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Our Amazing Family Holiday on Oasis of the Seas

By TaraThursday 28th August 2014

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The Oasis of the Seas is an awesome ship in every sense of the word. She’s a spectacle, a crowd stopper - a real look up from the dock and whisper ‘WOW’, which is exactly what my 11 year old said when we first saw her in port, standing regally over those around her: “she’s a beast isn’t she mum; a magnificent beast!” She sure is and she hosted this family for what we have all declared to be one of our greatest adventures to date.

Travelling with pre-teens presents you with a whole new set of challenges as a parent. Certainly with my children, there has to be lots and lots and lots to do. Much as the husband and I want to see amazing places, experience different cultures and revel being somewhere totally different to back home, the children also want to be doing something. They don’t crave down time. They also want a certain degree of independence. And that is quite a tough holiday to find! When I suggested a cruise to them their initial reaction was ‘WOW, yes, absolutely”. Then as the idea sunk in this was replaced with ‘what will there be to do?’ ‘But exactly WHAT will there be to do? ‘Will we like it?’ And their number one question: ‘will we get bored? Will there be lots of sitting around?’ I think this is a common misconception about cruises. Exactly what will we do all day? I chatted with quite a few other passengers during our seven-night Caribbean cruise from all parts of America and from Mexico who were absolutely astonished that Europeans don’t cruise as much as they do. Why on earth would you not, they asked. It’s the perfect holiday. And it couldn’t be more perfect if you have kids. So what is this magic we are all missing out on? What do they know that we don’t? Well, let me tell you; I took a photo of our family on the last day of our cruise. The four of us, out on deck as the sun set on the ocean behind us in the most dazzling display of nature. The kids knew it was time to pack up and leave the next morning and my 9 year old Mia just couldn’t smile. She was so upset to be leaving. She had quite literally had the time of her life!

So what is there for kids to do on a Royal Caribbean cruise?

SHOWS

I really didn’t think my two would be that keen on sitting through a West End-style show or an ice skating extravaganza. I was wrong. They lapped them all up. The shows are short enough (about an hour) so they don’t get restless and fast and frenetic enough to keep them engaged. They particularly loved the outdoor (at the back of the ship) diving shows which featured performers leaping off platforms, diving boards and each other into what to me seemed a very small pool! Excellent quality and created very much with children and families in mind.

SPORTS

Image and video hosting by TinyPic For sports-mad youngsters there is so much to join in with. There are two Flo-Rider surf simulators at the back of the ship, two climbing walls, a heart-pumping zip wire, miniature golf, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard, table tennis and ice skating. Yes, that’s ice skating at sea. You need to be a certain height to go on the zip wire and your height also determines whether you can stand up or kneel on the Flow-Rider board. On top of all of this there are the pools. Despite the variety my two always headed for the H2O Zone - a pool dedicated to kids with water canons (don’t sit too close), a wading pool, a current pool (like a giant kids jacuzzi which pulls you around) and a giant octopus presiding over them all. There is also a dispenser giving out free frozen yoghurt here.

KIDS CLUB

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I can’t praise the kids clubs highly enough. With rooms for specific age groups (my two were in the 9-12 years room) the activities were varied and well thought out, the staff engaging and the facilities spectacular. As well as the club rooms there is also a dedicated science lab, a creative studio and a mini film studio. In the age room my two were in they could sign themselves in and out of the club room and Dan took FULL advantage of that! He was up there all the time checking out the leaflet left in our stateroom every evening which detailed what would I stumbled on a fabulous outdoor chill out area while exploring the ship and discovered it was just for the teenagers!

CHARACTERS

Image and video hosting by TinyPic You can’t beat a character breakfast, no matter how old you are. My husband was pretty keen to get the kids down to breakfast to meet the Dreamworks characters on a couple of occasions but I think he was hoping for a personal meeting with his very favourite King Julian! As well as the breakfasts you can meet and greet various characters around the ship (Po, Alex the Lion, the cast of How to Train Your Dragon to name but a few) and there is a great musical parade which snakes along the main promenade of the ship.

EXCURSIONS

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I’m not sure I have enough superlatives to throw at the family excursions we experienced with Royal Caribbean. Obviously they cost extra, but the memories and the bonding we experienced on all of them make at least one of them a must do. Horse riding in the sea, a catamaran ride through crystal clear water followed by snorkelling, swimming with dolphins, an airboat ride through Florida’s Everglades - all of my daughter’s bucket list ticked off right there in one holiday!

Anything else?

So much more. After seven nights on the Oasis of the Seas we felt like we barely touched the sides of all the things the children could see and do. There is a carousel which sits on the Boardwalk area of the ship - a pier-like area where there are traditional games on the deck, an ice cream parlour, face painting and freshly-made doughnuts. There are 3D cinema shows (we watched How to Train Your Dragon 2), cupcake decorating classes at the Cupcake Cupboard, comedy shows you don’t need to book to see, temporary tattoos, family karaoke (we didn’t indulge). So, will your children like a cruise holiday? I think your biggest problem will be the same as mine - actually getting them off the ship at the end of it!

Take a look at our previous post, to find out more about our Royal Mums, who are setting sail with their families this summer. Head over to Tara’s blog Sticky Fingers for more on what she and her family got up to!

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