Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean
Cruise,  Europe,  Travel

What To Know Before Going On A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

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Mediterranean cruises are often an idyllic way to experience the marvels of Europe. Think of it as a European sampler; you get a tiny taste of each city before heading to your next destination. After hopping onboard Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas, we share the good, the bad, and the ugly of our Mediterranean Cruise with tons of great information for a first time cruiser.

The Grand Canal in Venice : Choosing a European Cruise
The Grand Canal in Venice

How To Choose The Perfect Cruise Line For Your Mediterranean Cruise 

There are various Mediterranean cruise itineraries, each focusing on different areas of the Mediterranean. Your perfect cruise depends on your budget and the cities and countries you want to see.

Budget is the most significant factor in determining which cruise line you will sail with. If traveling with children, look for a line offering a kid’s club and activities. From there, you will want to evaluate the itineraries, finding ports of call that interest your traveling party.

The Roman Forum
The Roman Forum

PRO TIP: You spend less time onboard the ship on European cruises than on Caribbean cruises. Ships will dock early in the morning and then depart later in the evening, giving guests ample time to explore. Excursions are often 8-9 hours long, leaving you exhausted when you return to the ship.

After reviewing the many options, our family decided on Royal Caribbean’s 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise, which hit Venice, Rome, Naples, Florence/Pisa, Cannes, and Barcelona.

Enchantment Of The Seas Review

Adults only pool on Enchantment of the Seas

Enchantment of the Seas has a cult following, as many cruise fanatics love that the ship was cut in two and expanded back in 2005. Enchantment of Seas is one of the smaller ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, which can accommodate around 2,700 passengers. The appeal of fewer people onboard is enticing compared to Royal Caribbean’s bigger ships like Odyssey of the Seas, which can accommodate 5,510 passengers.

A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean
A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

Don’t expect all the bells and whistles you find on other Royal Caribbean ships. On the contrary, the ship sailed right out of the 90s with light pink interiors, oak trim, and whimsical spaces with exotic decor.

This vessel will not have water slides, an ice-skating rink, and a central park but rather a splash area on the pool deck, a jumbo screen needing repair, and a rock climbing wall.

Dining Onboard The Enchantment Of The Seas

Countless dining options are available onboard the Enchantment of the Seas. However, I strongly advise enjoying the local culinary creations and cuisine from the countries you are visiting. Have pasta in Rome, get crepes in France and paella in Spain. Remember, the best spots to snag local cuisine are often in the back alleys off the main tourist areas.

Dining onboard Enchantment of the Seas
Dining onboard Enchantment of the Seas

Pro Tip: You will choose your dining preference before sailing. For a European Cruise, I recommend the anytime dining or a later dining time, as many excursions arrive back at the ship until after the first seating. That way, if you didn’t opt to eat at port, you can enjoy the fine dining offered onboard.

Dining Options

My Fair Lady Dining is the main dining room onboard the ship. It is two-tiered, offering traditional and anytime seating. Traditional dining is when you dine on the same day every day and have the same servers, while anytime dining provides more flexibility. For anytime dining, guests will have different servers and a possible wait during peak hours. Kids menus are available with classics such as mac-n-cheese, hamburgers, chicken tenders, and pizza.

For curious minds, my daughter insisted on bringing her bear Rose, to dinner with us one night. The staff made such a fuss over Rose she decided to come to all the meals and even dress up!

Excellent Staff onboard the Enchantment of the seas
Sophie, Rose, Alba and Tibon

Guests seeking a more laid-back dining approach can venture to The Windjammer Cafe. Indulge in culinary creations from around the world, comfort foods, and delicious desserts at this popular buffet. The Windjammer is open for all three meals, but it can get overcrowded during peak hours for lunch and breakfast.

Breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe
Breakfast at the Windjammer Cafe

We often opted for a continental breakfast in our stateroom since many excursions had an early departure time. Not wanting to battle the breakfast buffet, it was often more enjoyable to sip our coffee and nibble on our croissants while getting ready in the morning.

Late-night dining is limited to the Park Cafe, which stays open late, offering fresh-baked pizza, sandwiches, and light bites.

My Fair Lady Dining Room
My Fair Lady Dining Room

Elevated dining options are available at Chops Grille or by reserving the Captain’s Table for the ultimate dining experience. During our cruise, we did not opt for either of these options as they were an extra cost. With so many great dining options included, we allocated our money to different experiences.

Top Things To Do Onboard Enchantment of The Seas

Everyone vacations differently, so a cruise is a great option when traveling with groups. Download the Royal Caribbean app to see the daily activity schedule for the week. Take a stab at the daily trivia, attend an art auction, or try a fitness class. Options are endless, but here are a few things we thought were great activities you want to take advantage of.

Live music in the Atrium on Enchantment of the Seas
Live music in the Atrium

Attend the Champagne Art Auction for a complimentary glass of champagne while having the option to bid on many of the lovely art pieces on display around the ship. Many of these pieces are beyond my budget, but I love watching the auction and seeing others win that prized work to add to their collection.

Rock Climbing At Night is an event where guests can scale the famous rock wall under the stars at the back of the ship. The Rock Wall is open periodically throughout the day during good weather if you cannot climb at night.

Rock Wall onboard the Enchantment of the Seas
Rock Wall onboard the Enchantment of the Seas

The Belly Flop Competition is one of the funniest pool games I have seen on a cruise. Guests compete for the best belly flop, which is a hoot!

Don’t miss the Sail Away Party with Balloon Drop to kick start your cruise. Dance the evening away in the atrium with a fun balloon drop the kids will adore.

Top things to do on Enchantment of the Seas
Sail away balloon drop

Catch a show in the Orpheum Theater. From magicians to musicals, there is always top-notch entertainment happening in the theater. Performances are twice a night to accommodate the dining schedules.

Orpheum Theater
Orpheum Theater

Enchantment of The Seas Kids Club Review

To put it shortly, it was a letdown. I was expecting a Royal Caribbean Cruise to have a top-notch kids club, and the one on Enchantment of the Seas was not that. My six-year-old daughter requested not to attend the kids club because it was boring.

After our most recent Disney Cruise, she fell in love with kids’ clubs, but sadly, not all kids’ clubs offer the same level of entertainment. She quickly realized that most of her time at this particular kids’ club was spent coloring, playing one specific game with a ball, and watching movies.

Walk into the “arcade” across the hall for an even bigger disappointment. There are more arcade games at a small-town bowling alley than here. The arcade room is barely big enough for six people to fit comfortably and holds 4-5 games max.

Splash area onboard Enchantment of the Seas
Splash area onboard Enchantment of the Seas

She only went to the kids club three times during our cruise, each time hoping it would improve. After the third strike, she didn’t want to try it anymore and gave up on it. More adult-focused activities were happening around the ship, so we often would take her to the pool, find live music, or hang out in our stateroom playing games.

Stateroom 7672 On Enchantment of Seas

Upgrading to a Junior Suite was an excellent option for more space to spread out, especially in the tight quarters of a cruise ship. However, I wish I had examined the deck plans more closely because our room was directly under the Spotlight Lounge. The Lounge had karaoke and music almost nightly till midnight. With it being so loud, you can practically sing along to all the songs.

Stateroom 7672 On Enchantment of Seas

Back in my youth, I would be down there belting it out with the best of them; however, with a child in tow, my late nights now consist of staying up till 9:00 pm. Bring earplugs if you are a light sleeper and go to bed early.

Junior Suite review on Enchantment of the Seas
Junior Suite onboard Enchantment of the Seas

As with all older ships, the staterooms are dated. The oak trim and furniture are worn, but the room is sparkling clean. The crew members do a fabulous job keeping your stateroom clean and tidy. All room service trays are removed, and they will help you with any requests.

One other downside to this particular stateroom was the balcony. While the balcony is huge, there is one major issue: the soot from the smoke stack falls directly onto it. The smokestack is towards the back of the ship; therefore, your balcony will be covered with black rain depending on how the wind blows.

An aft balcony offers incredible views along with soot from the smoke stack.
An aft balcony offers incredible views along with soot from the smoke stack.

Portions of the balcony are covered, but it puts a damper on your experience, especially when you pay extra for a junior suite. As you know, I wasn’t about to let a little soot keep me from enjoying those gorgeous balcony views, but it is important to note for anyone looking at rooms in the aft portion of the ship.

A perk of the Junior Suite is that there is a bathtub, and you get an Expresso machine in your room!

Royal Caribbean’s 7-Night Western Mediterranean Cruise


  • Day 1-Ravenna-Venice
  •  Day 2-Koper-Slovenia
  •  Day 3-Sea Day
  •  Day 4-Naples-Italy
  •  Day 5-Civitavecchia- Rome, Italy
  •  Day 6-Livorno-Florence/Pisa
  •  Day 7-Cannes, France
  •  Day 8-Barcelona, Spain

Day 1- Getting To Your Ship

When looking at the cruise itinerary, it indicated that our cruise left from Venice. You will want to dig deeper to see which cruise terminal you sail from. Since Venice no longer allows large cruise ships to come down the Grand Canal, you may not be leaving from Venice proper but rather another cruise port hours away.

If your cruise is leaving from Ravenna, be sure to read this!
If your cruise is leaving from Ravenna, be sure to read this!

If your port is Ravenna, it is three hours from the Airport in Venice Marco Polo. That means a few things:

  • You will need to schedule a transfer to get to the port. Royal Caribbean offers transfers, but you must book them in advance. They typically leave from the airport around 11 am-12:30 pm on the day of your cruise.
  •  If your plane arrives in Venice the day your cruise departs, you will not see Venice. Time will not be on your side to see the city and catch a three-hour transfer. Navigating the airport to historic Venice will take about an hour, and that is with a vapperato (private boat taxi).
  •  We arrived in Venice a few days early to see the city, then booked a vapperato back to the airport the morning of our cruise to catch the transfer.
  •  Consider taking the train from Venice to Ravenna or booking a private transfer if you need help getting on the transfer through Royal Caribbean.

If you want a beautiful hotel in Venice, consider the Hilton Venice. While this hotel has many perks, including a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the Grand Canal, the most significant amenity is the complimentary water taxi across the Grand Canal to three popular spots. This eliminates the need to navigate public water taxis or hire a vapperato each time.

Take your gondola ride at dusk for a magical experience
Take your gondola ride at dusk for a magical experience

Pro Tip: I recommend taking it at dusk if you plan a gondola ride. A whimsical magic falls over the canals as the setting sun sets the sky ablaze in colors.

Day 2- Koper, Slovenia

The Port of Koper drops travelers right into the heart of their old town without needing a transfer. The port is 300 meters from the main town square with its cathedral, cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions. This unique port of call was offered on the 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean.

Postojna Caves in Slovenia
Postojna Caves in Slovenia

Each port of call offers a variety of shore excursions you can book through the ship or another travel company. Many tourists will even put together custom shore excursions.

Pro Tip: We always recommend that you check with whatever company you are working with to ensure they will have you back on the ship in time. When planning your own, ensure you have a backup plan if something was to happen.

For Example: If visiting Croatia, you may opt to explore the real Croatia by cruises or take a self-guided walking tour of the city. 

We booked the Postojna Cave Tour, which was beautiful. The Postojna Caves are Europe’s largest caves, offering guests a train ride through the cave system with an hour-long walking tour. Wear long pants and bring a jacket as the caves get cold, regardless of the weather outside.

Day 3- At Sea

Day 4- Naples, Italy

Mount Vesuvius looms as you pull into port, an eerie reminder of the tragedy that occurred at the legendary city of Pompeii hundreds of years ago. With the island of Capri in the distance and the lure of a day trip to stunning Positano, cruise passengers have the difficult decision about what sites they want to see during their brief stent in port.

Galleria Umberto I in Naples, Italy
Galleria Umberto I in Naples, Italy

Naples offers many iconic landmarks and awe-inspiring landscapes that are impossible to do in a day. Guests will often have to choose between exploring the sparkling Almafi Coast, seeing the ancient ruins of Pompeii, or taking in the sites of downtown Naples.

The cruise terminal puts guests into the heart of Naples. Downloading a self-guided walking tour to see the city on foot from the cruise terminal is easy. Many tours are available through the ship to see as many sites as possible, but the reality is you will get a taste of each one.

Tips for visiting Naples while on a cruise
Pompeii in Naples, Italy

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to see as much as possible and then leave exhausted. Take it firsthand from me, who passed out in the streets of Naples from heat stroke trying to get in the final sites.

If you do the Almafi Coast, focus your time on Sorrento and Positano; if you are sailing to Capri, spend the whole day on the island; if you want to do Pompeii, plan on spending a few hours there, then hit a few sites in downtown Naples after your tour.

Day 5-Civitavecchia- Rome, Italy

One of the most important things to note about this port is that it will take an hour and a half to get from Civitavecchia to Rome. Therefore, looking at shore excursions, you will want to factor in a three-hour round-trip drive time. Many will make a note of it in the description.

Royal Caribbean's 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise
A stop in Rome during Royal Caribbean’s 7-night Western Mediterranean Cruise

Here are a few tips for doing Rome in under 8 hours:

  • Consider doing the hop-on, hop-off bus tour. The tour will take you to all the major sites in the city.
  •  Purchase tickets or skip-the-line passes for any major attraction months in advance if not included in your tour. This includes the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
  •  There is a train that will take travelers from Civitavecchia to Rome.
  •  If you miss your bus, expect to pay top dollar for a private taxi from Rome to the ship.
  •  Don’t forget the coins to throw into the Trevi Fountain!
  •  Historic sites are always best seen with a tour guide. They bring out so many unique features and stories that would have been missed.
  •  The best restaurants are never around popular tourist attractions. You should not spend $22 for pasta in Rome. Often, if you walk a short distance from the hustle and bustle of the main streets, you will find phenomenal little eateries for a fraction of the cost.
  •  As will all major cities, watch out for pickpockets, and don’t let a stranger take your family photo. They could easily run off with your phone.
  •  While Rome is usually very busy, remember that the more ships in port will mean popular attractions will be even more crowded. Three ships in port could mean an additional 10,000 tourists visiting the city during the same hours you are. Try visiting lesser-known attractions such as the Temple of Hercules Victor and Tempio di Portuno.
Temple of Hercules Victor
Temple of Hercules Victor

Day 6-Livorno-Florence/Pisa

Livorno is an hour away from Florence and 45 minutes away from Pisa. Many shore excursions include visits to both Pisa and Florence, while others will whisk travelers off to the Tuscan countryside.

How to see Florence during a European Cruise
How to see Florence during a European Cruise

We opted for a budget-friendly transfer through Viator to take us to Florence, Pisa, and back to the ship. The guide on the bus offered an hour-long walking tour of Florence for $10 Euro per adult once we arrived, which was worth every penny.

A Few Tips For Visiting Florence/ Pisa

  • While the Leaning Tower Of Pisa is on many bucket lists, you will only want to spend some of your time at Pisa. The “Square of Miracles” contains the Pisa Cathedral, the baptistery, and the Leaning Tower, all surrounded by a sea of touristy shops and restaurants.
  •  Guests can go up in the Leaning Tower but must purchase tickets in advance.
  •  Purchase tickets or skip-the-line passes for any major attraction months in advance if not included in your tour. This includes the Uffizi Gallery, Accademia Gallery, Florence Duomo, and other famous museums.
  • Visit the Officina Profumo, which has been in the perfume business since 1221!
  • Make a reservation at Osteria Pastella for an incredible meal! Get the Cacio e Pepe.
  •  Find one of Florence’s wine windows.
  •  As with most European cities, bring good walking shoes.
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day 7-Cannes, France

The jaw-dropping French Riviera is a desired port of call. The sun-drenched beaches paired with the majestic mountains are captivating. When the city is not abuzz with the Cannes Film Festival, travelers will find themselves strolling the historic Old Town, window shopping along the promenade, before posing on the red carpet at Cannes Palais des Festivals et des Congrè.

Incredible views of Cannes France
Incredible views of Cannes France

Cruise ships must use a tender to bring guests to shore, so ensure you allocate enough time to wait for a tender. Pre-planned shore excursions will utilize the tenders first; then, it will be open boarding for the rest of the guests.

One of the downsides of a Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean is that there are some ports you only get to spend a little bit of time in. For instance, all aboard was at 2 pm in Cannes. If only having one full day feels rushed, try only a few hours in a city.

Day 8-Barcelona, Spain

Our Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean came to an end in Barcelona. We opted to stay a few extra days to explore the city, which I highly recommend. Stay at the Renaissance Barcelona Hotel. It is centrally located downtown near the major attractions, restaurants, and shops. The hotel was gorgeous, and the rooftop bar stole the show with sweeping views of the city, including the Sagrada Familia.

Barcelona tips for visiting after a cruise
Barcelona tips for visiting after a cruise

We arranged a private transfer to take us from the ship to the hotel and the airport. Barcelona is a very walkable city, but to see some sites, such as Park Guell, you will likely want to take a taxi or do one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tours.

A Few Tips For Visiting Barcelona

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to secure tickets for all Gaudi’s sites. We were lucky to be able to book Park Guell and Casa Mila two days before arriving, but the Sagrada Familia was sold out.
  •  Tapas and pinchos, or “spikes,” are small bites that are a must in Spain.
  •  The Hop On/ Hop Off Bus is a great way to see the city. However, the loop is roughly 2 hours,, so plan your day accordingly if you have timed tickets.
  •  In Spain, dinner is a lighter meal, typically eaten between 9 and 10 pm during the week and even later on the weekend.
Don't wait until the last minute to secure tickets for all Gaudi's sites.
Don’t wait until the last minute to secure tickets for all Gaudi’s sites.

My Must Have Items For A European Cruise

Take advantage of these must-have items for your next European Cruise.

  • crossbody bag with a zipper. These bags are going to be your first line of defense against pickpockets.
  •  If visiting during warm weather, investing in a sun umbrella is wise. In July, this was one item we used daily.
  •  Another must-have during summer months is a portable misting fan.
  •  Liquid IV is always a great item to keep with you, especially in the summer.
  •  Many churches require guests to have their shoulders and knees covered to enter. Bring a shawl or sweater.
  •  Bring a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers.
  •  One formal night outfit.
  •  Bring medications, such as Ibuprofen, Pepto, Benadryl, Sudafed, Imodium, etc. Many items on the ship may not be readily available to you or require you to see the ship’s medic to get them. I also recommend bringing a first aid kit.

A Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean is one of the best cruises to see a lot Europe in a short amount of time. However, if you are traveling with young kids, you may want to take a closer look at Disney Cruise Lines. We had a great experience on Enchantment of The Seas but often wished that there was more to do for kids 5-10 years old.

We are already looking at our next Mediterranean Cruise, hoping to go to the Greek Islands or the Holy Land. Would we sail Royal Caribbean again? Absolutely!

Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

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Mediterranean Cruise With Royal Caribbean

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