My parents have been bugging me to join them in a cruise for years. The thought of being stuck in a boat for days on end seemed claustrophobic, not to mention boring, to me so I resisted for so long. They kept assuring me that cruising is so much fun. My friend, S, also backed up their sentiment by sharing her experiences and telling me she considers herself a cruise addict.
This year, there was a Royal Caribbean Cruise that began in Singapore and ends in Shanghai. It was an 8-day cruise, perfectly timed during the Holy Week, stopping at Vietnam, Hong Kong and Xiamen. Since the port of departure isn’t far, the stops seemed interesting enough, and we planned to explore Shanghai before flying back home, my husband and I relented to finally take a cruise with the kids, my parents and my brother.
It wasn’t my first cruise. However, my first cruise experience with Star Cruises wasn’t that good. It was only a 5 day cruise but we got bored onboard the ship. I was scared that the kids will get cabin fever.
I was, thankfully, wrong.
The Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas was HUGE. It boasted of having a rock climbing wall, a skating rink, sports facilities, pools and a mini golf course. Every night, the crew would leave a schedule of activities for the following day to give the passengers a chance to see what they would like to do. Activities include parades, live shows nightly, movies, classes (like origami or scrap booking) and they even had a premier of “The Croods” in 3D.
My kids learned to roller blade. They learned to ice skate. They learned napkin folding. They got to play mini golf as much as pleased. My daughter tried wall climbing for the first time. We watched movies together and enjoyed live shows. We even had fun during a street disco party on the ship. On slow hours we napped and played card games as a family.
The meals were excellent… we opted to eat our meals at the fine dining section. The food was so good it was like eating at the best restaurants every meal. The best part was we could order as much as we wanted without fear an exorbitant bill after. My son developed a taste for fresh made soups and newly baked bread while my daughter discovered a love for steak. Needless to say, I came home and found that I had gained 5 pounds from over-indulging!
On top of that we got to tour so many cities and see the sights without the hassle of repacking and moving our luggage from hotel to hotel. All we had to bring with us was our ship ID, camera, personal effects and remember to board the ship on time for departure.
It was a hassle free vacation. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I have had and I enjoyed the opportunity to bond with my family from Manila whom I don’t see enough of. Best of all, the children had the most wonderful time, onboard or off.
My parents were right when they said cruises are the best family bonding vacations and one of the most cost-efficient ways to travel. True, you don’t get to see the cities you visit in-depth and immerse yourself in the culture. However, once in a while, it’s nice to go on a vacation with the sole purpose of relaxing. The forced bonding with the family was a great benefit as well.