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  1. We arrived at the airport around 1:30. There was a line around the building for those that had later flights. Aline directed us to the airport entrance where reps wearing a yellow vest asked about our flight details and directed us inside the airport. We waited in line to check in with Delta for about 20 mins. It appeared most on our flight had already checked in. Security was about what I had expected. It took about 30 mins or so to complete. To our disappointment, our flight was delayed. In part due to the flight from Atlanta being behind schedule. Additionally, Delta held the flight longer due to some passengers not having all of the documents needed for travel. I’m sympathetic to them, however, that caused many on our flight to have little to no time to make their connection. Now that my trip is complete, no question; arrange a private tour. The airport experience in St. Maarten was not pleasurable. The staff at the airport was fine, it’s just too many people trying to fly in a short amount of time. Security wasn’t too bad. Frankly, it was better than security it Atlanta where we had to recheck our bag for our connecting flight. There was not really enough space at the gates, restroom facilities were mediocre and food options were all but non existent. Imagine eating breakfast on the cruise at say 7 AM and not really having any viable food options until you complete customs and security back in the states. That assumes you have time to grab something. I’m not sure if the restaurants at the Atlanta airport didn’t have enough staff or not. 8:30 PM on Saturday and they only food options were Wendy’s and a local spot. Both had lines that were longer than security in St. Maarten, so the only option were chips from the newsstand. So the main question, was the cruise worth the hassle factor? Absolutely. Expect some inconveniences, do not arrive at the airport too early and have a plan for food and you will be fine. The only caveat is this. If you have any stamina issues, you may rethink. I’m in my late 40s and it was a long day. Remember that any carryon bags you have leaving SXM, you will have to carry up the stairs boarding the plane. Jason
  2. Yes. info@dandataxiservice.com or via their website at dandataxiservice.com.
  3. Some have asked that I list my post cruise experience debarking the ship and the airport arrival. We debarked at 9:30 where Aline from D & A taxi was waiting for us outside the cruise terminal. We opted for a private tour for 5 due to the issues many had arriving at the airport too early to enter the terminal. We’ve visited Orient Beach, shopped at Marigot for an hour or so and have just arrived at Sunset Beach bar for lunch. I’m sorry to say there is currently a torrential downpour. I hope those that are at the airport have been able to enter the building. The private tour has been wonderful. We were notified by Delta that our flight was delayed by 45 mins. Aline called the airport to see when they would allow us to enter and extended our tour. Highly recommend her. Anyway, we’re about to each lunch. Hopefully the airport will not be too crazy when we arrive, around 1:30 PM. Jason
  4. Donna, It was a place called Any Lab Test Now off the I459 Acton Rd. Be very specific as to the Rt-pct with the Naso-pharangyl swab, although I’m not sure St Maarten is playing close attention to the type of nasal swab. It does cost $249 per test, but we’ve requested Blue Cross reimbursement. Hopefully your Walgreens test come back. If not, this place is great. Jason
  5. I’m on the Millennium now. The hassle with the testing and travel is not too bad if you have the right plan. We tested at a facility that turned around our PCR test on the same day. So we tested Wednesday afternoon and uploaded our results that night. Approval come in within a few hours. We, however, arrived in St Maarten a day before and I’m glad we did. It was nice checking out of our hotel at 10:00, grabbing breakfast and taking a cab at 11 AM to the cruise port. Even though our check in was at 12:30, Celebrity allowed everyone to come into their air conditioned facility and we were on board by 12:15. Honestly, I remember thinking how exhausted those that fly in the day of the cruise would be. To be fair, we had a 5:00 AM flight to Atlanta; flying from Miami may not be that early. Regarding the post cruise experience at the airport. Thanks to this wonderful platform at to those that travelled on the first couple of cruises, we changed our plans. We had the Celebrity tour with airport drop off. We decided to cancel that and book a post cruise island tour with a company called D & A taxi. We have 5 total and they can accommodate all of our luggage. Our plan is to take that tour, grab lunch before we arrive at the airport around 1 PM for a 3:11 PM flight to Atlanta. Not sure how that will work out, but I would imagine it will be better than standing outside the airport for a few hours. By the way, the island tour for 5 was less expensive than the Celebrity transfer. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after the cruise, but I would absolutely take this cruise again. We have around 575 people on this cruise and it’s a chance of a lifetime. Ironically the smaller crowd provides more opportunities to have the discussions with other passengers and the crew. The cruise is absolutely wonderful and we’ve met so many great passenger and crew members. Bottom line, there are some hoops to jump through and there are some hassles. If you have the right plan, it’s absolutely worth it. Jason
  6. Not only is it an RT-PCR test, it’s a naso-pharyngeal swab test, which is the intrusive test. Spoke with a local testing site and they explained that when I make an appointment with them, we would need to specify both items as they said the naso-pharyngeal swab is not the typical test they perform. Here’s St Maarten’s current requirement, with US and Canadian citizens having 120 hours for the test. rt-PCR test for the SARS-COV-2 virus obtained from a naso-pharyngealswab performed in the country of origin and within 72 hours prior to departure to Sint Maarten (last leg in case of connecting flights) is required for all travelers originating from a country that is categorized as high risk.
  7. I certainly understand the hesitantancy for those that do not want the vaccine. I do, however, wish everyone would get vaccinated as that is the only chance we will crush this virus. My family and I are now fully vaccinated and that was our choice, as it should be. Given the nature of this virus, it’s certainly possible that it will never go away. Much like the flu, we’ll have the option to protect ourselves with annual vaccinations for the many variants that will show up each season. Would I go on a cruise if it were not a fully vaccinated cruise? Absolutely. There is an inherent risk in just about any we do. If you could look into your crystal ball 2 to 3 years from now, what is the landscape for viruses, cruising and vaccines? For all we know, future variants could affect young adults more than older ones. Ultimately, I believe COVID will be looked upon just like any other virus, like the flu. I personally would want to be vaccinated for the flu before a cruise in the winter months. I suspect no more than half of passengers are typically vaccinated for the flu. I’ll be on the third sailing out of St. Maarten in June and cannot wait see my fellow passengers. Jason
  8. We booked a Royal Caribbean cruise for May with some friends that cancelled in April. We both had Travel Insured. We both received full refunds for the cruise, directly from RCL. Our friends filed an immediate claim with Travel Insured for the airline refund. As of two weeks ago, they were still waiting on their refund for a claim that originated in late April. Jason
  9. I’m seeing some wild inconsistencies regarding the length of time credits are being issued. I’m on day 46 for both my cruise and extras (drink package, Internet, etc.). My TA, which according to RCCL, books through what they call the “group booking” department which is saying they are seeing credits coming consistently at 73 days. I’ve seen others say 2 to 3 weeks. Is there any correlation between those that book directly with RCCL with faster credits and those that do not having to wait 70+ days? I’m sure they are very busy, as are many other corporations around the country. Not quite sure what they can charge my account in a matter of hours, but it takes 3 months to credit. I’ve heard all of the excuses and at this point, it is inexcusable. Jason
  10. We sailed the Enchantment is the Seas the 3rd week of September, 2001. We were more concerned whether or not air travel was available or not. Of course it opened up by then. The cruise seemed to be close to capacity. I do remember RCCL offering incredible deals to stay on for another week. 7 day alternate Eastern and Western. $300 for inside, $400 for ocean view, $500 and up for balcony/suites per person. Would have definitely stayed for another week if I had the vacation. Jason
  11. There was a time, years ago, when a 3rd person (child in my case) received the non-alcohol package, included at no additional cost. Alas, that is gone. That being said, I do believe Celebrity has one of the best packages in the market. Jason
  12. I second bringing your own. We sailed the Star last year and they had no straws at all. Drinking those daiquiris with a spoon was fun. Especially when the bars didn’t have any to provide.
  13. We used a company called Twelve Transfers earlier this summer. Considered National Express, but with 6 of us, Twelve Transfers was almost break even. Also used them for a 3 AM trip into London at St Pancras for the early train into Paris. On time and very reliable. Would definitely use them again.
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