CARIBBEAN CRUISE PART 2
We are now heading for St Thomas in the American Virgin Islands.
Here is a view of the Cascades Dining Room, which is the main restaurant, and the most formal. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner here. There are two other specialty dining rooms, as well as a very large buffet. The meals in this main dining room and the buffet are included in the price of the cruise, but the two specialty restaurants have different menus and are an extra charge. We ate all of our dinners here at our assigned table, but preferred to eat breakfast and lunch at the buffet because of the variety, flexibility and speed.
Each evening when we came back to our room, we found a cute example of this "towel art", as well as the schedule for the next day and some chocolates.
We arrived at city of Chalotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands about 7 a.m. I wanted to get a photo of our room window, so one day, I stuffed a pillow in the window as a marker, and went out on the dock. Here we see Marie standing under our window, which is the large one with a vertical bar down the middle, and a white pillow. The lifeboats are sized to hold about 260 people each. At one point in the cruise there was a "man overboard" drill, where they threw a dummy overboard, and then quickly launched a small boat and rescued the dummy.
St Thomas is much hillier than St Johns, and appeared more prosperous and clean. It is most famous as a major duty free port, with many hundreds of shops and bazaars.It also is reputed to have many beautiful beaches and scenery, but it's dominant reputation is as the best place to do duty free shopping, especially for Americans.
The weather was delightful.
I carried stuff in my handy dandy blue back pack. This included an umbrella and a rain jacket, but, fortunately, we never needed them.
There were many informal shops, covered with canvas, in several park areas. What bargains! This is where we bought some nice caps.
Many many shops and shoppers. Diamonds, cameras and liquor seemed to be very popular.The prices seemed to be very reasonable.
They used a system of "taxis", that were more like open air shuttles, to provide transportation between the docks and down town. The price was fixed by law at $4 per person each way, and the distance was about 5 miles. It worked very well. You can see a blue one in this photo.
There were many arcades branching off the streets, with many shops on each arcade. There would often be a person standing at the entrance to the arcade shouting the wonders of the stores within.
I saw these birds and wonder what it would sound like if someone used this photo as a sheet of music!
Back to our dream ship. Look at the big bag of loot!
See, I told you that there were a lot of pretty hills here!
We departed St Thomas about 6 p.m. after a very pleasant day.
We arrive in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten 7 AM,and we are scheduled to depart at 4 PM. In this harbor, the main docks were located across the bay from the main part of town, and one could take a taxi around the harbor, or take a water taxi across the harbor. The water taxi was the fastest and the most popular.
St Marten was colonized by the Dutch and French. they decided to share the island and divided it into two parts. This is the Dutch part. It was one of the prettiest islands that we saw. As one might guess, the French got the largest part!
There is the view of the water taxi dock as seen from our ship. I was suffering from a well developed cold, and, since the ship was leaving rather early, we decided we did not want to go on the water taxi and risk not getting back to the ship on time. So we just walked around this dock area, which was very well done, and we found a neat little pharmacy we we managed to buy some cold medicine.
Starting out of the harbor about 4 PM.
Looks like some nice homes on the hills.
This is the children's pool.
Since the departure was early compared to other ports, everyone had time to enjoy it before getting ready for dinner. Most of the people were always working on getting a good tan.
It is now Friday, and we are on a "day at sea" en route to arrive at Nassau, in the Bahamas at 12 noon tomorrow.
This is the main pool, which was the main gathering place topside during the middle of the day. It got pretty quiet when the sun started to decline, and the cocktail hour and dinner hour started. There also was a nice indoor pool, and many places to buy drinks. Generally there was a Caribbean style band providing background music, though sometimes it was a bit loud for me..
See! I told you about the sun worshipers and all the flesh. But the weather was definitely tropical and pleasant.
Since it was a "day at sea" we had our second "formal" dinner. This is the photo taken by our waiter, Lorand, who was from Hungary. He was very good, giving us lots of advice each evening about the next day's happenings. We learned the the crew works for 6 months, and then gets a 9 week vacation. He is married, and recently returned from his vacation. As a special occasion, his wife has flown to Fort Lauderdale, and will join on the next cruise, as his guest. He was excited!
The view from our table was very pretty, and so this photo was shot with available light in order to see the sea!
And then he took this flash photo to emphasize the inside view. Here was our last dinner with our table mates, Tony and Ellen from Maryland. Note the drinks we had to celebrate, and the fine table settings.
Here we are looking down on what is known as the "centrum". It is located on about the center of the ship on the 4th deck, and extends all the way up to the 12th deck. One can look down from most decks. There was typically a small musical group performing and the music spread around. there are many public spaces opening off this centrum on the 4th, 5th and 6th decks, including restaurants, bars, shops, casino, and a huge theater! Also there 7 speedy glass enclosed elevators located here. Three overlook this centrum, and the other 4 look out to sea! The view from these elevators was always fascinating.
Another view of the Centrum.
Here is one of the glass elevators that overlook the Centrum.
I took this photo looking out our stateroom window, hoping to show some of the whitecaps and bow waves. I was not very successful. The ship is equipped with two very large stabilizing planes near midship, and they worked very well in dampening out the low frequency rolls. The people on the higher decks tend to get much more motion, particularly those nearer the bow or stern. I thought the ship motion shook more like a mild California earthquake than a rolling ship.