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Royal just added a 6th port to our 7 night cruise?


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19 hours ago, renza said:

Nope the one that does the The southern Caribbean on freedom has always been five ports not six. I have been on it and scheduled again for June. We just got notified of the change to 6 ports today. 

 

We are doing the South Caribbean itinerary on Freedom in May.  It has 4 ports, not 5.  We are going to Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and St Maarten.

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We didn't luck out either, we are also 4 ports for Apr 5th- the A, B, C  islands and St Thomas- no St. Maarten add on and possibly the most expensive week of the year,  the ones before and after are seriously cheaper but I imagine that is when San Juan schools are on spring break- same as us.  It'll still be amazing.

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Oh wow thanks for posting this! Just prompted me to look at my cruise planner and our itinerary was just updated to add St. Maarten too. I have been eager to return to St. Maarten since our one and only visit in 2018. We have never done a southern itinerary before and I was already struggling to decide if we could forego a shore day to relax on the ship with the already packed itinerary, and now we have even more to consider!

 

How are we ever going to pick a day to take it easy on the ship with such a great itinerary of new experiences to choose from??? I could’t be more excited for this cruise! Now only 8 months to wait.....

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17 minutes ago, bobmacliberty said:

Do the 6 port itineraries have 2 stops in CocaCay and/or Labadee?  Wonder if they are really replacing sea days with more Royal private island stops.  They may still do other port stops to keep those ports happy.

 

No this Southern itinerary doesn’t have any private stops. It departs San Juan then goes to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, and now St. Maarten. Talk about a packed itinerary!

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DH and I are on the May 24 sailing and St. Martin has been added!  We did not get an email yet. I'm not sure if e-mails have so far only been sent to people who had excursions booked, because to make this accommodation with st. Martin, they also switched the order and duration of stops in St. Lucia and Barbados.

 

We are excited about the added port, and for those who lobe St. Martin, we'd love some suggestions for activities. 

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May 10 sailing appears to have St Martin added also. I think I like this change. While staying on the ship is no substitute for a true sea day, I think we will pick a day and do just that. Of these port stops, which would you pick to stay on the ship and why?

 

St Thomas 

St Kitts

Antigua

Barbados

St Lucia

St Martin

 

St Lucia is a must see for us. So that one is a port day for sure. 

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1 hour ago, Dan83 said:

May 10 sailing appears to have St Martin added also. I think I like this change. While staying on the ship is no substitute for a true sea day, I think we will pick a day and do just that. Of these port stops, which would you pick to stay on the ship and why?

 

St Thomas 

St Kitts

Antigua

Barbados

St Lucia

St Martin

 

St Lucia is a must see for us. So that one is a port day for sure. 


I saw on FB that a May sailing had it added. It has not yet been for our January 2020 sailing if this itinerary, but I’m optimistic.  

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16 hours ago, Gatordad815 said:

 

No this Southern itinerary doesn’t have any private stops. It departs San Juan then goes to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, and now St. Maarten. Talk about a packed itinerary!

We would absolutely LOVE this addition to our cruise. Not only do we love St. Maarten, but we would much rather be exploring a different island every day than just sitting on the ship. 

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11 hours ago, Dan83 said:

May 10 sailing appears to have St Martin added also. I think I like this change. While staying on the ship is no substitute for a true sea day, I think we will pick a day and do just that. Of these port stops, which would you pick to stay on the ship and why?

 

St Thomas 

St Kitts

Antigua

Barbados

St Lucia

St Martin

 

St Lucia is a must see for us. So that one is a port day for sure. 

 

We are thinking of the same question, but having a hard time deciding! We haven’t done a Southern itinerary before, so we are excited to explore all these ports! 

 

My preliminary thinking on this (as a Floridian who can easily drive to Port Canaveral) is that St. Kitts may be the best day to stay on board. I say this because St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten are on other itineraries from Florida so we will likely see all of them again on a cruise where we can drive to the port. If we are making the effort to fly to San Juan, I definitely want to explore all the Southern Caribbean islands that aren’t included on Florida itineraries! And of those 3, St. Kitts isn’t known for beaches. Plus it’s Day 3, so it’s closer to the middle of the cruise. But honestly, I’m still eager to see St. Kitts since we haven’t been there before....

 

My other thought is to just let the weather and our moods decide. For St. Lucia I think we will book the Coastal Cruise to the Pitons ahead of time, but for all the other ports I’m thinking we will plan a “do it yourself” day which we could scrap if it’s rainy or we are just in the mood to chill at the pool on the ship with the kids.

 

I’m definitely interested in reading opinions on this question from others who have been to the Southern islands! 

Edited by Gatordad815
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On 2/21/2020 at 6:48 PM, T-2 said:

We didn't luck out either, we are also 4 ports for Apr 5th- the A, B, C  islands and St Thomas- no St. Maarten add on and possibly the most expensive week of the year,  the ones before and after are seriously cheaper but I imagine that is when San Juan schools are on spring break- same as us.  It'll still be amazing.


That's spring break week for much (virtually all, in fact!) of Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.  

You'll see a LOT of pasty white skin on that cruise -- we haven't seen much sun this winter, let alone swimsuit-temperature sunshine!

 

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5 ports is the normal for Southern cruises out of San Juan not going to the ABC islands. The islands are so close together is is easy for the ships to do it. On our cruise last week we just decided to make the St Kitts stop a Sea day in port.  It was actually much nicer than a regular sea day because there were no pool crowds.  

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How true this is I don't know, but someone once told me that St Maarten is their 'go to' choice for fuel! Maybe they're planning ahead/getting a better price? - It does sound a little far fetched, but it may explain the extra stop?

The Oasis class ships that rotate through the Med before/after their refits do 6 stops for every 7 night itinerary. 

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2 hours ago, ZiggaZagga17 said:

How true this is I don't know, but someone once told me that St Maarten is their 'go to' choice for fuel! Maybe they're planning ahead/getting a better price? - It does sound a little far fetched, but it may explain the extra stop?

The Oasis class ships that rotate through the Med before/after their refits do 6 stops for every 7 night itinerary. 

I remember hearing this at a Captain's talk onboard.  St. Maarten is where they refuel and restock.

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On 2/22/2020 at 9:32 AM, Dan83 said:

May 10 sailing appears to have St Martin added also. I think I like this change. While staying on the ship is no substitute for a true sea day, I think we will pick a day and do just that. Of these port stops, which would you pick to stay on the ship and why?

 

St Thomas 

St Kitts

Antigua

Barbados

St Lucia

St Martin

 

St Lucia is a must see for us. So that one is a port day for sure. 

 

I did that exact itinerary. I thought it would be too many ports, but it wasn't. Probably one of my favorite vacations ever.

 

I would have a hard time deciding which port to stay on the ship for if I had to pick. I don't necessarily agree about the advice on staying on for St Kitts. That island is absolutely gorgeous. I can't remember ever being as impressed by an island simply by driving through it. We didn't do much in Thomas as we made the haul over to St John. That is one of my favorite islands. Barbados was outstanding and isn't a common port. I would probably pick Antigua. The beach we went to there was solid though.

 

The problem is, these aren't exactly your everyday islands and they all have some great stuff to offer. I say  get off at all of them! You can always head back sooner if you don't care for it. You can't undo the choice to miss the island.

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I’m just happy I hadn’t booked my excursion to swim with the turtles on barbados.  When they added St. Maarten, they rearranged a few of the days so now Barbados is a Thursday port day instead of Friday.   Friday is my birthday so I was going to take my girls diving as my birthday gift to them.  Hope these changes don’t mess up others plans.  I am excited to see St. Maarten though.

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We just got an email forwarded today from our travel agent (who knows how long they had the email from RCI that they forwarded) notifying us of adding St. Maarten, switching the port days for Barbados and St. Lucia and cutting the time in St. Lucia by an hour and Barbados by 2 hours (arriving at 10 instead of 7). This is for a 6/21 cruise...I've had to contact our tour in St. Lucia to see if they can switch us to Friday.

 

We were already dealing with trying to decide if we were going to not do a port and add another 'sea day' so now we definitely will probably do that.  We enjoy sea days so now just need to figure out which island (other than Barbados & St. Lucia, those are must does) to cut....

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1 hour ago, palmettostatecruiser said:

...and cutting the time in St. Lucia by an hour and Barbados by 2 hours (arriving at 10 instead of 7).

 

We had a late scheduled arrival in Barbados last year (10:00 AM). Usually there are a few ships there and many tour operators schedule tours based on ships arriving 7 or 8 AM. Had to do a bit of searching to find a catamaran excursion that would wait for our late arrival.

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