

Hand Sanitizers And Wipes

It, in fact, is a very awkward situation but there are times when the toilets of cruise ships stop working and you actually have no way out to keep yourself clean so for that kind of a disaster, you must have a huge supply of hand sanitizers and wipes to keep yourself clean and also don’t forget to keep a few reusable plastic bottles as they will aid you a lot when the toilets are blocked.