Cruising and the Eats Worlds are a bit of an unlikely combo. I mean, while the kids and Mr Eats Worlds love a leisurely loll around a pool, I’m more of a hard-core traveller. I’m always desperate to explore new things and have a tendency to get bored if I sit still for more than 30 seconds. Lolling is not my bag. I’m annoying like that.
Needless to say, until I tried it, cruising was my idea of a floating pastel purgatory. In fact before our first sojourn at sea I had visions of being trapped at sea with nothing but bingo and buffets to keep us entertained. But despite my delusional imaginings, we’ve all become big fans of cruising. They’re all inclusive, there’s no toting tired tots through airports or on long drives and no endless searching for suitable family friendly accommodation, activities or places to go. Everything is ready and waiting onboard.
Seriously, what could be more appealing when organising a family holiday than doing absolutely nothing? Not much.
So you can imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth when I tell my clan that I’ve been offered a writing commission and two tickets for a three night cruise on Explorer of the Seas, the newest and biggest cruise ship to call Australia home… so only one of them can join me! It is like audition time for Cruise Idol.
And credit should be given for their creative attempts to be the chosen one. Raffles insists it is he who should go because he is the eldest. Sugarpuff takes the opposite approach by suggesting I cant possibly leave her because she’s only a baby. They both turn on the charm, tossing a barrage of compliments my way and telling me how much they love me. I think they’re pretty much ready to draw swords when Mr Eats World suggests that selling both of them on eBay would solve everything.
In the interest of fairness we decide to pull a name out of a hat and, though I love Raffles to the point of dribbling lunacy, I’m secretly chuffed that Sugarpuff is the winner as some mother and daughter time is long overdue.
So my girl and I farewell a showy Sydney for three days of fun afloat.
And while we are both sad to wave goodbye to our boys, Sugarpuff is beside herself about the prospect of having the exclusive use of her mummy for the first time ever.
To be honest, as excited as she I’m afraid she will miss having her brother to play with because he’s a hell of a lot more fun than me. But there’s so much in store on Explorer of the Seas for kids, it soon becomes clear that there isn’t going to be time to miss anyone!
The ship features all the best signature Royal Caribbean amenities including a rock-climbing wall that soars 61 metres above sea level, a nine-hole miniature golf course, three swimming pools, a 3D cinema, poolside movie screen, ice-skating rink, mini-golf and a host of stage shows. Indeed, we’re going to struggle to fit everything in. But Sugarpuff has a plan!
She insists on beating me at mini-golf immediately after breakfast each morning.
We hit up the Vitality Spa for matching mother and daughter pedicures, which she proudly shows her newly blue nails to every single person who looks in her general direction during a poolside frolic.
Each afternoon she wants some “adult free time” and heads to the Adventure Ocean kids club for crafts and fun with the other kids. In fact, Royal Caribbean works hard on their kids programs offering incredible age appropriate kids facilities and plenty to entertain the kids while providing the perfect opportunity for parents to indulge in adult activities or just enjoy a little peace and quiet.
This, she insists, is to be followed by a post-play ice cream and more watery fun in the pool. Loving this special time with my girl, I am happy to indulge her every whim.
Sugarpuff also loves dressing up for dinner each evening, something the male members of our family aren’t so keen on. But she also loves the incredible choice of food too, eating more than I’ve ever seen her consume before.
In fact, she did her ravenous brother proud in the scoffing department, especially at specialist restaurants, Giovanni’s Table and Izumi. There was also a fair amount of pizza consumed at Cafe Promenade, the 24-hour café located on the ships lengthy Royal Promenade.
While we didn’t take advantage of it on this occasion, preferring to make the most of our bonding time, Explorer of the Seas offers “My Family Time Dining”, a fabulous option for families that lets kids finish dinner in the main dining room in 45 minutes, so they can be collected by Adventure Ocean counsellors to head to the kids’ club to play while Mum and Dad enjoy a leisurely dinner.
When Sugarpuff and I aren’t submerged or inhaling soft serve (because if you can’t eat ice cream all day when you’re on holiday, what’s the bloody point?) and pizza, we catch a flick in the 3D movie theatre, shake our groove things at the family disco and watch Explorer’s dazzling on board ice-show.
Inspired, we show off our own awesome moves during the a public skating session. I confess that these moves mostly consist of us falling on our arses. Speaking of arses, I also make one of myself on Explorer’s new FlowRider surf simulator as I somersault inelegantly off my board, then bounce off my face with my butt in the air and my legs akimbo. All accompanied by the hysterical laughter of my pint-size travel companion.
Empathy is not her thing.
Towel animals however are!
Each night after watching the sunset over the sea, we head back to our comfy balcony stateroom, eager to find out what kind of kooky towel creature our lovely room attendant had left for my girl.
And each night she falls asleep cuddling her new towel pal, her mind buzzing with plans for another day of mummy and me adventure onboard our floating fun ship
Disclosure: While we travelled as guests of Royal Caribbean it was for a commissioned story for another travel publication, not for this blog. We simply enjoyed our trip so much we wanted to share.