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Harmony 7 night Eastern Caribbean 3/17/19


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Today marks 25 day until we set sail! Traveling with my wife and daughters (10 & 14), my mom & dad, my wife's mom & dad, and my bother & sister in laws with their son (21). We are driving in from Indianapolis. We are leaving here on Friday March 15th. We plan to be in Ft Lauderdale early enough to watch the ships leaving port on Saturday from the beach. We did this on our last cruise and it was a lot of fun. The rest of our family are flying in later Saturday night.

Some highlights of our plans;

We have booked the Guacamole class at Sabor for day 2. We have my father in law booked to take the behind the scenes ship tour on day 3. We also have booked Escape The Rubicon for day 6. We have also booked the Bottomless Brunch and Galley Tour on day 7.We have also made reservations for all our onboard entertainment.

In St. Maarten we have booked the famous Leo Brown as our driver for the day. We have a couple places we know we want to see like Maho to watch the planes land but, for the most part we want Leo to show us the must sees! San Juan we have booked Old San Juan Food Tour. By Flavors of San Juan. We are very much looking forward to this. On our last cruise we did a culinary tour in Falmouth that was amazing so we are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Everything I have read about this tour makes me think we are in for a treat (or 5 or 6). Our plan for Labadee is to get off the ship early, enjoy a few Labadoozys, a little shopping and then get back on the ship for lunch and to enjoy the ship with fewer people on board.

 

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24 days until Embarkation Day! 22 days until we hit the road! We'd love to fly but economically for us it is a bit cheaper to drive. We enjoy a good road trip. Part of our love of a good road trip is some family road trip traditions we have either created for our family or taken from our experiences as kids being on trips with our parents. As a kid anytime we went on a long trip my parents did a couple really fun things. The first of which was rolls of quarters. At the beginning of the journey they would give my sister and I each a roll of quarters. Any time we cause trouble (usually arguing with each other) they would take a quarter from us. What ever we had left when we arrived at our destination as ours to keep and spend on what ever we wanted. The other tradition we have adopted from my parents are "State Gift" every time we entered a new state we received a gift. Typically these were cheap trinkets and usually they were something to keep us occupied. Both of these worked great back then when I  was a kid and as a parent I can tell you they still work great now. Even though my kids are a bit older now I'm pretty sure they would not be pleased if we did not do it on this trip. The challenge now is finding cheap gifts that will impress and 10 & 14 year old and not break the bank! The tradition that we have created and dearly love is something I call food adventures. We try to eat at places that we cannot eat at home. Usually we wait until we are hungry and start looking. On a past trip it's how we found a diamond in the rough call Mr. Biscuit in Dalton Georgia. It was a hole in the wall greasy spoon but, by far one of the best road trip breakfasts we have ever had and cheap to (if you seek that place out know that they are cash only). This trip I have decided it would save us time to know where we are eating ahead of time. On our way out of town to save time we are packing picnic dinner and since our first hotel has a free breakfast our first "food adventure" will be lunch on the 2nd leg of our trip. I found a place called Sergio's Tacos Mexican Grill in Titusville Fl. If there food is half as good as it looks on their website, we are in for a treat! On our first cruise we cruised out of Port Canaveral and the night before we ate at Fish Lips (on the advise from this dude on some podcast name Matt Hocberg). That night set the stage for a pretty amazing vacation so it has been my goal that the meal the night before Embarkation day be something truly amazing. Unfortunately the place I chose on our last cruise ended up being an epic fail. On paper it had every thing. On the water, seafood, tropical drinks, and a catchy name (you know life Fish Lips). I do not recommend a place in Ft Lauderdale called Flip Flops. Since I made that choice last time I charged my wife with selecting our per-cruise dinner selection. I think she may have hit a home run. Obviously proof will be in the experience but from the reviews I have read and the fact that this place has been in business since 1974 I think we are in for awesome time. From the pictures on both their website and those posted by people on Yelp “925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s looks like a very fun place to eat. One of the reviews I read describe it better than I can, as what looks like a "food truck on steroids".  While it is a building and not a truck, it does not have any indoor seating (which is fine with us). It appears to have some pretty authentic Cuban cuisine which, I could do some serious damage to my waste line! I will defiantly report  back on how both establishments are!

Here are links to both their websites if you are interested!

https://www.sergiostacostitusville.com/menu.php

https://nuevoscubanos.net

 

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On 2/20/2019 at 2:27 PM, monctonguy said:

hoping for lots of pics and details...doing this cruise on Nov on Harmony...all these blogs are getting me through the brutal winter I am dealing with this year!

I will for sure post lots of pics! I won't have the wifi package so it will likely be upon our return home but I'll get them up quick as I have the week we return off of work also!!

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18 Days out! It is really hard to wait! I have to admit I’m here physically but, for the last couple of weeks I have mentally been onboard! I created a “cruise” playlist that is full of Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffett, Zack Brown Band that I have been listening to at work along with binge listening to the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast.  Yesterday I printed all our documents and luggage tags. I may or may not have pulled out all our suitcases and started packing a couple days ago! I really need to get out of this cold dreary weather here in central Indiana. The whole family had the stomach bug last week and I’m currently fighting a cold so some sunshine and ocean breeze are defiantly needed! I’m really looking forward to checking out the Royal app on board. I was happy to see they added the chat feature in time for us to use it. On our last cruise a few time we let our oldest go do things with plans to meet or have her check in periodically but, we did not have a means of communicating and it made us a little nervous. This should allow her to have her freedom and us some peace of mind. What I love about my family and our vacations is the little things that brings joy and our experience  with Royal Caribbean has supplied just that. I was looking trough pictures of our last cruise on the Allure of the Seas and I noticed a trend with my youngest. There were several pictures of her enjoying interesting chairs I thought I would share them! We have also found that by the end of our cruise our wait staff on the main dinning room are like family. It's probably one of my top 5 favorite things about cruising RCCL.

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22 hours ago, Mark_Twain_Wiggam said:

 I have mentally been onboard! I created a “cruise” playlist that is full of Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffett, Zack Brown Band that I have been listening to at work

I love the way you think man!   We hit 60 days out yesterday and it really kicked into high gear for me which is saying alot.   I've been driving my wife nuts the last several months.    Not our first cruise but will be the first time we've cruised with both her sisters and their husbands (which we all have a BLAST when we're together) along with my brother and his wife who live out of state and we don't get to see nearly enough.    I came into the parking lot at work yesterday morning blasting Fruitcakes by Buffett and got parked and let it play 2 more times before i finally shut er down.

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On 2/21/2019 at 8:35 PM, Mark_Twain_Wiggam said:

24 days until Embarkation Day! 22 days until we hit the road! We'd love to fly but economically for us it is a bit cheaper to drive. We enjoy a good road trip. Part of our love of a good road trip is some family road trip traditions we have either created for our family or taken from our experiences as kids being on trips with our parents. As a kid anytime we went on a long trip my parents did a couple really fun things. The first of which was rolls of quarters. At the beginning of the journey they would give my sister and I each a roll of quarters. Any time we cause trouble (usually arguing with each other) they would take a quarter from us. What ever we had left when we arrived at our destination as ours to keep and spend on what ever we wanted. The other tradition we have adopted from my parents are "State Gift" every time we entered a new state we received a gift. Typically these were cheap trinkets and usually they were something to keep us occupied. Both of these worked great back then when I  was a kid and as a parent I can tell you they still work great now. Even though my kids are a bit older now I'm pretty sure they would not be pleased if we did not do it on this trip. The challenge now is finding cheap gifts that will impress and 10 & 14 year old and not break the bank! The tradition that we have created and dearly love is something I call food adventures. We try to eat at places that we cannot eat at home. Usually we wait until we are hungry and start looking. On a past trip it's how we found a diamond in the rough call Mr. Biscuit in Dalton Georgia. It was a hole in the wall greasy spoon but, by far one of the best road trip breakfasts we have ever had and cheap to (if you seek that place out know that they are cash only). This trip I have decided it would save us time to know where we are eating ahead of time. On our way out of town to save time we are packing picnic dinner and since our first hotel has a free breakfast our first "food adventure" will be lunch on the 2nd leg of our trip. I found a place called Sergio's Tacos Mexican Grill in Titusville Fl. If there food is half as good as it looks on their website, we are in for a treat! On our first cruise we cruised out of Port Canaveral and the night before we ate at Fish Lips (on the advise from this dude on some podcast name Matt Hocberg). That night set the stage for a pretty amazing vacation so it has been my goal that the meal the night before Embarkation day be something truly amazing. Unfortunately the place I chose on our last cruise ended up being an epic fail. On paper it had every thing. On the water, seafood, tropical drinks, and a catchy name (you know life Fish Lips). I do not recommend a place in Ft Lauderdale called Flip Flops. Since I made that choice last time I charged my wife with selecting our per-cruise dinner selection. I think she may have hit a home run. Obviously proof will be in the experience but from the reviews I have read and the fact that this place has been in business since 1974 I think we are in for awesome time. From the pictures on both their website and those posted by people on Yelp “925 Nuevo’s Cubano’s looks like a very fun place to eat. One of the reviews I read describe it better than I can, as what looks like a "food truck on steroids".  While it is a building and not a truck, it does not have any indoor seating (which is fine with us). It appears to have some pretty authentic Cuban cuisine which, I could do some serious damage to my waste line! I will defiantly report  back on how both establishments are!

Here are links to both their websites if you are interested!

https://www.sergiostacostitusville.com/menu.php

https://nuevoscubanos.net

 

Ok...I love reading about your road trip.  I have 3 kids that were amazing travelers.  I would pack up bags for them and they would get to open them every state or every couple hours.  We would do the long drive to Disney (my first obsession) from Illinois and have a lot of fun... And save a ton of money.  The problem with cruising (my second warring with Disney obsession) is that the 7 day cruises don't give us enough time to driver there and back during spring break :(.  I look forward to reading your blog and thinking I'm in the sun until I board allure on March 24! Jane

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12 hours ago, mom2mybugs said:

 The problem with cruising (my second warring with Disney obsession) is that the 7 day cruises don't give us enough time to driver there and back during spring break :(.  I look forward to reading your blog and thinking I'm in the sun until I board allure on March 24! Jane

Our kids school is on what's called a balanced calendar. They Get  2 weeks off for fall, Christmas, and spring breaks which makes planning family vacations amazing. Some would say that the downside is the kids only get 8 weeks for summer break but, I argue that when they had a longer summer break, 8 weeks was about the point that most parents start saying, "school need to hurry up and get here, I'm ready for them to be back!" We love it. I work for a school that is on the same schedule as my kids so it works out great!

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Exactly 2 weeks from today at this exact time we will be on the road heading south!!! I can hardly contain myself! Especially since out weather forecast for the next week calls for a decent amount of snow and a big dip in the temperature! I'm trying to not let that change my mood so today I have been thinking about what I enjoy most about vacations, especially cursing.  The first thing that comes to mind (only because I have not had lunch yet) is the food!

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I have been dreaming about the roast beef sandwich at the Central Park Cafe since we got off of Allure of the Seas 2 years ago I can almost taste them now!

As I mentioned in a previous post we love the main dinning room. Yesterday I saw someone in a cruising facebook group describe the main dining room as similar to Applebee's. I could not disagree more!. Don't get me wrong I love Applebee's just as much as the next guy but, I think the food and service in the main dining room is at the very least is a few notches above Applebee's. 

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I've never had a meal at an Applebee's that looked and tasted this good!

 

Obviously setting aside my current hunger my family is what I enjoy most about the cruise experience. Cruising has given us the opportunity to try new things.  From once in a lifetime experiences to learning about other countries and their culture it is a lot of fun for me to watch!

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I also love just seeing my kids relaxed and enjoying themselves it truly is great to see the world through their eye!

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The next 2 weeks are going to be the longest 2 weeks of the year!

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On 2/21/2019 at 9:35 PM, Mark_Twain_Wiggam said:

On our first cruise we cruised out of Port Canaveral and the night before we ate at Fish Lips (on the advise from this dude on some podcast name Matt Hocberg).

He sounds suspicious....and like he would be incredibly handsome.

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38 minutes ago, Matt said:

@Lovetocruise2002 Look what you started with live blogs beginning a month ahead of time!

Umm...I think if you scroll through live blogs, that would be you who started them at 6 weeks out.  I am simply following your lead 😄

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12 Days to go! We have now reached the point where each day we say things like "2 weeks from today at this time we will be pool side sipping a drink with an umbrella in it!" I don't know which is worse, being 365 days away from vacation or 12 days. Probably 365 days but now that we are sooo close it's hard not just to drop everything and leave now! I'm now 90% packed! At work starting last Friday I started doing what I call vacation drill. Every day I go in with the mentality of getting everything done so I can get out the door quickly a week from this Friday! Tonight is wine purchase night after looking through our wine rack at home I decided we didn't have any cruise worthy wine.

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On 2/20/2019 at 2:07 PM, Mark_Twain_Wiggam said:

In St. Maarten we have booked the famous Leo Brown as our driver for the day. We have a couple places we know we want to see like Maho to watch the planes land but, for the most part we want Leo to show us the must sees! San Juan we have booked Old San Juan Food Tour. By Flavors of San Juan. We are very much looking forward to this. On our last cruise we did a culinary tour in Falmouth that was amazing so we are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Everything I have read about this tour makes me think we are in for a treat (or 5 or 6). Our plan for Labadee is to get off the ship early, enjoy a few Labadoozys, a little shopping and then get back on the ship for lunch and to enjoy the ship with fewer people on board.

 

We are taking the "same" cruise in November, same ship.  🙂

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been a about a week since I've posted as it has been a mad dash to get things ready but, we are there! Tonight is like Christmas Eve. Tomorrow at about 1:30 EST our journey to meet up with Harmony of the Seas will have officially begun! I just finished packing the car. Just waiting on 1 more bag and once my wife is done getting dressed in the morning it can go in!! I'm going to try and post some on our road trip with pictures and Saturday if everything works out right I will be live on Facebook with video of the ships that are leaving Port Everglades on Saturday! Possibly some on embarkation day as well. If you are interested in seeing that my facebook page is listed in my profile.

Time to go to be and try to get some sleep!!

 

 

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Sitting here at work and realizing that I way over prepared for today! I can't put the lunches in the oven for another hour and I have nothing to do! Sounds like a good problem to have!

My wife has already delivered the dog to her vacation location! She has also had her traditional leaving for vacation panic over what he have forgotten so if things go as usual we will figure our what we have forgotten in about 2 hours which is good because it's currently 4 hours before we leave!

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