I would like to start out my very first blog by saying that this site has really helped me in getting ready to make the most out of my up coming cruise which leaves this Saturday 12/14. I have been more or less a lurker on this board now for a year and during this time my knowledge of how Royal operates has expanded to the point in which some of the people I work with are now asking my advise on cruising. What is really interesting is that this is only my second cruise ever. My first cruise was March of 2018 in which my wife and I went to the Bahama's on Majesty. Since this was my first cruise I had no idea about rebooking my room or drink packages for a lower price. Now with our up coming cruise I have applied what I learned form this site and really feel I am getting my money worth this time around.
Taking what I learned I booked this cruise in February 2019 which at the time seemed to be a bit much for the sail date was almost a year away. We felt that this day would never come since it was so far out at the time of booking. We booked a ocean view stateroom and watched the price through out the year and was able to rebook the room saving about $120 and gaining $50 OBC. Since I had booked the cruse so far in advance I watched the different "sale prices" for the deluxe beverage package and noticed that price never fell below $52 for the deluxe package and never below $62 for the deluxe + Voom package. I locked in our drink packages about 2 months ago and applied the OBC toward them. After our 90 day mark I was beginning to see other people on the cruise talking about their Royal Up email notices and I began to wounder why I had not received mine yet. About 3 weeks ago, still no Royal Up email, I noticed that Royal dropped the price on a spacious balcony stateroom down to almost the same price I had paid for my ocean view. I was able to upgrade to our first balcony stateroom for a whooping $7! Who says you need to bid on a stateroom to get bumped up for a cheap price? I assume that the major price drop was Royal's effort to sell out the cruise. After upgrading to the balcony stateroom the very next day I received a Royal Up email asking me to bid on Jr. suites and above but I already knew that they were sold out plus I was very happy with my $7 upgrade already. Now what was is interesting to me is that I thought that I would lose my OBC but when I booked the upgrade I did not lose my OBC. I guess that since my rebooking was actually an upgrade I was able to keep the OBC. If it was not for this site and its members sharing their tips on booking I would have surely done the same as last cruise and just paid what I thought was a good deal and left it at that. Instead I was able to save myself a nice chunk of change and was able to get a lot better of a room in the end.
My wife and I are planning on leaving out Friday so that we can have a nice and easy morning for our departure on Saturday. We will be driving from Atlanta down to Tampa and staying at a Hampton about 30 minutes away from the port. I actually made a mistake when I booked our hotel for I selected the wrong one which is how we ended up being 30 minutes away from the port. I actually meant to select a Hampton that was about 15 minutes away instead.Oh well, I just told my wife that the ones closer to the port were more expensive and are not worth the additional cost.😁. As it stands right now we have no plans on what we are going to do Friday night once we get into Tampa. I have an uncle that lives there so we might swing by and see him or we might go exploring Ybor City. I hear that there is a lot of different things to see and do there.
Like the other recent live blog postings this cruise is a 5 night sailing and visits the ports Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Right now we have no real plans as to what we are going to do at Grand Cayman other than to simple walk around and explore the port. We are pretty much playing the port by ear so if anyone has any suggests as to some interesting things to see in Grand Cayman please let me know. As for Cozumel we have decided to rent bicycles for the day and will bike around the island. We are planning on biking out to see San Gervasio and then after that we may or may not make the trip to the wild side of the island. It really depends on how we feel after making it out to San Gervasio to see the Mayan ruins We both have been in training for the bike over the past 3 months so we should be able to make the ride with little trouble. Again if anyone has any suggests of anything to see/do in Cozumel please feel free to speak up.
I going to try and keep this blog as active as time permits but no promises since I have a lot a alcohol to drink to try and make my break even point. My wife will not be of much help either in this department since she is a light weight. The best I can hope for from her is that she racks up on the specialty coffees with a one or two off alcoholic drinks.