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DJsMrs

The Magnificent Seven Tropic Like it's Hot - Allure 12'08'19 - Star Class

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I literally can't take it... 45 days out and I can barely wait to have our first Star Class experience.   I know, I know, 45 days - why blog now?  Why so early?   I have to vent some of this energy, and I've seen some other blogs start a smidge early which has assuaged my angst about jumping the gun!

I'm inspired by some great writers on this blog (fellow Canadians included!), so thank you for some great reviews providing inspiration.

A little about our crew.  Hailing from beautiful (albeit very wet lately) Vancouver, BC it'll be me (Alison), my DH and 2 boys (ages 9 and 11).  We've been on 7 cruises to date, most recently in a 2BR Grand Suite on a 9 night Anthem Bermuda/Caribbean out of NJ, a 1BR Grand suite on Oasis 7 night Eastern Caribbean, and a Boardwalk Balcony also on Oasis 7 night Eastern Caribbean.   We booked this cruise December 2018 wile on Oasis... but it wasn't in a star class - that came about 7 months later.   We are sailing with one of my best friends and her two boys (ages 6 and 12).  They've never been on a cruise and I cannot wait to "sea" and Oasis-class ship for the first time again through their eyes.  Plus they get star class on their first experience - it's doing to be a doozie!

We initially booked this cruise in a CLS last December when we were on Oasis for our family.  We then convinced our friends to come along and they booked an ocean view balcony about a month later.  We had a bit of trepidation about travelling with peeps who weren't in a suite as the suite lounge and CK are both a big part of our cruises when we're in a suite.  Afternoon reading and drinks in the suite lounge is a real treat for us and we love it.  Fast forward to July of 2019 and DH noticed a 2BR Aquatheatre suite is available on the website.  It was right after the itinerary change was announced (lost St. Kitts to San Juan - mega bummer) - so we inquired with our travel agent.  There was a definite price increase, but when weighed against all the Star benefits we decided to bite the bullet and we merged everyone into one room.   None of the kids know - and it's been the hardest secret to keep.  I have said to my boys a few times "wouldn't it be fun if we were all in the same room -  maybe we can have the other boys over for a sleepover one night...  too bad they're not on the same deck as us... etc."   I can't wait to board and all go to the same room - hopefully they're half as excited as I am.

We've also had angst about travelling Dec 8 rather than waiting for the Christmas school break.  Not because we are worried about them missing a week of school (I know - we're terrible parents!), but because both boys play hockey and my youngest son is the sole goalie on his team.  Ugh.  We obviously didn't know he'd be the lone "tender" on his team when we booked or we may not have, but c'est la vie.  Luckily I'm co-managing the team and will attempt to reschedule any games for before we go or after we get back.   My husband also plays on a senior men's team as their lone goaltender - so hopefully we can find backups or reschedule games for him too.  Having said that, I will be ready for a break come December, it's been a literal gong show this season managing three players and getting everyone to games, practices, and development sessions, and we're only a month in!

Feeling like I've let some energy go ...  will update as the nerves and excitement to build.

 

 

 

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I AM NOT TO BLAME FOR THE 45 DAY EARLY START!  Just putting it out there! 🤣

Cannot wait to follow along!  We chose next December to take our family of 14 on a star class sailing.  Around the same time as yours.  You are going to love star class.  It will be very hard to go back after this.

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On 10/23/2019 at 5:33 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I AM NOT TO BLAME FOR THE 45 DAY EARLY START!  Just putting it out there! 🤣

 

Right! like you didn't jump the gun and start blogging...waaaayyy before it was time. 😂 Suckering our fierce leader out to do the same. 😂😂

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I understand the unbridled excitement.  It’s hard to rein in.  We have a SC sailing a week before yours (Oasis) but I am a terrible live blogger and I’ve failed so many times that I now don’t even try.  But I am excited for you !  The only thing more exciting than your first SC sailing is your second one !

We love the 2BR ATS. They have a huge WOW factor. I wish I could see your friends’ faces when they walk out onto the balcony for the first time.  It almost takes your breath away.

It will definitely be cozy with 7 people but I’m certain that you will have a great time !  Forgive me for forgetting...I’m sure you’ve already mentioned it...but what deck are you on ?

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45 minutes ago, mworkman said:

Right! like you didn't jump the gun and start blogging...waaaayyy before it was time. 😂 Suckering our fierce leader to do the same. 😂😂

See this thread...page 1. 😜  I am backed by the Master Bot.

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10 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Looking forward to reading about everyone’s reactions!

When the luggage tags become available, don’t let any of the kids see them; if they do and ask the others what room they’re in, the jig is up!

How do the star class luggage tags differ than other suites?  The one's I got for my SC cruise they only say suite on them.

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12 minutes ago, Notyouravgjt said:

How do the star class luggage tags differ than other suites?  The one's I got for my SC cruise they only say suite on them.

Yes, that’s correct.  The luggage tags just say “Suite”.  The Set Sail Pass has “ Star” on it.

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I feel like @Lovetocruise2002 definitely set the bar!   Loved reading your long lead up. 🤣   We are in the SLS next December on Oasis too!   Which date?  
 

@WAAAYTOOO we are on the 10th deck, so definitely the smallest of the 2BR AQS, but we’ve done 4 in an ocean view room, and have sailed lots on a regular balcony room so we’ll survive the coziness - if there is such a thing in this giant room in December    
 

@JLMoranAs for kids seeing “suite” on the luggage tags, they think we are still in our CLS, so no fears there - and if they even bothered to notice the tags a monkey just may fly out of my ear!!!   speaking of luggage tags - they were available yesterday so have been printed.   (Insert happy dance)
 

43 days until we check into our pre-flight hotel ...  I may start packing soon 🤣🤣

 

 Kidding .... or am I   
 

more to come on pre-cruise travel plans soon.   
 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, DJsMrs said:

I feel like @Lovetocruise2002 definitely set the bar!   Loved reading your long lead up. 🤣   We are in the SLS next December on Oasis too!   Which date?  

We're not on Oasis next December.  We are back on Harmony in the Villa.  Oasis is this coming March for us.

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2 hours ago, Notyouravgjt said:

How do the star class luggage tags differ than other suites?  The one's I got for my SC cruise they only say suite on them.

 

1 hour ago, DJsMrs said:

@JLMoranAs for kids seeing “suite” on the luggage tags, they think we are still in our CLS, so no fears there - and if they even bothered to notice the tags a monkey just may fly out of my ear!!!   speaking of luggage tags - they were available yesterday so have been printed.   (Insert happy dance)

I was thinking that the tags have the cabin number on them. So if the kids in both families see that, then ask each other what room they have, they’ll know right away they’re rooming together.

But if they’re young and/or not very observant of these things, then probably no risk. 😉😁

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Some Housekeeping

Itinerary:

Day 1:  FLL

Day 2:  At Sea

Day 3:  At Sea

Day 4:  St. Thomas

Day 5:  San Juan (should have been St. Kitt's)

Day 6:  At Sea

Day 7:  CocoCay

Day 8:  Back to life, back to reality 

A note on the itinerary change - we nearly cancelled the cruise.  Nearly.   We've been to SJ so many times and being that we are major beach people - SJ just isn't my jam.  It's beautiful.  The streets and old SJ are absolutely worth a walk around, but we basically booked this trip because our boys haven't ever been to St. Kitts.  My eldest son is an AVID snorkeler, and I was super excited for him to do some great exploring.  Having said that, the stop in SJ is quick... like basically a drive by from 7am - 1pm ... so my friend and I will go wander and find some amazing coffee and maybe breakfast, umbrella street, etc.,  and probably a trip to CVS for something that we will inevitably forget, and all the boys and my DH will stay on the ship.  Then we'll come back and tough it out on our amazing balcony - it'll be hard but we will somehow manage to make it work.  #firstworldproblems   It's almost like a bonus sea day, which is never a bad day!

Plus the kids are stoked about CocoCay - mind you, being the mean mum that I am, I've told them that it's really expensive to go to the water slides and I haven't decided yet if it's even worth the expense.  Maybe I would buy tickets if they earn it.  Do your homework.  Clean your room.  Work a little harder at practice.  Turn up the gas a little during your games...   Little do they know we have a Thrill Water Park Cabana booked.  They literally have no idea how lucky they are (but thankfully they are grateful for such treats)... so after the room surprise this may not register the same level of excitement, but they'll be stoked to rock out the water slides.  As will I!  And I love having a "home base" so everyone knows where to find a buddy or a parent in case we get separated.  And shade.   We will need shade.

St. Thomas will be a beach day as I have a van booked to take us to Sapphire Beach for the day.   We struggled with this decision.  I know Magens Bay is supposed to be amazing - but it seems jammed with people because of its popularity,  which doesn't really work for me.  We found Lindquist Beach - but with no food services it didn't really work for us as kids need to eat (avoid the Hangry Monster at ALL costs), so Sapphire seemed like a good compromise.  Hopefully it's not too busy, but has access to food (and more importantly drinks!), and I think there will be some reasonable snorkeling there for the boys.  Also it seems like there is a reasonable amount of shade at Sapphire - so it meets all of our needs.    My only concern (feel free to provide feedback!) is that some people have indicated in reviews that the beach can be a bit rocky in places and they recommended water shoes.   I really don't want to bring water shoes... but I will ... if I have to... but I really don't want to...  anyone have any idea?   I'm hoping we can find a sandy entrance point and then the kids can swim to the rocks, etc for fish viewing.

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We will be on the same cruise. Lots of firsts for me: first cruise, first time in Florida, first time in Caribbean. Only a JS for us, that was plenty of money for our family. Looking forward to it already, although my wife claims I have already experienced the cruise by spending so much time here and viewing so many videos in advance.

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50 minutes ago, niksal said:

We will be on the same cruise. Lots of firsts for me: first cruise, first time in Florida, first time in Caribbean. Only a JS for us, that was plenty of money for our family. Looking forward to it already, although my wife claims I have already experienced the cruise by spending so much time here and viewing so many videos in advance.

Lol - this is me exactly.  My husband asked me the other day "do you even need to go on this trip - it's like you've lived it already"

I told him to watch it or I might send him to the wrong port.  😯

The Jr suite is amazing and you'll love it.  The big balcony is heaven for morning coffee, afternoon cocktails and a book, evening movies on the tablet.  I love having a quiet place to retreat to - not for the whole cruise, but definitely for some of it!

 

 

47 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Oh you are SUCH a mean mom !  Kids have no idea how lucky they are these days !
 

I know....next I’ll be screaming “Get off my lawn” !

😔😔❤️

You say mean - I say smart and making effective use of tools that are available to me - lol   😈

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6 hours ago, DJsMrs said:

I know Magens Bay is supposed to be amazing - but it seems jammed with people because of its popularity,  which doesn't really work for me. 

I know this won't effect your already amazing van-beach plan but Magen's was definitely notttt busy at all the two times I have been. Plenty of chairs, super fast service. And with two ships in port! It really was lovely and calm if you ever make it back to St. Thomas. 🙂

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Thx @DDaley  there will be 4 good sized ships in port when we are there - so i feel like the opportunity  for a crowded beach is significant.    I will, however, check with our driver.   Maybe we can swing by Magens.   I’ve heard such good things!!!   Thank you 🙂

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Okay - the countdown is on like Donkey Kong!   We are 39 days out from our "leave the house" date.   As we are flying from YVR, connecting through Toronto in December we are definitely flying in on the 7th for our December 8 cruise date.   Also - flying east is a bit of a pain as we basically spend the entire day travelling.   We have an early morning flight out of Vancouver, so have booked into the Fairmont at YVR so we can have an extra couple hours of sleep on the morning of our flight.   We live about an hour away from the airport, plus we use park and fly - so if we decided to leave from the house we'd have to get the kids up at about 2:30am to make our checkin (even with Nexus).   Now - my boys will ALWAYS get up at any time for a flight, however, and I speak from experience, the evening of the travel day and the subsequent couple of days can be rough due to lack of sleep and grumpy kids, which is never a good start to a vacation.    Our journey to FLL includes a 5 hour flight to Toronto, a 2.5 hour layover, and then a 3.5 hour flight into FLL from Toronto.   We will land at 8:00pm in Fort Lauderdale - which will be 5:00pm west coast time, so the kids won't be quite ready for bed when we get to the hotel at 9.  But I'm hoping that the early morning will result in being able to put them on east coast time that first night (and maybe a little melatonin will help too).     We've got the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina booked for the night.  We'll be at the hotel for a little over 12 hours - it's close to the airport and the port so was a good fit, plus I booked it on points.  

In other news, I submitted our initial questionnaire last week - I gathered all the responses from the group and put it in one document.  After reading others' experiences I feel like we may have put more time into it than necessary, but it was a good opportunity to think about the things we want to eat, drink, and do while on board.  We pretty much want to do it all.  Zipline, ice skating (kids want to bring their own skates because "what is this rental brand?  it's terrible"🤣), quest, comedian, aquatheatre show, dining everywhere.  We'll see how much makes it through to our genie.

Speaking of genies, I suppose we now wait for the genie email and we're obviously stoked.  We requested Ana in our survey after reading such amazing things about her on this board - hopefully our request is honoured, however, I am sure whomever is assigned to our cabin will be amazing.    I guess we may receive something from him/her within the next 7-10 days.  Insert finger-drumming here... so hard to not book shows and dinners.

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I am on almost the exact same schedule. Today marks 35 days until we sail on Oasis.  We also got our generic questionnaire a couple of weeks back and I’m looking for direct comm from the Genie any day now.  I would expect for you to hear from your Genie right around 30 days from sailing.  It’s a very exciting time !  Once you establish direct contact it gets very “Real”.  You can ask specific questions and make specific plans and requests.

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I've often wondered why flying from Canada to the U.S. is such an ordeal.  It's always so much more convenient to drive across the border.  

The departures area at Toronto International heading to the U.S. is a mess.  It's always a zoo and a cluster.  You'll need all of that 2.5 hour layover.  

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@twangster  we are flying WestJet and have done it multiple times.   Unfortunately the airport in Bellingham, which is about the same distance as YVR, only does connecting flights through Seattle - and is prone to weather delays in the winter so we avoid it.   And driving to SeaTac is a 3 hour journey and after having done it a few times that drive home after a travel day is a gong show.   Our bags will be checked through, so we don’t have to collect them at Pearson, and because we are in plus we get priority boarding.   Our Nexus will help too.   Also - WestJet usually has us go through a back hallway to clear customs in Toronto and it’s been pretty seamless.  Previously when we’ve flown through Toronto it’s taken about 10 -20 minutes from gate to gate.   
 

I will not stress.   I will not stress.   🤣🤣

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35 long chilly days until we board Allure...  Needless to say the excitement is building.  We've been fighting colds in this house and while I'm not happy to be sick, I'm happy to be sick now and not a month from now.  Mind you, this has given me plenty of opportunity to do some pre-cruise-preparation shopping.   I've never been one for a door decoration - but have found one that will put a smile on some faces and will get people in the Christmassy mood too.  I've also been on the hunt for a coral friendly sunscreen.  I guess buying sunscreen in November in Vancouver isn't high on people's priority list so I've been saved by Amazon. Turns out Sun Bum original 50+SPF spray is coral friendly - so it's on its way.   Additionally, the thought of drinking a cold slushy drink through a paper straw is gag-worthy so we have invested in some reusable straws (with the hopes that the consumption of said slushy drink doesn't result in the straw being lost or forgotten).   I've also got my luggage tags printed and loaded in our tag holders, which were the best buy ever.   

Scored some good rash guards for the kids too - and I have to say these shirts are a life saver for sun safety, but man alive it is hard to find a good one that fits.  My eldest son is long and lean - so he needs about a size 8 for width and a size 12 for length.  I learned this on our last cruise when the shirt I bought him was a smidge short and after spending the better part of a day in the sun and snorkeling at Labadee he ended up with a band of sunburn about 4" wide on his lower back where the sun shirt had ridden up.  And because he had a sun shirt on we didn't even apply sunscreen to him where his shirt should have been.  Luckily it wasn't too bad and a bit of aloe gel soothed it - but we will not be repeating this error.  

On our last cruise in July on Anthem it was HOT.  So hot.  Almost too hot - and I love some heat.  But my in-laws had these portable fans in their bag and although I've made fun of people for using these fans in the past (because I like it melting hot), I have caved and bought one.  Such an awesome little treat on a sweaty day and they are rechargeable with a usb cable, so won't eat up a tonne of batteries while we travel.  Kids will get a kick out of it too.  I know we're travelling in December, but we were in St. Maarten last December and it was an absolute cooker on the beach.  

I'll also be bringing little battery-operated tea lights for the room and balcony in the evening.  It's nice for the kids to have a night light and I love having a bit of ambient light on the balcony when it's dark out.  

And last but not least - disinfecting wipes for the airplane seat and tray table.  I follow passengershaming and the stuff that I cannot unsee on that twitter feed is gag worthy and I will be disinfecting our surroundings on the aircraft.  Also - they're individually packaged, so can be handy for wiping mucky hands when lunching on the beach!

I'm about ready to start packing the fun bag with all the toys, travel games, snorkel gear, and various cruise accouterments ...  just waiting for our genie email.

 

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