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spiralqueen

Allure of the Seas May 12-19 Eastern Caribbean - First attempt at Live Blog!

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7 hours ago, Andrew72681 said:

Was thinking the exact same thing. I won’t order a crab cake anywhere else but home. Everything has to live up to the standard of G&M in Linthicum and not much comes close. 

OMG! G&M is our favorite when we’re in the Baltimore area! They have the best crab cakes! They’re on par with my grandmother’s. I’m starting to salivate. 🤪

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3 hours ago, Cindy Leslie said:

OMG! G&M is our favorite when we’re in the Baltimore area! They have the best crab cakes! They’re on par with my grandmother’s. I’m starting to salivate. 🤪

That’s so nice that you’re nice to your grandmother, but no one lives up to those ones 😛

anyone heading out on Grandeur better be sure to stop off there. Timbuktu about 10 minutes away is a very similar crab cake (they’re estranged family members) but is usually less busy. 

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Day 2 (cont): For lunch I decided to go with the roast beef sandwich from Park Cafe. I was curious what it was like on an Oasis class ship since I had tried it on Enchantment and was less than impressed. There it was a dry, tough, flavorless leather sandwich. Here it was a tender, flavorful, juicy delight of a sandwich. The other sandwich does not even deserve to be called the same thing. I also decided to eat out on the balcony since I had decided that today was Balcony Day 

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The vast majority of my afternoon was spent reading and dozing out on the lounger on our balcony. It was a perfect, lazy way to spend the day. And it came with the bonus discovery that some of the bars were starting to get strawberry mix back in stock. Not all of them, but Trellis had them and I was a happy camper. 

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Fast forward to dinner time. Coastal Kitchen again. We found out as we were being seated that the host was the one who went ahead and made the reservations for the rest of the week. I don’t know if he got clearance from his boss to allow JSs to book for the full week or what changed, but I know that we all agreed that he will be getting a nice tip from us at the end of the cruise. His actions have made a huge positive difference in this sailing for us. It was especially comforting to know that the reservations were not accidental and were actually meant for us. Our server tonight was not quite as good as Andrew last night and while the host thought he was doing us a favor by sitting us near a window, I think we may request to be put back in Andrew’s section for the rest of the nights. 

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I went with the lobster salad and the rib eye. Our waiter also brought out a surprise order of the pappardelle for the table to share which I tried out. 

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The lobster was quite good and the vanilla dressing was interesting and a better compliment than I was expecting. 

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The rib eye was just. Amazing. Possibly one of the steaks I have ever had and we go to well regarded steakhouses every year for restaurant week so this isn’t being compared to an Outback steak or something. It blew the Chops filet out of the water. Incredibly, melt in your mouth and slightly falling apart tender while bursting with flavor. And in case you can’t tell, there were 2 slices of meat on the plate. I basically ignored the sides so that I could focus on fitting as much of that steak in me as possible. The ratatouille was actually quite good and I’m not normally a huge veggie person. 

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The pasta wasn’t BAD, but it wasn’t great. I had things on my plate that were great so after one bite to try it, it sat pretty ignored. 

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For desert I got the chocolate bar. 

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It was like a moussey Milky Way bar. Quite nice. 

We then went back to the room to get changed out of formal gear so we could see the Ocean Aria. I somehow lost track of time since I had in mind that the show was 9pm instead of 8:30. Suddenly my mom mentions that we should probably head out as they say to be there 15 mins before show start. That’s when I realized my mistake and we booked it down to the Boardwalk. We made it to the theater about 5 mins before it opened up to everyone and found that it was PACKED. But never fear! The Key seating is here! We showed our newly stickered sea pass cards to the woman fiercely guarding 3 prime rows and she ushered us in with a smile. 

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This was a fun a short-ish show. , though it caused me a ton of anxiety for them. I know they are professionals but everything looks so dangerous!! After the show was over, my dad excused himself to go back to the room and my mom and I went down to the casino to try our luck. I’m not 100% sure if my mom even made it over to a machine since she discovered a Phillies game on at the casino bar and that they had plenty of the strawberry mix. Clearly utopia. I went to one of the roulette tables that had a free space and did quite well for myself. I’m not exactly a high roller, but I went in with $60 and walked away with $137 in the space of about 30-50 mins so I consider that worth it. My mom’s birthday hit 3 times in quick succession so that really helped me rack up some chips quite quickly. I cashed out as soon as I saw the dealer was about to change and that it coincided with my mom checking in on my status. Then it was time to turn in for the night! No clue what tomorrow brings, but probably more Solarium than today. 

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Oh and I forgot to mention, my parents are both in LOVE with Coastal Kitchen (as am I) and my mom has already requested I look into the pricing of a Junior Suite for our Jan 2021 cruise on Anthem. You know....the 11 night one. Just seriously considering upgrading from an interior to a junior suite. Like you do. This restaurant will be dangerous for our wallets! 

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8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

His actions have made a huge positive difference in this sailing for us.

So excited that he made it work for you!

8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

It blew the Chops filet out of the water.

CK rivals specialty!! 

8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

For desert I got the chocolate bar.

I love the chocolate bar!  I am so jealous!

8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Oh and I forgot to mention, my parents are both in LOVE with Coastal Kitchen (as am I) and my mom has already requested I look into the pricing of a Junior Suite for our Jan 2021 cruise on Anthem. You know....the 11 night one. Just seriously considering upgrading from an interior to a junior suite. Like you do. This restaurant will be dangerous for our wallets! 

Yes!  Another one for #teamCK!  See that @Matt😉

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8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Our server tonight was not quite as good as Andrew last night and while the host thought he was doing us a favor by sitting us near a window, I think we may request to be put back in Andrew’s section for the rest of the nights. 

This is interesting. When my wife and I were in CK we had the same waiter every night, even as we changed table locations from window-side to central and back. He just followed us around without any issues. Maybe we were still inside his section, but if we were then his section was kind of large!

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3 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

This is interesting. When my wife and I were in CK we had the same waiter every night, even as we changed table locations from window-side to central and back. He just followed us around without any issues. Maybe we were still inside his section, but if we were then his section was kind of large!

It might have been because the table was on almost the other side of the room. Our table night 1 was along the wall where there are padded booth seats on the one side - to the right when you walk in. Night 2 was to the front left, near where the 2 walls of windows met. I think we were actually on the edge of our other waiter’s section since the table next to us had a different server. 

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19 hours ago, DDaley said:

Thanks to this comment I have 4 RCL-sized luggage tag holders on their way from Amazon! Never would've thought of that.  👜 Thank you! 

I always thought they’d be unnecessary, but I absolutely love them. Even went ahead and bought the other size for our December cruise on NCL. 

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The internet has been a bit spotty today and so I couldn’t do some of the smaller updates I wanted to. I was only JUST able to access the blog (though for some reason CC would load. Unfair!) 

This morning we went for breakfast in the Solarium Bistro around 8 since we knew that we wanted to camp out in the Solarium for the morning. They had a buffet set up that had fruit, pastries, various types of eggs (scrambled, fried, hard boiled, etc), different breakfast meats, breakfast potatoes and circular hash browns. The food was just OK and the hash browns were definitely the best part. They honestly reminded me of fresh McDonald’s hashbrowns. But not as greasy. That is a high compliment. After eating, I went scouting for a padded chair in the shade since I am a translucent Irish woman who sunscreen only does so much for. Since it was so early, I had quite a lot of options, though I was surprised at how many chairs were already reserved. This was taken at 8:30 am

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The seat I ended up claiming was PERFECT. It was right next to a side table and located under a fake palm tree in front of the hot tub. While I had no intention of using the hot tub, I did get a delightful spray of water to cool me down a little when the wind blew the right way. 

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I was able to hang out here reading and enjoying the weather until noon when the sun found me and I started to cook. I then retreated to our shaded balcony like some sort of vampire. But before I did that, I stopped by Sorrentos to try for myself the new and improved pizza. I have to say, it’s not the best pizza I’ve ever tasted, but it is quite tasty for what it is and it was fresh and hot. I got the BBQ chicken because that was what was ready then and I didn’t feel like waiting for a fresh pie. 

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I ate the pizza there and went up a deck to grab a fresh squeezed juice from Vitality Cafe on my way to the room. This time I got the carrot lemonade.

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 It tasted better than it sounds, but I still liked the apple mint more. It was more complex and interesting flavor wise. 

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PS keep an eye out for one of these machines to see if a place has fresh squeezed OJ. I know Windjammer has it and the MDR, but so do Park and Vitality Cafes. 

The afternoon was quite boring to cover in a blog but very needed as I alternated between “resting my eyes” and reading. I had not really gotten good rest leading up to this trip and I’ve been operating on a sleep deficit. Protip: make sure to be as well rested as possible before starting vacation because doing nothing in the sun is exhausting. Eventually it was time for dinner in CK! 

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We had yet another server today. This one was very good about recommending things and was very attentive, but she wasn’t very chatty and it felt rushed at times. I’m sure we could have asked for the pace to be slowed down so that is likely on us. For this meal I got the braised beef gnocchi and the Moroccan spiced chicken breast. 

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The braised beef was good and hearty. I had never had gnocchi before though I knew what they are in theory. They were quite nice and I could see myself ordering that in the future. 

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The chicken was extremely moist for a breast and was perfectly cooked. I loved the spice level in the sauce but it was a bit much for my dad and my mom refused to even try it (she always gets mild wings). I also tried a bit of my dad’s strip steak as I was curious how it was. I was glad I didn’t end up getting it as my main course since it was good, but it paled in comparison to last night’s ribeye. 

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For desert, I got the chocolate napoleon. 

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While it was good, I was a bit surprised that it was only chocolate. I think I was expecting different layers besides a moussey fudge on top of a very thin sponge. 

Which brings us to now. With 2 port days coming up in  a row I really wanted to crash early and try to get some proper sleep so I can fully enjoy those ports. Tomorrow we have booked the Thenford Grey Grand Tour  of St Kitt’s which is a 3rd party excursion that comes highly recommended. I hope because of this tomorrow’s blog post will be more interesting to read! 

I leave you with a shot of the made up sofa bed with the curtain across the room drawn. I love the separation it provides and I have taken to announcing that I’m “closing my door” when I go to draw the curtain at night. It’s the little things in life. 

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4 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

I think I'm noticing a theme with your dessert choices 🍫😉👍

Looool I am a shameless sucker for chocolate! I have also incorporated into our plans in San Juan tomorrow a trip to the Cocobar so I will be even MORE of a predictable stereotype then! 😂

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Today we were in St Kitt’s from 8:30a-4:30p and we had booked the Grand Tour of St Kitt’s with Thenford Grey’s touring company. Before getting off the ship, we went to Park Cafe to grab some breakfast. They had a make your own bagel station where the lunch salad station is and some breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos.

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I got an English muffin sandwich which had a fried egg,  a slice of Canadian bacon & some cheese on it. It was pretty good. The banana muffin was nowhere and I make a far superior one so it lay abandoned after one bite. 

After debarking, we saw that we were docked next to the Carnival Magic. 

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(the tiniest little roller on the end of the longest pole to allow them to paint the side of the Magic. She definitely needed more paint than they were able to apply that day)

We were supposed to meet the tour at the Welcome center at 9am. We go off around 8:40 to allow time to find the tour group. We didn’t have to worry since it was beyond easy to find them. 

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The yellow building is the Welcome Center we were supposed to find and the woman in the last picture had a sign for Grey’s excursions and checked us off a list of booked people. We then waited as instructed in front of a big mural until it was the start of the tour. 

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We ended up having Thenford himself as our tour guide and he led us behind some buildings to a parking lot that had all the tour busses parked there. The bus we had was small and fit about 20 people in it. Most importantly, it had excellent, adjustable air conditioning. 2DC59FD7-56B0-4D01-8F7C-ABD2945D9F85.thumb.jpeg.553086a5bc75453dfd2e4917ea7e6cf3.jpeg

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To be continued in another post which will be very picture heavy. 

 

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St Kitt’s recap continued: 

We first drove around the city of Basseterre a bit to see some of the important sites. Thenford was great about sharing background information on everything and he seemed to know half the island as he would constantly point people out like “that man walking there is a prominent lawyer on his way to work. His son and daughter are also lawyers and his brother is the Attorney General of the island”’

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The jail, also featuring a prisoner (in the dark blue in the shadows) being led out. 

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The home of many prominent law offices. These buildings used to be where the wealthy families on the island lived. Then they moved to Frigate Bay. 

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HQ for the labor unions which were vital to the growth of their economy. 

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War memorial for fallen soldiers who served in the British West Indies troop in the World Wars. 

We then left the city and made our way over to Romney Manor/Caribelle Batik

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Lots of little plaques to show what plants were in the garden and their origin. Very interesting and gorgeous. 

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We then saw a batik demonstration which is where they use wax and dye to create patterns on fabric. They had a shop attached with lots of batik made items. 

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Watch tower for old plantation. 

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Next stop was Brimstone Hill Fortress. It had phenomenal views but a killer walk to the top. Out of the question for anyone with mobility issues. On our way down I heard an 8 year old going the other way say to his dad “dad, this is HARD” and I muttered “you said it kid”. It wouldn’t have been as bad as it was if it weren’t for the heat and humidity. But....it was worth it. 

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If you go here with small children, please please PLEASE keep them close as there’s many tall drop offs without railings or ropes and stone at the bottom of the hypothetical fall. I saw this one little boy running around and my second hand anxiety was through the roof for him. 

After the fortress our next stop was a lookout point where you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea at the same time. There were lots of vendors here including men with monkeys and a donkey. That part was upsetting watching the casual animal abuse like dudes feeding the monkeys beer or a woman GRABBING the donkey roughly by the face and clinging onto it. I’m shocked it didn’t bite her. But the view was amazing. 

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After this stop it was time for the beach drop offs if you so chose. The first option was a place called Shipwreck bar and the attacked beach. It looked really neat, but we were beat and ready to go back to the ship. 

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Since I was curious about this, the way it worked out was Thenford told the people who wanted to stay what time he would be back for them (3:15) and the rest of us went on to the next stop. The other beach option was Carambola. They were told a 3:30 pick up time. The rest of us went back to the port for shopping time or ship time. 

Overall it was a great excursion option that offered a lot of bang for your buck. Make sure to rest up though as it’s a bit tiring. 

 

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14 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

 I am a shameless sucker for chocolate!

I must be the most unlucky woman in the world.  I do like chocolate but I have what MUST be a slight allergy to it.  If I eat a piece of solid chocolate - like a Hershey bar (YUM !) my throat starts to constrict just a little and I begin choking.  I have never had my throat close entirely but it is enough of a problem for me that I just stay away from solid chocolate.  What a curse !

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Your pictures are wonderful! We went to Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik when we were in St. Kitts 2 years ago (Regal Princess). The area was beautiful and the batik work was quite stunning! Watching how it’s done was interesting (a lot different than the way we did it back in art class!). Thanks for sharing! 

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Recap of the rest of the day: 

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Ship neighbors view as seen from our balcony. B4F032B4-EA6E-4133-B414-A057B87606B3.thumb.jpeg.fe95d67abdd05970c0412f92513a2350.jpeg

And view of the dock and Magic after sail away. 

We ended up much more tuckered out from the St Kitt’s trip than anticipated because I came in from hanging out on the balcony to find both of my parents napping around 5:20. I asked if they still wanted to go to Coastal Kitchen at 6 because they did not look like they had any plans to start getting ready any time soon. They gave noncommittal answers until I finally said that I was fine skipping it today if no one else wanted to go, but we should make up our minds soon since we should tell them in advance so they aren’t holding a table for us. This next saga was quite annoying. I finally got a straight answer at 5:30. I went on the app to cancel the reservation but by that time it was 5:31 and I got an error message that it’s not possible to cancel that way within 30 mins of reservation. I tried looking around for a CK extension to no avail. When I pressed the “dining” key on the phone, it was not a named option. I tried to dial the operator and it rang without answer for 5 mins. I gave yo on that number and tried guest services. This time the phone rang for 4 mins without answer. Since I had now been trying for almost 10 mins to cancel this table, I finally dialed another specialty restaurant (it happened to be Giovanni’s) and pretended I got the wrong number and asked to be transferred to CK. They told me to dial 0 and I said I tried that and no one answered (0 is the operator). I then said I just wanted to let them know we wouldn’t be able to make it tonight. When he found out I was just cancelling and not making a reservation he said he could do that for me. So that was nice to get taken care of but honestly way too much effort. I wish the direct extension was posted somewhere in the app or the room. 

We eventually decide on grazing at the Wind Jammer for dinner. Quite a step down from Coastal Kitchen, but what are you going to do? Though I did start laughing when I saw this sign walking into the WJ as it made me think of @hayley_bopp‘s comment about noting a them with my desserts. I swear I didn’t plan this!!!

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So this was my first time in the WJ since boarding. It was quite overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. I ended up getting some chicken wings and fries and other related comfort foods. The shrimp at the buffet are the same as the ones in Chops and CK, but the cocktail sauce is inferior. 

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My mom’s fixings. I tried 2 different cakes and the ice cream was the best part. I have yet to try a truly phenomenal cake on royal. But again, reminder that I’m highly critical of desserts since I bake. 

We went back to our room just to discover that it hadn’t been done yet. I think us leaving an hour later really threw off our attendant. To waste time, we went off to read and listen to music in Central Park. I have to say, you can’t beat a cabin in deck 8 on an Oasis class ship in my opinion. Just so convenient! 

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After about 35 mins we figured it was safe to check again. This time he was done and I knew this because of our little pal hanging out on the ceiling. 05355810-E2C1-4025-984B-3FF3775FFC45.thumb.jpeg.eeab685167c36c336581ff6669618610.jpeg 

This is another early night because San Juan starts at 7am tomorrow. I have some shops I’d really like to hit up. I’ve adjusted my itinerary since my mom has expressed interest in getting back to the ship for pool sun time ASAP. 

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4 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Grand Tour of St Kitt’s with Thenford Grey’s touring company

 

4 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

We ended up having Thenford himself as our tour guide

We have been recommending this tour since we took it 2 years ago. He is quite the gentleman and sooooo knowledgeable.

@spiralqueen , your photos are @twangster like amazing! Great job! I may actually replace my own pictures with yours ☺️  (But I didn't steal my avatar from your review--did that quite a while ago).

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Our cabins in July are also on Deck 8. We chose them for the convenience to Central Park venues...based on your comments, looks like we made a good choice! Still enjoying your review and photos! Photos give a personal feel, basically icing on the cake (chocolate cake, of course)!

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4 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Though I did start laughing when I saw this sign walking into the WJ as it made me think of @hayley_bopp‘s comment about noting a them with my desserts. I swear I didn’t plan this!!!

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You were obviously destined to go to the WJ that night 😅

I'm looking forward to trying the bagel station on my cruise so thanks for the pictures 👍

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16 hours ago, Cindy Leslie said:

 

Your pictures are wonderful! We went to Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik when we were in St. Kitts 2 years ago (Regal Princess). The area was beautiful and the batik work was quite stunning! Watching how it’s done was interesting (a lot different than the way we did it back in art class!). Thanks for sharing! 

 

Thank you so much! And yes, the whole island is stunning, but especially the gardens in Romney Manor! It’s really a cant miss in my opinion. Maybe not every time, but at least once. Just stunning.  

14 hours ago, Skid said:

 

We have been recommending this tour since we took it 2 years ago. He is quite the gentleman and sooooo knowledgeable.

@spiralqueen , your photos are @twangster like amazing! Great job! I may actually replace my own pictures with yours ☺️  (But I didn't steal my avatar from your review--did that quite a while ago).

Oh wow, that is the highest compliment! The new iPhone is just very good at taking pictures in full light and I admit to using a bit of after editing software on my phone so it’s less @twangster like skill and more just good lighting and photoshop express. And yes, your recommendation of Thenford made me feel much better about our choice in him and more excited for the trip 😄

11 hours ago, Cindy Leslie said:

Our cabins in July are also on Deck 8. We chose them for the convenience to Central Park venues...based on your comments, looks like we made a good choice! Still enjoying your review and photos! Photos give a personal feel, basically icing on the cake (chocolate cake, of course)!

You will LOVE deck 8! Park Cafe is especially handy throughout the day and I love walking past Trellis bar and grabbing a bottle of water almost every time I pass it. It’s also just a delight to walk through to get to your room. So peaceful. And thank you so much! I’m glad this is helpful for people since I found other liveblog super helpful and I just want to give back 😀

11 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

You were obviously destined to go to the WJ that night 😅

I'm looking forward to trying the bagel station on my cruise so thanks for the pictures 👍

Lol yes, it was destiny! Though really, the best chocolate experience was at Chocobar Cortez in San Juan this morning. Recap of that to come shortly but omfg omfg! And yes, I too want to try our the bagel station one morning. I’ll prob hit it up tomorrow. I didn’t want to eat breakfast this morning since I had plans to eat in San Juan. 

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