Thank you to Danielle from Time to Travel for this guest blog post. Danielle is a self-confessed travel enthusiast, who enjoys cruising and is about to take her seventh cruise with Royal Caribbean. You can follow Danielle on Twitter and Instagram. Look out for her new blog coming soon!
The word I most associate with travel is discovery; the discovery of new places, interesting buildings, enthralling history, breathtaking views, different cultures, and unique foods. This is one of the reasons I love cruising so much as it offers the chance to visit and discover so many new places, often in many countries, within one trip. It is also the reason why when my family and I booked our first cruise I was a little bit unsure of if it was all for me. I like to be out and about, immersing myself in the experiences that travel provides and I could think of nothing worse than being stuck at sea. Six cruises later however and it is the contrast between busy shore days and the relaxation of days at sea that has really made me fall in love with cruising.
Now I appreciate that being stuck at sea is why people may put off booking a cruise but the reality is that although you are literally stuck at sea, there is so much to do on board modern day cruise liners that you are never really stuck for something to do. If you’re still unsure about what’s on offer then read on for my take on what to do to have a perfect ‘at Sea’ day with Royal Caribbean.
Indulge in breakfast in bed
Why not? On board Royal Caribbean ships the continental room service breakfast is complimentary and what better way to start your day than enjoying breakfast in your pyjamas either sat in bed or relaxing on your balcony staring out across the ocean. The ordering process is easy with cards being provided in your stateroom for you to fill out and hang on the outside of your door.
Participate in a quiz, or two
Royal Caribbean’s daily programme on sea days in packed full of quizzes, as well as other entertainment, to keep you amused. Quizzes vary from general knowledge, to music trivia, picture quizzes and my favourite the camera challenge. This challenge sees participant’s dash around the ship trying to take photographs of a wide variety of items. The day’s activities are all listed in the Cruise Compass, which is delivered to your stateroom every evening – why not give it a browse whilst sipping your room service coffee?
Frequent the on board gym
Now I’m not a gym lover, in fact I’m very much the opposite. I find them expensive, crowded and generally not to my liking. However when on a cruise I like to spend some of my sea day time using the on board gym facilities. I think it’s the fact that it is free to use, rarely crowded in my experience and only a couple of flights of stairs from my room. The majority of Royal Caribbean’s fleet have gyms with enough equipment to suit most casual gym lovers.
Relax with a drink and a good book
Most of the Royal Caribbean fleet have a library where you can pick up a good book to enjoy whilst cruising. You can choose to read it in the comfortable surroundings of the on board library, in the café whilst you enjoy a drink and a slice of cake or take it back to your room and enjoy some quiet time. Alternatively, why not take it up on deck and catch a few rays whilst you read? Just don’t forget to take the book back to the library once you’ve finished so someone else can enjoy it.
Make the most of the dining options
Royal Caribbean offers its guests a wide variety of dining experiences, some complimentary, others coming with a surcharge. Why not use your day at sea to sample one (or more) of the dining options available. I must admit that I am a fan of the Windjammer Café, Royal Caribbean’s buffet-style restaurant, and can always find something that appeals to me, whether that be a freshly prepared Chinese stir fry, a spicy Indian curry, a typical British hotpot or a thin and crispy Italian pizza.
When on a cruise with multiple sea days I do like to spend one of my lunches eating at Johnny Rockets. This is an American diner restaurant serving the most amazing burgers and in my opinion to-die-for onion rings as well as fries with all manner of toppings and delicious ice cream sundaes. Eating at Johnny Rockets does incur a surcharge but it is well worth it.
Try your luck in a FREE casino tournament
Head to the Casino and participate in one of the free casino tournaments hosted down there. In my experience, there are a couple of these during the cruise and they are usually held on sea days. They’re really simple to join in with and the casino host will be more than happy to explain the rules. The prizes on offer are also worth playing for and range from spa treatment, reservations in specialty restaurants and on board credit.
You can still have an adventure at sea when on board Royal Caribbean ships as the sport facilities are excellent. You can try out the rock climbing wall, give ice-skating a go, master your balance on the Flow-Rider or head on down the water slides. Or if that sounds a little too adventurous there’s always mini golf, table tennis and an arcade.
Chill out by the pool
After all that you’ll be in need of a spot of relaxation so why not head on up to the pool deck, grab a deck chair and relax in the sun. Indulge yourself with your favourite cocktail, mine’s a Strawberry Daiquiri, dip your toes in the pool or take a plunge in the whirlpools. One of my favourite things about the Freedom Class of ships is the Cantilever Whirlpools which hang over the side of the vessel and give those relaxing inside them fantastic views across the ocean.
Take a class or tour
Ever wanted to learn how to make sushi? Interested in cake decorating? Wondered what goes on in a ship’s galley? Or love a good wine tasting? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above then Royal Caribbean have something to interest you and these are just a few of the on board experiences offered. All of those listed above are a great way of enhancing your holiday but do come at a cost. If you’re wanting to learn something new without a price tag then why not attend a port lecture, take a napkin folding class or take a self guided tour of the ships art work.
Why not treat yourself to a relaxing session in the onboard spa? Treatments taken here do come at a cost, which can be rather pricey, but for a one-off treat it can really make the difference to your day. Here you can indulge in a luxurious massage, brave an acupuncture session, have your nails painted or get your hair done ready for the evening. I will admit that during my six cruises I have only visited the spa once, on my last cruise, but enjoyed it so much that I will be returning this year.
Dress up for dinner
Now it’s time to get dressed up for dinner. A cruise with Royal Caribbean will include at least one formal night, which is usually on a sea day so you don’t have to rush around after a full day in port. Make your way back to your stateroom with a glass of bubbly and put on your glad rags (cross your fingers they still fit after everything you’ve eaten) then head on down to dinner. I know it’s not for everyone but formal night is one of my favourite things about cruising. I don’t get many chances to dress up so I make the most of the opportunity.
The evening is yours
Just because dinner has been served it doesn’t mean that the entertainment opportunities disappear as Royal Caribbean continues to offer activities for all guests. Why not watch a movie in the on board cinema, take in a show at the theatre, head on down for a spot of roulette in the casino, party on the deck, participate in a game show or relax in one of the many bars – if your sea day is half as busy as mine you’ll need to.
There is so much to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise that you can’t possibly fit it all into one day even if you like being as busy as me. I’ve missed out watching the sun rise and set across the decks because I’ve been participating in or simply just watching an art auction, indulging in a little retail therapy, taking an afternoon nap, sweating it out in the steam room and much more. My ideal day is probably busier than most people would like but it suits me and at the end of the day you can do as much or as little as you want – it’s your holiday after all. I do hope however that my suggestions have given you a taste of the on board experience that is offered by Royal Caribbean and that for those unsure about spending a day at sea it has given you some food for thought. The facilities provided, ensure that there’s never a dull moment and that the chance to discover something new is always available.
I’ll finish by saying don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, as I never thought I’d be an advocate for days ‘stuck at sea’.
Thank you so much to Danielle for this great blog post. I have never sailed with Royal Caribbean and so I was interested to learn more about the facilities on board. I would love to try the burgers at Johnny Rockers, the Flowrider and the wine tasting!