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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

[Day 4] - Harmony of the Seas - Pool Day & Wonderland Dining Experience

On Day 4, Harmony of the Seas was headed Costa Maya, and the Shinglebells had no plans to get off the ship!

Our port arrival time was 11 AM, which is pretty late. Originally, had we stuck to the planned itinerary of Day 2 Coco Cay, Day 3 At Sea, we would have still been sailing down from the Bahamas to Mexico. However, since we swapped Day 3 with Cozumel, we were already in Mexico! So we were just putt-putting along, waiting until time to dock.

Rachel and I ran three miles around the track on Deck 5. She's training for the NYC Half Marathon in March. After, we went to the gym - which was nearly empty! - and did some squats, lunges and abs. There were hardly any people in the gym that morning, so we had our choice of weights and no wait for machines.

We were about to leave the gym when we noticed that we were pulling into port! And what do you know - the Carnival Glory!!!

Just a week prior, the Carnival Glory had gotten into an accident in Cozumel, colliding with the Carnival Legend and barely escaping collision with the Oasis of the Seas. The Carnival Glory had the most damage to the dining room area of the ship. Check out this makeshift patch job. Looks like the welded on some sheet metal, but there's also still plastic on the angular parts, so I'm curious about what's going on in there.

Carnival Glory

Carnival Glory

Yikes! I wonder when they'll really be able to repair the damage.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

[Day 3] Harmony of the Seas - Cozumel

On Day 3, we arrived in port, and I stepped out on the balcony to see an old friend of mine...

Disney Fantasy

It's the Disney Fantasy!!

Disney Fantasy

Disney Fantasy

Balcony cleaning...

Disney Fantasy

Now on our original itinerary, the Harmony of the Seas was scheduled to be at sea today. However, due to stormy weather in the Bahamas, we skipped Perfect Day CocoCay and sailed south to Cozumel. This was unplanned Cozumel day for which Rachel made last-minute reservations for Mr. Sancho's.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

[Day 2] Harmony of the Seas - At Sea

For our first day at sea, we were not expecting good weather. We weren't banking on spending the day by the pool, but we were okay with that because we knew they were sailing us south to better weather.

At Sea

At Sea

I went to the gym that morning, and Rachel went to run the track. The gym was located on Deck 6 forward, conveniently very near our stateroom. The track was located down on Deck 5. Rachel is training for the NYC Half Marathon in March, so she had to run this week. I preferred to lift weights in the gym. It was pretty crowded in the gym, as expected for the first sea day on the cruise. I knew this would be the most people I'd ever see in here because we were all stuck on the ship, and at the beginning of the cruise, people are pretty ambitious about their workout schedules... this will drop off. But there were no towels, and they weren't replaced the entire time I was there, so I was just dripping sweat on the floor. Sorry.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

[Day 1] Harmony of the Seas - Embarkation

All aboard!! Hello, and welcome to my trip report for the Shinglebells' 11th Annual Christmas Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas!

Back in 2009, my family (the Shingletons - but during the holiday season we refer to ourselves as the Shinglebells.... as in Shinglebells Shinglebells, Shingle all the wayyyyyy!) decided to set sail on a cruise over Christmas, and it's been a holiday tradition ever since. We've sailed the Caribbean - Eastern, Western, and Southern, as well as the Panama Canal (one partial transit from Florida, and one complete transit from Los Angeles to Florida). Often, we'll choose our cruise based on the ports of call and where we would like to travel. However, due to work schedules, we were limited to a 7-day cruise, which meant that most ports of call on the itineraries would be places we've visited many times before. So rather than choosing our cruise based on ports of call, we decided to choose based on a ship we wanted to explore.

Pool Deck

Are you new here? Need a refresher? Meet the "cast" of the Shinglebells -

Me/Victoria - I'm 28 years old and live in Los Angeles. I'm currently pursuing my license in architecture. I've also been sticking a camera in everyone's face to document and meticulously share our family vacations for over a decade.
Sister/Rachel - She's 26 years old and lives in Atlanta. She works in construction as an assistant project manager for a general contracting company. Rachel is the planner for our cruise vacations. She reads cruise blogs, reviews, and Cruise Critic!
Mom/Sharon a.k.a. Judy (it's her personality, she's a Judy... you'll see) - Not sure if she'd want me to say her age, but sorry, Judes, we're doing this for everyone.... 58 years old and lives in Anderson, South Carolina. A Judy is prepared for everything. Got a problem? A Judy will solve it.
Dad/Boyd a.k.a. Stove (his personality name... you'll get it) - He's 65 years old, living his best life with my mom in South Carolina. He was retired this time last year, but now he's back to consulting because a Stove doesn't slow down. You'll see him on the waterslides, zipline, and even the Flow Rider.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

[Day 7] Disney Wonder - At Sea

For our final sea day, we knew to expect gloomy weather. No swimsuits for us - it would be a mostly indoor day!

At Sea

We started the day with another brunch in Triton's. I really appreciate the menu here. They had steak!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

[Day 6] Disney Wonder - At Sea

Today was a full day at sea. Aaron and I started the day with brunch in Triton's.

At Sea

We braved breakfast in Cabana's once the entire cruise (when we just missed the cut-off for seating in the dining room), and Aaron was horrified - he said never again (guess I spoiled him by taking him straight to the dining room every day - the buffet is the madness I grew up with on cruises)! Seriously, Cabana's in the morning (well, anytime really) is complete chaos - screaming children, clanking dishes, a fight for tables. Aaron and I ate almost exclusively in the dining room the entire cruise. The Sea Day brunch offerings are nice because in addition to breakfast dishes, they offer steak, soups, pastas... very good selection!

Disney Wonder

Thursday, December 12, 2019

[Day 5] Disney Wonder - Puerto Vallarta & Pirate Night!

On Day 5, we arrived at Puerto Vallarta.  Puerto Vallarta is a port I'm familiar with because whenever we sail on Princess Cruise Lines, Rachel and I watch The Love Boat in our stateroom on repeat.  And in The Love Boat, they're always sailing to Puerto Vallarta.  I was excited to finally visit the Love Boat-hyped port.

Aaron had visited Puerto Vallarta once before on family vacation back in 2012.  It was a land vacation, and he remembered some very important details.  He was able to point out the hotel they had stayed in.  And, from the moment he found out we were going to Puerto Vallarta, he told me, "There's this really awesome restaurant called The Pancake House, and we have to eat there."

I know what you're thinking because it's probably what I was thinking - The Pancake House?  Pancakes?  In Mexico?  Why??  However, Aaron raved about it, and kept bringing it up - so much so that he convinced me it was important.  And I told him to forget about any other excursions in Puerto Vallarta (he really wanted to go to Marietas Islands Hidden Beach, but I was worried that we didn't have enough time, and it would be too complicated to figure out ourselves without a touring company).  We were there with a goal to accomplish one thing - dine at The Pancake House.

Disney Wonder

Disney Wonder in Puerto Vallarta

Grey skies when we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, but it was very hot!  The ship docks in a nice grassy area across the street from a Walmart and Sam's Club - I bet it's a hotspot for crew members to stock up on essentials.