A Magical Memory Planner Shares Her Experiences on two amazing ships:
With the announcement of the NEW Royal Caribbean Icon of the seas, it brings up the question – Is a bigger ship all it’s cracked up to be?
As an avid cruiser with over 15 cruises under my belt, I’ve had the opportunity to sail on different size ships across many different cruise lines and I have to report that size of a ship, is an important aspect when making the best choice for your family.
Mega cruise liners have their place in the sea and offer many opportunities from go-carts and ice skating; to first run movies and extravagant shows. However, don’t discount those mid and smaller size ships; they can offer intimate experiences, more personal attention, and a higher quality of food.
This summer our family had the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of two Royal Caribbean ships, the Oasis of the Seas, which is a member of the Oasis class of ship with over 5600 passengers and the Adventure of the Seas in the Voyager class of ship with around 3000 passengers. Each ship has its pros and cons, but both were unique and enjoyable for different reasons.
When you first board a mega ship, you can’t help but be impressed by the number of bars, pools, restaurants, decks and so forth. The Oasis of the Seas was magnificent in every sense of the word. Guests could find themselves seeking a cup of coffee in the beautiful central park, jumping out of their seats as they watched Marty McFly soar through the air to the “Power of Love” in the 80s rock Aqua show or caught themselves softly humming to the tune “Memories” as they watched the Award-winning musical CATS. Kids could enjoy a carousel ride or a slide down the Ultimate Abyss, while they are waiting for their Portside BBQ or the El Loco Fresh for lunch. The Oasis of the Seas is LARGE in every sense of the word which also meant; large crowds, long lines and the possibility of experiences being full before they even began.
The Oasis was indeed an impressive ship but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. As much as we love the ship, our kids found it difficult to get experiences that were sold out quickly such as the escape room, laser tag, and ice skating or they had to wait over an hour for their turn on the FlowRider. We were unable to get specialty dining reservations once on board, the pools and hot tubs were full all times of day and found that bars were often suffering from lack of staffing. One of the days, we even broke down and rented a Casita (a private cabana) just to have dedicated deck chairs and a little shade.
Did we enjoy the Oasis of the Seas? Absolutely, there is no doubt about it. There was a plethora of activities to keep even the most restless of travelers moving all day on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean but remember patience is a virtue and pre-planning is a necessity.
On the flip side, we enjoyed the Adventure of the Seas just as much. This medium side cruise ship experience was just as enjoyable but in different ways! Quiet, relaxing, and peaceful were exactly how we felt aboard the Adventure. Now, the Adventure did of course host the same amount of your typical cruise activities such as trivia games, big screen movies, game shows, bingo, mini golf, destination talks, art auctions, fitness classes and all that jazz. However, there was always space in the pools and hot tubs to enjoy, there was never a wait at the bar and one thing we loved aboard this ship was the ability to meet people and make new friends in a way we couldn’t do on the larger ship. We were able to enjoy spontaneous decisions to splurge on a specialty restaurant, we never had to arrive early to a show and lines moved quickly when they did form for activities.
Now, with that said, not everyone enjoys making friends with dining partners; late night snack options were somewhat limited and although shows were entertaining, the quality was a little different. The real question is – what type of vacation is your family looking for?
When deciding on a ship’s size, many aspects need to go into the decision. One of the first to consider is cost. Often times your dollar will go farther on a smaller ship, rooms are often bigger, and the level of service is often more attentive. Activity level is another aspect of your decision; when traveling with children – keeping them active on days at sea can be a challenge on a smaller ship but if relaxation and a little more space in the pool is your speed a smaller ship will offer a more relaxing vibe.
Your family vacation is very important, it is a time for your family to reconnect, relax and spend quality time together. What is nice, is that there are many different cruise lines, ship sizes and itineraries to choose from. Cruise ships, like people have personalities, enlist the help of a qualified travel advisor, they will make a world of difference when sifting through an entire “SEA” of options. They can help weed through all the choices and be the difference between a fun, memorable trip and one that leaves your family frustrated.
One last note; on your next cruise…. Hit the silent disco! What a hoot!
Interested in learning more about Royal Caribbean Cruises check out Perfect Day at CocoCay with Royal Caribbean and then reach out to your Magical Memory Planner and let them know you’re ready to sail!
Carla has earned the title Master of Adventure through Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. You can rest assured your cruise vacation is in good hands.