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  #1  
Old January 10th, 2010, 12:27 PM
vandrefalk vandrefalk is offline
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Default On Board SD I, 8-22 Jan 2010

Greetings, fellow SeaDreamers! We're sitting off St. John, waiting for the "liquid sunshine" to pass Good mix of pax, lots of familiar crew. Will try to give you the high points:
Crew: Capt. "Bjorn" in charge. Haven't sailed with him before, but he's been here since the beginning of SD. Very conscientious and manages to miss the worst of the swells (yes, DJ, it is kind of "swelly"). Hotel Manager is Rico (who blushed when told of What Not's picture of him); MaitreD is Donato (hope I got that right); Goram is head bartender; Felix, Brian, Doramus, Mike all around. Shawn at the TOY and Richard is the CAD. Have heard so much about Richard over the years -- a delight to meet him.

FredPepples and DH are here -- consensus is that SeaSlug 1 and 2 are much more descriptive , but we'll let them decide that!

We flew into San Juan on Thursday -- rainy and cold. Stayed at the Doubletree and just chilled (literally) -- slept in the next morning, had a late breakfast and just waited til we could call the cab to go to the ship. Boarded and were some of the first on -- got ID cards quickly and went to unpack. While I was doing that (having thrown DH out -- have you ever noticed that husbands have an uncanny ability to be standing precisely where you need to go?), got a call from Housekeeping that someone wanted to meet me in the lounge. I had no idea who that could be, although the thought occurred to me that it might be FredPepples. Got to the lounge and Ivana was looking around and finally pointed to a couple sitting in the corner of the lounge. I peered in that direction and couldn't believe my eyes!!! It was dear friends of ours we had met three years ago on SD and have since sailed with twice and visited on land! I had tried to talk them into coming (as well as a few other CC friends), but got a "nah." Then they decided to surprise us, which they certainly did! She had been checking this board to make sure I was really going We were delighted to see them. Have met a delightful couple from Scotland-he/Spain-she and several other very nice folks.It seems to be a very relaxed, fairly quiet mix -- who knows what the 5 day portion will be like!

Left SJ late and arrived at Culebrita in the morning -- lovely island and we made a brief foray to walk on the beach. Then on to Vieques where we did the bio bay. Wow. Bus ride was not good for kidneys or back -- mosquitos were ravenous, but the bay was incredible. No moon, so the stars were unbelieveable -- when you get in the water and lift your arms or make "angel wings", the water turns phosphorescent and it looks like diamonds dripping off your arms (one can only dream!). I didn't stay in the water long, not being a big fan of swimming in the dark, and a couple of people did get minor jelly fish stings -- but it was an experience we won't forget -- stars, soft water, in the middle of the Caribbean. Came back to the ship for a wonderful caribbean themed dinner on deck. Have recognized a few recipes from the SD Cookbook and need to talk to Chef Josselin about how to properly "top" an egg. Have debated whether or not I need to have a Red Stripe for CTBJR, champagne for FT and everyone else's favorites, but decided catching up on my own would be time-consuming enough.

So, the first day and a half live up to SD standards -- yesterday, sitting on a balinese bed and watching the scenery go by, I thought "it just doesn't get any better than this." Will try to keep you all updated, but you realize that relaxation can be very intense Will have to wait til our return to post pictures, however. In the meantime, everyone stay warm and send good thoughts our way!
Vandrefalk
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  #2  
Old January 10th, 2010, 02:51 PM
Jim Avery Jim Avery is online now
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Great start to a review and most welcome on this sub freezing day here in Northwest Florida. I know just how hard it is to spend the day on deck so I feel your pain(killer). When Gantt gets more experienced, maybe he too can spend the day at the pool deck and make it look easy as you do. Have fun.
J.
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  #3  
Old January 10th, 2010, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for checking in vandrefalk!

I am beginning to think that you draw the swells Glad to hear that Capt. Bjorn is keeping you comfortable even though Mother Ocean wants to play!

What a great story about your friends surprising you! Sounds like a very nice pax mix.

Have a Bombay Sapphire and Diet Tonic for me from my favorite spot
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:28 PM
ctbjr1309 ctbjr1309 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandrefalk View Post
Have debated whether or not I need to have a Red Stripe for CTBJR, champagne for FT and everyone else's favorites, but decided catching up on my own would be time-consuming enough.

In the meantime, everyone stay warm and send good thoughts our way!
Vandrefalk
Sounds like your trip is off to a great start. Glad to hear it. Capt. Bjarne is one of our favorites. Please don't tell him that we're joining SD2 in 2 weeks! Hope you enjoy being with him as much as we do.

Feel free to continue to focus on your favorite drinks and to leave the Red Stripe for me. I won't feel slighted in the least. Enjoy the rest of your time on board. We'll all be sending good thoughts to you.
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  #5  
Old January 10th, 2010, 03:33 PM
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FT reports that Vanderfalk is tempting her to open a bottle of bubbly to take the chill off of this 34 degree NC day.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:42 PM
whatnot whatnot is offline
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Great to get your early cruise review. We've been wondering about how the cruise was going. Glad to hear that your friends surprised you! I know that will make it lots of fun.

Can't believe Rico blushed about the picture! You have a different Capt, Chef and head bartender than we did in Oct, but sounds like a lot of the others are there. Say hello for me!

Hope the swells subside and the rest of the cruise continues to be great and relaxing!
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  #7  
Old January 11th, 2010, 07:18 PM
fredpebbles fredpebbles is offline
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SeaDream is just as wonderful the third time around.

We haven't lived up to our new names yet, as DH and I have actually gotten off the boat to tour St John and Nevis but thank goodness there are lazier days ahead.

It has been such a treat to share a meal with Vandrefalk et al; pax mix overall seems nice and the crew has been great.

The most difficult thing so far has been trying to decide when we may cruise again...

Fred Pebbles, aka Sea Slug I
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  #8  
Old January 11th, 2010, 09:01 PM
CruisePhan CruisePhan is offline
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Vandrefalk,
We are looking forward to seeing you in St. Thomas on Sunday and cannot wait for our first SeaDream cruise. The weather forecast looks great (much warmer than Philly) and we hope you will save a bit of champagne for those of us who will soon be joining you.

See you soon,
CruisePhan and 1stMate
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  #9  
Old January 12th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Thanks for checking in Fredpebbles!

You know with all that island touring that you have earned some well deserved sea slug time
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Old January 13th, 2010, 05:54 PM
vandrefalk vandrefalk is offline
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I'll see if I can hit the high points -- amazing how each day sort of slides into the next and you have trouble remembering specific details (or is that a result of champagne and bushwhackers?). Got off the ship briefly in St. John and had lunch at some place next to Mongoose Junction called Phil's. Biggest margarita I have ever seen!! Had a problem with the tender (seems to have burned a motor out) so they sent one of the open air lifeboats that went at about 1 1/2 miles an hour -- not fun in the heat. At one point thought we were going to have to transfer to another tender in open water but fortunately we didn't. That strenuous exercise required a couple of glasses of champagne to recover.

Next was Nevis where our friends SeaDreamer (who never posts but wants to know where Disney Jen got her ring) and we took a cab to Nisbet Plantation. Lovely location and we might just come back next year! Then to Guadeloupe (DeShaises) where we did absolutely nothing. FredPebbles (aka SeaSlug) and SeaDreamers walked the street and we thought about it but went "nah, looks nice from here." Today was Montserrat -- there's been some activity lately so we didn't get into the Exclusion Zone but did go to Jack Boy Hill where we could see the abandoned airport. Swells were not good so left early and Capt Bjorn sailed by Plymouth so we could see it -- quite a view. Now we're off to St. Barts

Mix is very laid back -- no "big" groups, and the Captain does have a few family members on board. Have met some very nice people including one who lives quite near us. It's been fun to catch up with FredPebbles, who actually has been fairly active!! We had dinner with Capt Bjorn last night (he says hi to CTBJR, but didn't tell him you were going on SD II). We talked a bit about the new itineraries and had fun offering him additional suggestions (around the UK, for example). Thought I heard the Amazon mentioned as well.

It appears SD II will be in St. Thomas next Sunday when some of our folks disembark, so we're trying to figure out a way to go over and say hi to Capt Tysse, Christophe, Jamie and others -- will let you know if we are successfu!

Food is wonderful -- drinks plentiful -- crew special, as always. Tonight Gary (piano) and some crew members are putting on entertainment for us! I like the idea of having the crew do things like this -- believe they do on the crossings but not on regular voyages?

One more note -- we have booked our next three weeks on board -- 2 weeks in Sept in the Med and the 11 day Norwegian cruise. Can you say excited?????

St Barts tomorrow; then St. Martaan and Virgin Gorda for the champagne and caviar splash. Will try to find time to update you again. In the meantime, stay warm!!

Vandrefalk
P.S. Captain told me SD had gotten a tsunami warning after the Haiti earthquake but it was only for two inches so he didn't worry much about it
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  #11  
Old January 13th, 2010, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for reporting in vandrefalk!

I was wondering about the tsunami warning ... They are extremely rare in the Caribbean!

If SeaDreamer is inquiring about my new engagement ring and wedding band let her know that DJ' DH purchased them here in the US and were presented to me on SD2

How wonderful that you have booked three weeks on SD for '11. Color me green with envy

Glad you are having a wonderful time ... and even happier that you aren't on crutches this trip!
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  #12  
Old January 13th, 2010, 09:49 PM
CruisePhan CruisePhan is offline
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Vandrefalk,
Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like you're enjoying a great cruise.
As for Sunday, both SD1 and SD2 will be docked at Crown Bay in St. Thomas. It should be quite easy for you to get to the other ship. We look forward to joining you in St. Thomas so please try to save some champagne...
CruisePhan
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  #13  
Old January 14th, 2010, 07:04 PM
ctbjr1309 ctbjr1309 is offline
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Vandrefalk, thanks for the newsy update. Sounds like a typically great SD trip that you're currently enjoying. Please keep the updates coming so long as they don't interfere with your important activities!

Glad to hear that you had dinner with the Capt. Tell him that Mrs. CTBjr and I miss him and hope to see him soon. I had hoped that we would be in port with SD1 at least 1 day on our upcoming SD2 cruise but it appears that won't be the case absent some last minute itinerary adjustments.

Meanwhile, good luck catching up with the SD2 group in St. Thomas on Sunday. Normally, it's pretty easy to get back and forth between the 2 ships at Crown Bay but I'm wondering if the latest security initiatives might put a damper on that. Will be interested to hear your report.

Enjoy the rest of your trip. Sounds fantastic so far.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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Cammiem Cammiem is offline
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Van - love the updates. Keep 'em coming.

It's amazing how a couple of glasses of champagne can aid in the recovery of virtually anything.

Congrats on the new bookings. Like DJ said, color me green with envy.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:24 PM
vandrefalk vandrefalk is offline
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Let's see -- where was I? Oh yes -- St. Barts. Each time I go there, I like it more -- clean, pretty, expensive (I just look) and some of the most beautiful boats I've ever seen. Our SeaDreamer friends and we went to lunch at Eden Rock -- they had spent their 30th anniversary there a couple of years ago and wanted to go back. Lunch was FANTASTIC! Water was crystal clear and we enjoyed watching the planes take off from that really, really scary short runway. Walked the beach after lunch and headed back to SD. Next day was St. Martin where we finally did the America's Cup (compromise to keep DH from doing the zip line) -- it probably would have been a lot more fun if it hadn't been pouring rain
We had enough SDers to fill three boats -- True North had to be towed out to the race site -- we were on Canada 2 and in the lead a good part of the time. At the last bouy (sp?), Stars and Stripes held us off, which allowed True North to move in for the win Oh, well. Everyone raced to buy warm sweaters, jackets, etc as we were all soaked to the skin. So at least I got a really nice yachting jacket/windbreaker! Rained off and on all day -- more than I've ever seen in the Caribbean. Off to Virgin Gorda and the weather was marginal. Had the champagne and caviar at Prickley Pear, which at least has the advantage of being under cover. It wasn't as bad as St. Martin as we were able to enjoy food, beach, etc in between rain showers.
On the flip side the weather in St. Thomas was horrible. It poured all day -- most of the departing passengers were huddled under umbrellas. It was sad to see everyone leave and the ship was almost ghostlike -- mentally, you could see all your new found friends but they weren't there -- a bit like the scene in Titanic where everyone starts reappearing.
SD II was parked in front of us and I was able to go on board and see Capt T briefly -- he had been on SD I and told my DH he knew we were on board, but I had missed him. He was charming as always and I promised I would not quote him on CC
Today was St. John -- weather was gorgeous. Our friends are staying at Caneel Bay for a few days, so we went over and had lunch with them. Tonight is dinner with Capt. Bjarne and sleeping under the stars as we head to Anguilla.
The degustation menu was to die for -- Suddesh is the chef. Also had a galley tour where I got my egg-topping lesson
Can't tell much about the new group -- have met a few and was sure I had met CruisePhan, but no such luck. Perhaps they'll surface! We really did have a good mix last week -- was great fun getting to know Sea Slug (oops, I mean FredPebbles) better and her DH. We miss everyone, but sure there are nice folks on this portion as well.

Couple of questions -- what's a good place to store luggage in SJ? We'd like to see a bit more of old SJ beforre our 5pm flight. With the new security measures, we can't leave our bags in care of SD and don't want to go to the airport and backtrack. Any suggestions?

Tomorrow is Anguilla and then Jost for the splash before we have to get off in San Juan. Have to say SD is living up to its reputation in all aspects. It is truly addictive

Will try to post a wrap up and other observations once we are home -- maybe by then I'll have my photos uploaded and provide that link as well.
In the meantime, everyone think of their favorite SD memories!

Vandrefalk
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Old January 18th, 2010, 07:06 PM
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Thanks for checking in again vandrefalk!

Sorry to hear that the weather isn't cooperating. It certainly has been a strange season in the Caribbean between the rain and wind ... and swells

Glad that you were able to catch up with Capt. T! Enjoy dinner with Capt. Bjarne this evening ... as well as sleeping under the stars!

Here is a link from the port section of CC about luggage storage. We have never used either so I can't help but at least I can give you a link: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=357502
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Old January 18th, 2010, 10:44 PM
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Have enjoyed your posts and so glad you actually got off the yacht and enjoyed St Barts! And congrats on doing the America's Cup and keeping DH away from the dreaded zip line - I remember how much you didn't want him to do it last year.

So sorry about the weather, but it was a was still better than here!

Hope you enjoy Anguilla. I haven't made it there yet and want to go. You may remember that we were going to take the ferry over last year from St Martin but I got the crud the night before so we didn't go.

Hope the rest of the cruise is great!
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 07:01 PM
vandrefalk vandrefalk is offline
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Final observations:
I have been accused of dropping off the face of the earth -- I didn't, just recovering from my usual cold on flying back with the masses (couldn't upgrade ).

Some observations: the service just seems to get better and better. Having been on both yachts, I can't tell the differences anymore, although I know our SDI crew was expecting Christophe at some point and was prepared to shine! It may be that they know us better now (after 8 cruises) and we've become very fond of them. Many will be on board in September so it will be like a homecoming!

There is a definite crew "underground" - I got a little too much sun one day and was trying to cool off in the lounge. Within minutes, I had a steady stream of crew (including Richard and the doctor ) coming by to see if I was ok. Also learned that a certain captain had alerted a certain chef about my posts as well.

Food continues to be excellent -- I ate so much (and drank so much champagne -- sorry, FT) the first nine days that I tried to be really good the remaining time. Pleas to the waiters for "very small" portions were (sort of) acknowledged -- but there is still a discrepancy between my interpretation and the kitchen's! Our first group apparently hit a record of 730+ bottles of liquor, wine, etc -- only matched by the fact that we actually RAN OUT of Bailey's two nights before we docked in San Juan!!!!! I realized it wasn't due to my nightly consumption, but the fact that the Bushwacker seemed to be the most popular drink on board.

Don't think the first group got pjs, but everyone did at the end of the 5 day cruise. Supposedly, the embroidery machine was on the fritz the first nine days. These are lighter weight, which isn't a problem -- but they are much - shall we say -- "slimmer" than the previous ones. Not sure the bottoms will fit my 6'2" DH -- and maybe not such a good thing after two weeks of SD cuisine!

There are definite differences in dynamics between the 9 and 5 day cruises, as we found last year. One couple was "in transit" with us for the 5 day -- and I think there were 13 cabins staying on after we left. It was a little harder for us to "bond" with new people (although all seemed very nice, even though I never did meet CruisePhan!) and you kind of kept looking around for friends from the first phase. Will be interesting to see if it is similar on a 7 day b2b.

We stored our luggage at the Sheraton (for a small gratuity ) and rode around on the NPS trolley. Nice way to see OSJ -- even though it rained.

Now playing catch-up and wondering why no one picks up my towel or brings me a glass of champagne (or Baileys). Will eventually get my photos uploaded and I'm sure I'll have a bunch of questions for those of you who have sailed in the Med -- only 7 months to go!!

Will look forward to seeing some of you later this month!
Vandrefalk

Last edited by vandrefalk; February 2nd, 2010 at 07:04 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vandrefalk View Post
Final observations:

Now playing catch-up and wondering why no one picks up my towel or brings me a glass of champagne (or Baileys). Will eventually get my photos uploaded and I'm sure I'll have a bunch of questions for those of you who have sailed in the Med -- only 7 months to go!!

Will look forward to seeing some of you later this month!
Vandrefalk
Thought I'd find you here

Enjoying it, I see!

April Fool's Day -- and I'm free and clear -- may be trying SD next January and may surprise you and your DH -- mine is bailing June, August or December. He can't make up his mind.

Steve and Rob say 'hi'. Tell your better half we said HI as well.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Vandrefalk ... Glad to hear that you have recovered from your airplane souvenir

Thanks for finishing up your review and the observations!

We'll see you later this month
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