Monday, March 20, 2017

Time to Return to the Caribbean

We had been tossing out the idea of heading back to the Royal in April since December.  

We knew that not being in the Caribbean in January (our usual destination) would be hard this year. Even though we loved Peru and the Mexican Riviera cruises we knew we missed our friends on the Royal.

So when we got home we researched costs and decided to jump on the Royal for it's last cruise in the Caribbean. Makes sense.  We were on her for her first Caribbean cruise this season, why not be on for her last Caribbean cruise of the season.

Of course with booking just over a month prior to sailing cabin selection was limited but we were able to select a great cabin forward on Aloha deck and teased a friend who will be on board that we will be lounging in their large cabin!

Prices were at the same price per day as what we paid last year so we are quite happy.  We considered an upsell that we were offered soon after booking but decided to pass as it was an obstructed view balcony on Emerald and they can be hit or miss and didn't want to take the chance.  Plus the added costs (even though minimal) would go far toward other costs.

We were excited to hear that our friends Bruce and Sharon will be on board as well.  We just missed them last fall when they got on as we got off.  

Sanja and Marty are still on board but are signing off the day we get on to attend a friend's wedding. However we have managed to coordinate a lunch the first day to catch up with them.

Bernie and I are quite excited to see so many dear friends on board, including Dylan and Ben who we travelled to Peru with.  

Our ports of call are Aruba, Bonaire, Dominica, Grenada, St. Thomas and Nassau.

Our plans are to hit the beach and snorkel in most of the ports.  No official tours are booked, but we have reserved a beach break in Nassau that the Princess Cruise Lover's group had booked.

Flights were higher than last year but not by too much and we were able to book flights to FLL two nights prior. Normally we go in the day before but we are both off work on the Friday so decided why not go in early.

We secured a hotel near Sawgrass thru who were fabulous with their customer service.  You see when I originally was looking for hotels the price was so good for a hotel in the Sawgrass area that was a 3 star.  So I said to Bernie lets take a chance and so accepted it and then when we saw what we got we both were very very concerned. Reviews were 98% bad (sure I take them with a grain of salt but when 98% are bad then I worry - plus even Hotwire's review system had past guests giving it a very very low score).

I quickly called Hotwire customer service and they offered to cancel the booking and credit my card as long as I rebooked with a different hotel.  Which we did gladly and moved up to a 3.5 star hotel category and was assigned the Sawgrass Grand Hotel.  Perfect and a big shout out to Hotwire for your assistance.

Yesterday I secured a hotel at the airport for the night before our very early flight.  I used points from my credit card and once again booked the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel.  We LOVE this hotel and after our stay there in January where we encountered a small incident they put on our file that our next stay we would get an upgrade to a Signature room.  So why not use it now.  This stay also helps us as we will stage the apartment so it is perfect and then head to the hotel.  If we waited till the morning of the flight it would be almost impossible to make the apartment look perfect before heading to a 6 am flight.  Hey I can come up with reasons for anything.

So stay tuned as we once again head out on another amazing adventure.  

Time for a Change

As many of you know we did something different this January.  We spent two weeks travelling around Peru and then went to LA where we joined the Ruby for 3 weeks. You can read about the cruise here.

The trip to Peru really was life changing.  I really can't explain it easily here how it affected us but it really made us examine our lives and what we want and how to attain it.   

After getting home and back to work and the usual grind of things we both felt uneasy, conflicted, it just did not feel right.  On the fourth day back we both agreed it was time to put into place what we really wanted.  

First step is to sell our condo that we have lived in for 14 years.  That day we contacted 3 agents and we interviewed and chose one within a few days.  Next the process of cleaning the place and getting it ready for showings started.  

Boy you don't realize what you accumulate.  We made numerous trips to the donation center.  We sold a lot of things, we gave away a lot of things.  

I started painting!  Every day after work and every hour of my days off were spent painting.  In all it took 2 full weeks to get the painting finished.

Our large (500 sqft) patio needed cleaning and plants cleaned up and thankfully I think Spring has sprung so it is looking great.

Market is hot here, especially condos and with the new skytrain we are at a perfect time to sell.  

Once it sells we will reassess and figure out what our next step is.  We have some ideas but will let whatever happens happen. 

We are both excited for our next chapter - stay tuned.