There are countless options for cruising, but which is best for you? Here are insights into sailing on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
Sailing on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Independence of the Seas is an “amplified” freedom class ship.
- Embarkation Process
- Muster Drill, like the first day of “camp”
- Staterooms: Two connecting Oceanview Verandahs
Dining on Our Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
- Windjammer (really nice buffet, excellent Indian cuisine)
- Main Dining Room
- Snacks (pizza/pastries/beverages)Room Service
- Specialty (Giovanni’s, Izumi)
- CoCo Cay dining
On the Independence of the Seas
- Lots of unique spaces (schooner bar, vintages, Viking Bar)
- Bars (having the drink package) RCCL does not water down drinks!
- Fitness/Basketball/walking track
Perfect Day at CoCo Cay, Royal Caribbean’s Private Island
- Weather sucked
- Thrill Water ParkPark (very good, but our time was impacted by the weather)
- I stayed and looked around
- Oasis Lagoon
- South Beach
- Straw Market and Harbor Beach
- Skipper’s Grill for lunch
- Captain Jacks for drinks
Activities on Sea Day
- Room service for “first breakfast”
- A long walk on the walking track around the ship
- Q&A with captain/Chief Engineer/Hotel Mgr
- Pool area was PACKED!
- Tons of activities planned for that day
- Ice Skating (we saw an ice show too)
- Enjoyed the ship areas
- more relaxed than I remember on previous cruises
- Breakfast at Windjammer
- Since we had our bags, they asked we be off by 8:15 am (or the other time was 9:00 am)
- Walked off the ship, through check-out, and to the car!
Question: What sounds like the most fun part of this Royal Caribbean Cruise?
Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!
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Ryan and Shayne are both Travel Advisers with Creating Magic Vacations, an authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Feel free to reach out to us for a free quote and to start making magical memories.
- Contact Ryan at DisneyTravelDad.Com.
- Contact Shayne at Shayne.fun.
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Episode 145 Transcripts
Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so some highly amusing translations are likely!
Shayne: Hello, and welcome to All Things Travel. You know from past episodes that Ryan and I not only love cruising, but we love Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Today Ryan offers insight on cruising with Royal Caribbean with his family. Over the holidays, I.
Ryan: So Shayne, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about cruising and different types of cruises and different. Lines and, and we’ve often landed on the idea that we really like rural Caribbean for a lot of reasons. what makes them rise to the top, if you will, with some of the cruise lines we like to work with?
Shayne: They check a lot of the boxes. When it comes to options someone might want or might not want in a cruise, chances are they’ve got an itinerary that’ll work for what you want.
Ryan: Absolutely. Between the types of ships that they have, the itineraries where they sail in now, into, out of they, they’ve got it all. I mean, I, I. When I’ve talked about this trip with folks, I, you know, the comment I make is they have really mastered the cruise vacation. And, and I, I stand by that. I mean, our experience last week was, was great.
It’s not for everybody. It’s not for everybody’s level of expectation. But it’s really good. I mean, I, I would not have a qualm with going on rogue Caribbean again at all.
Shayne: and what was the a Tanner area that you took on this?
Ryan: So this is right after Christmas. So if you remember the episode about the road trip, this is where we were going, right? And so and so this was December 26th, the 30th. This was a fortnight, Bahamian Cruise out of Port Canaveral. And so we were going to stop at Coco K. Perfect day at Coco K. We were gonna stop at Nassau Bahamas and then we’re gonna have a day at sea.
So I’m excited to get into it. There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to Royal Caribbean, and I think you’re gonna be surprised at some of the experiences that we had. Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation. We work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.
Shayne: We would love to help you plan your next amazing vacation.
Ryan: You can reach out to me atRyan@creatingmagicvacations.com. That’s R Y A n, at creating magic vacations.com. So we were on the ship Shayne, the Independence of the Seas, which is a freedom class ship. So not their newest ships, not their biggest ships. But this particular ship has been what they call amplified, which is basically.
Remodeled all the way through. So, other than one bit that I’ll talk about this ship was wonderful as far as the level of remodeling and the level of newness that it had.
So embarkation, like I said, is always like the first day of camp, right? There’s lots of things to check off, make sure you do, you don’t know where you’re going, all that kind of stuff, right?
Ryan: And so we get to the port. My wife was driving the van. She drops us, drops us off. We get our luggage to the porters.
They then we go into the, to the cruise terminal and wait for her. I would say the whole process between getting dropped off at the curb and getting on the ship, I would say it was probably about a half an hour. I mean, there were a couple stops. There were a couple times we had to show our, our check-in or our, our, our QR code, if you will.
They checked over everything, but man, it was smooth. Now, we were not the first people on the ship. We got on at noon. That was our time, and it was pretty much noon when we got there, so we weren’t trying to get on early. and it was very, very slick. Absolutely. The muster drill was basically they give you a place to go meet a, a crew member.
You have an online little tutorial with videos and stuff like that, and you can show them that you’ve done that and that’s all it takes. There’s no standing in a big group with a life jacket It’s very slick, very.
Shayne: M and mustard drill. This is your fire drill storm drill
Ryan: Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Shayne: you’ll do in case of an emergency.
Ryan: absolutely this is where you’ll come. This is the crew member that’s gonna help you, things like that. So I mentioned the technology and my experience with cruise apps has been pretty poor. This app for Royal Caribbean was outstanding. , it was so good as far as the information that was on it, the ease to use it no qualms there.
And also speaking of technology, my wife and I both had the wifi, the, the voom wifi. It was fantastic. There was very little that I could not do from a wifi perspective when I was on the.
Shayne: So with this app, were you able to plan some things ahead of time and see
Ryan: Yeah, so you could go through, so, so you could see all of your activities that you had pre-purchase, so shore excursions, specialty dining. If you had a drink package, you could see who was in your party, where your state room was. You could look at maps of the ship. You could basically then go through the schedule and then mark what you were interested in, and it would create a schedule for you.
You could, you could text people that were in your party message people. Now again, a lot of these are things that I’ve seen in other cruise apps. They did not work as well as Royal Caribbeans.
Shayne: So even if you didn’t have a wifi plan, were you able to text among each other
Ryan: yep. So, so my
Ryan: begrudgingly realized when we got on the ship that we did not purchase them wifi and
Like, Hey, wait, wait a minute. How am I gonna, yeah. And my son get this? He’s like, well, how am I gonna text with the grandparents? How am I gonna FaceTime grandma and grandpa?
And we’re like, come on, dude. Okay. Stop pulling at the heartstrings here. You just wanna play your games. they had all access to the app. They could text within the app, message us within the app. That was not a problem at all.
Shayne: That’s cool.
Ryan: Yeah. So the one place that the independence of the seas I was not as happy was with our state room.
Now when I say that, It’s not that I was unhappy with our state room. It was very clean. It was, it, it, it was very comfortable. It was old. I mean, it needs to be refurbished.
Shayne: oh. Even on an amplified ship, it’s still old.
Ryan: yes. And that’s where I like, walked in and I’m like, huh, I, they need to address this. And they will, when it’s scheduled to do it.
It was enough room, it was clean, it was comfortable. Our state attendant was, state room attendant, was wonderful. There was no problem with any of that. It was just older. It was like being, it was like being in an old Hampton Inn versus a New Hampton Inn. You know, you know what I’m talking about?
Like some of those, some of those hotels that have been reworked rather than brand new. It felt that way.
Shayne: Yeah. It’s just dated and not as pleasant, not as.
Ryan: so we had two ocean view state rooms, ocean view, veranda, state rooms. And so we had connecting rooms. So we had a door in between our rooms that we could go back and forth. And then if we wanted, we’d not do it because of the weather, but we could have had the, the steward open the balcony up between the two rooms.
Ryan: because of booking, we had to book one adult and one minor. But the first day we went to customer service and they re-keyed our cards so that I had, my wife and I had a key to our room. The kids had a key to their room, and all of our account information was on those new keys. So that’s something that I tell folks with Royal Caribbean.
They make it very easy to do that. If you’re, if you’re. Book a certain way because of your party mix, you can move things around it. They didn’t even bat an eye.
Shayne: Very nice.
Ryan: let’s talk about dining. Shayne,
Shayne: I’m surprised that you wanna talk about dining
Ryan: It doesn’t seem like it’s an important part of my vacation,
Ryan: were a lot of options. Even on an older ship, one of the, one of the. Chips that aren’t as big. There were a lot of options on the independence of the seas. The first place where we went was the wind jammer, which we didn’t want to do.
That wasn’t our, our thing to go to the buffet right away. But that was the easiest thing for that first meal. Really nice buffet. Tons of options. We
went there, breakfast, lunch, and dinner at various days throughout the cruise. Tons of options. Excellent Indian food for some reason.
I mean, it was like outstanding Indian food, like so good, spicy and lots of variety at every meal. They had curries throughout the, the time. I mean, you could get anything from a, a, a curry to a salad to seafood, to a burger. I mean, it was just everything. What was there? And the only thing I would say about the wind jammer was if you were there at a busy time, it was really hard to find a.
Shayne: I could see that.
Ryan: pro tip is [if you are there at breakfast or lunch, the specialty dining restaurants that are right next to the wind jammer are actually open for seating. And so if you don’t wanna me, if you don’t wanna mess around with the kind of loud craziness of a buffet, get your. and then go to one of those restaurants and you can, you can go in, it’s quiet, there’s plenty of seating, and you’re away from the buffet madness, if you will.
Shayne: So you can get your buffet food from the wind jammer and take it to the other restaurant.
Ryan: yep. And when I say right next to, I mean, literally they’re in the same room. I mean, it’s not even like you’re walking that that far. And you can obviously take your food and go to the pool deck or whatever, but we just found it challenging sometimes to find a. So Royal Caribbean does have a main dining room, a multi-leveled main dining room.
So we were actually assigned the, the four of our dining room. We had, we had the same servers just like they’ve done on cruise lines, like Disney. Those people are our servers for that time. We did a, a dinner the first. and we did a breakfast the second day. That was our time at, at Main Dining. Happy with both of those meals.
A v a good variety. My daughter’s a vegetarian and they had a completely separate vegan menu. It, it was, it was really good. Re really good service, really good food. No complaints there.
Shayne: and did they assign you a table and the floor or.
Ryan: Yes, we, so we had a, we had an assigned table. We had an assigned floor, so at our time for, for dining, we would just go in. We showed them our card and they took us right to our table row. Caribbean has several different types of dining seating. They have an early time, five 30 or a later time. I think it’s either eight or eight 30, or they have what’s called my time dining, which is basically you can go.
And go anytime. And then basically put your name on a waiting list, and then you’ll be first to serve. Or with my time, you can go and make reservations for certain times at the beginning of the cruise.
Shayne: And is the wait list a, is the wait list a virtual queue or do you have to
Ryan: no, it’s just basically like at a restaurant, you just go up and give ’em your name and say, we’re ready to eat. If they have a table that’s available, they’ll, they’ll take you right then. If not, you just need to wait till once available. They also have what’s called my family time dining, which is if you have smaller kids, you can sign up for this, where they guarantee that your kids will eat within 45 minutes, and then someone from the kids club will come and collect. will go hang out at the kids club while you have the rest of your meal in your evening.
Shayne: That’s nice.
Ryan: So around the ship they had different snack options. They had like a pizza parlor, which was nice, A place to get sandwich pastries. And then we did have the drink package. So my wife and I had the unlimited drink package, and then our kids had the deluxe drink package where they could get like sodas and coffees and smoothies and.
All over the ship. I mean, all over the ship. There are places to get drinks anything that you want. You know, there’s bars, there’s coffee shops. When you’re having dinner in the main dining room or even a wind jammer, you can get whatever you want. As far as that. So there, there’s never a time that you want for a drink.
I’ll, I’ll guarantee.
Shayne: and then wherever you are, it’s pretty easy to find a beverage or a snack or anything you want without having to wander too
Ryan: yep. And we’ve talked about the drink package before and it was pricey, but I will tell you, the convenience was really, really nice. The fact of not having to think about it, I didn’t have to sign a piece of paper. I didn’t have to leave a tip because my tip was already included with my drink package.
it was so slick. You just give them your card and you’re.
Shayne: So no digging out your wallet for anything you gave them like your, your ship ticket card, and they would scan that and you would be set.
Ryan: Yeah. And now obviously if you don’t have the drink package that that’ll just accrue to your, to your room, but then you’ll leave tip and all that kind of stuff. So, but the way the drink package works is if you get the, the deluxe package like we had anything under, I believe anything under $13 was included in the drink package.
So almost all of the cocktails were $13 or below. And so those were all included. If I had gotten a cocktail or maybe a glass of wine that was more expensive, essentially that $13 is used towards that drink. So let’s say I get an $18 drink, I end up only paying $5.
Ryan: And then you could get discounts on bottles of wine, things like that.
There was also several places where there was a Coke Freestyle machine around the ship, and we were given coke, freestyle mugs to take around with us. We went up to Johnny Rockets the first night after dinner and got a milkshake. And again, you, you, that’s a, a place where you pay for the food, but you can walk up and just get milkshakes.
If you have the. The drink package. So it was really nice. And it, the drink package also works on Coco K.
Shayne: Oh cool. That is good to know. And then the milkshakes were also included with the unlimited drink pass package. Very good.
Ryan: So Royal Caribbean has room service. We got that one day. I’ll talk a little bit about that. The way that room service works they have a continental breakfast that is included. Is complimentary or there’s a 7 95 charge for room service. For whatever you order. So like the se the Our Sea Day, we ended up getting what I call our first breakfast.
We got juice and coffee and pastries and fruit. Just to have the experience of eating on the bal, you know, the, the romantic idea, right? Of eating breakfast on the balcony when you’re on a cruise. And then if we would’ve gotten room service another time, We would’ve had that charge associated with it.
But again, you can order whatever you want. So, you know, if everybody got full meals, that 7 95 charge isn’t, isn’t really that bad.
Shayne: And that first one that you got was the, that Continental style
Breakfast that was included.
Ryan: So that was included other than the tip to the, to the person that that delivered it. So there are specialty dining restaurants that you make reservations beforehand. Or, or when you’re on the ship, those are paid extra. We did two of those. We did Giovanni’s Table, which is an Italian restaurant, and the last night we did a Zoomie, which is a hibachi restaurant.
It was, I’ve done tons of hibachi. I love the Tepei Hibachi kind of thing. It was, it, it was one of the best ones we’ve ever done. So good. And then, you know, your drinks are included there as part of the drink package and all that kind of stuff. And then dining on cocoa. K. There was, what was included is, you know, there was a taco station, there was a burger station, there was snack shacks all around, all the beaches.
Again, it’s really hard to go hungry on a cruise like this. And then if you want an elevated experience, the, in the adults only section, there is a restaurant that is included if you have tickets to that, to that area. So lots of places to eat and. . This is a smaller, older ship, so on the newer ships, the Oasis class, the quantum class, there’s even more than this. One of the things that I really liked about Royal Caribbean ships is they have a lot of unique spaces. They kind of theme, they kind of have Disney theming when it comes to all the different specific places. So like the bars are all specific. You know, there’s a promenade, which is the main street of the ship, and if you didn’t know you were in a ship, it would feel like you were walking down a street and there were stores on either side.
It’s is gonna cheapen it, but it’s almost like when you go to Las Vegas and you go in those really nice casinos and they’ve made a real theme out of all of it. That’s how the ship felt like, you know, you’re in this bar and it feels like you’re in a completely different space.
I love the Schooner bar. It was a nautical themed area. . I loved Vintages, which was a wine bar. I mean, if, if, if I had a lot of money and a really nice basement in my house, I would’ve, I would build it exactly like the vintages there. And then there was like the Viking bar, which was up high, and it was quiet during the day.
All those places were very uniquely themed and I like that, that that was neat. On a ship, it’s hard to do that, but rural Caribbean does it really.
Shayne: was the promenade open to the sky or was it enclosed Somewhere
Ryan: It was enclosed. It’s enclosed. Now on larger ships, they have the boardwalk, which areas of that is open to the sky. So it, it even has more, more of that feel to it. Yeah. , we spent a lot of time when we were outside on the pool deck area. We spent a lot of time at the solarium, which is the adults only now adults only for Royal Caribbean is 16 and over.
So that allowed, that allowed us to be with, at least one of our kids. Although I will tell you, we, we told our son to Act 16 and we told our daughter to act 18. And that was never a problem. And, and our kids are, our kids are behaved in such a way that would never be a problem.
Shayne: so they didn’t get carded.
Ryan: now, they can walk up to the bar.
They’ve got their drink package on their cards. We’ve got our drink package on our cards. They can go anywhere. No, no problem at all.
Ryan: As far as getting drinks, you know, they like to get mocktails and different things
Shayne: Yeah, those
Ryan: Um, yeah, so, so, you know, and one thing I will say, Royal Caribbean does not water down their drinks.
This is not the stereotypical all-inclusive resort where you’re basically drinking sugar water out of a blender. These were strong drinks. If you ordered something, that’s what you.
Shayne: so you might even have to tell ’em a little light on the bourbon. Little light on the vodka.
Ryan: We spent time at the fitness area. My, my daughter’s in the middle of swim season and so and so the kids and my son is in the middle of basketball season, so they wanted to spend some time working out. So they went to the fitness center there. My wife and I would walk around the walking track in the mornings.
My son spent time at the basketball court. There’s a sport court there that he could go to. So lots of activities, things to do. They found those places really quickly and they’re the ship was so easy to navigate and if you didn’t know where you were going and you didn’t wanna look at the app by each elevator, there was actually interactive maps where you could say, I want to go here, and it would mark the, the route for.
Shayne: that’s cool.
Ryan: Yeah, so it’d say, you know, get on the elevator, go to deck, you know, 12, and then go this way and you’ll be there.
Shayne: And this walking track pretty much went the perimeter of the ship. So you can see everything along the.
Ryan: Yeah, so it went around the, the pool area. And like I said, I didn’t talk much about the pool area. But there was a main pool area. There was an adults only pool area in the solarium, and then there was like a splash pad type area for, for kids called Splash away Bay. So, and then there were water slides actually on the ship.
As well. There was the flow. , which my son was really excited about until he saw how many people were there. And he is like, I don’t really wanna wipe out in front of all these people. So, so I, I told him, I said, I’ll go with you. We’ll go at a time, you know, where it’s early enough that, and, and he just, he chickened out a little bit with that,
Shayne: that’s all right.
Ryan: Next time, next time. So I was really excited to go to Coco k Shayne. This was, this was probably the day that I was mo I wouldn’t, I’m not even gonna say probably this was the day I was most excited about with our row Caribbean cruise. Unfortunately, it was an overcast 70 degree rainy day
Ryan: which, you know, from being from Northern Indiana, that still felt good.
But our time.
Shayne: K for.
Ryan: Our, our time was very impacted by the weather. But here is where we were, you know, kind of like what we talked about with the drive down. Hey, we’ve paid for tickets to the waterpark. Let’s go check it out. You know, let’s make the best of it. And I would say for the morning we were able to do that.
We, we went to the waterpark. We went on a bunch of rides. Our slides, we checked it out. And the advantage was there was hardly any wait time you know, to, to the rides, which was nice, but it got a little tiring being in the hard rain and wind. If there wasn’t wind, it would’ve been better, but the weather really got bad
Shayne: it wasn’t just a drizzle. It
Ryan: No, no, it wasn’t a just a drizzle.
And, and so my kids and my wife said, you know, we’re, we’re done right now. If the weather’s changes, we’ll come back. And obviously we had tickets for the entire day so that that could have worked out. And I said, no, I’m gonna stay. I’m gonna, I’m gonna check it out. And so I started to walk around and really the rain ended for a couple hours.
So that was, that was nice. I had a couple hours to kinda look around. It was not a beautiful day, but it, it wasn’t raining at least. I went to the Oasis Lagoon, which is the pool area, the largest pool in the Caribbean. It was awesome. I went to South Beach which is a big beach area where there’s lots of activities, things like ping pong, cornhole, there’s a basketball court there, snack shacks.
it was really cool. I went to the straw market, which is a, a setup of different vendors went to the Harbor Beach, so I just took that time to walk around and take it all in. Man, Coco Cay is awesome. It is the coolest place. I, I mean, seriously, if it would’ve been a nice, sunny, mid, 80 degree day, I never would’ve wanted to.
Shayne: the one thing I’ve always wondered about Coco K is how is it a one day thing? It seems like it should be a three or four day thing. Thing where you can go and relax and have fun for several days.
Ryan: I mean, here’s my thing now, now that I’ve been there, I totally get the two day, the, the crew, the few cruises that do two days at Coco K because you can have two completely different days, like we had tickets to the waterpark. Now even if you like waterparks, even if you like activities, you don’t have to get tickets to the water park.
But I will tell you, it was a lot of fun and it would be even more fun in better weather.
Ryan: So, yeah, I mean, I would, I would either split my day, if so, if it were me, I would go to the water park. I’d do as much as I want, and then I’d crash for the rest of the day. I’d go to South Beach and I would just chill, get drinks at the bar and relax.
If I had two days, I would, I would split it up that way too. I’d have one day that was complete relaxation and one day where I was doing the the thrill water park. Yeah, man, it was awesome. I mean, I mean, I, I, I’m serious. It was, it is so worth the hype. I’ve been to Disney’s private island. I’ve been to other you know, port stops on a, on a Caribbean and banging cruise.
No comparison. This does not, Castaway Key does not compare to this at all. I, I, seriously
Shayne: that’s a bold statement,
Ryan: It is, and it’s an accurate statement. It’s, it can, and you know, even for little kids, there’s splash areas, there’s activities. There’s mo, there’s bars everywhere. There’s places to get food. There are places if you want an upgraded experience, there’s places to get upgraded food.
There’s an adults only place that you can pay to have access to, to, to have more of a private space. I had lunch there. It was. Fabulous. Like I said, it was like taco bars and burgers and sandwiches and, and even at, at each of the beaches, there were snack shacks. I had drinks at Captain Jack’s, which is a nice big bar there as you first get in.
It was just really cool.
Ryan: it was great. I, I would go on a Royal Caribbean cruise just to go back to Coco K.
Shayne: We have to make that happen.
Ryan: So, hey, I wanna tell you all about the stuff we did on our sea day, but first Shayne, I wanna know where in the world is all things travel.
Shayne: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Ryan: All right, welcome Melbourne. We are so glad you’re here. I actually have one of my good friends in Australia right now, and so it’s good to hear from you.
Shayne: Yeah, th this is the, not our first downloads in Australia, but the first time that we’re getting a good series of, of steady, consistent downloads. So, yeah, this is, this is pretty cool to be in Australia now.
Ryan: So Shayne, have you picked a cool place to meet our listener, friend at in Melbourne?
Shayne: Yeah, there’s a, part of town called the Federation Square Development area with bars and lots of entertainment, and there’s one right on the river, a waterside bar called Pilgrim Bar with craft beers and tapas. And I love a nice terrace, and one on the water is just that much better.
Ryan: Very nice. Have some have some appetizers, have some drinks, and just tell travel stories.
Shayne: sounds fun.
Ryan: Well, hey Melbourne. Thank you so much for listening to all Things Travel. We are so excited that you’re listening to it tomorrow, today, whenever it actually is in in Australia. Do me a favor, reach out to me on Facebook or reach out to me via email because I’ve got a nice little gift for being featured on today’s show, and I would love to send it all the way to Melbourne a.
Shayne: I’m gonna make sure that you hear where in the world is all. Thanks. Travel next week. Be sure to follow the show so that you don’t miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, or travel stories.
Ryan: So what do you think, Shayne, before we talk about the sea day, how did I do in selling you on the perfect day at Coco K, even in the rainstorm?
Shayne: You know, it’s interesting because I’ve always wondered if these private islands might be a little overrated because you get to disembark from the ship in the morning, spend the day there and come back. So I always wondered, well, I mean, there’s lots of places with beaches and water parks, so you’ve done a great job on telling me that this one is extra special.
Ryan: Yeah, it really is. And, and I felt bad because like I said, the, the rain led up for a while and. And so that was nice to go around. You know me, I’m gonna take pictures. I’m gonna check it out. I’m gonna make sure that I see everything. One for me, two for the clients, three for the podcast. I, I wanna soak it all in.
Right? And so as I was going back to the ship, then about mid-afternoon there were folks coming off independence of the Seas, our ship, and then Liberty of the Seas kind of followed along. Of us at both the Nassau Day and the perfect day at Coco K. And so there were people getting off that ship too, and just in droves, people saw that the rain had let up and within the hour it was a complete washout for the rest of the day.
So I felt really bad. For those folks. Cuz by that point I went back and I was going to sleep and my state room, I could hear the rain outside. And let me tell you, after, quite a few drinks at Coco K, it was nice to just relax and let the, let the rainstorm and the water take me away.
Shayne: sounds delightful.
Ryan: In fact, I even got into a hammock on Coco K and you know how I fare with hammock so,
Shayne: Yeah, love the hammock,
Ryan: Well, hey, on our last day it was a sea day and ironically enough, it was our best weather day. And boy did people come out in full force. That pool area was act, it was time to party man, and people were taking advantage of the, of the good weather. We had that nice little complimentary breakfast in our room.
That was really nice. Took a nice long walk on the. Had wind jammer for our second breakfast and then broke up for the rest of the day as far as different things. Being a complete travel nerd, I saw something on the agenda that I wanted to do Shayne, and I went to the q and a with the captain, the chief engineer, and the hotel manager.
And my wife and kids were making so much fun of me, and they’re like, you know, you’re gonna be the only person, which in my head I’m like, well, that’s awesome. If I can
Shayne: Yeah, I’ll take that.
Ryan: That that lounge was packed. There were so many people there listening and, and asking questions.
That was really cool. It, it was neat to, to hear these guys talk about their experiences with cruising, their experiences with Royal Caribbean. You know, people ask questions about, you know, how do they handle this? How do they handle that? And that was really,
Shayne: and this is three different people, right? The captain, chief
Ryan: So there was, there was the captain, there was the chief engineer, and then there was the hotel manager that handles all the, you know, the, the customer service, if you will.
Shayne: Yeah. Interesting. I wonder how they got that idea to
do that, cuz it’s apparently taken off.
Ryan: tons of activities were planned for that day. Lots of stuff on the pool deck. They had music going on all day. They had like the world Sexiest Man competition. They had I did not win that one. No. They had a, a belly flop competition. They had all sorts of things going on. One of the things that my kids wanted to do, the first night we were on the cruise, we actually went to an ice show.
Down in the lower part of the ship, they have a, a sheet of ice that I would say would probably be about a quarter of the size of a, of an ice skating rink. And they actually have an ice show. They have a, a, a, a group of performers there. And that was a lot of fun to see. And so one of the things that they do on the sea days is they open it up for free skating.
And so my wife and kids went and did ice skating that day,
Shayne: That’s fun. And that’s extraordinary
Ryan: what you would think to do on a cruise.
Shayne: Now a Caribbean cruise
Shayne: being on a nice warm day, you can go ice skating.
Ryan: And, and you know, and here’s the thing. That’s what one of the things I really liked about Royal Caribbean is it has. , it has something for everybody. Depending on what you wanna do, if you wanna do the prototypical cruise things, it’s all there. If you want to have quiet places to work, there’s a, there’s a quiet library or there’s, you know, or there’s lounges that are open but not open for business until later in the afternoon where you can go and work.
There’s a casino, obviously there are you. Different spaces all around. So it’s really whatever you want is there on that ship. It, it’s it, it was really neat to see.
Shayne: that’s what we talked about earlier with why it’s one of our favorites is because there is so much to do. There’s a lot of, a lot of those things you mentioned kids would enjoy where on your, your classic cruise, they would be bored out of their minds the whole
Ryan: Yeah. I think, you know, my kids being 13 and 16, this was the perfect cruise for them as far as the activities because we felt comfortable. With them going around and doing stuff. They felt comfortable by the end of the first day, you know, and, and there was just all these pop-up events. My son and I, one night, my, my, my daughter got into this thing because they had a, a giveaway every night at the jewelry store.
So she would go on the promenade and, you know, get her tickets and, you know, she thought she was gonna win. And so my son and I are like, okay, we’re gonna wander around a little bit. And lo and behold, there was a silent disco going on. And so, you know, we get on our headphones. You wanna say when disco is.
Shayne: I was just about to say, what is a silent disco?
Ryan: so basically they have a DJ and then they have headphones. And then the headphones are programmed to different songs. And so you have some people that are dancing to this song and some people are dancing to that song, but yet you can’t hear the music. So people are, people are dancing, they’re singing, but they can’t, they can’t hear each other.
So it’s some of those inhibitions are lowered there wi with that. There was just all those types of things going on. There was eighties parties, you know, but again, if you didn’t want any of that stuff, there were quiet places or, or you know, bars and stuff that you could tuck yourself away in that afternoon.
My family’s a theater family. We love going to shows. We went and saw Greece. There’s a, there’s a theater production group on board, some of which, or some of whom we had heard sing earlier in the cruise, you know, in the bars, in the evenings and stuff. And so we went and saw that and then we just spent time enjoying the different areas of the ship.
I went around and kind tried to see places that I hadn’t seen earlier. It was just a nice relaxing day. I liked having that. Day at sea is the last.
Shayne: I’ve seen people who are disappointed by days at sea, but in my opinion, a day at sea would be nice. I think I would enjoy
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. At the very beginning, after we booked our cruise, they actually changed one of our ports. But then they, they would change some of the days around and it, our Sea Day ended up being our last day, which I really liked because for one, you knew the ship.
So like our sea day was gonna be our first day. You would spend half the day figuring out where
Shayne: Yeah, getting the lay of the.
Ryan: but by the end of the cruise, you know where stuff is and so you know what you want to do and where it is. One of the things my kids did is they did the sky pad. Since my son didn’t want to do the flow writer, they did the bungee jumping.
And so there’s trampolines and they’re hooked up to these harnesses and they’re flipping around and they’re jumping up and stuff like that. So again, just a lot of different things on the. So then it was our, our disembarkation day, the saddest day of the cruise. So we get up and I would say we got up and I looked outside and we were coming right into Port Canaveral.
By seven 15 or so, we had, we had docked and basically the day before. Our state room attendant had left our luggage tags and our, our time to leave the ship, but also it said, Hey, if you want to deal with your own luggage, if you don’t wanna put it out the night before, you need to be off the ship by eight 15.
And we wanted to deal with our own luggage, especially since we had our van. We wanted to just go straight to our van, not worry about anything. And so that was our plan. We had breakfast and what I really liked on cruises in the past, , you would go to that last breakfast and there’d be hardly anything there, right?
Like it was like they, they, they always have this tone. Like, here, eat some cereal, get off the ship. like, like that’s the, that’s the tone. Like you’re done with your cruise leave.
Shayne: Finish your leftovers and get away. Go away.
Ryan: at Royal Kby and I didn’t feel that way at all. Wind jammer the same amount of food. Same type of food.
It was, you know, it, it was really good. And. Then we got our luggage. Luckily got an elevator right away, , because, you know, everybody’s tried to leave and, and got right off the ship. I think our, I think our time was nine o’clock, so we could have had a little extra time that morning if we wanted them to deal with our luggage, but we wanted to just take care of ourselves.
We walked right off the ship, walked right through checkout, very little stopping, and we were on the car again. I think we were in the car less than half an hour. after we were walking off the ship. I mean, it was really
Shayne: Oh wow. That is a lot quicker than I would think it
Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. It was really good.
Shayne: If you hadn’t kept your, if you hadn’t kept your bags, what would’ve, what
Ryan: they would’ve been there probably, but we just didn’t wanna one, we like to have all of our stuff cuz you know, the last night you’re designing, okay, what do I need for the morning? What, you know, what can I have them take care of? So it was in fact that we would’ve had it, it was more we just wanted to.
Shayne: Sure. Okay. Makes sense.
Ryan: So that was the cruise. That was our, our Christmas cruise, our, our family vacation. Then we got in the van and headed over to Orlando.
Shayne: So what do you think, are the four of you wanting to do this type of trip again?
Ryan: Our family is pretty split on cruising. I’ll tell you that. My wife and my, my daughter does not enjoy cruising.
Ryan: it’s, it’s the motion, it’s the, she just doesn’t like it. My, my wife is a little better, but still not sure. My son and I love it.
Shayne: how do they feel about your upcoming Alaskan
Ryan: yeah, so, so we have my wife is actually able to do some continuing education for her work on a celebrity cruise next summer. So that got us up to Alaska. We’re going up, my parents are actually going with us too. We’re going on a seven night Alaskan cruise and everybody’s excited about that.
Shayne cuz it’s a different type of,
Ryan: And it’s also celebrity. So it’ll be a, again, another experience of a cruise line. And, and I think the things that we liked about Royal Caribbean will really like about celebrity. You know, they do a really good job of taking care of you. They do a really good job with food.
The ship is beautiful. So I, I, I still think we’re excited about that, but I don’t know. I don’t know how much, you know, traditional cruising we’re gonna do at least while the kids are in the house. But I, I’ll tell you, you know, one of the things just in the past couple weeks I’ve booked cruises that are very similar to this for clients, and I have no hesitation whatsoever.
After having this, this most recent experience, I would stand behind Royal Caribbean a hundred.
Shayne: Well, we would love to help you plan your next amazing vacation, especially if it’s on a cruise ship.
Ryan: you can reach out to me atRyan@creatingmagicvacations.com. That’s R Y A n, at creating magic vacations.com.
Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation. We work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you [time, money, and stress.
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