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“I Dream of Genie” – Star Class - Harmony of the Seas – 03/10/19-03/17/19

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“I Dream of Genie” – Star Class - Harmony of the Seas – 03/10/19-03/17/19

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Dreams…that is how many things begin; that is how this adventure began.  But with every dream that comes true, there is always a journey. 

Here is our journey, almost 3 years in the making.  Note: Pulling a @JLMoran here, it’s long winded lol.

Back in May 2016, I read with keen interest, a blog post by @Matt that Royal was rolling out a new suite class program.  The concept of Star Class intrigued me, but at the time, I knew that it was beyond our reach.  However, dreams have no limits, and one can look but not touch.  You all know that I am a shopaholic right? 😂

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As the program rolled out, I read reviews, followed blogs, looked on in wonder and envy as I watched the Genies do their thing on Allure in 2016 and later on Harmony in 2017.  This was pretty much me on those sailings...

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In February 2017, I came across a blog by @WAAAYTOOO.  I believe it was her first time in Star Class and she had Reyno as her Genie.  After that, I knew, without a doubt that this was something that I needed to try.  The big question was how?

The answer is that I really don’t know how I would have this opportunity without the help of some dear friends along the way, right here in the message boards.  Somewhere between February 2017 and January 2018, I read a post by @tiny260 that really was the first glimmer of hope that Star Class could be a reality for us.  @tiny260 basically posted that he had recently booked a good deal in Star Class by scouring the calendar week by week.  There were only two problems with that idea:  I did not have much time to go through each sailing, week by week and ship by ship, and there are only several times in the year that I can sail due to work.  So, I set aside Tiny’s idea but made a point to remember his tip.

In January 2018, call it God’s will, or good things come to those who wait, or fate, @WAAAYTOOO started a thread in the “Rumours and News” section here about a special STAR savings discount of $1000.  I was also off work last year which meant I had all day to look.  So, taking @tiny260's tip I went about an all-day effort to find something that would fit our schedule.  Trouble was that my schedule was only flexible until September 2018 and I already had bookings for 2018 that I did not want to cancel.

This is the point in the journey where sometimes intercession occurs, and you cannot logically explain what follows.  During my search that day, I stumbled upon a sailing on Harmony (which I expected to be the highest price second to Symphony) for March 10, 2019.  This worked out perfectly since this would be our March break, I would be off work, and Harmony is my favourite ship.  For reasons that I cannot explain, this was also one of the lower priced sailings for a Star class cabin (compared to OA/AL/SY).  How did I know that?  Because up until this point, I had been tracking the prices on Star Class cabins and reading posts on the price that others were paying.  Another example of how it pays to do your research.  This low price, combined with the additional $1000 STAR discount, made it a no-brainer.  I put a hold on it even before I had a chance to run it by Hubby.

There are many that I have heard say, “Why would someone want to spend so much on a cabin?” or, “I would take more cruises over such an expensive one any day.”  Here are my thoughts on that.  We have taken enough cruises to know what we like.  We are cabin and balcony people.  We do spend time in our cabin, so to us, a nice cabin is important and worth it.  My work schedule limits us to certain times of the year that we can cruise.  Instead of taking our money and spreading it over a bunch of cruises (which we can’t do any way), we are putting it all into one.  It all works out the same.

Our original booking was for a Guarantee Star Class cabin.  The code on the booking was A2-GTY.  This was new to me and I did not even know such a category existed.  I ran it by @WAAAYTOOO and a few others and figured that we had nothing to lose as the bare minimum would be an A2 on Deck 10.  Hubby got home that evening and, after some persuasion and promises to curb the Lulu shopping, he suggested that if we were going to splurge on Star Class then we might as well go big and go to Deck 17, the “gated community” as some call it, and really live out that “WOW factor”.  Ever since our inaugural sailing on Oasis, Deck 17 was always a wish of ours.  I warned him that Star Class on Deck 17 could be quite a jump in price.  Still curious, we called late that evening and inquired about what it would cost to upgrade.  It was $100 extra (total).  Done.  No brainer.  Again, an anomaly that I cannot explain.

Since our original booking in January, I have re-priced our sold-out cabin 3 times for a total savings of almost $3000 less than what we originally booked for.  The cost was many hours of tracking, but it paid off.  We already had a great deal to begin with and it just got sweeter along the way.

As we get ready for this grand adventure into Star Class, I must take the time to thank @WAAAYTOOO, @Mindybrite, @tiny260, @CGTLH, and @constable145.  Your insight, advice, and blogs have been more valuable than you know.  Words cannot express my appreciation.  Finally, @Matt, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, thank you for creating this amazing community of people (enablers) who helped in making this a true possibility. 

I often say to my own girls, and my students, that we should never be afraid or give up in the pursuit of our dreams.  Dreams can come true, this being the perfect example. 

So, without further delay, come take this journey with us, I would want it no other way.

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Who’s Going?
The usual crew:  Hubby, our 2 girls, D10, D12, and myself.
 

Flight
Our plan is to fly from DTW to FLL the day before.  I knew I was taking this cruise long before flight prices were released.  I tracked air from the start.  Regretfully, I did not pull the trigger 11 months out.  The price of air did not follow the traditional up/down until the 90-day mark on this one.  At around 90 days, when I did purchase, it was still about $20pp higher than at 11 months out.  Lesson here?  If we are sure of the cruise, I will purchase it at release for Spring Break.
 

Pre-Cruise Stay
By now you likely know that we are creatures of habit.  Not much new to report here.  Valuetrips blacked out Hyatt Place for March 9th (and I was not about to pay $325/night for that property), so we are back at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th Street.  This time their suites are ready, and we got a good deal on one over Black Friday.  Pre-cruise dinner?  You already know it!
 

Itinerary
This 7-night sailing brings us to Labadee, Falmouth, and Cozumel.  No set plans for Falmouth and Cozumel.  May very well stay on the ship again.  The exciting thing is that we are renting a cabana for the first time in Labadee!
 

Cabin
Star Loft suite!!!  That’s all!
 

Pre-Cruise thoughts


-    This cruise marks the first time our girls are sailing OA class.  I am so thrilled to introduce them to my favourite class of ship!


-    It’s Star Class…No pre-cruise purchases, no reservations, no planning!  It was odd not having to check my cruise planner on this one.  I barely looked at it.


-    It’s mainly specialty dining for us this time.  Although it pains me to leave CK, we figured we must do specialty to make it worth our while.  In addition, although @Matt cannot wrap his head around this, we (Hubby) are frugal and we cannot usually bring ourselves to spend the extra money when there are so many complimentary options available.  In the past, we have only ever tried Jamie’s, Wonderland, and Giovanni’s.


-    The suite snob is at peace on this one.


-    Once again, in the spirit of a live blog, please do not hesitate to ask any questions.  I will do my best to find out whatever I can for you.


-    When responding to a post with a series of pictures, please do not include the pictures in your reply.  It just makes for easier scrolling.


-    Lastly, I will do my best to bring the cruise to you LIVE through Periscope – you can follow me @LoveToCruise2002.
 

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Star Class Pre-Cruise Questionnaire

Via email at 53 days out.  As mentioned already in another post, I printed hard copies out for Hubby and the girls and had them all fill it in.  Then I put everything together and submitted it.  I have also heard of others who have forwarded this to other members in their party and people fill it out individually.

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Just now, bellemiche said:

I won't bother blogging this time! Yours will outdo mine since we're on the same cruise. 🤣

 

Nonsense.  The more the merrier! 

Just now, Sweety said:

One day I will get this questionnaire too.

That is right mindset!

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2 minutes ago, Twangster Fan said:

Me And @FlowBro Ty Will Be Taking Notes Of This Blog To Make Our Live Blog On The Harmony To Make Our Blog As Good As @twangster And You @Lovetocruise2002.

Just be your own person. Everyone else is already taken 😊

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I noticed that your Genie did not mention "The Loop" app.  Neither did mine, for our upcoming Anthem B2B Star Class.  I wonder if that app has been discontinued ?!  It was always somewhat useless anyway as the Genie had to be at his/her computer to get those messages.  I know that CGTLH mentioned Google messenger.  That might be the new "thing".

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Just now, WAAAYTOOO said:

I noticed that your Genie did not mention "The Loop" app.  Neither did mine, for our upcoming Anthem B2B Star Class.  I wonder if that app has been discontinued ?!  It was always somewhat useless anyway as the Genie had to be at his/her computer to get those messages.  I know that CGTLH mentioned Google messenger.  That might be the new "thing".

Possibly. I don’t recall others who have sailed SC recently mentioning it either. That never seemed like an efficient way of communicating anyway. 

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14 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I noticed that your Genie did not mention "The Loop" app.  Neither did mine, for our upcoming Anthem B2B Star Class

Charlie had a new cell phone looking ship phone that he told us they were in a beta test on and he was one of the testers.

He did not mention the loop to us either, he got to the point that if he couldn't find us he was just leaving a message on the phone in the room. The only time we actually missed each other was for the 70's party, we had the Chef's table that night and it just drug on forever, so he left us a message saying he couldn't hold the spot any longer (People giving him dagger eye's).

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13 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I know that CGTLH mentioned Google messenger.  That might be the new "thing".

Facebook Messenger must have been an on the fly idea by the Genie. Never heard anyone else mention the use of it.

Worked great when the Genie trying to wonder the heck we were.

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1 hour ago, tiny260 said:

Awesome so far, following.

 

35 minutes ago, Mindybrite said:

  Will be following you as I always do!!  By the way La Bamba is one of our favorites as well !  

So blessed to have both of you on this whole journey so far 😉❤️

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1 hour ago, JLMoran said:

EFollowing! Someday, my retirement fund will come and I can at least consider a regular suite. 🤑

 

8 minutes ago, mom2mybugs said:

You and me both!  Until then we live through the blogs of others!!!  Jane

Honestly, if you asked me 3 years ago I would have told you the same. You never know....😊

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