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frequent traveler
August 22nd, 2011, 07:33 AM
Gulped big and bought airline tickets roundtrip to St. Thomas for Christmas on SD II this weekend. So its time for a new thread and "official countdown" has begun. ohmiss, are you and DH still on board for this week? Jim, no snarkiness about STT - you promised last year. Have never ever paid this much for airfare, but have exhausted all FF miles and airline seats are filling up fast. Christmas on SD --- can't wait. Itinerary looks like Splash may be on Christmas Day on Prickly Pear :)

FT

Jim Avery
August 22nd, 2011, 09:59 AM
Hi FT. No snark here.:D Glad you did it. Should be a ball of a Christmas with your family. Way better than buying them a new sweater or tie.:eek: We are in some change processes that are making it a bit difficult to plan at this time but we still are lurking for a Nov/Dec SD. If not, we can travel vicariously with you. It will be here before you know it.
j.

frequent traveler
August 22nd, 2011, 10:10 AM
Hi FT. No snark here.:D Glad you did it. Should be a ball of a Christmas with your family. Way better than buying them a new sweater or tie.:eek: We are in some change processes that are making it a bit difficult to plan at this time but we still are lurking for a Nov/Dec SD. If not, we can travel vicariously with you. It will be here before you know it.
j.

yep, no presents, no holiday decorations to take up or down and no cooking:D Well worth the extortion for airfare!

FT

overwurked
August 22nd, 2011, 01:56 PM
Hey FT,

We'll be there. Doing the b2b the week before and Christmas week. Not that I want to rush away the end of summer and fall but ..... let the countdown begin! Given how time is flying it will be here before we know it.

frequent traveler
August 22nd, 2011, 03:21 PM
Hey FT,

We'll be there. Doing the b2b the week before and Christmas week. Not that I want to rush away the end of summer and fall but ..... let the countdown begin! Given how time is flying it will be here before we know it.

BtB at year end? Oh, how I wish . . .this is the 1st time in 15 yrs I've taken the week between Christmas and New Year's off and I swear I'm leaving the laptop at home . . . we'll see how that well that objective goes;) Look forward to seeing you and DH again.

overwurked
August 26th, 2011, 12:24 PM
BtB at year end? Oh, how I wish . . .this is the 1st time in 15 yrs I've taken the week between Christmas and New Year's off and I swear I'm leaving the laptop at home . . . we'll see how that well that objective goes;) Look forward to seeing you and DH again.

If i had to bet I'd put money on the laptop making the trip ....;)

Jim Avery
August 26th, 2011, 01:49 PM
If i had to bet I'd put money on the laptop making the trip ....;)

Safe bet I think. Besides, she has to keep us all informed.

zqvol
August 27th, 2011, 09:58 AM
My money is on no laptop going, but the IPad will be there for sure.

frequent traveler
August 27th, 2011, 11:04 AM
It's amazing how attached I've become to the iPad but I do hate the automatic corrections it makes. Not sure I will post daily with it. Maybe all moot since it went missing on this trip:eek: hopefully I will find it in the car where the luggage took a spill. Btw what is it with all the timeshare peddlers in vegas? It's worse than the beach peddlers in Jamaica!

CDreamer
August 27th, 2011, 06:58 PM
It's amazing how attached I've become to the iPad but I do hate the automatic corrections it makes.

FT, you NEED to find your IPad so you can take US along on your next SD cruise!! ;)

Re: the auto correction issue: I was complaining about this very thing to my DH last night so we did a little research and found out how to turn off the auto corrections:

Go to Settings, General, Keyboard and then turn off either the Auto Correction or Auto Spelling or both.

Can't tell you how relieved I was to find out those annoying auto fill ins could be turned OFF! :D

mimito4
August 27th, 2011, 09:36 PM
CDreamer, thanks for that tip!

I am a techo addict, and now I love how the ipad has allowed me to somewhat "down-size." Last December, when I became an official SeaDreamer, I left my lap top behind, taking only the ipad with me (well, OK, the iphone, too). If I recall I was able to entertain myself, and hopefully at least some of you, with all the SD goings on. So very handy!

Getting journey-proud. . .we leave Monday morning for our Regent Alaskan adventure. I'm hoping there has been improvement on the Navigator since your postings, Ft & zqvol. Regardless, we plan on having fun, and celebrating life's gifts in a big way. Our 30th anniversary occurs while we're on the trip.

Sorry for the mini-hijack. :o

CDreamer
August 28th, 2011, 03:31 PM
CDreamer, thanks for that tip!

. .we leave Monday morning for our Regent Alaskan adventure. :::snip::: Our 30th anniversary occurs while we're on the trip. Sorry for the mini-hijack. :o

You're welcome, Teresa - and congrats on your 30th! We spent our 30th on St Barts followed by a week on SD, and there's just something very special about celebrating your anniversary while on board a ship. Enjoy! :::and now back to the original thread ;)::::

frequent traveler
August 29th, 2011, 08:53 AM
FT, you NEED to find your IPad so you can take US along on your next SD cruise!! ;)

Re: the auto correction issue: I was complaining about this very thing to my DH last night so we did a little research and found out how to turn off the auto corrections:

Go to Settings, General, Keyboard and then turn off either the Auto Correction or Auto Spelling or both.

Can't tell you how relieved I was to find out those annoying auto fill ins could be turned OFF! :D

Found the IPad - so hopefully, it and not the Lap top will be making the next SD voyage. Thanks for the tip above. Still can't believe what airfare to STT cost us and will be really irritated if it drops now:rolleyes:

We are debating whether to take our snorkel gear. We usually do, but this makes this difference for me as to whether I go with just carry on or a checked bag. And since I know we are skipping the Baths excursion this trip - question -- is there worthy snorkeling at Prickly Pear or Anguilla? Not holding my breath on making Anguilla - haven't yet on all the other scheduled stops on SD, but just in case;)

FT

Jim Avery
August 29th, 2011, 09:10 AM
Found the IPad - so hopefully, it and not the Lap top will be making the next SD voyage. Thanks for the tip above. Still can't believe what airfare to STT cost us and will be really irritated if it drops now:rolleyes:

We are debating whether to take our snorkel gear. We usually do, but this makes this difference for me as to whether I go with just carry on or a checked bag. And since I know we are skipping the Baths excursion this trip - question -- is there worthy snorkeling at Prickly Pear or Anguilla? Not holding my breath on making Anguilla - haven't yet on all the other scheduled stops on SD, but just in case;)

FT
But if you do...... The beach and reefs at Shoal Bay East are way beautiful. Wished I had some gear.:D

CDreamer
August 29th, 2011, 01:54 PM
But if you do...... The beach and reefs at Shoal Bay East are way beautiful. Wished I had some gear.:D

Agree with Jim.... Shoal Bay East is an amazingly beautiful beach.

Re: taking snorkeling gear along: guess it's kind of like what I say to my DH when he is thinking of taking his golf clubs on vacation - how much will you actually use them? If you think more than once then it's probably worth taking. Otherwise, rent when you get there or hang out under an umbrella w/ drink in hand and just play in the waves! :D

Just watch out where you eat on that beach - several of our CCers (including my DH) got VERY sick after eating at one of the beachside cafes! :eek:

fpebbles
August 29th, 2011, 02:41 PM
several of our CCers got VERY sick after eating at one of the beachside cafes! :eek:


shudders at the memory

Jim Avery
August 29th, 2011, 02:44 PM
shudders at the memory

Pretty sure I know the beach bar you are talking about. Same happened to two on our stop there. I solve the problem by only drinking beer.:eek: No food.:D

fpebbles
August 29th, 2011, 02:58 PM
I solve the problem by only drinking beer.


Suggest you BYOB.

But it IS a gorgeous beach. And contamination can happen anywhere. Heaven knows you're taking your chances in my kitchen.

And I get to look forward to my do-over cruise!

So I WOULD take the snorkel gear...and snorkel instead of eating or drinking. And take pictures with the Ipad so we can all be with you in spirit while we're hanging out with our crazy relatives at Christmas!

frequent traveler
August 29th, 2011, 02:59 PM
"one of the beachside cafes" . . . so that's supposed to help narrow it down? Is it obvious from looking at it? Will SD II staff know enough to warn us where not to eat? No one wants to publish the name?

I have the Ipad without the camera . . .but ZQ Vol takes thousands of pictures on a week trip (seriously). However, unless SD has sped up the internet, pictures go up after we return.

FT

Jim Avery
August 29th, 2011, 03:44 PM
"one of the beachside cafes" . . . so that's supposed to help narrow it down? Is it obvious from looking at it? Will SD II staff know enough to warn us where not to eat? No one wants to publish the name?

I have the Ipad without the camera . . .but ZQ Vol takes thousands of pictures on a week trip (seriously). However, unless SD has sped up the internet, pictures go up after we return.

FT

Hey, guessing which one is half the fun.:eek: Yall will have a blast.

fpebbles
August 29th, 2011, 04:28 PM
No one wants to publish the name?



I'd be happy to "out" them if I remembered the name, as they have changed me from a "street-eater-anywhere" to "it doesn't matter which one it is, wait until you get back to the boat to eat." I know it can happen on the boat too--but at least they're trying. :)

Always appreciate your wonderful trip reports and ZQ Vol's beautiful pictures! Even if we have to wait until you get home.

vandrefalk
August 29th, 2011, 05:55 PM
Re: snorkel gear. I've snorkeled at Anguilla but not Prickly Pear. Shoal Bay East was absolutely the prettiest beach I've ever seen, but the snorkeling was marginal. There just wasn't that much to see, IMHO. Maybe I needed to be farther out?? And it doesn't look like Prickly Pear has much to offer as I recall. Soooooo, maybe just use SDs stuff?

The infamous beach bar is, I think, Madeariman. There were about three in a row and it had the most interesting menu (as it turned out, waaay more interesting than several of our group anticipated :eek:!!). Just looked it up on the web and I'm pretty sure that's it. Hamburgers and beer were good, but the salad/seafood was apparently the culprit. Gwen's is supposed to be good, but it's farther down the beach.

Vandrefalk

P.S. Thanks for the tip, CDreamer, on the auto correct feature -- Just turned mine off :D

Jim Avery
August 29th, 2011, 06:20 PM
Hi Karen. Thanks for the mind jog.:D Gwens was the place we were at and I could not remember the name. Old Timers.:eek: It was nice. Cold beer.
J.

whatnot
August 29th, 2011, 07:14 PM
All I remember is that when the taxi drops you off at Shoal Bay East, you walk down to the beach, and it is the one to the left facing the beach. Ernie's is on the opposite side. We SHOULD HAVE eaten there! It was a fairly good size open air restaurant, that did have a good sounding menu and it looked pretty nice. It also had a small gift shop on the side. It actually looked better than Ernie's Just can't remember the name, but Vandrefalk you are probably right! At any rate, the aftermath was quite bad!

frequent traveler
August 30th, 2011, 07:38 AM
Our usual option for the night before the cruise - Marriott on points is not available this time and hotel prices are ridiculous for what I consider 2 stars at the best. So, how bad is the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort? I got the best rate for all the equivalent starred hotels - but that close to the airport, I'm a bit nervous . .. . my other somewhat reasonable choices Secret Harbour and Sugar Bay are significantly more expensive and for just one night before when the next morning is usually spent wandering the streets of Charlotte - Amalie . . .

Traveling with the whole family so the dictator that I am has to consider other factors than my own preferences this time.;)

FT

Jim Avery
August 30th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Our usual option for the night before the cruise - Marriott on points is not available this time and hotel prices are ridiculous for what I consider 2 stars at the best. So, how bad is the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort? I got the best rate for all the equivalent starred hotels - but that close to the airport, I'm a bit nervous . .. . my other somewhat reasonable choices Secret Harbour and Sugar Bay are significantly more expensive and for just one night before when the next morning is usually spent wandering the streets of Charlotte - Amalie . . .

Traveling with the whole family so the dictator that I am has to consider other factors than my own preferences this time.;)

FT

FT. Dont scream yet but we had to stay at the Holiday Inn near downtown. It actually exceeded our (low) expectations. Conveniently located for airport and town center for shopping. The suite was actually nice and the price was right. About like the Sheraton OSJ in SJU. Like you said, only one night and then SD:D

whatnot
August 30th, 2011, 10:46 AM
I'll have to agree with Jim on the Holiday Inn. We normally stay at the Marriott, but we had to stay there one night on return into St. Thomas and it was OK. Definitely would not stay longer. The location is the best thing. Closest location to where SD docks, yet you can walk to downtown Charlotte Amalie and close to the airport. Good luck with your hotel!

Jim Avery
August 30th, 2011, 04:52 PM
Think it is called the Windward Passage now. Go for the water view suites.:D

CDreamer
August 30th, 2011, 05:25 PM
So, how bad is the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort? I got the best rate for all the equivalent starred hotels - but that close to the airport, I'm a bit nervous . .. . my other somewhat reasonable choices Secret Harbour ...) FT

FT, Vandrefalk I think has the correct name above. Maybe ask SD to pack you a lunch then just order bottled beer (or whatever) once you get to the beach. ;)

Back to this question: We've stayed at both the Best Western Emerald Beach (post cruise, one night, about 2 years ago) and at Secret Harbour (pre cruise, one night, about 4-5 years ago). Nothing fancy, but both had decent, clean rooms that were right on the beach (both locations have their own beach and restaurant).

Secret Harbour is quite a ways out by taxi and fairly isolated, so not close to Charlotte - Amalie shopping. It's OK if you're taking the ferry to St John's but otherwise I think it's a little far out.

Everything was pretty closed up by the time we checked into Best Western Emerald Beach but don't think that it was very far from the shops. Definitely closer than Secret Harbour.

frequent traveler
August 30th, 2011, 05:40 PM
Yes, the Holiday Inn is now the Windward Passage -- checked it out and its about the same price as the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort (only the Windward Passage doesn't have a beach - just shopping and proximity to lots of bars).

We've stayed at Secret Harbour before - had a problem with the air conditioning but got that resolved - had a really good meal and enjoyed the beach side bar and meeting some very nice local/fun residents. C Dreamer, I agree,- it was a bit further out, but no noise from airplanes. But price differential this time for 4 of us is much higher than at the Best Western. So I guess we will stick with our reservation there since there are no horror stories from anyone on this thread.

And it sounds like a lunch from SD should we ever actually make Anguilla will be the way to go. Thanks for the heads up everyone.

FT

CDreamer
August 30th, 2011, 07:22 PM
...So I guess we will stick with our reservation there since there are no horror stories from anyone on this thread. FT

FT, I'm sure you already know this but just in case: there are 2 Best Westerns in St Thomas: the Best Western Carib Beach Resort, which is right next to the airport (and doesn't get very good reviews), and the Best Western Emerald Beach Resort, which is the one you've asked about and that one's still getting decent reviews on TA.

We had no airport noise issues at Emerald Beach and I'm a light sleeper - maybe it's because our room was in the opposite wing from the airport? Don't know. We just asked for a quiet upstairs ocean front room and that's what we ended up with.

Again, it's not the Ritz, but our room was clean and it is on the beach so you'll at least have that and a nice sunset view from their restaurant and bar.

DisneyJen
August 31st, 2011, 11:45 AM
Congrats on biting the bullet on the airfare FT!

Wish we were joining you on SD for Christmas but this year we will be in Florida for the holiday ... and we are driving since we are taking our furry daughter with us:p

I have read relatively good things about BW Emerald but I haven't stayed there in a very long time (like before I was married!).

Glad you found the iPad!

siouxrose
August 31st, 2011, 08:01 PM
My DH, BIL & MIL stayed at the Emerald Bay for 1 night pre-cruise last October. It wasn't fancy but the rooms were clean, it was right on the beach and we had no problems with the airport noise. Food is so-so, we found that burgers at the bar were the best bet. I'd stay there again for a night pre or post cruise.

frequent traveler
September 1st, 2011, 07:46 AM
Thanks siouxrose - since its precruise - there will be no SD letdown :) And a burger is just fine after getting out of the nightmare of the STT airport - hopefully since its on a Thursday, it won't be as bad as a Friday or Saturday arrival!.

FT

frequent traveler
September 1st, 2011, 11:44 AM
Just doing my daily check of the room prices at the Marriott (Frenchman's Reef) and today there was a 35% discount special for Elite members - so we are now booked at the Marriottt. A bit more than Best Western, but I do like the bars there.

FT

zqvol
September 1st, 2011, 06:51 PM
Just doing my daily check of the room prices at the Marriott (Frenchman's Reef) and today there was a 35% discount special for Elite members - so we are now booked at the Marriottt. A bit more than Best Western, but I do like the bars there.

FT


Sounds like a plan to me!

zqvol
September 14th, 2011, 08:39 PM
We sure are quiet. Can we hurry up and get to December 23rd?

frequent traveler
September 16th, 2011, 08:40 PM
Wonder if pumpkin lobster bisque will be on the menu? I am making former Chef Jes' version - well, sort of - using butternut squash since I could buy it already cut up. I hate cutting up a pumpkin ot two to make the soup. And I substitute something healthy for the heavy cream in the recipe . . .ok the treadmill is calling me for our Christmas on SD :)

frequent traveler
September 23rd, 2011, 01:45 PM
Made Final Payment Today :)

FT

frequent traveler
November 9th, 2011, 07:41 AM
In the middle of a week of all day business meetings, then heading to Chile for more business meetings but Artlee's postings have me counting down the days -- only 43 more until boarding for Christmas on SD. ZQ Vol had decided to pass on the car on ST. Bart's - $150 Euro's for one day:eek:

zqvol
November 9th, 2011, 12:10 PM
In the middle of a week of all day business meetings, then heading to Chile for more business meetings but Artlee's postings have me counting down the days -- only 43 more until boarding for Christmas on SD. ZQ Vol had decided to pass on the car on ST. Bart's - $150 Euro's for one day:eek:

No he is still debating a jeep for the day.

DisneyJen
November 10th, 2011, 02:52 PM
No he is still debating a jeep for the day.

Think about how crazy driving on St. Barts is during non-holiday periods. Can't imagine trying to drive on that island during Christmas season:eek:

Jim Avery
November 10th, 2011, 02:59 PM
Think about how crazy driving on St. Barts is during non-holiday periods. Can't imagine trying to drive on that island during Christmas season:eek:

Maybe he should re visit my review in 2007 of the POS car incident in St. Barts.:eek::D

frequent traveler
November 11th, 2011, 09:52 AM
while I'm always up for the latest celebrity sighting - Disney Jen and Jim, your postings have reminded me why after several visits to St. Barts I mostly stay on the yacht . . . and enjoy the view.

FT

zqvol
November 17th, 2011, 05:36 PM
Just discovered that we will be sharing our first day at St. Barth's with Hal Maasdam. In addition to the other holiday crowds that is an additional 1500 people. Yuck. Looks like December 27th will be a water toys day!

DisneyJen
November 17th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Just discovered that we will be sharing our first day at St. Barth's with Hal Maasdam. In addition to the other holiday crowds that is an additional 1500 people. Yuck. Looks like December 27th will be a water toys day!

Cancel that Jeep!! There could be worse ways to spend the day;)

mimito4
November 17th, 2011, 07:22 PM
So agree with DJ. I declare a personal sea day for you!

DisneyJen
November 17th, 2011, 07:40 PM
So agree with DJ. I declare a personal sea day for you!

Glad you agree!

I think personal sea days are the absolute BEST!!:D

zqvol
November 17th, 2011, 08:55 PM
Since the Jeep had not been reserved that is not an issue. Hopefully most of the masses will spread out and I can just walk around town or up the hill to the fort.

Jim Avery
November 17th, 2011, 09:06 PM
Are you sure it is a "Jeep".? Bet it is a Samurai!:eek:

zqvol
November 17th, 2011, 10:49 PM
Are you sure it is a "Jeep".? Bet it is a Samurai!:eek:


Doesn't matter, not paying 150 Euro a day to drive around. Been there and done that.

frequent traveler
November 18th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Just discovered that we will be sharing our first day at St. Barth's with Hal Maasdam. In addition to the other holiday crowds that is an additional 1500 people. Yuck. Looks like December 27th will be a water toys day!

I don't think we've ever been in St. Bart's with a "big" ship -- I didn't realize it was possible. . .

FT

Jim Avery
November 18th, 2011, 01:57 PM
I don't think we've ever been in St. Bart's with a "big" ship -- I didn't realize it was possible. . .

FT

That's news to me too. Never seen one there in our trips. It was always crowded enough with just us.:D

DisneyJen
November 18th, 2011, 03:03 PM
I don't think we've ever been in St. Bart's with a "big" ship -- I didn't realize it was possible. . .

FT

I've never seen anything bigger than SD or SB at St. Bart's.

That's news to me too. Never seen one there in our trips. It was always crowded enough with just us.:D

Agreed Jim! We don't even get off the yacht when we are St. Bart's. It's a great water toy day for DJ's DH:D

I wonder if there will be restrictions on water toys because the harbor will be so busy with private yachts/boats and HAL:eek:

Jim Avery
November 18th, 2011, 03:37 PM
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=212754&stc=1&d=1321648576
Shell Beach, St. Barts. with HAL in town.:eek::D

mimito4
November 18th, 2011, 07:06 PM
When we were on SD II in St. Barths last December, there was a Crystal ship, but of course that is only about 900 people max.

Call me crazy Jim, but that crowd doesn't look like HAL peeps. Of course, they don't look like Crystal people either.. .they need a few more birthdays under their belts, or bikinis in this case.

It's been almost a year since our one and only SD adventure, and all this talk of cruising the yachts makes me sad, jealous, homesick. My husband says we have to be content with Florida for the winter and being regular retired old folks. :(

frequent traveler
November 25th, 2011, 11:00 AM
working today . .. waiting for a document to print, got the music playing . . .

current song is sooo right


All I want for Christmas is a real good tan
Take me to the islands; put my feet in the sand
Rockin’ to and fro with the rhythm of the ocean
Singin’ Silent Night with the palm trees blowin’
Ooh, don’t you think it’s a pretty good plan
All I want for Christmas is a real good tan

via SD II.

FT

Jim Avery
November 25th, 2011, 11:03 AM
working today . .. waiting for a document to print, got the music playing . . .

current song is sooo right


All I want for Christmas is a real good tan
Take me to the islands; put my feet in the sand
Rockiní to and fro with the rhythm of the ocean
Singiní Silent Night with the palm trees blowiní
Ooh, donít you think itís a pretty good plan
All I want for Christmas is a real good tan

via SD II.

FT

HO HO HO! Very appropriate song.

frequent traveler
November 26th, 2011, 09:26 AM
I wonder if there will be restrictions on water toys because the harbor will be so busy with private yachts/boats and HAL:eek:

Bite your tongue, DJ . . .

No water toys in St. Barts . . .that's heresy.

FT

mimito4
November 26th, 2011, 07:06 PM
FT & zvqol, as you well know, I stalk you guys, regardless of the cruiseline, so I will be living (somewhat unhappily) vicariously through you. Can't wait to hear all about all!

zqvol
November 26th, 2011, 09:12 PM
FT & zvqol, as you well know, I stalk you guys, regardless of the cruiseline, so I will be living (somewhat unhappily) vicariously through you. Can't wait to hear all about all!


Thanks T.

I am ready to go, I need to get out of town for a few days. We sail in 27 days!

frequent traveler
December 7th, 2011, 03:04 PM
Gloomy rainy day outside, but sunny inside when the e-mail arrived from the travel agent with the e-tickets. :D

FT

DisneyJen
December 8th, 2011, 03:44 PM
I was flying home from Florida, where we will spend Christmas, yesterday during that horribly gloomy weather. I thought we were lucky to spend Christmas at the beach in Florida then I read your post:D

Color me green with envy:eek:

Jim Avery
December 8th, 2011, 04:02 PM
I was flying home from Florida, where we will spend Christmas, yesterday during that horribly gloomy weather. I thought we were lucky to spend Christmas at the beach in Florida then I read your post:D

Color me green with envy:eek:

I'm with you DJ. And not a single offer to take us along with them for Christmas.:eek:

zqvol
December 8th, 2011, 04:32 PM
Christmas day we (SDII) will be with SDI at Prickly Pear for what we are assuming will be a joint "splash". Wonderful!

DisneyJen
December 8th, 2011, 04:55 PM
Christmas day we (SDII) will be with SDI at Prickly Pear for what we are assuming will be a joint "splash". Wonderful!

Sure ... rub it in;)

Christmas Day we will have our toes in the sand and some fresh seafood and champagne but the water was FREEZING when I was in Florida earlier this week. Not even close to a splash ... unless the dog decides to head into the ocean:eek:

zqvol
December 8th, 2011, 05:09 PM
Sure ... rub it in;)

Christmas Day we will have our toes in the sand and some fresh seafood and champagne but the water was FREEZING when I was in Florida earlier this week. Not even close to a splash ... unless the dog decides to head into the ocean:eek:


I will be snorkeling every day, even it means taking the thick wetsuit instead of the shortie. I am making the most out of this trip.:):(:)

DisneyJen
December 8th, 2011, 05:14 PM
I will be snorkeling every day, even it means taking the thick wetsuit instead of the shortie. I am making the most out of this trip.:):(:)

You are giving your family and yourself a wonderful gift ... now if you would just include your friends:cool::p

frequent traveler
December 8th, 2011, 05:36 PM
... now if you would just include your friends:cool::p

I will be saying the same thing to you in February ;)

frequent traveler
December 17th, 2011, 08:15 AM
Hey FT,

We'll be there. Doing the b2b the week before and Christmas week. Not that I want to rush away the end of summer and fall but ..... let the countdown begin! Given how time is flying it will be here before we know it.

Hi overwurked. Time has flown and hopefully you are now on board. ZQ Vol learned that Peter was in ATL last night . . . does that mean the wonderful Christophe Cornu is our Hot Man for the holidays? Hopefully you will check in sometime this week with all the news. See you Friday. :D

FT

mimito4
December 19th, 2011, 01:15 AM
zqvol and FT, golfing, tennis, and general retirement frivolities here in SW Florida have kept me absent from CC, but remembering that your holiday trip was coming up, I checked in just to wish you a bon voyage!

I am reminded of our fabulous SD trip last December, and am very, very jealous. Have a wonderful time. I shall check in (as you know, I stalk you both), and am looking forward to delicious details and pictures of your adventures.

As you head south we will be returning to Ohio to celebrate the holidays with family (yea for family, ugh for Ohio weather), but will be back in Florida before New Year's Eve. Not quite SeaDream, but it shall have to do.

Bon Voyage!

zqvol
December 19th, 2011, 05:16 AM
zqvol and FT, golfing, tennis, and general retirement frivolities here in SW Florida have kept me absent from CC, but remembering that your holiday trip was coming up, I checked in just to wish you a bon voyage!

I am reminded of our fabulous SD trip last December, and am very, very jealous. Have a wonderful time. I shall check in (as you know, I stalk you both), and am looking forward to delicious details and pictures of your adventures.

As you head south we will be returning to Ohio to celebrate the holidays with family (yea for family, ugh for Ohio weather), but will be back in Florida before New Year's Eve. Not quite SeaDream, but it shall have to do.

Bon Voyage!

Thanks, we fly out Thursday!

frequent traveler
December 20th, 2011, 08:28 AM
Its actually starting to feel like vacation time. Starting putting clothes together last night to avoid the overpacking I seem to do, especially since we'll be sharing a closet and bathroom this time (no last week, lost cost upgrade to a Commodore Suite this time . . . darn the popularity of SD at Christmas:rolleyes:)

And, knock on wood, looks like weather gods will be in our favor this trip . . . hope it holds through Thursday when we leave for St. Thomas. May have to do some pre -board shopping as I can't find the "good sunglasses" I only use when on the ocean - last time was in Alaska - and I think they are still there!

FT

Jim Avery
December 20th, 2011, 10:34 AM
FT & ZQVOL.
We are heading out to Arizona for the holidays early tomorrow so wanted to be sure and wish Yall a Bon Voyage today. I know you will keep us stayathomes in the loop. We look forward to hearing about your great times on SeaDream:D

DisneyJen
December 21st, 2011, 09:23 AM
Hard to believe your Christmas SD trip is almost here! Bet you will be glad to leave this gray and rainy weather:cool:

Looking forward to updates!

CDreamer
December 21st, 2011, 12:59 PM
And, knock on wood, looks like weather gods will be in our favor this trip . . . hope it holds through Thursday when we leave for St. Thomas. FT

Have a wonderful time, FT! Will look forward to reading all about your next SD adventures. :D

Happy Holidays to you and to all our fellow CCers, both on land AND on sea!
The CDreamers

zqvol
December 21st, 2011, 03:41 PM
and since both FT and I are going to have to haul laptops, I guess you guys will get regular updates.

DisneyJen
December 21st, 2011, 05:04 PM
and since both FT and I are going to have to haul laptops, I guess you guys will get regular updates.

We like dual (or should I say duel) reporting!:p

Safe travels tomorrow. DJ's DH is in the air, winging his way home after a month in Allentown.

Let the reporting begin!

frequent traveler
December 21st, 2011, 07:03 PM
3 of us are packed and ready to go and one hasn't even done his laundry . . .so we will see what our son leaves behind. Hope he is suitably attired for dinner but at 20+, if he has to eat in the cabin every night, his problem ... .

Good friend is staying on St. Bart's for the week so I guess I will actually get off the yacht and face the hoards as she has offered to drive us to a beach .. .Oh well, off to water the plants and do one last packing check.

FT

mimito4
December 21st, 2011, 07:42 PM
Oooooh, so excited for you! Bon voyage, good people. I command you, in the name of fun, to post lots of pictures and inside scoops. Otherwise, you are just rubbing it in to us poor "left-behinds."

As for the fourth one who hasn't done laundry yet. . .life should be so tough that he has to eat room service on SeaDream. Boohoo. :p

Safe travels!

ctbjr1309
December 21st, 2011, 11:13 PM
3 of us are packed and ready to go
FT

Have a great trip. We'll be thinking of you all.

DisneyJen
December 22nd, 2011, 08:06 AM
Bon voyage FT, ZQVol and family!

See from your youngest's FB post that you are on your way (evidently he found time to do laundry and pack:p)!

Wishing your fair winds and a following seas and of course a Merry Christmas!!

knotheadusc
December 22nd, 2011, 08:19 AM
Bon voyage! :)

frequent traveler
December 22nd, 2011, 03:41 PM
Have arrived ar The Cove. AtThe Marriott. Children or thieir parents who thinks its cute to let them roam the aisles should be banned from first class. No ban them from planes period when the parents have no concern whatsoever about turbulence and take off Nd landings! UCK!

Waiting for the family to arrive

DisneyJen
December 22nd, 2011, 04:48 PM
Have arrived ar The Cove. AtThe Marriott. Children or thieir parents who thinks its cute to let them roam the aisles should be banned from first class. No ban them from planes period when the parents have no concern whatsoever about turbulence and take off Nd landings! UCK!

Waiting for the family to arrive

At least you were in first:p Gathering you sent the family on another airline in coach:D

We have never stayed in the Cove part of the Marriott. We usually stay on the beach in the Morningstar section. How do you like the Cove?

Spartanchurch
December 22nd, 2011, 05:50 PM
Yes she did stick us in coach and coming back we've got a 12 seat puddle jumper back to San Juan.

And by the way I did get all my packing done at 1 am this morning. :P

So far the cove is very nice. The rooms are spacious but I have yet to see the rest of it your have to wait on my dad to post on that one.

zqvol
December 22nd, 2011, 05:57 PM
As son posted above we are all safely here. It is dangerous when you walk into the hotel at happy hour. The pain killers were not as good as at Jost, but what the heck.

FT. has already been to the beach.

As a side not on the cab to the resort we meet a couple and their 20 something daughter who will be sailing with us tomorrow.

Off to dinner. More later.

DisneyJen
December 22nd, 2011, 07:08 PM
Yes she did stick us in coach and coming back we've got a 12 seat puddle jumper back to San Juan.

And by the way I did get all my packing done at 1 am this morning. :P

So far the cove is very nice. The rooms are spacious but I have yet to see the rest of it your have to wait on my dad to post on that one.

Hey, at least you aren't paying for it:p You have to take what you get:p

I knew you would be ready to go ... you're young!

Will wait for zqvol's room resort report.


As son posted above we are all safely here. It is dangerous when you walk into the hotel at happy hour. The pain killers were not as good as at Jost, but what the heck.

FT. has already been to the beach.

As a side not on the cab to the resort we meet a couple and their 20 something daughter who will be sailing with us tomorrow.

Off to dinner. More later.

No Painkillers can match the ones we get on Jost:cool:

Knew FT would find the beach before your arrival.

Looking forward to more reporting.

Jim Avery
December 22nd, 2011, 08:53 PM
Have arrived ar The Cove. AtThe Marriott. Children or thieir parents who thinks its cute to let them roam the aisles should be banned from first class. No ban them from planes period when the parents have no concern whatsoever about turbulence and take off Nd landings! UCK!

Waiting for the family to arrive

I have said it before, I will say it again, you are a Kid Magnet.:eek: Dont yell at the poor ole messinger, just have fun.:D

Spartanchurch
December 22nd, 2011, 09:15 PM
Hey, at least you aren't paying for it:p You have to take what you get:p

I knew you would be ready to go ... you're young!

Will wait for zqvol's room resort report.




No Painkillers can match the ones we get on Jost:cool:

Knew FT would find the beach before your arrival.

Looking forward to more reporting.

You're right I do have to take what I can get! My parents are awesome considering I'm about to be at 14 Sd II nights.

frequent traveler
December 22nd, 2011, 09:33 PM
more tomorrow but massive blackout tonights and we were asked to evacuate the MARIOTT
will update but we are fine and back at the room

zqvol
December 23rd, 2011, 07:30 AM
Power went off and on for about 3 or 4 hours last night island wide. When the power was off the night time sky was incredible.

Backing up, Ft flew down on Delta and put the kids and I on US Scareways, somehow she got bumped to first class, we were four rows from the back of the plane. I will say that the 757 that we were on was much more comfortable than Delta's version, and the nice thing about being in the back is that in St. Thomas since there are no jetways they disembark from both the front and rear of the plane so we were some of the first off. Luggage was the usual St. Thomas free for all, but all bags arrived safe and sound. If only spartanchurch could have stayed away from the pain killers and helped get the bags, instead of watching the ones that we already had, it would have been great!:D

IT was an interesting cab ride from the airport. As usual in STT there were multiple parties in the cab, no problem but rather funny. One group who spoke either Russian or one of the Slavic languages told the cab driver they wanted to go to town to get the ferry. When we got to town, it turns out they didn't want that ferry, they wanted the one in Red Hook, and wanted the one that left in 10 minutes. They got left in town!

The other group was a nice family of three who stayed at Frenchmen's Reef last night. We learned that they will be joining us on the yacht this afternoon. They are from Chicago and the young member of the three goes to a school known for academics in the south.

When we got to the Marriott Cove, which is a time share that I could be tempted to invest in, Ft was already at the beach enjoying happy hour. The bar tender made an acceptable pain killer and since they were two for one they were even better.

We decided to go to Frenchmen's Reef for dinner thinking that we could get in and out with relative ease. We took the hotel shuttle over and ended up attempting to eat at the main dining room. I say attempted because that is when the power outages started. We eventually managed to enjoy a nice dinner (though FTs hamburger was cooked much more than she prefers). The swordfish with key line aoli (sorry I have no idea how to spell it) was very nice as was the generous serving of key lime pie. The best thing about it turned out that because of the inconvenience the hotel comped the dinner!:)

We then tried to have after dinner drinks on the hotel terrace, but because of the power situation the hotel was evacuated, so we just came back to the Cove.

We have a very nice suite, and in this case I really should say villa. It is a two bed room two bath condo with a full kitchen, dining room, and living room, with two balconies overlooking the harbor! As I said, I could be tempted to invest in this time share, because as we all know this is not a bad place to use a a jumping off point for day trips all over the VIs.

This morning I watched Celebrity Summit sail into port. I believe that the QM2 is here too, but I suspect that she is at Crown Bay since I have not seen her. I also have not seen SDII so my guess is that we will board in Crown Bay this afternoon.

Now it is off to the gym, and then town with a lunch at Gladys before we head to the ship

More later!

frequent traveler
December 23rd, 2011, 08:12 AM
to supplement before I forget - the Cove is very nice, but is somewhat remote from the other Marriott facilities. If you dont mind that, I would recommend staying. Our villa has a beautiful view - great balcony with table and four chairs., accessible from the bedroom and living room. Dining room seats 8 and the full kitchen has a bar with stools for more. Bathroom in master bath has separate tub. 2nd bath opens to both 2nd bedroom and entry way which is tlle but bedrooms are carpeted. Cove has one restaurant, two "Markets" which are the Marriott standards, and a bar which closes at 10 If you have stayed at Frenchman's Reef before - the main indoor restaurant has changed its dinner menu dramatically - gone downscale and fewer choices. Not particularly impressed with selection, but impressed with the fact that once the generator was able to be operated, served in the dark, something to everyone for free!. Guests all took it very well - entire island was dark except for pockets with generators.

Marriott status is not getting us a late checkout today - island is completely full (what did I expect during the holidays). Have discovered a new beverage of choice - Mango Mojitos!. Bartender at the cove makes a mean one -and the two for one happy hour from 4 to 6 started the holiday off very nicely! Have to see what Zoltan can do on SD.

and wireless internet is included in rate at the Cove.

I am not disclipined like ZQ Vol - going to have coffee on the patio and watch the ocean. No gym review for me.

FT

frequent traveler
December 24th, 2011, 06:06 AM
on board, and first night dinner was interesting . . . due to weather and captain's decision to make the run to Tortola over rough seas from 7 to 9 p.m. Some people missed dinner, DD included and I stuck with ginger ale - a first I believe. However, broccoli soup was excellent. I had wonderful appetizer - just can't spell it, consisting of prawns, noodles, mushrooms and seasonings. Son loved tuna medium rare for entree and gnocchi - I had one bite and hope to see it again on the menu. Dessert was Grand Marnie Souffle. Best part of dinner though was having wonderful Goran and Jun provide fantastic service. A sqaull blew up just as we arrived in Tortola, though waters calmed - the Captain was putting us in a calm place for the evening (why he didn't wait until after dinner mystifies me, but then I'm sure he had a good reason - just wished he had announced it sooner so we all could have medicated sooner). Some of the parties dining outside got a bit wet and evacuated. So we soon a private table on Deck 4 . . . but Goran had to work both the Dining room and room service and and Deck 4 but you would never know from his smile, and smooth unflustered service. He even made sure to bring another souffle we could take back to DD. So sweet.

Several new faces in the staff, made my mandatory visits to the spa for a pedicure and a massage. Excellent as usual. Bartender Shaun (From South Africa and was on SD I in 2009 and 2010 before taking some time off for the World Cup Games) makes an excellent mojito (try without the sugar for a really refreshing drink). Also caught a glance of Louie. Jaime is looking foward to his vacation in a couple of weeks and Christophe is magnificent as usual - remembered everything about our preferences without saying a word.

While a number of the "usual" SD guests are on board, quite a number of first timers, including a couple of large family groups - so yes, to confirm, dynamics of Christmas may be different from others.

Yacht is decorated quite nicely - Christmas trees in a couple of locations and large gingerbread houses appeared in the lobby and outside the dining room last night.

And oh, do I love the new pajamas. Dark blue, with white piping around the hems, light weight cotton, so comfortable, another reason to do a back to back - to get two pairs. Outside towels are now grey - very chic. DS wants to take one to his new job in Orlando - the Mouse World, so I can see my boutique bill adding up. New shelves in the lobby for boutique goods.

And the menu has gotten quite healthy - is possible to be very good if you so choose without trying very hard.

have a hike on Norman island this morning . . . signed up for a snorkel trip this p.m. but the seas don't look particularly good. St. Barts was closed to ships yesterday . .. . uh oh -not counting on making Anguilla this trip either!.

just realized i forgot any type of windbreaker - what an idiot.

off to see the sun between the clouds.

DisneyJen
December 24th, 2011, 09:37 AM
Thanks reporting in spartanchurch, zqvol and FT!

Sounds like you are having quite the adventure!

Awfully windy here on the beach in Florida but quite beautiful. Those Christmas winds always make life interesting.

We have talked about investing in the Marriott Cove but of course I want more points at Disney's Vacation Club. We haven't stayed at the Cove but have heard wonderful things about it.

Please wish all of our friends on SD a very Merry Christmas! Can't wait to hear about your special holiday dinners!

Enjoy!!

CDreamer
December 24th, 2011, 12:15 PM
FT, thanks for the update. Hopefully you have experienced the storm before the calm and much smoother seas will lie ahead of you!

Who is your captain this time - Capt Lund? I am wondering if we will have Capt Willassen in January?

Re: needing a windbreaker - sounds to me like a very good excuse for a nice new purchase! ;)

zqvol
December 24th, 2011, 12:47 PM
FT, thanks for the update. Hopefully you have experienced the storm before the calm and much smoother seas will lie ahead of you!

Who is your captain this time - Capt Lund? I am wondering if we will have Capt Willassen in January?

Re: needing a windbreaker - sounds to me like a very good excuse for a nice new purchase! ;)

We do have captain Lund. It is a mystery to everyone why he sailed from St. Thomas last night when he did. We were docked next to the QM2 and as they left we could hear their captain making a weather announce,ent about 3 - 4 meter seas, so se conditions were known. It was really an unpleasant 2.5 hour sail that could have been delayed even if we had to anchor in the harbor at Charlotte Amalie.

Today we are at Norman Island. FT and I did the shoreside casual hike which was about an hour long, the first half uphill, and we covered about 2.5 miles. No mussels for lunch, and just as we finished we got hit witha massive Carribbean rain storm. We are actually leaving in 45 minutes for. Snorkeling excursion to Treasure Island.

Other than the sail last night everything has been wonderful.

frequent traveler
December 24th, 2011, 04:49 PM
enjoying a break before cocktail hour - supposed to be held outside and dining outside but have had two squalls and a rainbow today so who knows what the weather will actually be?

Yes, Captain Lund is on board now - at least I think he is. He was on the gangway when we boarded but we haven't seen him since and Jeff, the Activities Director has made the announcments about rough water, arrivals, etc.

I know that Captain Terio is coming back for the Brazil trip - he was really looking forward to it the last time we spoke personally, but I don't know when he is back on board. Its not very transparent here - so you should probably contact Miami.

The hike on Norman Island was nice - no butterflies like last time, ZQ Vol says they haven't migrated yet. It amazes me how those teeny tiny wings can cross the Sir Frances Drake Channel - much less come down from the continental US.

Can't belive there was no First Day Mussels - while I love the Navy or dark blue towels pool side (saw a few of the old baby blue) and the sand (not grey as posted earlier) towels - this is one change I don't like!

The Christmas tree in the library is my absolute favorite - has a purple theme and is beautiful - hard to believe its Christmas Eve - so happy holidays all.

I know I will not mention everyone, but had Peter at breakfast and lunch - great guy - this after Goran beats me to my table at breakfast with a cappucino (got to figure how to stuff him in my luggage).

A new Michael from South Africa at the bar - also very attentive and a very good "skinny Mojito" - learned that phrase from a lovely couple from California.

lunch entrees covered a broad range - two kinds of pasta- red sauce and white sauce, lasagna and pasta alfredo, a fish, tuna sandwich, chef salad but as I mentioned above -NO FIRST DAY MUSSELS.

Highly recommend snorkel trip to the "Caves" - due to the chop - first stop was at the 7 Ocean Club - not that great, but crew did make a mean rum punch. The Caves are great - and a relatively cheap excursion -$59 per person.

We came back early - guest choice and just beat another rain squall back - 2nd of the day. 1st came at the end of lunch and drove the British contingency from the Office.

Saved up calories from lunch. So dinner should be great. Snorkel trip tomorrow morning just got cancelled - what no one wants to snorkel at the Dogs on Christmas Day? So I can stay up late and sleep in. Uh OH!

Jho Jo is our cabin attendant-works miracles before we can even ask. Couldn't ask for more. Really wish SD would do Croatia in May 2012 - not July.

FT

p.s

wi fi did not work on first Bali Bed outside TOY today. Tried - but did not pick up network on I pad.
works great in room.

DisneyJen
December 24th, 2011, 06:46 PM
Merry Christmas Eve FT/ZQ Vol family (as well as our SD family!)

I remember Ocean's Seven from our vow renewal trip as that is where we had our champagne and caviar splash. We snorkeled the caves at Norman Island years ago when we bareboated out of Tortola. Pretty cool!

Sorry to hear that you are dealing with the dreaded Christmas winds:mad: I suspect the reason the Captain made the run last night is that the weather was supposed to build this morning and into the afternoon. Kind of surprised that he didn't do it after midnight but it could have something to do with dockage fees but who knows:confused:

Can't wait to see the new towels in less than two months!!

I bet the trees are lovely. Can't wait to hear what special treats await you today and tomorrow.

We had lunch on the beach at a place recommended by ctbjr today ... it wasn't the Caribbean but DJ's DH said that it is part of his new SD3!:p

frequent traveler
December 25th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Christmas in Prickly Pear - we are lucky. Happy Holiday. Last night, was Chrismas caroling tableside. Tonight is a special crew show after the officer introduction before dinner. Today Santa waterskied by at the C&C splash. Very good to see Daniel -the activities director on SD I and others, but beach seemed a wee bit crowded. However, had two surfboards with C&C set up, so all went well. a quick afternoon shower lasted all of 5 minutes. Had live music and all the kayaks, etc out.

Last night's entree was lobster and the forest truffle mushroom soup. Zoltan took very good care in substituting a red wine for me (yes, I occasionally try something besides champagne) when I didn't like the standard pour. The sommelier Pablo stopped by too, even though we weren't purchasing upgrades. Very personable. Of course everyone is - from the security to the engineers. Just can't help smiling everytime I pass as SD crew member. We really appreciate all that they are doing for us today when they are away from their families.

Looking forward to the Sea Dream dessert extravanganza tonight!

Mr. LePisto is traveling on SD I and he doesn't think we can make Anguilla tomorrow so it will be interesting to see if a replacement is announced tonight. The seas are "going down" so it looks like St. Barts is on - but for seeing good friends there, I wouldn't care if we skipped that port - as long as we didn't substitute St. Marten.

I could swear the color of the lounge has been toned down - but ZQ Vol tells me it hasn't changed - it seems less pink to me now - I am going to have to investigate further.

FT

zqvol
December 25th, 2011, 05:11 PM
Not much to add to what FT has said. There are a lot families with young people on board, and they kept the bar tenders hopping at the TOY last night until after 2:30.There are also quiet a few younger ones, than the large group of college age people, but all are well behaved and never cause any problems.

Prickly Pear was nice today, I like the setup better than at Jost, but there is no Foxy's, nor One Love, nor any of the other beach bars. North sound was crowdeed with a lot of big yachts today and some rather large sailing vessels along with the usual small craft. The seas are so rough that a lot of small craft are having to stay close to home so there were not as many around as I anticipated.

Expecting a bumpy ride again tonight, Seas are calming but still expect swells of about 6 feet out of the north which will make for an interesting ride. Supposed to be better tomorrow evening. I would not mind a substitution of Tortola, or Jost for tomorrow instead of Anguilla, but one family on board has dinner reservations there. That might prove interesting as the captain is changing the schedule daily, leaving ports much early than what was posted on line. (Last night we were supposed to overnight at Norman Island, instead tender service stopped at 5:00 and we sailed to Virgin Gorda and overnighted at Spanishtown with SDI. In fact tender service according to the board was supposed to run until six and ended an hour early.)

I have been napping this afternoon so I don't know if we are still running the tenders or not so I will report on that later.

Merry Christmas to all!

Rustycat
December 25th, 2011, 06:23 PM
Hello and Merry Christmas, FT!

All is well in St. Barts and we await you eagerly. Hopefully there will be no issues with the tenders running -- seas have been high, as you know. Just drop me a note or give me a call when you know your schedule. It looked like from your earlier post Anguilla may be off due to the seas. Too bad; great beaches there.

See you soon,

Denise

frequent traveler
December 26th, 2011, 06:46 AM
Hello and Merry Christmas, FT!

All is well in St. Barts and we await you eagerly. Hopefully there will be no issues with the tenders running -- seas have been high, as you know. Just drop me a note or give me a call when you know your schedule. It looked like from your earlier post Anguilla may be off due to the seas. Too bad; great beaches there.

See you soon,

Denise

Looks like we will try to make Anguilla after all. Perhaps not the planned port but the back side
Will call later today when back in phone range
Ft

frequent traveler
December 26th, 2011, 06:17 PM
Brief update - returned from dinner last night and found a gift wrapped box on the bed - with a beautiful card. Signed by Sea Dream's owner. Inside the box was a lovely piece of glassware - more a piece of art. So getting it home will be the challenge - safest way is to leave it in the box - but that's not sturdy enough to ship separately and probably to big to fit in carry ons . .. oh well, nice problem to have.

lovely pumpkin soup last night and asparagous soup at lunch today. Can always count on those SD soups.

Made it to Anguilla - finally, and East Shoal Bay Beach. Very lovely, but got blindsided by a wave, knocked over, ate sand and sunglasses went floating. Recovered the sunglasses but sand still in the hair. Gorgeous beach.

80 minute Stone Massage this pm with Paula - highly recommend. so relaxed probably skipping dinner.

If you ever want to bring guests on board, get their passport number, DOB and place of birth - will help with the paperwork and clearance. But looking foward to having visitors for cocktails and dinner tomorrow night.

Bike ride (18 miles) was oversubscribed today - so they added a 2nd one this afternoon. Gym stays pretty full and yoga is croweded consistently - I'm having my coffee when they walk by. What a healthy group!

Happy Boxing Day.

FT

mimito4
December 26th, 2011, 08:48 PM
So fun to read of your adventure, FT and zqvol! Hope the seas settle down and you can have a gentle "rocking" only for the remainder of your SD vaca.

I agree about the wireless on the beds. I also had problems in the room most days. . .found the best connection out by the reception desk. Ugh. I was hoping to hear of better connectivity.

Very impressive about your suprise present. A big problem indeed. Happy holidays, good people!

frequent traveler
December 27th, 2011, 06:03 AM
Entire ship had cocktails outside and dined al fresco. Since ZQVOL and I both had massages right before dinner we were barely awake but didn't want DS to go solo or join another party. He was happy to announce that his sister had surrendered possession of the Norwegian glassware gift when I gently reminded him that it was really part of a pair that belonged with us:rolleyes: so for the time being the bowls will be displayed together !

Last night's menu was Caribbean/fusion. Started with a salad topped with crab that was the highlight of the evening. Sweet and tangy dressing and just the right selection of vegetables made it all come together just right. DS enjoyed his junked chicken and DD stayed "home" with a movie and room service. I do wish SD would make chocolate desserts without nuts. But it's good for the calorie count:cool:

Tonight's outdoor concert is "Adele -Live at royal Albert hall London" and another al fresco night

On the wait list for an excursion today so will probably do our standard walk to shell beach. Tomorrow possibly visit friends at flamand beach. Life is good

Ft

Rustycat
December 27th, 2011, 10:58 AM
Bonjour, FT and bienvenue a St. Barths.

We will see you tonight at the appointed hour. Looking forward to it.

Denise

zqvol
December 27th, 2011, 03:05 PM
St. Barth's is interesting today. Along with SDI and SDII, and the usually plethora of mega yachts, we have Regent Seven Seas Navigator and HAL Maasdam. It is a busy harbor. Gustavia is packed but everyone seems to be having a good time. Water toys are out this afternoon and got in my jet ski fix for the trip. Great gazpacho and fish and chips at lunch. I may have found a new dessert. Pina Colada sorbet, wonderful.

I finally made it to the fort, and will be posting pics of the busy harbor when we return. I enjoyed a nice chat with the sous chef Pedro this afternoon, and I also had a chance to speak with the wonderful Christophe.

All in all a good trip so far, we have friends staying on the island joining us for dinner tonight. FT is going ashore to meet them and bring them back to the yacht.

More to come later.

frequent traveler
December 28th, 2011, 06:32 AM
Dinner was amazing! From the carpaccio starter to the aubergine soup to the special "warm foie GRAS" course made for our table after Goran made a special request to the chef when ZQVOL passed on the terrine a couple of nights ago to the Osso bucco and dorado with risotto.

Our table on deck 4 was not affected by the brief rain but the concert was moved indoors so had no viewers.

A number of people went ashore for dinner. I stayed on board yesterday except to go pick up our guests. The tender area when the st Martin ferry comes in is a circus but fun to watch.

Really recommend gazpacho and the fish and chips for lunch.

Jeff is leading a walk this morning that starts at the fish market, goes past Jimmy Buffet's House and Margaritaville, the fort (where a new overlook has been built) and then to Shell beach.

Ft

Jim Avery
December 29th, 2011, 04:53 PM
FT & ZQVOL. Thanks for the updates. Safe travels home tomorrow. Looking forward to your reviews and pictures.:D

DisneyJen
December 29th, 2011, 05:05 PM
Thanks for taking us along on your holiday trip!

Safe travels home!

mimito4
December 29th, 2011, 10:07 PM
Ditto on the thanks. Can't wait to see pictures and read the long version of your experience. Safe travels, kids!

ohmiss
December 30th, 2011, 12:45 PM
I've been lurking too, just for your trip! Thank you so much for bringing us along...been sad I couldn't make it! Thank you FT and ZQVol! I have loved tuning into CC this week. :p

zqvol
December 30th, 2011, 11:07 PM
We are all safely home, and a final review with pictures will becoming in the next week, though I must admit I did not take a lot of pictures this trip.

frequent traveler
December 31st, 2011, 06:33 AM
a few more "new" things -
the paper maps showing the location on Deck 5 have been replaced with Google earth - pretty cool - except when the internet is down. And individual sea salt shakers and matching mini pepper grinders on the tables on Deck 5. Clear and cute and practical. And though I didn't notice until last day due to location in cabin - now all cabins have I pod docking stations - round and on very top shelf in cabin (doesn't pay to be height challenged!).
travel out of STT on a Friday is much easier than a Saturday or Sunday - very easy to check in and clear security and was able to get a seat, get something from a store or the one fast food place, etc. Still not a great airport - but bearable.
so relaxed the last couple of days of voyage - way too much effort to log on here to post, but will included updates in final posting.

more later -just didn't want to forget

back home in real world - where is dear Goran with my sparkling water?

FT

DisneyJen
December 31st, 2011, 10:00 AM
Thanks for the updates on the upgrades!

frequent traveler
January 2nd, 2012, 11:20 AM
2nd day in St. Barts

I began the the day with shore excursion - walk led by Jeff. Started off with a stop at the fish market at 8:30 a.m.- take a left at the pier after you get off the tender. First little square building. Those were some big fish getting carved up. Jeff was able to throw the remains to other big fish lurking in the water. What a feeding frenzy. Would not want to be snorkeling near that pack - 3-5 ft long. Then walked around the big yachts, passed the shops, restaurants,the Swedish consulate, a hole in the wall local bar, around a Swedish museum, up the hill past Jimmy Buffet's home, to the fort, to Shell Beach and back. We had lunch with friends at Flamand beach at a lovely boutique hotel, yum yum and discovered the local tradition of flavored rum as an after lunch complimentary drink ... glad we weren't driving. DD stayed on the yacht and we learned Marguerita pizza was on the menu! Flamand beach is on the Atlantic side of St. Bart's and beautiful.

Degustation Menu was our last night in St. Bart's - not on Christmas Day thankfully. This was my absolute favorite from top to bottom. Loved the white tomato cappuccino soup. The Chateaubriand was the best prepared beef I had on board the entire trip. And bless Pedro, Goran, Jaime and Christophe - I got a chocolate dessert with no nuts. Yum, yum.

We didn't stay up for it but Karaoke went on to 2:30 am or so - the entertainers have been very busy this voyage.

Last day was at St. John's - there was a big swell, so snorkel trip to Trunk Bay was cancelled. We walked to HoneyMoon Bay - was crazy with Celebrity excursion there. Security at Caneel Bay was not thrilled with us showing up there. However, Jeff's hike didn't get turned away like we did - as we saw everyone on the beach. If you need a dive shop on St. John's, we recommend Low Key, stop at the information booth on your way there and pick up a 10% coupon. There is no up sell and you get a much better deal then here - at least we did in replacing a mask and snorkel. We also learned that if the beaches on the Trunk Bay side are rough that Salt Pond bay is the best snorkeling on the island - however you need a car to get there as public transportation is unreliable and you should be a comfortable swimmer. The cruise ships no longer tender to the general ferry area but go to the left to a secure area next to the National Park office building. Taxis are always waiting though - $5.00 per person to Caneel Bay.

Last lunch - have kiwi mussels from buffet - Never did get the garlic mussels I love so much. Those of you who know Chef Josselin -Chela says he's doing well. But did have the pasta with 4 cheeses. Egg salad on the buffet was delicious. We liked the wings (2 per order, so hard to overindulge) but DS and ZQVol left most of the curry.


Got our next SD voyage booked (well not our next - but at the time thought it was our next voyage!) - SD II - Thanksgiving 2012, Marigot to Marigot. We love Iles des Saintes and want to at least sail by Monserrat. Love that 15% on board discount.

Last night dinner was Dover Sole. But I focused on the appetizers and soup courses - tuna carpacchio, a mini cobb salad, lobster bisque. I passed on the tomato/mozzarella salad but DD had and it was a beautiful and unique presentation - truly did not resemble the traditional course. And the dessert was a signature SD chocolate molten dessert -liquid ambrosia in the center. I packed during the afternoon so the this was one time evening wasn't too bad - other than figuring out how to get two pieces of glassware home - both made it safe and sound!

Last morning --for once do not have to dash off yacht for early flight but wouldn't you know it, DHS comes on board early at 7:15 for passengers to clear immigration and customs so we head up and clear. Very easy today - think just about everyone had cleared by 8:15 as Jeff was on PA looking for last two couples who needed to clear. We had been debating Croatia/Corinth Canal on SD I this summer v. St Petersburg/other Baltic stops on gulp another line and after talking to Elena and Christophe went ahead and booked the BtB Croatia/Corinth Canal on SD I. Now if we can only get decent airfare - starting in Venice and ending in Athens is challenging, especially with the reduction in direct flights to Athens.

Departing at 10 - we were almost the last people off and got a chance to say goodbye to a number of crew - right now a number are scheduled to be on board next Nov so it was a "see you in november" which was much easier than goodbye.


We arranged a private transport to airport this trip - more expensive than a taxi, but a nice air conditioned van and very easy transfer. Traveling on a Friday out of STT was the easiest I've ever seen STT - 5 minutes in line for immigration and to clear baggage. Again, if you have a lot of luggage, paying a private porter is the easiest way to go.

Made it home . . . and now in real world again. I know ZQ Vol will post a link to blog with all the menus - I'll do one last posting with final thoughts/pros and cons.

FT

CDreamer
January 2nd, 2012, 01:16 PM
FT and ZQ Vol, Happy New Year and thanks for all your posts! Always fun getting updates on the crew, menu items, and passenger mix (sounded like a pretty lively group?).

Would be fun to have Jeff on board during our upcoming cruise, but I'm thinking he might be heading home by the end of January. He was our CAD on our 2010 SD1 Athens-Dubrovnik cruise.

And you are so right - being able to say to everyone: "See you next ____ (fill in the month or year of your next SD cruise)" is a lot easier than saying: "Goodbye!" ;)

Jim Avery
January 4th, 2012, 04:42 PM
OK FT, you have been home almost a week.:eek: Time for your review wrap up you promised and pictures.:D Hey, we have been lurking the Nov 18 SXM r/t that you booked. Us booking it wont make you cancel, will it? Lois says that Thanksgiving will attract rug rats. Might push back a week or so but I really like the itinerary, especially the Montserrat stop. Looking forward to your wrap up.:D

zqvol
January 4th, 2012, 06:18 PM
OK FT, you have been home almost a week.:eek: Time for your review wrap up you promised and pictures.:D Hey, we have been lurking the Nov 18 SXM r/t that you booked. Us booking it wont make you cancel, will it? Lois says that Thanksgiving will attract rug rats. Might push back a week or so but I really like the itinerary, especially the Montserrat stop. Looking forward to your wrap up.:D

It would be good for you and Lois to book that one. I don't think that will get the rug rats out as getting in and out of SXM can be problematic. Of course our two will be along but at their ages they don't qualify as rug rats, but spartanchurch is a pretty good drinking buddy:D

BTW, I did not take a lot of pics and Have a bunch of stuff going on right now so it may be a couple of weeks until I can get them up.

zqvol
April 29th, 2012, 04:02 PM
You're right I do have to take what I can get! My parents are awesome considering I'm about to be at 14 Sd II nights.


and just think by the end of Thanksgiving weekend coming up you will hit 21 nights.