Planning vacations can be tricky–especially when trying to accommodate all your family’s interests and needs. If you’re stuck on where to head for your family vacation this year, look no further than a cruise! Cruising is the ideal multi-generational vacation for all members of your family to ensure that everyone has fun at their own pace!

Something for everyone

The best reason to go cruising with your family is the never-ending entertainment options! No matter what you and your family enjoy, you can feel confident that there is always something that each member of your family can have fun doing. While each cruise ship is different, there are some staples that most cruise lines typically offer:

  • Watch a show: Cruise lines pay to have actors, singers, and entertainers come along for the ride to perform in nightly shows. In fact, you can even check out some Broadway shows (like Mamma Mia!) on Royal Caribbean’s ships. The best part? All these shows are included in the price of your cruise fare! And they’re the perfect opportunity to have fun with the family or keep it just to the adults.
  • Have a spa day: For family members looking to relax, the spa is the perfect destination. Cruise ships offer spa treatments and packages ranging from facials to massages and more. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on a treatment, simply head into the sauna to sweat it out!
  • See a movie: Almost all ships will offer nightly movies out on the outdoor decks. It’s a great opportunity to watch a film, hear the sounds of the ocean, and gaze up at the gorgeous night sky above! Plus, you can bring any food or drinks from the buffet or casual restaurants.
  • Take a dip: If you’re going cruising, you'll have to take advantage of the pools and jacuzzis on board! Ships will have at least one pool on the lido deck featuring one or more hot tubs adjacent to the pool. Some ships will also have a second pool at the back of the ship to overlook the water. By the pool, you’ll be able to soak up the sun, grab a bite from the food stands, and rinse off in the outdoor showers at the end of the day. If your whole family wants to lounge by the pool, make sure to get there early enough to snag chairs next to each other before it gets too busy! For your more adventurous family members, some ships will even have water slides to keep the fun going all day long!
  • Take an educational class: Did you know that many cruise lines offer courses in skills such as cooking, photography, videography, languages, and lectures on a variety of topics? This is an amazing offering that every member of your family can take advantage of to learn something new while out at sea!

Freedom to explore

When on a cruise, the ship will usually make several stops (otherwise known as a port of call) at different countries/locations along the route. During these stops, you are free to head off the boat and explore the destination. Many cruises will also plan excursions for port days that you can participate in with the whole family. While you’re always able to hop off the ship on port days, you also have the freedom to stay aboard a typically less crowded ship. When a cruise ship is docked, most people get off to relax on the beach or explore the area which means the pools are less crowded and the spas usually offer a discount.

The freedom to explore or relax on port days makes cruising ideal for family members of all ages. Plus, if your family does decide to split up for the day, you can always meet back up at night for a delicious dinner on the ship and some nighttime entertainment!

Meals for foodies and picky eaters alike

It’s not uncommon for a family to have different food preferences and dietary restrictions which can make planning meals difficult. On a cruise, you don’t have to worry about any of that! Many people say the 24/7 access to delicious food and drinks is one of the best parts of cruising, and they are not wrong! From buffets to ice cream shops to fully loaded bars, you can truly never go hungry (or thirsty) on a cruise.

Quality family time

Unlike other vacation options where you spend a lot of time on your feet, cruises are a great opportunity to really get some quality time with all your family members. You will be stuck on a boat together after all! From pool days to excursions at your stops to spa treatments and dinners, there is plenty of time to catch up with your family and have some fun together. Most vacations do not offer this level of time spent together which makes cruising the ultimate multi-generational vacation idea.

In conclusion, I truly do believe that cruises are the ultimate family vacation. They offer the ability to market to a number of generations all in one package. Families can take a breather when planning a cruise, because it offers them

Ahoy, cruise lovers! Today, I want to share with you my recent adventure aboard the world's largest cruise ship. As a travel advisor and avid cruiser, I've had the pleasure of exploring some of the most incredible ships on the seas, but this one truly took my breath away. I was thrilled when I received an email last August that I was being invited to one of the inaugural sailings of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas. Join me as I take you through my likes and dislikes, giving you an honest and detailed account of my experience onboard.

Picture this: the excitement is palpable as you step foot onto the ship, ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime. The world's largest cruise ship promises grandeur and luxury beyond compare, and I couldn't wait to see if it lived up to the hype. In this blog post, I'll be sharing my first impressions upon arrival and boarding, my top 5 highlights from the cruise, aspects that could be improved, the hits and misses, and my final thoughts and recommendations.

First Impressions: Arrival and Boarding on the World's Largest Cruise Ship

Stepping foot onto the world's largest cruise ship was an exhilarating experience. As a travel advisor, I had heard countless stories and seen numerous pictures leading up to this trade event, but nothing could quite prepare Mom and I for the sheer size and scale of this magnificent vessel. From the moment we caught sight of it in the distance, excitement filled the air, and we couldn't wait to embark on this extraordinary adventure.

As we approached the ship, we were immediately struck by its grandeur. The ship's towering structure and sleek design were awe-inspiring. The massive size of the ship was truly mind-boggling, as it seemed to stretch endlessly across the horizon. The architectural marvels and unique design elements that adorned the exterior were a feast for the eyes. From the intricate detailing to the majestic presence, everything about the ship exuded luxury, sophistication, and family fun.

The embarkation process was surprisingly smooth and efficient. The cruise line had clearly put a lot of thought and effort into ensuring a seamless boarding experience for the world’s largest cruise ship. The staff members were friendly and welcoming, guiding us through the necessary procedures with ease. The check-in counters were well-organized, and the entire process was completed in a timely manner. There were staff members available to help guests with wheelchairs up the gangway and carry luggage to make the process as flawless as possible. It was evident that Royal Caribbean, just like on their many other ships, respected their guests' time and wanted to make the boarding process as hassle-free as could possibly be.

One standout moment during the embarkation process was the personalized service we received. As we were checking in, a crew member noticed our excitement and took the time to engage in a brief conversation, asking about our travel experiences and providing helpful tips for making the most of our cruise, especially with mom in a wheelchair. This small gesture made us feel valued as guests, and it set a positive tone for the rest of the journey. Royal Caribbean never fails to impress me in this way.

While my first impressions of the ship were overwhelmingly positive, there were a few minor hiccups that slightly dampened our experience. The sheer number of passengers boarding the ship at the same time created a crowded atmosphere, especially on the Royal Promenade, making it challenging to navigate through the embarkation area with luggage and a wheelchair. Additionally, the signage directing guests to their designated areas could have been slightly larger and clearer, as it took me a bit of time for us to find our way around.

The Royal Promenade

Overall, the arrival and boarding process on the world's largest cruise ship left a lasting impression on both of us. The grandeur and scale of the ship were nothing short of extraordinary, and the efficient embarkation process set the stage for a memorable journey. While there were a few minor areas for improvement, they were overshadowed by the overall positive experience. With our excitement levels soaring, it was time to explore the ship and discover the incredible highlights that awaited us.

What I Loved: Top 5 Highlights from My Cruise Experience

First Impressions: The Size and Scale of the World's Largest Cruise Ship

Stepping onboard the world's largest cruise ship was an experience like no other. As we approached the ship, we couldn't help but be in awe of its sheer size and scale. The ship stood tall and majestic, a floating city on the sea. My initial thoughts were a mix of excitement and curiosity. How could something this massive navigate the open waters?

Once I stepped foot on the ship, it became clear that its size was not just for show. The world's largest cruise ship was designed to offer an unparalleled experience, and it certainly delivered.

Top 5 Likes: The Best Features and Experiences on Board

1. Exceptional Dining Options: One of the highlights of my cruise experience was the incredible variety of dining options available. From gourmet specialty restaurants (though we had to be invited to them on this trade sailing) to casual eateries, there was something to satisfy every palate. I particularly enjoyed the main dining room, where we indulged in mouthwatering dishes prepared by world-class chefs.

Beef Bourguignon with a Side of White Rice, Main Dining Room

2. Exciting Onboard Activities: The ship was a playground for adventure enthusiasts. I had the opportunity to try out thrilling activities such as rock climbing, surfing on the onboard FlowRider, and even a ropes course on the edge of the ship called Crown’s Edge. I am not typically an adrenaline junky, so Mom and I opted out of these experiences.

The Entrance to Thrill Island and Category 6 Waterpark

3. Outstanding Entertainment: The world's largest cruise ship certainly knows how to entertain its guests. I was blown away by the quality and variety of the shows and performances onboard. From Broadway-style productions like Wizard of Oz to live music, diving, ice skating, and comedy acts, there was never a dull moment. The onboard theater, Absolute Zero ice skating rink, and the AquaDome were state-of-the-art venues that provided a truly immersive experience.

AquaAction Show in the AquaDome

4. Luxurious Amenities: The ship spared no expense when it came to providing luxurious amenities. The staterooms were spacious and beautifully appointed, offering a comfortable retreat after a day of exploration. We were provided with an Infinite Oceanview Balcony, a room category carried over from Royal Caribbean’s sister company Celebrity and their Edge class ships, which while controversial and not everyone’s cup of tea, was an enjoyable experience for both of us. The ability to roll down the window and be exposed to the sea breeze without having to be completely out in the elements was a welcomed surprise. The spa facilities were world-class, what we saw of them, and we both wished we could have experienced them further. And let's not forget the breathtaking pools and lounges where we could soak up the sun and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean. Our favorite by far was the Adults-Only pool and lounge called “The Hideaway”.

The Hideaway Adults-Only Area

5. Impeccable Service: Throughout my cruise, the crew went above and beyond to ensure that every aspect of my experience was exceptional. The staff members were friendly, attentive, and always ready to assist with a smile. Their dedication to providing top-notch service truly made a difference and added to the overall enjoyment of my cruise.

Windjammer Buffet Staff

These top five highlights of my cruise experience are just a glimpse into the incredible journey I had onboard the Icon of the Seas. The combination of exceptional dining, exciting activities, outstanding entertainment, luxurious amenities, and impeccable service made this cruise one for the books, even though it was only for 3 days.

As I reflect on my time onboard, I can't help but feel a sense of gratitude and satisfaction. The world's largest cruise ship exceeded my expectations in so many ways, and I'm eager to share more about my experience.

Room for Improvement: 5 Aspects That Could Be Better

After spending time on the world's largest cruise ship, I must say that overall, the experience was fantastic. However, just like any other cruise ship or vacation destination, there were a few areas where I felt there was room for improvement. In this section, I will discuss five aspects that could be better on the world's largest cruise ship.

1. Ship's Layout: While the size of the ship is impressive, it can also be a bit overwhelming to navigate, especially in a wheelchair or scooter. With multiple decks, corridors, lifts, and staircases, it took us a while to get our bearings and find our way around. Signage could be improved, especially in areas with similar-looking corridors. In my opinion, a clearer layout map near elevators and common areas would be beneficial for first-time cruisers.

2. Efficiency of Onboard Services: With such a large number of passengers onboard, I expected some delays or inefficiencies with onboard services. Unfortunately, I did experience a few instances where the wait time for assistance at guest services or the seating procedures in entertainment venues (looking at you AquaDome) were less than stellar. Streamlining these processes and ensuring adequate staff during peak times would greatly enhance the overall guest experience.

3. Variety of Dining Options: While the world's largest cruise ship boasts an impressive range of dining venues, and I certainly didn’t have the opportunity to try them all, I found that most of the specialty and a la carte restaurants required an exorbitant additional fee when compared to specialty dining fees on other ships, which could add up quickly. It would be great to have more inclusive dining options that cater to different dietary preferences without the need for additional charges. Additionally, I noticed that some of the complimentary dining venues tended to get crowded during peak meal times, especially the buffet, resulting in longer wait times or lack of seating.

4. Small Bath Facilities in Cabin: While we overall enjoyed our Infinite Oceanview Balcony cabin, we found the shower in our cabin to be slightly small for our needs. Mom enjoyed that the showers onboard had a built in bench for those who preferred to take a seat while bathing. However, as bigger people, I’m 5’9” and 320 lbs, we both found that there was little room to move around once the door to the shower was closed.

5. Handling of Crowded Areas: Given the ship's immense size, it's not surprising that certain areas, such as the pool deck or popular entertainment venues like the AquaDome, can get quite crowded during peak times. While efforts were made to manage the crowds, it would be beneficial to implement systems or strategies to ensure a more comfortable experience for guests, such as timed entry slots for popular attractions or additional seating areas in high-traffic zones.

Despite these areas for improvement, it's important to note that my overall cruise experience on the world's largest ship was still enjoyable. These aspects should be considered by potential travelers when making their decision, but they should not overshadow the many positive aspects of the cruise. The ship offers an array of amenities, incredible entertainment options, and a chance to explore breathtaking destinations. With some minor adjustments, the world's largest cruise ship could elevate the guest experience even further.

Next up, let's dive into the dining and entertainment options onboard the ship, discussing the hits and misses that I encountered during my journey.

Dining and Entertainment: The Hits and Misses

When it comes to dining and entertainment, the world's largest cruise ship certainly knows how to impress. During my time onboard, I had the opportunity to explore a wide range of dining options and indulge in a variety of entertainment offerings. Here are my thoughts and experiences on the dining and entertainment experiences on the world's largest cruise ship.

Main Dining Room

Let's start with the dining options. One of the standout features of this cruise ship is the plethora of dining venues available. From specialty restaurants to buffet areas and casual dining spots galore, there's something to suit every palate. I had the chance to try out a few of the specialty restaurants with some samples, and I must say, the food that I tasted was exceptional. The quality and presentation of the dishes were top-notch, and the flavors were simply divine. Whether you're in the mood for fine dining or a casual meal, from the main dining room, the Windjammer buffet, Izumi Hibachi/Sushi, Chops Steakhouse, the Empire Supper Club, the AquaDome market, and more, you'll find plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.

One particular dining experience that left a lasting impression on me was at the AquaDome market. This food hall had several casual dining options including Taste & Garden (Panera Style Deli), Feta Mediterranean, Mac’s Specialty Mac & Cheese, GNGR Chinese Take-out, and Creme de La Crepe Creperie. I also appreciated the attentive service provided by the staff at each station, who were knowledgeable about the menus and happy to offer recommendations.

In terms of the buffet areas, I found the selection to be extensive and diverse. There were options for every dietary preference, including vegetarian and gluten-free choices. The food stations were well-organized, and the staff ensured that everything was well-stocked and replenished regularly. Whether you wanted to grab a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely meal, the buffet areas provided a convenient and satisfying dining experience. While the cuisine offered at the buffet may not have been the same quality as in the main dining room, it was definitely satisfactory for a convenient and quick meal.

Seafood at the Windjammer Buffet

Now, let's move on to the entertainment offerings. The world's largest cruise ship truly lives up to its reputation when it comes to providing a diverse range of entertainment options. From Broadway-style shows to live performances and onboard activities, there's never a dull moment onboard.

One particular show that stood out to me was the Broadway musical style performance of the Wizard of Oz. The talent of the performers was exceptional, and the production value was on par with what you would expect to see on a professional stage. The energy and enthusiasm of the cast were contagious, and the audience was captivated from start to finish. The technology, special effects, sets, and costumes were absolutely stunning. It was a truly memorable experience that showcased the caliber of entertainment offered onboard.

Dorothy Soars High Above the Audience While Encapsulated in a tornado in the Wizard of Oz at the Royal Theater

We also enjoyed a preview of the new Aquashow called AquaAction while onboard. While I am used to the traditional AquaTheatre venues at the aft of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships, the All-New AquaDome on the Icon was a completely different and immersive experience. Taking inspiration from action films and popular music throughout the decades, the show was high energy and something you truly won’t see anywhere else.

Skaters gracefully entertain us in Starburst: Elemental Beauty as shown in Absolute Zero Ice Rink and Theater

While the majority of the entertainment options were impressive, there were a few experiences that fell short of my expectations. For example, I found some of the onboard activities to be overcrowded, for example AquaAction in the AquaDome, making it difficult to find seating to fully enjoy the experience. Additionally, some of the live performances lacked the polish and finesse that I had come to expect from a cruise of this magnitude from Royal Caribbean. However, it's important to note that these were minor hiccups in an otherwise exceptional entertainment lineup, and would most likely improve as paying guests came aboard throughout the Icon’s first cruise season.

Overall, the dining and entertainment experiences on the world's largest cruise ship left a positive impression on me. The variety and quality of the food, coupled with the engaging and diverse entertainment offerings, made for a truly memorable journey. Whether you're a food lover or a fan of captivating performances, there's something for everyone on this cruise ship.

Final Thoughts: Would I Recommend the World's Largest Cruise Ship?

After spending an incredible 3 days on the world's largest cruise ship, we had the opportunity to experience its grandeur and all that it had to offer. In this final section, I will provide my overall assessment and answer the question on everyone's mind: would I recommend the World's Largest Cruise Ship to others?

Starting with my first impressions, the sheer size and scale of this ship left me in awe. From the moment I stepped onboard, I was greeted by an impressive atrium that spanned multiple decks. The ship was like a floating city, with countless amenities and activities to keep passengers entertained throughout their journey. It was an experience like no other, and one that I will never forget.

Moving on to my top likes, there were several features and experiences that stood out to me. First and foremost, the variety of dining options was exceptional. From casual eateries to fine dining restaurants, there was something to suit every taste and preference. The quality of the food was outstanding, with a wide range of cuisines and dishes to choose from. I particularly enjoyed the AquaDome Market for quick and casual meals.

Another standout feature was the entertainment onboard. Icon of the Seas truly lived up to its reputation in this aspect. From Broadway-style shows to thrilling water slides and even an onboard ice skating rink, there was never a dull moment. I found myself immersed in the captivating performances and enjoying the adrenaline rush of the various activities.

Of course, no cruise ship experience is without its flaws, and there were a few areas that left me less impressed. One of my top dislikes was the crowded nature of certain areas, especially during peak times. With thousands of passengers onboard, it was inevitable that some spaces would feel congested and busy. This was particularly noticeable in the main dining areas and around the pool deck. While the ship offers plenty of space overall, it's important to be prepared for crowds during certain times of the day.

Additionally, I found that the price point of this cruise ship was on the higher side compared to other cruise lines. While the amenities and experiences offered are undoubtedly top-notch, it's essential to consider the value for money aspect. For travelers on a tighter budget, there may be other cruise lines or even ships within Royal Caribbean’s fleet that offer similar experiences at a more affordable price.

Comparing the World's Largest Cruise Ship with other cruise lines and ships that I have experienced, I can confidently say that it offers a unique and unparalleled experience. The sheer size, range of activities, and luxurious amenities set it apart from the rest. However, it's important to note that each cruise line and ship has its own strengths and appeals to different types of travelers. It ultimately comes down to personal preferences and priorities.

In conclusion, would I recommend the World's Largest Cruise Ship? Yes, but with some considerations. If you're seeking a luxurious and unforgettable experience, with an abundance of dining options, top-notch entertainment, and a wide range of activities, then this cruise ship is definitely worth considering. However, it's important to be prepared for the crowds and higher price point. For those looking for a more budget-friendly option or a more intimate and relaxed atmosphere, there may be other cruise lines that better suit your preferences.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to what you value most in a cruise experience. As a travel advisor, I can confidently say that the Icon of the Seas offers a one-of-a-kind adventure that is sure to leave a lasting impression.

In conclusion, I hope this blog post has provided you with an insightful look into my personal experience aboard the world's largest cruise ship as of 2024. Throughout this post, I have shared my likes and dislikes, giving you an honest assessment of what to expect when cruising on this magnificent vessel. Now, let's recap the main highlights and takeaways from my cruise experience.

First impressions upon arrival and boarding were nothing short of awe-inspiring. The sheer size and grandeur of the ship left me in awe, and the efficient embarkation process ensured a smooth start to my vacation. The ship's impressive amenities and state-of-the-art facilities set the stage for an unforgettable journey.

Now, let's talk about the top 5 highlights from my cruise experience. From the breathtaking views from the top deck to the exhilarating onboard activities, there was never a dull moment. The variety of dining options catered to all tastes and preferences, and the exceptional entertainment choices kept me entertained throughout the voyage. The luxurious accommodations provided a comfortable retreat after a day filled with adventure, and the attentive and friendly staff made me feel like a valued guest at all times.

However, it's important to address aspects that could be improved. While the ship offered a plethora of activities and dining options, it sometimes felt overcrowded, especially during peak times. Additionally, the additional charges for certain amenities and services could add up quickly, potentially impacting the overall value for money.

When it comes to dining and entertainment, there were certainly hits and misses. Some of the dining venues surpassed my expectations with their delicious cuisine and impeccable service, while others fell short. The variety and quality of the entertainment options were impressive, but there were a few shows that didn't quite resonate with my personal taste.

Now, for my final thoughts and recommendation. Considering all the positives and negatives discussed throughout this post, I would recommend this cruise ship to those who enjoy a lively and action-packed vacation. If you're someone who appreciates a wide range of activities, entertainment, and dining choices, this ship will undoubtedly exceed your expectations. However, if you prefer a more intimate and serene atmosphere, or if you're looking for a budget-friendly option, this may not be the best fit for you.

As a travel advisor, I have the expertise and knowledge to guide you in choosing the perfect cruise experience that aligns with your preferences and needs. Whether you're seeking a family-friendly adventure, a romantic getaway, or a relaxing retreat, I can help you plan a cruise that will create lifelong memories.

So, if you're ready to embark on your own unforgettable cruise journey, don't hesitate to reach out to me for further assistance. Together, we can design a personalized tailored itinerary that suits your desires, ensuring that your next cruise experience is everything you dreamed of and more. Contact me today and let's start planning your next adventure on the high seas!

Icon of the Seas (left) docked alongside Grandeur of the Seas (right) at Royal Caribbean’s Private Island Perfect Day at Coco Cay