I know everyone doesn't share my love for cruises. Perhaps boarding a giant boat with 5,000 guests and employees sounds unappealing. Especially to someone trying to get away from it all. Totally reasonable. But I like to thank NYC for teaching me how to find peace and quiet in densely populated areas. And what are cruise ships? Small cities on sea! Last week, I used those skills to fool the kids into thinking we had Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas all to ourselves. With little effort, I think I convinced them it was our own personal yacht. Here's how I did it . . .
1. Night Swimming. I don't know what everyone else is doing at 11pm, but they aren't swimming. We had the pools and hot tubs practically all to ourselves. There was relaxing music playing on the speakers, the moon was bright, and the warm sea air felt perfect. There was even mesmerizing images of the night sky playing on the movie screen above the pool. We played until 1:30am. Best part? No breaks for sunscreen application. The kids and I kept this schedule up by taking long afternoon naps.
2. Speciality Dining. While Royal Caribbean offers complimentary dining options, the speciality restaurants are more intimate, the service is unreal, and the food is unique from everything else on board. It's a small price to pay for what you get. For example, I took the kids to Giovanni's Table for lunch. For only $15 each we got a three course meal. One night I went to Izumi Japanese Cuisine and only paid $18 for a plate of sashimi. It was Texas size portions with NY restaurant quality standards. While Navigator of the Seas has four speciality dining options, ships like Quantum of the Seas have even more choices, including one with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. This is definitely the place to be if you want a break from the buffet crowd.
3. The Quiet(er) Deck. The only thing keeping me on the crowded afternoon pool deck was an amazing reggae pop band. I don't even like reggae music! I was shocked how good they were. As soon as they broke down their instruments, I needed a break from the crazy pool deck. I wanted something quiet, outdoors, and with an oceanview. We strolled around the ship until we found the perfect spot on Deck 4 next to the shuffle boards. There's less foot traffic, no speakers playing music, and views of the ocean. I pulled a chair to the edge, put on my head phones and read travel magazines. My kids played shuffle board. It was the slower pace we were craving. I wish the Navigator of the Seas had an actual quiet/relaxation outdoor area on the ship. I would be all over it.
But that's is just me. Many people go on cruises for the social aspect of it all. They meet family and friends at the pools, the bars, and their dining table. That's fine for a while, but it's good to know there's ways to escape. You can get it all with a little planning and effort.
We're wrapping up our summer of cruises. The first Royal Caribbean cruise was sponsored by my parents for their retirement party. Congratulations Fran and Dad! The second one was sponsored by Royal Caribbean themselves. They must have found out about my love for cruises. This is the first of two posts I'll be writing in exchange for my stay on Navigator of the Seas. Tomorrow I'll be writing about our favorite (and not so favorite) parts of the trip.
|A serene yet dramatic session of golf during the magic hour.|
|Night Swimming deserves a (semi) quiet night|
|Deck 4: Our so-called quiet deck.|