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  1. Good morning everyone! As the title says, we will be doing a side by side sailing coming up a week from Monday out of Miami. As long as data/wi-fi/VOOM cooperates I will try to post as live as I can. I'll put some of the background and details below, and will also be commenting on our before/after plans as well so feel free to skip past all that if it's not your thing. Forewarning this first post will be a long one. I was back and forth on doing a blog, but I know I really appreciate reading them to get me by until my next sailing. As we go throughout the trip, feel free to ask questions and I will do my best to answer as I can. Who: Myself (Cody) and my wife (Ainslie). I'm active duty AF currently stationed in Colorado Springs. Just got back to the area in April after living 30 minutes south of Port Canaveral for almost five years, so this will be our first cruise in years where we have to fly to the port which was a big driver in the longer trip. No kids, so aside from getting the vacation time we have the flexibility to cruise any time of the year. We love this time of year as the weather is perfect, it's typically cheaper, and longer sailings (Explorer) often have a much more laid-back feel to them which we like. We are Emerald C&A members coming just short of Diamond after these sailings and won't be in suites so I won't be much help in regards to those aspects/questions. Why these sailings?: We did 14 nights b2b on Navigator a couple years ago over the exact same timeframe and loved it. We got off that sailing and immediately knew we had to get back to the ABCs, which this time is on Explorer. We considered doing the 5 night over Thanksgiving and making it a true b2b again, but this one went to Labadee & Jamaica and we're already doing Labadee the second sailing. We really enjoyed Navigator and were excited to see the amplified ship so got a great rate a year ago on the 4 night Thanksgiving sailing and we get to go to Coco Cay. I went in September but my wife has never been as we missed it the previous two attempts before the pier was installed. We'll get to sail on one new ship to us and one revamped ship coupled with getting back to our favorite ports in the ABCs so it was a no-brainer! Escaping the Colorado cold doesn't hurt either. Staterooms: Navigator we'll be in a deck 7 Promenade Room. Originally had the exact same room # on Explorer, but after final payment date the rates on Oceanview Balconies dropped to the point where we upgraded for less than $100, so we'll have a deck 7 Oceanview Balcony on the Starboard side which we prefer. Onboard Extras: We purchased the Deluxe beverage package + VOOM for myself and the Refreshment for my wife on both sailings. I waffled a bit on this but in the end got a rate we were happy with and I love not having to worry about a bill at the end for drinks. Coupled with the fact that due to work we may not get to cruise next year and it was a fairly easy decision. On Navigator I booked the UDP for us as there are some new venues I wanted to try and the price was $99pp so not bad. VOOM came with my DX package but we would've purchased anyways. No specialty dining on Explorer as we have some longish port days so a couple nights MDR but a lot of casual WJ meals for us. Travel: More in the itinerary to come but we're flying on the red-eye from Denver next Saturday morning at 12:45! Flying into Orlando to spend time with friends. We're flying Frontier (I know), but the ticket price was a few hundred cheaper than other airlines which allowed us to spend some time both before and after the cruise in Florida. After disembarking on the 8th we'll head back up to Orlando to get a couple days at WDW before flying out late on the 9th back to Denver. Got some great pricing on one way rentals both Orlando to Miami and in reverse with Avis. Dropping of the rental the night before the cruise so will use Uber/Lyft to get to the ship. Itinerary: 23 Nov- Fly to Orlando, spend day/night in Melbourne with friends 24 Nov- Drive to Miami, one night at the Gabriel downtown 25 Nov- Board Navigator 26 Nov- Nassau (8:00am-6:00pm) 27 Nov- Coco Cay (7:00am-5:00pm) 28 Nov- Sea Day (Thanksgiving) 29 Nov- Turnaround day, board Explorer 30 Nov- Sea Day 1 Dec- Labadee (8:00am-5:00pm) 2 Dec- Sea Day 3 Dec- Willemstad, Curacao (9:00am-8:00pm) 4 Dec- Kralendijk, Bonaire (8:00am-8:00pm) 5 Dec- Oranjestad, Aruba (8:00am-7:00pm) 6-7 Dec- Sea Days 8 Dec- Disembark, head to Orlando/Disney 9 Dec- Fly home late Excursions: Nassau- My wife is doing some sort of dolphin thing (I believe) and I'm going to just walk around, get a bite to eat, and spend some time at Pirate Republic Brewing (I'm a big beer guy) Coco Cay- I've got the all-day waterpark pass, but aside from that a leisurely day Labadee- Nothing planned, just relax Curacao- Rented a car through Advance and plan to drive up to some of the more remote beaches. Afternoon/evening will be spent walking downtown and getting a bite to eat at our favorite place Bonaire- Snorkeling again with Woodwind and then relaxing in town Aruba- Local bus to our favorite dutch pancake restaurant, then plan to spend the rest of the day at Reflexions Beach Bar while my wife shops in town Again, apologies for the long post and congrats to those who stuck with it! I will start with the live portion next Saturday once we start traveling. I will not be uploading the compasses daily but if you have specific questions on those I will try to answer. Have a great weekend and thanks for following along!
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