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

In:
18 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Our first full day on Navigator of the Seas and I started things off by sleeping in.  I was so tired from not sleeping well the night before the cruise and not getting to bed until about 1am, that I needed to get a few extra hours of sleep to be semi-functional.  

My oldest daughter seemed to have the same idea, as she slept later than I did and we had to coax her to get her going too.

For breakfast, we headed up to the Windjammer.  It was about 9:45am, so we were hitting it at peak time, but the crowd was quite manageable.  As usual, I opted for a custom made omelet and it hit the spot.  

We dropped the oldest daughter off at Adventure Ocean.  She is six years old and it is her first time in the 6-8 year old group in Adventure Ocean.  She had no issues last night, but this morning they mixed Voyagers (9-11) and Explorers and my daughter told the counselors she was not enjoying the antics of the largely boy-dominated group that was there.  The staff allowed her to go down to Aquanauts (3-5) and she did quite well.  When there are not a lot of children on a sailing, the groups are often merged, but this is the first time my daughter had any kind of issue with the mixing.  I think she will end up with the Aquanauts since it is what she would prefer and we will give Explorers another shot on Anthem next month.

My youngest daughter spent some time in the Optix teen club, where during the day there is open play toys for the toddlers to enjoy.  She loved being in there and there were a few more toddlers for her to play with too.

For lunch today, we decided to take advantage of our suite benefits and ordered the main dining room lunch menu to be delivered to our room.  All we had to do was call room service and order off the lunch menu provided in our suite.  It was wonderful letting the kids play in the room, but not compromise on the food my wife and I got to enjoy. The turkey parmigiana was awesome!

One of the oldest debates among cruisers is the decision to splurge for a stateroom with a balcony or not, and I believe if you have one, you spend more time in the room than if you do not.  With that in mind, we spent our early afternoon enjoying a gorgeous day outside.  It was sunny, high in the upper 70s and just a few clouds in the sky.

By about 2pm, Adventure Ocean reopened, so I brought my oldest daughter up to Adventure Ocean while my wife let the little one nap.

This afternoon was our Group Cruise bar crawl meet, where many of us in the group sampled some fine concoctions at a few bars around the ship. We started out at the Two Poets Pub and made our way to R-Bar, Boleros, Schooner Bar and the Sky Bar.  A fine time was had by all!

I managed to sneak in pre-dinner at Izumi. I opted for crispy spicy tuna with an eel sashimi.  I then combined the two and it was amazing. Eating it on my balcony may have contributed to it tasting even better.

It is formal night tonight, so I collected my daughter from Adventure Ocean and then it was back to the room for showers all around and getting our hair done (mine takes especially long to make perfect).  For us, formal night represents the best opportunity for family photos and we take advantage of the opportunity.

After taking some nice family photos, we checked out the Concierge Lounge for the first time.

The Concierge Lounge is for suite guests to enjoy, similar to the Diamond Lounge.  It is smaller, but a very nice spot for meeting friends.  And like the Diamond Lounge, there are snacks and complimentary drinks served.

Tonight was formal night, and took a formal night group photo, complete with a pinkies up fun shot!

Dinner was in the main dining room this evening and a great meal.  There was a red snapper on the menu that was quite good.

We spent our evening at the bars along the Royal Promenade.  There was live jazz music at first and then the pub guitarist returned again this evening.  Love bar hopping around the ship each night!

Stray Observations 

  • Prior to the cruise, someone asked about noise from the pool deck above us.  No issues with noise above us sleeping last night, and even on the balcony, you do not hear much.  The noise and music tends to go up, and so I can vouch for it being quite lovely out here.
  • Each evening during the Diamond members reception, the Viking Crown Lounge area is closed off for exclusive use of Diamond members as a spillover space. Evidently there are a lot of Diamond members onboard.
  • Tomorrow is our first port stop at Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee. Excited to return to paradise!

Royal Caribbean cancels all cruise stops in Turkey in 2017

In:
18 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean has decided to cancel all scheduled stops in Turkey for the 2017 cruise season, citing "unpredictability" in the country.

In a statement to travel agents, Royal Caribbean said that due to the current unpredictability of Turkey, and taking guests’ and crew members’ safety and wellbeing into account, Royal Caribbean has decided to replace our calls in Ephesus (Kusadasi) with alternate ports-of-call for the 2017 Europe season.

"We truly regret having to take this action and thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Any decision we make is made in an abundance of caution and safety, as your clients experience in our ports of call is always our utmost priority."

This will affect the following ships:

  • Brilliance of the Seas will now call on Mykonos, Greece.
  • Jewel of the Seas will now call on Rhodes, Greece.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will now call on:
    • Kotor, Montenegro
    • July 14th: Chania, Greece
    • October 7th: Mykonos, Greece

Guests that purchased a Royal Caribbean Shore Excursion for their day in Kusadasi, a full refund will be processed to the original form of payment within one week.

Navigator of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation Day

In:
17 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Our nine-night Navigator of the Seas adventure is about to begin, and each day I will be sharing with you a look at the fun activities, highlights and events from our time onboard.  

I am a big proponent of arriving to your embarkation port at least a day in advance of your cruise's departure date and my family followed this mantra by packing up the car and driving down from Orlando to Miami. 

We spent the night at the Hyatt Place Miami Airport East. As the name implies, it's near Miami International Airport and about 20 minutes by car to PortMiami. The hotel was new, had a modern look and feel and struck me as a business traveler hotel that felt akin to the types of hotels I had stayed at near Newark Airport in the past.  Our room was a nicely furnished suite, with pull out sofa bed for the girls to sleep in. 

We had arrived in Miami around dinner time, so we did not do much in the way of touristy activities. The kids showered and played, and later in the evening, met up with some friends who are joining us on our cruise. There was a large group of folks in the RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com Group Cruise staying in this hotel, and we hosted a mini get together in the lobby, complete with Papa John's pizza. Nothing but the best. 

I usually sleep terribly on the night before the cruise begins, and this time would be no different. I managed to fall asleep easily enough, but woke up from one of the kids fussing a few hours later and that was it for me.  

As usual, the kids woke up early and we got our things together to make our way to PortMiami to meet Navigator of the Seas.

We made a few pit stops for gas (so that we do not have to stop before going home) and cash (tips, use onshore, and investments in the casino) before arriving at PortMiami at just around 10am.  The drive was easy despite some light traffic.  I believe the way the ships are lined up makes PortMiami the best spectacle of a cruise port that I have been to.  There is no industrial look to this port area.

We first dropped the luggage off at the drop-off area, and then parked the car at the PortMiami parking garage across the street.  I know it costs much more than some off-site options, but the convenience factor is important to me when it is time to get to/from the ship.

The security line did not open until 10:30am, but being in the suites/Pinnacle line meant we were among the first to get through the line.

The check-in process was seamless and we had a brief wait in the Diamond lounge before we were onboard quite quickly, right around 11am.

The Windjammer did not open until 11:30am, so we hung out by the pool deck for a bit because the weather was wonderful. Once the Windjammer opened, it was the great spread of food I always look forward to enjoying on embarkation day.

The staterooms opened at 1:15pm and we got our first look at our Grand Suite on deck 10. The room is massive, and the bathroom might be the real highlight.

We also have a connecting standard balcony stateroom next door, so we have plenty of living space.  My wife thinks the bathroom size is the best part of the room, although I really like the extra-large balcony.

Next up, we went to register the children at Adventure Ocean.  The staff indicated there were not a lot of kids on this ship. In fact, at the Nursery they let us book as much time as we wanted for the cruise.  

Our afternoon mainly consisted of enjoying the beautiful weather and letting the kids catch up on some energy.  The youngest managed to squeeze in a nap, but the oldest was not having any of that.

Following muster drill, we went up to the pool deck to enjoy sailaway with our friends onboard. It was an absolutely beautiful day for sailaway with the sun shining, cool breeze and low humidity.  Probably one of the best sailaways in a long time.

We went back to the room to get ready for dinner and I called to Izumi to enjoy Izumi Express, which is essentially a take-out option.  I ordered from the menu and went up to Izumi to pick it up to bring back to enjoy in my room.  While waiting, the staff offered me a hot bowl of miso soup while the chef's prepared the sushi.  Big shoutout to chef Jonathan for a job well done!

I brought my sushi back to the room to enjoy on my balcony, and let me tell you, this is such a great way to start my cruise!

Dinner tonight was in the main dining room. The vegetarian Mexican dish on the menu was really tasty!

We spent the rest of the evening at the Two Poets Pub with the muscic of Danny Rodriguez.  He has a great attitude and put on one of the better pub shows I have seen in a long time.  

Stray Observations

  • Check it out, it's Royal Caribbean's headquarters with Empress of the Seas parked out back!
  • I think Miami is the nicest looking cruise port I have been to, in terms of it not looking industrial at all and the Miami skyline is amazing.
  • The brewed coffee at Cafe Promenade is now using Illy coffee beans instead of Starbucks.
  • Check out the kids main dining room menu
  • The internet onboard is certainly not as fast as some other ships, like Anthem or Harmony.  It is fine for some basic browsing and whatnot, but even uploading the photos in this blog post took a good 10 minutes.  Hoping for some improvement as the cruise continues.

  • I think today I managed to get in around 6 or 7 alcoholic beverages, a macchiato and an espresso shot.  Off to a good start with the unlimited drink packge!

Tomorrow is our first sea day, and our first full day onboard.  Should be a great opportunity to explore the ship some more and get to spend time with the friends joining me on this group cruise.  Day one was already a blast and I cannot wait for tomorrow!

Friday Photos

In:
17 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

The weekend is here and that means it's time to share your Royal Caribbean photos! Each week we invite our readers to share their favorite Royal Caribbean photos with all of us, so here we go!

We begin our photos with this shot by Valerie Schuerlein "holding up" Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, while onboard Harmony of the Seas.

Here is Quantum of the Seas in Labadee, taken by Alberto Bolognesi.  

Here is a shot of Quantum's sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, by Eric Hoefman off the coast of CocoCay.

Megan Mathews sent this photo of Empress of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas in Cozumel.  Quite a difference in size!

Here is a look at how Becky Bowen spent one evening on Allure of the Seas.  She has my seal of approval!

Here is another photo from two Royal Caribbean ships in Cozumel.  This one is by Michael Bonham of Allure of the Seas next to Liberty of the Seas.

Dave Rimington took this photo from Bora Bora while on Radiance of the Seas.  Definitely looks like another beautiful day in the South Pacific.

I think this was a great collection of photos this week and of course we want to see your photos too!  Use this form to send us your best Royal Caribbean photos and we will feature them in an upcoming blog post!

Royal Caribbean's Presidents' Day Weekend Sale offers bonus onboard credit

In:
17 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean is kicking off a 5-day flash sale, where the cruise line is offering guests up to $100 onboard credit on top of the February WAVE season offer.

For cruises booked between February 17-21, 2017 on sailings on or after March 19, 2017 (excluding China departures), Royal Caribbean will offer guests:

  • Buy one guest, get second guest 60% off
  • 30% cruise fare savings for 3rd guests and higher booked in the same stateroom as the first two qualifying guests
  • Up to $100 onboard credit
    • Sailings 5 nights or less
      • Interior/Oceanview stateroom: $25 onboard credit per stateroom
      • Balcony/Deluxe stateroom: $50 onboard credit per stateroom
    • Sailings 6 nights or longer
      • Interior/Oceanview stateroom: $50 onboard credit per stateroom
      • Balcony stateroom: $75 onboard credit per stateroom
      • Deluxe stateroom: $100 onboard credit per stateroom

BOGO60 is combinable with 30% 3rd and 4th Guest Savings, OBC, Anthem Dollars Off, Crown & Anchor discounts and NextCruise offers. BOGO60, 30% 3rd and 4th Guest Savings, OBC and Anthem Dollars Off are not combinable with restricted rates. OBC is not combinable Crown & Anchor discounts.

Offer open to residents of U.S. or Canada.

Spotted: In-stateroom mini-bar order form

In:
16 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

There has been a "mini" change to guests staterooms on Royal Caribbean cruise ships over the last six months or so, where the mini-bar model on Royal Caribbean ships has drastically changed.

Royal Caribbean guests on a cruise these days will find a form near their mini-fridge, where guests will be able to order exactly the types of beverages they want stocked in their mini-fridge rather than have an array of beverages provided in the beginning of their cruise.

The form is similar to the room service breakfast menu, where guests fill it out at their convenience and then hang the form outside the stateroom door.  Orders placed before 5:00pm will be delivered the same day, otherwise, the order will be delivered the next day before noon.

There are four basic categories of beverages to choose from on the form: bottled water, soft drinks, sports drinks and juice.  

Keep in mind none of the beverages available through the mini-bar are included in any unlimited drink package.

Do you like this concept of having "on-demand" mini bar drinks? Or do you prefer the classic mini-bar experience with drinks pre-stocked? Share your thoughts in the comments.

How being early is the secret to the best Royal Caribbean cruise, from start to finish

In:
15 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

We have spent years sharing tips, secrets and strategies on this blog about taking a better and more fun Royal Caribbean cruise, and we discovered there is one common thread among so many of our best tips: being early.

There are plenty of ways to improve one's cruise, but if you remember a single mantra for your cruise, it should be simply to be early.  So many aspects of the cruise experience, from saving money to saving time, can be greatly improved if you embrace the idea of doing it all early.  If that statement does not make a whole lot of sense yet, check out the five steps we outlined in this post to demonstrate why being early will help you have a great cruise.

Book early

Perhaps one of the most common questions we receive on Royal Caribbean Blog is about how to save money and get the best possible price for a Royal Caribbean cruise.  Questions are often worded like, "How do I get a deal?", "When is the best time to book a cruise?" or "How do I get the lowest price?" and the answer to them all is simple: book your cruise as early as you can.

In general, Royal Caribbean's cruise fares are priced the least the further out you go, and as the sail date approaches, prices start to creep up as the supply of staterooms on a sailing begin to get booked up. So the earlier you book your cruise, the more stateroom inventory you will have and if freshman year high school economics taught me anything, it is that supply and demand plays a big part in pricing.

When we say "early", we mean booking your cruise 12, 18 or even 24 months before the sail date.  For some folks, that may sound like lunacy to plan a vacation up to two years in advance, but the fact of the matter is employing this strategy is the key to getting a really great price.  Royal Caribbean sales promotions will come and go, but if you talk to folks who book their cruises very early, they will tell you that booking super-early beats most sales offers.

Buy drink packages early

Have you heard about Royal Caribbean's unlimited drink packages? They offer guests the option to drink as much as they want on their cruise for a fixed price.  Sounds great, right? But did you know if you wait to book your drink package onboard the ship you will be overpaying for it?

The drink packages have become quite popular with guests, but Royal Caribbean rewards guests that purchase their drink package early with a discount. The exact amount of the discount will vary from sailing to sailing, but in general, the savings of booking a drink package online before a cruise can be as much as over $10 per person, per day compared to booking it onboard. Over the course of a 7-night cruise, those savings add up quickly!

What you want to do is log onto the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean's website and purchase the drink package of your choice online.  If you are concerned about the drink package price dropping, take solace in the fact you can always cancel and rebook with no penalty!

Not only will buying your drink packages online save you money, it will also save you time because typically there can be lines to purchase the drink packages onboard the ship. Your vacation time is limited, so do not waste it waiting to buy a drink package.

Arrive to your port city early

When it comes to travel, there are always going to be certain factors involved in the trip that you have no control over: weather, canceled flights, flat tires, and Michael Poole. If you ask seasoned travelers how they get around these obstacles, the answer is often to give yourself more time.  Instead of arriving to your departure city on the day of your cruise, get in early!

By planning to arrive to your departure port at least one day early, you assure yourself that a travel delay will not impact your ability to get on your cruise. Having an extra day or two provides a buffer to account for travel delays.  You really do not want to be that person in the airport losing their mind because the latest delay means the entire vacation is in jeopardy.

As an added bonus, by arriving to your embarkation port at least a day early, that means you get to start your vacation sooner!  And in many cases, the port you are departing from has its own cultural and historical attractions that you can explore.

Arrive to the pier early

If you subscribe to the theory that time is money, then you definitely want to arrive to your embarkation port early.  By arriving early, you will beat the big crowds that descend upon the cruise terminal later in the day, and you also get the added benefit of having some extra time onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean may send you an email about boarding times, but those are mostly suggestions and not enforced at all. If you followed our previous advice about arriving to your port city early, then likely your hotel will have a check-out time in the early part of the morning, which is the perfect excuse to head to the cruise port.

If you are wondering what time constitutes, "early", we are talking about sometime between 10am and 11:30am. The earlier you arrive on embarkation day, the earlier you will board the ship. And the price you paid for the cruise is the same whether you get onboard at 11am or 2pm, so may as well get the most time possible.

Show up early to every activity

Whether it is a show, a ride on North Star or the tenders to CocoCay, the absolute key to avoiding waiting in any semblance of a line is to arrive before these activities are scheduled to open/operate/perform.

In our experience, most guests see the times for an activity and begin arriving after the scheduled start time.  However, if you show up just 10-15 minutes before these events, you will likely find few, if any, other guests waiting and first shot at even the most popular activities. Rope dropping is also a great strategy for the sort of activities that quickly generate a line.  

Disembark early

The last day of your cruise is never fun, and regardless of how many times you cruise, it never gets any less depressing.  If you believe in the, "rip the Band-Aid off quickly" theory of life, than disembarking your ship early will likely result in a shorter wait.

Royal Caribbean offers all guests the option to bring their own luggage (rather than have their luggage delivered to the terminal) and leave the ship anytime once customs officials clear the ship. You simply keep your luggage in your room (instead of placing it in the hallway on the last evening of the cruise) and then when the ship is cleared by Customs agents, you take your own luggage and disembark the ship.

This option may not be viable for everyone because families and large groups may find lugging all their stuff from the stateroom to the terminal is not practical.  In that case, keep in mind the luggage tags you will be provided with can be swapped out at Guest Services for a luggage tag with an earlier disembarkation time. Royal Caribbean is quite understanding about schedules, and if you need to get off the ship sooner, they are usually very accommodating.

Navigator of the Seas Cruise Preview on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
15 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Hey everyone! Episode 185 of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure.

This week, we're sharing the details about our cruise on Navigator of the Seas to the Southern Caribbean along with many Royal Caribbean Blog readers! This nine-night adventure has lots of fun packed in, and Matt shares why he picked this itinerary, plans for onboard and onshore and some new things he will try on this sailing.

Be sure to also check out our pre-cruise summary of what Matt's plans are for the cruise and for how you can read the live blog each day from the cruise.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 185. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSS or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Navigator of the Seas 2017 Live Blog - Cruise Preview

In:
14 Feb 2017
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas has been a favorite cruise ship of mine since I first cruised on her in 2014, and it is time once again for me to return onboard for what I am certain will be an amazing journey.

My cruise on Navigator of the Seas coincides with the first Royal Caribbean Blog Group Cruise of 2017, with a great group of fellow Royal Caribbean fans as we enjoy a 9-night journey to the Southern Caribbean from Miami, Florida. Throughout the cruise, I will share a daily update of everything I did onboard to provide you a "virtual" escape with me.

The Cruise

As mentioned earlier, this is a long 9-night cruise that will take me to a destination I love and three ports that are brand new to me.  Anytime I get a chance to visit somewhere new, it is a real treat.

The story of booking this cruise goes back a few years ago when I was looking for a group cruise idea.  If you are new to Royal Caribbean Blog, it is important to mention my name is Matt, and I run Royal Caribbean Blog.  Twice a year, I put together a Royal Caribbean cruise plan, where I invite everyone who enjoys reading Royal Caribbean Blog to join me on a cruise together. I figure everything is better with friends, and we fellow Royal Caribbean fans love nothing more than any excuse to book another cruise.

This sailing stood out to me for two reasons. First, it is aboard Navigator of the Seas, one of my favorite Royal Caribbean ships in the fleet. Royal Caribbean refurbished her in 2014 and added a number of new options and I loved it all.  Navigator is large enough to be a "big ship," but she still retains a lot of character and I have been lucky enough to sail on her twice.  With lucky number three, we get a chance to spend more time onboard and this time, bring friends. We started planning this cruise back in December 2015, so it has been a long time coming to be able to finally get onboard.

The other really intriguing aspect to this sailing is the itinerary.  We sail out of Miami, Florida (a port I have never sailed out of), and will visit Royal Caribbean's private destination of Labadee and the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) in the Southern Caribbean. It is rare to get the opportunity to sail to the Southern Caribbean from the mainland United States, and the timing worked out perfectly over President's Day holiday.

I will be sailing with my wife and two children, who are 2 and 6.  This will be my oldest daughter's first time in the Explorer's room of Adventure Ocean and she is very excited to try it out.  My youngest daughter will be spending time in the Royal Tots and Babies Nursery, and she has already told us she is excited to "play with the babies" onboard.

Of course, this is a group cruise too, which means we have a large contingent of fellow Royal Caribbean fans joining me and I could not be happier.  There is just something so fun about seeing friendly faces all around the ship, and being able to share in the experience in person is second-to-none.

Stateroom

We reserved two staterooms for this cruise, one for my wife and I and one for my kids.  I love my children and enjoy cruising with them, but we have learned that when it comes to sleeping and children, it is ideal to have a second room.  Plus, it provides an additional full bathroom. 

For this cruise, we have reserved a Grand Suite and connecting standard balcony room. Depending on who you ask, the story of why we booked this arrangement differs. I will offer both and let you decide.

My account of the booking: Being the loving husband that I am, inbetween sweeping the floors and preparing another gourmet meal for the family, I suggested to my wife she should get, nay deserves, a suite for once. After we could have danced all night in jubilee, we happened to find the perfect suite option that provided me and my wife the opportunity to book a Grand Suite and the kids in a connecting room next door.

My wife's account of the booking: She was fine with two balcony rooms, but it was all my idea to book the room, which proves it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Whichever tale you prefer to believe, the bottom line is we are staying in our first true suite on any cruise. We have stayed in a Junior Suite on multiple occasions, but never the real deal. We happened to book this cruise under the then-epic Cyber Monday deal of 2015, which netted us quite a bit of onboard credit on top of the great rate. 

Our concierge emailed me this past weekend with the usual welcome letter (shoutout to Nadja), and we are really excited to see what a suite experience is all about.  Personally, I am looking forward to the smaller perks which I think will make a big difference. Namely, the reserved area for suite guests near the pool, priority embarkation and private beach in Labadee. 

Itinerary

As excited as I am about the ship, where we are sailing is even more impressive.  A blend of sea days and port days, we will get a chance to explore a part of the Caribbean I have yet to see.

Being a nine-night cruise, this will tie my longest cruise ever, and provide us plenty of time to explore onboard and on shore.

Three things I am excited to try

3. Barefoot Beach

I love Labadee because of the absolutely beautiful serenity this private destination offers.  I am also a self-described cabana junky and on this cruise, we will be trying out the Barefoot Beach cabanas.  The fact of the matter is I did stay in a Barefoot Beach cabana once many cruises ago, but that was not as a suite guest and I barely remember it.  

There are a few cabana types to choose from in Barefoot Beach, and we opted for the Beachfront cabana, which I hope will provide my kids easy access to the ocean.  Plus, it looks to be a great spot and the same cabana experience we have come to love.  Yes, the cabanas are pricey, but given the price breakdown of how much it costs per person, per hour over the course of the day in Labadee (and the privacy and service), it is worth every penny in my opinion.

2. Private Journeys

Royal Caribbean created a new shore excursion option just about a year ago, where guests can create customized shore excursions to do what they want, without having to compromise on the benefits of taking a Royal Caribbean shore trip.  It is called Private Journeys, and in the name of research, I decided to try this out for myself.

While in Curacao, we booked a Private Journeys trip to take an historical tour of the historical and cultural Jewish sites of the island.  The tour includes private transportation with our own private guide to visit historical Jewish locations, such as the Jewish Cemetery, Mikveh Israel Emanuel Synagogue with photo stops at Jewish village Mahaai and New Ashkenazi Synagogue.

I will post a full review of experience with Private Journeys, but we are excited to try out this new service and discover some really intriguing historical landmarks.

1. Suite Life

I would be remiss if I did not say I am really excited to finally be able to stay in a suite on our cruise. My wife and I have dreamed about staying in a suite for a long time, but we were never able to jump at the chance.  This time, we managed to make it work and it is really exciting.

Personally, I am most interested in taking advantage of the subtle benefits, such as reserved chairs by the pool and in the theater, priority embarkation and disembarkation.  I think it will be a nice change of pace for this sailing, and with it being an even longer sailing than normal for us, we get to enjoy the suite just a little bit more.

What's next

Our Navigator of the Seas cruise begins on Friday, February 17th, and I will be sharing the details on the blog, as well as across my social media channels.  Be sure to follow me on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Periscope for live updates throughout the day.

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!