Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - St. Maarten

In:
05May2016

We are in St. Maarten today, and it is our last port to visit on this cruise!

Navigator of the Seas arrived in port right on time and we were across the dock from Freedom of the Seas.  

Independence of the Seas and a Carnival ship were also in port with us today.  This was the only day where we had any other ships in port with us, which is kind of odd.

We got ourselves ready and gave the kids just a banana and some milk to start with because we wanted to have breakfast/brunch on the island.

We disembarked and walked through the port area to find our driver.  

We made a pit stop for sunglasses, because the youngest broke my wife's sunglasses the other day.  Sadly, we had to find the first souvenir shop we could find and pay the $15 asking price for them.  C'est la vie, I suppose.

We had made arrangements with a driver named Leo Brown prior to our cruise to drive us around for the day.

Leo is someone we met many cruises ago and have used every single time in St. Maarten, because he is knowledgable, well-versed on what is available to see/do/eat/experience on the island and very reasonably priced.

We met Leo at the entrance to the port and we were off.

We made a quick pit stop at a supermarket on the Dutch side to pick some cheese and drinks.

We then headed to the French side of the island and to Marigot, to have some breakfast.

Leo brought us to this wonderful French bakery, where they had amazing freshly baked baguettes, croissants and other pastries.

We ate it with the cheese we picked up earlier in the outdoor seating area, close to the ocean. Magnifique!

We walked around Marigot a little bit, and stumbled on an outdoor market, where we perused the various items for sale and got the girls some ice cream to cool down.

Next, it was back in the car to head to the beach.

We made a pit stop at Friars Bay to see the beach there.  It looked lovely, but we wanted a beach that was a better fit for the kids.

We drove to Le Galion beach, which is a beach that is a protected cove, which means there are no waves.

The beach is beautiful, and you can get a beach chair and umbrella for 5 euros each.  

The reason we go to Le Galion is because the ocean is so calm here, the kids can run in and out of the ocean without concern of a wave knocking them down.  It is also super shallow for a long time, so our 5 year old can wade deeper than usual.

It was a great time playing, but the kids started to get tired so we packed into the car.

Our plan was to grab something to eat before going back to the ship, but the kids fell asleep in the car, so we just had Leo take the long way back to the ship to let them nap a little.

We bid adieu to Leo and thanked him for his services once returning to the port. It was then back on the ship for Sorrentos Pizza and showers.

Back on Navigator of the Seas, I was very hungry and decided to not only have something to eat, but enjoy a classic Royal Caribbean dish.

I ordered from room service the honey stung chicken. It may be gone from embarkation day lunch menu at the Windjammer, but its legacy lives on in your staterooms (20-45 minute waits at a time).

After showering and getting dressed, I took my oldest daughter for ice skating in Studio B.

It was her first time skating and I am not sure she really loved it, but she did not fall once (thanks to a death grip on my hand).

We dropped both children off at Adventure Ocean and then made our way to deck 4 for an all-time favorite.

For our pre-dinner drinks, we grabbed a drink at R-Bar.

Seeing as it was Cinco de Mayo, we had made reservations at Sabor Modern Mexican.  

My wife made reservations online months ago and for good reason, considering the place was packed.

We have enjoyed Sabor on every Royal Caribbean ship it had been offered and have loved it.  Amazing food, highlighted by even better guacamole.

One aspect that is wonderful about Sabor on Voyager- and Freedom-class ships versus Oasis-class ships is there are select margaritas that are hand-crafted in front of your table.

These are really great and were the perfect value for my handy, dandy drink card I purchased yesterday!

The meal was amazing and I ate much too much, but loved every bite of it.

Given all the fun we had in St. Maarten, lack of naps, and ungodly amount of food consumer at Sabor, my wife and I were really feeling quite tired.

We collected the children and called it a night early so that we could start tomorrow fresh (fresh is like 11am, right?).

Tomorrow is a sea day, and only our second sea day since day 2. Seriously.

Stray Observations

  • Marigot has some great food and I would love to have spent more time there.  
  • Leo informed us much of the Dutch side was closed today, because there was some holiday.
  • There was literally not one empty table at Sabor tonight.  Clearly, Cinco de Mayo is a big deal, or at least a pretty good excuse to try Sabor.
  • Knee pads are provided in addition to helmets for guests doing ice skating.
  • The SeaPass card readers have the option for WOWBands.  I suspect it is more a coincidence that the POS provider Royal Caribbean partners with offers one model to all ships than a hint of what is to come to Navigator of the Seas.  But I could be totally wrong.
  • No naps, no casino visits and no Diamond drinks. Clearly, Bizarro Matt is here.

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Video: Royal Caribbean revitalizing six ships

In:
05May2016

In 2016, Royal Caribbean will revitalize six ships in its fleet: Liberty of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas. The massive project will introduce some of the many innovations the cruise line is known for. Take a look at how these ships are transformed bringing the best of Royal Caribbean onboard.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 5 - St Kitts

In:
04May2016

Welcome to the island of St. Kitts, which is our third port stop and it is my first time here.

We were scheduled to arrive at about 10am, so there was not much rush this morning.

The 1-year-old woke us up too early again, but we did get a chance to enjoy the view of us sailing into St. Kitts from the comfort of our balcony.

Prior to disembarkation, I made a Starbucks run and noticed a sign at Cafe Promenade advertising the rarely seen, but often discussed, drink card!

These drink cards are special promotions that a particular Royal Caribbean ship will offer on a particular itinerary, but there is no way to know or guarantee it will happen on your sailing.  Essentially, the ship's revenue manager will want to boost revenue and offer a drink card.

The drink card costs $80 and that gets you 10 drinks (beer or wine), including gratuity.  You can share the drink card and use it just like the Premium drink package.  It basically works everywhere, except for room service, mini-bar and does not include some of the crazy-expensive liquors.

I am generally not a fan of the unlimited drink packages because I, personally, cannot drink enough to "break even" on them over the course of the cruise, but a 10 drink card that I can share with my wife is a no-brainer.  That means all my drinks will cost $8, and with most cocktails at $10-12, it will be easy pickings for me!

Once we were docked, we headed off the ship for our excursion.

We had booked prior to the cruise the scenic railway excursion, where we would tour part of St. Kitts on an old train that used to be used for transporting sugar cane.

The excursion cost $109 per adult ($59 for kids, the 1 year old was free) and we boarded a bus to bring us to the train.

The bus driver gave us a tour of the island as we made our way to the train, giving history on the island as well as pointing out various points of interest.

You will board the train at one of two positions, depending on where the train happens to be from the last ride.

I will write up a formal review of the excursion for a future blog post, but essentially, you tour the countryside by train and get a chance to see a lot of the parts of the island that many excursions do not go.

Also included in the excursion is unlimited mixed drinks, sodas and water.

We picked this excursion because it was something completely different than we had done before and we thought it would low-impact for the kids.  I think the kids enjoyed it, not sure it was their favorite thing ever either. The one-year-old got stir crazy by the end and scenery is largely lost on her, but overall it served its purpose of doing something different.

We returned to the port area and I did a little perusing around the port area.  

We left the port area for a bit, but unlike Cozumel or Grand Cayman, there was not a whole lot that I could find that a tourist would find worthwhile purely on our own while walking.

I would like to return to St. Kitts so that we can do more exploring of what there is to do.  I think next time we will do more of a potpourri approach, hiring a driver, and checking out a few quick spots.

Back on the ship, it was nap time and Adventure Ocean time for the kids.

As afternoon turned to evening, I was compelled to try something new, yet still old.

I noticed the other day there was an "Izumi to go" option and wanted to try it out.

Essentially, it is take out sushi that is available, where you call Izumi, order anything off the menu and then go to the restaurant to pick it up.

I could see a variety of reasons this would be useful, especially for evenings when being on the balcony is preferable or the kids are not in the right mood for a restaurant.

I ordered my go-to DX Sushi Combo and it was ready in about 10 minutes.  They will actually call your stateroom to let you know it is ready to be picked up.

Hard to beat sushi on my balcony!

We got dressed for dinner and dropped my youngest off at the Nursery.  My wife and I headed up to the Diamond Lounge to check out what was happening there.

In addition to the usual drinks, here is a look at the food available.  Some nice snacking options and I really like being out in the outdoor section, where there is a nice breeze to enjoy.

In the time leading up to dinner, we wandered around and tried some drinks from Boleros.  

At dinner, I had a cruise first when a waiter from Sabor came to our table and told us our regular waiter was sick and he would be waiting on us.  

We rounded out our evening with music at the pub. Jimmy is the guitarist there and is very entertainment.

We had a very nice moment this evening, when we picked up my 5-year-old from Adventure Ocean and they had a backpack full of goodies for her as a present.  They said it was "for being cruising with them so much", but it was such a kind gesture.

The Adventure Ocean staff, both in the Adventure Ocean and the Nursery, are the hardest working folks I see on any Royal Caribbean ship.  They genuinely care about the kids and their well-being, and we have had such excellent crew members over the years. Tonight was just the icing on the cake.

Tomorrow is our last port stop and we will be in St. Maarten.  We have lots planned, so hoping everything (mostly the children) cooperates!

Stray Observations

  • The Cruise Compass and the Captain both told us the high temperature would be about 73 to 75 degrees today.  My sweaty clothing tell a much different story.
  • The tour guide told us there some 20,000+ monkeys on the island, but the only ones we saw were the monkeys you can pose with in the port area.
  • The Port Zante area is similar to many other Caribbean port facilities, with tourist shops, a few bars and even fewer restaurants.  
  • The distance between St. Kitts to St. Maarten is something like 90 miles, so we are going extremely slow.  I cannot remember a cruise where we went this slow, for this long a time.  
  • Someone asked about the blue car on the Royal Promenade, so here it is!
  • We have used 3 drinks so far from our 10 drink coupon.  I think it will be most useful at our specialty restaurant reservations, especially Sabor.
  • For those keeping score at home, no naps for me today!
  • May the Fourth Be With You!

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Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - San Juan

In:
03May2016

Today we visit our second port of call, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

If memory serves me correctly, we were drawn to this itinerary because of the San Juan stop.  We love Old San Juan for its amazing culture, history and food.  

We let the kids dictate what time we woke up today, which meant the 1 year old was up at dawn and the 5 year old wanted to sleep until noon.

We managed to get everyone out the door by 8am for a breakfast in the Windjammer.

Today was kind of a mashup of sea day and port day.  We were not due to dock in San Juan until 2pm, so the morning was effectively a sea day.

After breakfast, we went to the Nursery for a parent and child activity, where kids can play with all sorts of instruments.

They had maracas, drums, triangles and lots of other instruments that the kids could "play" to their hearts content.

It was 45 minutes and a great way for kids and parents to do something together and something just for the youngest children.

By about 10am, we were all feeling the effects of getting woken up at dawn, so headed back for a nap.  The theme to this cruise is napping is the best vacation ever.

We awoke at 11:30 to see we were entering San Juan harbor, signigicantly earlier than we were planning.

The Captain informed us that there was a medical emergency, and so the ship got to San Juan much sooner.  They took care of the guest and by about 12:30pm, we were cleared.

Ordinarily this would be great news to get an extra hour and a half in port, but we were dependent on Adventure Ocean and the Nursery being open, and they were still on track to open at 2pm.

We took it easy onboard until both facilities opened up, dropped both children off and then were on our way.

My wife and I had a simple plan for Old San Juan: there was no plan.  We would just explore the city and see where it took us.

The most sensible strategy for walking Old San Juan is to head to the forts first, which are at the top of the hill that San Juan is built on, and then work your way down.

We began at Fort San Cristobal, because my wife had never been there.

Admission to the fort is $5 and admission to one fort gets you admission to both forts for that day.  

Both forts are impressive in their architecture, history and views.  Even if you do not care about the history at all, the views you get of the city from these forts is quite impressive.

After exiting the fort, we wandered the streets and stopped here and there to see art, window shop or grab a drink.

The weather was hot and humid, but not oppresively so.  Had this been a few more months from now, it might have been awful but today was just hot.  Luckily, there clouds and a decent breeze, so that helped.

Nonetheless, we took opportunities to stop, sit down and sip on something tasty.

We ran across Las Palmas restaurant and had their mojito and pina colada, both of which were excellent.

You forget what the real thing tastes like after having so many mixes.

In short, we did a lot of walking and just meandered.  For us, this is what makes Old San Juan fun and it is great to see the city on foot.  It is a gorgeous as it is hilly!

For dinner, we ended up in El Jibarito because the reviews were too good to pass up.

Naturally, I opted for the mofongo and chicken in garlic sauce.

I love mofongo, which is the national dish of Puerto Rico, and is essentially mashed plantains.  It tastes really good.

We made one last walk up to El Morro to see the sunset, which was quite lovely, despite the clouds.

 

Next it was off to 3 convenience stores in search of swim diapers (neither Walgreens or a local market carry them, but CVS had it) and then it was back onboard.

Since we had eaten dinner on shore, we skipped dinner on the ship and enjoyed sailaway from the helipad.

Tomorrow, we are headed to St. Kitts, which will be our first time ever there.

Stray Observations

  • According to my iPhone, I logged 17k steps today.  Evidently San Juan is great for walking off those drinks.
  • I admit, it felt really good to have a cell connection and high speed internet once again.  
  • There is a complimentary shuttle from the port area to El Morro and another complimentary shuttle that brings you from the entrance of El Morro all the way to actual fort. Your feet will thank you for being able to use them.
  • The Captain indicated many taxis were on strike today because they were protesting Uber coming to the island. 
  • I love visiting ports, but I would love to have a sea day tomorrow just to get a break from the excursions.  Four port days in a row is tough!
  • There was not as much street food as I was expecting, unfortunately.  I made up for it in drinks and mofongo!
  • The nursery also offers everyday a self-play option in Optix, where parents can go anytime 9am-5pm to play with toys. We liked doing this on Allure of the Seas, and will be using this more going forward.
  • I joked that San Juan must mean, "land of many hills and equally as many cats"

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Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Labadee

In:
02May2016

Today is our first port stop and it is among my favorite ports to spend the day, Labadee.

Labadee is Royal Caribbean's private destination and it is all about a beach day.

We were scheduled to arrive at 7am and be cleared by 7:30am, but we did not get the announcement until 8:30am.  It did not really matter, since we were not up and ready until maybe 9am.

We had breakfast at the Windjammer and then promptly dropped my 5-year-old daughter off at Adventure Ocean.  She wanted to stay onboard rather than deal with the heat and sand of the beach. Whatever makes her happy!

Getting off the ship was quite easy and it is remarkable the difference of visiting Labadee on Navigator of the Seas versus our last ship, Allure of the Seas.

I had booked online a beach lounger because it was something I had not seen offered in Labadee previously.

For $35, you could get a beach lounger, along with attendant.  It is somewhat similar to what has been offered on CocoCay for a while.

The beach loungers are set up at Adrenaline Beach in a roped off area that essentially has its own private beach.

Each beach lounger has two beach chairs inside the lounger and an attendant who can get you drinks.

I will post a more formal review later on, but it was a nice way to spend the day.  We all ended up napping, which was fine with me.

I love Labadee's sheer natural beauty, warm waters and tons of activities, but getting a visit from the "Labadoozie fairy" is just what I wanted!

Our schedule at Labadee was a bit odd, with an early arrival and then departure by 2:30pm.  Given that, we got back on the ship around 12:30pm, rinsed off back in the room and had lunch in the Windjammer.

We checked on my daughter on Adventure Ocean to see if she wanted to leave, but she was having too much fun there, so we let her stay.

We walked by the NextCruise office to see if they were taking walk-ups. They had availability, so we stopped in for a quick "chat".  That is all I am allowed to say at this time. 

We headed back to the room for my 1-year-old daughter to nap and to figure out our plans for the rest of the day.

Seeing as my daughter was napping, it looked like a good idea, so I partook in the hard to find but often sought after, two naps in one day!

When I (and the baby) came to again, it was close to dinner time so we retrieved my 5 year old from Adventure Ocean.  I made a quick pit stop at Cafe Promenade for a Starbucks infusion (it's not easy taking two naps in one day).

As the sun started to go down, it was a very pretty sight to behold from our balcony. 

It is views like this that make a balcony worth every penny!

After we got the kids dressed and fed, we brought them up to Adventure Ocean and the Nursery and my wife and I headed down to a place we loved on our last Navigator of the Seas cruise, R-Bar.

R-Bar is a throwback kind of lounge, with kitchy furniture and personalized cocktails.

I looked over their menu but remembered a drink they used to make at the R-Bar on Navigator of the Seas, called the Raspberry Ricky.

The waitress was surprised I knew what that was and was able to make it for me.  Score!

Tonight was Italian night in the main dining room. I love the Italian night menu and think it is the best overall main dining room menu.

I went with the lasagna and eggplant parm, neither of which disappointed!

Following dinner, we did a little gambling and enjoyed some time on deck before collecting the children.

Tomorrow is our next port stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  We are going to do a lot of exploring, so it should be a full day.

Stray Observations

  • The Diamond drink coupons are evidently available to use at Cafe Promenade for select coffees: lattes, cafe Americano and a few others. Sadly, my go-to caramel macchiatto is not included.
  • Maybe this is what happens after you cruise on Allure of the Seas, but I have found very, very few lines onboard. Crowds are nearly non-existant.
  • Tonight's entertainment is 70's night, but we decided to skip in order to get some needed sleep and get energy for San Juan.
  • Speaking of entertainment, today's Cruise Compass activities felt very light in terms of things to do.  I believe 70's night plays a lot in that.
  • Tomorrow morning in the Nursery is a complimentary music event from 9:00 - 9:45am and I would like to go there, unless by some miracle the kids sleep in.
  • A special hello to Chad and his family, who said hello while we were in the R-Bar.  Talking to Chad got me super excited for our group cruises!
  • If you have read all of this and thought, "Gee, it sounds like all Matt did was nap today" then you would be 100% correct. Never pass up a good nap opportunity!

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Royal Caribbean is giving away a cruise to one lucky adventurous mom out there

In:
02May2016

Have an adventurous mom? Royal Caribbean wants to give them a cruise!

Royal Caribbean launched a new photo contest to find moms who like to explore and get out there, where you can submit photos of your mom performing an adventurous activity for a chance to win.

Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Mom Photo Contest is open to people who can enter by uploading  a photo or video to Twitter or Instagram. Each submission must tag @RoyalCaribbean and include the hashtags #MMDContest to indicate that you have read and agree to the Contest’s Terms and Conditions and acknowledge that entry via Twitter or Instagram will result in the submission of your photo/video. 

The grand prize is a 4-5 night Eastern Caribbean cruise for Winner and one guest onboard a Royal Caribbean ship offering 4-5 night Caribbean sailings in an interior double-occupancy stateroom. 

You can read all the rules here, but the basics are the contest is open only to permanent, legal residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen years old at the time of entry.Judging will take place between May 16, 2016 and May 25, 2016.

99 days of Harmony: Why Harmony of the Seas will be a Broadway fan's favorite cruise

In:
02May2016

Royal Caribbean designed its newest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas, to be an entertainment mecca that offers it all. The ship is also shaping up to be the premier cruise ship for Broadway fans all over.

Royal Caribbean has had a strong relationship over the years with theater and Broadway, but Harmony of the Seas is taking it a whole new level.

Broadway fans will appreciate these three aspects of the ship that offer the most Broadway connections of any Royal Caribbean ship to date.

Grease

For nearly a decade, Royal Caribbean has been offering Broadway shows on its ships and Harmony of the Seas continues that tradition with Grease.

The all-new, never-before-seen stage production, specially adapted by Royal Caribbean Productions, will boast a soundtrack of crowd favorites such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightnin’,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Born to Hand-Jive,” “Beauty School Dropout” and more.

Grease is an established Broadway show that has played on The Great White Way, and all over the world. Its songs are classics and the story has become so well-known that it transcends its stage roos.

Columbus, The Musical!

Harmony of the Seas will see Royal Caribbean venture out to create its own original production musical, which aims to be just as entertaining as anything on 42nd street.

Columbus, The Musical! is a new Royal Caribbean original production that tells the tale of Christopher’s luckless distant cousin, Marvin, on a madcap voyage to the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean created the show in the spirit of “Spamalot” and “Something Rotten." With inspiration like those two shows, this new musical is headed in the right direction.

Marvin Columbus is the very, very, very, very, very distant relative of Christopher and spent his entire life ‘neath Chris’ shadow. Marvin’s disappointed nobleman father, sends him on a voyage to find his destiny. Storms, pirates, and even flying sharks – all lead Marvin to his greatest discovery; himself. Romance, adventure, and ‘happy ever after’ are on the map, as Marvin Columbus finally finds his destiny.

Away We Go!

One of the funniest and heart-warming musicals of all time is Avenue Q, and its creator has created a brand new show just for Royal Caribbean.

Tony award-nominated actors and imaginative producers John Tartaglia by and Michael Shawn Lewis of Gable Grove Productions created, Away We Go! just for Harmony of the Seas.

This is a family show, that is meant to be seen by kids and their families.

Away We Go! is aimed at 3- to 11-year olds and follows up Tartaglia's previous creation for Royal Caribbean, ImaginOcean. 

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

In:
01May2016

With all the anticipation of a Royal Caribbean cruise, embarkation day is the day we all look forward to the most because it is the first day of the cruise, but the first full day onboard is truly when the cruise begins.

I certainly count down to embarkation day fiendishly, but there is so much going on in those first few hours that it is that odd day that differs from the rest.  

With our first full day and a sea day, today is when we really get a chance to experience Navigator of the Seas.

Our youngest daughter woke up quite early (6:30am) and so we got an earlier start than we would have liked. Evidently it is quite difficult to explain to a baby that dawn does not mean it is time to get up.

I took this opportunity to check to see if Voom internet had been activated, with the ferocity and excitement of a young boy on Christmas morning. Alas, there was no Voom waiting for me under the proverbial tree, and I resigned myself to using the conventional internet for the rest of the sailing.

We got dressed and headed up to the Windjammer for breakfast and to witness the beautiful start to our morning.

Breakfast was your classic Royal Caribbean Windjammer breakfast, and the omelette station continues to offer my favorite choice.

We had no firm plans for the day. Our whole plan was to have the kids sleep in (or not) and then play it all by ear.

Following breakfast, we had some time before Adventure Ocean opened up. We walked around the Royal Promenade (grabbed a much needed Starbucks coffee), played mini-golf and otherwise explored the ship in the time it took before Adventure Ocean opened.

At 9am we promptly dropped my daughter off, while my wife took the toddler back to the room for a morning nap.

I took this opportunity to try my hand at morning trivia.

The trivia theme was general trivia and I joined a couple from Michigan. Lo and behold, we won! 

Next, I headed up to the pool deck for a little sun, figuring it might make sense to enjoy the Caribbean breeze and some sun.

Of interest was the pineapple drinks being served and Sabor did a guacamole demonstration (followed by guacamole sampling).

Surprisingly, the Sabor staff were offering dinner reservations for any night for $20 (a $5 per person savings) if you booked on the spot.  I booked Sabor for dinner on the last night as a means of enjoying "one last guac."

Some folks had requested photos of the Diamond Lounge, so I happily obliged.

 

For those keeping score at home, the coffee maker is working once again and the Diamond Lounge attendant is Jayeon.

Next was the Cruise Critic Meet n Mingle in the Cosmopolitan Club.

This was a rather large group, with over 120 members in attendance!  I did not win anything, but did enjoy the company and complimentary rum punch.

I collected my daughter from Adventure Ocean (they take a two hour break in the afternoon) and at her request, we all had lunch at Johnny Rockets.

I was concerned about a line to eat at Johnny Rockets because it was a sea day, but there was plenty of seating.

I recall cruises in the past where Johnny Rockets would be crazy busy on sea days for lunch, but my wife I think that has changed since the Crown and Anchor Society coupon changed from a BOGO cover charge to just a BOGO milk shake.

We did some more exploring after lunch, including seeing the newly redesigned NextCruise office.  I think it looks great!

With Adventure Ocean back open and one of our children off doing her own thing, I told my wife to go do something fun on deck and I would stay with the baby while she napped in the room.

One key lesson about taking young children on a cruise is not to skip naps.  They need them or the rest of the day will just end badly.

Following nap time, the girls all took showers while I took an opportunity to enjoy some "pre-dinner" at Izumi.

For those new to my live blogs, sometimes I ike to have something to eat prior to my second seating at dinner, which is at 8pm.  I am only human, so I need a snack...may as well be sushi!

I picked Izumi and had reserved it on the website.  I was seated promptly right by the window.

I make it no secret that Izumi is a favorite restaurant of mine and this time I went with my usual: miso soup and DX Sushi Combo.

The reason I pick the DX Sushi Combo is for the money, I believe it is the best value piece-for-piece on the menu and the selection is quite good and ample.

I also had to try this drink, the "Call a cab! Sakirita" just because of the name!

I returned to the room and dropped the kids off at Adventure Ocean and the Nursery.  At the nursery, my daughter was the only kid there, which I found peculiar given it was formal night and prime time (7:30).  We always suspected there are very few children on this sailing and I am pretty sure that is still the case.

Dinner was in the main dining room and it was formal night.

Great food all around and we have a great waiter (Vanju) and assistant waiter (sorry, I cannot think of her name at the moment).

We finished dinner ealier than normal, so we wandered the Royal Promenade.

First up was the Royal Caribbean logo store, where I spotted these new shirt designs, perfect for the Royal Caribbean fan.

We also stopped in a for a set at the pub and sang along to some favorites (Country Roads!).

Our entertainment for the evening was the Broadway revue show.  We had seen it the last time we were on Navigator and I am fairly certain it is the same show as on Brilliance of the Seas.

My wife loved it, and that is all that matters.

Tomorrow we are in Labadee, and that is our first port stop.  Our timing there is odd, as guests can disembark at 7am and must return by 3pm.  

Stray Observations

  • I spotted another cruise ship following us and I think it is a Princess ship.
  • I also spotted a baby splash pool for kids in diapers.  I will be investigating this further because....
  • We realized we forgot to pack swim diapers.  They do not sell any diapers onboard, so part of our San Juan excursion plans now include a stop at CVS. Oh, the exoticness and pizazz that await me there!
  • One team at morning trivia attempted to cheat, by saying they had more points than our team in trivia, until they were told the prizes were pens and keychains.  At that point, they folded like a cheap table.
  • Weather has been great, with waves less than one meter in height.  My kind of cruise!
  • Regarding Voom, I spoke to a few officers but have not gotten a firm answer on when it will arrive. Almost no chance for this cruise, but it sounds like for the transatlantic it could be activated.
  • We were sailing really close to Cuba today. Much closer than I ever remember cruise ships going.  It was close enough you could see trees, not just land.
  • There are few relaxing experiences as sitting on one's balcony and enjoying the view and breeze!

Live Blog Index

Real Housewives of New York star Dorinda Medley spotted onboard Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
01May2016

Attention reality television fans, one of your favorites is enjoying a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation.

Real Housewives of New York star, Dorinda Medley, is onboad Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas with longtime love John Mahdessian.

The couple is enjoying a Caribbean getaway, and has been spotted taking in panoramic views from 300 feet above sea level in Anthem’s iconic North Star; riding bumper cars in SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea; lounging poolside in the ship’s adults-only Solarium; and previewing the new Royal Suite Class, launching May 2016.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: May 1, 2016

In:
01May2016

Happy Sunday! We hope you are having a wonderful weekend and we cannot wait to share with you all the exciting Royal Caribbean news from this week!

There was a lot of news this week, but the story that stood out to us is Royal Caribbean's announcement that all ships in the fleet will offer Voom, beginning today!

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley made the announcement during an earnings call with investors.

The news came as a surprise to many, considering there was no indication Royal Caribbean had planned a fleet-wide deployment of Voom this quickly.

Voom internet is Royal Caribbean's exclusive high speed internet that allows guests to stream music and movies, upload pictures, video chat with family and friends using FaceTime or Skype, check their email, lookup their stock prices, surf the web and stay connected with work via VPN.

We have a lot to share with you this week, so let’s jump right in…

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The 143rd episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available, where we answer your Royal Caribbean emails this week.

In this episode, Matt previews his upcoming cruise on Navigator of the Seas and talks about what he has planned on his 8-night adventure.

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

We are LIVE on Navigator of the Seas!

All this week, we are live blogging from Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas!

Every day, Matt is posting a brand new blog post that reviews everything he did during the week and you can follow along!

The Navigator live blog can be found at www.navigatoroftheseas.live and you are encouraged to join in the fun with your comments and questions!

99 Days of Harmony

To celebrate the countdown until Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas debuts, we kicked off a brand new blog series, 99 Days of Harmony, that looks at what makes this new ship so amazing. 

We are posting new blog posts all about Harmony of the Seas, so here's what you might have missed this week.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

Moms of the Seas has a list of 20 must-do family Royal Caribbean activities.

CNBC interviewed Royal Caribbean Chairman & CEO Richard Fain about its first quarter results.

Royal Caribbean says the Sports Zone on Harmony of the Seas is not for the faint of heart.

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