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aprilgwynne

Navigator of the Seas- Five Night Cruise April 7-12

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Good afternoon, I have been lurking and sometimes posting (when I feel I could be helpful) here for quite a while as we have prepared for our first Royal Caribbean cruise.  In the past, we have cruised multiple times on Carnival and once on Holland America.  This trip will be during our children's (ok, mostly teenagers now- I am a little bit in denial of them growing up) Spring Break.  I will be cruising along with my husband, our 15 and 16 year old daughters and our 12 year old son.  We have two spacious oceanview panoramic cabins on deck 12 (one room apart from each other).  We booked before the announcement of the Navigator's refurbishment and have been somewhat obsessed with learning about all of the awesome things that have been added.  We feel so lucky that we get to take advantage of so  many things that we had no idea about when we originally booked.     We have two stops and two sea days which we feel is really a great balance for our getaway.  During our first stop in Nassau, we have booked a private charter through Island Time Charters and are super excited about the fishing, snorkeling and hanging at a private beach that is included for us.  They had great reviews on TripAdvisor and I have always booked tours not through our cruiseline and have had good experiences.  I do a tremendous amount of research prior to booking and feel like that is a must do to ensure things go smoothly.  We will also be stopping in Labadee, Haiti.  During that stop, we have rented an over the water cabana on Nellie's Beach.  We splurged a little on this, but with three water and sun lovers plus a husband that isn't really into it and a son that could really care less about the beach, I figured the ceiling fans and shade would be appreciated.  I also splurged a little more because there are only two stops on this trip so our budget was slightly more per stop.  We have purchased the refreshment package for the kiddos and deluxe beverage package for my husband and me.  The kiddos learned about virgin daiquiris at our local cc years ago and I decided to go ahead and buy the refreshment package so I didn't have to worry about how much they were spending on the ship.  Paying for it in advance makes it easier for me to budget.  In addition, we purchased the buy one get one dinner and plan on celebrating my daughter's birthday at Hooked (she turned 15 today)!  I reached out to the social media group on Facebook for Royal Caribbean to ask what options are available for my daughter's birthday and they graciously offered to send her a cake and decorate the room.  I was shocked and so grateful!   

We will fly out of Cincinnati into Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.  I used Southwest points for all of the tickets down and was able to get them for free.  Due to trying to find the best ticket for my point budget, we doing have a slight layover (2 hours) in Baltimore on the way down.  I used my Delta points for the trip home and we will be flying direct back to CVG.  

A family of five makes it a little tricky with hotel rooms.  We usually either book suites or two rooms.  Teenagers have a lot of stuff and really are into feeling independent, so we find that works best for our family rather than trying to pull in a cot or a pullout in a standard room.  This time, I booked a two bedroom suite at a Doubletree property in North Miami Beach.  I am a Hilton loyalist (have you noticed my point hoarding?) and found this was the less expensive option vs. booking two rooms.  The room we booked has a pullout couch, one bedroom with two double beds and another bedroom with a king bed.  The reviews online aren't stellar- but it is only one night and coming from a beachless state staying close to the water has appeal.  We plan to Uber or Lyft from the FLL airport to the hotel and then from the hotel to the port in the morning.   

We have started the packing .  I travel a lot for work and usually am a morning of my flight kind of packer, but thought since it is chilly here I could go ahead and start pulling everyone's warm weather gear and things I don't want to forget.  Or maybe I am fine with packing early because I am much more excited for this getaway than a work trip! 

We do not get the internet package while on the ship because our goal is to have family time and disconnect.  My job is also pretty demanding so it is nice to really get away and not be interrupted while I am with my family.  I will be updating this as we have service and once we arrive back home. 

 

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I'll be on with you on this cruise come Sunday!  We also booked before we heard of the ship getting AMPed so very excited to see all the new stuff.

4 days....So close I can almost feel the warm sun and hear that ocean.  Getting through the work days has been pure torture this week.

Hope you guys have an awesome time! Seems like you got it all planned out very well.  It will be awesome to read another person's experience of the ship and stops. 

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You are going to love Island Time Charters. They are just the best. I can’t say enough great things about them. We had Captain Eugene for the day. We did a private beach after we swam with sea turtles. It had a little bar/restaurant. The conch fritters were so good.

They will take you pretty far about to catch the best snorkeling. Enjoy it

 

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Thanks everyone!  I look forward to sharing my thoughts. One more day of work tomorrow and one more day of school for the kiddos. My boss has graciously* offered to pay for my internet on the ship so I am available in case there is an emergency so I will try to update as I can.    

 

 

*maybe a little selfishly too 

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We made it into Fort Lauderdale last night and took an Uber XL to the hotel. Our suite is huge and much more than we needed for the one night stay. However, the views of the water and the walk we were able to take on the beach this morning made it worth it. Getting ready to leave for the port in about an hour. There is quite a bit of sea grass here, but the water is still beautiful. Everyone is so excited!

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Good morning!  Back to reality today, but I thought I would recap our trip for everyone.  At least I can keep thinking about vacation instead of this mound of work on my desk.  

Embarkation Day-

We left our hotel in North Miami Beach about 10:15 to head over to the cruise terminal.  Again, we took an Uber XL and had a great experience (although it cost more than my estimates, but I think it had to do with surge pricing.  Anyway, we made it to the cruise port right around 10:45- our suggested arrival time was 11.  I was shocked by how many people were still trying to leave the ship and get transportation.  It made getting into the terminal a little more chaotic than I've seen in past cruises.  We went through the check in pretty seamlessly, but then we were sent to the giant room to wait.  We were able to get the last few chairs, but they still hadn't let anyone on yet.  I did have a proud momma moment during this time- you know when your kids do something and you think, "ok, maybe I am raising them well".  I was reading a book, not really paying attention and an older woman came by with her elderly mother.  The girls stood up and gave them their seats without any prompting.  I know it is just a small thing and something everyone should do, but teenagers are not always aware of their surroundings and I was happy they made this small gesture.  So, we were there until probably 11:30 or so and they told everyone to form a single file line to get on the ship.  Well, that caused some chaos and some line jumpers, but eventually we were on the ship by 12:15.  As we came on board, we walked up to the pool deck and settled in a few loungers in the shade as the kids wanted to change to go ride the water slides.  We were bummed to find out that they were not open yet.  So, we hung out by the pool- got a few pina coladas and just people watched.  The kids did some exploring, but I hung with our bags.  At around 1, the rooms were ready and we went to check them out.  We had rooms 1862 and 1866 on the 12th floor.  The rooms were nice and Gretchen was excited about her decorations that the social media staff had sent to her for her birthday.  We then went to the windjammer for lunch.  I had the Indian food and it was delicious. My picky eaters found things they were happy with, so I consider it a success.  I was also able to step inside chops and settle our reservations for the buy one get one dinners we had purchased ahead of time.  We chose Hooked for day one and Chopped for day two.  We went back to our rooms to unpack and then went back out to explore the sports deck.  The girls loved the hammocks and we watched people on the Flowrider.  Ryan (my 12 year old) decided he wanted to try, but we hadn't signed the waivers, so that took some time.  He wasn't able to do it before it was time to go change before dinner at Hooked.  All three kids are avid seafood lovers and really enjoyed Hooked.  I am not quite as into seafood as them, but I really enjoyed myself there.  Our waiter was great and they gave Gretchen a special birthday Boston Creme Pie with some extra adornments.  My husband got the raw oysters as an appetizer and thought it was delicious.  Two of the kids and my husband got the selection with lobster, fish and .... ok I forget the last thing, but they were happy with it.  My oldest daughter got the surf and turf and I got the blackened fish (I think it was grouper).  I highly recommend checking it out.  That evening we went to the opening show which was the comedian.  Everyone enjoyed that and we watched a movie on the pool deck until I looked over and all of the kids were fast asleep.  We took them to bed and got everything ready for our day tomorrow in Nassau.  

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