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twangster

Navigator Mar. 1, 2019 - 9 Nights Southern Caribbean

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I originally booked this cruise as the second leg of a back to back.  The first segment was cancelled by Royal so instead of 14 nights on the ship, I now have just 9 nights.  First world problems.  

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Embark in Miami
Day 2 - Sea Day
Day 3 - Labadee
Day 4 - Sea Day
Day 5 - Aruba
Day 6 - Curaçao
Day 7 - Bonaire
Day 8 - Sea Day
Day 9 - Sea Day
Day 10 - Debark in Miami

I last sailed Navigator just a few months ago on the same ‘ABC’ itinerary.  That was an awesome cruise even though it was a few weeks before she went in for her makeover.  

Navigator isn’t the first ship to be ‘refreshed’ but how they did this refreshment does have some notable differences.  

When the refreshment couldn’t be completed in time Royal canceled the first leg of my planned B2B.  They eventually completed the work and on short notice invited employees and some media on a 2 night ‘shakedown’ cruise using the time that was left over from the cancelled cruise.  Check out this blog post from @Matt who participated in that shakedown cruise which illustrates how this refreshment is new and different:

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/2019/02/28/navigator-of-the-seas-completes-115-amplification-upgrades-across-the-ship

To set the stage, I’ve sailed Adventure and Mariner after their recent makeovers.  I’ve also sailed Explorer, another in the Voyager class.  While I love most ships I sail including the newer Oasis and Quantum class, Voyager class ships are my favorite at the moment and all of the above mentioned ships fall into this class.

With my recent Navigator ABC cruise in mind I am looking forward to experiencing the same ship on the same itinerary but in a fully refreshed condition.  

My hotel is near Miami's airport but I flew into the Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale airport since it was cheaper.  For the first time I took the Tri-Rail train from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami International Airport.  When I landed in Ft Lauderdale the prices to reach my hotel in Miami for Lyft was $45 and Uber $48. The Tri-Rail cost me $3.75 but it was a longer transfer compared to Lyft/Uber.  I may do a separate post on the Tri-Rail experience.   In summary it was great for just $3.75 but it did take over twice as long compared to a ride-share. 

From my hotel in the Miami airport area as I write this I am not too far from the Port of Miami and will be ready to go early in the morning hoping the ship is available early given no debarking passengers to hold us up.  

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10 hours ago, twangster said:

I may do a separate post on the Tri-Rail experience. 

Please do!  I love alternative (and cheaper!) transportation.  I know we used the Tri-Rail from the Miami airport to our hotel in Brickell and the only issue we had was a considerable delay in departure where we sat on the train for a good 45 minutes before it departed.  

Public transportation options for me locally are very limited, so I get excited when I am in a city that has it available.

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10 hours ago, twangster said:

 I now have just 9 nights. 

What I wouldn't give to have a 9 night cruise.  I feel lucky to take a 7 night one!  Can't wait for our schedule to be more flexible in 10 years!

I miss your blogs and I am so excited for this one!   We cruise Navigator in July in 2 of the new rooms on deck 11.  I'd love to see where the new fitness center is now.

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Just now, twangster said:

Wow.  All I can say is... Wow!

Having just been on Navigator this is a different ship now

Glad to hear you thought the same thing.  I was blown away by what they did with Navigator.

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3 hours ago, AshleyDillo said:

I know we used the Tri-Rail from the Miami airport to our hotel in Brickell

In our case it was actually Metrorail, not Tri-Rail.

13 hours ago, twangster said:

I may do a separate post on the Tri-Rail experience.

Would be great to hear some feed back. In April I'm doing the reverse. Flying in to Miami and spending the night/sailing from Ft. Lauderdale. 

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Let’s not get ahead of myself...

My hotel last night was the DoubleTree Miami Airport and Convention Center. 

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Since I was supposed to be sailing on the 2/24 - 5 night Navigator cruise that was cancelled I had to make this booking on short notice and paid a lot more than I normally do for a pre-cruise hotel.  Unfortunately this extra cost is not covered by Royal or travel insurance since I needed the hotel for the 3/1 cruise unrelated to the cancellation of the 2/24 cruise.  Had I booked a non-refundable hotel for the 2/24 cruise that would be covered by insurance.  A new hotel booking for a different trip isn't covered since the 3/1 cruise wasn't cancelled.  A nuance of B2B bookings I hadn't considered.

Lyft ride to the port in the morning was $19.

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7 minutes ago, twangster said:

Since I was supposed to be sailing on the 2/24 - 5 night Navigator cruise that was cancelled I had to make this booking on short notice and paid a lot more than I normally do for a pre-cruise hotel.  Unfortunately this extra cost is not covered by Royal or travel insurance since I needed the hotel for the 3/1 cruise unrelated to the cancellation of the 2/24 cruise.  Had I booked a non-refundable hotel for the 2/24 cruise that would be covered by insurance.  A new hotel booking for a different trip isn't covered since the 3/1 cruise wasn't cancelled.  A nuance of B2B bookings I hadn't considered.

Interesting. While it's probably not something that would be advisable on every B2B cruise, it sounds like maybe booking a hotel for the night before the second leg could be a good strategy if the first one is potentially at risk; hurricane season, ship coming out of any kind of dry dock, or a ship that's got a history of being chartered last-minute are scenarios I can immediately think of.

Since most hotels allow cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, you could have that "insurance policy" in place and then cancel the reservation the day you board the first leg.

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9 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Since most hotels allow cancellation up to 24 hours in advance, you could have that "insurance policy" in place and then cancel the reservation the day you board the first leg.

The month of March in Florida.  Many times of the year aren't as inflated. 

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First sighting from my Lyft ride.

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I arrived at the terminal at 9:45am.  Doors were closed.  Around 10am they let us in.  

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Once upstairs I was third in line for security which was closed as we went upstairs in terminal G.  After 10 - 15 minutes they opened security.  

Some confusion with my check in agent who wanted to keep my SetSail pass.  Navigator follows the new process where SeaPass cards are found outside your cabin, you use your printed SeaSail pass to board.  I explained I needed it to board.  He was suggesting I just go and walk on the ship without anything.  I suggested he ask a supervisor.  A few minutes later he stamped my SetSail pass and handed it back to me.  Must be his first day.

A short wait before boarding and then they opened it up.  I was literally the first guest on board.

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I was torn.  I desperately wanted to check out the pool deck but then again the Promenade has some new features. 

Promenade won.

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More specifically the drink package kiosk won.  Between Playmakers, The Bamboo Room and The Lime and Coconut I wasn't going without.  DX was $66 on board plus 18%.  With my 30% D+ discount that beat the best price I saw online pre-cruise.

Some quick pics that I haven't spent a lot time working to make pretty.

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Freestyle Machines!

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Quick stop at The Bamboo Room.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

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"On the Run" is perfect in a carry pouch that I can take with me.

Funny story about the new Diamond Lounge

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There were several servers standing around waiting and the lounge had a ribbon across it.  I asked when the lounge will open.  They said they were waiting for the first Diamond member to appear.  So I said "I'm a Diamond member".  They started to proceed to the door when the lounge concierge stopped them.  Apparently they have some special Diamond member they are holding the club for so they can be first.  I wasn't it.  Diamond Plus but still rejected from the Diamond Lounge.  Oh well, time to move on.

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Cabin pics.

Interior with Virtual Balcony, deck 9 midship.

Cabin 9597.

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The Virtual Balcony is down at the moment but the same occurred on Explorer on boarding day so not too worried about it just yet.

New cabin TV's with the newer menu system like Symphony has.

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Incredible bathroom update for an interior cabin:

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Just kidding, that was my hotel last night.  Here is the untouched bathroom:

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