My next cruise is coming up at the end of April and I am getting really excited! Like I mentioned in my last cruise post, I'll be going to two new ports on this cruise. Since these will be new ports for me, it only made sense for me to book some fun excursions to get the most out of these stops.
Keep reading to see which excursions I've chosen for the ports!
George Town, Grand Cayman
For my first excursion, we'll be stopping in George Town, Grand Cayman. I've heard that a lot of people choose to swim with stingrays while they're at this port, so that was definitely at the top of my list. I had also heard there's a turtle farm where you can interact with turtles of all ages and sizes. I was torn between swimming with stingrays or seeing turtles, and then I found an excursion that combines both!
Here's the description for the turtle & stingray excursion:
Costa Maya, Mexico
For our second port, we'll be stopping in Costa Maya, Mexico. This is another port I haven't been to yet, so I knew I also wanted to do an excursion on this day. In all five of my previous cruises, my absolute favorite port days were beach days at Labadee, which is a private island for the cruise ships. Since this next cruise won't be stopping at Labadee, I figured it would be fun to try a beach day at one of the beach options in Costa Maya.
Here's the description for the excursion I chose:
The third port is Cozumel, which I've been to a few times and just visited in May on my last cruise. This upcoming cruise is only six nights, so we have three ports on back-to-back days, without any sea days in between. Because I've been to Cozumel and it will be our third and final port, I decided not to plan anything that day. I figure I'll be so tired from my busy days at the first two ports that I'll want to chill by the pool while everyone else is off the ship.
Those are the excursions I'll be doing on my next cruise. Let me know in the comments if you've been to any of these ports and what your favorite excursions were.
My sixth cruise is officially booked and the countdown has already begun! It's been almost a year since my last cruise, so I decided to take a look at Royal Caribbean's website to see if I could find any upcoming cruises that I might want to book. Originally, I was thinking I'd do a cruise later in the year, but I quickly realized that cruising in the summer is a lot more expensive because so many families take their family vacation when the kids are out of school.
It ended up making more sense to book a cruise for the end of April, which is when I've sailed on 3 out of 5 cruises so far. Thanks to a very helpful customer service rep at Royal Caribbean, Chris, I was able to find a great deal on a 6-night Western Caribbean cruise. I'll be sailing on Freedom of the Seas, which is a sister ship of the first ship I ever cruised on, Liberty of the Seas. If you'd like to go check out my trip report from that cruise, you can start here. Or, if you'd like to see all cruise related posts, you can click the Cruise category on the right side of this page.
Also, I made a YouTube video from my first cruise, so you can check that out here:
Quick side note: I do plan on writing an updated tips & tricks blog post now that I've been on a few more cruises. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if there's anything specific you'd like me to cover.
And now, let's get into the details for this next cruise! Like I said, it's a 6-night cruise and it's going to the Western Caribbean. I have been in this area before, but we're actually going to 2 ports I've never visited, so I'm really excited to see some new places!
Here's a map of where we'll be going:
This is my itinerary:
I originally debated flying in the day of the cruise and saving myself the cost of a hotel room the night before, but I've heard too many horror stories of people missing their cruises because of flight delays, so I decided to be safe and come in the night before.
The 2 ports I've never been to are Grand Cayman and Costa Maya. I've been wanting to go to Grand Cayman for a long time, so I'm extra excited about that stop. At first I was determined to go on the stingray excursion where you are in waist-high water and the stingrays are swimming all around you. But, now I'm thinking I'd rather do an excursion where I can go see turtles. I've only seen one turtle in all my cruises and it wasn't even up close, so I think that's what I'll plan on doing. Who knows, maybe I'll find an excursion where I can see both turtles and stingrays!
So far, I haven't made up my mind on excursions for Costa Maya, but I'm almost positive that I'll stay on the ship when we're in Cozumel. I was just there last April and don't see any excursion options online that look too exciting. Most likely I'll be ready for a quiet day after 2 busy port days, so I might just take advantage of a nearly empty ship and relax by the pool.
In terms of rooms, I am currently booked in a balcony room. I made the mistake of cruising with a balcony for my very first cruise and I just don't think I'd ever want to go on a cruise without one. Like I've said in previous posts, one of my favorite things is waking up in the morning and having room service breakfast on the balcony.
As usual, I'll keep an eye on the prices and see if the Junior Suite price drops significantly. Generally, there are quite a few cancellations once the final payment date comes around, so depending on what opens up there might be a good deal on an even nicer room. For the meanwhile I'll stick to the balcony room I've got booked, so here's a quick YouTube tour of a similar room to the one I'll have on this cruise:
I think those are all the main details of this next cruise. There are just over 14 weeks left as of today, so I'm already counting down the days and looking forward to the trip.
Like I said earlier, I'll be doing a tips & tricks blog post sometime soon, so leave a comment if there are any questions you'd like me to answer. I'm definitely not an expert, but I have learned a thing or two over the past 4 years, so hopefully I can be helpful!
Stay tuned for the trip report once I get back!!
On Saturday morning we decided to go to the main dining room for breakfast to try something new. We met at 8 like usual and got a table pretty quickly. I liked that there were a lot of options for breakfast, but the service was pretty slow and the food was just mediocre, so I'm not sure if it was worth the extra time. I'm glad we did try something other than the buffet though because I was getting pretty bored with the selection.
After breakfast we went our separate ways. I had decided to get some packing done in my room since it was our last day on the ship. Once I was mostly packed I changed into my bathing suit and headed up to the pool deck. The chairs were completely packed so I decided to get lunch at Johnny Rockets. Again, I was tired of the selection at the buffet and I also wanted to check out their lunch menu since I've only ever had breakfast there, back when I was on Oasis of the Seas. For Johnny Rockets there's an up-charge of $6.95 but it covers all food and gratuities. When you sit down they bring you a plate of French fries and onion rings right away. Then you can order any other food you want, including dessert. The only thing you pay extra for is your drinks or milkshakes. I thought the food was pretty good, but I was mostly just happy they offered a veggie burger option.
By the time I was done eating the pool area was even more crowded than before. I knew I didn't want to get any more sun so I was limited to chairs in the shade. I finally found a single chair and set my stuff down. I got in the pool but it was too cold so I tried the hot tub instead. There were too many kids splashing around so I ended up getting out and deciding that hanging out at the pool just wasn't a great idea. I went back to my room and took a shower to get cleaned up. We had tickets for the 2pm ice show and we had planned on meeting at 1:30 to get seats. Apparently everyone else had the idea to show up early because there was a huge line. Thankfully we were able to get four seats together with a good view of the ice, so it all worked out in the end. I thought they did a really good job with the ice show. It was definitely entertaining and fun, so I'd go see it again.
The show ended at around 3 so we went up to the library and played some Phase 10. We played until it was time to get ready for dinner, so we went our separate ways and then planned on meeting at the dining room at 5:30. It was kind of sad to say goodbye to our waiters because they were so nice to us and did such a great job taking care of us. After dinner we walked up to the helipad to try to catch the last sunset. It was a clear day so we had a great view. We were on the very front of the ship, so it was really cool to be completely surrounded by water and have the setting sun be the only thing we could see.
Once the sun was gone I went back to my room to finish packing and put my suitcase in the hallway. I had signed up for luggage valet, which means you put your suitcase out in the hall the last night and then you pick it up at your home airport. It's a nice option if you have a later flight because you can go do something without having to drag your suitcase around with you. With my bags all packed I headed to the library at 8:30 and we finished another game of Phase 10. Marisa won the game and by the time we were done it was after 10pm and we all headed to bed for our early morning the next day.
I wanted to enjoy my balcony one last time so I poured my last glass of wine for the trip and chilled out until 11 before I slept my last night on the ship.
Sunday was a long, busy day of travel. We had a quick breakfast in the buffet and then headed off the ship. There wasn't a line, so we walked right off, which was a huge improvement from the last time we left a cruise together! We scheduled an Uber to come pick us up and headed to the airport. The only bad thing about the Fort Lauderdale airport is that they don't let you go through security until a certain amount of time before your flight, so with having flights later that afternoon we knew we would be hanging out for a long time. Thankfully, we found a table where we were able to set up and play another game of Phase 10. It helped pass the time and gave us one more chance to try a new way of playing the game that some of our fellow cruisers had told us about.
Once we were done playing, Todd decided to head to his terminal for his flight. The rest of us still had a few hours before we could go through security, so we grabbed another Uber and went to get lunch. It was Mother's Day, so we had to wait about 30 minutes for a table, but they had a lot of options and the food was really good. We took an Uber back to the airport and by the time we arrived we were able to go through security. We grabbed some seats near our gates and spent some time reading and relaxing. Eventually it was time for Mark and Marisa's flight to board, so we hugged goodbye and they went on their way.
I still had almost two hours before my flight, so I tried to pass the time by calling my mom and reading a book. The time went by quickly and soon enough I was on my plane. I made sure to get a seat on the left side of the plane so I could see the port as we left. We were just in time to see one of the ships leaving port and heading out to sea. Having booked two future cruises while on this trip, I knew it wouldn't be too long before it was my turn to sail again! The flight was uneventful and we landed back in Denver on time. I grabbed my suitcase and drove home, grateful to see my cats and sleep in my own bed again.
So that's it, the very end of the trip! It took me over two months to post everything, but I'm glad I kept it up. I hope you enjoyed reading about my latest adventures! I'm already looking forward to my next trip.
In the meanwhile, I'll be trying to put together a posting schedule so I can write something at least once a week. Like I said in my last post, please leave a comment if there is anything you'd like to see or any topics that might interest you!
I haven't given up on finishing my trip reports from my cruise this spring! I had to take a short break to pack my apartment and move, but now that I'm mostly unpacked in the new apartment I feel like I have some time to make another trip post. Here goes!
On Friday we had our first of two sea days. Unlike the previous days on the trip I was able to sleep past 6am and get almost 7 hours of sleep. We had planned the night before to meet for breakfast at 8am, so I went up to the Windjammer buffet and met the others. After breakfast we split up because Marisa wanted to lay out and get some sun but I knew I was done getting any sun for the rest of the trip.
I wandered around a bit and then we met for bingo at 11:30. I got excited because I was only one number away from a bingo for $300, but unfortunately someone else got it first. When we were done with bingo we went up to the buffet for lunch. Once we were done eating we went our separate ways again. Marisa wanted to lay out some more and I had decided to sign up for a mixology class at one of the bars on the ship. Before the class I went back to my room and took a shower because I knew I wouldn't have time to get ready before dinner.
Freshly showered I made my way to the R Bar. We ended up having 9 people take the class and it was a lot of fun. The bartender who taught the class started out by giving us each a glass of champagne. I immediately knew I was going to like the class! She then showed us some fun ways to garnish drinks and then moved on to showing us the proper way to make a James Bond martini (shaken, not stirred). After the martinis she taught us about making margaritas and then moved on to fruity & sweet drinks. The class was only supposed to last an hour and a half but she was still going by 3:30 when I had to leave to go meet the others for another game of bingo. So in all, I got a glass of champagne, a margarita, and a raspberry martini, plus she told me to stop by later and get any drink of my choice. So all in all I spent $25 for 4 drinks, which is a pretty darn good deal when you consider that most of those drinks would cost $12-$15 each on the ship!!
The bingo game at 4:30 was the "win a cruise" bingo game. Unlike the game earlier, I was nowhere near winning this time around, but it was still fun and exciting to hang out and play. By the time we got done with bingo I had just enough time to run up to my room, put on my dress for our second formal night, and then get to dinner by 5:30. It was our waiter, Latisha's, birthday so we made a homemade card for her and sang her happy birthday. I think it really meant a lot to her and I'm glad we were able to make her day a little bit more special.
After dinner we went up to the helipad to see the sunset, but it was too cloudy to see anything. We went to the library and played cards until 8:30 so the guys could see the Beatles tribute show. While they were at the show Marisa and I hung out on my balcony. Once the show was done we ended up going to the hot tub for a little while. It was really hot, so I didn't stay in the water for very long. After getting out of the hot tub I went through the cafe and grabbed a slice of cheese pizza for a late night snack. I ended up going to bed at around 11:30 that night knowing that I didn't have anything planned to next morning.
Only two more days left of the trip to go! I'll probably combine them into one post since nothing happened on the very last day except for travel, which isn't too exciting.
Once the trip reports are done I'm going to try and set up (and stick to) a schedule for regular posts so they aren't so few and far between. If you have any ideas or requests, please let me know!
We arrived in Saint Maarten on Thursday morning and it looked like the weather was going to be perfect for our day in port. The ship arrived to port at around 8am. A lot of people don't know that a Pilot comes onboard the ship as it arrives in port so they can help navigate the ship safely to the dock. I have seen the Pilot boat before, but on this day I was able to look down from my balcony and see the pilot climbing onto the deck. It was really cool to see!
Right after that happened I went up to meet my friends for breakfast. We were eating in the buffet as the ship finished docking. After we were done eating we decided to head off the ship and walk around the pier and shopping area. The last time I was in Saint Maarten I didn't spend a ton of time exploring the area right around the port so it was nice that this time I got a chance to take a closer look at all of the shops and stores in that area.
After wandering around for a little while the others decided to walk down the road to a nearby beach. I knew that I needed to limit my time in the sun so I decided to get back on the ship where we would be meeting each other for lunch at 11:15. I was pretty tired so I decided to go up to the pool deck and get a pineapple blast, which is a drink made out of pineapple juice and Redbull. I grabbed a spot in the shade and listen to the poolside music while looking out at the gorgeous blue water and feeling the Caribbean breeze. It was heavenly! Before long it was time for lunch so we met at the buffet and had some food.
By the time we were done eating lunch it was time to go down and meet our group for our excursion. The excursion we chose was called the Airport Adventure, which involved taking a boat over to Maho Beach where the planes land at the local airport. We grabbed spots on the boat and took a 35 minute ride down the coast to the airport beach. Almost right away there were a bunch of planes landing, so we all took some pictures & videos and had a lot of fun watching the planes land. It's crazy how low they get right over the beach. I don't know if I could actually be on the beach without panicking because planes are flying so close overhead! They had music playing on our boat and they had a bar where they were serving drinks, so it was a really fun day. My favorite part was getting in the water and floating around with a pool noodle. There was an option to snorkel but I decided to just float on my own without the mask.
We had about an hour in the water and then it was time to get ready to head back to our ship. We went back the same way we came and soon we were at the pier. I was really glad that we booked the excursion through the ship because our all aboard time was 4:30 and I was literally on the gangway at 4:28. If I didn't have the guarantee that they wouldn't leave without me I would have been panicking to make it back so close to departure. Although this was a more expensive excursion I'm glad to have paid the money for the peace of mind that they wouldn't leave without us.
After getting back on the ship I was ready for a nice, cool shower. I turned on the water and quickly realized that something was wrong. No matter how I turned the dial the water went from scorching hot to boiling hot and wouldn't get any colder than that. I called maintenance and they said they would send somebody out to look at it, and he didn't seem surprised so I think it was a problem they were already working on fixing. In the meanwhile, I went and showered in my friends room so that I could get cleaned up and get all that salt water off of me.
When we were all cleaned up we met at 6 in the library to play Phase 10 and we had an hour until it was time to go to dinner. When we went to the dining room they told us there was a short wait so they gave us a pager and we went to the pub to get a drink. I had told the guys about one of my favorite drinks, which is called Angry Balls and is made of Angry Orchard cider and a shot of Fireball whiskey. They both seemed to really like it, so I was glad I had told them about it. At dinner I didn't see anything that really stood out to me on the menu so I decided to go for the vegetarian Indian option again. It was really good! I'm so glad that I found out about that as another dinner option.
After dinner we walked over to the theater to see what show was playing, but there weren't a ton of seats and it didn't really catch our eyes so we didn't stay. Instead, we walked up to the helipad to see the stars. It was beautiful! That was probably one of my favorite moments of the whole cruise because it was a reminder of how huge the universe is. Feeling so small really put my worries into perspective and made me realize not to sweat the small stuff.
Once we were done stargazing we ended up going into the wine bar and playing some more Phase 10. I kind of liked playing there because we were right off the Promenade and we could do some people watching while playing cards. There was also music and it was a bit cooler there as opposed to the library which could get stuffy at times. We played cards until 11pm when Mark won our fourth game of the trip.
The others went to bed and I wandered back up to the helipad to see the stars again. It wasn't as serene this time around because there were some rowdy people up there, which kind of ruined the moment. So instead I went back to my room and hung out on the balcony for a little while before going to bed at about midnight.
So that's it for our last day in port for this cruise! I'll have one or two more posts for our sea days and my return to Denver...
On Wednesday we were scheduled to arrive at St. Kitts in the morning. We met for breakfast at 8 in the buffet and then went out on the helipad to watch the ship arrive at the dock. I had an excursion scheduled to leave at 10:45 so I headed off the ship and walked around the pier area until it was time to line up. The excursion I chose was called Scenes of St. Kitts and it was a driving tour of the island. Our driver's name was Winston and he told us lots of interesting information about St. Kitts as we drove around. We had three stops on the tour: FairView Great House, Romney Manor, and a hilltop view of the island where you can see the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean at the same time.
The tour was done at about 1pm so I decided to walk around the pier area, which is basically just a bunch of jewelry stores. I went into a few stores and ended up buying two pieces of jewelry, a ring and a necklace, both made of aquamarine and diamonds. I had been looking for aquamarine jewelry for about five years and had never found something I fell in love with, so I was happy to find two pieces that were exactly what I was looking for.
By the time I was done shopping I was ready for a shower. Once I was cleaned off I felt like a new person! I got dressed for dinner and met everyone in the dining room. We sat in the same section with our favorite waitstaff. I had the stuffed shells, which was probably the best entree I had the whole trip. When we were done eating we went up to the library to play some Phase 10 before the Elton John tribute show. I skipped the show and went to the casino, where I lost more money. This was by far the worst I've ever done gambling on a ship, so at that point I decided to just stop wasting my money and stay away from the casino!
Once the guys were done watching the Elton John show I grabbed an espresso martini (which was good, but not worth the $15) and grabbed a table in the library for more Phase 10. We finished our game by 10pm and I won my second game in a row! At that point the others headed to bed, but thanks to my espresso martini I was nowhere ready for bed! I put on my bathing suit and headed up to the hot tub. I relaxed for a while in the Solarium and then went back to my room to hang out on my balcony. I could hear the music from the pool deck, so lounging on my balcony with a glass of wine was a nice way to end the night. I went to bed at 11:30.
Stay tuned for day 7, our last port day of the trip!
Sorry for the delay in posts! I've been busy with work events and didn't have time to write until now. Let's continue...
On Tuesday we were in port in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We weren't supposed to arrive until 2pm so we had all morning to hang out on the ship and relax. By this point we had started a routine of meeting each other for breakfast in the buffet at 8am. After eating breakfast we decided to play Phase 10 because we knew we had quite a while before we had to be ready to get off the ship.
After playing cards for a while Marisa and I decided to go get lunch at the buffet. We were surprised when we walked past the windows and we saw that we were pulling into port already. We were both really bummed out that we didn't have our cameras because we went right past one of the fortresses on our way in. It would have made a really cool picture and it was too late to do anything about it. I went back to my room to get my stuff ready and heard the announcement that we had arrived early due to a medical emergency. So obviously that was more important than getting a good picture.
Later when I was on my balcony I saw two ambulances on the pier and saw a younger looking girl who didn't look too sick getting loaded up but then also an older gentleman who look to be in pretty bad condition was put into the second ambulance. It was sad because you could see that his wife was really upset and they were also traveling with family who also got off the ship that day. I definitely sent up a prayer hoping that everything would be okay for them.
Now that we were in port I went up to the top deck to get some pictures of Old San Juan. While I was up there I got some pictures of the sports deck and pool deck as well.
My excursion was due to meet at 2:30, so I got my stuff together, slathered on a ton of sunscreen, and headed down to the ice rink where we were supposed to meet with our group. The excursion I had chosen for San Juan was a walking tour of the 17th century fortresses in Old San Juan. The fortresses are pretty close to the port but they still loaded us into a small bus and drove us the 10 or 15 minutes it took to get to the first fortress which was Castillo San Cristóbal. Our guide did a great job telling us the history of the fortress and pointing out interesting facts and features.
After about an hour looking around the first fortress, we hopped on the bus for another 20 minutes and headed to the second fortress, which was called El Morro. I think this one was my favorite one of the two because I really liked that it had really amazing views of the water and it also had a really cool looking lighthouse at the top.
When we arrived our tour guide and explained that there are six levels to that fortress and that we had come in on level five. We had the option of either going with him and exploring the bottom four levels which he explained would involve climbing about 200 steps on the way back up or we could explore levels five and six on our own and take pictures of the scenery around the fortress. I decided that not only were my feet too sore to do all of the steps but that I also wanted the time to take pictures of the amazing water views from the top level. So I went off and did my own thing for about 45 minutes.
The guide gathered us up when it was time to leave the fortress and walked us through Old San Juan, continuing to point out interesting buildings and telling us some more history. When we were in the middle of Old San Juan he gave us another choice, which was whether we wanted to go off on our own and do some shopping and head back to the ship on our own time or follow him all the way back to the ship. I had booked an appointment at the spa at 6:30 so I decided that I needed to get back in time so I could take a shower before I went for my massage.
By the time I got back to my room I was hot and sweaty and ready for a shower. So I cleaned up and then headed up to the spa. They had a deal where you could get an hour and 15 minute neck and shoulder massage, scalp massage, facial, and foot & ankle massage, all for $120. I decided it was a great deal and a great way to relax so I signed up for it that morning. I arrived at the spa and there was a little bit of confusion about the time they had in their system for me, but they were ultimately able to get me in to see someone. The whole experience was really relaxing and I did enjoy it a lot. It felt like a great way to pamper myself on such a great trip.
Because Mark and Marisa had an excursion they got back pretty late and we knew that we wouldn't be able to all eat in the dining room like we usually had been doing this trip. So we decided we would meet at the Windjammer buffet for dinner. This was my first time having dinner at the buffet and it was pretty good. I had heard good things about it being nice and quiet and relaxed, which is quite the contrast to how busy and somewhat crazy it can be for breakfast and lunch.
After we ate dinner we headed straight to the theater in order to see a ballroom dancing show. The guys weren't really interested in seeing it so Marisa and I went and watched it. I thought they did a really good job and I really liked a lot of the music and of course the costumes were a lot of fun to see as well. By the time the show got out we were ready to meet back up with the guys and set up to play some more Phase 10. We played for quite a while and I don't think I got to bed until about 12:30am. The next day we would be in St. Kitts, arriving at around 10:30, so we didn't have a super early morning to worry about. This was actually the first day that I didn't go to the casino at all, which was actually okay because I wasn't winning anything anyway and wasn't really loving many of the machines either. When I got back to my room I had a towel friend waiting for me.
So that's all for the fifth day of the trip. I can't believe we're only halfway through! There's still so much for me to write about!! Stay tuned and hopefully I can get day 6 posted tomorrow.
On Monday we were scheduled to arrive in Labadee, Haiti, which is a private part of the island you can only get to by cruise ship. As was becoming my routine, I woke up that morning in time to see sunrise. We hadn't quite gotten to land yet, so it was another beautiful sunrise over the ocean. Because I woke up early I had time to go get a coffee from the cafe and also take some pictures of the deserted Promenade.
The ship arrived at about 7am but we had decided the night before that we would take our time and not rush to get to the beach right away. We met for breakfast at 8am and then grabbed our beach stuff to get off the ship. I had already scoped out the map of the island and new exactly which was the best beach to go to. The island is not very big, so it didn't take us very long to get to Columbus Cove. The attendant grabbed four lounge chairs for us and got them situated so that one of them was in the shade for me. We got in the water right away and it was heavenly. It was so blue and so refreshing and it honestly felt like we were in paradise.
For some reason I have a hard time relaxing on trips and can't sit still for very long. So I broke up my time on the beach by listening to an audio book and also listening to music. When I got too hot I would go hang out in the water and then go get a fruity drink from the bar. It was a good way to break up my time and it let me do a bit of relaxing without getting too bored by staying in one place too long.
After a couple of hours we went and ate the buffet lunch they were serving. Then we went to the souvenir shop and I found all kinds of fun stuff to take home. By that point I was pretty much ready to go back to the ship and we only had about an hour left before we had to be back onboard. So I took my time walking back to the ship, got one last frozen drink for the walk, and took some pretty pictures along the way.
Once I got back on the ship the first thing I wanted to do was to take a shower to wash off the sweat, sea water, and sunblock that was all over me by that point. I felt like a new woman after getting all cleaned up and then I was ready to meet up with everyone for some more Phase 10. We played until it was time for dinner and then we went and sat in our favorite section with the waitstaff we had enjoyed so much the night before.
One of the tricky things about being a vegetarian on a cruise is that there aren't a ton of options at dinner. There's one pasta dish that's available every single night and then one option that changes every night. On this night I wasn't too excited about the eggplant parmesan choice on the menu so I asked if they had a vegetarian Indian option for that night. They said they did and I decided to give that a try. I'm glad I did because it was really good!
Once dinner was over we thought we'd try to play a game of mini golf. We went up to the top deck but it was way too windy to play, so we ended up grabbing the cards and played some more Phase 10. We got wrapped up in our game and didn't go to the theater in time to get good seats for that night's show. The others decided to stand at the back of the theater and watch the show but my feet hurt too much to be able to do that, so I decided to call it an early night and go to bed early. I had been waking up early every morning so I definitely needed a chance to catch up on my sleep. I was in bed by 10pm and was out like a light.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post to read about how I spent the day in San Juan, Puerto Rico!
I woke up early on Sunday and was able to watch the sunrise from my balcony. I don't know what it is about sunrise and sunset, but for me they feel like magical moments. So that's one of the main reasons why I love getting balconies when I'm on a cruise. After taking a bunch of pictures I decided to go down to the café and get some coffee. I had ordered room service breakfast but it wasn't scheduled for another hour so I knew I had time to go get something to drink.
I don't think I mentioned it yet, but I decided to get a drink package on this trip. Royal Caribbean has an option for a Royal Replenish package which includes soda, coffee drinks, bottled water, and virgin frozen drinks. I got this one knowing how much water I would be drinking plus I do love the virgin frozen drinks, especially by the pool. And of course, I like getting Starbucks in the morning. I also like knowing I don't have to pay for my drinks one by one. Did I mention it's unlimited?
So after getting my coffee I went back to my cabin and my room service showed up not long afterward. I ate breakfast out on my balcony, which is another reason I love getting balconies on cruises. I also saw something I've never seen before, which was a water spout.
Once I was done eating I showered and got dressed and then went down to the casino to play for a little while. I had a meet and mingle scheduled at 11 with the Cruise Critic group. We had over 100 people there, which was impressive, however it also lowered my chances of getting a raffle prize. Sure enough I didn't win anything!
After the meet and mingle I was supposed to meet my friends for lunch but suddenly I wasn't feeling very well. My stomach was kind of upset and I was really tired from not getting much sleep the night before, so I decided to go back to my room and lay down for a short while. Once I was able to get a nap I felt much better so I went and met my friends in a nice quiet spot on the deck. For some reason on a cruise, even though it's supposed to be relaxing, I just can never sit still. I think it's because I know there are so many things I could be doing that sitting around is impossible for me. So I sat there for all of five minutes before I got up and decided to go back to the casino.
After a while I decided I was done gambling for the moment so I rounded up my friends and we decided to go see a seminar in luxury watches. After the seminar we decided to go play bingo. I realize how dorky this sounds, but I was most excited about having a dauber for my bingo cards. We were close on a couple of games but ultimately none of us won anything, which is a bummer because the cash prices were actually really good.
We still had some time before dinner so I went to the Next Cruise desk and actually booked two more cruises. They had a really great deal where you only pay a $100 deposit and they give you a $100 onboard credit on your account for the cruise you are currently on. Plus I got entered twice into a drawing for $300 on this cruise. So the plan is that I will go on a shorter cruise this fall and then I'll go on another cruise at the beginning of next year. I'll probably do both alone unless someone wants to come with me...hint, hint!
Right after I finished booking the cruises I went to the library to meet my friends to play Phase 10. We played until it was time to go get ready for dinner, which was also our first formal night. I got ready fairly quickly so I had some time to go to the casino before we met for dinner. My favorite game was called Cougarlicious, as in older women who prey on younger men. It was as cheesy as you would imagine!
I met with everyone for dinner and we sat at a new table. We really liked our waitstaff so we decided that we would like to eat with them for the rest of the trip. When we were done with dinner we went and got seats for the evening show, but we didn't really love it so we left after about 15 minutes. After leaving the show we played some Phase 10. I made it to bed at about 11:30.
That's all for today! Check back tomorrow for another day of my trip!
On the morning our cruise started I had some confusion with the time because my Fitbit was still on Denver time. So I thought I woke up at 4am when really it was 6am. When I realized it was later than I thought I decided to just get up because I was too excited to sleep any longer.
My shuttle wasn't scheduled until 11:30 that morning so I knew I had quite a bit of time before I had to be ready. I spent some time writing notes about the day before and also took some time to get my suitcase and backpack situated for getting on the ship. I also ran to the Walgreens next door and picked up a few last minute things and grabbed a couple of small snacks from the breakfast buffet to take up to my room. Another important order of business was to walk to the nearby Publix and get my two bottles of wine that I could bring onto the ship with me.
By the time I got back from the store I decided to check the flight status for my friends and realize that they were going to be about 20 minutes early. I decided that I would pack up and go down to the lobby to see if I could catch an earlier shuttle to the port. They did end up having room for me, so I was on my way sooner than I expected. No complaints here!
I got to the port at around 11am and met up with one of my friends, Todd, who was already there. Our other friends, Marisa and Mark, were on their way from the airport so we waited for them to arrive. Once they got to the port we were able to breeze through the security line because I am in Royal Caribbean's platinum loyalty program and they let everyone else come through with me. We still had a little bit of a line for check-in but nothing as bad as the last cruise we went on two years ago, which was absolute chaos. This was absolutely a pleasure in comparison!
We were on the ship by 1pm and walked around for a little bit before we went and got lunch at the buffet. A lot of people say that the first day at the buffet is crazy and hectic, but it didn't seem that bad to me. Maybe it's better when you know what to expect. After lunch we explore the ship a little bit more and then I decided to go back to my cabin to unpack before the muster drill. My suitcase wasn't there when I got back to the cabin, but it showed up just a few minutes later so I didn't have to wait too long.
By the time I was done unpacking it was time to go to the safety drill so we did that and then the ship started moving almost immediately. We had already decided to do sail away from my balcony so we met in my cabin after the drill and drank some champagne to celebrate the start of our trip.
By that point I was ready for a quick shower so I got cleaned up and dressed before dinner. I had some extra time before I was supposed to meet my friends for dinner so I checked out the casino for a little while. I did notice that even though they have a lot of machines in the casino I didn't see a lot that I really wanted to play. I was a little disappointed by the lack of variety but decided maybe it was a good thing that I wouldn't be spending as much time in the casino (or as much money).
On our last cruise we did traditional dining which means you can either choose from an early or late dining time. On this cruise we decided to do My Time Dining, which basically means you can show up without a reservation and get seated wherever you like. They do recommend that you make reservations and then that way you don't have to wait in a long line each night. We decided to choose 7:30 is our dining time and they were able to get us a table for four. Dinner was just as good as always.
We had some time after dinner so we walked through some of the shops on the promenade and also listened in on a piano sing-along in one of the bars. They had an adult comedy show at 10:15 that we went to and sat in the balcony. I thought the show was pretty good and it definitely ended on a really funny set of jokes. I was crying from laughing at the end, which is always a good sign!
After the comedy show I decided to try out the casino a little longer and decided that my original assessment was still the same. I still didn't see a ton of machines that I wanted to play. I headed up to my room and spent some time on my balcony before I went to bed at around midnight.
So that's everything for day 2 of the trip! Tomorrow we'll be spending time on the ship on our first full day at sea.
My name is Beth and I live in Denver. I am a single lady in my 30's and wanted to start sharing my awesome and amazing life through a blog.