“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
YES! Just back from a week-long cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas and I’m pretty sure that it could not have been a better vacation in any way. This was maybe the first family vacation where we all had fun AND were able to relax the entire time. Some of that has to do with the girls getting older and easier, but I’m convinced a lot of it was the cruise experience and the gorgeous, laid-back locale.
The Details: flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico where we boarded in the afternoon, then sailed to St. Maarten, Tortola, St. Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, enjoyed one day at sea, and then landed back in San Juan in the morning, spent the day touring the city, and flew back to Mpls that evening.
The days fell into a very chill routine that went something like this:
Keys to success: The staff was so friendly and helpful. Also, we didn’t do any excursions, that way we be flexible with the day and not feel rushed or herded with the crowds. But the biggest factor I think was that we had two connecting staterooms, so we didn’t need “lights out” just because they were sleeping (see below, just left of the picture after the foot of the bed is the connecting door was to our room). It was also nice having two sets of bathrooms and TVs and a little more room for all that luggage. Note: bring your own laptop or DVD player to watch movies as they run some on the ship TV stations but most standard rooms don’t come equipped with a DVD player, at least not on our ship.
Bottom Line: would absolutely recommend a cruise vacation for other families. Royal Caribbean was great, the staff was amazing, and the whole concept is built around ease and convenience, which all leads to total relaxation. The itinerary, ship amenities, and food were really good and though the trip was not inexpensive, it did feel like a better overall value than a lot of resort vacations. The kids had so much fun, it is easy to imagine another cruise in our future!