First-time cruiser Emma Brunott recently hit the high seas with Royal Caribbean to see for herself what all the fuss is about. Setting sail on Voyager of the Seas from Sydney, she discovered much more than just the sun loungers on deck and the might of her newly found sea legs. From the rooms to the food and the never-ending lineup of colourful entertainment, here Emma tells all about her highly-anticipated maiden voyage.
How did you spend your first day?
The first thing we did once we stepped on board was check out all the ship facilities and get acquainted with it all, then we got a cocktail and soaked up the views as we sailed out of Sydney Harbour at sunset. It was a great vibe as everybody was so excited up on deck. There were families, couples, young and old, and quite a few big groups travelling together. On that first night, we had our first dinner in the dining room and then we tried a couple of the bars on the ship.
What’s the best thing to do onboard?
Definitely don’t miss going to see a show. We went to an ice skating show – Ice Odyssey – which was very impressive and different to something I would normally do back home. The ice skaters were from all around the world, like Canada, Russia and the Ukraine, and it was amazing to think that they were professionals and they were right there in front of us doing these amazing tricks and jumps. We also went to a great show full of awesome Queen cover songs.
What was your room like?
Our room was amazing. It was a balcony room so it came with great views! We could see the ocean out the door at all times and it was a great spot to sit and just watch. We ate a room service breakfast on the balcony one day, and there was nothing better than ending the day sitting there looking at the starry night sky (the stars are so much brighter when you’re away from the city lights!). Inside, we had a couch and TV, a dresser and mirror, and a bathroom.
Were you surprised by anything?
The cruise had activities on all the time throughout the day and night. There were Dreamworks parades, character meet-and-greets, lots of bands and all kinds of fun competitions, like trivia, bingo and bomb-diving comps on the pool deck. Every night an itinerary showing all the events was slipped under the door so we could pick and choose and plan to see what we liked. I didn’t realise there’d be so much going on all the time.
What’s the food and dining like?
There was heaps of different food and dining options on board, the hardest part was trying them all! You could either eat at the 24 hour cafe, buffet, dining room or could book into specialty restaurants and pay a small fee. I was quite surprised with the food on board, especially in the buffet. There were lots of options. My favourite was eating in the dining room though as it was a good chance to socialise with friends and the service was great. We had our waiter, Michael, every night of the cruise and he was amazing. He was really friendly and welcoming, and would remember our preferences, and did a few fun tricks for our table on the last night. We also dined at Izumi, one of the speciality restaurants, on the last night which was a great way to top off the cruise.
What were some of the big highlights of the ship?
Definitely the biggest attractions were Flowrider, a wave simulator where you can bodyboard and surf, and the rock climbing wall. Also Johnny Rockets was a big hit, which is a typical American-style burger joint, and the Royal Promenade is amazing, which is all fancy and full of shops, bars and restaurants. The pools and spas were awesome for just winding down and relaxing.
Would you ever do a cruise holiday again?
Definitely! There is always something to do and you only have to unpack once! I would love to try a cruise to the South Pacific so you can experience a different country and culture whilst having so much fun and convenience on board. I’d also love to do a cruise with a bunch of friends so you could do all the different activities and restaurants and bars together.
Any packing tips?
I’d definitely recommend taking seasickness tablets just in case – and start taking them the day before you set sail. Otherwise, if you want to take high-heeled shoes I’d take a very comfy pair or a pair of wedges, as the ship does sway and it feels like it’s swaying even more if you’re in sky-high heels! Also, check what power outlets are fitted – you may need to bring an international adapter. Different activities on board have different clothing requirements too, so best to pack clothes to suit those if you are interesting in doing it (i.e. rock climbing requires closed in shoes and long pants or leggings).
Any other cruising advice to share?
If you’re interested in seeing a show, turn up early to get a place in the line and get a good seat. Especially on shorter cruises where less shows are on offer, as everyone is trying to get in to see it. The shows are definitely worth it! Also, if you want to try any of the specialty restaurants, book before you go or on the first day. You can also purchase any drinks packages before you arrive or on the first day.
Looking for more great cruising holiday tips? Check out our Travel Tips: Packing for a Cruise Holiday, a rundown on Ocean Cruising vs River Cruising and these Incredible Cultural Experiences of the South Pacific.