I didn’t think I’d be going on a cruise this year that was until I saw a great deal on the Royal Caribbean website. It had a four night cruise leaving from Southampton for £249 for an interior room. The ship that was leaving from Southampton and stopping at Bruges and Le Havre is the Adventure of the Seas Royal Caribbean. After booking time off work sadly this price went up to £299 and I had to book a window stateroom, soon after this the cruise was sold out except for the £1000+ suites. Either way I was happy that I was finally going away on my first holiday without my parents. Luckily my dad could drive to and from London to Southampton so this cut our costs down a lot as a ticket was around £80 each.
I’m no stranger to cruises and this was my 5th time on a Royal Caribbean cruise so I had high expectations as it’s my favourite cruise liner. I have sailed before with Princess cruises and Norwegian cruises in the past. I’m so lucky to of had the chance to finally say I’m planning my 10th cruise for 2015 as I want it to be special.
When checking in you need to hand them your passports and a credit card. They then hand you over a SeaPass which is your room key and credit card to spend on the ship. You have to touch in and out using your SeaPass every time you leave or board the ship and they take a photograph of you before boarding which the crew can check when you next leave or board.
The SeaPass also shows you what time you have dinner in the dining room and where about’s you will be dinning. Boarding the ship you realise just how big the ship is especially when you see the Royal Promenade as it looks like an in door shopping centre but then you realise your on a ship in the middle of the ocean. There are plenty of things to do on board and you will need a day or two to look around the ship.
My normal routine on a cruise is to wake up early and either head to the dinning room or buffet for breakfast then it’s time to grab a sun bed if the weathers nice. I mainly have lunch in the buffet as it’s right next to the pool area. There are three separate pools one with slides for kids another kid pool on the middle of the deck and then a quiet pool just for adults which is great.
After spending more time on the sunbeds I normally go back to my room to relax and watch TV then at 5pm I get ready to go to dinner. After dinner I then walk around the ship and then head to the casino. After the casino I go to the theatre show or go to a bar and sit and relax or I visit the shops for some shopping. They also have films on in the evening which are displayed on a screen on the deck which is called Movies under the stars.
For each stop on your cruise you don’t have to book a tour as they can be expensive if you have 7-8 countries to visit. Many ports let you walk off the ship where you can grab a shuttle bus, taxi or walk to the nearest town. Some ports are industrial ports do it’s best to get ont he shuttle bus than to walk through it.This is the first time I’ve been on a 4 day cruise and it was a little different to a 7-14 day cruise. The Royal Promenade has a number of stores such as a general store, logo store of Royal Caribbean products, beauty store, jewellery store and a handbag and accessory store. I was quite disappointed that the General store was shut due to not being outside of British waters.
This meant no one could buy alcohol or chocolates to take home as gifts. I did end up buying two purses from Fossil and some souvenirs. I also noticed a US tax in the beauty and handbag store which I haven’t noticed on earlier ships before. This made the products the same price as they are here in the UK.I really enjoy cruises as you get to visit many countries and there’s no carrying suitcases around or hoping on and off of planes. Before boarding the ship I did some research and the Adventure of the Seas was refurbished weeks before as it was last refurbished in 2009. I noticed a couple of new features on the ship compared to when I last sailed with the company in 2010. Other than that I couldn’t tell that it had been refurbished at all.
The staff on board are very friendly and are happy to help with any enquiries. I did have a slight problem when leaving the cruise. All passengers had to leave the ship at 9.30am but my parents could pick me up till around 11-12. We were told we could wait in the waiting room when we got off but the departing day on the TV it said you can pay a fee to stay on board till 2.15pm we wasn’t told this so was disappointed. In the end the waiting room was packed so my boyfriend and I sat on our suitcases outside the terminal under a shelter watching the rain and playing games on our phones. It was cold but it was quite cosy and we managed to find something to eat whilst we wait.
A woman who was a member of the staff there said we must be cold and if we wanted to go sit inside as they close the waiting area when no one is in there. Only two people were in there anyway then my parents arrived so it was too late then but we still sat outside for 2 and half hours which wasn’t what we had planned.
On the way to Bruges in Belgium the weather was really nice and sunny and I got a little sun burnt but then on the way to Le Havre in France it was raining the time and when we got back to Southampton. On the last day of the cruise before heading home the staff made a giant cake for everyone on board which they cut up and shared out. At 10.30 there was a leaving party at the Royal Promenade where they had well-known songs and dancers dancing on the bridges that were high up so the audiences can see from a distance. I sat in the cafe whilst the party was going on and it was an ok way to celebrate the last day on the ship.
I would definitely go on a another 4 day cruise if the price was reasonable. The ship is perfect if your going on your first cruise but I would love to go on the new Royal Caribbean ships that have just come out. Bruges was my favourite place to visit and I would love to go back there one day.
Have you thought about going on a cruise before?