Our Royal Caribbean 5 Day Australian Cruise
Last week we spent 5 nights on the Quantum of the Seas, which departed from Brisbane and went to Airlie Beach and back. This was my 5th Royal Caribbean Cruise and the second for the kids.
Here is a day-by-day timeline on what we got up to.
Day 1 - Brisbane
Our check-in time was 12:30pm. We arrived right on time and it only took around 20 minutes from our arrival to when we boarded the ship. There were a few check points to go through (Vaccination certificate, RAT result, ID, Sea Pass, security). Some documents were checked more than once, but if you are organised, then it is a relatively fast process as it was for us.
Stepping foot on the Quantum of the Seas was like walking straight into a modern shopping complex. Although it didn't quite have the wow factor that we had when arriving on the Harmony of the Seas, it was still impressive.
Image sourced from royalcaribbean.com
We opted to only take carry-on baggage (one small suitcase and a backpack each). I have checked in baggage for a cruise in the past and did not receive it back until much later in the day which is a bummer if you just want to unpack and get going! Alternatively you can pack a day pack as carry on and check in your other luggage.
Most of the bars and the big food outlets were open right away, so we could have a drink and something to eat as well as walk around and get our bearings before our cabin was ready (ours was ready at 2pm). It is a good idea to register for the Kids Club as soon as you get on....I have found the quicker you get there, the smaller the wait time is for registration. Also I have heard of it being full and you don't want to miss out!
Image sourced from royalcaribbean.com
You also need to register at your Muster station to confirm you have completed the safety briefing. They give children a wrist band here so that they know where to go, or can be easily assisted in case of an emergency.
As soon as the cabin was ready, I unpacked and then headed to the pool. The atmosphere on Day 1 around the pool is always incredible. There is loud music and everyone is in holiday mode. There was a baby pool and an adult pool (also an indoor pool), although these are quite small (as they are for most cruises). On our last cruise, we were fortunate enough to have waterslides and lots of pools, so it was quite different for the kids, although they were happy to swim and then hang in the spa.
For dinner we headed to Jamie's Italian. This was a fave of ours on our last cruise and this time was no different. The food and service were incredible. Jamie's is a "speciality" restaurant, meaning that you need to pay a surcharge, however you can eat as much as you want for that set price and the food was just so good! (I have eaten at Jamie's on land before and definitely prefer it at sea).
Image sourced from royalcaribbeanincentives.com
The kids headed to the Kids Club and I went to the Casino where I am a Prime Member so I received free drinks and had free credits earned from my last cruise. (NOTE: this cruise was a free cruise earned from Casino play on my cruise last year. I paid for the second balcony cabin as the free room can only accommodate two guests). You can find out more about their casino program here.
Day 2 - At Sea
This was our busiest day. We made full use of almost all of the onboard activities. (Everything that was not booked out, we did!)
We had breakfast (and lunch) at Windjammer - the main dining/buffet. There is so much variety and it is always busy...the food is what you'd expect from a decent buffet.
The kids did the dodgem cars, rock climbing, Flo Rider, played Xbox, table tennis and arcade games ALL DAY!
We were all so tired for the day that we opted for room service (order as much as much as you want for the $11.95 service fee) and then went to sleep in preparation for our next day.
Day 3- Airlie Beach
Waking up to a view of the Whitsunday Islands was magical.
After breakfast and in no rush to get off the ship, we made our way to the tender to get off at Airlie at around 10am. Most people get off earlier because they have tours booked, however we did not have anything planned, so we were not in a hurry. After the tender arrived at the port we hopped on to a free bus into town. There we shopped at the markets, ate at The Pub (so yum) and walked down the main street where there were lots of shops (mainstream and boutiques). There were also many restaurants to choose from.
The kids then had a long swim in the Lagoon, a massive patrolled public pool right on the water. After this we opted to ge back on the ship. (You could stay as long as you wanted to as the ship did not depart until 5pm the next evening).
We had dinner at Jamie's again and once again it did not disappoint.
After dinner we played Bingo and then the kids played with their new friends in the kids club and in the Xbox room.
Day 4 - Airlie Beach
After a slow start the morning we decided to stay on the ship. It was very hot and the kids were more than happy to hang out with their friends onboard, whilst I was happy to chill by the pool.
Because we were within Australia the kids' Spacewalk watches worked, so they could contact me and vice versa which worked really well, allowing them to roam freely onboard.
For dinner we decided to try another speciality restaurant, Chops Grille. The food was absolutely spectacular....I would say very close to the best steak I've ever had! Of course the service was also 5 star.
Day 5 - At Sea
We did a cupcake making course in the morning (prebooked) which was fun and something different for the kids to break up their day.
We were super lucky to get a last minute iFly booking which was fab, the kids loved it. I definitely recommend your kids (and you) give this a go.
For our last night, we ate at Chops Grille again. I had the fillet steak and it was to die for!
NOTE: You can opt for the free dining and spend next to nothing throughout the cruise. The main dining room offers good quality food with great service. I am a foodie and love eating out at good restaurants, so I usually eat at the speciality restaurants.
Overall, we all thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. There was never a moment when the kids were bored and the value for money was exceptional. For the second cabin it was around $2000 AUD for one adult and one child. This was for a balcony view room, which was great. (Much smaller than our Grand Loft Suite from Harmony of the Seas last year, but this room was all we needed).
DON'T FORGET TO PACK:
Lanyards and/or waterproof phone case so that you can have your sea pass with you at all times. The waterproof phone case doubles up as a phone holder so this what I used for the majority of the time.
Scissors - I always seem to need them for something!
European adapters! The outlets are not Australian and they do not sell adapters onboard. They had a few that you could loan, but they were all gone by the time I got there. I also couldn't find the right adapters anywhere at Airlie Beach. Our room had two USB ports so thankfully we could charge up our devices.A lot of other people were caught out with the same problem. Click here for a great double adapter.
Laundry sheets - Royal Caribbean don't have guest laundries and to have it done by them is super expensive (as with all hotels) and is often a 1-2 day turnaround. I use laundry sheets for jocks and socks and also take a collapsable bucket and portable clothes line. Click here for laundry sheets with next day delivery!
Socks and closed toe shoes. Some activities require you to wear these to participate (e.g. rockclimbing, iFly, rollerskating, laser tag etc). I only packed flip flops and sandals for the kids, so they ended up using my socks and missed out on laster tag.
Book your airport parking (with Wilson's if at Brisbane) as soon as you book your cruise. I ended up having to use Andrews Parking....it was almost $100 more and we waited over an hour for the shuttle to take us back to the car. (Andrews do offer car washing and car servicing which can be handy).
Everything onboard is in USD. No taxes to add on, but handy to know so that you don't get a shock when the bank statement arrives.
Book your excursions and onboard activities as early as possible. Both of these fill up very quickly. For this cruise using an outside operator for excursions was not possible because of the time/s we needed to be off and on and having to get tenders means you don't know how long you will be. For cruises where you dock directly at port, it's a much easier on/off process, so outsider tours are possible.