The World's First Barbie Cruise - With My Boy

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

The world's first Barbie cruise - with my boy

"How would you like a date with the world's most popular girl?" I ask my son, Angus.

His eyes light up until I explain that she's plastic and called Barbie, however it is on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.

Although disappointed it's not Miley Cyrus, he jumps at the chance. "You won't tell my friends though, will you?" he says with a look of fear on his face. "Of course not, my little prince" I reply, failing to inform him that it will be published to millions.

This month, Royal Caribbean rolls out its new Barbie Premier Experience, a themed cruise package aimed at 4-11 year old Barbie fans. Now, I have promised to emphatically state that Angus is not and has never been into playing with Barbie dolls. However, to celebrate his 11th birthday, we're going to check out what all the fuss is about on Royal Caribbean's largest cruise liner, the Allure of the Seas.

Flying to Miami, we stay overnight in Fort Lauderdale before boarding the ship the next morning. You can't miss her. Dwarfing every vessel in the harbour, Allure is not only the biggest ship here, she's the biggest cruise liner in the world.

The world's first Barbie cruise - with my boy

"It's five times the size of the Titanic" Angus informs me "...taller than Nelson's Column and as long as four football pitches!" he says obviously well-versed in cruise ship statistics.

After a leisurely boarding, we take to the decks for the grand farewell. Armed with a flamboyant cocktail, I wave goodbye to Florida as we set sail towards the horizon and the Caribbean beyond.

As cruise virgins, both Angus and I have no idea what to expect. With 16 decks, 20 cafés and restaurants, 17 bars (including a floating bar and a proper English pub) a Broadway theatre and even an ice rink, Allure is an impressive feat of naval engineering.

Then throw in the 5400 guests who board each voyage and another 3000 members of staff and it's like a small city on the ocean. Inside, it's not unlike a Vegas hotel. Glamorous to the hilt and brimming with rather exuberant facilities including designer shops, a full-size carousel and a casino.

In an attempt to find our bearings, we head to the top deck. From here it takes a good 10 minutes to walk the length of the ship weaving past four swimming pools, a kids mini-water park, two surf simulators, a full-sized basketball court, a lawned mini-golf course and to top it all off, a zip wire which descends across the decks. Angus is blown away.

But of course, my little prince is a growing lad and these activities work up a fierce appetite. Although not entirely all-inclusive, the majority of dining options are included in the package. Along with the formal dining areas, there are frozen yoghurt machines, doughnut stalls, hotdogs and pizzas available as snacks all day, everyday. And if you didn't pack elasticated trousers, there's a state-of-the art gym open 24 hours a day and a running track to help work off those extra desserts.

Back in our cabin, Angus was unsurprisingly non-plussed by the rude amount of Barbie merchandise included in the package. He sneered over the doll, the fleecy Barbie blanket and tote bag, and even turned his nose up at the Barbie Girl lanyard (and he normally loves a lanyard) so much to his embarrassment, I embraced it all.

The world's first Barbie cruise - with my boy

Our first Barbie event was the exclusive Tiara and Teacups party held in the Adagio dining room on deck 5. It was a rather glamorous affair involving cupcakes, pink lemonade and a lesson in teatime etiquette.

Angus was not impressed. "It's too girlie!" he grumbled and stormed off to the arcades.

For non-Barbie fans, Royal Caribbean also has a collaboration with Dreamworks and has a Disney-esque parade of characters including Shrek, Puss in Boots and Kung-Fu Panda several times over the week.

Unfortunately, my boy eschewed much of the Barbie package. He point-blank refused to design a dress for Barbie in the fashion design studio and laughed at my attempt to learn the mermaid dance.

However, he did enjoy the cupcake decorating class where he learnt how to make a lion cupcake. Worried Dads and brothers can breathe a sigh of relief as the Barbie events, although very special, are only a small part of the holiday.

And if the kids need a break from their parents, Adventure Ocean on deck 14 is a fantastic kids' zone with toys, games and an array of activities, classes and events catering for children from 3 months up to 17 years.

But it's not all life on the open seas, Allure calls at three ports during the seven day sail. The first is Labadee, a beach resort in Haiti where we take our first swim in Caribbean waters. There's a full day ashore in Jamaica and another beach day in Cozumel, Mexico before this city on the seas glides home to Florida where we wave a sad farewell to Barbie and her friends.

Tracey was a guest of Royal Caribbean where double staterooms start at £1459.00 per person for 8 September 2013 departure.

Price includes return flights from London Heathrow to Miami, transfers, pre-hotel accommodation in Fort Lauderdale and a seven night Western Caribbean cruise on board Allure of the Seas departing Fort Lauderdale, Florida and calling at Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico before returning to Fort Lauderdale; meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.

The Barbie Premium Experience is an additional US$349 (£235) per child.

For more information or to book see or call 0844 493 2061.


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