2017 turned out to be quite the year of cruising for me. I sailed six times, on five different ships, and spent 21 days at sea. I am very blessed to be able to cruise so much. I would like to say thank you to my family for always being very lenient and understanding when it comes to this! Since I am done cruising for the year, I figured it would be a good time to recap and review each of my sailings.
Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas, February 2nd.
The year really started out with a bang. This was the heavily touted Super Bowl Group Cruise. I would be sailing with my brother Chris, Cruise Life Rick, and about 25 other friends from cruise related social media. We first met up with the group at Grills in Port Canaveral for breakfast the morning of sailing. The fun instantly began. Day one included the sail away party, Schooner bar antics, and dancing the night away. Day two was spent in Nassau. My brother and I had hopes of taking the Bahamian Queen booze cruise since we were in port until midnight. However, she never showed up to the pier. We instead spent time at Lukka Kairi and Senor Frogs. Night two was one of the most epic night time deck parties I have seen at sea. It was going strong past 3:00 AM. Needless to say, day three was off to a slow start. We would be spending the day at Coco Cay. I did not get off the ship until almost 1:00 PM. Most of the group was on the island much earlier. Night three capped off the trip with the Super Bowl pool side and Quest late night. I was hopeful to be going again on this group cruise in 2018 but at the moment it is looking like I’ll have to sit this one out.
Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas, March 13th.
This was one of the most interesting sailings of the year and it was my first time truly sailing solo. This was a full ship charter called Inception at Sea. It is a spring break music festival cruise of sorts. At 35 years old, this wouldn’t have been something I would normally go on, but when I was offered a comped cabin I couldn’t pass up the deal. It was a four day sailing leaving out of Miami and was slated to visit Nassau and Coco Cay. Although, due to sea conditions, we were not able to tender in Coco Cay and instead got an extra sea day. There was literally music being played by top name DJs around the clock. The party never truly stopped the entire trip. If you were able to catch some of my Facebook Live posts in Cruise Life Group you got a little taste of what this was like. I was certainly a little out of my element, especially sailing solo, but I still had a lot of fun.
Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas, April 8th.
Finally a trip to relax a little bit! My wife and I sailed on this five day itinerary out of Tampa, visiting Key West and Cozumel. Booking this one far in advance, we were able to snag a coveted aft facing balcony. I usually try to splurge a little more on the cabin itself when I am sailing with my wife, since we tend to relax more and spend more time in the cabin. Our first stop was Key West. Pre-cruise we had decided we were going to be doing the Key Lime Bike Tour. Some friends who sailed in warmer months warned us about how long and hot the tour was. However, it was April so we were hopeful it would be bearable. It turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. The weather was absolutely perfect that day, and the tour lasted about two and a half hours. The tour concludes with a slice of key lime pie that was amazing. My wife and I both really enjoyed it. For our second stop, Cozumel, we spent the day at Nachi Cocom. It is an all-inclusive beach break. It was a super relaxing day, spent mostly laying in loungers and enjoying the beach views. On board, our highlights included pool time, our huge balcony, and Izumi (Japanese specialty restaurant). This was a great trip for us to spend some time together and focus on us.
Carnival Liberty, August 17th.
If you have had the chance to read my Daddy/Daughter cruise blog post then you already know quite a bit about this trip. I sailed with my four year old daughter on a 3 day Nassau itinerary out of Port Canaveral. We spent one night pre-cruise in Port Canaveral and one night post-cruise at a Disney resort. We both had an absolute blast. Being able to share my passion for cruising with my daughter and the fact that the whole trip went so smoothly has put this as one of my favorites this year! I can certainly see more of these in our future.
Norwegian Sky, October 20th.
In the aftermath of hurricane season this year, there were some crazy deals out there if you could sail last minute. I spotted this sailing about 3 weeks out for $199 plus taxes. Keep in mind that the NCL Sky is open bar. With such an incredible deal I couldn’t pass it up. When I was having a hard time finding someone to go, my wife suggested that I ask her dad. And just like that I was headed to the Bahamas out of Miami with my father-in-law. He is very outgoing and loves to meet new people so he really was a great cruising buddy. I took a lot of photos this trip, something I always strive to do but tend to feel like I come up short. My father-in-law had no interest in getting off the ship in Nassau. I took this opportunity to do a video walking tour to Junkanoo beach since I was by myself. We unfortunately had our visit to Great Stirrup Cay cancelled due to unsafe tender conditions. These three day trips go by so quick, but the good news was that I’d be back on board the Sky in three more weeks!
Norwegian Sky, November 10th.
This sailing on the Sky was booked almost a year ago. It had become the ship of choice for our annual fall guys trip the last 3 years. She once again did not disappoint. The trip started out with one of the most participated and long lasting sail away parties I have ever seen. From that point on we knew it was going to be a great sailing. Day drinking and late nights equated to feeling like we needed a vacation from the vacation upon our return to Miami. We again missed our stop in Great Stirrup Cay just like three weeks prior. It certainly was not a good year for me in regards to missing private island stops. The Sky is really a great ship choice for the short weekend sailings. I am a little sad that she is not on my schedule for next year but maybe another last minute deal will come about.
Looking back at all the sailings and all the awesome people I got to spend time with at sea really makes me smile. I am so grateful for these opportunities. I will now be looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me. I have a pretty good line up so far, with the Disney Dream in January, the Carnival Fascination in April, the Norwegian Escape in July (Cruise Life Group Cruise), and the Norwegian Sun in November. Thanks for the memories 2017 and can’t wait to make even more in 2018! If you enjoyed following along, I please ask that you subscribe to my blog by submitting your email in the subscription box to the right (or below on mobile devices). Thanks!