I can't believe my dream vacation is over. I planned this vacation for more than a year, checking prices and information frequently to build up my excitement. Now the vacation is over, and it is my turn to put my memories into words.
Jan. 10(Friday): Pre-Cruise stay. We flew from cold Boston to Miami a day early to ensure that no cancellation or delay would affect our cruise. We stayed at the Doubletree Biscayne Bay downtown. For a one-night stay, it was fine. The room was huge with a marina view, and I could see Navigator docked at the pier. We went to the Bayside Market for some shopping and dining. For the price I paid through Hotwire, $53, it was nice way to start a vacation.
Jan. 11: Embarkation. After breakfast, we grabbed a taxi to the pier, and got there around 10:30 a.m. Since the ship's passengers from the previous cruise were still disembarking, we had to wait about an hour. Once we got to an agent, it was very quick and we were in our cabin by noon. We grabbed lunch at Windjammer and started to check out the ship.
The Ship: Navigator is a beautiful ship. All the public areas, the Royal Promenade, from the dining room to the pool area, were tastefully done.
Our Cabin: 9690, an aft corner cabin. I made a reservation based on recommendations from fellow cruisers. And they were absolutely right. It felt very small after our huge hotel room, but as the day went by, we started to feel it was just right. All the space was used perfectly and everything was accommodating. What can I say about the balcony? It was wonderful -- the perfect place to have room service, take the sun without fighting over a chair on the pool deck, and to check out the views of each port. Although our cabin was smaller than the next one (9692) due to its triangular shape, it was very private. I asked my cabin attendant, Lisette, to bring us bathrobes and lounge chairs, which she brought us right away. There is a porthole window you can sit in because it is pretty deep. All in all, I loved this cabin!
Activities: We had a lifeboat drill at 4:30 p.m. Then we headed to our balcony for the sail-away. There was a Bon Voyage parade on the Promenade.
Dining: We were worried because we were assigned to a small table. I am happy to say it was a waste of time to worry. Our table-mates Kenny and Carole from Buffalo were the best companions we could ask for. They had a good sense of humor and kept us laughing all the time. Every day we had great conversations.
Jan. 12: At Sea. This was my Birthday. We enjoyed on-board activities today -- played mini-golf, spent time at the swimming pool, and played Scrabble at the Seven Hearts game room. There was an ice skating show, and it was phenomenal -- beautiful costumes and amazing talent! Since this was a formal night, we headed back to our room to change. Many people got in line to have a formal photo taken, and so did we. We had a great meal in the dining room with Kenny and Carole. While we were having dessert, an old lady behind our table had a birthday cake with a song by waiters. Then Carole asked me, "When is your birthday?" I said, "as a matter of fact, today!" So she bought me a shot in a red metallic glass from the bar waiter to celebrate my 30th. Sure enough, my husband asked our waiter to bring me a cake and I received one, too. It was a great way to mark my 30th.
Jan. 13: At Sea/San Juan. We basically had another sea day since we didn't arrive until 4 p.m. We have been to San Juan before, so we just strolled around old San Juan and went to El Morro. It was already dark, so we headed back to the ship and relaxed until dinner.
Jan. 4: St. Maarten. A beautiful day at a scenic port. Disney Magic, Golden Princess and Radiance were also there. We took a tour to Orient Beach with "Beach Rendezvouz." They provided us a comfortable transfer bus and reserved deck chair plus lunch at a restaurant. We had a choice of entrees and took the fish plate. But the fish was too dry and tasteless. A waitress changed our order to the chicken plate, which was very tasty. The beach was beautiful, with emerald green warm Caribbean water. We had a brief shower twice while at beach, but it didn't ruin our day. After that, we went to Phillipsburg to check some stores and saw "Everything Cool" beach. The water is much nicer at Orient Beach, but there was a fun atmosphere at Everything Cool. After a day on the beach we were so hungry and couldn't wait for dinner, so we decided to go to Johnny Rocket's. We ate and had a yummy milkshake and felt so sleepy at 7:30 p.m....Alas, we woke up at 11 p.m. and realized we had missed dinner.
Jan. 15: St. Thomas. Another day in paradise. Because we stopped at a non-U.S. port yesterday, everyone had to go through immigration at designated areas for U.S. citizens or non-US citizens. We had a BOB (Breathing Observation Bubble) excursion starting at 7:30 a.m., so we had a quick breakfast at our balcony and left at 7 a.m. for immigration. Not many people were there yet, so it only took three minutes to get our passports back. The BOB excursion was a good alternative for us since we usually snorkel or lie on the beach. It lets you move around underwater with a kind of individual motor scooter that has a breathing apparatus/helmet. You can easily operate it with a button and a handle at a maximum speed of 3 mph.
There were 30 of us on the boat for this excursion and it was divided into six groups. We were the last ones to use the BOBs, so we did snorkeling first for about an hour. There were so many staff divers and swimmers around us, we never felt unsafe. The view from my own BOB was amazing. The fish looked very tiny and right in front of me through the glass. We were underwater about 20 minutes and it was great. After the excursion, we headed back to ship for lunch and took a tram to Paradise Point for a beautiful view of the island. At dinner, we had a long conversation because we'd missed each other the day before. It was a wonderful day.
Jan. 16: At Sea. Now we are heading back to Miami. We sat on our balcony to take the sun for a while. Then we enjoyed some on-board activities and relaxed.
Jan. 17: Bahamas. We arrived at Nassau around noon. The temperature was pleasant, in the upper 70s, but chilly for swimming. The view enter to Nassau's harbor was beautiful from our aft balcony. We saw the lighthouse and Atlantis resort perfectly. We decided to go to check out the famous Atlantis resort on Paradise Island. We took a water taxi for $6 per person roundtrip. After we spend about two hours at the resort, we headed back to the Straw Market near the pier. We did some shopping there and returned back to ship for the last night's dinner. It was very sad to pack our suitcases.
Jan. 18: Debarkation. When I woke up at 7 a.m., we were already in the Port of Miami. We called Enterprise Rent a Car to pick us up at the pier, and drove to Key west. We checked in at the Hyatt Key West for two nights before heading back home. On Monday, we drove back to Miami Airport in about three hours. When we get back home in Boston, the temperature was freezing. Wish I could go back!
I hope your cruise vacation will bring you lots of wonderful memories as I had. You can check out some of our pictures at http://community.webshots.com/user/marinecruiser.