Royal Caribbean - your ship is your destination

Royal Caribbean - your ship is your destination

Royal Caribbean has really made their ships the destination, and a great itinerary is a bonus! Many of their ships are based in the Caribbean (unsurprisingly), but we’re very lucky to have at least three of the fleet sailing out of Sydney every summer. The team who work in Royal Caribbean’s Innovation Lab must have the most fun, developing new ideas to try on a new ship or to roll-out on every ship in the fleet.

My first cruise experience was on a Royal Caribbean ship – Monarch of the Seas (2004). I was travelling to New York with friends & wanted to add a new experience to our itinerary. Trying a cruise seemed to be a good option – not having any idea that years later cruising would become my specialty! We had a fabulous time onboard the ship & in the ports we visited (Catalina Island & Ensenada). We made some great friends & enjoyed the food onboard – including two midnight buffets (Mexican & Chocolate!!). There was nothing particularly unique about the Monarch, she was actually quite traditional – except for the rock climbing wall! I couldn’t possibly imagine what was to come!

After finding my way into the cruise industry in 2012, I was lucky to get onboard the Radiance of the Seas & the Rhapsody of the Seas within the first 6 months. Somehow I didn’t take any photos onboard either ship! Rhapsody reminded me of the Monarch of the Seas, and what stood out most to me about the Radiance was the incredible range of restaurants onboard. Rhapsody no longer sails down here, but Radiance of the Seas remains a popular summer visitor.

The next Royal Caribbean ship that I sailed on was Voyager of the Seas during her inaugural Australian season (2012). Talk about WOW! From Dreamworks Parades on the Royal Promenade to ice skating at sea, I was blown away. Voyager has since had a FlowRider® surf simulator added on Deck 13, as well as other upgrades along the way. After a few years away, Voyager will return to Sydney in 2019/20!

It was a couple of year until my next Royal Caribbean cruise, but what a cruise! I got myself onboard the inaugural Transatlantic cruise on Quantum of the Seas. Spending eight days at sea between Southampton & New York allowed me the chance to do just about everything onboard. I ate my way through the wide range of restaurants (including Jamie’s Italian, but missed out on Wonderland!), and enjoyed a cocktail or two mixed robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar. I gave indoor skydiving a go (RipCord by iFly), learnt that I don’t have enough upper body strength to master the trapeze, marvelled at the views from 90m above sea level (NorthStar) & tried to recapture my youth by rollerskating at sea! I even got to meet “andyRobot”, the developer of the amazing dancing RoboScreens in Two70. Sailing into New York for the first time, we were met by all sorts of fanfare – it was very special. Allure of the Seas now sails from New York, replacing Quantum of the Seas that now sails out of China year round.

Luckily for us, Ovation of the Seas now visits Sydney every summer. You can experience this super-fun ship design for yourself close to home! The range of cabins & suites on these incredible ships is second to none, the majority of which have a Balcony. I spent my nights in a Studio with a Virtual View onboard Quantum, but solo travellers even have the choice of Super Studios with a Balcony on these ships. Why not try one of the mind-blowing Loft Suites (between 60-450 sq m) & enjoy the Suite Life onboard.

I have yet to experience any of Royal Caribbean’s really big ships in the fleet, the Oasis Class ships. These massive ships spend their year cruising the Caribbean, with the Mediterranean being their second home. They are famous for their 7 night Eastern & Western Caribbean itineraries, which can be booked back-to-back to experience a range of Caribbean Islands. In truth, I think I could spend 7 days just exploring one of these ships, without stepping ashore once. They are truly a destination in themselves!

Depending on the ship that you choose, you will get to experience any or all of the following activities onboard:

  • Sky Pad℠ (the latest innovation) – a virtual reality bungee trampoline experience
  • The Perfect Storm℠, Ultimate Abyss℠ waterslides & waterparks
  • FlowRider® surf simulators
  • Zipline across the deck
  • Laser Tag at sea
  • Rock Climbing wall – on every ship

I haven’t even mentioned the Broadway style shows, days spent on on CocoCay or Labadee (Royal Caribbean’s private islands in the Caribbean), the Kids’ Clubs (some ships having a Babies & Tots Nursery), death-defying stunts in the Aquatheatre or the many relaxing treatments available in the Vitality Spa. I recommend pre-booking as many activities as your Cruise Planner will allow, so that you don’t miss out!

The current Royal Caribbean fleet comprises of:

  • Quantum Ultra Class ships – Spectrum of the Seas (launching 2019)
  • Quantum Class ships – Anthem of the Seas (2015) | Ovation of the Seas (2016) | Quantum of the Seas (2014)
  • Oasis Class ships – Allure of the Seas (2010) | Harmony of the Seas (2016)| Oasis of the Seas (2009) | Symphony of the Seas (2018)
  • Freedom Class ships – Freedom of the Seas (2006) | Liberty of the Seas (2007) | Independence of the Seas (2008)
  • Voyager Class ships – Adventure of the Seas (2001) | Explorer of the Seas (2000) | Mariner of the Seas (2003) | Navigator of the Seas (2002) | Voyager of the Seas (1999)
  • Radiance Class ships – Brilliance of the Seas (2002) | Jewel of the Seas (2004) | Radiance of the Seas (2001) | Serenade of the Seas (2003)
  • Vision Class ships – Empress of the Seas (1990) | Enchantment of the Seas (1997) | Grandeur of the Seas (1996) | Majesty of the Seas (1992) | Rhapsody of the Seas (1997) | Vision of the Seas (1998)

There’s a Royal Caribbean ship to suit everyone, with itineraries offered all over the world. Ask me today about the ship to suit you, and maybe also a great itinerary! ? Christie

Christie Gowan
Based in Paddington, QLD
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