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MO & LO on the go!

Explorer | Feb 7-16, 2020 | First Time To ABC Islands!

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Hello everyone!  We are Matt and Lisa (or MO and LO)!  Matt is the main typer and poster with input from Lisa.

We are now down to double digits for this cruise after booking it with more than 400+ days until we boarded.  We don't remember the exact number of days because it was so painful to see such a high number so we did not pay attention until recently 😉.  We booked it at Next Cruise on a previous cruise and got a $100 OBC!  Next Cruise is our preferred booking location for obvious reasons!  

Only 98 days until we board, 97 until we fly out!  We are flying from Minneapolis to Miami so you can imagine how excited we are to leave Minnesota in February from the cold and snow!  We initially had this booked on the itinerary right before this one but changed it after we figured out that the Super Bowl was in Miami in 2020.  We would have been flying in to Miami on the Saturday before the big game so we decided that it would have been EXTREMELY expensive, busy, and not relaxing or enjoyable for us so changed it to the week later.  Very glad we did this.

 

Why this cruise?:

  • We have never been to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) and REALLY wanted to get there.  We really enjoy longer cruises since we feel like we really get to experience it and settle in.  For us, anything under 7 nights seems too short.  We also like the Voyager Class of ships so it was perfect.  From that class we have been on Adventure (March 2017) and Mariner (May 2019) in the past.  We recently did our first 9 night cruise which was on Serenade (Jan 2019) and learned that the boat was a bit small for us for such a long cruise.  This will be our 10th cruise together and give us a total of 100 points!  Our first together was our honeymoon in 1997 on Monarch out of Puerto Rico.  All our cruises together have been on RCCL.  I (Matt) have been on 1 extra cruise that I took as a kid with my parents on the Big Red Boat (if anyone remembers that one).  

Flights: 

  • We are flying on Delta from MSP to MIA on February 6th.  We always go atleast one day early because the weather is unpredictable in Minnesota that time of year and also because the stress of flying and boarding is just miserable......especially if something doesn't go quite right and we get delayed.  We will not land until late at night so that day is purely a travel day.  Unfortunately we learned something about companion fares........they only have so many allowed per flight so you need to book very early.  We did not realize they only allow so many per flight and got burned on this.  Normally we fly out a day or two ahead and hang out but they did not have that option available with the companion fares.  So with the companion fare issues in mind, we had to stay TWO extra days after the cruise to get the first flight available home.  We normally fly out as soon as we can on disembarkation day but now we will have 2 extra days in Miami.  We have never stayed more than a few extra hours after the cruise is over so this will be interesting to try.  We fly back on February 18th.

Room:

  • 9th floor balcony 

Excursions: 

  • So far we haven't booked anything but will update on that as we continue the planning

Dining & Drink Package: 

  • We will be having every meal in the dining room because we love main dining.  We enjoy the personal connection and attention we get from getting to know the dining staff.  By the end of the cruise they have "learned" us  and our needs/wants and we love that!  We will be doing early dining (6pm on this cruise) so that we aren't eating so late at night!  That is always our preferred choice.
  • We will be getting the Refreshment Package since we aren't heavy alcohol drinkers.  We WILL be taking part in the Diamond Lounge drinks every night though! 😉 

Full Itinerary:

  • Travel Day from MSP to MIA
  • Day 1 - Miami 
  • Day 2 - Sea Day
  • Day 3 - Labadee, Haiti (8am-5pm)
  • Day 4 - Sea Day
  • Day 5 - Kralendijk, Bonaire (9am-6pm)
  • Day 6 - Oranjestad, Aruba (8am-9pm)
  • Day 7 - Willemstad, Curacao (8am-5pm)
  • Day 8 & 9 - Sea Days
  • Day 10 - Miami
  • Post cruise day - Miami
  • Travel day from MIA to MSP

Hotels:

  • We are staying at the airport and downtown Holiday Inns.  Holiday Inn is our preferred chain because of quality and price along with consistency.

This Live (or mostly) Blog:

  • We will be doing our best to give live updates as we are doing them but obviously not everything can be live so some things will get posted when we have a chance.

Vlog/Recording/Youtube/Twitter:

  • We will be recording/vlogging as much as we can.  We have recorded numerous excursions for our personal collection and friends.  We recently thought that people, like us, would be interested in seeing some of these excursions so they know what they are like and what to expect.  It has helped us in our research of traveling/cruising.  This turned out to be very popular on our YouTube channel so we wanted to expand on that.  This will be our first attempt at that.  Our YouTube channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-JW4jgv_suiK-NCHyhQIVA/ .  We will be posting these after they are edited and ready, which will probably be after we are home, but will try to get smaller/shorter things here.  Please subscribe to our channel so you will know when they are posted.  The videos will not just be excursions.  They will include lots of other stuff and we hope to have fun with them.  We will also post to our Twitter account with updates (https://twitter.com/MOLOonthego1).  We just bought the brand new GoPro Hero 8 Black to upgrade from our Hero 4 Silver to get some better quality videos (and not have them shake and bounce all over).

Final Thoughts On First Post:

  • We are excited to bring everyone along and showcase how we travel and what we do!!!  We look forward to everyone's comments and reactions to our first trip to the ABC islands!  If you have any questions, suggestions, thoughts please feel free to post on here or reach out to us privately.

 

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Wow...what a great itinerary.  I haven't been on Explorer in many years but I love that class of ship so I know you will have a great time.

Say hello to Curacao for me.  It's my favorite Caribbean island (not that I have been to every one of them !!!).  It's so quaint and inviting.  You will learn what "My Dushi" means (a good thing !).

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Sounds like a fantastic trip, and even better for being able to do the ABC islands without having to leave out of OSJ. Looking forward to the coming updates!

Oh, and @Matt / @Lovetocruise2002 -- please don't feel obligated to now start your next live blogs at 100 days out. You really don't need to maintain your titles of King and Queen of the Early Live Blog Start. 😁😜

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2 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Wow...what a great itinerary.  I haven't been on Explorer in many years but I love that class of ship so I know you will have a great time.

Say hello to Curacao for me.  It's my favorite Caribbean island (not that I have been to every one of them !!!).  It's so quaint and inviting.  You will learn what "My Dushi" means (a good thing !).

We are very excited for this itinerary!  We have been wanting to do this for awhile and it finally worked out!  So far our favorite island has been St Lucia so we will have to compare that to these new islands.  We will refrain from using google to see what "My Dushi" means 😉 

 

51 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Sounds like a fantastic trip, and even better for being able to do the ABC islands without having to leave out of OSJ. Looking forward to the coming updates!

Oh, and @Matt / @Lovetocruise2002 -- please don't feel obligated to now start your next live blogs at 100 days out. You really don't need to maintain your titles of King and Queen of the Early Live Blog Start. 😁😜

Going out of Florida was such a bonus for us!  So does that mean it's too early to start our live blog for our January 2021 cruise on Harmony????  🤣

 

4 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I hearby hand in my crown (if there ever was one)...This is an early start to a live blog!

Have fun with your double digit dance!

We were just so excited to start this!  We have a few things left to plan and hope to get some input.  I guess at least we waited for double digits and didn't start in triple digits 👻🤣🚢

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So with the holidays and some big changes at work we have not been very active on the blog lately and haven't kept up with the pre-cruise info here.  So here is a little update!

 

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26 days to board but 25 until we leave sunny, warm Minnesota...................but who's counting........😎

 

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Of course we did our check in the first day it was available and have our set sail passes already!  One thing to note on this cruise, we can not use the Royal Caribbean app because it is not available on this sailing so paper and a folder it is!

 

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I have noticed that some people pack weeks before they leave, this is not us!  We won't pack until the night before, but will start making sure we have the little things needed about 1 week prior.

 

.....continued on next post..... 

 

 

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Internet:

We originally booked 1 device Voom Surf and Stream at $12.99 and thought that was a good deal........well we checked again, like we always do on things we book, and found it went down to $11.99!!!  We called Royal and got the $9 adjustment (Hey $9 is $9! 😆)

 

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Excursions:

So far we have 2 excursions booked.  We booked the highly recommended Trikes in Aruba.  We normally don't book non RCCL excursions but since we are in port until 9pm we should be safe. 

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And the second one we booked was a RCCL excursion in Bonaire.  We booked the Land and Sea Adventure.  This excursion has a 4x4 ride, sailboat, and snorkel and says it is all day.  This covered several things we like to do and thought we would get a good overview of the island combining several different types of adventures. 

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As far as Labadee we just plan to hang out on the beach and chill (not Minnesota chill)!  Maybe we will find something that interests us but for now its just fun in the sun!!!

We are still doing research for Curacao but are considering a tour (based on recommendations) or just walking around on our own.  We haven't decided yet...

 

Final thoughts for this post:

We have a pretty busy couple weeks coming up before we leave with a 5 day trip to Arizona to see family and some overtime at work.  We will continue to update any new info but are looking forward to this 2 week adventure in sun and warmth!!!!!!!  We are looking forward to bringing everyone along!

........until the next post 😎🏝️

 

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3 hours ago, Mike P said:

Looking forward to pics!  I'm doing ABC's (I wish it included Labadee!) on Adventure on 2/29 so I'm starting to get excited!

Can't wait to be there to take them!  We will try to get lots of them!  Hopefully this live blog will get you even more excited seeing it right before you leave!

 

2 hours ago, Lovestotravel said:

Can't wait to follow along!  We are doing the ABC's plus St. Marteen in May on Freedom! 

That should be an awesome trip!

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Looking forward to your report!   We are on this exact itinerary on the Feb 21 sailing.  A little nervous with some of the negatives I'm hearing about this ship pre-drydock, but keeping my hopes up.  We've done the ABCs before and I can't wait to get back!

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1 hour ago, fa-li said:

Looking forward to your report!   We are on this exact itinerary on the Feb 21 sailing.  A little nervous with some of the negatives I'm hearing about this ship pre-drydock, but keeping my hopes up.  We've done the ABCs before and I can't wait to get back!

We have 4 sea days so we will cover some of the ship related stuff.  We put some thought in to the pre-dry dock also knowing that the ship is dated but the itinerary was what we were really after so hope all goes well! 😉 

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226065034_ScreenShot2020-02-02at2_44_38PM.thumb.png.54038be9ab75e76c36dcc590754c38d3.png

4 days until we leave for Miami and 5 until we board the ship!!!  Can't wait!!!

 

We both have 3 days left of work so almost done with the grind.  I (Matt) will have worked 9 days in a row before we go with a couple 12-13 hour days.  Watching the Super Bowl stuff on TV and seeing all the sun makes us want to get down there even more!!!

 

We FINALLY booked our last excursion..

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We booked this because we have had good experience with cave related excursions in the past and thought hanging out on the beach would be nice and relaxing.  Who can't use relaxing in the sun....right?!?!?!

 

Just got this email from Royal Caribbean about the coronavirus so this will be a bit different experience...

Royal Caribbean
 
ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING TRAVELS
 

 

 

 

Dear Guest,

We’re looking forward to welcoming you aboard! Before you embark on our adventure, we have some important information to share with you.

After consultation with medical experts and public health authorities, we’ve decided that regardless of nationality, any guest or crewmember traveling from, to, or through mainland China or Hong Kong less than 15 days prior to their sailing will be unable to board any of our ships. We regret to have to do this, but due to the recent increase of coronavirus cases around the world, this precaution will help avoid the spread of this virus. We take this very seriously and have a responsibility to maintain a safe and healthy environment onboard our ships, as well as in the ports we visit.

Additionally, we’ve tightened our secondary health screening requirements and the following guests will need to undergo extra screenings to ensure safety at the cruise terminal:

  • Guests or crewmembers that have been in contact with individuals that have traveled from, to, or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the last 15 days.
  • Anyone that holds a Chinese or Hong Kong passport - regardless of when they were there last.
  • Anyone that feels unwell or demonstrates flu-like symptoms.

While these measures are conservative, our responsibility is to reduce the spread of coronavirus, in an effort to keep our ships safe and to ensure you are able to enjoy your time with us.

If you or someone in your stateroom has traveled from, to, or through mainland China or Hong Kong, please contact your Travel Advisor immediately, or contact us at 1-800-256-6649 or visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/contactus for your local Royal Caribbean International office phone number. 

Your vacation and your health are very important to us, so in an abundance of caution, we’ve taken numerous proactive steps to maintain high health standards onboard our ships. This includes:

  • Thoroughly sanitizing the cruise ship terminal before and after every sailing,
  • Special sanitizing of high traffic areas onboard multiple times a day,
  • Adding extra medical staff on each sailing, 
  • Providing complimentary consultations with medical experts for all guests & crew, 
  • Plus, the Captain will make two daily announcements during your cruise reminding everyone of how to stay healthy onboard.

And, you can do your part too! To ensure we all have an enjoyable cruise, here are some important tips to help keep you healthy and prevent colds, flus, and stomach viruses – both onboard and on land. 

  • After using the bathroom and before any meal or snack (it’s a cruise; we know there’s lots of that), make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If you happen to sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (or with your upper sleeve). Avoid sneezing or coughing into your hands or without covering your nose and mouth.
  • Use hand sanitizer as often as possible. Rub the gel thoroughly, and in-between your fingers, until your hands are dry.

And remember, if you don’t feel well while you’re onboard, it’s imperative that you immediately visit our medical facility on Deck 2 for a complimentary checkup. Our onboard doctors and nurses are always ready to assist. Your safety and wellbeing are always our top priorities, but we also want you to have an amazing time. Stay clean, stay healthy, stay happy!

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Image did not load.

 
Royal Caribbean

 

Packing will be starting soon so stay tuned.........!!! 😉 

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On 2/2/2020 at 4:02 PM, MO & LO on the go! said:

Your vacation and your health are very important to us, so in an abundance of caution, we’ve taken numerous proactive steps to maintain high health standards onboard our ships. This includes:

  • Thoroughly sanitizing the cruise ship terminal before and after every sailing,

Wow! I had to read that line twice because I thought I mis-read it at first. Not just the ship, the entire terminal building?!?!?

That has to be a typo, right?

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16 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Wow! I had to read that line twice because I thought I mis-read it at first. Not just the ship, the entire terminal building?!?!?

That has to be a typo, 

I thought the same thing. Perhaps they planned for it with the new terminal design and they can accomplish it with an efficiency.

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We fly out tomorrow evening!  We are now both done with work before the trip and going to start packing tonight!  Such a good feeling to be done with work and focus on the trip!  We can't wait to get away from the snow and cold and have some fun in the warm sun!

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On 2/3/2020 at 4:45 PM, JLMoran said:

Wow! I had to read that line twice because I thought I mis-read it at first. Not just the ship, the entire terminal building?!?!?

That has to be a typo, right?

 

On 2/3/2020 at 5:03 PM, Ogilthorpe said:

I thought the same thing. Perhaps they planned for it with the new terminal design and they can accomplish it with an efficiency.

 

We will make sure we comment on what we see with this....if we even see anything different.  We got on a ship a year ago that came back "sick" and that was quite a different experience until the ship went back to normal.

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