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Serenade 3/30/18 10 night Eastern Caribbean


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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

IT'S CRUISE DAY!!! Disclaimer - @SaltyNavyCruiser15 started a live blog a few weeks ago but out of respect I'm trying to avoid taking over his post and starting this.  I'm hoping they continue to

Day 8 - St Maarten continued... This afternoon's excursion would be on the catamaran 'Swept Away' which is why this excursion was called "Swept Away Coastal Cruise".  We met on the pier and guest

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Day 7 - St Kitts

We arrived ahead of schedule to a warm and beautiful day. 

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Today's excursion will be "St Kitts Panoramic Drive" booked through Royal Caribbean.

Our meeting point is at the end of the pier along with many other excursions starting around the same time.  We boarded our bus and met Nigel our guide and driver today.  He was very enjoyable.

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Fun fact - St Kitt's first traffic signals went into use approximately 4 weeks ago.  Our driver is not impressed.

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We drove around town and Nigel pointed out several venues such as churches, government offices and the 'hotel with the red doors'.  It's the local jail, built in 1840.  The local saying when someone is acting badly and headed to jail they are said to be "going back in time, to 1840". 

Next is a memorial to Kittitians who died in the first world war.  As a colony of England at the time islanders were called into the service of the Crown.

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Just up the road from here would be our first stop, Palm Court Gardens.  It is a small boutique hotel that also serves as a 'resort for a day'.

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It's located across the bay from the ship and it's quite nice.  While it doesn't have beach access, it is a nice resort with a pool and great views. 

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Drink prices are pretty reasonable, $2.40 for most beers.

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The resort for a day price is $12 per person which includes WiFi, loungers and umbrellas.  Our admission was included for the 15 minutes we were there.

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Back on the bus we continued our drive.

We passed the Carib brewery, the local beer made on the island.

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We stopped near an Egret nesting area where there were hundreds of Egrets.  The type of bush they nest in is full of sharp prickly branches they use to protect there nests from predators.

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We drove through some residential areas and talked about housing costs and the types of services such as education that Kittitians are provided. 

This took us to a lookout that had excellent views up and down the island.

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In the distance is Nevis which is almost always shrouded in clouds.  To the left is the Atlantic ocean and to the right is the Caribbean Sea.

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We had 15 minutes to buy a beverage from local vendors or shop in their small tents.

From here we drove down the hill and along "The Strip".  This is a beach area that is a $3-4 per person taxi ride from the ship.  Several bars and restaurants line the beach.  While we didn't stop here to explore it looked like a very nice beach.

I was broadcasting live on Periscope at this point so I didn't take any pictures.  Here is the scope:

https://www.pscp.tv/thetwangster/1zqJVrAwAonJB

Back to the ship in just under 3 hours with plenty of time to browse the shops in the port area.

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While I am not always a tour bus kind of guy I'm glad I did this tour to see more of the island and learn of its history and culture.  I'm seriously consider Palm Court Gardens for a future return to St Kitts.

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Day 7 Dinner

Before dinner I slipped into the Vitality Spa for a massage.  Oh so relaxing... I feel like butter.

Dinner tonight in the MDR.

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We start with the Escargots.  Basically this is a plate of melted butter and who doesn't like butter (except your heart surgeon).

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I also had the Caesar Salad.

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For my main I had Roasted Prime Rib because Prime Rib is something I've never mastered at home, so why not?

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36 minutes ago, twangster said:

We start with the Escargots.  Basically this is a plate of melted butter and who doesn't like butter (except your heart surgeon).

5ac7ef6ac5527_SerenadeDay7Dinner-2.jpg.0c926d976a02f3e7c2883113ea0a6921.jpg

Don’t forget the snails hiding under the butter! They’re the good part! Tastes sort of like mushrooms! 😋

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Day 8 - St Maarten

A beautiful day in St Maarten to start the day.  We arrived early with the sun rising but still below the horizon.

Soon we were joined by a TUI ship, the Mein Schiff 6.  RCCL owns a portion of TUI.

Not long after another ship appeared on the horizon. 

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The Adventure of the Seas joined us and we shared the pier today. 

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Still early I enjoyed a freshly made omelette and some fruit at one of my favorite WJ outdoor tables.

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I took the water taxi over to Great Bay Beach.  The round trip cost is $7 and for that you get an all day pass.

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I find a lot of value in this $7.  Amazing views of the area, the ships in port and by the way the water taxi has $2 beers.

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The beach area is great with lots of options for some time here.  Cheap chair rentals, cheap beers & frozen drinks plus great views.  What more can you ask for?

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I've captured this on a previous cruise a few months ago so I'm not going to capture it all again.

Here is a hyperlapse from the pier having just stepped off the ship to Great Bay Beach using the water taxi.  This was during peak when the most crowds were involved from all 3 ships.

 

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On 4/1/2018 at 2:50 AM, twangster said:

It's chair hog mitigation.  Trying to out fox the chair hogs by getting one step ahead of them.  I guess instead of dealing with it once people have put down their stuff, the pool attendants went to work very early to place notes informing people you can not reserve loungers.  "No Reservation" maybe be better phrased "No Reserving" but I'll take it.  

Did it work?

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Day 8 - St Maarten continued...

This afternoon's excursion would be on the catamaran 'Swept Away' which is why this excursion was called "Swept Away Coastal Cruise".  We met on the pier and guests from both Adventure and Serenade were present.  From here it was a short walk to the boat which used the water taxi terminal at the port.

 

The boat featured both covered seating as well as mesh areas in the front where you could sit for an over water full sun experience.

 

 

We left the Great Bay area where the ships dock and headed along the coast.

 

Captain Kevin at the helm had Caribbean music playing stopping it occasionally so they could narrate and inform us of interesting facts along the way.

 

We passed Fort Amsterdam and Little Bay. The Divi Little Bay Beach Resort where the King and Queen of The Netherlands stay when they visit is one of the first and few hotels that have reopened.

 

From here we continued to the water and electric plants that generate all the electricity and water desalination for the Dutch side.  The tankers here were offloading fuel for the generators used to power this side of the island.

 

This was my view straddling the right pontoon most of the day.

 

This is the the draw bridge used for boats to enter the lagoon which is one of the largest lagoons in the Caribbean.  This is where everyone moves their boats during hurricanes.  During Irma over 300 boats were damaged beyond repair and they continue to deal with wrecks to this day.  According to our hostess no sailboat masts survived the storm including the 'Swept Away' we were on.  As a result we had no 'sailing' and our tour used engine power all the way.

 

This took us into Simpson Bay where we saw beaches lined with people and water sports underway.

 

The bay is a popular anchoring spot for many boats and yachts such as this unique craft.  It was reported the entire craft can be controlled by the owners iPad.

 

Continuing along the coast we made our way to Maho Beach, the famous beach area at the end of the runway where people go to watch planes land.  You could hear the music from the Sunset Bar located at Maho Beach with scores of people on the beach just like it used to be.

 

We hung out here for a while and watched as some airplanes landed above us.

Continuing along the coast...

 

This beach in Mullet Bay is where the locals like to spend most weekends.  The water was crystal clear and we were told it was 35' deep where we were but you could see the sand bottom very easily.

 

The spot marks the border between the Dutch and French sides of the island.  If you look very close there is a small green fence separating the two sides even though it is an open border and you can freely move between the two countries.

 

We continued sailing up the French side of the island with Sylvia our bartender keeping the drinks flowing.

 

This area Baie Longue (Long Bay in English) on the French side is one of the most expensive parts of the island.

 

At this point we turned and started making our way eventually back to Philipsburg and the ships.  A few dolphins swam near us briefly on the way back.

 

 

 

It was a very enjoyable excursion and it was great seeing the coast of St. Maarten from a catamaran.  Our hosts explained everyone on the Dutch side has power and water at this point and they were very proud of how strong and resilient the people of St Maarten have been through to this point. 

One them explained that the boat she used to work on was destroyed and she was so happy to be working again now on the 'Swept Away'.  They were all very happy to be working again and they thanked us for that.  With only one or two hotels open it really drove home the impact that the cruise industry has on the local economy.

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46 minutes ago, twangster said:

Day 8 - St Maarten continued...

This afternoon's excursion would be on the catamaran 'Swept Away' which is why this excursion was called "Swept Away Coastal Cruise".  We met on the pier and guests from both Adventure and Serenade were present.  From here it was a short walk to the boat which used the water taxi terminal at the port.

5ac891e5a6b21_SerenadeDay8SXM-19.jpg.ba33bb3ae124bace9cc2e47dbcbc30f1.jpg

The boat featured both covered seating as well as mesh areas in the front where you could sit for an over water full sun experience.

5ac8929c4138b_SerenadeDay8SXM-20.jpg.3a5aa705ed9ba4dddbc11a022904d618.jpg

5ac892ad2d9d3_SerenadeDay8SXM-21.jpg.612f9e37ee878a94e5542a0c95fb6614.jpg

We left the Great Bay area where the ships dock and headed along the coast.

5ac8931cdc734_SerenadeDay8SXM-22.jpg.5d4392b41784036da8f2a1410195b62b.jpg

Captain Kevin at the helm had Caribbean music playing stopping it occasionally so they could narrate and inform us of interesting facts along the way.

5ac8932cd9a45_SerenadeDay8SXM-23.jpg.7a5d0cb403f262129ee9b9e81dc4d4cc.jpg

We passed Fort Amsterdam and Little Bay. The Divi Little Bay Beach Resort where the King and Queen of The Netherlands stay when they visit is one of the first and few hotels that have reopened.

5ac8a455e663c_SerenadeDay8SXM-50.jpg.fd82d64b7a624b57fa17ea3cd31a065c.jpg

From here we continued to the water and electric plants that generate all the electricity and water desalination for the Dutch side.  The tankers here were offloading fuel for the generators used to power this side of the island.

5ac89378af30f_SerenadeDay8SXM-24.jpg.c8b3696b8c4ba7246722b1818f4cf4b1.jpg

This was my view straddling the right pontoon most of the day.

5ac8941aeb0e0_SerenadeDay8SXM-25.jpg.be5585b1db5b316a97a57e0f33749691.jpg

This is the the draw bridge used for boats to enter the lagoon which is one of the largest lagoons in the Caribbean.  This is where everyone moves their boats during hurricanes.  During Irma over 300 boats were damaged beyond repair and they continue to deal with wrecks to this day.  According to our hostess no sailboat masts survived the storm including the 'Swept Away' we were on.  As a result we had no 'sailing' and our tour used engine power all the way.

5ac8944687783_SerenadeDay8SXM-26.jpg.fe94432fc644e38b90e3b26dd38f826e.jpg

This took us into Simpson Bay where we saw beaches lined with people and water sports underway.

5ac8959d79865_SerenadeDay8SXM-28.jpg.1c30d1840f7008b685d234b3430f89c5.jpg

The bay is a popular anchoring spot for many boats and yachts such as this unique craft.  It was reported the entire craft can be controlled by the owners iPad.

5ac895fe9ffc3_SerenadeDay8SXM-27.jpg.022651b2d19335d18c75ab613a768fd5.jpg

Continuing along the coast we made our way to Maho Beach, the famous beach area at the end of the runway where people go to watch planes land.  You could hear the music from the Sunset Bar located at Maho Beach with scores of people on the beach just like it used to be.

5ac8965a2ca9d_SerenadeDay8SXM-29.jpg.683449a3406b6f71b46645214fce3edd.jpg

We hung out here for a while and watched as some airplanes landed above us.

Continuing along the coast...

5ac896c454738_SerenadeDay8SXM-31.jpg.c309b3230b910d642f7acb8b638e7004.jpg

This beach in Mullet Bay is where the locals like to spend most weekends.  The water was crystal clear and we were told it was 35' deep where we were but you could see the sand bottom very easily.

5ac896da41fa1_SerenadeDay8SXM-30.jpg.5d93f8530db12bd6b8339e14d5761aa4.jpg

The spot marks the border between the Dutch and French sides of the island.  If you look very close there is a small green fence separating the two sides even though it is an open border and you can freely move between the two countries.

5ac8974b15a45_SerenadeDay8SXM-32.jpg.245d8d6ddee0ddf730953c9bb1f83a6a.jpg

We continued sailing up the French side of the island with Sylvia our bartender keeping the drinks flowing.

5ac897d4c0985_SerenadeDay8SXM-33.jpg.903bd9193eb182a1f77786bd09d2a6ea.jpg

This area Baie Longue (Long Bay in English) on the French side is one of the most expensive parts of the island.

5ac897dc9bf9b_SerenadeDay8SXM-34.jpg.494f3c9cb59db62bddae1b48610fb9a9.jpg

At this point we turned and started making our way eventually back to Philipsburg and the ships.  A few dolphins swam near us briefly on the way back.

5ac8987fe4c7f_SerenadeDay8SXM-35.jpg.cf98ca110fd0fc20770c97694a9b8b6b.jpg

5ac8988aa8caf_SerenadeDay8SXM-36.jpg.638db22455c90954e7000ed6ec14f891.jpg

5ac89195d7bf8_SerenadeDay8SXM-52.jpg.59fe629db55cdab57badd3e53da9960c.jpg

It was a very enjoyable excursion and it was great seeing the coast of St. Maarten from a catamaran.  Our hosts explained everyone on the Dutch side has power and water at this point and they were very proud of how strong and resilient the people of St Maarten have been through to this point. 

One them explained that the boat she used to work on was destroyed and she was so happy to be working again now on the 'Swept Away'.  They were all very happy to be working again and they thanked us for that.  With only one or two hotels open it really drove home the impact that the cruise industry has on the local economy.

Your excursion at St Maarten looked fantastic. What a great day out.

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2 hours ago, twangster said:

Day 8 - St Maarten continued...

This afternoon's excursion would be on the catamaran 'Swept Away' which is why this excursion was called "Swept Away Coastal Cruise".  We met on the pier and guests from both Adventure and Serenade were present.  From here it was a short walk to the boat which used the water taxi terminal at the port.

5ac891e5a6b21_SerenadeDay8SXM-19.jpg.ba33bb3ae124bace9cc2e47dbcbc30f1.jpg

The boat featured both covered seating as well as mesh areas in the front where you could sit for an over water full sun experience.

5ac8929c4138b_SerenadeDay8SXM-20.jpg.3a5aa705ed9ba4dddbc11a022904d618.jpg

5ac892ad2d9d3_SerenadeDay8SXM-21.jpg.612f9e37ee878a94e5542a0c95fb6614.jpg

We left the Great Bay area where the ships dock and headed along the coast.

5ac8931cdc734_SerenadeDay8SXM-22.jpg.5d4392b41784036da8f2a1410195b62b.jpg

Captain Kevin at the helm had Caribbean music playing stopping it occasionally so they could narrate and inform us of interesting facts along the way.

5ac8932cd9a45_SerenadeDay8SXM-23.jpg.7a5d0cb403f262129ee9b9e81dc4d4cc.jpg

We passed Fort Amsterdam and Little Bay. The Divi Little Bay Beach Resort where the King and Queen of The Netherlands stay when they visit is one of the first and few hotels that have reopened.

5ac8a455e663c_SerenadeDay8SXM-50.jpg.fd82d64b7a624b57fa17ea3cd31a065c.jpg

From here we continued to the water and electric plants that generate all the electricity and water desalination for the Dutch side.  The tankers here were offloading fuel for the generators used to power this side of the island.

5ac89378af30f_SerenadeDay8SXM-24.jpg.c8b3696b8c4ba7246722b1818f4cf4b1.jpg

This was my view straddling the right pontoon most of the day.

5ac8941aeb0e0_SerenadeDay8SXM-25.jpg.be5585b1db5b316a97a57e0f33749691.jpg

This is the the draw bridge used for boats to enter the lagoon which is one of the largest lagoons in the Caribbean.  This is where everyone moves their boats during hurricanes.  During Irma over 300 boats were damaged beyond repair and they continue to deal with wrecks to this day.  According to our hostess no sailboat masts survived the storm including the 'Swept Away' we were on.  As a result we had no 'sailing' and our tour used engine power all the way.

5ac8944687783_SerenadeDay8SXM-26.jpg.fe94432fc644e38b90e3b26dd38f826e.jpg

This took us into Simpson Bay where we saw beaches lined with people and water sports underway.

5ac8959d79865_SerenadeDay8SXM-28.jpg.1c30d1840f7008b685d234b3430f89c5.jpg

The bay is a popular anchoring spot for many boats and yachts such as this unique craft.  It was reported the entire craft can be controlled by the owners iPad.

5ac895fe9ffc3_SerenadeDay8SXM-27.jpg.022651b2d19335d18c75ab613a768fd5.jpg

Continuing along the coast we made our way to Maho Beach, the famous beach area at the end of the runway where people go to watch planes land.  You could hear the music from the Sunset Bar located at Maho Beach with scores of people on the beach just like it used to be.

5ac8965a2ca9d_SerenadeDay8SXM-29.jpg.683449a3406b6f71b46645214fce3edd.jpg

We hung out here for a while and watched as some airplanes landed above us.

Continuing along the coast...

5ac896c454738_SerenadeDay8SXM-31.jpg.c309b3230b910d642f7acb8b638e7004.jpg

This beach in Mullet Bay is where the locals like to spend most weekends.  The water was crystal clear and we were told it was 35' deep where we were but you could see the sand bottom very easily.

5ac896da41fa1_SerenadeDay8SXM-30.jpg.5d93f8530db12bd6b8339e14d5761aa4.jpg

The spot marks the border between the Dutch and French sides of the island.  If you look very close there is a small green fence separating the two sides even though it is an open border and you can freely move between the two countries.

5ac8974b15a45_SerenadeDay8SXM-32.jpg.245d8d6ddee0ddf730953c9bb1f83a6a.jpg

We continued sailing up the French side of the island with Sylvia our bartender keeping the drinks flowing.

5ac897d4c0985_SerenadeDay8SXM-33.jpg.903bd9193eb182a1f77786bd09d2a6ea.jpg

This area Baie Longue (Long Bay in English) on the French side is one of the most expensive parts of the island.

5ac897dc9bf9b_SerenadeDay8SXM-34.jpg.494f3c9cb59db62bddae1b48610fb9a9.jpg

At this point we turned and started making our way eventually back to Philipsburg and the ships.  A few dolphins swam near us briefly on the way back.

5ac8987fe4c7f_SerenadeDay8SXM-35.jpg.cf98ca110fd0fc20770c97694a9b8b6b.jpg

5ac8988aa8caf_SerenadeDay8SXM-36.jpg.638db22455c90954e7000ed6ec14f891.jpg

5ac89195d7bf8_SerenadeDay8SXM-52.jpg.59fe629db55cdab57badd3e53da9960c.jpg

It was a very enjoyable excursion and it was great seeing the coast of St. Maarten from a catamaran.  Our hosts explained everyone on the Dutch side has power and water at this point and they were very proud of how strong and resilient the people of St Maarten have been through to this point. 

One them explained that the boat she used to work on was destroyed and she was so happy to be working again now on the 'Swept Away'.  They were all very happy to be working again and they thanked us for that.  With only one or two hotels open it really drove home the impact that the cruise industry has on the local economy.

I am glad you highlighted this excursion.  I have it already booked for November on Oasis with some of my OBC.  DH and I usually enjoy catamaran excursions. 

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Day 9 - Sea Day

Reality is creeping in, departure tags and instructions were dropped off today.  This confirms the cruise will end soon.

Sexiest man contest today by the main pool.  

 

Not a cloud in the sky, it's hot and I'm thirsty.  The moment called for the official drink of the RoyalCaribbeanBlog... the Kraken Lava Flow.

 

A stroll around the ship to burn of 1/1000 of the calories led me to the helipad on this glorious sun filled sea day.

 

Dinner tonight in the MDR as it is formal night and that means lobster.

 

Caesar Salad to start.

 

Lobster AND Prime Rib tonight.

 

And for once I had dessert... Baked Alaska.

 

Following dinner was The Parade of the Chefs.

 

Dinner complete and with the need to walk some more I headed to the helipad once again just in time for sunset.

 

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