Last weekend we were guests on the Stena Line Pirate and Princess Cruise. It was amazing. There’s so much to say about our delightful day out, so bear with me while I spread this over a few posts. We sailed from Belfast to Scotland and back again (you stay on board the entire time), all the while enjoying the pirate themed entertainment and on board amenities. It was tough only waving hello to Scotland. I’m dying to visit and thought about jumping overboard, but I imagine a ferry trip to the Highlands is in the cards soon.
Our kids (aged 1 and 2) really had a great time. Luckily we had beautiful weather and a pretty smooth crossing. I spoke to a couple of princesses aged 8 and 9 (it was the 9 year old’s birthday) and they were having a fabulous time running around like they owned the ship. By the end of the cruise, they practically did. Despite the frenzy of little pirates and princesses, the staff was always friendly and helpful. The children’s entertainers were especially great with the little ones. I’m sure they were wrecked at the end of the day.
We had lunch onboard and the food was surprisingly good. I had pretty low expectations based on previous airline experiences but this blew plane food out of the water (see what I did there?) Along with ready made sandwiches and snacks, there is a pretty big selection of hot meals. There’s a nice kid’s menu or you can get a half portion of anything on the main menu. The boys had fish fingers and baked beans (fish just seemed appropriate). Chris and I had burgers and chips. As an Texan, I feel I’m uniquely qualified to judge a burger and this was one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time.
There was so much entertainment onboard, not that we needed much, the novelty of being on a boat was more than enough for Nate and Alex just liked watching all the big kids. There were movies, magic shows, treasure hunts, face painting, story telling and costume contests. The kids got a goody bag as soon as we got on board with pirate stickers, stationary, an eye patch, temporary tattoos (Nate loved that!) and Haribo (which strangely disappeared under Chris’s watch). There was a really cool interactive display floor with fish swimming around. The water slashed and the fish swam away when you stepped on it. I really wish I had that at home because it entertained Nate for ages! While all the kids were going mad below deck, I got to chill out in the Pure Spa. This tips Stena Line way over the competitors for me. Lisa and her team were absolutely amazing. The spa is a wonderful oasis and a great place to destress or detox. I relaxed in the jacuzzi with a beautiful skylight above as seagulls flew past, watched the waves thrugh the full window in the sauna and got a full body massage (my first since I got pregnant with Alex!) There are a range of massage and nail treatments you can get at incredibly reasonable rates. One other favourite spot on the boat was the soft play room. Unlike other ferries we’ve been on, this was a dedicated room with places for parents to sit. There was also a TV showing kid’s movies. Alex loved the room (and all the little princesses in it, the big flirt!) He started climbing and pulling himself up for the first time there! I think he was inspired by the bigger kids. The play area (and Curious George) feature on all the cruises and is definitely one of the reasons we prefer ferries to flights.
We also stayed in one of the cabins, a gorgeous and really comfortable room with double bed and en suite. The boys all took a little break there while I was in the spa. If you have really little kids that need to nap, are nursing and want some privacy or just want a place to get away from everything I can definitely recommend the rooms. You get your own TV, tea & coffee and the mattress is really comfortable.
All in all it was a fabulous trip and lots of fun. I think we’d like to do it again when the boys are little bigger and can really get into dressing like a pirate. Thanks to everyone at Stena Line, all the fantastic crew on board and at the Belfast check in for making the trip such a success.
There are many more Pirate and Princess cruises planned for the year, so hop on board!
No payment was received in compensation for the post, but our trip was provided by Stena Line so that we could review it. All opinions are my own, who else would they belong to?