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  1. Looking for opinions on the Enchantment of the Seas out of San Juan. Looks like she has not had a refurbishment in 8 years. Is she looking old? 😕 Is she too small to find enough entertainment for a 19 yr old? 😟 We love the ports of call out of San Juan, but I am concerned the 19 yr old will be disappointed with this ship. Thanks for the opinions, good bad or indifferent. 😄
  2. It’s nearly time! I feel like I have waited for yeeears to set off on my first cruise as an adult! (It’s been… 84 years… ) In reality, I haven’t had to wait all that long as the days between booking and embarkation maxed out at 146 days. Now it’s down to just SIX days! The saddest part was that I had three vacations to go on between then and now and the poor Grand Canyon and Puerto Vallarta did not get the travel-obsessing they deserved. In March, my boyfriend and I were looking into different trips we could take for our birthdays this August (on the 22nd and 25th) and as a Puerto Rican he suggested a trip there to visit his mom who went down to help family after Maria. I was pricing it out to stay in PR for around 6 nights (typical length of a land vacation I can afford) when he mentioned having taken a cruise from there back when he was in high school. The next day I googled cruises from SJ and booked a 7-night sailing on Freedom hours later! The price was pretty comparable and on this itinerary we would get the added bonus of seeing 5 other Caribbean ports! Who could say no? It should be noted that I booked during the 30% off sale but I even got us into a JS for less than every vacation I have taken to Hawaii. After reading about a million fabulous live blogs here I thought I would give it a go because I would love to give back, so if you have any Freedom questions, feel free to ask! Itinerary Day 1 8/18 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Day 2 8/19 - St. Thomas 8am-6pm - Magen’s Bay via taxi (haven’t been since I was 7!) Day 3 8/20 - St. Kitts & Nevis 8am-8pm (only ship in port) - Cockleshell Beach via Shore Excursioneer Day 4 8/21 - Antigua 8am-5pm (only ship in port) - Antigua By Sea (RC Excursion) Day 5 8/22 - St. Lucia 8am-6pm - Rainforest Zipline & Aerial Tram via Shore Excursioneer for MY BIRTHDAY!!!! Day 6 8/23 - Barbados 8am-9pm - Catamaran/Snorkel via Shore Excursioneer Day 7 8/24 - Cruising Day 8 8/25 - Return to San Juan With the added bonus of Day 9 - Extra day in San Juan! With a newly-renovated oceanfront room at my favorite hotel in SJ, the Caribe Hilton. I could not say no to seeing the renovation for myself. I am also a brand loyalist to my dear, sweet Hilton, specifically because I love getting to pick my own room (e.g. north-facing Disneyland Resort room for fireworks every time). We also got a rental car so we can cruise the island and pick up my boyfriend’s mom so she can point us to the best mofongo! Who’s Going - my boyfriend (Adrian) and I (Daryl) Cabin - Junior Suite 9538. The larger balcony is what got me because I am a lanai girl through and through. I get an oceanfront every time I go to Hawaii and even extended the year-round lanai time to include my apartment in downtown San Diego, specifically for sunset balcony-sitting! So suffice it to say I plan on spending a lot of time out there for sail away cocktails and the JS balcony was a major draw. Priority embarkation also sounds nice without having purchased The Key. Pre-Purchases - I got us the DBP for $44pp/pd during the 30% off sale although I can never figure out if it’s on sale or not cause it remained the same price once the sale was over?! Seems like at $12 each it is not hard to get to $44 per day, I can easily drink 4-5 cocktails and will also need 100+ ounces in water to make up for all that dehydration. Hoping to keep track of my drink consumption like @JLMoran! Also got the Voom Surf and Stream for 2 devices for instagramming and live blogging. Excursions St. Kitts - Cockleshell Beach transportation that includes a stop at Timothy Hill on the way. A taxi all the way down there was somewhat comparable but with a drink and chair included, it was worth it for the excursion version of going straight to the beach. Antigua - 80ft catamaran that circumnavigates the whole island! I went back and forth on which beach to taxi to from the port (for the record I had settled on Dickenson Bay - $14, haha) but decided this would be a fun way to see all 365 of them with a lunch/snorkel beach stop on Green Island off the east coast of Antigua. St. Lucia - Rainforest Aerial Tram and Zipline in the Castries Waterworks Forest Reserve on my biiirthday! I almost did the Pitons zip as advertised on the cruise planner but opted for the one with the sweet 45-minute aerial tram ride through the jungle. I am thinking SD Zoo Skyfari x10! Barbados - Catamaran/Shipwreck Snorkeling excursion to Folkstone Marine Park and Carlisle Bay. I am a sucker for both catamaran rides and snorkeling (a must in Waikiki and at Hanauma Bay evvvery single time) so I couldn’t pass this one up! --- I hope I can keep up with this blog as we go. I haven’t been on a cruise since December of 2005 when I sailed HAL Oosterdam with my parents out of our home port of San Diego to the Mexican Riviera. BUT! My very first cruise experience was with my friend's family on RCCL ol’ gal Sovereign of the Seas out of Miami in 1998! We went to Key West, Nassau and the oooolddd fashioned Coco Cay. Would love to try out Perfect Day on a future cruise to see the transformation (besides the fact that I love waterslides). Ahhh! Seeing the logged-in Royal countdown at 6 Days To Go has me feeling near-constant excited stomach butterflies! 😎 These 5 work days are going to crawl by.
  3. So today after much consideration i bit the bullet and booked a cruise 🙂 Nothing unusual about that, as it's something some on here do on a monthly basis lol ( yes i'm jealous ) HOWEVER When i booked my first and to date only cruise i had no idea what i was doing, i had no idea about sales, costs or additions such as OBC, in fact i had never actually seen a cruiseship before. After spending time on this site i realised that there is so much more then just hitting confirm on the UK RC booking screen, so today in the name of research i booked my next cruise with MEI Travel in the US. My plan is to check each sale and see what the cost would be at that time taking into consideration freebies such as OBC, Wifi, etc to determine whether booking in UK or US is best for UK residents and also what the best deal is. The cruise itself is 7 nights on FOTS 28th June 2020 to the ABC Islands & St Maartan from Peurto Rico. Current Deal UK Oceanview Balcony : £2,356.78 + free Wifi US Oceanview Balcony : £2036.50 + $50 obc ( RC ) + $50 obc ( MEI Travel ) THIS WAS BOOKED 🙂 the OBC i received will be used to cover wifi for my wife So today because i booked with blog sponsors MEI TRAVEL i am £320.28 better off 🙂 Now i'm not stupid i realise exchange rates will vary, or that UK may get a deal that is way better ( drinks pack included ) But the way i see it, come June 2020 i will know whats the best deal for me for all future cruises. i will update this thread for each sale as they happen Ray
  4. My husband and I are going on a 7N Freedom of the Seas (FOTS) cruise January 2020. I'd love to hear of all your suggestions for excursions. We LOVE the water/beach but are open to other ideas as well. We have already been to St Maarten and did a RC snuba excursion which we enjoyed. All other ports we have never been to. With so many ports, we'd love to hear your feedback on ports to do an excursion versus no excursion-either staying on the ship or exploring the town. I should also note that one day we'd love to go back and stay at an island for longer than one day so any suggestions on day passes at a resort to explore those would be great too.
  5. Hello, I‘m on the Navigator of the Seas right now and it‘s my first RCCL cruise. I‘ve been cruising mostly NCL, but also did experience Carnival, Celebrity and MSC before. I‘m not doing a fully live trip report but I try to send a few impressions and maybe answer a few of your questions. I was at the port around 11:30am and had to wait until 12 until they let people inside the security area. No communication whatsoever about why we were delayed. Security and and document check went swiftly but then we had to wait once more on the gangway to finally board. People weren’t happy about those delays. Once onboard, around 12:30, the ship felt empty, we were the first to have a drink at the Bamboo Room and we got an excellent MaiTai. Rooms were ready shortly after 1 pm and we dropped our carry on luggage right before we went to Chops for Lunch. I honestly wasn’t blown away. I have the Key package, my parents don’t and paid for this lunch upfront only to be informed that they were also limited to the small Key lunch menu. What a waste of money for them. They didn‘t even prepare pepper sauce or bearnaise sauce and limited us to bordelaise sauce 👎🏻. The quality of the beef was fine though. I‘m used to inside muster drills on NCL and prefer those to the chaos that was here during sweltering heat on the outside promenade. 👎🏻 Sailaway came and we were delayed because of a medical emergency. The captain did inform us about a small delay which then turned into 3 hours delay because apparently an elderly lady died. So sad 😭. Dinner in the MDR was very nice though and I think service and food was a step above NCL. Out of the major cruise lines, I still prefer Carnival for food quality though. The promenade was crowded for the balloon drop and the music was too loud for me. My promenade room has rather good soundproofing but I hope in the coming days, music won‘t be as loud. Had breakfast in the MDR today and felt it took too long for me because I want to be out on the deck enjoying the ship instead of wasting my daytime in a dining room. Once again, the food was rather good though and service was great again. I‘m now out on the 12th deck enjoying my day but the chair hog situation is out of control compared to the other ships I‘ve been to. At 10 am the pool deck was empty but there wasn‘t a single chair available in the Solarium or in the shaded areas around the ship. They really need to do something about this.
  6. Anyone else on the Southern Caribbean cruise starting at the end of the month? If so, what excursions are you doing? We haven't booked anything yet, but have some ideas. Not sure about Antigua and St. Lucia - so any recommendations on those are appreciated!
  7. 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!!
  8. Me and my Family are booked on a 7 day Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico on Jan 7 with stops in St. Croix, Phillipsburg, Roseau, Bridgetown, and St George's. Its our first time on a RCI cruise, we've sailed with Carnival in the past but are really looking forward to this one. Has anyone sailed on the Jewel since its refurbishment? If so how did you like it? Anyone have any recommendations for shore excursions? Are the specialty dining options worth the extra money or are the included options enough? What kind of activities are there to do on the ship? Any tips for first time RCI cruiser?
  9. Hello Friends, I have 2 cruises booked on the Adventure of the Seas this year!! One pre and one post refurb! Southern Caribbean x 2!! We will manage to only hit St. Kitts twice, otherwise we will hit all new islands! I have read Matt's blogs in regards to traveling from San Juan, but I was wondering if anyone else had some hot tips or must do's in the Southern Caribbean. We will be at St. Thomas and St. Maarten (have been to both of them several times), then St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua, Barbados, and Curacao. Anyone have a must do excursion or tour? We usually book our own non-RCL tours, but are certainly open to suggestions! Thanks! Mel!
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