Generally, any Royal Caribbean cruise review will point to the fact that this cruise line offers an all-inclusive family Caribbean cruise that you and yours will never forget - among the best family cruises to the Caribbean.
In fact, Royal Caribbean International has received the award for "Best Overall Cruise Line to the Caribbean" for many years running.
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Personally, my family has been on three Royal Caribbean cruises to the Caribbean. Our first cruise was in 2010.
This webpage focuses on our first cruise...
In July 2010, we joined several friends on a 4-day Bahamas cruise with stops at CocoCay (Royal Caribbean's private Bahamian island resort) and Nassau, the main Bahamas cruise port.
One reason we were on that particular cruise is that my wife's best friend and her family had sailed with Royal Caribbean several times before and loved it. ("M" has impressive Royal Caribbean cruise reviews to share.)
She organized a family reunion, invited us and sure enough it was with Royal Caribbean - Monarch of the Seas to be exact.
So off we went!
I must say that this particular cruise was my worst of several inclusive family Caribbean cruises taken, but not because it was bad - if you get what I mean.
(Oops! Not a good start to my Royal Caribbean cruise review.)
Anyway, my family loves to cruise, so it takes a lot to make a Caribbean cruise vacation bad.
However, at that time we had already sailed twice with Carnival Cruise Line and once with Norwegian Cruise Line and when compared with our Royal Caribbean cruise, I felt the first three cruises were better.
You may not believe that three sailings with Royal Caribbean are enough to offer a balanced Royal Caribbean cruise review. However, I will share what my first experience was. Is that fair? I believe so.
First, I will say why I considered our inclusive family cruise on Monarch of the Seas our worst of several Caribbean cruises.
1. Ship Size - Compared to the other ships that we have sailed on - e.g. Carnival Victory, Carnival Glory and Norwegian Dawn, the Monarch of the Seas was a smaller ship. Consequently, the ship did not have as many amenities as the other cruise ships - not as many pools, not as many dining spots, etc. However, it had enough!
2. Cabins - Normally, we split our family into two cabins, but on Monarch of the Seas four of us slept in what appeared to be a smaller than usual inside cabin. It was a tight fit at times, but we only needed the cabin at bedtime. Hence, we made do with what we had.
3. Dining - Besides the main dining rooms, there was one major "open" area for alternate dining. On other ships, we had more than one place from which to choose.
4. Lounges - Monarch of the Seas has several lounges, but not as many as other ships. However, there were enough quiet areas for anyone who desired one.
5. Cabin Steward - Generally, we leave each Caribbean cruise vacation feeling some sort of connection to our cabin steward. We did not feel that way on this cruise. However, we had no complaints about how he kept the cabin. It was always spic and span!
Now, here is the flip side of my Royal Caribbean cruise review.
Despite the minor things that I mentioned above, we had a great inclusive family Caribbean cruise. It could be (as mentioned above) that my family believes that cruising is the best family vacation and that might cloud my judgment.
However, I am simply writing what I know to be true.
The Cruise Ticket - We invited my wife's mother (about to celebrate her 60th birthday and her husband on our family cruise vacation and paid about $2,600 for six (6) people in two (2) cabins. Additionally, each cabin received a $50 onboard credit.
$2,500 for 6 people on a 4-Night Caribbean cruise - in July - is fairly reasonable!
The Crew - Without a doubt, the crew made us feel at home. Whether it was the dining room staff, the kids' zone staff, or the purser's desk, we were treated well.
The Food - I have written about the amount of food you receive aboard a Caribbean cruise and this was no less. Regardless of the fact the ship does not have as many dining areas as bigger ships, there was enough food and a wide variety too.
Activities - While we did not get involved in organized activities, there was enough to go around. Like all other ships, each night we got a printed schedule of the next day's activities. We chose to do other things such as hang out at the pool, stroll around the ship, play a game of cards, watch a movie, etc.
Entertainment - One the greatest moments you will have onboard an inclusive family Caribbean cruise is sitting in a beautifully decorated theatre and being entertained by highly talented performers - singers, dancers, magicians, comedians, etc.
We loved it!
Additionally, there was generally some show or game going on in one of the lounges. We had choices of couples' games, karaoke, or comedy.
Kids' Zone - Like other cruise ships, Monarch of the Seas offers an area just for kids and teenagers. There were professionally trained workers assigned to guide the children and keep them engaged in fun activities.
Teenagers had their zones, including a basketball court, game room and a disco room.
Ports of Call - Our cruise was for 4 nights and we made two stops: Coco Cay (CocoCay) and Nassau. The first port was a beach stop, and boy was that fun! It was hot (think of July in the Caribbean), but we spent most of our time in the water, so the heat did not bother us.
In addition to the water, we had a grand Caribbean barbecue for lunch - hot dogs, burgers, corns, ribs, salads, rice, and much more.
We were stuffed!
Some people chose to go snorkeling and parasailing on Coco Cay. Others hung out on hammocks and still others did a little shopping.
But the beach was the best - and a little crowded.
Our stop in Nassau was as delightful as always. That was our fourth visit to that island. A stop in Nassau opened up several possibilities: touring the island; visiting the world renowned, Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island; going snorkeling, swimming with dolphins; taking a glass-bottom boat tour; etc.
As you have noticed, my Royal Caribbean cruise review of just one sailing is enough to convince you that your family will have the best vacation when they take that all-inclusive cruise ship vacation.
Since I have only sailed on Royal Caribbean thrice, let us look at what some other people are saying about Royal's cruises.
Interestingly, you will find that most people agree that you should take your family on a Royal Caribbean cruise.
Below are excerpts of what some past cruise passengers had to say about certain Royal Caribbean ships. The excerpts were taken from CruiseCritic.com. You may visit their site for many more Royal Caribbean cruise reviews.
I took the liberty of inserting breaks in each excerpt to make for easier reading.
"Embarkation was a breeze; twenty min and we were on the Freedom. We took a cruise on Mariner last year so we were fairly familiar with the layout. The ship is great, I couldn’t ask for more, maybe if you get down on your knees and inspect you’ll see that 4000 people are on it every week all year long but it looks great, a nasty smell very occasionally but hey my parents own a 55 foot houseboat on Lake Powell and try living on that for a week with 15 people on it!
I prefer the Freedom class to the Voyager class, the extra space is nice, and the extra food on both ends of the promenade. The Flowrider is by far my favorite! (by the way its free, I never saw that on a review. It has a good sized line most of the time for standup and a big line for boogie boarding) We had a promenade stateroom, I love it, having the great deal on the room but not feeling cramped at all even with the kid.
The shows were so fun, we went to nearly all of them and I don’t see how you could be critical? The sets were incredible for a ship and no other cruise line even has an ice show onboard hello. So fun, we missed the quest on Mariner so had to catch it this time around and my throat hurt from laughing.
We had such a good time; there really is always something to do, if you find yourself with nothing to do on Freedom its you not the ship. And if the artwork is not up to some of your standards well sorry no Rembrandts, you’re welcome to go bore yourself to death on Holland America! Royal has the best range in people, every age people who are having a blast as we did."
(Royal Caribbean cruise review courtesy of cruisecritic.com)
"This is our first experience with Royal Caribbean, we've cruised seven times on the Carnival over the last nine years. We were just wanting a long weekend of fun and play, and chose the Majesty of the Seas because of the customer reviews, such as this one.....all in all, we were not disappointed.
We've liked Carnival, our cruises have all been satisfactory. The biggest difference in these two is that I could see, was Carnival tends to lean to the casual, athletic, and probably has more of an appeal for students and families w/kids; RC is a more formal atmosphere, with an elegance that Carnival does not have.
The decor on RC is easy on the eyes and has a warm, comfortably lovely ambiance.
Our only real disappointment was RC's food places shutting down by 10:30 pm or so. Way, way, too early for a weekend of excitement, folks having a great time and not ready to call it quits before midnight. At least Carnival has their pizza available 24 hours.
After having a great time in the casino, we were hungry again, but NOTHING was open, no food -- unless we wanted to order from their limited room service selections, PLUS pay a fee to have it delivered to the room after midnight.
Early dining in the Starlight was a fine experience. Efficient waiters -- Jonathan and Vladamir -- were friendly, fun, but yet professional. The food was appealing and really quite flavorful."
(Royal Caribbean cruise review courtesy of cruisecritic.com)
"My family went on the Oasis of the Seas for a 7 night eastern Caribbean trip to Nassau, St. Thomas, & St. Martin. I have 2 girls, ages 12 & 9.
We loved the Oasis of the Seas...it was fantastic! We had never cruised Royal Caribbean before and were anxious to see what it was like. In the past, we have mainly cruised with Disney, and one cruise with Carnival on the Glory. I wanted to write this review to share some things that I did not know before the cruise.
Dining: The main dining room, Opus, does not allow short pants. So, make sure you bring cropped pants, skirts, etc. to stay within the dress code. I think this rule is ridiculous since you are on vacation, but it is what it is. Also, there are two "formal" nights.
People really get dressed up for this. If you plan on eating in the main dining room, definitely bring dress clothes (dress or skirt for women, shirt, tie, jacket for men). Otherwise, you will definitely feel out of place. We had dinner at Giovanni's Table one night and it was great.
Other than that, we hit Sorrento's for pizza, Opus dining room, Windjammer, and Park Cafe. Windjammer's a bit crazy at times, but does have variety. Food was so-so at Windjammer. Cupcakes are great in the Cupcake Cupboard, but the rest of dessert on the cruise was just okay.
Cabins: We had a Boardwalk Balcony cabin, and it was rather small for the 4 of us. When the sofa bed was open for the girls, there was literally a one foot wide path through the room to the balcony. It drove me nuts!
I managed to fit everything in the room, but a chair and end table ended up out on the balcony. I saw a lot of other rooms doing the same thing. The noise level on the Boardwalk was high, but when the sliding balcony door was shut and locked, I would say 99% of the noise was blocked out.
Shows: Awesome....Broadway quality. We saw Oasis of Dreams, Hairspray, Frozen in Time, Come Fly with Me...all terrific! Make reservations for these shows online before your cruise."
(Royal Caribbean cruise review courtesy of cruisecritic.com)
As you have noticed from the excerpts above, the general consensus is that Royal Caribbean cruises are top notch.
Consequently, most Royal Caribbean cruise reviews are generally excellent. However, nothing is perfect in this world.
Therefore, while I know that your family will find things that you do not like onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise, I am confident that you and yours will enjoy your Royal inclusive family Caribbean cruise.
Remember that you can read more Royal Caribbean cruise reviews at CruiseCritic.com or just Google it.
Well, what are you waiting for? Secure your dates and start checking prices today.
When you return, please come back here and submit your Royal Caribbean cruise review.
I look forward to reading it. Thank you!
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