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Two Brothers, One Dad, Navigator of the Seas and Universal Studios: January 13th 2020

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Hey everyone! I've loved reading the blog over the last year since I took my first cruise with my younger brother at his request. Now, I'm hooked and excited to share with you our next (now annual) cruise coming up on January 13th on the Navigator of the Seas. Our last trip was on the Mariner of the Seas and we're both very excited about going on its sister ship.

Who

The party will be the two of us (older brother and younger brother). My brother is turning 30 on this cruise and on embarkation day! When our Dad heard about our cruise plans, he decided he had to attend as well. We haven't done a vacation together as a group since we were 12 years old. 😅 

Where

We're headed to Miami to board Navigator of the Seas! After Navigator, we're taking a quite jaunt up to Orlando to spend a few days at Universal Studios (another of my brother's favorite places). My wife and boys are more of the Disney type so it's a fun change of pace to head over to Universal for a few days.

How

Well, I love to vacation. After reading all the live blogs, I'm realizing I need to book Star Class at some point to REALLY get the "extra" experience. Instead, I decided to bring a little bit of star power to the rest of our vacation by (secretly) getting us a limo to bring us to the airport, upgrading our tickets to first class, and then upgrading what my Dad thinks is an inside stateroom to a suite (we have two rooms, two grand suites). Yes, I'm being "extra" as the kids say (do they still say that?) but I don't care! I'm on vacation! I'm excited to capture their reactions.

We're staying at the Hyatt Regency in Miami, flying down with Delta, and using my bevy of points, miles, and rewards to get us there. One small benefit of traveling a ton for work is making a major part of your vacation cash free. (Don't worry, this boys trip was already offset by a couples trip to keep the Mrs. happy. 🤗)

Then, We are starting with 3 days at Royal Pacific and then 1 day at Aventura (which none of us have stayed at yet). We wanted to add an extra day because I unfortunately need to fly from vacation to a work trip directly and instead of coming home for a day I’m going to stay an extra day. But it turns out Universal was almost all sold out... so doing a little split stay out of necessity (but still using our extra day or Express Pass). 🥳

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We're a mere 6 days away from starting the journey down! I'm hoping Voom holds up and I can share photos and such from the travels as we go! If it ends up being of interest, I'm also happy to share about our time at Universal Studios though I know that's a bit of an extra excursion. 😆

This is only my third cruise though by brother and Dad have done a bunch more than I have. Either way, I'm excited to dive in, get to Coco Cay, and get into the "warm" water since we'll be flying down from New England. Almost there!

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6 hours ago, SweetPea said:

Are you staying onsite? Not that you need to in January. Looking forward to following along. 😍

Yup, staying on-site! It’s MLK weekend and apparently the Pro Bowl is in town later that week so it’s actually slightly sold out. 😱

We are starting with 3 days at Royal Pacific and then 1 day at Aventura (which none of us have stayed at yet). We wanted to add an extra day because I unfortunately need to fly from vacation to a work trip directly and instead of coming home for a day I’m going to stay an extra day. But it turns out Universal was almost all sold out... so doing a little split stay out of necessity (but still using our extra day or Express Pass). 🥳 

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Can't wait to hear more. We had planned a guys cruise for November 2007 with my dad, younger brother, and myself. Unfortunately my dad was hit by a semi-truck in September of 2007 so we never made the trip. It took a few years before I decided to start sailing, so my wife and 2 boys went on our first cruise in 2016. My wife loves cruising as much as the boys and myself so we'll probably never have a "guys" trip .lol

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@druidspirit I needed to make some “family cruise deposits” first to make this work. 😁 I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. We lost our Mom pretty young a few years ago too. Small blessing in that it made us much closer and drove us to do trips like this. ❤️

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10 hours ago, NerdDad said:

We haven't done a vacation together as a group since we were 12 years old. 😅 

This alone makes me so happy to follow this blog!  Family time is so precious.  Especially when everyone is "adulting". 

10 hours ago, NerdDad said:

Yes, I'm being "extra" as the kids say (do they still say that?)

Haha!  Yes they do.  I teach 13 year olds and my daughter is 13.  I hear that word multiple times daily! 

34 minutes ago, Sweety said:

I love cruising with my parents. They are so enlightening.

You can say that again!  Especially when you cruise with them as an adult lol.

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3 hours ago, NerdDad said:

Yup, staying on-site! It’s MLK weekend and apparently the Pro Bowl is in town later that week so it’s actually slightly sold out. 😱

We are starting with 3 days at Royal Pacific and then 1 day at Aventura (which none of us have stayed at yet). We wanted to add an extra day because I unfortunately need to fly from vacation to a work trip directly and instead of coming home for a day I’m going to stay an extra day. But it turns out Universal was almost all sold out... so doing a little split stay out of necessity (but still using our extra day or Express Pass). 🥳 

Nice! I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Aventura as we have not stayed either. Have stayed RPR multiple times when they had the Loews First program and we were Platinum then. Scored some lovely upgrades during that era! Now we're HRH peeps. Can't wait to hear about it and Navigator. Happy countdown! 

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Have a great time! Navigator is a fun ship. We sailed on her a few months ago in September  live blog. We also went to Universal afterwards. If you are a roller coaster fan, and also want to be a bit "extra" there as well,  check out a VIP tour, we used that and had a blast. Skip the line access on all the rides, it was a great experience, especially the new Hagrid Ride which has a 90 minute wait as I type this!

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Not that I'm trying to "extra" you to death, but I believe that the Unlimited Dining Package on NAV is a great deal.  I LOVE Hooked...if you,  your brother and father enjoy seafood, it's really a treat.  Not only do you get all of your dinners in specialty restaurants, but you also get lunch on embarkation day and on any sea days.  We even found that Izumi was open on some of the port days so there is a lot of value (IMO) in the UDP on NAV.  Since you're all in suites, you will get breakfast daily in Chops, which is a huge step up from any of the other breakfast locations.

I hope your dad is super surprised and that he feels completely pampered.  Does your brother know you've upgraded everything ?

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29 minutes ago, emsff02 said:

Have a great time! Navigator is a fun ship. We sailed on her a few months ago in September  live blog. We also went to Universal afterwards. If you are a roller coaster fan, and also want to be a bit "extra" there as well,  check out a VIP tour, we used that and had a blast. Skip the line access on all the rides, it was a great experience, especially the new Hagrid Ride which has a 90 minute wait as I type this!

I read your live blog @emsff02 and loved it! I've been waffling on the VIP tour because I sort of feel like you don't get to experience the park as much if you do it. (We did the shared VIP tour once before but sort of nervous bringing my very gregarious Dad into a shared tour setting. 😅)

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7 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Not that I'm trying to "extra" you to death, but I believe that the Unlimited Dining Package on NAV is a great deal. 

One step ahead of you! 😇 We got it during the last sale for a pretty good deal too. I'm not sure we'll ever be in the main dining room this trip.

 

8 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I hope your dad is super surprised and that he feels completely pampered.  Does your brother know you've upgraded everything ?

My brother is in on most things as he super enjoys planning things too so I don't want to rob him of that. If anyone has any tips on fun surprises, let me know. I'm going to let the concierge in on it when they email in hopes they have some fun ideas too. 🥳

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I decided to get some t-shirts made a few weeks ago and they just arrived today! I'm not sure we'll end up doing the group t-shirt thing but they'll be funny to wear on certain days. (And, in order to understand the joke on one of them, it's important to know our last name is Daigle.) 😆 Please excuse all the drink package humor... it's more that we can no longer party like we used to but like to pretend we can when we cruise. 🥂

 

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Just my $.02, but if you take advantage of Early Entry staying onsite and don't try to do Hagrid's over a weekend, you should be fine. Just make sure you know which park they're offering EE to. If it's the Studios, not IOA, you still should be fine if you go right at park opening. 

Also it sounds like you've stayed at RPR before so I'm guessing you're set with what room requests to make? 

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1 hour ago, SweetPea said:

Also it sounds like you've stayed at RPR before so I'm guessing you're set with what room requests to make?

@SweetPea would love your suggestions! I didn’t know you could make requests (we do most family trips to Disney). 

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55 minutes ago, NerdDad said:

@SweetPea would love your suggestions! I didn’t know you could make requests (we do most family trips to Disney). 

I'm the Queen of requests at all 3 resorts that offer unlimited express! First tell me what type of room you booked, standard/garden, pool view, club, king suite? 

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8 hours ago, NerdDad said:

Standard two queens. Didn’t have a ton of options for the full stay seemingly. 

Ok, then you'll want to request Tower 1. You'll have a shot at a park view, but if you don't, the views will still be better than Towers 2 or 3.  Plus if you plan to walk to the parks, you can use the stairs at the end of the hallway and take the door there. You'll be half way down the walking path then, avoiding the Rickshaws and walking through the pool area. And if you use the elevators instead of the stairs, you're closer to the restaurants, pool, and boat launch.

 

Now if you really want to push it (& i have), you can request a specific room. I'd try for 1541, which has both a park view and is a connecting room (don't remember which side connects), but sounds like you have 2 rooms or no? Anyway, those are my thoughts. Avoid Tower 2 as that is the pet tower, and Tower 3 standard view will give you a crummy highway view. 

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Please wear the t-shirts together and take a picture. When my Dad retire, his shirt read, "The Legend has Retired." Our shirts read, "We are with the Legend." Everybody on the ship loved them. They were taking pictures and made my Dad feel like the King he is. I love following stories like this. My parents are with me on three cruises, looking to book more.

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21 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Not that I'm trying to "extra" you to death, but I believe that the Unlimited Dining Package on NAV is a great deal.  I LOVE Hooked...if you,  your brother and father enjoy seafood, it's really a treat.  Not only do you get all of your dinners in specialty restaurants, but you also get lunch on embarkation day and on any sea days.  We even found that Izumi was open on some of the port days so there is a lot of value (IMO) in the UDP on NAV.  Since you're all in suites, you will get breakfast daily in Chops, which is a huge step up from any of the other breakfast locations.

I hope your dad is super surprised and that he feels completely pampered.  Does your brother know you've upgraded everything ?

We are celebrating Hooked on our anniversary. I went to school in Boston and looking forward to eating there. Is there a lot of food?

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