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Freedom of the Seas - Mar 31 to Apr 8 - Eastern Caribbean LIVE(ISH)


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Joe I am loving your blog.  We got off as you got on and I was ready to stowaway in your suitcase!   We loved chefs table (one of the best meals ever) and getting to try the wonderland dessert made my cruise complete!   Every picture you post makes me remember what a great cruise it was!    Glad you are having a great time!   Jane

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I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but the last three days have been jam packed! What free time I’ve had (and it hasn’t been much) was only enough to edit my (many, many) photos and take notes for the daily recaps I’ve yet to write. They are coming and right soon! Now that we’re clear of our four port days and have a sea day tomorrow, plus a chill day in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, I’ll be getting back to writing about everything that we’ve been up to!

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48 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but the last three days have been jam packed! What free time I’ve had (and it hasn’t been much) was only enough to edit my (many, many) photos and take notes for the daily recaps I’ve yet to write. They are coming and right soon! Now that we’re clear of our four port days and have a sea day tomorrow, plus a chill day in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, I’ll be getting back to writing about everything that we’ve been up to!

Don't even worry about it!  Enjoy your cruise time.  It will be over before you know it and your blog will still be here :12_slight_smile:

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4 hours ago, JLMoran said:

I haven’t forgotten about this blog, but the last three days have been jam packed! What free time I’ve had (and it hasn’t been much) was only enough to edit my (many, many) photos and take notes for the daily recaps I’ve yet to write. They are coming and right soon! Now that we’re clear of our four port days and have a sea day tomorrow, plus a chill day in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, I’ll be getting back to writing about everything that we’ve been up to!

Remember , you are there to have fun not for working  live bloging ... we will wait for the updates later 

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OK, we are back home and I've finally reviewed all the photos I took and edited the ones I judged worth keeping (which was still over 400 total!). With that taken care of and only watermarking of the copies for here needed, this blog is officially resuming... NOW

 

Day 4 – St. Kitts

Today is our first port day, and we're really excited because it's also dolphin swim day! We wanted to get up early enough to catch the sunrise today, but my Fitbit alarm wasn't strong enough to wake me up (might have had something to do with all that wine I'd had the night before). At least we still woke up around 7, so we didn't have to race through breakfast before going out to our excursion.

While we missed the sunrise, we were still up early enough to see the island of St. Kitts somewhat far off in the distance, shrouded in clouds and mist.

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We went to breakfast in the MDR, and got a table right alongside one of the large porthole windows. We were treated to more views of the island as we sailed into the port, and could see the clouds rapidly burn away as the sun rose higher.

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After breakfast, we went back to our cabins to get ready for our outing, and got our first view of the port area.

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We disembarked on deck 1 and walked out onto the pier. I finally had a chance to get some shots of the ship's exterior, as well as our approach to the port entrance.

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We actually went out to the port around 9:30, and our meet-up for the dolphin swim wasn't until 10:15, so the girls and I explored the port area a little bit while my wife held our place in line and stayed in the shade. We thought maybe the girls might find a souvenir or two to pick up for themselves or their friends, and we at least wanted to get a view of the place.

I'll be honest, this was not a good first impression of a port village. The girls and I couldn't walk three steps without someone walking up and offering us a guided tour, or a taxi ride to some place, or a chance to take a photo with one of the monkeys the island is known for, or to step into their shops to just look around and get some free stuff in exchange. Even if I had wanted to take any pictures of the place, and believe me I didn't, I didn't feel like I could do that safely or without someone jumping into the shot and then telling me I owed them money for taking their picture. We all quickly grew tired of saying no and having to rush away, and went back to the port entrance.

One important note here, for those who have said in the past they would just bring their Sea Pass cards off the ship and nothing else: The port security people were not allowing anyone out of the village and back onto the main entrance / pier area if they did not have both their Sea Pass and a passport or other valid ID (I think they were accepting driver's licenses, but preferred passports). This was a big surprise, and I was very glad that I had our passports in my foldable backpack; otherwise we'd have been in a lot of trouble since my wife was nowhere near close enough to hear us holler at her to get them from the ship.

So with that little "adventure" out of the way, we waited while the excursion team got everyone grouped together, had us sign in, and gave us the appropriate wrist bands for the specific activity we'd signed up for. The vast majority had signed up for the same Push / Pull / Swim as us, with just a few people doing the higher-end option that included a push by two dolphins, and maybe a dozen or so (mainly families with toddlers or other very young children) doing the baseline "experience" option. Once everyone had signed the checklist and gotten their wrist bands, we were put into vans and driven over to the Dolphin Discovery site, near the Bird Rock Beach hotel about 15 minutes away.

Many others here have written about these excursions before, so I won't go into any great detail here. The staff were quite knowledgable about dolphins in general and the ones in their care specifically, telling us about our particular dolphin's history with the organization. They definitely seemed to care about the dolphins we were interacting with, treating them well, frequently reminding us to be careful around them and not try to stroke their face or under their chins as it was not comfortable for them, and making sure to reward them each time that they successfully did one of the actions with us.

For our package, we got to go into the water and "cuddle" with our dolphin, Dante, get pulled by him by grabbing his lower fins while he swam on his back, and ride a boogie board while he pushed us by one of our feet. We also did the standard "kiss" and cheek peck while standing on the platform by the dock, as well as a couple of other typical trainer tricks. All the while, the photographer was there getting lots and lots of pictures. Since this was a bucket list item for my wife, I did buy the photo package, which was $210 for a CD with all of our photos on it and well as the ability to download the full-resolution images via their app for up to 15 days after our visit. I had hoped to get a chance to haggle about that price a bit, but it was bedlam inside the gift center area where you bought this, and we were getting close to the time we'd have to get on our vans back to port, so I ended up paying the full price. But in my view it was totally worth it. It certainly supports the place and the locals who staff it, and helps keep the dolphins in their care in good shape; and if nothing else, I can make my own prints at larger than 8 x 10 to hang on our walls, and I can also share some of them here (with proper attribution in the watermark).

For here, I just chose the photos that showed our faces, as I think it sums up the experience pretty well. My wife only liked the one photo of her that's posted here, so that's why you don't see more of her.

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After this, we returned to the ship, showered, and then spent the rest of the day doing separate things. My wife and daughters did go back to the village for a bit, aware of what it was like but still hoping to find something decent; and D14 was debating spending the money to get a picture with a monkey. They came back after a short time without anything, and D14 agreed that the prices charged for the monkey pics were ridiculous.

For myself, I relaxed on the balcony and broke out my mini-tripod, Camalapse, and phone bracket (as well as getting creative with stacking our two balcony tables to get a clear view above the railing) to take a nice time-lapse of the port area. I used the telephoto lens for this, and I really like how it came out:

 

Besides the time-lapse video, I also took some stills using my different lenses.

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For sail-away, I went back out to the helicopter deck and tried another Periscope, since the ship was parked "backwards" and I could be closer to the interior while still getting video of the island. On my way there via the Star Lounge side door, I found this sight:

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I really don't get these people. You can find out why when I post my Day 7 recap.

 

After scoping, I was treated to a very nice sunset. My wife had just messaged me to see if I wanted to join her for a bit before dinner, but I had to wait a few minutes so I could get these shots. The sky was just striking at those moments.

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The sky faded far too quickly for me to have my wife join me, but I did message her that it was happening and to get to the balcony fast so she and the girls could watch it. Afterwards, I went to the cabin and my wife and I spent some time relaxing on the balcony together before dinner.

Dinner was in the MDR again, and as with all the prior nights D14 and I made sure to order escargots as part of our appetizers. The girls and my wife were tired and went back to the cabin to relax, and in the girls' case do a little homework or drawing before turning in for the night. For myself, I went to see the headliner act for that night, a ventriloquist named Ronn Lucas. He was very funny, and reminded me in a lot of ways of Jeff Dunham, as their acts shared a lot of similarities. Lucas didn't use as many puppets, but I have a feeling that one of them is drawing on the other's routines; either that, or it's a standard in ventriloquist acts to have things like the "you're arguing with yourself!" bit, or doing the multiple characters / voices in rapid-fire back-and-forth.

As soon as the act was over, I went back to the cabin. I had considered going back to the craps table for a bit, but decided sleep was more important given the long day ahead of us in St. Maarten. We had this fellow waiting on our bed when I came in:

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That's it for our day in St. Kitts. I have to watermark all the pics from St. Maarten now, and I have to get back to laundry, ordering new eyeglass lenses, and a few other chores; so that day's post will be out later tonight.

 

EDIT: I forgot the drink package tally!

  • Fresh squeezed OJ in MDR with breakfast
  • Grande cappuccino at Cafe Promenade right after breakfast
  • 2 Patron reposado margaritas, one right before sail-away and one after the sunset, from Bull & Bear pub
  • A glass of the "La Volte" Toscana I'd had on Day 2, from Vintages ($4 overage applied to my account)

Something of a "light" day, but I think I just broke even with the $43 daily cost, since the three alcoholic beverages were $36 against the package, and the non-alcoholic ones were about $10 total.

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46 minutes ago, twangster said:

Sounds like a great day.  Unfortunately the vendor experience is far too common across the Caribbean.   

I have built up a resistance to it and I think they sense that since they often leave me alone.  Or maybe its the scowl on my face as they approach that is my tell.

Love the pics!

Lol.  I have perfected "the scowl" long ago.  But yes, very common in most ports.

18 minutes ago, melski94 said:

Great pictures! Ronn Lucas was on Harmony the week before. It was much more enjoyable than I was expecting and it was a fun way to have an easy night. Did he pull an audience member up to be a puppet? 

That guy must be all over the place.  We had him on Harmony too back in August and then I just saw on FB that he was back on Harmony again.

@JLMoran great pics.  The first couple shots of St. Kitts reminded me of how much I love that island.  I'm pretty sure St. Lucia and St. Kitts are my favourite.  I need to find a cruise that gets back there.

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18 minutes ago, melski94 said:

Great pictures! Ronn Lucas was on Harmony the week before. It was much more enjoyable than I was expecting and it was a fun way to have an easy night. Did he pull an audience member up to be a puppet? 

YES! And I have a very strong feeling that contrary to what Ronn said during the show, the guy was totally a plant. Was the guy you saw pulled up a really tall, athletic guy? Dark hair, mid-20's, allegedly traveling with his wife? (there really was a young woman sitting next to him, but who knows if they were actually a couple)

I was thinking at first that he really was a random audience pull, but after a while it seemed like he knew the routine and was familiar with the gadget Ronn strapped to his face. And when it got to the singing number he started moving like someone who knew the song cold, had moves prepped, and that he was actually part of the overall act.

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4 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

YES! And I have a very strong feeling that contrary to what Ronn said during the show, the guy was totally a plant. Was the guy you saw pulled up a really tall, athletic guy? Dark hair, mid-20's, allegedly traveling with his wife? (there really was a young woman sitting next to him, but who knows if they were actually a couple)

I was thinking at first that he really was a random audience pull, but after a while it seemed like he knew the routine and was familiar with the gadget Ronn strapped to his face. And when it got to the singing number he started moving like someone who knew the song cold, had moves prepped, and that he was actually part of the overall act.

OMG!  Totally a plant then!  That was the same guy back in August!

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

Sounds like a great day.  Unfortunately the vendor experience is far too common across the Caribbean.   

I have built up a resistance to it and I think they sense that since they often leave me alone.  Or maybe its the scowl on my face as they approach that is my tell.

Love the pics!

HA HA HA I too also use my clint eastwood face works everytime :6_smile:

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St kitts has been my least favorite port so far.   We wandered around trying to find anything to buy or do and it really just was pushy people and seedy stores.   I'm sure if you get away there are beautiful places,  and I hear nevis is really nice,  but I'm ok not going back.   Jane

 

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Day 5 – St. Maarten

To use a @twangsterism – This is going to be a photo-heavy post. Consider yourselves forewarned.

Our day in St. Maarten ran from 8 until 5, and we were in the process of docking around 7 AM when I woke up. What woke me up was the sound of two men in what sounded like an argument. I went out to my balcony and saw these two gents down on the pier, still having a rather animated discussion.

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While the rest of the family got up and ready to go down to breakfast, I continued to take pictures while docking wrapped up. Even from the pier I could see the island was beautiful, and I wanted to capture as much as I could, especially that unparalleled water. It was still cloudy this early in the day, but in a way that was better since the light hadn't yet gotten harsh.

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We went down to the MDR for a slightly hurried breakfast, since we needed to make our way over to Dock Maarten where our excursion with Captain Bob's Soualiga Adventures would depart. We left the ship and started walking through the port market around 9:10, having been notified through email that checkin was at 9:30 and departure at 10 sharp. Thankfully, this market was a complete 180 from the one in St. Kitts; while it still had plenty of shops, we didn't get harassed even once as we walked through. If we weren't in a genuine rush, it would have been nice to wander a bit and maybe give these folks some actual customers.

As we left our ship's pier and headed to the market, we saw the other ships who were in port for that day -- Celebrity Eclipse and MSC Seaside:

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It's actually a pretty straightforward trip from the market to Dock Maarten -- if you're walking, it's only about 15 minutes (20 if you're more slow-moving like me); but since we were running a bit late and needed faster transport, we grabbed the first taxi that was offered to us by the gents at the port entrance, where it meets the main road. The taxi driver was this particular gent's mother, and she was driving a seriously beat-up Hyundai that the four of us had to somewhat squeeze into. It cost us $12 to get there, but for saving the strain on my feet that morning it was worth it. And it gave some funds to the locals who I knew could use it.

We did get a chuckle on our way there; our driver had gone into the left lane to bypass the backlogged traffic and get us to Dock Maarten more quickly, when she saw a police car coming our way. She quickly pulled into a gravel parking area on the other side of the road that looked like it was part of a construction site for some rebuilding work, and while she checked to make sure the policeman had passed by and wasn't coming back, she explained that this was the sole policeman in the area -- and her nephew! She chuckled as she said she'd almost certainly see him again later that evening around dinner, and he was sure to ask her what she was doing on the wrong side of the road by the port; she told us she was going to play all innocent and say she wasn't anywhere near there. It was something of a game the two of them played every day while he patrolled the area and she worked her taxi service, and we had to laugh along with her.

We got to our destination and met up with Captain Bob himself. He handled our checkin, then introduced us to his son, Brett, who would be our tour guide and captain of the particular boat we were going to be on. The first mate was Brett's fiancée, Laura. I'll be writing up a longer review of the whole excursion in the Shore Excursions forum, for now I'm going to stick to the highlights and the photos that go with them...

As promised, we departed at 10 AM sharp. As we pulled out of the port area and into the open water, we saw a Costa ship making a late arrival into the port; so there would actually be four ships in port that day, which I'm sure the people of the island were more than happy to see. I wasn't able to get a photo at this point as the ship was too far away and we were moving a bit too quickly to get a steady shot.

At this point, Brett took us along the Dutch side of the island, and we made our way to the big marina that houses the most expensive yachts. All along the way, there were visible signs of the devastation that Hurricane Irma had wrought and that hadn't yet been repaired. But there was also still a lot that was intact or rebuilt, and a lot that was still really pretty and good to see.

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I took some video while we went through the marina, but my phone's mic picked up way too much wind noise and I haven't been able to clean up the sound enough yet to make it worth sharing. iMovie is still my editing tool for video, and the latest version removed the manual equalizer tool that could have allowed me to clean up that wind noise.

As we exited the marina and made our way to the next area of interest, we passed a graveyard of wrecked ships that were waiting to be destroyed, having been sunk and beyond the point of repair or salvage.

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From here, we moved out into open waters again and made our way to the first destination of our trip. I continued to take lots of pictures, capturing both the beauty and the tragedy that was on display. I was using my tele lens the whole time, and you're going to see that it has some... interesting... effects on the corners of these images. I took most of them using the phone's burst mode, so I could get some reasonable shots as the boat bounced and sped along, and combined with the tele lens it introduced what looks to me like a tilt-shift effect in the corners of many of these pictures. If you've ever watched Sherlock on PBS, you'll know tilt-shift from the show's opening sequence.

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Here we have the governor's house for the French-side governor.

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Not long after seeing this (and Brett kidding with us that it was Oprah's winter home), we officially crossed to the French side of the island as we passed under a small drawbridge.

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Once we were on the French side, we saw a lot more boats docked in the area. Brett explained that the rates for boat moorings on the French side are significantly lower than on the Dutch side, so most of the local folks who have smaller and cheaper boats dock them in that area. It's been nicknamed the boat trailer park of the island.

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Ummm, I can't really talk now. I've got cows...

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Brett and Laura said they stumbled across them one time while just going to that beach on their own for a picnic. The herd has some bulls and they actually charged the two of them; they had to clear out of there in a big hurry!

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The little island above is named Tintemarre, and this was our first snorkeling stop. The prime "catch" here is sea turtles and sting rays. My wife and the girls got their snorkeling gear and dove in to explore. I stayed on the boat and spent the 45 minutes we were there just chatting with Brett, getting to know him a bit and talking about things like the add-on lenses he saw me using, investing (he was a hedge fund manager before he joined his dad in doing the boat tours), and other small talk.

After everyone was back on board, we made our way to the next stop, Pinel Island. The island is both a wildlife refuge / nature preserve, and also a day trip spot for the neighboring locals and people looking for a little pleasure cruise. In addition to the small beach that offers loungers and umbrellas, there are two small restaurants / bars and a little gift shop that offers hand-made items.

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The water here is really only about chest height, so you just jump off the boat and wade to land. I took advantage and made my way up to the little yellow hut at the top of the second picture above, which is the sole restroom on the island. On my way back, I noticed as I passed the gift shop that there was a big cluster of hermit crabs sheltering in a little bit of ground cover around a palm tree. I wish I had my phone, but there was no way with my non-waterproof model that I was throwing it in my backpack and risking it getting soaked in the ocean while I waded from boat to land and back. I did tell my wife and the girls about it, and they went to take a look and also look at the gift shop. D17 bought a couple of sets of hand-carved and -painted cats, one set for us and the other for her boyfriend's family. She also picked out a couple of other knick-knacks.

 

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We spent a little over an hour here, relaxing and having lunch. Lunch consisted of sandwiches, chips, and apples that were packed on board, since the beach restaurant they used to go to was destroyed by Irma and not yet rebuilt. I gathered that the places there on Pinel wouldn't have catered to us, for whatever reason. The sandwiches were quite good, and there was plenty of water and beer to go around and wash it all down. I enjoyed a nice light French lager that was a local favorite and quite tasty.

After lunch, we went to our next stop, which is named Creole Rock. It's literally a massive rock thrusting up from the otherwise open ocean, and which harbors a wide variety of sea life, including urchins that will wreck your day if you swim on the ocean side and get dashed onto the rock by the powerful waves there.

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My wife and the girls took another dip in the water, although this time D17 was content to just swim and not snorkel; she found breathing through the snorkel tube too weird and unnerving to give it another go, especially after swallowing a bunch of sea water the first time when she didn't clear it properly after water got in. D14 and the wife both stayed well clear of the rock, where they'd been told they'd also see octopi as well as the sea urchins, and managed to catch sight of some of the many fish there. I once again stayed on board, having gotten quite refreshed at Pinel and not feeling the need to get in the water again. I also found climbing back into the boat via the rail-less ladder they attached on the back very difficult, and that definitely played a part.

Once our time at Creole Rock was up, everyone got back on board and we sped back over to the Dutch side of the island, where we had a quick stop at a very lavish mansion in Plum Bay that we learned had been bought a few years prior by one Donald J. Trump. Ironically, the water and land surrounding the building are declared public by the government, and people regularly show up around the building just going about their business without the owner or his staff being able to do a damn thing to keep them off his lawn.

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We also passed this ship, which seemed to have a Viking theme to it. I assume it was another excursion vessel.

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From Plum Bay, we made our way to Long Bay. This is the area with the many beautiful white houses and villas with red tile roofs. We spent a half hour here for more beach time and swimming, and in my case more photography.

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Having done this a few times now, I really like how a panoramic image comes out when taken with the tele lens vs. no lens. It's a night and day difference.

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Once we wrapped up our time in Long Bay, it was time to head back to the marina. Brett opened up the triple engines on our boat and we were seriously jetting along, far too fast and bouncy for me to even think about taking any photos. He was in a rush for a reason. We pulled up to Maho Beach just as a big private jet zoomed by overhead. We got there just a little too late; I had needed to stow my phone and lens in my pockets / under my towel, with the lens in its travel bag, because of the splashing we were getting from our fast ride. There was just no time for me to pull everything back out and get a photo before that jet zoomed by. Two of the other boats from Captain Bob were already there and those folks were definitely luckier in that regard.

There were no other planes coming, and we needed to get back to the marina so we didn't miss our 4:30 all-aboard time. The three boats got into a rather fun and exciting race to see who'd make it back to the marina first. Although our boat had three engines while the other two just had a pair, we ended up getting into the marina second. Partly because we needed to yield to some other boats that came along, partly because the captain of the "winning" boat was driving like a bat out of hell.

Once we were back on land, I tipped Brett and Laura $25 to thank them for the great trip, the good food and drink, and the good conversations I'd had with them. We stopped briefly at the cheese shop, where Brett said we'd be able to get a free treat, and a part of me wished we didn't still have five days left before we'd be home. They were selling a really awesome Gouda that I was given a sample of, and while they said it was designed to travel well, I didn't think a wedge would hold up for that long on a ship and also a hotel before going on a plane back home.

As we made our way through the port market, we passed by a yacht I'd seen docked there since we left in the morning.

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Because I had to walk slowly, we barely made it to the ship for all-aboard. We were among the very last to get back on, with a few of the ship's staff who had the day off ahead of us. We laughed privately as we heard two of them getting super-excited because they just found out their next contract would transfer them from the Caribbean to a ship that would be sailing Alaska and then Australia for the winter months.

D14 and D17 both had a scare as they got back on board. Their Sea Pass cards had smudged and faded to the point of being barely legible, we assume from the sunscreen they were using. The security guards told them that while the scan of the bar code on back was good and they could board, they had to get new cards from Guest Services immediately or they would be denied permission to leave the ship the next day in San Juan. Needless to say, they both went straight to Guest Services and got new cards printed out.

While they got that taken care of, I quickly grabbed my standard sail-away margarita (sadly, "just" a Patron Silver and not a reposado) and went back up to my balcony. The Costa ship I'd seen earlier was still there, and I could now see clearly that it was the "new" Costa Classico (which I later learned from our dinner mates was about to be decommissioned, so none of us could figure out what it was doing all the way out here).

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I heard a vehicle coming down the pier, and looked down to see a dock worker release the last of the mooring lines from the pier. It was quickly drawn in and I knew sail-away was about to start.

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Freedom's horn called out to signal sail-away... and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD WAS THAT COSTA SHIP'S HORN CALLING BACK TO US FRACKING LOUD!!!!! I had no idea she was going to do that, and the ship is so much smaller than Freedom that her horn is practically on the same level as our Deck 8 cabins. I was maybe a couple of hundred feet away from it when it sounded. And then sounded again. And then again! I had my ears covered each time I heard Freedom's horn sound again, knowing that Classico was about to respond. Once that ended and I saw we were moving, I took some more pics of her as we pulled away and left St. Maarten behind us.

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Once sail-away was done, I grabbed our towels that we'd checked out and returned them to the pool deck. On the way back, I noticed a tile mural in the solarium that I had somehow missed in my earlier "photo safari".

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After I got back to our room, I suggested to my wife we watch the sunset. We went down to deck 4 and the Schooner Bar so I could get another margarita (an 1800 reposado this time) and she got a mock lava flow. Drinks in hand, we made our way to the Star Lounge to get to the helipad... and found ourselves blocked by a locked door. Rather than try to find our way to the outside walkway on deck 4 and then back up to 5 and the helipad, we went up to deck 12 and then onto the top-most lounging area above the pool.

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We were a little late to catch the full show, but it was still nice and I got one really nice shot, with a cloud edged in fire as the sun went behind it and a visible shadow shooting up from it into the air.

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Sunset over and with some time to kill before dinner, I went to Boleros after getting changed and just people-watched while editing some of my photo backlog. The Latin band started playing while I was there, and some of the passengers got into the spirit of the music and started dancing.

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I joined the rest of my family for dinner, where D14 and I sadly saw there were no escargots on the menu. We ordered some other appetizers, and I also ordered the Tiger Prawns that were the specialty of the evening for my entrée. Much to our surprise, our waiter Jigger brought out a plate of escargots for each of us that he "had found in the kitchen". We were beyond thrilled, although now I was wondering if I'd have enough room for the rest of my meal. The challenge was amplified when Jigger then brought out my Tiger Prawn entree... and then came with another plate that he split between me and my table mate, Debbi... followed a few minutes later by another plate that he split between us! This night was the first time in the whole trip where I felt a little more than comfortably full, but I still didn't feel like I'd over-eaten.

None of us were interested in that night's headliner, a magician duo. So dear wife and the girls went to bed, while I went to the casino for another round at the craps table. Luck was on my side again, and I came out $66 ahead after only a half hour of play. This was good enough for me, and I called it a night and went to bed. I found our night's towel animal still intact.

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Two port days down, two to go! And for San Juan, we were really going to be off the usual path since we were meeting D17's friend Estefania, who lives right in Old San Juan and would be acting as our personal tour guide!

More to come tomorrow! (well, later today at this point)

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18 hours ago, JLMoran said:

for those who have said in the past they would just bring their Sea Pass cards off the ship and nothing else:

I've never understood that or sailing on just a birth certificate.  You're still in a different country, I always have my passport with me as you never know what can happen. 

BTW:  great pictures and recap!  I hope everyone had a great time (looks like you all did).

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