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  1. T-1 Day Almost a year ago, my family booked this cruise. Now we’re less than a day away from boarding the beautiful Navigator of the Seas to embark on our 9 night journey to the Southern Caribbean. I guess it’s best to start this live trip report by telling everyone a little bit about myself. I’m 17 from Atlanta, Georgia. I know I’m probably quite a bit younger than most of the users on Royal Caribbean Blog, but what can I say - it’s never to early to become obsessed with cruising. Going on this cruise with me are my mom, dad, elderly grandmother, and her elderly friend. We booked two separate balcony rooms, so my grandmother and her friend will stay in one room and I’ll stay in the other room with my mom and dad. My dad and I both booked the classic soda package and the voom surf voyage package so we can communicate with each other while on the ship. After diligently checking the cruise planner every 3 or so days, I was able to get the voom package for $19.18 a day, which was the cheapest I’ve seen it for the past 6 months. We chose this cruise strictly for the itinerary. The ABC islands have been on our list for quite some time, and when they offered them at the next cruise desk on our last cruise, we just couldn’t pass it up. The intertary is as follows: Day 1: At sea Day 2: Labadee, Haiti Day 3: At sea Day:4 At sea Day 5: Oranjestad, Aruba Day 6: Willemstad, Curaçao Day 7: Kralendijk, Bonaire Day 8: At Sea Day 9: At Sea In Labadee we’re planning to just have a beach day, in Aruba we’re doing a Trikes tour, we’re going to just play it by ear in Curaçao, and in Bonaire we rented a few golf carts. We got into Miami yesterday night with my dad driving my grandmother and her friend down and my mom and I flying since she had to stay later to work and I had to stay later for finals. Today in Miami we did a little sight seeing at Little Havana, South Beach, and Bayside. After lunch we ran a few last minute errands to pick up the things we realized we forgot to pack, and all got pedicures (including my dad). He was not a fan of the flip flops lol. At least they had blue. Now all that’s left is our last dinner of 2018 on land and then it’s cruise time tomorrow!!
  2. So I've heard Matt say multiple times how Navigator is (or at least was, prior to an Oasis-class sailing ;) ) his favorite ship. I've heard others say that it's really good as well. My family and I were considering it as one of the few options available to us in our cruise window for 2018, as it had a nice 9-night Southern Caribbean cruise leaving the same weekend with what to us was a better set of ports. But we had two concerns, one smaller and one kind of huge: The small one was that, compared to Freedom of the Seas, it seemed to have less for teens to do and looked geared more towards couples or older families. After hearing Matt's various podcasts about his experience with his family, I'm guessing that wasn't a fair assessment, although I have to keep in mind that Matt's kids are younger. The bigger negative for us, though, was this line from the ship's review on CruiseCritic.com -- "Country music predominates on the sound systems, and many of the onboard musical entertainers also specialize in country offerings." My family as a whole likes just about anything when it comes to music, but country is one of the few genres that does absolutely nothing for us. The idea of spending 9 nights hearing country as our background music in all the public spaces while on a vacation wasn't the least bit appealing. The thing is, after booking our cruise on Freedom of the Seas, I re-read that statement in the review and saw that the reason they did that was because the ship was based in Galveston, TX and the theming was done based off of that. But it looks like Navigator is now based in Port Canaveral, Florida. When a ship is relocated like that, do they re-do the musical theming to match the new location (and presumably, the expected cruiser profile)? It would be nice to have Navigator as on option for our next cruise (and there WILL be a next cruise), especially after all the positives I've read and heard. I know, kind of a silly reason to avoid sailing on a particular ship. But it's like my friend who's a Disney fan and loves going there at Christmas time, but can't stand that he has to hear the exact same soundtrack in all five parks at that time of year and told me it really drives him nuts after a few days.
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