6 July 2018


*This post is in collaboration with Royal Caribbean, all words, opinions and images are my own and honest.*

Something we love more than anything, is spending time together doing something super fun and it usually involves travelling somewhere or a fun day trip. On the 30th June we headed on board the Royal Caribbean, independence of the seas and had the absolute best day exploring, eating amazing foods and just taking everything in. It's honestly a beautiful ship and we had the best time aboard and Lucas and Iris had the best time, especially in splashaway bay!
I've only ever been on a cruise ship for a day trip and now more than ever a trip on a cruise ship to tick some places off our bucket list and also to experience life on a moving cruise ship, to be involved with the exciting atmosphere, eat amazing food everyday, to watch the world go buy from a deck chair with the littles napping in the shade next to us and exploring a little bit of the world from a boat bigger than our house. (In Lucas' words). Also, Lucas' dream would be fully fulfilled if he got to experience a MOVING cruise ship, the only tincy, tiny negative to our day was that the boat didn't move and Lucas said he was sad... To be honest I was sad when they asked us to depart the boat, I wanted to just grab my husband, we took my Nan with us due to his work commitments, grab our suitcases and passports and check in for our next Walters adventure. Oh, reality you suck!

Walking to the city terminal you can see the boat for miles, its breathtaking, huge and to Lucas and Iris must have felt even bigger. I had a huge bit of nostalgia as it reminded me of being sat in our flat as a child and looking out of the window and seeing the cruise ships docked and the fireworks that would go off occasionally over them and just being in awe of how huge these ships looked from the distance and dreaming that one day, I'd go on one and sail away to the see the world. Little Nicole had great ideas of travel and she'd be super proud of big Nicole for fighting with her anxiety and doing it.

The staff at the terminal were fantastic, it was the same set up as an airport but on a smaller scale and Lucas and Iris strolled through the scanners like Pro's! The bags went through easily and quickly and boarding wasn't too bad. It took longer for us as there were 60 of us, bloggers and family, going through as a group and we had day passes and were going through together so it was a different experience but I would say that I am sure you'd go through a lot quicker if you were boarding for your travels.

Walking around splash away bay and the bigger swimming pool area whilst it was closed for cleaning was nice as it was quiet on the deck. There's a place to get Ice-cream, which is perfect for both children and adults, there's a fish and chips shop and a bar around. There's also a stage near the bigger pool for a live band to play which is great entertainment whilst swimming and enjoying the sun.

We headed upstairs to the higher deck where the view is wonderful, I was a bit on edge because of the littles near the edge and i'd say its definitely a place for older children (teenagers) or adults really. I believe it leads to the adult only pool, which we didn't check out but a few of the other bloggers, who came without children, got to enjoy. I really like this because although I am a Mum and my life revolves around my children and travelling with my children, when they're grown up and Brad and I start travelling as a couple, without them, we're going to want to have some child free time and a pool dedicated purely to adults is exactly what some people need and they can relax without children.

We headed back down pretty quickly purely because my nerves got the better of me. It's absolutely not unsafe but I have one child who likes to climb and one who's constantly on the great escape and has no sense of danger and it wouldn't have surprised me if Iris squeezed through the bars for a swim in the sea and it certainly wasn't a good plan.

What I loved is that there are so many deckchairs, everywhere you look theirs deckchairs, it's wonderful. Most places don't cater enough deckchairs and you have to towel drop at 6am and be one of those annoying hoggers but NOT on board the independence of the seas!
There are deckchairs down by the family pool areas too, and some really cute green and orange chairs for the kids to use. I tested too and even in our freakishly hot Summer heat we're having they didn't seem to get hot.

We ventured inside the ship before lunch and came across the most wonderful art sale near the laser tag and they had four stunning Disney prints for sale. My bank balance will never stretch to make it so I could have 'The Little Mermaid' one on my wall at home but my golly gosh, it was stunning.

Whilst looking at the art my Nan being on a constant coffee hunt wanted one so we headed upstairs to the 'Royal Promenade' where they were giving out sweets from sugar beach and I was in awe of the most wonderful "cobbled street"with shops like Michael Kors. Lucas was desperate to go Ben and Jerry's but Iris was more excited about the cows on the roof, sadly it was closed at the time but I promised him we'd get ice cream later. We stopped in the cafe and had a coffee each and watched the world go by. Watching people getting on board with their suitcases made me go green we envy but as a people watcher I was in my element.

Even walking down the Royal Promenade made me feel like I was on holiday. I really wanted to try the pizza in the Italian restaurant. I've been to Sorrento before and it really does do the best pizza so this made me excited! Sadly, there is only so much you can do in a day and so much you can eat!
Talking of eating, the all you can eat buffet style lunch (and i'm assuming they also do breakfast and dinner) is amazing. I was overwhelmed by choice. A carvery, carbonara, burgers, sea food, gluten free bar bit too. Woah, so much amazing food. I chose a small carvery, which had the most tender meat EVER and also had a plate for some carbonara, lobster and mussels. When in Rome and all that, well when aboard a Royal Caribbean ship. The littles had chips, sausages, rice and some veg and it looked so well prepared, such a good standard and it really did look and taste great.

Dessert was amazing too, a chocolate fountain with fruit, brownie and red velvet pieces and sweets, cookies, cake, jelly, the list goes on. It was overwhelming but only because we didn't have another day to try new desserts! I wanted to try everything in order to not miss out on the best things. It was the same with the main food. If I could have had a bottomless pit for a stomach that day I would have! I would have loved to have tried a bit of everything.

What I also liked about this restaurant is that when you walk in you're surrounded by taps to wash your hands before you eat, and after if you wish. I love the fact they're helping the spread of bugs and focusing on hygiene. This is also great for the kids, washing their hands before dinner as they've been touching everything on the way round.

We headed back to splash away bay after lunch, we were allowed to take a swim, look around the ship and enjoy what the boat had to offer. With two very hot water babies on board, splash away bay was the winner! My Nan headed off for a tour of the bedrooms as she was very eager to go and see them and she said they're lovely, especially the royal suite! I think she'd move in if she could. She said the rooms were nice sizes! The panoramic state rooms look amazing too!

Splash away bay was a complete hit with Lucas and Iris and the pools do have specific advice on them. Any children in swim nappies must only use one part of splash away bay and any children who are toilet trained (not in swim nappies) can use the other section. The water in the baby bit is a lot warmer than the bigger bit. Lucas spent time with Iris going up and down the slide in the baby bit as my Nan was away on the room tour but even when she got back and he tried the bigger bit, he preferred being with Iris with the slide. We had an ice cream break in between too. Iris had Vanilla and Lucas had chocolate and they were both in a sugary element, especially since lunch had a lot of sugary goodness too!

Before heading off the ship we had a wander around, looking at the things to do and I was surprised by how much you can do, golf, rock climbing, the flowrider, watching sports in the playmakers sports bar, using the casino, visiting the escape room, watching live shows (including grease), relaxing in the spa, the list could go on, there's so much, you'd never be bored on board.
For families there are things to do like, you can use royal babies or royal tots and adventure ocean. To use the adventure ocean facilities children must be completely nappy free and toilet trained.

Overall I was very impressed and I have been looking at their destinations that you can go to from Southampton and they have Finland and Norway on their list which makes me really eager to go! They're two places on our bucket list and It's made me all excited! I can really imagine travelling on a beautiful ship to these beautiful destinations. Can we go now? Like, right now? Please?
It's certainly been added to my list of things to do because I can't imagine not travelling with Royal Caribbean now.

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