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The Next Generation of Cruisers

By TaraTuesday 13th August 2013

flowrider in action


A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to show my two young children why I think cruising is awesome.

As an ambassador for Royal Caribbean, I was invited to spend a day onboard Independence of the Seas, while it was docked in Southampton. And, as well as showing my family what the ship has to offer, I also got to share the day with a group of parenting bloggers and their families to help spread the word far and wide!
Like many, I thought a cruise holiday was for older people; the retired, those looking for peace and quiet, not something families would entertain.
In fact, I’ve always had many reservations about taking my children on a cruise.
My kids are aged 10 and 7 so I worried about safety - just how easy is it to climb those railings? Would they be bored? Would they drive me mad? Would they drive everyone else mad?
But, then I ventured onboard Liberty of the Seas earlier this year on a Caribbean trip and all that changed. Every one of those worries disappeared.
The focus on safety is reassuring. My kids would absolutely not be bored, as there is so much to see and do. You can pick and choose the class of ship you travel on and other guests will be expecting kids onboard, so there’s no need to worry about your kids annoying others.
Our day on Saturday was fabulous. Everyone loved the ship, and my children were totally hooked. So, here is why I think cruising with Royal Caribbean is a travel opportunity for all families.

1. Amazing activities

This is number one on the list for good reason. My 10 year old loved the FlowRider (surfing simulator). In fact, I had trouble prizing him off it! Participation is based on height and crew members are there to give you a helping hand in riding the waves.
There is also a huge climbing wall, mini golf, basketball, an arcade, table tennis, discos, parades and very cool kids clubs. What I really liked was that parents are encouraged to join in with the activities so it's definitely not a place to drop your kids and leave them all day, if that isn't your thing. On top of this, kids can spend hours splashing around in the water in the H20 Zone or join a cupcake decorating class, if they fancy something a little more creative.

johnny rockets2. Cool places to eat

Dining at Johnny Rockets is a really fun event. While you're treated to American-style burgers, soda floats and milkshakes, every now and again the serving staff break out into song and dance when the music cranks up.
And, the main buffet dining experience is perfect for children with a bit of independence. There’s plenty of choice and they can go back and help themselves as much as they want!

3. Showtime

I'm never sure if my sport-loving 10 year old will be tempted into sitting and watching a show without getting bored half way through. But, the onboard shows, from a daring ice show to a jaw-dropping acrobatic show, are definitely family-friendly, lasting just under one hour.

4. Ice skating

Yes, there is an ice rink onboard the Liberty of the Seas and yes you can use it. Help yourself to a pair of skates and a helmet and try to make your way around the rink without spending too much time on your bum! I tried it and the kids were much better than me, after just 5 minutes of trying.

5. Glass lifts

The interior of the ship is just beautiful. And, you get to see it all by riding the glass lifts at either end of the deck. I suspect there will be many dirty little finger marks as they press their faces to the glass to peer out and get a better look.

6. Character breakfasts

Are you ever too old for character breakfasts? I think not. The Liberty of the Seas has Dreamworks characters onboard - from Kung Fu Panda's Po, to the cast of Madagascar and Puss in Boots. There’s someone for everyone.

7. Meet the captain

I mean, how cool is that when you're 10? The captain regularly tours the ship and is more than happy to stop and chat when he has time.

8. Freedom

Older children can be given a room key card preloaded with credit (say $10 a day) so they can go off and do their own thing. Soft drinks and some snacks are free so they may struggle to spend even that, but at least they feel like they have their independence.
kids on a cruise

9. Onshore excursions

During my Caribbean jaunt, we went on a day trip to Dunn's River Falls, with a spot of horse riding thrown in too. It's one of those excursions that stays with you for years. Bareback riding in the sea, followed by a Jamaican BBQ and then on to Dunn's River, where you scale the most beautiful falls. The stuff of dreams.

10. Bonding as a family

There is so much to see and do together. I love the idea that we could spend so much time discovering new things and places and do it as a family.
This guest post was brought to you by Tara of the Sticky Fingers blog.

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