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  #1  
Old May 11th, 2005, 03:00 PM
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Schplinky Schplinky is offline
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Default Schplinky's E. Caribbean Navigator Report - Part 5

St. Martin

This would be my favouirte day of the whole trip.

We woke up late, mostly owing to our late night the evening before. That darned Michael had no hangover, despite the number of cocktails he had the night before. Today, we had breakfast delivered to the room and while they missed one of the items ordered, it was still nice to eat in the room. Our promenade room served us well here because the two sofas (one is the window seat) made a grouping around the coffee table for breakfast. The breakfast was tasty and we set off for the day soon after.

I must say that the port in St. Martin would be the nicest we would encounter. Everything was clearly signed and very clean looking, almost in a very Disney-version of pristine. They were giving away samples of the local drink, which was guava berry and there were a few souvenir and duty free shops, a launch for the water taxi to downtown and a good taxi area. You stood under the sign for the place you wanted to go and they grouped you to share cabs. We were off to Orient Beach almost immediately. Because our minivan-cab had 7 people, each person paid $6. For our return trip, it would just be Michael and me and it would cost $9 each, I believe.

Orient Beach is easily the nicest beach I have ever seen in my life. The sand is white and cool and the water feels like bath water, truly warm and refreshing. The beach is lined with restaurants and clubs and they all have padded deck chairs out front. We found an area we liked and a guy came and took our money. We were next to Kon Tiki at a little place that has since closed, I believe. They told us that they werenít going to stay open through the summer. The cost for the chair seemed pretty standard on the beach. For $7 each, we got a chair, an umbrella and a drink.

Mike got settled in and we had a short splash in the water. I had been wanting to try parasailing so I went off to the booth and signed up. It was $45 for the experience and would have been $40 if I was a party of two or more. Mike is not a fan of heights and they were generous in saying he could come on the boat for free. I used my Visa and was impressed that he offered me the carbons afterward. In case you're wondering when you visit, I used the parasail that looks like a yellow happy face.

Those who know me would not be surprised by the fact that ten minutes later, I already had misplaced the ticket he gave me. We searched through everything and could not find it. Luckily, Iím fairly good natured and people tend to look out for me. I returned to the booth and asked him if I needed the ticket and he smiled and said I would be fine. Of course, immediately after I returned to my chair, I found the ticket in a pocket I had searched three times.

My swim trunks had a water wallet that consisted of a plastic envelope that folded over twice, had velcro and two ziplocks. It not only tended to keep the water out but me as well. I did not like this feature and island places seem ok with wet money. One of the places I visited even had a little "clothesline" at the cash where she tended the bills.

We basked in the nice sun for a while and then it was my turn to parasail. The fellow came and got us and took us out to the powerboat in a dingy. We toured around for a while as some people ahead of me went and they strapped me into my harness. Then, he said "whoís next?" and I was off. They hooked me in to the parasail and off I went. I have to say that this was very pretty and I was having fun but in case you are sitting on the fence about trying it, I can tell you it was not as "thrilling" as I thought it would be. There were none of the swoops or drops that I thought I would experience. I was not disappointed; it was just a different experience than I expected. While theyíre letting the rope out, you just get further and further behind the boat at a decent height. When the slack is exhausted and the rope has some tension, you find yourself rising up in the sky. I could see islands at quite a distance and it was very peaceful and quiet. They reeled me in most of the way and then dipped me in the water for fun. I shrieked. I had seen them to do this to every single rider and it was still a surprise to hit the water. Iím sure you could ask them not to do this, if it made you feel nervous, but it was just a fun dip. You donít twist about or anything. The landing on the boat was very gradual and the driver seemed to be very good at going just the right speed and direction to bring you in gently. I had a blast and later, Michael would say that he couldnít believe how high up I had been. The pictures prove him right but I can tell you that it truly was not too frightening.


People ask what we did at Orient Beach. I say that I parasailed and that it was fun, freeing and a lasted about ten minutes. Invariably, if they know the beach, they ask if I went nude and I tell them itís the same answer as parasailing. For those that donít know, since the beach is in France and there is a clothing optional resort at one end, you will see some toplessness and some bottomlessness. It increases the more you get to the right end of the beach (facing the water). I know some people donít go there because they have kids or feelings about nudity but I think that it could be a good lesson about body image. Certainly, most of the people who choose to go nude would be considered average by most anyone. Some of them are extra-average. I think that over-reacting to this just teaches kids to be ashamed of their bodies. That said, I was nude for all of ten minutes of the many hours we spent there. I was doing fine until I saw the women with the telephoto. Certainly, there seemed to be as many women "looking" as men, which sort of surprised me, in a rather chauvinistic way. I was amused that the women sitting next to us leaned forward to get a glimpse of Michael as he changed and only mildly insulted when they chose to skip me. Lastly, I could not get over how darkly tanned everyoneís naughty bits were!

We had a good lunch of chicken panini and a good chat with the folks at the restaurant. People in St. Martin seem to enjoy the Canadians because some of us speak French. We had a nice chat with the attendant, whose French was very Caribbean-accented but we found the cashier to have a textbook Parisian accent. We tried our best to only speak French to them and they seemed to like it. Mike is fluently bilingual and I try my best.

It was starting to look like it might rain and so our beach attendant got us a taxi. We got back to the pier and it was sunny on this side of the island. We shopped the pier a little and then boarded the ship. I wish I had got a St. Martin t-shirt because this day was the best of my trip.

Mike went back to the room for a nap, being rather sun-drowsy, and I decided to try the casino. My "system" is to bet high and quit as soon as you win. I won another $100 and left. I have never won so consistently in my life and I was starting to believe in my ability at these machines. Silly me.

We showered and then met Greg and Sean at the Viking Crown for drinks before dinner as we sailed out of St. Martin. They also joined us for dinner and people at the tables around us seemed to breathe a sigh of relief that we were not alone anymore. We had a nice meal of lobster and shrimp and Edwin brought everyone seconds. In all honestly, my lobster was bland and not very tasty. Everyone else at the table disagreed so Iím willing to admit that I may just have had a bad one (or two).

We went to the interent lounge after the dinner. I wanted to research our next cruise (yes, weíre hooked) and before we went to the re-booking lounge, I wanted to know the numbers. We had discussed cruising with Celebrity because we had heard that they have more sophisticated ships and exemplary food. The food on RCL was fine so far so we will be looking for Celebrity to knock our socks off to live up to their reputation. We decided that we wanted to try the Southern Caribbean, too.

Tonightís show was a pop music production and was really well done. My only complaint was that they didnít feature very much older music for the older crowd. There were lots of seniors happily listening to the extended Madonna medley. I would have happily listened to some Lena Horne or Etta James, too. I must say that the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers exceeded my expectations. I thought they would be the equivalent to theme park singers but they were really good. The choreography was quite involved and Iím impressed. The lead singers, in particular, were uniformly strong. They played at other venues (parades, concerts in the promenade, the nightclubs) and they were great.

The late night activity was Quest. It is best described as an adult scavenger hunt/game show, but you will not need to leave the room. It was very fun and we were exhausted from laughing by the end. There were a couple of couples in one section (it was held in studio B) who brought in armloads of things that they thought would be requested and the Cruise Director shamed them big time. We were all pleased by this. As the cruise director said, "what are you, nine?" The winners of the game didnít win much more than a key chain so I donít see why you wouldnít come prepared for anything more than a fun evening.

We all went back to the Cosmopolitan Club next and the waitress already knew what we would want. I donít know how they do that. Following that, we went and viewed the chefís buffet. It was incredibly pretty and reminded me of Hilary Clintonís book about entertaining at the White House. I was amazed at how they used the food in such an artistic way. There was caviar in an ice sculpture and bet it didnít last long once they allowed folks to eat (the first 45 minutes are for photos only). Iím sure that folksí pictures of this buffet form some very good advertising for the cruise line but I can never eat that much just before bed.

We went next to the dungeon for the Friends of Dorothy gathering. There were lots of people, but again, it seemed to be just the four of us at the FOD and a few lurkers. We stayed until about 2 a.m. and then went to bed. Again this night, the DJ took a sudden turn to urban/hip-hip and the dance floor cleared. I donít get that.
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Last edited by Schplinky; May 11th, 2005 at 03:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old May 11th, 2005, 03:17 PM
terri23 terri23 is offline
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Hey schplinky, I'm really enjoying your review/report! Thanks and keep 'em coming.
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  #3  
Old May 11th, 2005, 04:08 PM
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LOL... How darkly tanned everyones naughty bits were!!!! You are a riot... I too loved orient beach and am going in july on the explorer... Getting my zoom lens ready!!! Lookout people (kidding of course)

This is the best review I've read yet... Keep it coming...
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  #4  
Old May 11th, 2005, 04:14 PM
HeatherE HeatherE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schplinky
St. Martin

People ask what we did at Orient Beach. I say that I parasailed and that it was fun, freeing and a lasted about ten minutes. Invariably, if they know the beach, they ask if I went nude and I tell them itís the same answer as parasailing. For those that donít know, since the beach is in France and there is a clothing optional resort at one end, you will see some toplessness and some bottomlessness. It increases the more you get to the right end of the beach (facing the water). I know some people donít go there because they have kids or feelings about nudity but I think that it could be a good lesson about body image. Certainly, most of the people who choose to go nude would be considered average by most anyone. Some of them are extra-average. I think that over-reacting to this just teaches kids to be ashamed of their bodies. That said, I was nude for all of ten minutes of the many hours we spent there. I was doing fine until I saw the women with the telephoto. Certainly, there seemed to be as many women "looking" as men, which sort of surprised me, in a rather chauvinistic way. I was amused that the women sitting next to us leaned forward to get a glimpse of Michael as he changed and only mildly insulted when they chose to skip me. Lastly, I could not get over how darkly tanned everyoneís naughty bits were!
Oh, Schplinky, you are so funny! I am considering going topless in Orient Beach, and possibly my boyfriend will attempt the nudity thing - if he does I will. You paint a very vivid picture of people ogling and I don't know if I will be able to do it just knowing that! I kinda just want to do it for the picture we'll take so we can tell people we went nude at a beach. I'm sure it's freeing and all, but I will be so self-conscious if people are "looking"! My "naughty bits" will be tan as well, as I have been tanning nude in a tanning booth for preparation of this Orient Beach. I did read somewhere there are some restaurants you can eat at nude near Orient Beach. Not sure if I'm ready to take it there, though!

I have been thoroughly enjoying your reviews. I will be on the Navigator, Eastern Caribbean on June 4, so I can't wait to contribute a review of my own. I believe I will journal everything as I go and simply post at the end - I don't want to see a computer for an entire week (that will be a first in about 8 years)!
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Old May 11th, 2005, 04:24 PM
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Schplinky, can you take a longer cruise next time, or even continue writing to tell us about your everyday life??? I'm loving this. You are a riot and I'm hooked. Please, don't stop. Can we cruise with you guys next time, you sound like soooo much fun!
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Old May 11th, 2005, 04:45 PM
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Schplinky: Just out of curiosity, are you doing this from memory or did you keep a journal? I'm taking a notebook for our cruise, so hopefully I can have the details on the level of your review! It's good to hear you took advantage of the show and lounge entertainment. That's a mistake my wife and I made on our first cruise (not dancing or enjoying the music) - but then again it was our honeymoon.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 04:46 PM
premiumrican premiumrican is offline
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Part 6 give me Part 6!!!! Where is Part 6!! I am going on the Navigator in Oct. Seems like a long way away!!
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Old May 11th, 2005, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PT737SWA
Schplinky: Just out of curiosity, are you doing this from memory or did you keep a journal? I'm taking a notebook for our cruise, so hopefully I can have the details on the level of your review! It's good to hear you took advantage of the show and lounge entertainment. That's a mistake my wife and I made on our first cruise (not dancing or enjoying the music) - but then again it was our honeymoon.
Mostly from memory that is prodded by notes taken. The notes for each day would amount to maybe 50 words. Today would include the beach, parasail, naughty bits, etc but just in point form.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeatherE
I kinda just want to do it for the picture we'll take so we can tell people we went nude at a beach.
Thanks for your really kind comments.

If you take a picture, be discreet. There is a strict "no pictures" policy at the nudist end of the beach. There were nudies walking all the way up and down the beach but mostly, they congregate to the right end (facing the water).
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Old May 11th, 2005, 06:05 PM
sueinphilly sueinphilly is offline
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I feel like I've been on vacation without leaving my house. Great details
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Old May 11th, 2005, 08:14 PM
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Schplinky,
I'm with over the edge, I don't want your reviews to stop. You must continue with your everyday life! HA!!! Thanks for the entertainment, keep it coming.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 09:29 PM
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Thanks for the great review. I am leaving on the 4th of June.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 09:46 PM
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I'm glad to hear that you're hooked on cruising! You have an excuse to go back to St. Maarten . . . a tee shirt!
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Old May 11th, 2005, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over the edge
Can we cruise with you guys next time, you sound like soooo much fun!
From a former Nova Scotian to a current one, that is a great compliment. Thanks!
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Old May 12th, 2005, 03:36 PM
HeatherE HeatherE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schplinky
Thanks for your really kind comments.

If you take a picture, be discreet. There is a strict "no pictures" policy at the nudist end of the beach. There were nudies walking all the way up and down the beach but mostly, they congregate to the right end (facing the water).
Thanks for the tip! That could be awfully embarrassing!
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Old May 14th, 2005, 12:06 AM
OCruisers OCruisers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by over the edge
Schplinky, can you take a longer cruise next time, or even continue writing to tell us about your everyday life??? I'm loving this. You are a riot and I'm hooked. Please, don't stop. Can we cruise with you guys next time, you sound like soooo much fun!
We also VOTE for you to take a longer cruise next time! Please KEEP
"Telling Us More"! Loving your review!

Happy Sailing! OCruisers
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Old May 14th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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Another Good one....I'm trying to find them all
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Old June 28th, 2005, 01:37 PM
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twinkletoes204 twinkletoes204 is offline
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It's a review like this that get me so excited for my first cruise in May 06. My boyfriend and I will be doing the Eastern itinerary on the Navigator, as well. You have painted such a great picture that I can't wait to experience for myself!

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Old June 28th, 2005, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LJR213
Another Good one....I'm trying to find them all
If you can't, let me know and I will send a pdf with all of them

Lee

crankywriter@yahoo.com
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