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  1. Ready to navigate (see what I did there??) to Diamond +! This will be my sixth solo cruise, and my last cruise as Diamond. I've learned a lot from my previous solo cruises (including two different classes of ship (Freedom, Voyager) three different cabin classes (Promenade View, Virtual Balcony, and Oceanview Balcony), and three different ports of departure (Miami, Los Angeles-San Pedro, and Copenhagen, Denmark). Oh, and three weeks until departure! I guess this will be a voyage of threes then. So I'll divide my blog into three parts: pre-cruise, embarkation and cruise, debarkation and post cruise. It fits, right? Pre-Cruise: Initially booked: November 2022. Always intended this to be a solo cruise with the principal objective of achieving D+. My other half doesn't particularly enjoy cruising, so I book at least two cruises per year, one of which involves an itinerary that we both will enjoy, and (at least) one that supports my love of cruising and a specific goal or objective. This is #1 for 2023. Cabin type: Virtual balcony. I really like this category of cabin for solo cruising. A balcony is nice, but on a 5-night itinerary, the view from the screen will suffice. And the price was right, allowing me to reserve a balcony for our "together" cruise later on this year. Preparation: coming from the PNW (Pacific North West), I arranged my flights somewhat early on to procure my desired seats. Reserved a hotel room through the Hopper app, and then kept tabs on rates through different hotel sites and AirBnB. I'm more than happy with my choices. Having traveled via Lyft/Uber from LAX to San Pedro, and via public transportation from San Pedro - LAX, I'm open to either means of travel, and will decide once I land and get my bags. Who knows -- I may even go Carry-on only this time!!! If you have any questions about my preparation (or any other "phases") of my journey, feel free to post them and I'll strive to answer/reply.
  2. DIAMOND - Here We Come! At the end of our last blog where we took a bunch of family on the cruise with us, I shared that hubby and I snuck down to the Next Cruise desk and we booked another cruise as a getaway for just the two of us! This time, we opted for less frills (sadly, no suite this time), but we're doing a back-to-back-to-back! When we set up our appointment with Next Cruise, we intended to just book a short 4 night cruise to get us to Diamond level because we were just a couple of points away. Then we decided to add a second cruise to it so we could experience the diamond perks on the second cruise. By the time we made it to our appointment, we had figured out that if we added a third cruise it would include Valentine's Day and the Super Bowl. Had it been a longer walk, who knows what we would have ended up with! Partners in crime on this cruise: Just the two of us (hubby and I) Ship: Navigator of the Seas Cabin: Interior with Virtual Balcony – midship - same room for all three cruises Dates: January 30 - February 17, 2023 Ports: Cruise 1: Sailing RT from Los Angeles to Catalina Island & Ensenada Cruises 2 & 3: Sailing RT from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, & Puerto Vallarta Booked Excursions: Catalina: No excursion, but I'll be on the hunt for a good clam chowder and hoping it's good weather to walk around a bit Cabo: No excursion, but our best friends go to Cabo all the time and have sent us a long list of things/places to experience Mazatlan: Mazatlan Highlights Express. During this tour, we get to watch cliff diving - a bucket list item for hubby! Puerto Vallarta: Still evaluating - Spent a week there a while back, so we did a bunch, but looking for an adventure (a calm one - we're getting old) LAX: We decided to try the LA Highlights and Rodeo Drive Tour with Airport Transfer. Should be a fun way to get back to the airport. Other Events & Things: Super Bowl: We're crossing our fingers that the Eagles make it! Valentine's Day: My favorite holiday, so I'm happy we'll be cruising this day! Hotel & Flight: We are taking a huge risk and flying to LAX the day of the cruise!!! We're flying from PDX to LAX, so it's a short flight, and there are a ton of other flights to fall back on, so we feel pretty good about it - unless our airline decides to pull a Southwest on us. Cross your fingers for us!! We are the most excited that after the first cruise, we will move to Diamond status! I'm looking forward to the coffee machine and being able to venture into an exclusive lounge!! Unfortunately, I have to work a bit while on this cruise because after we had booked the trip, my company changed our fiscal year and caused a bunch of initiatives (for which I'm responsible) to be due in February. Ugh! But I'm only working when I have to and I'm hoping the internet works for me. What to expect from this blog: One thing I've looked for from other B2B cruises is what happens during the debarkation/embarkation process if you stay in the same cabin. We'll also share what happens when you stay on the ship for a second cruise and reach the next level with perks after the first cruise. I read once that you stay on the ship and the Diamond Concierge comes and gives you an orientation (of sorts). Hoping all this to be the case. We'll share what the Diamond Lounge is all about and what to expect with those perks If I have any frustration with internet, you'll hear about it. Just kidding...maybe If the weather is nice in LA during either of our turnaround days, we plan to hit the water slides since that's usually when there is no line! We're not planning on any dining other than the included options on the ship, and we're total foodies - we'll provide an honest review of the food on the ship and any tips and tricks we learn along our way. We may stray from this for Valentine's Day - we'll see. We'll post pics of our cruise compasses from all three cruises, and any other goodies they leave us that could help you plan your getaway. I skipped the different phases ramping up to this cruise in the blogs because I've been so busy with the holidays and work that I haven't thought much about it. But we're just a week out now and things are heating up! The packing/staging has begun, and all of our documents are in order. I hope you enjoy our blog sharing with you our adventure to Diamond status!
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