Saturday, April 13, 2019

[Day 7] Navigator of the Seas - Bonaire

Good morning, Bonaire!

Bonaire

Of the four ports we visited this cruise, Bonaire is the only port that none of us had visited before.

Bonaire

Rachel also picked out our excursion for this port - a Sail & Snorkel tour that we booked through Cruises Only.  Cruises Only is the Marriot Rewards (now Marriot Bonvoy) booking portal.  You get 6x rewards points when booking through them, and they offer excursions that are different from those offered through the cruise line.  We've booked excursions through Cruises Only many times, and what I like about them are that they typically have much smaller groups than those offered through the cruise line.  It's usually just our family of four and 1-2 other families.  It makes for a much more personalized experienced.  And they do guarantee that you'll make it back to the ship in time and reimburse you if for some reason the ship doesn't come into port (that happened to us last year in Jamaica).



Our excursion wasn't until noon, so it wasn't a super early start.  Rachel and I had to go up to the pool deck to exchange our towels since they won't exchange them in the room, so I brought my camera along to take some photos of Bonaire from the ship.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

A nice time for the pool!

Bonaire

Bonaire

I never played mini golf.  I usually don't.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Nerd time.  I love these photos where the ship blends in with the landscape.  It's like a convergence of two different grids.

Bonaire

Bonaire

So our instructions to meet our tour guide were to get off the ship, take a left, and find the Compass tours tent.  We were the first ones there and learned that we were waiting on a family of six.  And boy, did they take forever.  We stood there melting in the hot sun for nearly 20 minutes!

Bonaire

Bonaire

This was not our tour, but while we were standing around, I figured I'd take a photo of the island map so that you could get an idea of what other tours are offered.

Bonaire

Bonaire

When the other family finally arrived, the greeter at the tent walked us over to an open-air school bus.  It was a short drive to the Divi Flamingo Beach Resort.  There, the bus driver swapped our group with a group that had just finished up their tour.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Then we boarded our sailboat.  Lots of sailing this trip - I'm not complaining!

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Notice the dark, ominous cloud over the Navigator?  Yup, we sailed through some rain.  The other family ducked for cover in the back of the boat, but we stuck it out in the cold rain.  It wasn't the most pleasant experience, but opened up the front of the boat for us!

Bonaire

Bonaire

Our captain and first mate were great - they passed out local juice to try and several home-made snacks.  Really good - much better than ship food.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

I'd say it was about a 30-40 minute ride to the snorkel area.  When we got to the reef and started getting geared up, we were told that whatever we do, we can't touch the coral.  The other family started spraying on sunscreen and our guide quickly put a halt to that - the aerosol sunscreen is horrible for the reef.

Bonaire

Mom stayed on the boat  with the captain while everyone else went off to snorkel.  Snorkeling isn't something she enjoys, and she's very happy to be sitting on a boat in the sun.

Bonaire

I've had some bad cruise ship snorkeling experiences in the past - large groups where you keep getting kicked in the face, locations where you can't see anything, to just overall miserable salt water experiences.  This was not like that.

Really, I'm surprised to learn that I am a lot better at snorkeling.  I think it's because I got my SCUBA certification back in 2014.  Now, I would definitely need a refresher course before going SCUBA diving again, but the essential skills like breathing through my mouth instead of my nose and clearing my mask underwater stuck with me.  I guess it's kind of like riding a bike or skiing - it just comes back to you.  So I had a great time looking around.

Rachel and Dad were having some problem with mask fog.  The trouble with masks fogging up is that once it happens the first time, it keeps happening.  The trick is to not breath through your nose at all.  Just focus on breathing in and out of your mouth, and then it will soon become something you don't think about.  If you fog your mask and need to clear it, here's a video on how to do that in the water.

We saw a lot of different fish like the Blue Angelfish and even a Moray Eel.

After our snorkel adventure, we got back on the boat and were offered beers for our sail back.

Bonaire

Ignore my mess of hair - Rachel had given me a nice French braid that morning, but it got pretty wild during snorkeling.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Just call me Rachel's Instagram boyfriend.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

I took a photo of the sign which had other tours offered at this resort, just for reference.

Bonaire

Back on the bus!

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

Last time boarding the ship!!  Our next two days would be at sea.

Bonaire

Bonaire

Goodbye, Bonaire!

Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire

I really enjoyed Bonaire.  It is a beautiful port, and we had a great excursion.  I'd love to visit again in the future.

Bonaire

Bonaire

That evening, Rachel and I were in the Schooner Bar for some pre-dinner drinks when something crazy happened again - someone recognized me from my blog!  Now it's been too long, and I've forgotten the name, but he introduced himself to me and mentioned that he's read a lot of my Royal Caribbean trip reports and uses them for planning.  Made my night!

If you're ever on a cruise with me (or a Disney Park, or other travel location), don't be shy - introduce yourself!  I'd love to meet you!

Bonaire

Bonaire

Tonight we had a reservation at Giovanni's Table, the Italian specialty restaurant.  Dad remembered a few nights into the cruise that we had a credit for specialty dining from Cruises Only.  Rachel was upset because apparently he had mentioned this before, but when she brought it up to him, he said he didn't have a credit for specialty dining - only to later remember that he did.  Anyway, at this point Chops Grille, the steakhouse specialty restaurant which would have been our first choice, was booked for the entire cruise.  So we ended up with Giovanni's.  Neverless, we were looking forward to getting out of the dining room.

The quality of food was definitely an improvement from the dining room food.  However, there was a point in the evening when service got very slow.  Between appetizer and entree, we were left sitting there awhile with nothing.  I wonder what the hold-up was, but I can understand how things get off when it's not all being prepared at the same time as in the dining room.

My appetizer, Grigliatta di Polpo (grilled octopus) -

Bonaire

Insalata di Rucola -

Bonaire

Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola -

Bonaire

I think this was their pasta of the day because I'm not finding it on the menu -

Bonaire

Filetto di Manzo Rustico (filet mignon) -

Bonaire

And then not sure what this treat was -

Bonaire

Dinner lasted a very long time, but it was a step up in quality from the dining room.

1 comment:

  1. We are going on the Celebrity Summit this Xmas; We are also doing the ABC islands as well as St. Kitts; Besides, sail/snorkel, what else is there to do in Bonaire? BTW, just did an Alaska trip last July, and also did Giovannis table, and it looks like you ordered the exact same dishes as we did;
    I guess great minds ( and foodies) think alike

    ReplyDelete