Hi everyone, I'm really excited to announce our next live-blog experience as we get ready for a cruise aboard Navigator of the Seas for a 7-night Mexican Riviera adventure.
This is my first time trying this itinerary, and I hope it offers all of you a chance to preview what to expect if you ever wanted to give it a try.
Royal Caribbean had been absent from the West Coast of the United States for over a decade, so when Royal Caribbean announced a return, I had to give a try.
Most of the Navigator of the Seas cruises are just 3- and 4-night sailings, but if I was going to fly across the country for a cruise, it had to be for something longer. Luckily, there are longer sailings on holidays, and it seemed like a good opportunity to spend our winter break on a cruise.
Why we chose this cruise
It's not often there is a brand new itinerary to try from the United States, so when Royal Caribbean started selling cruises from Los Angeles, I had to give it a try.
Finding an itinerary that worked with the kids' school schedule was not easy, but the price was right, especially for a holiday sailing and it allows the kids a bit of a break before and after the cruise before school resumes.
The prices for Navigator of the Seas' sailings from Los Angeles have been on the inexpensive side, which represents a great value for anyone that can get out there.
On top of the fun itinerary, I love Navigator of the Seas and the upgrades she received has part of her amplification in 2019. Combine a great ship with a new itinerary, and you have an exciting plan.
My plans onboard
I'll be traveling with my wife and kids, and we have two connecting balcony rooms for this cruise.
Getting two connecting rooms instead of putting everyone in one cabin is one of my favorite family cruise tips because of how it doesn't break the bank and gives my wife and I some separation from the kids. Plus, an extra bathroom!
Since this is a holiday cruise that goes over Christmas, we decided to just do a 3-night dining plan so that I can do a few specialty restaurants, but enjoy the best the main dining room has to offer.
I'm also not sure what to expect in terms of how full the ship will be. Navigator did not restart cruises until November, but Royal Caribbean has been steadily increasing ship capacity across the fleet over the last six weeks, especially on holidays.
I'm hoping the weather will be warm enough to try out the waterslides onboard. I've done both slides, but my kids have not. I think once we get down to Mexico, the temperatures should warm up considerably.
Something else that will be different for us will be the tightened mask rules that Royal Caribbean just announced. I've never stopped wearing my mask at home while indoors, so I'm not certain how much of a difference it will be, although I had gotten used to being in vaccinated-only areas and enjoying entertainment without a mask.
My plans on shore
We will be visiting three ports of call on this cruise, and each is brand new to me: Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.
Given that I've never been to any of these ports, I spent more time than usual to plan excursions because I not only want to see what each offers, but it may be a while before I return, so I want to maximize my time seeing the best each port has to offer.
In Cabo San Lucas, we booked the Deluxe Coastal Cruise through Royal Caribbean, which is described as a 2-hour catamaran where we will visit the rock formations of Land's End, check out a barking colony of sea lions, and then sail past a rare stretch of sand shared by both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. It's also whale season, so we may see migratory whales.
In Puerto Vallarta, I booked a private shore excursion through Royal Caribbean's Private Journeys program.
Royal Caribbean arranged a private vehicle with driver/guide to take us to a 4 star beach club with beachfront, pool, restaurant, full bar service, lounges, umbrellas, restrooms, showers and poolside service.
Finally, in Mazatlan, I booked an ATV tour on our own. We have a private 4x4 Rhino Safari ATV tour where the four of us will ride in a 700cc fully automatic Honda Big Red 4x4 Rhino on an ecological adventure through Mazatlan's backcountry.
Our trip begins tomorrow when we fly out to California for a few days pre-cruise touring. We'll spend a few days at Disneyland before boarding our cruise ship on Friday, December 24.
If you want a head start on this live blog, check out Jenna's quick two-night cruise on Navigator last month.
I invite you to share in this experience with me, by posting in the comments for any blog post questions and comments you may have. I try to make these live blogs as interactive as I can, so I want everyone to feel welcome to share their thoughts.
Thanks for reading all of this and welcome aboard our next fun live blog experience!