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  1. Hi All! Back again! Decided worst case scenario, writing this could entertain me if I get bored on this cruise. Anyways some backstory, my mom and I have been wanting to do a girls cruise for years now and we decided now was the time... also it is a week before father's day so my dad is getting a weekend without us to do what he wants... and also it might have an ulterior motive in me hitting a certain milestone on the Icon of the Seas group cruise at the end of the month. An added bonus... it is mid 70s in Long Beach and very likely to break 110 in Phoenix this weekend so it worked out to be a good weekend to get away. In terms of plans for this cruise, we booked the key, I know Matt would kick me overboard but it was basically the same price as internet on Black Friday when we bought it, it gets us boarding day lunch, and maybe disembarkation breakfast if we decide to stray from Chops Grille breakfast (we are both Pinnacle and since we received no access denied or access granted email, I am assuming there is a very low count on this cruise). The boarding day lunch was a problem solver for my mom since she won't step foot in the Windjammer and my favorite Navigator of the Seas does not have Coastal Kitchen. We also booked a lunch in Jamie's Italian and a dinner in Hooked. We understand the new menus have rolled out on Navigator so it will be good to see the new options. The other 2 dinners will be in the MDR, late seating, hopefully, our cruise reservation says 8pm dining but the cruise planner popped up with the option to book My Time dining so I hope that is another lovely IT glitch (I work in tech remember, I spend way to much time trying to figure out these darn IT issues when I see them on Royal Caribbean and then remember my job is with another company). We also have no intentions of getting off in Ensenada, we have been there before and it really is a throw away port for PVSA in my opinion. In terms of cabins, we have 2 connecting Junior suites. It has the benefit of us not needing to share a bathroom or a desk both of which would be fairly disastrous but is also helpful for my ulterior motive . Anyways, we fly out to LAX after I finish work tomorrow, my dad is going to pick me up from my house after lunch time tomorrow and I am going to work the last couple hours of the day from a Sky Harbor admirals club. I have done this before and while not ideal, it does the job. My mom will likely spend that time reading her Kindle. Also, apparently a certain former president is going to be in Phoenix tomorrow so we decided to get to the airport early enough that we can avoid the traffic if there is any. We are staying in the Hyatt Centric Long Beach tomorrow, we have stayed there before, we are sharing a room for the one night, I think it will be fine . I guess that is all I have to go over pre-cruise! I am going to keep these posts a lot shorter than my first live blog was on Odyssey, it is not as exciting of a cruise, so prepare yourself for mainly food photos and misc stuff on the ship. I might go with the approach that I see some others doing of posting a couple times a day with shorter posts instead of huge recaps that I literally had to take notes for. Thanks for reading! Ashley
  2. My cruise countdown is finally at 7 days! We’ve been in dry dock since September and these 8 months without a sailing have dragged on and on. Itinerary This mini 3-night sailing only stops in Ensenada, BC, Mexico. I’m still trying to book the 4N so I can get back to Catalina but a full week of vacation vs. 2 days is usually the dealbreaker, especially with a big Europe trip sucking up vacay days later this summer. I’ve been on a 2-cruises-a-year kick since the pandemic and this one will get me there (assuming a river cruise “counts” - oh wait, I’m the one making the rules)!! Day 1 - Friday - Departs Los Angeles Day 2 - Saturday - Cruising Day 3 - Sunday - Ensenada, BC, Mexico Day 4 - Monday - Returns to Los Angeles Who’s Going My BFF (Meredith) and I (Daryl). This is the first time I am sailing with anyone other than my husband! Meredith (aka Squirrel - we used to say Hey Girl, which transitioned to Gwirl and finally Squirrel) moved away to Oregon a few years ago so I gifted us this cruise to be able to hang out while also experiencing my favorite pastime. Cabin JS 1294. This was a suite guarantee that was sooo much cheaper than picking my own JS. I am usually pretty picky about our location so have never booked Guarantee before but the savings were wild. Cabin 1294 looks to be close enough to an elevator, mid-ship on deck 10. I have RoyalUp bids out on GS, 2 BR GS and the OS but the sailing is sold out so it would be a miracle! Pre-Purchases Of course I had to get us the DBP, not bad at $72.99 pp/pd. When I went on this same itinerary in Oct 2022, I paid $75.99!! Never thought I would see prices lower on a weekend-partiers 3N. We have lunch at Hooked on Day 1 and Dinner at Izumi night 2. I’ve never booked Hooked before as my husband and I aren’t huge seafood lovers but saw they had a chicken sandwich and burger on the menu for me! Meredith loves seafood so she should be pleased and we can avoid the Day 1 lunch madhouse in the WJ. I was toying with the idea of Playmakers instead but with no windows to the outside, a real restaurant felt superior. When we used to live in the same city we had sushi nearly every week so Izumi was an easy specialty dinner choice. I also got us a set of RCCL slippers from the semi-hidden Royal Gifts section because they were $7.99 and I could not say no. Walking barefoot in the cabin always makes me think about what’s lurking in the carpeting so these should calm me. Lastly, we have 2-device internet so that should help with my Blogging Under the Influence!! Or is it PUTI @SweetPea??? I love that we’re embarking the same day so I will have your sneaky, in-the-bathroom blog to return home to. That reminds me, I should toss some underwear in my growing packing pile right now. Excursion I let Meredith pick/buy us the excursion and she chose the Desert Nest Zipline available in the cruise planner. Love a zipline and it definitely won’t be warm enough for any water-based activities so it sounded like a good plan to me. We’ll also probably roam the streets of Ensenada afterwards and take a peek in the Papas and Beers as is the norm. Pre-Cruise Hotel We’re staying at the Crowne Plaza Harbor Hotel the night before siiiimply because Meredith works for IHG and we got it for free. We easily could’ve driven up on the morning of embarkation but who doesn’t love a night in a hotel!? We will make our 10:30am check-in time slot on the dot without any traffic to contend with. Mostly I am excited to experience the Navigator water slides again! Best in the fleet in my opinion (until I make it to Icon, of course). Last time we went on Nav, I said I would book again for the slides alone! The two person raft is so so fun. Hopefully we get some semblance of warmth in the midst of the May Gray/June Gloom frigid coastal weather we have going on. I am also excited to see the production and ice shows. We missed them last time around due to laziness/being too full after dinner but I will make it a point to get in there this time! Meredith and I met doing theatre as children, then rekindled our friendship in a musical as adults and greatly appreciate live stage productions!! Let me know if you have any Navigator questions and I will do my best to find out or photograph things. I’m going to take a page out of the @OCSC Mike blog playbook and post in smaller snippets instead of big long recaps at the end of the day which should help with not forgetting any shenanigans. Wheeee 7 days till cruise day! And with Memorial Day this weekend, my mini work week should fly by!
  3. Boarding Navigator today! I am so excited to get to sail a Royal ship and not have to take a flight to do so. We are driving up from San Diego around 11am today after my husband gets off work. I have only seen 3 or so blogs from sailings on this coast so figured some additional pics/findings couldn’t hurt. Itinerary This mini 3-night sailing only stops in Ensenada, BC, Mexico. We had originally booked the following 4-night sailing to Catalina on the day bookings opened for these itineraries but after our 2+ week Greek honeymoon I had to switch us to the weekend to give our poor vacation days a chance to recover!! One and a half days off is way easier to swing than the 5 vacation days the original sailing would’ve required. Day 1 - Friday - Departs Los Angeles Day 2 - Saturday - Ensenada, BC, Mexico Day 3 - Sunday - Cruising Day 4 - Monday - Returns to Los Angeles Who’s Going - my husband (Adrian) and I (Daryl) Cabin Ocean View Balcony 1832. I am excited to be on deck 12 with easy Lime & Coconut access. I also put in a bid for a GS that was slightly above the “weak” segment so we’ll see! (This is lifted directly from my last blog as the details are exactly the same! ) Pre-Purchases We grabbed the DBP for a fairly high $75 pp/pd but I will be happy to not have to think about it. We are heavy water drinkers and the ability to grab bottles anywhere really helps when you’re also drinking enough to ensure maximum beverage package usage! We have two dinners reserved, night 1 at Izumi and night 3 at Jamie’s. I have been on ships with Izumi three times but this will be my first time there, I will definitely be trying the She’s a Geisha cocktail I’ve heard so much about! Excursion I booked a third party excursion through ATV Ensenada that departs from town and rides up into the mountains and back. Royal offered an ATV excursion but you had to take a bus out to the Guadalupe Valley to ride and I much prefer getting to ride right from the port area. As native San Diegans we’ve both been to Ensenada a bunch of times before but never up in the mountains for a sweeping ocean view! That should be enjoyable. We took a similar tour from Georgioupolis in Crete this summer and I loved it so much I knew I had to seek out ATVs while we were in Ensenada. Mostly I am excited to try the two Navigator-only water slides since we’ve been on the Perfect Storms on Oasis and Freedom. I love water slides! It’s cruise day!!
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