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Symphony of the Seas - an island is an island is an island? (Feb 22 - 29, 2020)


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Since we’re officially 4 weeks away from our cruise I thought it was an appropriate time to start the blog? (No? Meh, I’m going with it anyway).

I never expected to book a cruise like this with Mr SpeedNoodles.  He’s more into the “culturally enriching and/or scenic” sort of cruises.  He wasn’t really thrilled about booking a cruise to the Caribbean because “they’re just islands - what is there to see that’s different from the next island?”.  Plus, he’s a small-ship guy.  He likes being able to walk around that outside Promenade level and visiting the helipad.  He likes that connection to the sea.

Honestly, since I’ve never been to the Caribbean myself so I couldn’t really negate his impressions. I have no idea myself.  My two, short, warm-weather cruises were to Nassau/Coco Cay.  

So how did we end up booking this? Well, a year and a half ago, we had our Alaskan cruise booked on Ovation for June 2019. We hadn’t taken a cruise, or any vacation that didn’t involve showing dogs, in ten years (pet sitters are hard to come by). But we finally secured one, and we had quite the trip planned.  We were going to drive to Seattle, spending 2-3 days in Yellowstone (we had the historic Yellowstone Inn booked), and then we were going to spend about 4-5 days exploring the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, where we plan to retire, before we boarded Ovation for our 7-night Alaskan cruise.

But things happen, and in September of 2018 my husband slipped on a wet floor at a business and tore his quadricep.  He was out of work for 4 months after his surgery, which ate up a significant portion of his PTO that he had saved for the trip.  We decided that we couldn’t pull off the 3-week trip, and would have to fly to Seattle if we wanted to still go (note: Mr SpeedNoodles is terrified of flying - serious druggage is necessary to accomplish a flight).  So MY thought process was that we could use the money we were saving by shortening our trip to Seattle to book a winter Caribbean cruise! #speednoodleslogic.  I threw the idea out there at him, expecting him to poo poo it, and to my great surprise he just said yes! HOLY CRAP!  I emailed @michelle at MEI and quickly booked Symphony before he could change his mind. 

During the 13+ month span of time since I booked the cruise I’ve been exposing him here and there with Royal Caribbean Blog podcasts (as well as the Cruise Tips TV Unplugged podcast), live YouTube and Facebook chats, etc etc.  After the Ovation cruise, he was even more excited about Symphony.  Planning. Could. Begin.

Itinerary
Miami - Sea Day - Sea Day - St. Maarten  -  San Juan, PR - Sea Day - Coco Cay - Miami

Pre-cruise hotel: Kimpton Epic

What have we booked onboard? We went all out on our first Oasis-class ship.
Unlimited Beverage Package ($18 intern special, TYVM)
Unlimited Dining Package
All Access Ship Tour
Escape Room
The Key

Excursions? You betcha!!! (#OfficialMinnesotaTerminology)
St. Maarten - 3rd party ATV tour
San Juan - ATV tour booked through Royal Caribbean (this one should be very special to me and later I’ll tell you why!)
Nothing special on Coco Key - Mr. Speednoodles’ plan is to snorkel, eat crispy chicken sandwich, snorkel, eat crispy chicken sandwich, repeat. I'll do some of the same with breaks to find the chickens and iguanas (I believe we are now on a first-name basis).

This cruise is actually ending up being a sort of celebration.  Immediately upon our return I’ll be starting my new job - I’ve been promoted to supervisor!  I’m very excited (for many reasons, not least of which it is much easier to get PTO approved at that level!!)

Ugh, the waiting is the hardest part (or so said Mr. Petty).  I want to pack and go NOW!!!!!

(Shameless Fezzik photo, just because).

fezz.thumb.jpg.f422a2cb34bbcb826465713fa0c49e1c.jpg

 

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Final thoughts and things I learned: Mr. SpeedNoodles has declared Symphony of the Seas as his favorite ship, and wants to book more Oasis-class cruises.  We don't have one booked until Allure

Since we’re officially 4 weeks away from our cruise I thought it was an appropriate time to start the blog? (No? Meh, I’m going with it anyway). I never expected to book a cruise like this with M

Friday - Miami Day!!! Today was a long day.  We booked a full 3-part tour that included a double-deck bus tour of Miami, a boat tour of the Miami harbor (with an emphasis on the islands between M

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Congrats, and glad to know your husband is better. Torn quadricep?!? OWIEEEEE!

13 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

(Shameless Fezzik photo, just because).

fezz.thumb.jpg.f422a2cb34bbcb826465713fa0c49e1c.jpg

So if that one is Fezzik, where are Inigo and Vizzini hiding? Or do you instead have Westley and Buttercup? 😉 

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6 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Congrats, and glad to know your husband is better. Torn quadricep?!? OWIEEEEE!

So if that one is Fezzik, where are Inigo and Vizzini hiding? Or do you instead have Westley and Buttercup? 😉 

LOL, actually he's the only one named from the movie.  It just fit him  - he's big, and super sweet, and sometimes not as smart as he should be. And when my husband was 5 years old, he was at a wrestling match in St. Paul, MN and Andre The Giant  put his hand on his head.  Or rather it enveloped his head. It made quite an impression on him. He's been a fan ever since.

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Ugh, the waiting is HORRIBLE!!  It's too early to pack, but I've done all of the prep that I can do, so I'm just in limbo.  I check my Cruise Planner 3 times a day to see if there is anything I missed (I didn't), but I feel like I should be DOING something.  TICK TICK TICK.

 #firstworldproblems

I had a moment of panic that woke me out of my sleep this morning - flight leaves at 6:40am - gotta be out of the house by 5:00am - pet sitter shows up around 6:00pm - dog bladders not agreeing with that math.  I had to make a mad scramble to find someone who could swing by and let them out mid morning (someone who can handle canine chaos, because that's what it is here).  The choices are few!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Single digit dance!!! The weather sucks today. We don't typically get this kind of cold so late in February. The wind chill has dipped under -20F.

I'm on my 4-day weekend, and I only have two more nights of work before we go. Sunday and Monday. Oh, and I requested Monday off because it's guaranteed to be the LONGEST 10-hour shift OF MY LIFE. I should know soon if it's been approved. TICK, TICK, TICK

Screenshot_20200213-083200_Chrome.jpg.5eef7b27c10bc699dd166e01f4bf51fd.jpg

1200312158_Screenshot_20200213-083224_GrumpyWeather.thumb.jpg.4d8a31db9b5a81f32bec6233c995c968.jpg

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4 minutes ago, SpeedNoodles said:

The weather sucks today. We don't typically get this kind of cold so late in February. The wind chill has dipped under -20F.

I went to college at the U of M-Twin Cities.  I always tell everyone about the coldest day I ever experienced while I was there....it was an unofficial J term (They didn't have J terms but my program did.) and the temperature was around -19 but the windchill was -54.  I was walking from the bus stop back to my apartment when my eye started to tear up then it froze shut!  It was a little scary but I was close to home and heat so I managed.  Brrrrr.  But the memories from college were THE BEST!

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On 1/25/2020 at 6:44 PM, SpeedNoodles said:

 

What have we booked onboard? We went all out on our first Oasis-class ship.
Unlimited Beverage Package ($18 intern special, TYVM)
Unlimited Dining Package
All Access Ship Tour
Escape Room
The Key

 

I was just wondering, what this $18/pp/pd intern special deluxe beverage package deal is that I keep seeing everyone talking about? Just curious.

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25 minutes ago, alexacruise said:

I was just wondering, what this $18/pp/pd intern special deluxe beverage package deal is that I keep seeing everyone talking about? Just curious.

One day, for several hours, the price for the Deluxe Beverage Package was listed (erroneously) at $18.  Word got around quickly, and people jumped on it  before Royal was able to correct it.  The joke was that the "intern" must have screwed up.  I was able to snag it for 2 cruises (this one, and the upcoming Brilliance Group Cruise in Oct https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/event/royalcaribbeanblogcom-cruise-aboard-brilliance-of-the-seas).  Royal was gracious and honored the price for everyone who got lucky!

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I'm officially ON VACATION!!!!   I worked my last overnight (dog) shift last night and my last night as a 911 dispatcher .... it crawled along for the most part.  Now I have 2 1/2 days to get house and hounds ready for our pet sitter, and to get us packed.  The weather away from here is looking like it's going to be pretty good, except when we leave.  5 degrees? REALLY?  I do NOT want to drag a winter coat with me to Miami, to the ship, and back.  This is BS.  I'm going to FREEZE  in the Uber.  I want to talk to the weather manager.

Speaking of wanting to file a grievance, the first hound to be bathed has some issues with this entire process.  (i.e. the princess is NOT happy).  I'm sure the boys will feel the same way.

1258171135_PogoBath.thumb.jpg.cd9db8c9d11704c024793a8047e56024.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Ampurp85 said:

@SpeedNoodles Well he posed for the picture, so you really must have dampened his spirit and he wanted proof of what you did. Congrats on the last shift and getting to live in the sun. I worked overnights for 2 years as a manager and it nearly ruined my life....I couldn't have one because I slept during the day.

It’s been ten years for me.  I’m only guaranteed the new shift through January, but the break will be nice. 

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