We finally return to my Europe trip series! To recap, I’ve shared my stay in London and my lovely experiences in Paris. Now let’s see the next leg of my adventure: a cruise around Greece! But first, allow me to introduce you to the vessel getting us there.
I’m going to go ahead and say it – a cruise isn’t my first choice when it comes to exploring. This trip in 2017 was with my mom, and she, on the other hand, is “loyal to Royal.” She has gone exclusively with Royal Caribbean since she began cruising. As part of our agreement, we would do this milestone trip together, and we’d include both of our travel styles (DIY touring around vs pre-planned cruise packages).
7-Night Greek Isles Itinerary
This was our adventure for this leg of our Europe trip. We departed from Rome, Italy and ventured off to explore Greece. These bullets will become live links as blog posts are updated. 🙂
- Santorini (Thira)
(Almost) All-Inclusive Experience
Cruising has some notable advantages. The main pro is that almost everything is included in your fare.
- Accomodations (some more simple than others).
- Meals (formal dinners, buffet lunches, all sorts of snacks in between). Note that alcohol and specialty restaurants are not included.
- Your fitness regimen: onboard gym, some free classes, and running track.
- Complimentary lessons and activities.
- Access to pools and hot tubs, lounge chairs, beach towels.
- Entertainment from live music, comedy shows, games and sports, theatre, comedy, you name it.
Want to know everything that’s happening on board your cruise? Each morning (or the evening before), you’ll get a Cruise Compass on Royal Caribbean’s plans for the day. Activities are mostly free with some that come at a small price, such as cooking classes, to organized sports, to dance lessons, and so much more.
Staterooms on a boat aren’t going to be the lap of luxury. I go usually go with a small interior stateroom because, let’s face it, you’re there just to sleep and take a shower. The rest of the time you’re roaming around the ship.
There are, of course, larger staterooms that come with more amenities, such as balconies and suites. This round, we opted for an interior stateroom with two twin beds that had a window so we could get some natural light into the room.
At this point, my mom and I were Emerald Members of the loyalty program, so we had a stateroom attendant and other perks waiting for us, including some welcome snacks everytime we came back from excursions, and exclusive events for Emerald Members. We’ve now gone on to become Diamond level. 🙂
Something classic during any cruise you go on is coming back to towel animals. Sometimes, these creations even wear your shades.
Up on Deck!
Cruise Compass guide in hand, we ventured off to explore what this ship had to offer. Although an older, and relatively smaller (in comparison to their newest line of ships) model, there is still plenty of explore.
All ships have a Promenade, or “downtown” area complete with shops and restaurants. I loved the decor and details around the ship, especially during theme party nights. The staff are so friendly and really make sure that you’re doing well on the cruise and enjoying your stay.
You’ll find floors dedicated to food services and restaurants. Parts of decks are dedicated to kids and teens. And, naturally, that means certain areas are for adults only (my personal favourite as a teacher on summer break).
As I mentioned, almost everything is complimentary on the cruise. Some things that have added cost. This includes the specialty restaurants on board. Our favourite has always been Izumi, which offers Hibachi and Japanese cuisine.
We loved the staff on board the Jewel during this cruise ship – they were Filipino, and it felt a lot like home. One even had family in our hometown! Small world. 🙂
Traveling with My Mom! 🙂
This deserves its very own section. My mom, as I mentioned, loves cruising. I snapped this pic of her during our last evening cruising. She clearly was not having it.
The other shot is of her posting on the Community Bulleting Board, which she turned into a PSA about my lack of a love life during this time. (lol).
Cruising definitely has its advantages. Why, then, is it not my preferred method of seeing the world? It’s not that I don’t enjoy all the amenities involved. Let me list down for you, the cons of cruising:
- Motion sickness during rough seas.
- Limited time at destination means you’re stuck trying to do it all in a timed window.
- Slow connectivity while on board for your wifi. For bloggers, like myself, this can be a bit frustrating.
- Introvert needs – when you’re on a big cruise ship, there are a LOT of people. While you have the choice to stay in your stateroom, there are definitely a limited amount of places for peace and quiet at any given time of the day.
- Days at sea. Depending on your itinerary, you could be spending a number of days cruising between destinations. In my ideal travels, I prefer flying directly (although this costs more), but the value added is that I get to spend my time the way I want it, at the destination of my choice.
It really comes down to travel style and travel preferences. Cruising is certainly a great way to see many different locations in one week. Give it a try, and see how you like it!
Stay tuned for more details about the Greek Islands that we visited on this cruise. 🙂 Can’t wait to share it with you!