Taking a cruise for the very first time might seem intimidating, but when you’re traveling with Royal Caribbean, it’s anything but. From making sure every detail of your vacation is taken into account to guaranteeing your shore excursions go off without a hitch, the goal is to make your trip as easy (and exciting!) as possible. And once you’re on board, activities and entertainment are endless.
Every guest can have their dream vacation, whatever that looks like. Just ask The Slyfox Family: The popular YouTube foursome cruised for the very first time this summer aboard our newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. Hannah, Andrew and their two children, Jaedyn (11) and Caspian (6), took a seven-night European cruise that started in Barcelona and visited Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and Pisa, Rome and Naples in Italy.
Read on to discover how sailing on Symphony of the Seas changed their perspective on cruising, and watch them slide down the tallest, most thrilling slide at sea!
Q: Tell us about your first impressions of Symphony of the Seas.
Hannah: We were intimidated by cruising because we had never been on a ship before. As we drove up to Symphony in Barcelona I thought, Holy cow this is massive! I didn’t know if the ship was going to feel super packed or like we were on a giant floating hotel. But it wasn’t like that at all. Symphony is large enough that everybody can disperse and go their own way, and there were so many things to do, from waterslides and kid-friendly pools to original productions and even ice skating. We never once felt crowded. Overall, there was this great sense of adventure on board, and we all walked away from the vacation asking each other when we could take another cruise with Royal Caribbean.
Q: What assumptions about cruises did you have prior to boarding, and how did Symphony challenge them?
Andrew: I pictured the staterooms being really tiny with just a little porthole, but our accommodations were pretty amazing. We had a balcony overlooking the sea where we loved to watch the sunset. Also, we were pleasantly surprised to learn Royal Caribbean offers laundry service, too—that was so helpful.
Jaedyn and Caspian were obsessed with the towel animals left by housekeeping every day, too. They insisted on keeping them on display and wouldn’t let us use them!
I had some stereotypes about what cruises were like: That the guests would be older, and the food wouldn’t be great, but those things couldn’t be farther from the truth. We ate so well, literally every single day, and there were so many young families on board.
Hannah: I really appreciated how much there was to do on the ship, and how many avenues we could take. Royal Caribbean gave us the ability to choose what type of vacation we wanted to have. We could chill by the pool if we felt jet-lagged or we could pack our day with activities. It was amazing to have the ability to craft our days just the way we wanted.
Q: We’re glad to hear you liked the food! What were your favorite restaurants?
Andrew: Chops Grille was our favorite. It was incredible that we could have high-quality steaks and Maine lobster on a ship. We also loved the grab-and-go options at El Loco Fresh. It was super fast, easy and delicious—all of which are so important when you’re traveling with kids! We ate there multiple times.
Q: Speaking of there being so much to do, tell us about your favorite activity on board.
Hannah: Hands down, the Ultimate Abyss Slide. I had never seen or experienced anything like it before, ever. I was nominated to go down first. It was so much fun. There were lights and noises, too, which made the whole experience so cool and one of a kind.
Andrew: The Ultimate Abyss was a ton of fun. Even for me as a grown man it was seriously impressive because it’s huge! I loved it, and I was excited that our daughter Jaedyn had an opportunity to go down, too. We wanted her to step out of her comfort zone and try something new, and it was more fun than she ever could have thought.
Q: Let’s talk about your time on land. What city did you enjoy visiting most?
Hannah: My favorite place was Florence. We had originally planned to tour the city with the group, but decided to stay in the main square, take family photos and shop at all the little local stores. It felt like we were in a movie. It was just so cool and special. The four of us felt like we got lost in the city, in the best possible way.
Q: How about shore excursions?
Hannah: We all loved exploring Rome. The kids thought it was wild that they could enter the Colosseum the same way the gladiators once did. Our guide was so knowledgeable about the history of the space, and it gave me peace of mind to have a designated, seasoned traveler who would keep us on schedule and get us back to the ship on time. To have that type of support in a foreign country when you’re traveling with kids was a weight off our shoulders and a huge plus of traveling with Royal Caribbean.
Q: Any words of wisdom for first-time cruisers?
Hannah: My number one tip is if you’re traveling internationally, give yourself an extra day to get acclimated to the time change so you can take advantage of everything the ship has to offer. There’s just so much to explore on board, and you’ll regret losing a whole day to jet lag. Next, if a destination is new to you, stick to the guided excursions rather than go at it alone. You get to see so much with Royal Caribbean’s team of experts.
Ready to book your first cruise? Head here to explore all the thrills in store aboard Symphony of the Seas.
The Slyfox family sailed with Royal Caribbean as part of a paid partnership.