Cruising With Kids: Barbie Dream Cruise on Royal Caribbean

October 4, 2013 | By | 8 Comments

Before Mattel’s Barbie took on a variety of challenging and progressive careers (Ambassador for World Peace, 1986; Pediatrician, 1994; Paratrooper, 2000; Architect, 2011), she was the Barbie of my ‘70s childhood. Think Sun Lovin’ Malibu Barbie, whose most difficult job was maintaining those perfectly executed tan lines.
To me, Barbie represents a freer time, when I could imagine wearing 7-inch heels without mobility issues and when life’s biggest problems lay in orchestrating multiple daily costume changes. To my four-year-old, who has suddenly developed a very specific set of fashion criteria of her own, Barbie represents the color pink and the word “pretty.” Full stop.
When I learned that Royal Caribbean would be rolling out Barbie-themed sailings across its fleet, I booked the first one I could find – the inaugural Barbie Premium Experience aboard Freedom of the Seas’ Eastern Caribbean itinerary in March, 2013. After all, the experience would have something for both of us: I’d be able to vicariously relive my Barbie passion without looking like a weirdo, and Emily would be able to wallow in a week of activities tailor-made for Barbie-obsessed little girls.

Contrary to the hype surrounding the Barbie Premium Experience, this isn’t an entire Barbie-themed cruise. Barbie-girl passengers – of which there were only ten on this sailing – pay a premium of $349 per cruise to take part in the special events held only for them on regular sailings. But there’s no mistaking who those Barbie girls are: We arrived in our stateroom, hung with a “Barbie Girls Onboard!” sign, and decorated with a nautical Barbie pillow sham and blanket, a Barbie tote with Barbie and her full wardrobe for the week (including some truly frightening gladiator stilettos) – all to take home at the end of their stay – as well as an invitation for the first event, a Tiaras and Teacups party.
Throughout the week, the girls took a Mermaid Dance class, designed fashions for their Barbies, and wrapped up the fun with a slick fashion show and Mermaid Dance performance in the On Air room.
The new partnership with Mattel has yielded a slick experience for which, frankly, Emily might not have been totally ready. Designed for girls 4 to 11 years old, she was the youngest of the Barbie girls (just shy of her fourth birthday), and less interested in the etiquette lessons during the tea party than she was, say, taking one bite from each and every pastry on the tiered tea tray. She also experimented with using the stilettos as hair accessories; doing her own dance during the choreographed portion of the show, and fleeing from the pink carpet runway.
But we didn’t need to experience all the Barbie events the way they were planned to make some mommy-daughter memories. Weeks later, she’s still sleeping on the pillow, toting her Barbie blanket to school, wearing stilettos as jewelry, and telling all who will listen about her Barbie cruise.
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    8 Responses to “Cruising With Kids: Barbie Dream Cruise on Royal Caribbean”

    1. Nancy
      October 4th, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

      If I had a little girl, I would have done exactly the same thing. It’s a great idea and you both will have some lovely memories. Way to go Mom!!

    2. Michelle
      October 13th, 2013 @ 2:11 am

      Thanks for the information and pictures. We just booked the same for our DD sailing on 11/24/13 on FOS. Can you please tell me if any of the Barbie events clashed with the shore excursion schedules?

      Thanks in advance.


    3. Debbie
      November 6th, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

      Has anyone done the Barbie Premium on ship?

      Reviews of how you liked it.

      Thanks so much. I’m not sure if it’s worth the money.

    4. Pamela W
      November 29th, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

      We were so incredibly disappointed on our recent cruise. It seems that some ships have really done well with the program and have a good number of girls who participate. Our 11/23 sailing of Brilliance had no other girls signed up, which I knew would mean the activities would be canceled, but they were supposed to still do my daughter’s stateroom Barbie setup for $100. Well, someone dropped the ball and no kits were on the ship; after she had been excited for months about her “Barbie Cruise.” RCL staff were apologetic, but not trying very hard to find a solution. THey even told me they refunded my credit card, but could not produce a receipt. Long story short, on Day 4 of our cruise, Liberty was docked with us in Cozumel, I called and asked if they could check for “kits” on that ship, which they did and my daughter got her stateroom decorated; she was THRILLED. They didn’t charge me, but after the disappointment, I was really the one who came up with the solution. I’ll definitely sail with RCL again, but not on that ship. We had some issues with Pets at Sea also.

    5. Francine McQueen
      January 7th, 2014 @ 4:04 am

      I want to take my daughter for her birthday its in December

    6. Marie H
      February 20th, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

      How did you get your daughter in the program not being four they will not let me three year old in any suggestions?

    7. Rainer Muhl
      May 9th, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

      Please send me informations about the next cruise whith barbie royal carrib-cruses
      thanks rainer from germany

    8. SuzyM
      August 21st, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

      I have just got back from the adventure of the seas and I found the Barbie experience a total rip off. I had to chase up with guest services three times before the room was decorated for my daughter. The 45mins events were only 30mins and there was no tea party. The girl in charge Sarah couldn’t even raise a smile. The films available on your TV weren’t advertised so we only caught the tail end of two, don’t think there were anymore and they were shown late afternoon when you aren’t in your cabin. For the money I thought the whole experience was a disappointment.

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