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Navigating around the hurricanes. 4 night Navigator Cruise 9/23-9/27


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We are now just about one week out from the cruise, so it is about time to get this party started. This will be my first attempt at a live blog so we shall see how this goes. I think we can title this

blog Navigating around the hurricanes. 4 night Navigator Cruise 9/23-9/27

party time GIF by Solar Impulse

 

Who’s Going?

For this trip, it will be the whole family. I’m Greg, the primary planner, my wife Heather who is the “bad influence” on the planner, and our daughter Lydia (9) and son Johnny (6). This whole trip is a surprise to the kids. They have no idea that we are going.

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Cabin Another story here…. After our Anthem of the Seas cruise in 2018, my wife, now unashamedly, is a suite snob. Frankly, I whole heartedly support this as well. So, when we booked this cr

WE ARE ON THE SHIP!! Today went so smooth, after we left the waterless hotel! We piled the kids in the car with the iPads and off we went to the port. Lydia asked as we drove past on the causeway

Cabin Tour: We are in a 2br Grand Suite 8694. This is on the very back of the ship. General thoughts, there is tons of storage in this cabin. We did notice some vibrations when the ship was saili

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Itinerary

This is a long and convoluted story on how we ended up on this cruise. We were originally going on at trip to Costa Rica with some cousins who had to back out, so we decided to back out of that trip as well. Heather not wanting to miss out on a vacation during the fall put her “bad influencer” hat on, took me to lunch at my favorite watering hole, and after a few beverages, says to me, since we aren’t going to Costa Rica, what about a cruise this fall, and BOOM, out came my phone and I was in full planning mode. She often tells me I should become a travel agent!

So, we quickly settled on a 4-night Navigator Cruise to Nassau and Coco Cay. We chose this one because we wanted to try out a relatively recently amped ship and wanted to check out the Coco Cay improvements. We also were at Coco Cay in 2018 with the kids, who LOVED it there. When our son saw @matt video about Perfect Day at Coco Cay, he was amazed and said we HAVE TO GO BACK!! Someday Johnny, someday…….

Nassau will be Atlantis, because well, we love it there

Coco Cay we have a Chill Island cabana. Here is a perfect example of where early booking is beneficial. When on Coco Cay in 2018, we had a Chill Island Cabana and really liked it. It was great having our own little section of the beach where it was easier to keep an eye on the kids, so we knew this was needed again. So back to alcohol lubricated cruise planning. As soon as the cruise was booked, and available to be found in our cruise planner we purchased the cabana for $325. A few days later they were $900. We had considered a Thrill Water park cabana, but we have slides on the ship, slides at Atlantis, and our son isn’t tall enough for all the slides. Our kids will be perfectly content with the free area slides and activities.

Ten minutes later, internet and deluxe beverage packages were booked, Up Up And Away was reserved and we were set.

This was a very productive day drinking lunch.

We did not book specialty dining because frankly we are perfectly satisfied with the food in the MDR.

This cruise vacation will also be extended both pre and post cruise. We are flying down a few days early and will be staying a few days after as well. More on that to come.

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Cabin

Another story here….

After our Anthem of the Seas cruise in 2018, my wife, now unashamedly, is a suite snob. Frankly, I whole heartedly support this as well. So, when we booked this cruise, we booked a grand suite. The price was decent, done. The Owners suites were more than what we wanted to spend, and the 1 Royal Suite was WAY more. After the cruise was booked, I kept an eye on prices, made some adjustments here or there and the waiting game began. We thought, who knows, maybe we can try to see what could happen with a Royal Up bid

A few months ago, while doing a routine price check, I see a 2br grand suite is now available. A quick phone call to Royal, and we are now sailing in a 2br grand suite for about the same price as what we booked the cruise for originally.

A few weeks ago, we did get the Royal Up email. We had the option for an Owners Suite or the Royal Suite. We bid on the Royal Suite, but I’m not going to hold my breath since looking now, all the suites are sold out.

Pre-Cruise

Like I said, we are flying in a few days early. Friday 9/20 we are flying into FLL. Southwest flights were much cheaper and had more convenient times than flying to MIA. So, the plan is we will rent a car to use for the couple days prior to be able to explore around etc without a ton of Uber/Lyft charges. Embarkation day I will drop the family off at the port around 10, bring the car back to MIA and take the enterprise shuttle back to the port. I looked at dropping off at other locations near the port, but this was the most cost effective.

We are staying at the Gates Hotel South Beach. We picked this hotel due to its proximity to south beach and Heather wanted direct beach access without having to pay a super-premium price. She is a Hilton member through her job, so that also narrows the choices. This hotel also includes its own area for chairs and other activities too on the beach.

Post Cruise

This is where it also gets fun. After disembarkation, we will be taking the shuttle to MIA for another rental car which we will drive to Orlando with. Friday evening, we have tickets to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s No So Spooky Halloween Party. Heather is a huge Disney fan and is really looking forward to this. Much to my dismay, she has us all wearing Hocus Pocus themed shirts for that night….yay…

Saturday, we have tickets to Universal Studios. Gotta check out the new Hagrid Ride…. And again, we have matching themed shirts. At least this time, they are Hogwarts/Harry Potter ones.

Sunday, we head home.

The Surprise

Like I said earlier, this whole trip will be a surprise for the kids. The plan to make this work is that we will be packing in secret. We will drop the kids off at school on Friday, then load up the car. We will pick the kids up at dismissal at school and go straight to the airport. At this point, We will let them in on a little bit of the surprise, which will be we are just going to Florida and will be on the beach. On cruise day, we will pack up the car and say we are headed to another hotel, but not tell them that the hotel is the cruise ship.

This is going to be so much fun. I plan on writing about our experiences at Disney and Universal as well so grab the popcorn and wine, its going to be a wild ride and thanks for following along!

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Perfect Day at Coco Cay changes

Got an email from Royal

Dear Guest, We’re happy to have you onboard Royal Caribbean International and wanted to let you know that Perfect Day at CocoCay officially re-opened last week. While CocoCay was somewhat spared from Hurricane Dorian's destruction and we did not have any major damage, the storm left behind debris, washed away some of our sand and bricks, and took down many of our trees. As a result, your pre-booked Helium Balloon unfortunately needs to be cancelled. You can except to receive a refund to your credit card used to pay for your tour in about 3 - 5 business days. If you are interested in booking a different tour, here are some of our recommendations. Thrill Waterpark Zipline Thank you for understanding. Sincerely, Royal Caribbean International

I can completely understand this. They had to empty the ballon to keep it safe. I believe I remember reading that it takes a long time to refill the baloon, and costs a lot of money for the helium. Hopefully they built in a recapture system to store the helium so they dont have to purchase a new supply each time.

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18 hours ago, twangster said:

You going to lay it on the kids all at once or surprise them with Disney at the end of the cruise?

"Okay kids get in the rental car, we have a very long drive home".

  "I think I'm lost, we ended up at.... DISNEY WORLD!!!!!".

LOL

That’s about how it’s going to go!

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We are getting closer. We got our Suite Concierge email today


 

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Dear Suite Guest:

It is my pleasure to welcome you onboard the beautiful Navigator of the Seas. We are honored that you have selected Royal Caribbean International for your cruise vacation.

My name is Andrea Juhasz, your Concierge onboard. I am available to assist you with any special requests you may have throughout your cruise vacation. My hours in the Concierge
Lounge are daily from 8:00 am to 11:00 and 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

As a Suite guest, you are offered exclusive amenities and services not available to other guests onboard Navigator of the Seas. For your convenience, here is a brief summary of those
services:

·        Use of the Concierge Lounge, Deck 14 Aft.
·        Spa Bathrobes for use onboard.
·        Upgraded amenities for the bathroom.
·        Complimentary pressing service for the first Formal night.
·        Continental Breakfast served daily in the Concierge Lounge, From 7:00 am to 10:30 am
·        Hors d’oeuvre, petit fours and complimentary bar setup served in the lounge every evening before and after dinner from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
·        A la Carte Breakfast served daily in Chop’s Restaurant on Sea Days from 8:00 am to 10:00 am and in Port days from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.
·        Daily menus displayed and pre-ordering for your dinner wine.
·        Limited VIP lounge chair set-up near the Pool Bar area between Deck 12 Fwd. ( no chairs reservation ).
·        Full Dining Room room-service privilege (available when Dining Room is open).
·        Reservations for any of our specialty restaurants, sports activities, Shore excursions! Salon and Spa services, etc.
·        Our new additions i.e. Hooked, Jamie's Italian Restaurant, Chops Grille and Izumi  Restaurant, get booked early, to avoid disappointment we suggest you make your reservations early.
·        Arrangements for private parties.
·        Reserved private seating during breakfast and lunch in Chop’s Grill restaurant (please see your service personnel for directions).
·        Business services such as copies, etc.
·        Reserved VIP seats for production shows the suite area will be open 5 minutes prior to show time (please show Cruise Director’s staffs your Silver color Sea Pass card at the entrance).
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On 9/14/2019 at 9:35 PM, emsff02 said:

we have tickets to Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s No So Spooky Halloween Party. Heather is a huge Disney fan and is really looking forward to this. Much to my dismay, she has us all wearing Hocus Pocus themed shirts for that night….yay…

If you haven't done Halloween Party, it's a lot of fun.  You'll be able to get into the parks at 4 PM.   Signed, They Guy Whose Wife Made Him Wear a Jack O' Lantern shirt

The whole trip sounds awesome, have a great time.

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Crisis most likely avoided. I checked James Van Fleets twitter and other weather related computer models and it actually looks like this storm will actually track east of the Bahamas. Now I can go back to procrastinating about packing, and more importantly, the two islands hit hard by the previous hurricane get a reprieve again.

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1 hour ago, emsff02 said:

Here we go again. I'll be watching this one closely........Hopefully our Monday embarkation happens!

144756_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind.png

I'm watching this one closely as well.  We depart for Bermuda Sunday (from Boston) and we're supposed to be there Wed - Fri.  I know it's far out, but if that makes a turn north, it could become an issue.

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40 minutes ago, PatsFanBrian said:

I'm watching this one closely as well.  We depart for Bermuda Sunday (from Boston) and we're supposed to be there Wed - Fri.  I know it's far out, but if that makes a turn north, it could become an issue.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you as well!!

 

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 8:35 PM, emsff02 said:

Embarkation day I will drop the family off at the port around 10, bring the car back to MIA and take the enterprise shuttle back to the port. I looked at dropping off at other locations near the port, but this was the most cost effective.

I would look into the Pick up at MIA and drop downtown option today and see if it has changed for the better. Try Travelocity.com too. I'd put money on it that it is better now.  Also try Sixt car rental. A few years back they wee trying to 'buy ' the market with ridiculously low prices.

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On ‎9‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 8:35 PM, emsff02 said:

This is where it also gets fun. After disembarkation, we will be taking the shuttle to MIA for another rental car

We do this every year pick up at MIA and drop at MCO...Look at Sixt Car rental for this too.  typically the DO NOT charge extra to drop in Orlando like most will.

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1 hour ago, MotleyCruiser said:

We do this every year pick up at MIA and drop at MCO...Look at Sixt Car rental for this too.  typically the DO NOT charge extra to drop in Orlando like most will.

Thanks for the tip!! I just looked at their prices and they are 1/2 the cost of my rental from enterprise. Do you know if they have a shuttle from the port to MIA, or do you Uber/Lyft?

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