Anyone following my Instagram or twitter feeds last weekend will have noticed many excitable posts from myself. The reason for this was that on Saturday 18th April Mr B and I were invited onboard Royal Caribbean’s brand new Quantum Class ship, Anthem Of The Seas, for a two night voyage.
There is just so much to tell you that it may require another post, but I will try to share with you all of the best bits we discovered whilst onboard, and show you why this really could make the PERFECT family holiday.
We, like many others, have often wondered if a cruise is really an ideal holiday for a family with young children. Throughout the weekend we tried to pay particular attention to the aspects of the ship that may, or may not, work for us as a family. The first being accommodation. Where would we all sleep?
Once on board we raced off to locate our stateroom for the voyage. We were allocated an outside stateroom, each of which has it’s own private balcony. The room was fresh, modern, and surprisingly spacious. After an initial panic at not being able to charge my phone due to the American plug fittings (bring your adapters folks). I then discovered that there were several USB charging ports, perfect for the techno-geek like me.
The next thing we noticed was the (locked) interconnecting door with the neighbouring stateroom. This would make a perfect solution for those travelling with older children. As my two are still so small we have decided to book a family outside stateroom which contains a fold-out sofa bed within the room, as well as the King size double for us.
And while the little ones take their lunchtime nap, we can simply step out onto the balcony for ours!
The outside staterooms are fractionally more expensive per night than the inside rooms but, fear not. Each inside stateroom contains it’s very own virtual balcony! I kid you not. You might not be able to step out onto it but you will still have a glorious virtual view of the sea.
Throughout our stay we needed to investigate activities for the kids. What would keep them amused whilst onboard ship? The answer: PLENTY.
For our two we will most certainly be using the kids club. The area pictured above has been specifically designed for young children with games and activities throughout the day. For those travelling with teens there is an entirely separate area where they can mingle, make friends, maybe find their first holiday romance? (Stand down Dads of daughters! It is supervised, I promise)
We also loved the H2O zone, above. An area of deck designed with families in mind containing shallower pools, water-jets, fountains, colourful sculptures and a poolside area for the parents to relax whilst watching the smalls have fun. I suspect we will be spending a lot of time here as a family.
And the rest of the activities? There are probably too many to mention but we had a go at….
We ran out of time to go climbing….
BUT, despite my initial terror I did find time for this…
iFly was quite honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was such a buzz. I cannot quite describe the feeling, it was simply AWESOME. For little ones the instructor will grab on to them tight and float them right up to the very top. The kids we watched in there had a ball. SO much fun.
We also managed to squeeze in a bit of table tennis and tried to shoot some zombies in the video games arcade. We watched kids being taught how to fly on a trapeze, roller-skating and there is even a dedicated X-Box area for any screen junkies.
We also watched some very brave folks trying to master the FlowRider. Next time, I will be trying this too.
Last but not least, The North Star. This amazing pod will raise you 300 feet above the ocean and the views from the top are quite incredible. I am sometimes a bit scared of heights but this is truly an experience not to be missed for parents and children alike.
And after all that, you’re gonna be hungry right?
I am pretty sure most parents will admit that dining with kids can be tricky, especially so on holiday, so we were keen to see how this would work for us.
We quickly discovered the Windjammer marketplace. A huge buffet open day and night serving an amazing array of foods including pasta, pizza, salads, European cuisine, Asian cuisine, cold meats, soups, cheese, bread, pastries and desserts. There will be something to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. The ability to eat at any given time will be a major problem solved for us. My two need to eat at specific times which will often not coincide with more formal restaurant opening hours and, trust me, hungry kids DO NOT a good holiday make.
In the evenings there are two dining options available.
Dynamic Dining Choice: With this you have the choice of each of the many restaurants onboard and are able to choose your dining time each day. The flexibility and variety this allows will work perfectly for us. For more traditional cruisers there is also the option of…
Dynamic Dining Classic: This option will allow the same dining time, waiting staff and dining companions each night throughout the cruise.
We were lucky enough to eat in both The Grande restaurant where I had an exceptional rare fillet of beef, and the amazing Izumi Japanese restaurant where the food was both beautiful and delicious. My photos really do not do it justice.
We were also lucky enough to sample some delicious nibbles from Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Jamie’s Italian, which was a huge hit with the families onboard.
We were informed that, if you wish, 45 minutes into your meal a member of the kids club will come and take your kids back to the club for some more entertainment while you can relax and finish your meal in peace. Simply genius.
So, now that the kids are fed and happily playing away in Kids Club what are you going to do? RELAX. The adults only Solarium is the perfect place to unwind as I found out for myself.
Then how about a peaceful stroll around the deck…
Curl up with a good book here…
Or maybe ask a robot to mix you a cocktail. Seriously. Here is my Dark & Stormy in progress. The Bionic bar really has to be seen to be believed.
So with accommodation, kids entertainment, dining and relaxation sorted what else is there to say. TOO MUCH. There is a whole host of evening entertainment onboard with Spectra, a multi-dimensional cabaret which will literally take your breath away, discos, casinos, shows, musicals and so much more. Mr B and I even attempted some very bad Salsa which I MAY be posting evidence of soon.
It really was a weekend to remember and we are now decided that, next year, our perfect family holiday will be onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. If you are feeling tempted why not take some inspiration from the ship itself.
Below are a few more shots of our (sans kids) weekend.
Discosure: We were lucky enough to be invited as guests onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas pre-inaugural sailing. All opinions are my own.