Flipping through the CAA Vacations brochure looking for travel ideas, I had seen the CAA Member-exclusive benefits offered on many interesting cruise and tour itineraries. But it wasn’t until I embarked on my first ocean cruise, on Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas, that I was able to truly understand how travelling as a CAA Member would save me time and money, while allowing me to experience so much more.
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My CAA Travel Consultant booked me a great deal on Royal Caribbean’s latest promotion, combining it with their exclusive CAA Vacations offer for CAA Members. I was reaping the rewards even before setting sail – a special VIP check-in voucher was included in my travel documents. When I arrived at the terminal, all I had to do was flash the voucher at the Royal Caribbean staffer after passing security and I was shown to the priority line. I really did feel like a VIP when just moments later I was walking past the regular check-in line with my SeaPass (boarding) card already in hand, ready to board.
Time to Toast
After a stroll down the Royal Promenade with its array of restaurants, bars and shops, I headed to my stateroom. I was instantly impressed by its size and comforts… and the bottle of Moët & Chandon champagne chilling on ice! Royal Caribbean’s CAA Vacations offer includes a bottle of bubbly delivered to the stateroom during the cruise. In my case, it arrived at the perfect time to pop the cork and raise a glass to my first cruising adventure. I was soon out on the top deck with glass in hand, waving goodbye to the locals on land getting smaller and smaller in the distance.
The next morning, I headed to the Alhambra Theatre for a presentation by the Shore Excursion crew – the experts that would help me decide how to best spend the Onboard Credit that Royal Caribbean includes with CAA Vacations bookings. Our ports of call were Belize City and Cozumel, so I was intrigued by the many choices that would allow me to discover the local culture past and present, explore the underwater wonders of the world’s second largest barrier reef or simply relax on a beautiful beach. I ended up choosing Tale of Two Cities in Belize, an informative excursion to the important Maya trading site of Altun Ha, where a five-kilogram solid jade head had been unearthed, combined with a city tour and free time at the port’s tourist village. In Cozumel, I joined the 3 Reef Snorkel trip and was thrilled to spot colourful fish, swaying coral and a beautiful eagle ray that glided gracefully through the water.
Beyond discovering interesting destinations, sailing on a Royal Caribbean ship was an experience in itself. In addition to a range of dining venues to suit all tastes and pools to float in while watching movies on the big screen, the ship had many options for when I was feeling more active. And after I played a few rounds of mini golf, rode some waves in the surf simulator called Flowrider and climbed up the rock wall, I was very thankful that Royal Caribbean offers a free spa treatment to CAA Members for select sailings and staterooms! My Swedish massage was a relaxing way to wind down after such an exciting few days.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first cruise. It felt great to be recognized as a CAA Member by Royal Caribbean, and I truly appreciated all the extra CAA Vacations inclusions they offered me to make the most of my journey – both on board as I sailed on a stellar ship with top-notch service and on land as I discovered two amazing new destinations.
This blog was courtesy of Sherry Brown – cruise insider and CAA Associate
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