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dr martini

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  1. Like
    dr martini reacted to twangster in Serenade 3/30/18 10 night Eastern Caribbean   
    Day 4 - St Thomas
    There is no easy way to put this, this post will be photo intensive.  Sorry @Matt, in the immortal words of Roy Sheider's character in Jaws... "We're going to need a bigger boat".
    I met with a friend and former co-worker before the excursion.  He reports the majority of residents on St Thomas have power back but other luxuries like cable TV are still a work in progress.  Residents on St John are still getting there.  Many areas have power but more remote areas are still without.  Despite that people are settling back into a routine.
    My excursion today - St John's "All Inclusive" Beach & Snorkel
    To clear up a commonly heard misconception, all inclusive refers to ferry + taxi + park admission + snorkel gear.  Nothing else.  No water, food or anything else. 
    A few pictures around Crown Bay to start us off:




    Our greeting committee:




    Our chariot (ferry) to St Johns.


    We cruised along the Southern coast of St Thomas and from a distance much looked normal but you could see many of these coastal buildings took it hard during the storm and they are a work in progress.

    Twenty fives minutes later we approached Cruz Bay in St Johns.






    We loaded into our taxi's to begin our way to Trunk Bay.






    Our first glimpse at Trunk Bay.

    After a 15 minute drive we arrived at the Virgin Islands National Park - Trunk Bay.

    Restrooms and showers faired well during the storm:


    Some things like the concessions are not open yet.

    Chairs are available for rent.

    Snorkel gear included in the excursion was available near the beach.
    There is a snorkel trail underwater.


    The beach is gorgeous with sugar like sand.



    The snorkel course is to the left of the island with marker buoys in the water.  I set my stuff in the sand and donned my snorkel gear.
    Lots of Sea Urchins.  You do not want to step on one.

    If you look closely you'll see lots of minnows.












    This complete and about an hour later we boarded our taxi.  Our driver stopped at several viewing spots so we could take pictures.  That's the British Virgin Isles in the distance.

    Jumbie Beach

    This is the Caneel Bay Resort.  Like most hotels it's closed pending restoration.  

    Back on our ferry and heading to St Thomas they offered beer for $5 (brewed in Portland, ME).  

    I managed to talk to a few locals this trip.  Most hotels remains closed with no word when they might reopen.  Building material and labor are hard to come by to fix them.  While some hotels have opened, tourism is swayed towards cruise ships at the moment.
    While island life is settling into a new normal, the storm's effects continue.  For example, rain inundated many homes.  Appliances not physically damaged are beginning to rust and break down just now from water damage, even if minor at the time.  The storms that keep on giving.  Those that had the money built with concrete and faired better than those with older homes.  They didn't escape unscathed though, even the concrete began to saturate from the days of rain before, during and after both storms which amounted to weeks of rain.  The concrete in some cases withstood the wind but leaked water from saturation.  
    I was glad to make it over to St Johns and just as happy to see life moving forward.  It's a process but the tens of thousands of dollars each cruise ships brings are very welcome.  With hotels shut many are out of work but they very much appreciate each ship and the jobs that are created from the cruise industry.
  2. Like
    dr martini reacted to twangster in Test Cruise Invite   
    I'm thinking if anyone did get an invite, we'd know about it.  
  3. Haha
    dr martini reacted to Matt in Test Cruise Invite   
  4. Wow
    dr martini reacted to twangster in And there go the Crystal Blocks...   
    My spreadsheet uses a formula to write the word Block into a cell and then conditional formatting rules makes it appear or disappear.  My points column looks at cruise duration and depending on cabin type and date relative to the dates of the double points promo it automatically calculates the bonus multiplier.  
    When they extended the date of the double points promo i just corrected one cell and all my new blocks updated. It also colors my points background to match the CAS color at each level. 
    If I insert or remove a cruise it recalculates the block projection automatically. 
       
    I also note the deposit type and if I applied an FCC so I know to be careful with that booking.

    It also calculates the price per night and price per C&A point then applies a color background based on fixed price ranges.  The greener it is the better the deal it is.

     
    I may have a problem.  
  5. Like
    dr martini got a reaction from LovetoCruise87 in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Voyager of the seas in March 2002, western Caribbean as a high schooler.  it was spring break while she was the largest ship in the world at the time and we stayed in promenade view interiors, just loved absolutely everything about it.  what a rush.  my grandparents had a thing for taking the aunts and uncles on the 'largest ship in the world' at the time, we heard stories as kids about a few trips they took on Sovereign of the seas and the great times had.  the grandkids were 'finally' included on the Grand Princess a couple years prior (first time us kids got included) and the same group did Explorer of the Seas a couple years after when she debuted and slightly edged voyager.  I still remember being absolutely blown away by the Royal Promenade, skating rink, sheer number of public spaces and dining/bar options and things to do.  it was a teenager's perspective of course, but i remember vividly all of the differences from the fancy, traditional Princess vibe and the fun bombastic Royal experience.  now i certainly can appreciate both and would try princess again in the right circumstances.
    I'm no psychologist but the experiences and memories aboard have to be wayyyyy up there in terms of why the Voyager class is still my favorite, the best balance of service, amenities and options with a solid connection to the ocean without the huge crowds and feeling like being stuck inside the mall of america that can happen on other ships.  Royal built themselves into what they are today with the Voyager/Freedom class. (in today's terms would we be calling the freedom class Voyager ultra?)
  6. Love
    dr martini got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Voyager of the seas in March 2002, western Caribbean as a high schooler.  it was spring break while she was the largest ship in the world at the time and we stayed in promenade view interiors, just loved absolutely everything about it.  what a rush.  my grandparents had a thing for taking the aunts and uncles on the 'largest ship in the world' at the time, we heard stories as kids about a few trips they took on Sovereign of the seas and the great times had.  the grandkids were 'finally' included on the Grand Princess a couple years prior (first time us kids got included) and the same group did Explorer of the Seas a couple years after when she debuted and slightly edged voyager.  I still remember being absolutely blown away by the Royal Promenade, skating rink, sheer number of public spaces and dining/bar options and things to do.  it was a teenager's perspective of course, but i remember vividly all of the differences from the fancy, traditional Princess vibe and the fun bombastic Royal experience.  now i certainly can appreciate both and would try princess again in the right circumstances.
    I'm no psychologist but the experiences and memories aboard have to be wayyyyy up there in terms of why the Voyager class is still my favorite, the best balance of service, amenities and options with a solid connection to the ocean without the huge crowds and feeling like being stuck inside the mall of america that can happen on other ships.  Royal built themselves into what they are today with the Voyager/Freedom class. (in today's terms would we be calling the freedom class Voyager ultra?)
  7. Like
    dr martini got a reaction from Zurc in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Voyager of the seas in March 2002, western Caribbean as a high schooler.  it was spring break while she was the largest ship in the world at the time and we stayed in promenade view interiors, just loved absolutely everything about it.  what a rush.  my grandparents had a thing for taking the aunts and uncles on the 'largest ship in the world' at the time, we heard stories as kids about a few trips they took on Sovereign of the seas and the great times had.  the grandkids were 'finally' included on the Grand Princess a couple years prior (first time us kids got included) and the same group did Explorer of the Seas a couple years after when she debuted and slightly edged voyager.  I still remember being absolutely blown away by the Royal Promenade, skating rink, sheer number of public spaces and dining/bar options and things to do.  it was a teenager's perspective of course, but i remember vividly all of the differences from the fancy, traditional Princess vibe and the fun bombastic Royal experience.  now i certainly can appreciate both and would try princess again in the right circumstances.
    I'm no psychologist but the experiences and memories aboard have to be wayyyyy up there in terms of why the Voyager class is still my favorite, the best balance of service, amenities and options with a solid connection to the ocean without the huge crowds and feeling like being stuck inside the mall of america that can happen on other ships.  Royal built themselves into what they are today with the Voyager/Freedom class. (in today's terms would we be calling the freedom class Voyager ultra?)
  8. Like
    dr martini reacted to griffinjam22 in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Freedom of the Seas in 2010 for our honeymoon. To this day, it’s still our favorite vacation ever taken. 
  9. Like
    dr martini reacted to 14Terry in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Explorer of the Seas 2007 out of Miami 😀.
  10. Like
    dr martini reacted to JRT in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Voyager of the Sea back in Jan. 2002
  11. Like
    dr martini reacted to WAAAYTOOO in YIPPEE !! Finally August 21, 2021 Symphony Opens for Booking   
    NOT QUITE YET...
    ....is this going to be a Live Blog.  I am NOT looking to set the new World Land Speed Record for starting the earliest Live Blog.  It will turn into a live blog MUCH later when we get closer to sail date.
    I just wanted to announce to the world that the long anticipated 8 night Symphony itinerary for 21 - 29 August 2021 has finally shown up on the website !!!! 
    I've been stalking this cruise for months.  They announced the itinerary - Labadee, Aruba and Curacao - months ago, but never opened it for booking until today.
    I quickly snagged one of the Deck 8 Aqua Theater Suites because I could not afford (or didn't want) any of the other Star Class rooms that were left.  Believe it or not, some of the SC rooms were already gone by the time I got there !!  The aft-facing Star Loft was there but I don't really want that one.  I have NO interest in that awful Ultimate Family thing and the Royal Loft is WAAAY out of my price range on this cruise (and so was the Ultimate Family thing, to be fair).
    So let the fun begin.  I BELIEVE that this will be the first Oasis class ship to go to Aruba and Curacao.  I could be wrong about that.  For sure it will be the first time Symphony has been there.  This will also be my first cruise on Symphony and I'm very excited. 3 ports in 8 days is my idea of heaven.
    Interest, anyone ?
  12. Like
    dr martini reacted to Zurc in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Adventure OTS, 2003, southern Caribbean out of San Juan.   What a wonderful first cruise! 
  13. Like
    dr martini reacted to Matt in First Royal Caribbean Ship You Went On   
    Explorer of the Seas from Cape Liberty
  14. Like
    dr martini reacted to twangster in Navigator Dry Dock   
    Nope, but presumably having shore power capabilities added to be compliant for California.  
    Will they give her a haircut so she can squeeze through the Panama Canal?  Don't know that either.
  15. Like
    dr martini reacted to twangster in Watching Mariner of the Seas leaving port   
    I had lunch at Grills yesterday.  That restaurant is right beside Royal's terminal in Port Canaveral.  
    They were bringing on batches of new crew.  The crew had the appearance of new crew arriving with their suitcases in tow.  If you have ever seen crew "sign on" at start of contract this is what I saw.   They came in waves of 30 - 40 at a time, then 20 or 30 minutes later another 30 - 40 would appear.  I have no idea how many batches arrived like this, I saw 3 batches of new crew board during my lunch.  
    So I am fairly confident she was in port to board new crew starting their contract.  They'll likely quarantine for two weeks and Mariner may pop into port again for another bunch of new crew in the coming weeks.
  16. Like
    dr martini reacted to HBCcruiser in What's one thing you will never do on a cruise?   
    I will never be a chair hog.  
  17. Like
    dr martini reacted to Vancity Cruiser in What's one thing you will never do on a cruise?   
    Attend an art auction or buy a watch
  18. Like
    dr martini reacted to twangster in St Thomas excursions   
    I'm not going to lie.  This sort of reporting bothers me.  
    I lived on St Thomas for a couple of years and while no where in the US is free of gun violence it is remarkably less so on St Thomas and San Juan compared to just about anywhere on the US mainland.  This is largely due to the much different laws that exist in the territories.  
    It is regrettable that a tourist had this occur on St Thomas.  I'm not saying it couldn't or didn't happen.  However to frame it like every tourist should be in fear on St. Thomas is worthy of something CNN or Fox News would report. Sensationalism at it's finest.
    Orlando has had 57 victims of gun violence in the first 5 months of 2021 with a total of 177 police investigated gun violence complaints.  I suppose no one should go to Disney because of the gun violence in Orlando right?
    There is no mistake that bad things happen to good people everywhere.  However to frame St. Thomas in this manner is so terribly inaccurate.   
  19. Like
    dr martini reacted to Heymarco in Oasis Ultra Class Ship   
  20. Like
    dr martini reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Adventure of the Seas June 12, 2021 ROLL CALL   
    OMG the drama.  Some people are so ignorant.  
  21. Like
    dr martini reacted to wordell1 in Royal Caribbean vs. Carnival   
    Rather than Coke vs Pepsi, I would say it's more like Target vs Walmart. They both have very similar products but attract noticeably different customers. 
  22. Like
    dr martini reacted to BrendaB in Adventure of the Seas June 19, 2021 ROLL CALL   
    I'm so excited to be able to post finally!  Hi everyone!  My husband John and I can't wait to meet everyone!  We've had so many cancellations, rebooks, and disappoitments that this is MUCH needed!
    I just got us all checked in with a 12pm-1230pm arrival time, now just to not so patiently wait.  My packing is mostly done and all reservations handled.  We'll be coming in noonish on 6/18 and staying at the Baha Mar.  I was thinking about getting a day pass at the Hilton as that's the assumed check in site but since we are down for a much earlier time than I thought, I may hold on that.
    I'm a planner and can't really be content til I have it all done, so I can't wait to have all the info to input in my spreadsheets.  As this is hubs and mine first trip sans kiddos in a really long time, I look forward to truly relaxing!
  23. Like
    dr martini got a reaction from JasonOasis in Living the Suite Life   
    it's just money, you can always make more of it!
  24. Wow
    dr martini got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in Living the Suite Life   
    it's just money, you can always make more of it!
  25. Like
    dr martini reacted to smokeybandit in Living the Suite Life   
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