Planning a [non-Disney] Cruise
For our 2nd anniversary, my husband and I are planning our 1st cruise together! It’s not a Disney cruise, but as much as I love Disney, everything I do isn’t actually Disney-related. 😉 We are sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas, their 2nd newest and 2nd largest ship. As you read this post, we are 43 days away from our trip and we’ve mostly gotten everything planned, so I’ll share what we’re doing and when.
A little background: We have both gone on cruises before, but neither of us has cruised as adults. We both went as teenagers with our families. I said back when I was 17 that I didn’t want to go on a cruise again until I could afford / justify the cost of having a balcony. So we absolutely have an ocean view balcony on this cruise!
On our 1st day, we fly into Ft. Lauderdale around 10:30 AM and sail away at 4:30 PM. we booked out flights through Royal Caribbean’s AIR2SEA service. It didn’t cost us anymore than booking our flights directly through the airline (even though they tell you that, I double-checked and it was true), and they guarantee they’ll get you to the first available port of call if your flights are delayed or canceled and prevent you from getting to the port on time before the ship sets sail. This was pretty important to me because I tend to be paranoid but flying down the Florida the day before the cruise just wasn’t practical (extra money on hotel for the night, plus flights the day prior were a lot pricier).
We sail the 1st evening and the next 2 full days; the 3rd day/2nd full day is our actual anniversary! We’re doing My Time Dining, which is flexible dining times in the ship’s main dining room, but we decided to splurge on one of the special restaurants, that isn’t included in your cruise pricing, for dinner on our anniversary.
We chose Chops Grille for our anniversary dinner and it looks really freaking amazing! It was tough to choose, but with only sample menus available, we wanted to make sure we chose one that had lots of things we liked, not just 1 item, in case that wasn’t what was available when we actually sailed. After dinner, we also plan to see the headliner show on board!
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
On day 4, we arrive in St. Maarten! This is the only 1 of the 3 ports of call we’ll visit where we are not planning an excursion. I have heard just hanging out on the beaches in St. Maarten is absolutely amazing. While I’m not a lay in the sun and get tan kind of person, I am all about laying on the beach in the shade of an umbrella with a book or just chit chatting with my husband, people watching, or just quietly taking in the sound of the waves and the salty air.
That evening, I’d like to be on deck to watch as we sail away from Philipsburg at 6 PM, so we planned a later dinner that night to allow us to do that.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Day 5 brings us to San Juan, where we’re planning to do a 2 1/2 hour tour of Old and New San Juan. Since I’ve never been, I’ll share the write-up from Royal’s site:
Fall in love with the beauty of Puerto Rico’s capital as you go through a guided tour on the historical landmarks in Old and New San Juan. In New San Juan, you’ll explore Condado, Isla Verde, and the picturesque residential areas. Step down the fabulous Window of the Seas where the famous Puerto Rican superstars have printed their signatures on the sidewalk resembling Hollywood Boulevard. In Old San Juan, you’ll discover the Capitol Building, the 5th Centenary Plaza, and have the opportunity to choose between visiting San Cristobal Fort or the colonial shopping district.
We’re really excited for this one! We want to relax and enjoy the cruise but we also love learning about the history of the world, especially places we get to visit.
We sail away from San Juan pretty early (2 PM) so we’re planning to see a short little show before dinner and the comedy show later that evening!
Day 6 brings us to our last stop and the 1 I’m probably most excited about. After booking the actual cruise and deciding to purchase the unlimited drink package, the very next thing we did was book the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line. It is the world’s longest zip line over water and reaches speeds up to 50 mph.
I am a bit of a thrill seeker and absolutely LOVE zip lines, so this was a must! After we booked, we sat down on the couch to check out some excursions and I was literally bouncing up and down in my seat as we watched the video below.
Then, the sad day comes where we get back to port and we have to go home. By then, I’m sure we’ll be ready, but I don’t even want to think about that part now.