Review: Royal Caribbean Suite with Kids
My husband and I recently went on a 7 day Royal Caribbean cruise with his parents and our 4 year old daughter Abigail. We sailed aboard the Oasis of the Seas, and were more than lucky to be booked in a Grand Suite. If you have ever sailed Royal Caribbean before you’re probably aware that there are all kinds of rewards depending on the room you stay in, to how many times you’ve previously sailed with them. This was our first time with Royal Caribbean. We cruise pretty exclusively with Carnival cruises, and on Carnival we receive some nice perks because of how many times we’ve cruised with them in the past. Luckily for us, despite this being our first cruise with Royal Caribbean we still got some amazing perks – perks we would not have gotten otherwise – since our room was a Grand Suite which made us Sky Class. My very generous in-laws wanted to take us all on a trip we would remember, as this would probably be the last family trip with them for quite some time. When they first proposed the idea we were ecstatic, but also concerned that they were wasting their money by putting a 4 year-old up in an expensive Grand Suite. This was her first cruise, and while my husband and I have been on our fair share we were not sure it would be worth the high price tag to put her up in such a high end room.
Now, having now done the trip I am here to give my opinions on the matter; and the big question of: was it worth it?
Suite level Perks
The Oasis of the Seas is absurdly large and just so much fun. There was so much to do from the rockwall, to the FlowRider, to the ice skating rink – all aboard a 17 story boat! So much stuff that we weren’t able to do everything we wanted in the week we were there. But for sure one of the biggest highlights for my husband and I was the our time on the 17th floor. The 17th floor of the ship contains a lounge and a restaurant for the guests that are booked in a Grand Suite or better – or Pinnacle Club members (700+ days at sea). The lounge was a nice quiet place we could take our daughter to get her away from the crowds. She did need to be on good behavior there, so the lounge was sometimes a break and sometimes a chore. Sometimes it was a chance to get her a snack, me a drink and both of us a break. And sometimes it was me desperately trying to keep her from climbing chairs and getting us kicked out. We were never actually asked to leave, which makes me think that they are fairly used to children being children in the lounge.
Also in the lounge was the Concierge. This is a godsend for parents because you have instant help with most everything. They had an answer to every question I had, which was a ton of answers. I had done a terrible job of scheduling our activities and dinners and they fixed all of my mistakes. I just hopped on an elevator or made a phone call and one of two amazing women would reschedule or fix any mistake I made. As a mother who is constantly incharge of my families schedule I cannot think of anything that could have made my vacation more vacationy. Also I would like to mention that while I am not much of a drinker, the lounge also had free drinks and while on vacation I was able to have someone be in charge of my families schedule and fix my problems while I had a nice glass of wine. If that is not a break from motherhood I don’t know what is! I felt like I was living someone else’s life very briefly, and it was well handled and childfree.
The restaurant, named Coastal Kitchen, was also on the 17th floor and was another huge perk that was really worth it for us. We were welcome at the restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner required a reservation but the friendly concierge was happy to book it for me every single night. What I personally liked about this restaurant was how few people were in it. The service was excellent and it was a bit quieter which really helped our small child stay in her seat. The staff was also really good with her. Multiple times they would go out of their way to other decks and restaurants on the ship to find her a particular food item she was requesting; usually jello or cupcakes.
Priority boarding and guided disembarkation were also perks offered to my family during our time on board. I loved both of these, however the priority boarding would have been more amazing had we been on time. If you get there early there is a lounge area with snacks that would have been a great break for myself and Abigail. When we got there the boat was ready so we just checked in and immediately got on the boat. Unfortunately, our room was not ready so Abigail had a small meltdown because she did not want to hold her backpack any more… 4 year olds? As for the guided disembarkation this was fantastic. We just met up in the main lobby the morning of departure and the Concierge staff walked us all of the boat, past all the lines, and right up through customs. We got to skip the lines and waiting pretty much all together which was amazing because Abigail barely had to hold her backpack at all…
The room was amazing and a great place for small children to take a break. It had a large balcony with a high rail made totally out of glass so she did not need to be held to see over it. We spent so much time out on the balcony that that portion feels very worth it for us. It also had a curtain between our bed and the rest of the room which was fantastic because after she fell asleep we were able to get some amount of privacy. And the most important part of the room was the tub. I love a bathtub but my daughter REQUIRES one. This made the trip so much better than it would have been if she had had to try to take showers.
Was it worth it?
At the end of the day I loved this trip and had an amazing time! I would totally sign up to do it all again, however if it was my money on the line and not a fabulous dream vacation I would probably not spend that much money on a room with my daughter. Now, to be fair – part of my reasoning is because I can go on a Carnival cruise for much less money, get a balcony, and still spend 1/3 the money to receive most of these same perks. But that’s also because I’m far along in their Loyalty program due to my previous cruises. If this was not the case I would probably be much more inclined to say Royal Caribbean’s Grand Suite was worth it because these perks definitely improved our trip, especially the lounge and bathtub. I think if you are considering this kind of trip for yourself and children I would think about how much time you would spend in the lounge. If you don’t think you would use the lounge or the restaurant then I don’t think it would be worth it at all. But if you are like me and want a place to go to avoid the crowds then it might be worth it – especially for a dream cruise. I hope this helps you plan your perfect Florida vacation because trying to make this kind of decision can be challenging. Whichever way you end up, I hope you and your family have a magical time!
Re-posted from my original post here.