We just got off a seven day Caribbean cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. Of course we had a fabulous time, even though the weather wasn’t that great. It’s hard to have a bad time on a cruise! This one left out of Tampa and stopped in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, Belize, Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Although the Rhapsody is one of Royal Caribbean’s smaller ships, there is still plenty to do. This was also one of the best crews we have ever experienced on a cruise. They were all so nice and helpful. The first two days aboard were a bit chilly and rainy. We used this time to do more of the ship activities because it was not good pool weather. We actually ended up having a great first day aboard going to trivia, games, and different seminars throughout the ship. (We also spent a lot of time at the Schooner Bar.)
Port Canaveral, FL – CocoCay, Bahamas – Nassau, Bahamas – Sea Day
We just got back from a great cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas! This was just a 4 night cruise that stopped in CocoCay and Nassau. It was a lot of fun and we really lucked out with the weather. This time of year is good to go because the prices are usually very low, however you run more of a risk of hitting bad weather because it is hurricane season. The crew was wonderful and the food and drinks were great! While the Majesty of the Seas is one of the smaller Royal Caribbean ships, there was still lots to do.
While the bigger ships are of course very nice with all the new features, we don’t really need all of that stuff to have a good time. This cruise we spent a lot of time at the pool, playing ping pong and shuffleboard, and doing a lot of the onboard trivia. (The Harry Potter trivia at the Schooner Bar was crazy!) The ports were also great. CocoCay is one of Royal Caribbean’s private islands. It is small, but super fun. You can do different shore excursions but we opted to walk around and hang out at the beach. They also do lunch service out on the island which had a lot of barbecue that was so yummy! Of course there are plenty of beach bars, as well as a floating bar that was quite the party. There is also a nature trail which we highly recommend checking out. (There is a shore excursion where you can go with a guide, or you can just go on your own.) In Nassau we decided to walk around on our own as well. There were maps available when you got off the ship that gave you a good idea of where to go. We checked out the Pirate Museum, Straw Market, and the Bahamas only craft brewery which is pirate themed. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool onboard the ship which was a lot of fun.
We are definitely loyal to Royal Caribbean. We have been sailing with them since long before we started this blog. Our main reason for this is because they have an amazing loyalty program. They really make it worthwhile to return again and again. We also enjoy the familiarity of the Royal Caribbean ships. We love going to the Windjammer Café, enjoying a drink at Viking Crown Lounge, and listening to music in the Schooner Bar. Each ship has something different to offer, but they each have the feel of a Royal Caribbean ship. It might be strange, but we love it! You can learn more about the Crown & Anchor program here.
Do you have a favorite cruise line or a favorite ship? Let us know in the comments!
Every year our family goes on a Caribbean cruise out of Tampa with Royal Caribbean. It is a great way to relax and have fun in the warm tropical weather. This year’s cruise was 5 nights and stopped in Cozumel and Grand Cayman. It was especially nice because we left while Florida was having a bit of a cold spell, but the weather in the Caribbean was great.
We have been fortunate enough to go on a lot of cruises over the years and have become very loyal to Royal Caribbean due to their fantastic loyalty program, Crown & Anchor Society. You can read all about this program here.
The ship we were on this year was the Brilliance of the Seas. She is a medium sized ship that has great amenities and a fantastic crew. This is our favorite size ship to sail on. Here is an overview of our 5 day cruise with our tips. We will also have a list of our best tips at the end!
Day 1: Tampa, FL
We suggest that you head to the cruise terminal around 11am. If you go to early, the ship’s not ready and you have to wait. If you go later in the afternoon, that’s when most other people arrive so you also have to wait. Unfortunately boarding the ship usually requires waiting in a few lines, so be patient and prepared by eating a snack beforehand. Luckily we did not have to wait too long and headed straight to the buffet for lunch.
We always like to take a tour of the ship to see where everything is and what’s going on. It’s good to know where the Guest Services is located, the dining room, and your room. Typically the rooms are not ready until around 1 or 2pm and your luggage should be in front of your door. If it’s not, don’t panic yet! It’s probably on it’s way. When the room is ready we like to unpack and freshen up a little before heading to the Sail Away Party on the Lido Deck!
In the world of cruising, family and budget friendly usually come to mind when thinking of Royal Caribbean cruises, not the finer things. I want to share with you two experiences I recently had on the Vision of the Seas that were quite grand events and elevated my perception of service and epicurean significance.
When reserving the tasting, I did not realize it was Lafite and assumed it was the usual tasting offered on board most ships. It was not! Royal Caribbean has exclusively partnered with Domaines Baron de Rothschild Lafite and this program presents the history and details of these exquisite wines of the region of Bordeaux. Chateau Lafite is a wine estate in France owned by members of the Rothschild family. It is renowned as one of the most famous wine properties in the Medoc. Producing primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, some Lafite Rothschild vintages are the most expensive wines worldwide for purchase.
We had a small group and an excellent sommelier. As is usual in tastings, everyone is quiet at the beginning but are much more chatty as the wine continues flowing! The sommelier is key. Ours was very knowledgeable, but also a lot of fun! I really enjoy wines and informative tastings, but I do not take them too seriously. I want to learn and have a good time. Since the wines are primarily reds, we started the tasting with the one white wine and moved up to the fuller bodied reds and ended with a classic dessert wine. The wines tasted are below. I loved the Bordeaux Blanc which is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc and the Medoc red which was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. They were all interesting to taste. The wines flowed very freely and we were sent home with a beautiful folder packed with information regarding Lafite and the wines we tasted. This is a perfect afternoon endeavor on a day at sea as long as you have time for a nap at the pool before dinner!