FAMILY CRUISING WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN
FAMILY CRUISING WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Startling research shows that 70% of parents will consult their children before booking a holiday. Cruising with your family is undoubtedly a convenient and fun way to explore the world and as many new cruise ships resemble floating resorts, there are endless options to keep all ages entertained. But none pack as much punch as Royal Caribbean’s fleet of 25 stunning vessels. These big, bold ships are packed with activities you wouldn't expect to find at sea - from ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls to skydiving simulators, bionic bartenders, bumper cars, and even surfing simulators.
Royal Caribbean’s action-packed ships range in size from the 1,602-passenger Empress Class to the 5,479-passenger Oasis Class vessels – including the largest cruise ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas. You can opt for state-of-the-art and innovative technology on the Quantum Class ships or a relatively more intimate experience on a Vision Class ship.
On these family-friendly ships there’s a cabin suitable for everyone, whether it’s a minimum grade or a top suite. You can book two cabins of the same type with an interior connecting door to create more space and easy access for a large family wanting to be together. Another savvy option is booking a cabin with a balcony for mum and dad, and put the kids across the corridor in a less expensive inside cabin.
The company is renowned for its supervised children’s programmes for 3 to 17 year-olds. The Adventure Ocean programme separates kids into five groups: Aquanauts for ages 3 to 5; Explorers for ages 6 to 8; Voyagers for ages 9 to 11; and two teen groups for ages 12 to 14 and 15 to 17. Each group has its own space and dedicated activities. Babies and toddlers can attend 45-minute Royal Babies (for ages 6 to 18 months) and Royal Tots (for ages 19 to 35 months) play sessions with their parents that incorporate stimulating activities like baby gymnastics and music play. There is also a Royal Babies nursery with supervised group babysitting for toddlers aged 6 to 35 months. Private in-room babysitting is offered for children at least 12 months old.
For adrenalin-loving youngsters, Harmony of the Seas boasts the stomach-dropping ‘Ultimate Abyss’ - a twisting, turning dry slide that launches riders from a glass platform ten decks above the Boardwalk. Mats take riders down three-foot diameter tubes, plunging through the 236-ft-long dark vortex in about 15 seconds. The twin, serpentine-like purple tubes have audio effects to create a multi-sensory thrill for daring guests willing to test their mettle.
There are also three seriously fast waterslides ranging from 170- to 328-ft long. Bunched together as ‘The Perfect Storm’, two of them send revellers through twists and turns at more than 20 mph and one rockets them into a bowl-shaped basin that they circle around before dropping into a final slide. The launch platform is on Deck 18, high above the drop zone at Central Park more than 100 feet below.
Another draw is the sky-high glass observation pod that soars on a mechanical arm high above Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. The ‘North Star’ capsule is modelled after the London Eye and takes 14 passengers over 300 feet above the ocean and beyond the side of the ship, offering a birds-eye view for those with the pluckiest constitution.
Conceived from a partnership with DreamWorks Animation, youngsters get the chance to rub shoulders with favourite characters from ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ ‘Shrek,’ ‘Madagascar,’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda’ in meet-and-greet sessions, meals, live shows, as well as watching 3-D films. The DreamWorks Experience is available on Allure of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas as well as Liberty of the Seas.
- 17th October 2018
Edinburgh-born Gary Buchanan has been a travel writer for over 30 years. He has been a specialist cruise writer for 25 years contributing to leading British publications including national newspapers and consumer magazines. He is the author of five books about cruising and spends over seven months every year at sea sailing the world’s oceans.