Monday, 4 June 2018

A Mini Mums Break On The High Seas!

....does the English Channel count as the high seas?!  I'm not sure...but it made for a good blog title so let's go with it!

Yes the week before last, I set sail on a 3 night mini cruise with my sister Laura onboard the fabulous Independence Of The Seas.

The holiday was a surprise Christmas gift from our parents and we were both really looking forward to the break.

Like me, Laura also has 3 children and runs her own business (she's a childminder) so both of us were really ready for the chance to kick back, relax and spend a few nights indulging in forgotten luxuries like a full nights uninterrupted sleep and the chance to eat a meal while it's still hot!

We've both been on the Independence before a couple of times and we both absolutely love the ship, but this was the first time we'd been on it together and it had just undergone a big refurbishment so we were really excited to see the changes on board for the first time.

We shared a twin balcony cabin which was a real luxury - I don't usually book balcony cabins when I travel with the boys as, although I'm sure they're perfectly safe, I'd just rather not have the anxiety of the balcony being right there. So the chance to enjoy one without needing to worry about the children was amazing! One afternoon while my sister went off to do a ship tour she'd booked, I sat myself out on the balcony with a book and a coffee - and I sat there in perfect peace and quiet for 2 full hours. Just reading, relaxing and watching the waves - it was honestly bliss!

There's something about the sea that I find really calming, and I could honestly sit and just look out at it all day. My sister is very much the same, and of a night she insisted on having our balcony doors open so that she could hear the waves as she went to sleep - it was very soothing! I think perhaps we were both supposed to be mermaids...although ironically neither of us can swim very well!

We spent our days basically trying to split our time between all of the eating that's customary on a cruise ship, and all of the relaxing we wanted to do along with seeing all of the amazing entertainment on offer - the only problem with a short cruise is trying to cram everything in but then I've had the same problem on 2 week cruises! There's so much on offer with Royal Caribbean cruises that it's always a problem trying to see and do it all...which is why it always amazes me when people think a cruise is a slow holiday for old people! Nothing could be further from the truth.

The food on board was, as always, exceptional - we indulged in delicious a la carte breakfasts with waffles made to order and all sorts of treats to choose from, were spoiled for choice at lunch in the buffet restaurant and the 50s style American diner, and then come the evening we had to find room for 3 course meals in the Main dining room and of course a slice of the delicious end-of-night pizza from Sorrentos too!

We watched the onboard shows - ranging from an amazing 80s tribute band called Wild Boys to a fantastic West End style performance of Grease, We danced at the street parties and in the club after a fair few cocktails (the Old Fashioneds in the Viking Crown are AMAZING!), and we drank glasses of complimentary fizz at the Captains Reception party.

The Royal Wedding also took place while we were away, so we sat out on the deck in our cossies with our union jack headbands on to watch Harry marry Meghan which was really lovely - everybody on the ship joined in with the National Anthem when it played and it brought a bit of a tear to my eye! I can't think of a better place to have watched it and I'll certainly always remember where I was when they got married.

On our cruise, we had 1 full sea day and 1 day docked at Cherbourg in France. I'd never been to Cherbourg before but my sister had and she said I'd enjoy the Titanic exhibition at the maritime museum there. The museum was right on the dock pretty much as soon as you got off the ship so it was really handy, and the exhibition was really interesting.

We decided against seeing more of Cherbourg as honestly our main intention on the trip was to enjoy and make the most of the time on the ship itself so we weren't too interested in seeing the sights.

I had thought that a 3 night cruise would be over in the blink of an eye, but actually I was surprised by how much we managed to do in that time - it didn't feel as though it was a "blink and you'll miss it" trip at all, it felt like a perfect amount of time for a relaxing mums break. Long enough to chill out, unwind and indulge ourselves a bit but not so long that we started to miss our babies too much to enjoy it!

Although I've been on the ship with my family and thoroughly enjoyed my holidays then, it was really nice to experience it without the children too as it felt like a completely different sort of holiday - just little things like not having to worry about tantrums in the restaurants, not having to rush through a meal when the boys were bored, not being up and down for toilet trips all the time, being able to see any show without worrying about whether it would bore the boys, being able to go to the nightclub and have a drink and a dance, and mainly...being able to get glammed up and take my time over it rather than rushing and being interrupted, and ending up feeling like a bit of a mess every night!

We had such a lovely time and it was so nice to have some girly time with my sister as it's such a rare thing - whenever we see each other it's almost always with the children, so it's very rare that we can actually finish a sentence - let alone have a conversation!

Who knows, maybe we'll try to make this an annual thing!

Have you cruised before? If not, would you?

If you're interested, I put together a little video of our trip which you can watch below:

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