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  1. I first fell in love with cruising as a child, and have rediscovered my passion for it in 2022 while sailing on Symphony with my husband. Both of us have also sailed on Wonder in January 2023, and this year the rest of my family has finally been convinced to go on a cruise with us - as long as I pick out the itinerary and select the ship. I'm between the 8 night Eastern Caribbean + Perfect Day itinerary on Oasis in mid-November, and the 7 night Eastern Caribbean + Perfect Day itinerary on Wonder at the end of October. Somehow the Wonder cruise is nearly $500 cheaper than Oasis for an oceanview balcony stateroom, midship on deck 8 (those of us that have sailed on Oasis before absolutely love Central Park). Only half of our group has been on Oasis class ships in the past, and I'd love to share the magic of Oasis with my dad and grandma. I'm the only one in the group that has sailed on both of them already, but I was last on Oasis in 2014, so it's hard to compare it to Wonder as that was nearly a decade ago and was before its amplification! Please let me know if you have any advice on whether Oasis or Wonder would be better for an active, multigenerational family that loves cruising, but in which only some of us have been on Oasis-class ships. We also don't have children, so this is a group consisting of adults in their 30s/mid 50s/mid 70s. Thank you so much in advance!!
  2. HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone !!! Starting the blog today to get a head start! We set sail in 6 days! We’ve come full circle… Wonder to Wonder! Our very first cruise was our honeymoon cruise on the Disney Wonder back in 2004. That’s when we were infected with the cruise bug! Disney set the bar really high right off the bat, but Royal has never disappointed us! Oh, and the us/our/we refers to me (John) and my wife (Christine)! The how and why? We had originally booked this cruise as a Harmony sailing while onboard Oasis (NextCruise) back in OCT 2021. Harmony apparently wasn’t in the stars once again for us (detail to follow)! We were so excited when it was announced that Wonder was redeploying to Port Canaveral and we were given the option to swap ships. Wonder for the price of Harmony… no complaints here! Harmony has been so elusive. That’s twice we were bumped/moved! We had initially booked her back in JUN 2019 (APR 2021 sailing), but then Royal cancelled her APR 2021 sailings as they planned on moving up her 5-year maintenance drydock at that time. We chose the option to switch to Symphony, but everyone knows the rest of the sad story… that cruise became a Covid casualty. One day we’ll actually sail on Harmony… and Symphony for that matter. On this cruise, we’re sailing once again with my wife’s childhood friend. She grew up here on Long Island and relocated to Florida almost 30 years ago (has long lost the NY/LI accent! ). She joined us on our Allure (MAY 2019) and Odyssey (FEB 2022) sailings. This time, my wife’s uncle and GF will also be joining us! We sailed with him on Explorer (OCT 2013) and Liberty (OCT 2015). We’re so excited! This will be an 8-night sailing that includes stops at both PDCC and Labadee! We always wanted to sail an itinerary that hits both properties! * Time for some trip details… Cruise Details: Wonder of the Seas, 8-night, Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day itinerary Out of Port Canaveral, FL 1/7/23-1/15/23 Itinerary: Day 1 (1/7): Port Canaveral, FL Day 2 (1/8): Nassau, Bahamas Day 3 (1/9): PDCC, Bahamas Day 4 (1/10): (* At Sea *) Day 5 (1/11): San Juan, PR Day 6 (1/12): Puerto Plata, DR Day 7 (1/13): Labadee, Haiti Day 8 (1/14): (* At Sea *) Day 9 (1/15): Port Canaveral, FL Cabin Details & General Plans/Stuff: Central Park balcony (Deck 11, Starboard side)… our friend is in adjacent cabin (opening that balcony divider for sure!) and my wife’s uncle (booked after us) is 5 cabins down on same deck/side. We chose our location so that we are close to the musicians when they play in the evening down below in Central Park. We also wanted to stay away from the elevator towers. Purchased the Key. Selected Traditional Dining (5:30PM)… will verify as eDoc states 5:15PM (fine with us). Purchased the Deluxe Beverage Package (expensive, but had to do it!). Purchased the 3 Night Dining Package. Purchased the Full Day Pass to Coco Beach Club (CocoCay). Purchased “Authentic Countryside Experience” excursion in the Dominican Republic. Purchased the Full-Day Beach Bed Rental in Labadee (story to follow!). Nassau, Bahamas… plan is to play it by ear. We likely will not disembark. San Juan, PR… plan is to disembark and self-tour. Our friend has been to San Juan so many times (flight attendant) and she wants to take us to a restaurant for lunch and explore Old San Juan. Booked all major entertainment via Cruise Planner (365 Seasons on Ice, The Effectors II: Crash & Burn, Tap Factory, Voices, inTENse, Adult Comedy LIVE). Also booked “Royal Society of Puzzles” onboard activity (basic escape room). Miscellaneous Stuff: Flight on Southwest Airlines out of Islip/MacArthur Airport (ISP) on Long Island (NY) early on FRI (1/6/23) morning to Orlando (MCO). Our friend lives outside Orlando and will meet us at the airport. We’re then driving to the hotel as she has made reservations near the port (details to follow). We may join a large group (our sailing’s FB group) at Fishlips Waterfront Bar & Grill on FRI afternoon for a pre-cruise Meet & Greet. Just need to discuss with our friend! Our current plan is to use the shuttle service from the hotel to the port on SAT morning. Could change later – need to discuss this week! We booked the 10:30-11:00 boarding window so we could board and take care of the specialty dining reservations, relax, explore, and start our vacation right away! I think that’s it for the synopsis... now we just need to pack! *** Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to post pictures of something you are interested in... I'll do my best to keep up throughout the sailing! Oh, did I say we're excited? My phone Lock Screen since we disembarked Odyssey last FEB...
  3. Some of you might remember my last live blog from the Symphony TA. We were so happy with this cruise that we decided there and then to do the Oasis 5 TA. Unfortunately Royal announced Wonder would be going to Asia, so no TA. Instead, we booked an Eastern Med cruise on Odyssey for 2021. And then Covid happened. Odyssey was first relocated to Israel and afterwards to the US, our cruise was cancelled. We used Lift & Shift to protect our price for an Eastern Med cruise on Odyssey in 2022 – thinking Covid would be over by then. Well, how wrong you can be… In April we finally gave up on that cruise as neither Italy, nor Greece or Israel were showing any signs of stopping the craziness. As Germans can only book with non refundable deposits, we were looking for alternatives – and stumbled upon the Wonder TA. So four years after our first Royal cruise, it’s finally happening again – and it’s the cruise we wanted all along! Here are the basics of this trip: Travelling will be me (Kerstin, 39f) and hubby Michael (38m). We’re in 7310, an Ocean View Balcony. Funny enough, this will be first time ever we’ll be in a Balcony, we’re usually Interior people but got the opportunity to jump from Interior Virtual Balcony to GTY Ocean View Balcony for a steal price of 27 €. We have purchased UDP, DBP and Voom Surf & Stream. This cruise brings us from Barcelona via Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Cartagena, Malaga and Nassau to Port Canaveral. We have planned nothing for the port days. If we’re in the mood we’ll just get off the ship and walk around town, if not, we’ll just stay on board and enjoy the empty ship. Saturday will be a loooong day. Drop the 5 cats at the cat hotel at 8 am, drop the dog at the kennel at 11 am, take Covid tests and drive to Munich airport for our 8.55 pm flight to Barcelona. We’ll be arriving at 11.05 pm and have chosen the Alexandre Hotel Frontair Congress because they offer a shuttle and it isn’t far from the airport. Our boarding time is 10 am on Sunday which leaves us no time to do anything in Barcelona, but been there, done that… For disembarkation in Port Canaveral we’ve rented a car and will be spending a week in Florida essentially doing a road trip. Last but not least, time to introduce the only good thing that came out of Covid (apart from this cruise of course ) – our newest addition to the family. This is Ronnie on our summer trip to Sweden with the RV. He’s a Romanian rescue dog of unknown breeding, history and age (approximates say 2 to 4 years). Thanks to Covid we can now mostly work from home and have enough time to do him justice. Even without Covid restrictions we’re only required to meet in the office once a month so it’s easy to make sure he’s not home alone. Only hard thing will be not seeing him for three weeks The cats are used to spending their vacation at the cat hotel, but we take Ronnie with us on our RV trips. He has been practicing by staying at the kennel for a few days twice so I’m sure he’ll be fine. So in the spirit of live blogging, feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer them, take pictures and keep this as ‘live’ as the DBP allows
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