Well we finally took the plunge and organised a cruise – our maiden voyage (so to speak) on Royal Caribbeans ‘Radiance of the Seas’ cruise ship and I tell you what we were not disappointed. We embarked on our 10 day trip in Sydney (Australia), our first two days were at sea before arriving at our first destination, the Isle of Pines (New Caledonia), from here we would spend the next four consecutive days island hopping – travelling overnight and arriving at a new destination each day. These destinations included Mystery Island (Vanuatu), Port Vila (Vanuatu), Lifou (New Caledonia) and Noumea (New Caledonia).
There are numerous facilities on board such as a gymnasium, running track, rock climbing wall, mini-golf course, three swimming pools, an arcade room, library, several games rooms, a creche, bars and specialty restaurants, a cinema, a theatre and a casino (just to name a few off the top of my head). The cruise directors also organise a multitude of activities throughout each day from dance lessons and scavenger hunts to bingo and horse racing. There are also specialty activities for children of all ages and adults of course (the Love and Marriage game show was hilarious). You can do as much or as little as you like on board.
One thing I did notice was the generations of families – grandparents, parents and children/grandchildren all on vacation together. What a great idea.
The service and activities were great and the food excellent, but what I really appreciated the most was the pace of it all. Having done tours before where you’re living out of your suit case can be a bit tiring so having your own cabin where you could unpack for 10 days and have the destinations come to you was great and really offered a different perspective on travelling this way.
Tips and Traps
- If you’re considering going on a cruise for the first time, choose a route that is known to include smooth sailing (you will inevitably run into patches of rolling seas but that is as much as expected as an air turbulence when flying). This will make your cruise a whole lot more enjoyable (we had smooth sailing the whole time except for the first day out of Sydney).
- If you’re going to a tropical island destination, best to buy your own snorkeling gear (if you’ve got space for it in your luggage) as the cruise ship will sell them but they may be slightly more expensive to purchase.
- Laundry – they’ll do it for you at a cost, but ask for the flat rate for a bag of laundry (wash and fold) otherwise you’ll end up paying a premium for them to wash, press and fold each item of clothing.
- Take a lanyard with you (or else you’ll have to buy one). You’ll need it for your room key which doubles as a charge card.
- If you end up eating more than you know you should, just don’t weigh yourself for a couple of weeks after disembarking.
Other than that, happy sailing!
The gallery below provides more details of this trip.