If you asked me only a week ago, if I liked the idea of travelling on board of a huge cruise ship, I would have answered that I, by myself, would rather not choose this method of visiting new places. But in travels, just like in life, I always try to follow one principle: don’t judge, until you try it yourself and form an opinion about it.
So, after I got back from the Maldives, I received an invitation from the Royal Caribbean to take part in their cruise in the Bahamas, on board of their luxury cruise ship. I didn’t hesitate even a little bit and I simply re-packed my suitcases.
Royal Caribbean International is the biggest global tourist cruise line and it’s been present on the oceans and seas in the whole world for 50 years. At this stage, they reach 260 places in 72 countries on six continents. Every next ship’s class is, so to speak, a miracle of architecture, packed with the newest technology and a combination of adventures with luxurious rest. Well, you can’t doubt that luxury is everywhere around there and, contrary to what you might think; you also won’t lack sources of excitement. And this is a surprisingly pleasant combination.
Another level of “big”
My idea of what the life on a cruise ship can look like was close to zero. Of course, I knew that those ships offer lots of attractions but the fact that they are simply mini versions of cities, in which you have literally everything, dumbstruck me. For the first few hours I walked around it in pure awe.
My cruise lasted 3 days and started at Miami Port, which is the main harbor for cruise ships, setting off towards the Caribbean. On the second day the ship landed in the Bahamas in CocoCay Island and on the third day it reached the capital city – Nassu.
For the night before I stayed in the Marriott Biscane Bay hotel, in which, apart from the fact that it has a very high standard and a really good gym (you know, I pay attention to that), you get a marvelous view of the Miami Bay from its rooms. So if you are looking for a flagship place to feel the vibe of this city, this shall be your choice. And in addition, this hotel is situated about 10 minutes of taxi drive from the harbor.
Navigator of the Seas, as my ship was called, is one of the newest models. This “tiny little thing” has only 310k square meters, 15 decks and can accommodate 4000 guests and 1200 crew members. What is even more fascinating, you don’t feel it’s overcrowded.
And all of this thanks to an excellent organization and work of the crew, which toils by the sweat of their brow and makes everything run like in a Swiss clockwork. Even speaking of logging onto the ship itself. I was so amazed how quickly the check-in was handled and how trivial it was for the guests. In front of the main entrance the crew collects your luggage, which is delivered at the very door of your room. The only thing you have to do is to show your ID at one of the many counters and you get your boarding pass and the room number. Then you just need to go to the right floor and find your room. Despite the fact that lifts are everywhere and everything is perfectly labeled, reaching my part of the ship took me 20 minutes, which, I guess, gives you a picture of how huge this ship is.
Travelling on board of a luxury cruise ship
A lot of you sent me messages about it, so I know that you were very curious of how the rooms look like (and it might seem that, considering the huge number of guests, they would be extremely small). You were also curious about the simple, everyday functioning of the ship. Let me explain.
There are 1693 rooms, including bigger family apartments. My cabin was really big – it not only had a double bed, a couch, a dresser and a normal-size, comfortable bathroom with a shower but the balcony was the cherry on top. Every morning I sipped coffee there, enjoying the boundlessness of the landscape.
You have to know that a view from a balcony in such a behemoth ship is really impressive. You just have to lean out to get the feeling that you are flying over the water surface. So if I could recommend one thing about accommodation – always choose a cabin with a balcony. To be on such ship and not being able to experience this boundlessness would be a huge waste.
There is no cash on board, the only thing you need is a card you receive at the beginning of your stay and which in the same time is the key to your room, your payment card (linked to a credit card you’ve chosen before the cruise) and a local ID. So this is the most important and the only thing you need while moving around the ship. And this is a totally comfortable and convenient solution. Depends on the option you choose, some of the attractions and conveniences might be included in your stay or should be paid additionally. For instance, I had the “open bar” option, which allowed me to use all the bars and cafes on the ship without any limits. So, if I wanted to grab a coffee, I ordered it contactless in a café, without any additional costs. The same was with alcohol.
When it comes to the food, it is solved in the following matter. Breakfasts, dinners and suppers are served in the main cafeteria and in scheduled time slots you can go there and simply have a meal. Apart from that, on various @decks there are cafes serving snacks 24/7, so you can count on Mexican tacos at a swimming pool or a pizza while coming back from a night party ;)
Navigator of The Seas also has a few flagship, exquisite restaurants (including Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant – Jamie’s Italian), in which you have to book a place in advance and which are paid additionally. One of my two favorite ones is definitely Chops Grille – an unique, elegant restaurant with white tablecloths and crystal chandeliers. It covers two floors, has impressive stairs and interior decor that immediately reminds the Titanic movie. Do you remember the scene, in which Rose walks slowly down the stairs, wearing evening gown, while Jack is already waiting for her at the foot of the stairs? Yeah, this is the kind of vibe I’m talking about. For me it was truly exceptional. You have to take an evening dress, because it’s really worth to feel there like you were a character in a movie.
But my absolute number one turned out to be the restaurant serving seafood – Hooked Seefood. I’ve never eaten so perfect and fresh oysters, prepared in so many various ways – beginning with raw ones, to baked and grilled ones. And I think that I’ve never eaten so many too. What can I say… I regret nothing! :D
What to do on board?
You asked me about this even more than about the size of the bathroom JWell, I’m not surprised at all, because I was asking myself the very same question before my arrival. Well, my dear readers, during this trip the ship itself turned out to be a one huge attraction and offered a countless number of entertainments to try, restaurants to check and elegant cocktails to drink in theme-bars. So, frankly speaking, it could just as well never leave the Miami harbor and I wouldn’t even notice it. And on the top of that, this ship every day reached a new place, which also fascinated and absorbed me. So, summing it up, during such a cruise you’ll forget what the word “boredom” means. It is impossible on this ship and in my opinion you should treat it this way – as a one, huge, exciting adventure and experience.
Let’s begin with the fact that every day you’d get a detailed list of the attractions and where they are going to take place during the day. And there are dozens of them – from sport activities, through game lessons in a casino, dance classes, basketball games, and musical performances, to end up with whatever you can imagine.
Besides, there is a spa on board, so you can reserve a treatment or a massage, as well a beauty salon and a hairdresser (who will make you look gorgeous for your evening date), a casino, an ice rink (yeah! an ice rink!), a theater, in which plays are staged every day, a night club, a library, mini golf, a cinema and even an Escape Room. I think I didn’t miss anything :)
On the last deck there is a swimming pool and a jacuzzi. There is also a surfing simulator, which generates regular waves and a few incredible water slides – including the one that reaches outside the deck, so you literally slide in the air above the water! This is an absolutely amazing experience!
Everyone would find something suitable, doesn’t matter if you want to chill out with a drink next to a swimming pool and read a book or have some fun on the water slide and watch a movie in an “under the stars cinema” in the evening, eat a delicious supper and then dance till the sunrise in an under-the-sky club.
One thing is sure – this cruise and this trip were created to make you never worry about such stuff and to just let you have fun. It was a nice change, after travelling solo somewhere at the end of the world :)
Sport on board? Hell yeah!
I wouldn’t be Travel and Keep Fit if I didn’t test the options to train on board of this ship. And I have to tell you that sport facilities are indeed, surprisingly developed. First of all, on the upper deck there is a huge gym. I have never seen such a huge and well-equipped gym during my travels. And on the top of that its walls are made of clear glass, so you can see the ocean from the inside. Running on treadmill you have the impression that you are two steps away from running off straight into the ocean.
But for me the hit was the running track in the open air, so that you could jog around the ship (and as you already know, it’s not a small boat). Just think about the whole idea – you are somewhere in the middle of the ocean, the ship is cruising and you are jogging on board oblivious to everything. Isn’t it just awesome?
Apart from that, on the upper deck there is a regular basketball pitch and a climbing wall. So you’d have no problem doing sports and you don’t have to give up your active lifestyle, because this ship is a personification of Travel and Keep Fit :)
#PerfectDayonCocoCay and the tallest water slide in USA
At first I thought that the ship itself would be the main attraction. Until the moment we reached the Bahamas and the CocoCay Island on the second day. Royal Caribbean International has outdone itself, creating the first private island of this type, worth 250 million USD. Its only goal is to guarantee you the perfect day (regardless of what your idea on such day really is).
CocoCay has been freshly opened, so thanks to this cruise I was one of the first lucky ones, who were privileged to visit and test it. And as you all know, I am freaking good in testing new stuff :D
You reach the island early in the morning, so that you would be able to set off right after the breakfast. This place is really huge, so you should ask yourself a very important question – what do I want to do today? CocoCay was created to answer various types of needs, so you can spend the whole day on a private, paradise-like beach, sipping drinks and cocktails while sunbathing in the Bahamas sun. Perfect Day offers the biggest freshwater swimming pool in the Caribbean, the Oasis Lagoon and virgin, white sand beaches with crystal clear tropical water. Sounds like a perfect rest, doesn’t it?
Or you can do what I did – choose everything most exciting, which makes people tap their fingers on their foreheads, directing you to the nearest funny farm. Oh, I like that! :)
I think that CocoCay will be famous mostly because of the tallest waterslide in the North America and in the Caribbean – Daredevil’s Peak, which is 45 meters tall. As you probably already guessed, I began my fun with this very water slide, because I don’t like to wait and I don’t believe in the rule “save the best for the last”. No! The best comes first! :)
In order to slide down, you have to climb the Daredevil’s Tower, walking the stairs (climb them 3 times and you can check off your training for this day). Little advice: if you don’t want to stand in a long line, I would recommend going to the slide in the early morning or in late afternoon. It’s less crowded then but during lunch time, the lines are really long.
But here’s the problem. How to describe this feeling when you fall 45 meters down at dizzying speed, with light effects added on the road? Maybe it would be easier and better to show you. Pay attention to my face and I think it will be the answer if it was worth it!
Apart from the tallest water slide, there are 12 other slides in the tower, among other the one, in which a pair can race each other or my absolute number one. Judging by your emotional reactions (“have you gone mad?”, “I’d die!”, “I’m gonna have a heart attack just looking at it”) when I showed it on Insta Stories you’d like it too – a slide, in which you slide down totally vertically and the floor just disappears under your feet.
There is also The Slingshot, a zero gravity slide, in which you slide down on pink, inflated donuts :D So you really have lots to choose from, believe me ;)
If you are tired of falling down, you can jump to the biggest wave pool in the Caribbean area. The clock on the wall counts time to the start of next set of huge waves. There’s also the Adventure Pool – interactive obstacle course on water, with floating pads, ropes and a climbing wall.
For lunch I’d recommend you to go to Captain Jack’s, which specialty are chicken wings and homemade mango-habanero sauce. In Skipper’s Grill you’ll find lots of healthy options, like salads, sandwiches, tacos and fresh fruits.
I decided to leave one attraction for the summary of #PerfectDayonCocoCay. It is a balloon flight above the island, which ascends to 137 meters. It lets you see a panorama view of the whole island, which looks dreamy and paradise like. Just remember to book this one, because the number of seats is limited!
Depends on the season, accommodation and catering type, the prices begin with USD 294 per person, when it comes to 3-days cruise with CocoCayas the main attraction. Occupancy rates are quite high, so you should book in advance but it’s also worth to carefully watch special offers, offered by Royal Caribbean International. For instance, right now there is a special offer: the second guest pays 50% of the price. There are also interesting options of last minute cruises, so if you are visiting Miami or Florida, it is worth to think about such a short, spontaneous excursion during your trip. Click HERE you have a direct link to the price list of the cruise I’ve been on.
For who such cruise is made for?
I always thought that such cruises are usually chosen by seniors, because, let’s be honest, this is a very comfortable and easy way of travelling. But the cruise on board of the Navigator of The Seas quickly debunked this stereotype, because the average age of the passenger was about 30 years old. So it depends on the type of the cruise. The one in the Bahamas and to CocoCay is fun-oriented, full of attractions, parties and other ways to spend time actively. So it’s perfect for young people or families with children, because dozens of attractions are designed especially for them. I was so surprised how party this trip was and I met lots of people my age and we partied with them the whole weekend.
When it comes to the travelling style – you know that I’ve checked most of them already, from solo, through backpack, low-budget, in total wilderness, full of challenges on a motorcycle to beauty spots in boutique dreamlike hotels. And after all those years I firmly believe that you can travel in various ways and every way brings something interesting and creates different kinds of memories. There are no better or worse travels, so I think that the cruise with Royal Caribbean was an awesome (and new to me) experience. I’ve had so much fun and the smile was always on my face the whole weekend. Like I wrote before – this is the kind of a trip, in which everyone will find something suitable, regardless of age and preferences on how you like to spend your free time, making this trip a universal one and a great vacation time :)
Now I’ve started to dream about sailing around the Alaska on such a cruise ship, because I’ve heard that this is one of the most extraordinary cruises in the offer of Royal Caribbean…