Traveling Home

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

We played some slots and then cashed out. We then went to dinner in the Lido. I had the lamb and beef kabobs with the spicy noodles again. Chuck had the roasted chicken. We each got a piece of carrot cake for dessert.

After dinner, we went to the first set of the Rolling Stone Rock Band and then went to the comedy show of Wayne Cotter in the BB King lounge. He was very funny.

We said good-bye to our stewards and favorite waitstaff and said we hoped to see them again in September when we plan to be back on the Rotterdam.

We then called it an early night. We made sure we had what we needed for the morning (don’t want to leave the ship in a bathrobe because you packed all your clothes), tagged the big bags and put them in the hall for pickup. We would see them again in the port terminal (fingers crossed).

I woke up before the 6:00 alarm. We were just pulling into the port. Last time, we were already docked when we woke up.

We went to the Lido for breakfast. It was crowded and there weren’t too many smiling faces.

At 7:30, the cruise director announced that the ship had been cleared for disembarkation. Our number was called at 8:00. According to our paperwork, we could have waited until 9:00 to leave if we wished, but we were ready to go.

Facial recognition was used to get off the ship and through customs. We found our bags in the terminal easily this time which is sometimes not the case.

There were many taxis lined up outside the terminal, and we were quickly at the airport since it is located so close to the port.

We used the outside baggage kiosk to check our bags. Inside, there was a CLEAR line for us to use but the general boarding line was not busy either.

We had to take our shoes off at security, but I could leave my laptop and Kindle in my backpack. Once we passed through security, our gate was right around the corner from it. All very different from the Atlanta airport.

From the time we left our room on the ship to the time we got to our gate – 30 minutes. Amazing.

The flight left on time, and I watched Disney’s Strange World mainly because it was one of the few movies that was less than two hours long. It was okay.

Once we collected our bags in Atlanta, it was about 2:10. I thought we would have a long wait until our 3:15 shuttle. However, we lucked out. The 2:15 shuttle was still at the airport, and he had room on it for us. Yay!

There was no issue getting back from the airport to the shuttle company main office, and after a quick stop at Krystal to pick up burgers for our dinner, we pulled into our driveway – home sweet home.

We were greeted by Pumpkin in his usual fashion after we have been away – a combination of love and disdain with a lot of loud meows.

Now, I’ve got 18 days to get ready for our next cruise. Until then:

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if we only seek them with our eyes open” – Jawarahal Nehru

Half Moon Cay

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

We had an early dinner in the main dining room tonight as we knew it would be crowded. We were seated at a table for six with two couples from Canada. They were a lot of laughs. Wished we had met them earlier in the cruise. Tonight, I had the duck. Chuck had the tenderloin and shrimp.

We went to two sets of the Rolling Stone Rock Band and one set of the BB King Band. Another night of staying up until after midnight – a new record for us.

I got coffee from the Crow’s Nest at 8:00. We ate breakfast in the Lido. The tenders had just started for Half Moon Cay. On the first leg of the cruise, Half Moon Cay was the first stop after leaving Ft. Lauderdale. Today, it was the last stop before arriving at Ft. Lauderdale.

It was overcast and breezy today but still warm. We sat out on the Sea View and then had lunch at the Dive In.

The room stewards had provided the luggage mats, so we knew our next chore was getting everything packed up and tagged – a dreaded task. Finally finished by the time we pulled away from Half Moon Cay.

Up next – our last evening aboard.

Sea Day #6

Monday, March 27, 2023

Tonight was the Orange Party to celebrate Holland America’s Dutch Heritage. This is our second one of the cruise because we attended the one during the first leg of this trip too. I think more people dressed in something orange this time than the last time.

We played some slots before dinner. Computers were down so all the bartenders were having to write down the drinks on receipts. Know Accounting will have a nightmare sorting it out as the bars were in full swing. The night before a sea day is always busy for the Casino and all the bars.

We ate in the Lido as they advertised a Dutch themed dinner. I had the Dutch pea soup and then a Dutch meatball with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. The Dutch meatball tasted like any other meatball, just bigger. Chuck had bratwurst and pork loin with sauerkraut. We were disappointed that they weren’t serving bitterballen.

We decided to skip the party in the BB King as it was just as crowded as the last time – could not move at all on the dance floor. Instead, we stayed for all three sets of the Rolling Stone Rock Band. My favorite was the 1980’s set.

The waiter staff did come around bringing Dutch appetizers and desserts.

We were surprised to run into a couple we had met on a previous Carnival cruise. They are going to be on our upcoming Florida to Montreal cruise also.

We came back to the cabin and were shocked to see that it was after midnight. Look at us – party people.

Of course, staying up past midnight meant that we didn’t wake up until after 8:00. I went to the Crow’s Nest to get coffee and found the computers were still down and the baristas were filling out paper receipts. I just have to wonder if the computer system crashed because of the new facial recognition system they’ve recently started testing. I just know that the servers are frustrated.

It was a typical sea day for this cruise – breakfast in main dining room – a mile stroll around the promenade -some slot play – then relaxation on the balcony for me and poker for Chuck in the Casino.

The stewards delivered two Holland America tiles for us as a thank you for this leg of the cruise. They were the same design as the last leg.

Last sea day … time to get ready for the last dressy night.

St. Thomas, USVI

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Because of our late lunch, we had a late meal in the Lido after playing some slots. We both had the ribs with squash and asparagus. The ribs were okay but not as good as how Chuck makes them. Didn’t stop us from inhaling the whole meal before I thought to get a photo.

Chuck returned to the Casino, but I decided to go to the “Movie by the Pool.” Occasionally the ship will show family friendly movies on their big screen outside in the Lido pool area. Tonight, they were showing Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a favorite of mine back in the day.

The NY Deli and Grill serves snacks on these movie nights, so I settled in with a Diet Coke and popcorn. Fun time.

We woke up at 7:00 so I went to the Grand Dutch Cafe for coffee. I never found another substitute excursion to replace the one that got cancelled for today so there was no reason to rush around.

At breakfast in the main dining room, we shared a table with four other people. We discovered that one couple has also signed up for the same 2024 June Alaska cruise as us. They are the not the only people that we’ve met who are planning for this cruise. It is a popular itinerary going to places in Alaska that most of the usual Alaska itineraries don’t include.

I spent the rest of the day sunning at the Sea View pool as I knew there will be no seat available tomorrow – the last sea day. It was very windy again today and there was more hat chasing.

The day went by quickly and it was soon time to get ready for dinner and the Orange Party.

Travel Trivia

St. Thomas / St. John, USVI

St. Thomas together with Saint John, and Saint Croix, form a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), located in the Caribbean Sea.

Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493 on his second voyage to the New World.

The Dutch West India Company established a post on Saint Thomas in 1657.

In 1917, Saint Thomas was purchased (along with Saint John and Saint Croix) by the United States from the Dutch for $25 million in gold, as part of a defensive strategy to maintain control over the Caribbean and the Panama Canal during the First World War.

The actor Kelsey Grammar was born in St. Thomas.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only location in the United States where you drive on the left side of the road.

St. Thomas has more than 40 pristine white sand beaches with turquoise waters.

At 31 miles, St. John is the smallest of the three main US Virgin Islands

Since 1956, approximately 60% of St. John is protected as Virgin Islands National Park and administered by the US National Parks Service.

The main economic driver of Saint John used to be sugar cane. However, the island is now almost entirely reliant on tourism.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

Saint Kitts & Nevis

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Before we left for the casino, the stewards delivered the laundry with a note that said the last time to send out laundry for this cruise was tomorrow by 2:00 pm. They’ve done a great job with the laundry this cruise.

Walking the halls, I could feel the wave action getting stronger. Took a Bonine to be on the safe side.

We chose to have dinner in the main dining room. Chuck had pasta with beef Bolognese. I had the mushroom and cheese fritters. We split a piece of dulce de leche cheesecake.

Went to the comedy and magic show of Fred Moore on the main stage. He had the same type of illusions as the last magicians did, but we enjoyed them anyway.

Woke up before the alarm went off. Breakfast was delivered at 7:30. I had time to prep our snorkeling gear since we didn’t have to meet the tour group until 9:45.

Today we repeated a snorkel tour that we did in December 2021 at St Kitts because it was so much fun then. I had high hopes that today would be just as fun.

The name of this HAL tour: St Kitts Snorkel Adventure.

The tour description: Enchanting, impressive and breathtaking — that’s a snorkel safari along the pristine Southeast Peninsula of St Kitts, where green vervet monkeys far outnumber human beings.

At Port Zante Marina, you will board a snorkel boat. Your snorkel stops will be at Shitten’s Bay and Ballast Bay — both teeming with tropical fish and coral life — turtles, eagle rays, stingrays, schools of salt water chub, snapper, angel, parrot fish, squirrel fish and sand sharks may be seen.

Take time to explore the many virgin reefs, and the extensive soft corals, fans and sponges that make up the reef life.

Notes: Non-alcoholic drinks and water will be provided. Wear your swimsuit; bring a towel, sunscreen and a hat. Guests with heart problems, epilepsy, diabetes or asthma are not allowed to participate. Waiver must be signed and medical conditions disclosed. Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed. All snorkel gear is provided. Life vests must be worn. Maximum weight is 300 lbs.

We met the group at 9:45 and we all walked to the smaller port area to board the tour boat. We left right at 10:00. I noticed that it was a different tour operator doing the tour today than we had in 2021. We also had more people on the excursion than the last time.

However, the snorkeling spots were the same and the fish were plentiful. The tour operator had plenty of gear for people to borrow and I used their fins. The sun was out, and the waves weren’t as strong as yesterday. And I didn’t embarrass myself jumping into the water.

This boat had a slide you could choose to slide down into the water from the upper deck if you didn’t want to jump or use the ladder. Not for me. I’ve seen enough AFV shows with adults on slides to know I didn’t want to end up on one of their episodes.

The only issue that people had was climbing back up into the boat after each snorkeling spot. The ladder didn’t go very far into the water. You had to bring your leg up pretty far to get it on the first rung, and then pull yourself up using the ropes provided. Then, you could climb the rest of the ladder.

You really needed some upper body strength to pull yourself out of the water. The tour operators in the water helped push if needed, but it was a struggle for some.

Even though the tour description didn’t mention any alcohol, there was plenty of local beer and rum punch provided on the sail back to the dock. There was plenty of non-alcoholic options too.

They turned the music up and we danced on the decks all the way back to the port. We passed close by some beach resorts and people waved. Good advertising for the tour company – “See what fun these people are having – you could too.”

However, the few pre-teens that were on this excursion with their families just looked mortified that they were surrounded by all the dancing adults. They did not join in. I could feel all the eye-rolling going on. 😁

We got back to the ship about 2:00 so we had a late, light lunch in the Lido. Spent the rest of the afternoon on the balcony until it was time to get ready for the evening. I did manage to stay awake today. I call that win.

Travel Trivia

Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis

In 1493, Christopher Columbus was allegedly so smitten with this volcanic island that he named it after St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers.

St. Kitts (shortened from St. Cristopher by British sailors) and sister isle Nevis were part of the British Empire until 1967, earning semi-independent status when they were named associated states of Great Britain.

In 1983, the 68-square-mile St. Kitts and Nevis became an independent, two-island nation with a parliamentary government headed by a prime minister.

The Green Vervet monkeys, found all over the island, originally arrived is St Kitts when the French occupied the island sporadically in the time frames of 1665 to 1690. They brought them as pets. Eventually the French were deported, and the monkeys were not allowed to enter the boats, so they were abandoned on the island. Today, there are 1.25 monkeys for every human on the island.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia


Friday, March 24, 2023

It was a good thing that we had a very early excursion in Martinique and needed an early night because we weren’t fit for anything other than lumbering back to our room after our Canaletto dinner.

We had the same appetizers as the last time we ate here this cruise. We each had a different main course. Chuck had the chops, and I had the chicken parmigiana. Both were excellent as usual. Service was a little slow tonight, but the place was very crowded. The servers and kitchen were working as fast as they could.

Room Service Breakfast menu – to hang on door the night before

We got up at 6:15 and breakfast was delivered at 6:30. Unfortunately, Chuck’s order was missing from the tray. The delivery person went right back and got it. He was back in just a few minutes, and I was glad the food was still hot.

Our HAL tour today was entitled Snorkel Martinique.

The tour description: Welcome to Martinique’s silent underwater world. Guided by a professional French-, English- and Spanish-speaking staff, you will discover the wonderful life of the coral reef and tropical fish.

Your excursion boat will cross the bay, passing all the main hotels. Sip on a delicious non-alcoholic exotic fruit punch before arriving at the beach and fishing village of Anse-Dufour — your first snorkeling site.

The boat will anchor very close to the beach and the staff will assist you in selecting appropriate snorkel gear.

The second snorkel site will be at the Bat Cave where, under the guidance of the staff, you will watch angelfish, parrotfish and many other marvelously colored creatures swimming in an aquarium-like environment. Should you prefer to remain on board, the boat is equipped with shaded areas.

On the return journey, a well-deserved rum punch will be served.

Notes: Wear your swimsuit; bring a towel, sunscreen and a hat. Guests with heart problems, epilepsy, diabetes or asthma are not allowed to participate. Waiver must be signed and medical conditions disclosed. Minimum age is 6 years. Participants must climb down a ladder to get in the water. Sites may vary depending on conditions of the day.

The last time we were here in December 2021, we were going to take this snorkeling tour since we had already done an island tour here. But Martinique decided not to let us in because of COVID. There was no issue today.

I thought we were going to have to tender to Martinique like we did the first time we visited, but we were docked which is so much better. We also did not need our passports like we did the first time – just a government ID like the other ports require.

I was glad. I hate taking my passport off of the ship. If we are on an independent excursion, I take copies of our passports in case we need them, but I don’t even do that if we are on a HAL excursion.

Today, we met the excursion group on the pier and left right at 8:00. It was a big group who opted to take this tour so I worried that the snorkeling areas would be crowded. I’ve been kicked before by people snorkeling in a too crowded snorkeling area.

It was an overcast day which sometimes makes the visibility in the water worse. At our first stop at the Bat Cave area, two of the tour operators jumped into the water to determine the visibility. They said it was adequate.

Chuck was the first to jump in the water. I jumped in next. It was an awkward jump. Your feet/fins are supposed to hit the water first. That was not the body part that hit the water first when I jumped in. I guess gravity took over and my largest part smacked the water. I splashed so hard that my underwater camera flew off my wrist. Luckily, the floaty attachment kept it bobbing at the surface until I could retrieve it.

The next thing I quickly realized was the water was really, really cold. I was so happy to have my neoprene shirt on. Otherwise, I would have gotten right back into the boat. Chuck said he wasn’t laughing at my less than graceful entrance, but I knew his shaking body was not from the cold water.

Two of the tour operators were in the water with us. One lead a group of us to the entrance of the Bat Cave.

Google photo – much better than mine was

She explained that the bats not only kept the insect population down, but their guano attracted breeding fish because it sustained the young fish and helped the coral. But I hated to think about bat poop being in the water.

We were then invited to swim into the Cave, but she said to be careful as the sides of the cave would get narrow.

Nope. No thank you.

The cave was very dark. I could hear the bats squeaking even from the entrance. There was a lot of wave action today because of the storm on the horizon. The waves made the swimming difficult, and I was already pushing seaweed out of my way.

If I got tangled up in seaweed in the cave and had a bat fly down and poop on me, I would have been in my own personal horror movie. Others chose to swim into the cave. I swam back toward the boat to look at the fish in the coral. Chuck came with me.

We stayed at this location about 45 minutes. It wasn’t too difficult to climb back into the boat. The operators were there to help.

For our second stop, we were anchored not too far from a beach, and there was a lot of sea grass. The tour operators spotted some turtles feeding on the grass, so the majority of people swam toward the turtles. I would have done the same thing if it was my first time to see turtles. But we’ve been fortunate enough to see many sea turtles before, so we swam in the other direction toward the reef to look at the fish.

At least this time I jumped in the water correctly. The sun had come out, so the water didn’t feel as cold either. However, it did eventually cloud back up and even rained some, but it didn’t mess up the visibility.

We got about 45 minutes here also. There were a lot of fish around the coral.

Never could figure out what this creature above was – slinked thru the coral like a worm

On the sail back to the dock, they brought out all kinds of rum and invited everyone to try them either straight, with a soft drink, or in a punch. You could also have just a soft drink, just punch, or water.

I had a shot of the spiced rum, and it made me cough. I then had a cup (or two) of the rum punch, and it was very good. For people who wanted to purchase a bottle of the rum, the tour operators gave out information about the store near the dock that sold it.

We got back to the dock around noon. It was a fun morning and I recommend this tour. We had our own equipment, but the tour operators did have plenty of fins, masks, and snorkels. I chose to use a pair of their fins as they were a lot nicer than mine. The two areas to snorkel were large enough that everyone had plenty of space to snorkel without being on top of each other.

We changed out of our wet swimwear and then went for some lunch. I chose a grilled chicken sandwich at the Dive In. Chuck got an assortment of items at the Lido.

My intention was to read for a while on the balcony. I ended up falling asleep. The swimming and the rum punch must have taken its toll. Chuck visited with some of his buddies on the Sea View deck.

I finally roused myself up to get ready for the evening.

Travel Trivia

Fort-de-France, Martinique

Martinique is an overseas territorial collectivity of the French Republic. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, northwest of Barbados and south of Dominica.

Virtually the entire population speaks both French, the only official language, and Martinican Creole, an Antillean Creole. Antillean Creole’s grammar and vocabulary include elements of Carib, English, and African languages.

The northern end of the island catches most of the rainfall and is heavily forested, featuring species such as bamboo, mahogany, rosewood and locust. The south is drier and dominated by savanna-like brush, including cacti, Copaiba balsam, logwood and acacia.

Historically, Martinique’s economy relied on agriculture, notably sugar and bananas, but by the beginning of the 21st century this sector had dwindled considerably. Sugar production has declined, with most of the sugarcane now used in rum production. Banana exports are increasing, going mostly to mainland France. The bulk of meat, vegetable and grain requirements must be imported.

One of Martinique’s most famous dishes is the Colombo, a unique dish of curry chicken, meat or fish with vegetables, spices, and often containing wine, coconut milk, cassava and rum.

Google photo

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

Saint Vincent & the Grenadines

Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Lido was featuring a Caribbean themed dinner tonight. I guess a number of guests had the same idea that we did because it was more crowded than usual at this time. However, by the time I looked at everything offered, I just decided to go with some fruit and a salad. Chuck had chosen a steak that he had almost finished by the time I finally decided on and came back with my salad.

The Rolling Stone Band had the night off and it was game night in the BB King lounge so we enjoyed watching the lights of the island as we slowly, slowly left the St Lucia area. At times, it felt like we weren’t moving at all.

Today we were supposed to be visiting Barbados. We got notified right before we left that the stop was being changed to St Vincent’s. We had a snorkeling tour scheduled for Barbados, but I couldn’t find anything comparable for here that wasn’t already sold out. We took an island tour when we were here in 2016.

Scenes from 2016:

Botanical Gardens

Scenes from today:

So right after a breakfast in main dining room, I headed back to the Sea View pool. I was surprised to find more people here than yesterday. It was also much breezier than yesterday. Quite a few people had to chase their hats around the deck. Luckily, none of the hats went overboard.

I heard a lot of grumbling about Barbados being cancelled. As usual, there was no definitive reason given for the change.

Tomorrow we would be in Martinique and as far as I knew our snorkeling tour was still a go. So, in anticipation that we would be snorkeling, after I got back to the cabin, I got out our gear to treat the masks with the anti-fog gel and rinse out the snorkels.

It was soon time to get ready for our Canaletto dinner compliments of the casino.

Travel Trivia

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Before the arrival of Europeans and Africans in the 16th century, various Amerindian groups passed through or settled on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including the Ciboney, Arawak, and Kalinago people.

Christopher Columbus, the first European to reach the island, named it after St. Vincent of Saragossa (San Vicente de Zaragoza) whose feast day was on the day Columbus first saw it (January 22, 1498). The name of the Grenadines refers to the Spanish city of Granada, but to differentiate it from the island of the same name, the diminutive was used.

On October 27, 1979, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gained full independence from Britain.

On April 9, 2021, the La Soufrière volcano erupted, sending ash several miles into the atmosphere. Approximately 16,000 people were evacuated in the days leading up to the eruption.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are often referred to as a playground for the rich and famous as the islands of Mustique, Palm Island and Union Island are frequented by the ultra-wealthy as well as the British Royal Family.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is one of 27 countries that does not have a single UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Several scenes from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are home to the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere. The Saint Vincent Botanic Gardens were established in 1765 in Kingstown.

The national symbol of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is the Saint Vincent Amazon (Amazona guildingii), also known as the Saint Vincent Parrot. The bird can only be found on the Island of Saint Vincent and is endangered with fewer than 1,000 thought to still be in existence.

Google photo

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

St. Lucia

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Our Pinnacle Grill dinner was excellent. Chuck had the crab cakes and ribeye steak. I had the candied bacon and seared scallops. We splurged and shared the Beecher’s lobster mac and cheese. Waiter recommended the chocolate soufflé and Chuck got it. I stuck with the key lime pie.

After that huge meal, we were in no shape for dancing and we had seen the show so we opted to listen to the wind and waves from the balcony. It was a good evening.

We’ve been to St. Lucia once before and took an island tour. Today we opted to just walk around the port area. Chuck did buy a nice shirt.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the Sea View deck.

I did receive an email about our next cruise. The itinerary has changed. Portland Maine is replacing Bar Harbor. A sea day is replacing Newport, Rhode Island. We will have a longer port time in Boston. Just have to go with the flow.

We left the port at 4:30 and slowly cruised by the Pitons.

Next thing you know, it’s time for dinner again.

Travel Trivia

Castries, St. Lucia

St Lucia, situated in the Caribbean Sea, is the second largest of the Windward Islands located in the eastern Caribbean Sea. The island was created because of volcanic activity and is 27 miles long and14 miles wide. The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton – are twin volcanic peaks that rise from the sea and have helped make St. Lucia famous.

Jacquot, or the St. Lucia Parrot, is a bird native only to these islands. It is the national bird of St. Lucia, and its scientific name is Amazona Versicolor.

St. Lucia is home to Roseau Valley Distillery, which is famous for producing more than 21 types of rum.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

Sint Maarten

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

We decided to go to the Lido tonight for dinner. We both chose from the Asian distant lands buffet station. Tonight’s feature was Tandoor. I had the lamb kabobs with noodles and broccoli. The noodles were much spicier than I thought they would be. Chuck had the beef and lamb kabobs with rice and broccoli.

After dinner, we played some slots and then went to the 2nd set of the BB King Band.

The ship was cleared for people to go ashore at 8:00 and people immediately started streaming off the ship.

We were supposed to be with them. We had a HAL excursion planned called Airport Adventure, Scenic Cruise & Swim where a catamaran would have taken us near the Maho Beach to watch the planes come in. We’ve been to Sint Maarten before, but we’ve never been to Maho Beach.

The airport in Sint Maarten is supposed to be one of the most challenging airports in the world and it is a popular tourist attraction.

I thought it would be a fun way to see the planes take off and land and do some leisurely swimming. Cancelled. All the Shore Excursion people could say was that the operator was not able to offer the excursion. We could have taken a cab to one of the bars near the airport and watched the planes from the beach, but I was not interested in being pelted by the swirling sand as the planes took off and landed.

Today, we were docked between the Mein Schiff 2 and the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas (one of the largest cruise ships in the world). The Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas joined us later. Lots of people in Sint Maarten today. The vendors should do well.

The Sea View pool area has been packed during sea days. Today it was almost deserted.

We enjoyed the hot tub, swimming, and sunning until about 2:00. We came back to the room to find that another one of our tours had been cancelled. This one was a snorkeling one to St. John from St. Thomas. I looked at the other snorkeling tour offered, and it was sold out. Disappointing. We have already taken an island tour of St. Thomas, so it looks like we will have another relaxing ship day.

Oh well, guess I’ll drown my disappointment in a Pinnacle Grill dinner tonight.

Travel Trivia

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Sint Maarten-St. Martin is the smallest landmass in the world to be shared between two countries. Sint Maarten occupies the southern half of the island of Saint Martin in the Leeward Islands; the northern half forms the French territory of Saint Martin.

It is said that Sint Maarten-St. Martin actually received its name from the day that Christopher Columbus landed on the island, which was on November 11, 1493, the holy day of St. Martin of Tours.

The division of the island between the Netherlands and France dates to March 23, 1648, under the Treaty of Concordia. Local folklore indicates that the division of land began with a walking contest between a Frenchman and a Dutchman. Before they started, the Frenchman drank wine while the Dutchman drank the stronger jenever (Dutch gin), allowing the Frenchman to cover more territory and claim more land.

There is no physical border between the two countries. You may travel between the two countries as much as you’d like.

The island is 37 square miles and it also boasts 37 beaches.

Sea Day #5

Monday, March 20, 2023

The main dining room was crowded tonight. We shared a table with a couple from Florida who were also doing the 21-day cruise. Good conversation. Chuck and I had the beef tenderloin with shrimp.

Again, we went both to the Rolling Stone Rock band set and the BB King set. Even more people than the night before.

Today was a lot like yesterday but at least I didn’t have to stand in any long lines – our refunds for the cancelled excursions were posted on our onboard account this morning.

After breakfast, Chuck and I browsed the small library on the ship. They had a nice collection of fiction and non-fiction books. There was even a book exchange section for guests to leave a book and/or take a book. Chuck got a paperback from this shelf. I still have a number of books on my Kindle to finish.

As we were walking back to our cabin, we noticed an inordinate number of security walking on the different decks, looking at their Ipads and scanning the crowds. They were also stationed at the elevators and stairs. We then heard the Cruise Director announce a person’s name and cabin number to call Guest Services. He made the announcement several times. Chuck and I agreed -“missing person.” We never found out if the person was located or not.

After another relaxing afternoon on the balcony, it was time to get ready for the evening.

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