Royal Caribbean Cruise - The Babymoon
As I write this, I am pregnant with our first child. (YAY!) My husband and I decided we wanted to take a small trip before 'Baby S' makes his arrival and a cruise seemed perfect for us!
We went on a 5 day (4 night) Royal Caribbean cruise. We were on the Empress of the Seas and left out of Miami in December to get OUT of the Kansas cold! Our ports of call were Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida.
Quick note for fellow pregnant women: Almost all cruise lines will not let you cruise if you are past or reach 24 weeks at any point during your cruise. Personally, I would not suggest booking a cruise during your first trimester in case you have morning (or ALL DAY) sickness. Being nauseous plus being on the ocean - not the best combo. So, that does leave a small-ish cruising window for the preggo population. I was 14-15 weeks during ours and I had a BLAST!
About the ship:
Empress of the Seas is the smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. That being said, it was extremely well maintained and the staff was amazing. If you are looking for an abundance of activities onboard the ship, this is probably not the boat for you. There are a few bars, a gym, one pool, a spa, a theater, and three shops. Again, not a large boat, but everything was VERY well maintained.
INCREDIBLE. This is what (in my opinion) put Royal Caribbean above other cruise lines. Everybody from the Cruise Director to the cleaning staff to the waiters were amazing. The service we received throughout the entire cruise was phenomenal.
The Royal Theatre:
As on most cruises, there is a theatre where shows are held. We went EVERY night and were not disappointed. There was a wide variety of shows (singing, dancing, comedy, etc.) and they all were excellent. We now know why Royal Caribbean is a Tony Award winning theatre company!
I was VERY impressed by the variety of options for cruisers at night. You want to club and drink it up? - Got it. You want a quiet bar to sip a drink? - Got it. You want to watch football in a sports bar? - Got it. You want to listen to an AMAZING piano player and singer (Giles was INCREDIBLE)? - Got it. Seriously, the options were endless! And again, this is their SMALLEST ship! I can’t even imagine the big ships!
The pool was decent sized for it being such a small boat so we spent some time there on our “day at sea”. We had an amazing couple’s massage at the Vitality Spa. I would highly suggest that to anyone! Every day there were multiple activities (raffles, trivia games, scavenger hunts, Bingo, and a hysterical Marriage Game just to name a few!) We went to the gym a few times and it was very nice! Good machines and a good selection of free weights. Workout classes were also offered. We also spent some time in the casino where I won $13!! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but Brandon lost within about two minutes, so I was the big winner!
If you know me at all, you know this is the most important part of a trip. The food was GREAT! In the mornings, you had the option to order room service, eat at the buffet, or eat in the dining room. We chose the dining room each morning because it was quiet, the wait staff was great, and I prefer to order my breakfast off of a menu. It was phenomenal. Lunch was always in the Windjammer, which is the buffet. The food was very good (especially for a buffet) but this is where I would prefer a bigger ship for next time. Only one option for lunch was not always great, but again that is me starting to nit-pick. Dinner again was an option between the buffet, the dining room, and they also had a specialty restaurant for an extra fee. We ate in the dining room each night because it was phenomenal. We had the same waiters each night and they were AMAZING. Shout out Jhon and Haydar! I loved that the majority of the menu changed each night so I could try something new! My husband loved that there was always a steak option. If you are unaware - Brandon is THE pickiest eater on the planet, but he was very happy with his steak and dessert haha!
New Year’s Eve:
We were on our cruise over New Year’s and it was INSANE! The amount of effort that the staff put in to make sure that there was something for everyone was so impressive. First, at dinner that night, the wait staff passed out hats, beads, and blow horns to everyone.
Then, there were a ton of options to celebrate that night: a live Latin band and dance party, the piano bar with sing-alongs, a “club” scene in one bar, a “quiet and serene” experience in another bar, and a huge party on the pool deck with a DJ, dancing, and the video of the ball dropping in NYC. It was such a fun way to bring in 2018!
We had two ports of call: Nassau, Bahamas and Key West, Florida. We did not get off the boat in Nassau because they are on the CDC website for the Zika virus which is dangerous to pregnant women, so we just stayed on the boat and enjoyed the Spa as I mentioned earlier.
We did get off in Key West and we had a blast! For our “excursion” we chose to buy tickets for the hop on-hop off bus. It was a phenomenal way to see the island. There were 15 or so stops and the buses came about every 10 minutes. So, we would get off and explore/shop/eat and then catch another bus to go to the next stop. We learned all about the island’s history and got to get off in areas we were interested in. Definitely a win-win!
So, I know what you are thinking.. “Well, would you go again?!” Yes, absolutely I would cruise with Royal Caribbean again. I personally, would choose a larger ship. Brandon and I like to have an abundance of activities on our ships and as I said, this was the smallest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet. If you are looking for a few different options, an extremely pleasant staff, and are cruising on a smaller budget, this would be a great ship for you! If you are wanting to be overwhelmed by the amount of things to do on the boat, I would choose something in the Quantum or Oasis class.
If you are looking to cruise (or vacation another way), we would love to help you! Contact A to B Travel Agency to start planning your perfect getaway!