Now, you probably all saw the photos and vids I posted on my Instagram stories whilst I was away but I asked you guys on my Twitter & Instagram if you wanted a proper full blog post of my holiday pics so here it is!
In late August me and my boyfriend went on a Royal Caribbean Cruise to Rotterdam and Bruges. It was a 3 day ‘mini cruise’ and it sailed from Southampton. It’s advertised as a ‘taster cruise’ for those who have never cruised before with Royal Caribbean but we just wanted a short cruise this time so it was perfect.
We have sailed with RC before and absolutely loved their style of cruising, their ships design and great fun entertainment so it was a no-brainer to go with them again. Our ship this time was Independence of the Seas, one of the larger ships that RC have in their fleet and even better, it’d just been refurbished a couple of months previously.
We don’t live near Southampton, nowhere near, so we had to book a hotel to stay in the night before because no way was I risking missing the ship if we ran into traffic on the day.
There is a Premier Inn right by Southampton Docks and the cruise terminal we were sailing from so its perfect for those, who like us, need a place to stay the night before going on their cruise.
We stayed here the last time we sailed from Southampton and back then (5 years ago) it was just the hotel there, I don’t remember anything else being around it, buildings or anything else. But now there is a brand new MASSIVE cinema there and some other building across from the hotel. I was so surprised at how much has changed since we’d been there last!
At the back of the Premier Inn (West Quay) they are building a Marriot hotel so there was a bit of noise in the morning when we woke up but nothing major.
Time to board!
Our check in time at the terminal was 12:30-1pm so we checked out of the Premier Inn and headed towards the Shuttle Car Park in Southampton Docks. We parked the car in this big car park and boarded a coach with our luggage and headed down the road to the cruise terminal where the Independence of the Seas was waiting for us!
Check in was so very quick and easy as a few days earlier I did Royal Caribbean’s online check in so we bypassed most of the usual form filling and stuff. We were given our cards to use on the ship (there is no currency used anywhere on board) and made our way on board!
Let the holiday begin!
We got into our cabin at 1pm, dumped our stuff and went to explore the ship and have a few drinks to get our holiday started!
The range of cocktails they have on board is amazing so you’ll always have new drinks to discover and enjoy.
We also had to do an emergency drill before we set sail which every single passenger had to take part in. It took about 45 mins to do and there was a lot of standing around but needs must I suppose!
We had our dinner in the main dining room that evening and the food was exquisite! Annoyingly, I didn’t take any pics of it but take my word for it, it was perfect.
We arrived in Rotterdam about 10am that morning and OMG I can see why it is the biggest port in Europe, WOW! It just went on forever…
We didn’t have any excursions planned for Rotterdam and to be honest the weather was a bit crappy… So we made the most of what the ship had to offer.
There is SO much to do on board the ship that they deliver a newsletter every day to your cabin informing you of what’s going on. We found it so handy to keep with us throughout the day so we could plan things and make sure we didn’t miss out!
We arrived in Bruges at 7am and thank the LORD the weather was good! We had an excursion today to a little village called Damme and a chocolate factory/shop! You just know all I was bothered about was the visit to the chocolate shop…
Whilst travelling through the Bruges countryside I noticed how stylish all the buildings were, every single home I saw, whether it was social housing or owned homes was so modern. It definitely puts our boring houses in the UK to shame!
Chocolate World was absolute heaven! It was massive inside with every kind of chocolate you could imagine! There was a fountain where you could dip marshmallows in and I’m not ashamed to say I went back for thirds! It was just unreal!
After the chocolate shop we went to visit a castle.
I say ‘castle’ but to me, it seemed more of a stately home. It was beautiful though!
Kasteel Van Loppen is a Neo-gothic monument close to Bruges city centre which was built in 1856 by Baron Charles Van Caloen and his wife Countess Savina de Gourcy Serainchamps (what a mouthful!).
The interior is as it was when the Baron and Countess lived there and it was SO interesting to see bits of their family history dotted about.
However I was quite disappointed that we could only see the ground floor of the building and not anything else, I’m not sure whether that’s because the family still live there.
Bruges was an absolutely gorgeous place and I’d definitely love to return one day and spend more time there exploring.
As it was the last night of the cruise the cruise director Joff, hosted a party on the main promenade of the ship and it was BRILLIANT!!!
It was a 70s theme and the music, singers and dancers were amazing. Truly my favourite part of the holiday!
After the party, me and G headed to the ship’s nightclub, Viking and had a little drink and dance. The DJ played an amaaaaazing set and I wish we’d had longer on the ship to enjoy everything it had to offer.
Independence of the Seas and Royal Caribbean as a whole had everything me and my boyfriend could ever want and more.
I know that some people think cruises are for old people and where such cruise companies such as Cunard are more for the older generation, I’d say that RC are more for the younger cruiser.
I hope you all enjoyed my mega long post haha! Have you ever been on a cruise, if so, who with and what was it like??