I am dictating today’s blog post from my bed, à la Barbara Cartland, as I have a revolting eye infection that means it’s difficult to look at anything bright. If someone could paint my nails and rub my feet too, that would be awesome. Cheers.
So, last Saturday, Dexter and I were lucky enough to be invited on board one of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships, Independence of the Seas. I took my best friend and her son Charlie along for the trip and we headed off to Southampton from Kent the day before. Oh, and just in case anybody is as stupid as me (which is highly unlikely,) travelling on the M25 on Friday after work, especially in the summer, is not a good idea.
Nearly 4 hours later, and we finally arrived in Southampton. Then we got lost a bit, found there was no room in the car park and eventually managed to check-in after queuing for what felt like hours (but was probably only 20 minutes.) The first person I saw, or rather heard, was the lovely Laura and her family. They had flown down from ‘up north’ and looked a whole lot fresher than we did.
Dinner took forever to come but was delicious nonetheless and we finally managed to get the boys to bed by 11 o’clock.
Normally the highlight of any trip for Dexter is the buffet breakfast and boy did he take advantage. But I had to give him props for this:
I like the way a massive grilled tomato is just plonked on top in the middle like a cherry on a cake. He did, of course, follow that up with the requisite white chocolate and blueberry muffin. It’s exhausting watching him eat sometimes. #growinglad
Taxis were ordered by our lovely PR Kate and, after a slight misunderstanding, ie. the taxis didn’t realise they had to come back for the rest of us, we eventually found ourselves at the cruise terminal waiting to board the ship.
And what a ship. Being a cruise veteran now, after going on TWO ships, I’m still amazed at the sheer size of them. As you board and look up the side of the ship, it’s truly astounding how they actually manage to float!
Our first port of call (see what I did there …) was the FlowRider – the onboard surf park. Dexter was slightly disappointed at first that we weren’t actually meeting Flo Rida … the American rapper, but he soon cheered up when he saw this:
I was very proud/nervous when he was the first child to volunteer to try out the surfing. The sun was blazing down on us, the Diet Coke was chilling and it was the perfect setting … but he’d never done anything like this before. He queued up and I had a quiet word with the instructor that Dexter would probably be a little nervous. Sure enough, Dexter took a step back and let a couple of the other children try it out first. He then stepped up … and he was brilliant:
I think we probably spent a couple of hours at the FlowRider. Dexter couldn’t get enough! As for me, I spent some time catching up with my lovely blogging friends and Royal Caribbean’s Royal Mums. Oh, and I also gave Sally Gunnell some valuable exercise tips – she was most grateful.
The PR team had created an itinerary for our stay on board and so we were ushered downstairs to a cake decorating task. However, I couldn’t get Dexter and Charlie to come downstairs and leave the pool! So I left them with my friend whilst I went downstairs and they then joined me for the ice show.
I do love an ice show. Reminds me of watching Disney on Ice years ago – except this show as a combination of Argentine Tango and some Line Dancing! They were great and we were even treated to a brief intro from the Captain of the ship himself! (The Rum Punch was a bit too nice.)
Thankfully, it was now lunchtime and we were taken to the beautiful dining room where we were treated to fish terrine, steak and crème brulee. Delicious!
Our time on board was coming to an end but there was just enough time for the children to have a swim in the children’s pool where they all played It and soaked up the sunshine.
We left the ship at 3pm – sad to go, but grateful for the opportunity to experience this ship. Independence of the Seas is so family friendly they even have a whole deck dedicated to children! We got the feeling that we really only experienced a small amount of what Royal Caribbean has to offer but what we did see was fabulous!
Thanks again to Siren Communications and Royal Caribbean for inviting us – we had a blast.