Family

6 ways to make the most of a Royal Caribbean cruise as a family

In:
Category: 
03Jan2017

For a lot of us, a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation is a family affair.  This could be a large family gathering on the cruise with the entire extended family, or this could be just a vacation with your immediate family.  Either way, you will want your cruise experience to hit all the high notes and create lasting memories that you will want to talk about for years after the cruise completed. 

Here are a few tips we put together to help ensure you have the best family vacation experience.

1. Plan together

Before you ever set foot on your cruise ship, get the cruise fun started early with some planning.  Including everyone in the cruise planning is a great way to ensure not only that everyone's ideas are accounted for, but it also helps foster the excitement for this cruise.

It is important to get everyone's input on what they want to do during the cruise so that there is something for everyone to look forward to. It could be reservations at a restaurant, plans for a specific port of call you are visiting or just ensuring there is enough ice cream and pool time together.

You can also include other non-cruise related planning, like creating custom t-shirts for the trip together.  Building anticipation for the trip together sets the tone for a fun family trip!

2. Try a specialty restaurant

Families typically save money for their family vacation and one of the best experiences that is worth a few more hard-earned dollars is a specialty restaurant on a Royal Caribbean cruise. The cost will vary depending on how many people are in your party, but working at least one in during your cruise can top off the dining experience when you can get everyone included for a special meal.

This could be as simple as lunch with the family at Johnny Rockets, a hibachi table for your family at Izumi or a fancy evening out at Chops Grille. Each specialty restaurant offers something different, and there are a good variety of restaurants to choose from that offer different cuisines and different prices.

Having a meal together at a specialty restaurant is a great way to get a break from the "hustle and bustle" of a busy day onboard the ship and take some time to enjoy a meal together.

3. Book an immersive shore excursion

Your Royal Caribbean cruise will take you to some exciting ports of call, and one really tip for a fun family experience is to pick at least one shore excursion to do as a family that is more than just hanging out by the beach. We love the beach, but going on an adventure as a family can really create lasting memories.

Royal Caribbean's Family Connections shore excursions are designed to create memories, while taking guests on fun explorations of the wildlife, nature, history, and cultural experiences that can be shared among kids, parents, and grandparents. These tours are a great starting point for finding something that everyone can agree on, and more importantly, look forward to trying.

4. Character dining

Did you know on select Royal Caribbean ships there are character breakfast meals available for guests to enjoy? If your family has young children (or adults who are young at heart), then this meal can be fun for all to enjoy.

The DreamWorks Character breakfast is usually held in the main dining room on select mornings in the main dining room. Royal Caribbean offers a breakfast with some of your favorite Dreamworks characters, including characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar. 

Breakfast here is of the sit-down variety and you get a little entertainment to go with it. For kids, it's free but anyone over the age of 10 will have to pay a $10 fee.

5. Be flexible

We all want our family vacations to be perfect, and create the kind of memories everyone will speak fondly of for years to come.  However, family dynamics are rarely known for being simple and the secret to a great family vacation is to sometimes be able to take a step back and be flexible with your plans.

While we love to plan as much of the cruise as possible, it is important to allow room for spontaneous moments or just a "go with the flow" sea day.  Planning out each part of your day is aimed at ensuring you get a chance to "do it all", but you also do not want to frustrate family members because they feel like there is a strict regiment for what is supposed to be a relaxing vacation. Planning is important and should be done where it make sense, but do not plan every minute or even every hour of the day.

Plan ahead your general plans, shore excursions, entertainment and even dining.  Then, go with the flow.  Maybe you sleep in and then eat breakfast in the Windjammer one day and wake up early to hit the pool another day.  You never know what everyone will be in the mood for, but allowing for time to everyone to relax and simply hang out can be just as fun a family experience as an organized shore trip.

6. Try something new

There is nothing wrong with doing things that you love, but make a note to try something completely new. Forcing yourself to get out there and try something new can be just the ticket to discovering a brand new activity, food or experience that you never thought you'd like.  

Depending on the Royal Caribbean ship you will be cruising on, there can be a variety of new things to try out.  Be sure to bring your family with you to try it out too, or just document the experience for all to enjoy later.  Here are some of our favorite activities worth the try:

It really does not matter which you pick, because the point is to do things together as a family and create memories (even if it is of you falling down on the FlowRider a few times).

Your thoughts

What advice would you offer to a family going on their first Royal Caribbean cruise together? Are there lessons you would share with others for an even better cruise experience together? Share your tips and ideas in the comments.

Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas will offer all-new programming and activities for family and children

In:
26Jan2016

Royal Caribbean announced today that one of its newest ships, Harmony of the Seas, will feature the DreamWorks Experience, all-new Adventure Ocean youth programming and new family amenities.

DreamWorks Experience

Harmony of the Seas will offer guests the DreamWorks Experience that other ships in the fleet have offered and many guests have come to enjoy.

DreamWorks Animation characters including Po of Kung Fu Panda; Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots of Shrek; and from Madagascar, Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins will be available for guests to meet during their cruise.

DreamWorks Experience activities onboard will include

  • A DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room
  • 'Meet and greet’ experiences throughout the day
  • Photo opportunities with the characters
  • Adventure Ocean programming featuring DreamWorks Animation
    • Story time
    • Dance parties
    • Adventures rooted in the popular character stories

In addition, guests will have guaranteed seats on “opening weekend” of highly anticipated feature films such as "Kung Fu Panda 3,” which premieres onboard the same day it does in theaters on land. Year-round, guests can watch the latest and long-term favorite DreamWorks Animation films in the ship’s 3D movie theater and on a dedicated DreamWorks TV channel in their stateroom.

Enhanced Adventure Ocean Programming

New to be offered in Harmony’s Adventure Ocean Theater is Away We Go!, a black light puppet show created by Tony award-nominated actors and imaginative producers John Tartaglia by and Michael Shawn Lewis of Gable Grove Productions.

Additionally, programming by “Muffalo Potato” – the popular YouTube show, which teaches kids to draw anything in minutes using only letters and numbers – will round out Harmony’s lineup.

Muffalo Potato originally debuted aboard Anthem of the Seas and will expand fleetwide just in time for summer vacations, starting with Harmony of the Seas.

New family amenities for Central Park & Boardwalk staterooms

Starting in November 2016, Central Park and Boardwalk balcony staterooms will receive additional ammenities.

Guests with views of Central Park will enjoy

  • Lunch for two at Jamie’s Italian
  • A complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival
  • Special perks in the Casino Royale. 

Guests with Boardwalk views will receive

  • Lunch or dinner for four at Johnny Rockets
  • A soda beverage package for two
  • Private time on the cruise line’s iconic 38-foot tall rock wall.

Previewing Harmony of the Seas: Family fun

In:
01Sep2015

When Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas debuts, she will offer a premier cruise experience, with lots of new innovations, things to do and ways to spend to your day.

Royal Caribbean prides itself on being a family cruise experience, so here is a look at what families can do when they get onboard the largest cruise ship in the world.

Ride on the carousel

It does not matter how young or old you are, a ride on the carousel in the Boardwalk neighborhood is timeless.

The carousel on Harmony of the Seas is hand-crafted and especially designed by Carousel Works for Royal Caribbean and is one-of-a-kind.

The inspiration for the carousel was taken from turn-of-the-century carousel designs. Even the original artwork scenery panels located on the carousel’s eight Rounding Boards feature custom painted scenes to highlight the wistfulness of life on the historic boardwalks.

Watch 3D Movies

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Onboard Harmony of the Seas, guests will be able to watch first-run movies by DreamWorks Animation and other studios in 3D.

Just like your local movie theater, guests will walk to the theater, where 3D glasses will be provided.

When you consider these 3D movies are included in your cruise fare, going on Harmony of the Seas is a great opportunity to catch up on movies you wanted to see or want to see again without the movie theater costs!

Teen activities

Photo by Royal Caribbean

For teenagers, Harmony of the Seas will offer a lot of activities to choose from.

The focal point for teens is in the back of Deck 15, where they'll find a teen-only hangout called the Living Room, a video arcade and the teen dance club.

Royal Caribbean also promises special events just for teens onboard such as pool parties, open mic nights and more.

The Cruise Compass provides a number of teen activities that offer teenagers events just for them,

Neighborhood just for kids

Kids are a big part of the cruise experience on Harmony of the Seas, and this ship will feature a central boulevard on deck 14 just for kids to make getting around for them simpler.

Kids Avenue will connect children with dedicated spaces for the Adventure Ocean program as well as various themed play areas.

Kids Avenue will include access to

  • Royal Babies and Tots Nursery
  • Adventure Art
    • This studio for the future Picasso will give children the opportunity to explore the world of color and imagination
  • Adventure Science Lab
    • A fully equipped lab where Einstein’s-in-the-making can expand their knowledge
  • Adventure Ocean Theater
    • The first-ever children’s state-of-the art theater at sea. Children of all ages can learn about theatrical productions, take part in talent shows, or sign up for hip hop dance classes.
  • Workshop
    • A space where families can come together and hone their scrapbooking skills and create personalized jewelry​​

Adrenaline filled fun

Photo by Royal Caribbean

For kids that want some thrills, they will find plenty of it on Harmony of the Seas.

Water slides, a zip line, FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall and more are available for kids to try while onboard.

These activities are included in their cruise fare and are sure to get their hearts pounding.

The zip line features a 10-deck high ride that takes them 120 feet above the Boardwalk.

Kids can also try the Perfect Storm water slides, that will take them down three decks through a series of twists and turns over the ship’s tree-lined Central Park neighborhood.

Also brand new to Harmony of the Seas will be the Ultimate Abyss, a 10-story dry slide.  It will be located on the aft of Harmony of the Seas and it is being billed as something to try for the super brave!

Splashaway Bay

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Harmony of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship to feature Splashaway Bay, an interactive aqua park for kids.

Inside, kids will find sea creature water cannons, water slides, a gigantic drench bucket and a multi-level jungle gym.

Splashaway Bay was designed with kids and toddlers in mind and will be a brand new way for kids to cool down while having fun.

Royal Baby and Tots Nursery

Photo by Royal Caribbean

Parents that have toddlers 6 months to 36 months old will love the Royal Baby & Tots Nursery on Harmony of the Seas.

The nursery has become a favorite spot for parents on other Royal Caribbean ships, because it offers supervised care for young children during the day and night.

Having a place onboard Harmony of the Seas to bring your children to so that parents can enjoy a quiet dinner together or some time doing one of the many activities onboard gives everyone involved a great way to have fun.

Parents are never far away from their children, as the nursery provides wireless phones for parents to use in case they want to check in on their little ones or the nursery needs to get a hold of them.

Adventure Ocean

Royal Caribbean's signature and award-winning Adventure Ocean supervised kids program is available on Harmony of the Seas, where kids can play, explore and learn with other children.

Adventure Ocean is available for kids ages 3 to 11 and is included in your cruise fare.  

Once inside Adventure Ocean, kids will have the opportunity to take part in a number of daily activities during the day and night.  Adventure Ocean is a safe place for your children to spend their time onboard and make lots of new friends.

The Aquanauts (3-5 years old) will enjoy do magic tricks, dress up like pirates and pretend to be super heroes.  Explorers (6-8 years old) can take part in hands-on science experiments, try their hand at art and theater, as well as dancing and ice cream.  Voyagers (9-11 years old) will be able to do science experiments, backstage tours and new sports like Gagaball.

What is your family excited to do on Harmony of the Seas? Tell us in the comments below!