I just recently returned from the most AWESOME cruise. I’ve been so anxious to tell you about it, because I think it should definitely be on your ‘future vacations’ list. We love it so much that actually we’re doing the exact same cruise at the end of the year. The only difference… we’re bringing the kids on the next one. We did so many fun things on the ship and at our ports that I knew my kids would be in heaven. So, there ya go… annual family vacation decided.
For the past year or so, my husband and his siblings had been wanting to do a ‘couples cruise.’ We had never done one of those before. We’ve been on two with the kids (a kinda bleh Carnival cruise and our mega-amazing Disney Cruise) and then one by ourselves (see Our Alaskan Cruise.) We were all for trying a couples cruise! Although, I did have to make my husband swear up and down that he wouldn’t ignore me. His brothers are pretty dang fun. And, I’m just in the middle somewhere. 🙂 But really, it ended up being super fun… and, I’ll tell you why!
In just a sec…
So, first we had a big planning meeting and decided where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. It was settled that we wanted to do a Western Caribbean cruise to Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel. I called up Get Away Today, my go-to travel agency (the ultimate travel experts and the nicest company ever!) and in no time we had our cruise set in stone. We opted to try the Royal Caribbean line, since I never had before, and we had all heard great things about it (so glad we did!) The ship was called Navigator of the Seas. It had SOOOOO many things to do on it, unlike any ship we had been on yet. There was a rock climbing wall, ice skating rink, basketball court, Flow Rider, indoor mall, and of course, the usual (but super nice) gym, theater, spa, and specialty restaurants. But, more about that in a minute.
We were pretty bummed to have to ditch our kiddos. Well, bummed and not. We needed some alone time and it helped knowing the kids would be having a blast with their Yia-Yia (Greek grandma) who would be staying at our house. It’s a big deal to ask someone to watch 6 kids for a week, so I am insanely thankful to her. Before we took off, we did a little staycation with the kids at a local hotel… (grainy phone pics, sorry.)
Then we woke them up early, the day we left, to take them to Denny’s. 🙁 We knew we would miss them so much!
We flew into Galveston, Texas and before we knew it, were unpacking on our new home for the week! We had Get Away Today reserve us balcony rooms right next to each other. It was always fun to walk out on the deck every night, lean over, and chat with the other couples.
Besides booking our rooms together, we also had Get Away Today put us all at the same dinner table. Look at that group! Again, sorry… I’m a little bummed about the pictures on this trip. I brought my super nice camera but ended up never wanting to bring it anywhere. It was either too big and heavy to carry around or not safe have with me (off the ship), so I ended up just using my phone most of the time. So, this whole post is a hodge podge of pictures from my Instagram account, phone, and in-laws’ cameras. But, you get the idea!
Okay, so I would like to publicly say that Royal Caribbean has the best food of any cruise line I’ve tried. I’ve been on three other lines and wasn’t very impressed. I always heard cruise food was so fabulous, but mmmm…. I don’t know. However, I will eat my words when it comes to RC. There were some things that were sorta bleh, but overall I was pretty impressed! The buffet had the biggest selection I had ever seen and I especially loved that at the dinners, they had a few non-steak/non-seafood options (I need that.)
Like I said, there was TONS to do on the boat. The days at sea were not boring AT ALL. Dan and his brothers entered every sports competition available. It was fun to go watch them and cheer them on!
Dan zooming up to the top…
They were winning awards right and left. That’s Dan’s brother, Ty, receiving the gold medal for rock climbing.
Here’s a pile from just one of the brothers… I’m sure he would like me to say his name, so ‘Ty.’ This is Ty’s pile. 🙂
Intense basketball games… I even got in on one of these! It was fun and way exhausting.
The Flow Rider is what got the men out of bed every day. They wanted to hurry over there before it got too crowded. It was pretty cool that there was one of these on the ship! There is one near my house and it’s pretty pricey to use, just for an hour.
Dan’s brother, Marc…
Eventually, the Flow Rider got the best of Ty. He ended up hurting his back so bad he couldn’t even get off the boat the first day! It was pretty sad. (If you look in the mirror on that picture, you can see Dan taking advantage of his gimp brother, by swiping all of his nice snorkeling gear!)
After being on a Disney Cruise, it’s hard for the entertainment on any other cruise line to compare. And, for as much as I loved Royal Caribbean, I thought the shows on our ship were a little underwhelming. Especially the cruise singers and dancers… yikes. But, I’m sure they’re all really great people. I have to be honest… this is a review!
Okay, I have something nice to say to balance that… the customer service on Royal Caribbean was awesome! It was definitely AS good as Disney. Literally every employee we would walk past would say ‘hello.’ Our room attendant and the dinner staff were sooooo great. We were actually sad to say goodbye to them. 🙁
This is after dinner one night, with our friends, in the mall area. Look behind us, isn’t that fancy?!?
Anyway, so it wasn’t all about the ship. Our ports were super fun! Our first stop was Roatan, where we ended up not booking any excursions. Instead, we took a cab to a nearby beach. The beach was SUPER crowded. When a crowd of people walk on (like us), one of the locals will ring a bell and all the people come rushing up to you to sell their products. It’s a little overwhelming, but luckily it dies down and they get ready to hit up the next crowd. There were these adorable little boys selling necklaces and sea shells. They were hilarious and the best little salesman! We bought several things for our kids from them… we couldn’t say no!
My sis-in-law, Bonnie, involved in intense negotiation…
Despite being a little bummed about how crowded the beach was, the guys ended up recruiting a local, floating in a kayak, to direct them to a great snorkeling spot. And, they found it! Dan said it was some of the best snorkeling he had done, so that was cool.
After hanging out for a while, we hitched a ride to this guy’s house that has a yard full of monkeys and really neat birds. I won’t lie… I was so nervous to let them climb and land all over me. I had to mentally prepare every time the monkey wanted to jump on my shoulders, which was kind of a lot.
Dan’s brother, Dave…
The birds were totally digging their claws into me! The owner had to keep pumping seeds into their mouth so they didn’t bite me… there were seeds pouring down my shirt. But, really it was super cool. This is one of those places I would love to bring the kids to when we go back in December… I just need to remember the name of the place.
Our next port was Belize and we decided to try the Cave Tubing (which was my most favorite thing!) FYI: If you want to do the cave tubing there, our guide said that excursion is only available from about November to March. After that, the water in the caves gets too high. That is the very reason we booked our next cruise in December. My kids HAVE to see those caves!
Oh, and another thing… we booked all of our excursions through Shore Trips, which came recommended by Get Away Today. I’ve booked with Shore Trips on the past two cruises and would happily do it again.
Anyway, so we met up with our tour guide and went for a long and scary drive to the cave tubing location. Scary = crazy driver amongst crazy drivers.
And then this happened…
But alas, we were fine and back on the road in no time.
The Mayan caves were so cool. They go on forever, it seems like. Everyone puts on a helmet with head lamp, the tubes are hooked together, and you slowly float through the caves. It was an awesome experience! The tour guides tell you stories about the Mayans using the caves to store their food (because it’s colder) and to perform sacrifices.
I didn’t dare bring my camera or phone when we were floating in water, so I didn’t get any pictures. But, this one is from the Shore Trips website.
Our last port was Cozumel. Most of our group went scuba diving, but a couple of the gals and I decided that a massage sounded pretty ideal.
I snagged this photo of Dan on the scuba boat from my SIL…
And, that’s a wrap! After 7 days on the ship, we were almost ready to go home. 🙂 We loaded in our futuristic van and headed to the airport, just in time to wait for hours and hours and hours.
We walked in the door around 11pm and were quickly ushered downstairs to a special romantic meal on a storage bin. We were entertained with gymnastics and piano playing, served whatever our pantry offered, and given love notes and gifts. Our kids are the best!
Back to daily life!
And, if you want to book your own cruise, of course I love Get Away Today. They make planning your vacation so easy and they’re super knowledgeable and friendly. I’m a huge fan and so lucky to have them share lots of their great travel tips right here on OSSS!
Thanks for reading my Royal Caribbean Cruise Review!