Does Size Matter....?
Get your mind out of the gutter... i'm referring to the size of the cruise ship!!
So the journey begins !!! This April Amy and I began our journey as travel bloggers on our first excursion, a cruise. We had both cruised, but this was our first (of many in the future) together. We love the idea of a cruise... an effective hotel on the water, that parks itself in front of amazing destinations every morning . For this cruise, being we had done them in the past, we decided to “go big”!
At the time our ship, the Harmony of the Seas by Royal Caribbean, was the largest cruise ship in the world! They’ve since been eclipsed by another boat (one of their own) by a few feet... so sadly, we have NOT been on the biggest. Oh well, clearly we now have justification to cruise again. All that being said the boat is still insanely big. The ship is so big that they consider the boat essentially a destination all onto itself, throwing an extra day at sea in place of a traditional port of call. We had high expectations of the ship, the destinations during our week long sail, the food 😋 and of course entertainment 💃🏼!!
First let’s talk about the boat! It lived up to,... actually exceeded ... no wait, SHATTERED our expectations of what a boat could offer. Never once did we feel like we were on a boat, as the enormity and presence of this steal beauty was jaw dropping. We opted for one of the less expensive rooms, and chose to use our funds for excursions. That being said our stateroom was comfortably equip with all of the essentials one could ever need while at sea. The Royal Caribbean staff and cleaning crew were beyond courteous and accommodating to our low maintenance travel needs,... oh and the bed was realllllly comfortable. Amy doesn’t like having a window in the room as it makes her a little nauseous, so I reluctantly booked an inner room for the first time cruising. I was concerned the room would feel like a prison cell, with towel animals and cable TV, but shockingly the tiny room felt much larger than the square footage demographic would have suggested. What I’m trying to eloquently articulate is that we stayed in the cheap-ass room and it was freaking awesome. We have to imagine the rest of the rooms on the boat equitably smash cruisers expectations.
Entertainment! Ok, we’ll be honest here... our expectations were low on the entertainment front as most of our previous cruise experiences delivered relatively low budget entertainment that rivaled the best High School talent shows. Not this ship !! Their shows rivaled, as advertised, broadway-esque quality. We made sure to see them all from the comedy, magic, and broadway style musicals Christopher Columbus and the always popular Grease. The shows were incredibly entertaining and we didn’t even get the alcohol drink package to help them ;) One of the most impressive shows was the ice skating show ... that’s right ... ice skating on a boat. Hands down our favorite had to be the acrobatic outdoor diving show. The risk and talent expressed by these conditioned athletes was akin to what one might see at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games .... impressive my peeps!!
FOOD... FOOD... FOOD!! While Amy and I are very health conscious and active people, we enjoyed in the cruise tradition of over indulgence and straight up gluttony ;) !! I literally had the most amazing French Onion Soup every single night for dinner ... 7 nights in a row, and I’m pretty sure I’m still working through the post cruise onion withdrawals to this day. The food prepared and displayed by the Royal Caribbean cooking staff was hands down the best we’ve mutually experienced at sea. We put in extra work at the gym and on the dance floor to buy us the additional caloritic currency and cashed-in every damn cent at dinner. The crew provided options for us "health conscious" folks and those who are there for true cruise-eating.... the best of both worlds!! Most impressive was the intense focus on cleanliness, with hand washing stations you must pass through on your way into the dining halls. This was particularly comforting given the horror stories we’ve all heard around food and Montezums revenge.
The newer trend on these boats are the optional dinning facilities, and this vessel had plenty of them. The “included” dining options on the boat were creatively sprinkled with the “optional pay” themed restaurants. We opted not to spend additional dollars on a meal when the included meals were beyond amazing and sufficient. Prior to leaving we had just made an offer on a new home.... so we were the people stuffing rolls and cookies into our bags so we can afford blinds and curtains for the new crib!! That being said, if you are one to indulge, they have many glorious themed dining options available at reasonable prices.
How about the facilities and boat options??!! This has to be the most impressive parts of the ship... the ship itself! Not even sure I can cover it all as the boat was so massive we didn’t see it all. We love to stay healthy, so lets discuss the gym for a second, ok? I know, I know, ... is he really talking about the gym? Yes, get used to it if you plan to read this blog as fitness is a priority and a way of life for us. The fitness and spa facilitywe frequented daily (banking those calories). The gym is overwhelmingly the best I’ve seen on a boat hands down and is at par with most brick and mortar gyms out there today. Never have I seen so much equipment on a ship gym. Outside the gym, sporting wise, Royal provided choices of sport courts, zip lining, rock climbing, flo-rider surfing (total blast), a carousel, water slides, pools, hot tubs and one of the biggest burlap sack carnival slides we’ve ever seen (make sure you follow their instructions as I scrapped my knee up pretty good not listening). The boat alone is riddled with activities that can keep one occupied for a week even if the ship was to never drop anchor. One of the coolest features was their main street. Essentially the boat is split down the middle with an open air street like feel littered with shops, eateries and greenery along the way. I felt at times as if we were walking down the streets of Quincy Market in Boston ... on a big ass boat! The feats of engineering displayed on this vessel made this bucket of steel and bolts into a true floating paradise.
In summary, this was one of the best cruise experiences for either of us. We HIGHLY recommend you check out this massive ship and experience all it has to offer! In future blog posts we'll discuss more about the excursions, which truly made the trip memorable.