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About sunfl0wer

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Ewing, NJ

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  1. sunfl0wer

    Star Pride - bad? Single traveling

    We're from Ewing and on Pride on Feb. 9. Would be happy to meet you if you happen to choose that sailing.
  2. sunfl0wer

    Terre-de-Haut, lles des Saintes, Guadeloupe

    We've been there twice. Yes, you can walk much of the island if you're in good shape. That's what we did the first time. There are nice beaches on the Atlantic side, but there might be kelp as well. The walk up to the fort is a bit strenuous and hot (not much shade). Views are great when you get there. You can also rent scooters or golf carts at the port, using a credit card and US drivers license. Two people on a scooter will be a challenging ride uphill to the fort. Husband rode up, I walked most of the way. Scooter didn't have enough power to go uphill with two riders. Other than the hill to the fort, no problem with the scooter on the rest of the island. We're going back in Feb. 2019. Might try the golf cart option. The fort accepted only Euros for entry, no credit cards or dollars. Don't count on finding an ATM for Euros. Get some before you depart the US.
  3. We had dinner at the GreenHouse on Feb 9. Good food and good service. Lots of variety on menu.
  4. sunfl0wer

    Live from Crystal Esprit in the Caribbean

    Our experience in the Seychelles last Feb. was quite different. There were 2 women traveling solo. They had multiple invitations to dinner every night. We never dined as a couple, even the first night and by the end of the cruise, we were regularly dining as a group of 8 or 10. We weren't the only large group either. If you're traveling solo, I think Esprit is a great choice.
  5. sunfl0wer

    Live from Crystal Esprit in the Caribbean

    Check here for an updated list of hotels that are open: http://www.travelweekly.com/Caribbean-Travel/Caribbean-islands-affected-by-hurricanes-mapped?ct=carib. I've booked Bakers Suites for 2 nights pre-cruise (United cancelled all flights and Jet Blue from JFK only had non-stop available for Friday departure.)
  6. sunfl0wer

    Live from Crystal Esprit in the Caribbean

    Hi Carolyn, Bon voyage! Esprit tip #2: There isn't a good place to hang wet clothing. We used hangers from the closet in the window wells (between the curtains and the window glass). We're on Esprit again in Feb and I'm planning to purchase a retractable clothes line with suction cups. Not exactly sure where I'm going to mount it because the shower is pretty air-tight, but it might work for really wet stuff. My question: The ship didn't travel very far in the Seychelles and was primarily between islands where waters were calm. My experience for the Caribbean is that there can be more motion. I'm curious how the shallow draft of Esprit does when transiting between islands. Also interested in your thoughts regarding the complimentary shore excursions. Which one not to miss and which could be given a pass. Thanks, Bethanne
  7. We are on Esprit in February. Two weeks ago, United notified us that they were cancelling all flights to SXM through April 30. We had a non-stop from EWR, leaving on Saturday, returning on Sunday, and a hotel near SXM for Saturday night. After much research, we found a non-stop on Jet Blue from JFK with availability on Friday, so we added an extra night in St. Marteen. JFK is not my first choice, but I really want to take this cruise. After all this, I hope Crystal doesn't decide to change from Marigot.
  8. sunfl0wer

    Itinerary Change

    Thanks for this info. We are on Esprit in Feb. Can you share the boutique hotel info? The hotel I booked is closed until Oct 2018. I only need one night in Feb. We took the Seychelles cruise on Esprit last Feb and really enjoyed it. Will have to make final payment on Caribbean in a month and haven't heard anything from Crystal. Haven't cancelled our flight on United so we can still get there if I can find a hotel which is open.
  9. sunfl0wer

    ABC islands

    Depends on what you want to do. Bonaire has better snorkeling. Curacao is more interesting around the port and also has reasonable snorkeling (we like to snorkel). Aruba is usually crowded with tourists from NYC and NJ, with lots of restaurants, shopping, and great windsurfing.
  10. sunfl0wer

    taxi rates

    In early 2016, it was $12 per person for a group of 5, each direction. No problem using dollars, but I have never seen any taxi at the port accept credit cards
  11. sunfl0wer

    taxi rates

    not sure about the current price (last visited in Feb 2016), but it was $25 for 2 people in a taxi
  12. sunfl0wer

    Burj Khalifa advise please

    If you purchase tickets in advance for 148th floor, you can go directly to the 'will call' window and will only need to be there about 15 min before desired time. This provides access to a shorter queue for the elevators, both up and down.
  13. sunfl0wer

    Crystal Esprit for teens and college age

    On our Feb 12 cruise, there were 6 high school/college age out of 54 passengers. They seemed to enjoy themselves.
  14. You can only see Cousin Island using the excursion. It is a nature reserve. Birding Trek was excellent. Lots of mosquitoes, so take repellent with the highest DEET available and use it liberally. Valley De Mai was also excellent. We stayed at Anse Lazio all afternoon. Shuttle ran hourly. Nice food at the restaurant there and they accept credit cards, dollars, euros. Take cash when you go ashore. There is some snorkeling off the beach. You can take gear from the ship. You can leave beach stuff on the bus during the hike. There is plenty of shade and the water is great. 3 friends did the golf excursion and loved it. I don't golf. If you prefer golf, you can still see coco de mer at Curieuse. Snorkeling by private boat, again excellent, but you need to be agile enough to get in and out of water off the back of the boat. There are sea lice (tiny jellyfish) and you can get tiny, prickley stings which cause itchy red bumps. Take hydrocortisone and/or benedryl cream in your bag/on the excursion. They didn't bother me, but my husband got a few. Bumps responded well to treatment. Lots of interesting fish to see at both sites. We did Curieuse Hiking Exploration, which ended at the tortoise farm. You could have taken the zodiac to the tortoise farm without the guided hike, and walked around on your own. Having done the other two hikes, there wasn't a whole lot of new information that required a guide. Would have prefered to explore on our own. Swell was too big to tender at Aride, so we went to Big Sister instead. It was independent exploration. Unfortunately, it was rainy as the snorkeling from the beach looked really good. 22 of 54 passengers went on the submarine. They enjoyed it. We didn't as we prefer to swim with the fish. Can't say that I wished for anything, but I packed a lot, 3 of everything (hats, quick dry long and short sleeve shirts, bathing suits). What's lacking on the ship is a place to dry stuff. No clothes line in the bathroom. We used hangers in the top of the window sill and around the shower stall, but it was slow to dry. We changed into dry clothes before lunch, and sometimes in the late afternoon as well. 3 was a good number. Be sure to have good reef shoes. Some landings are wet, onto rocky beach. Tendering requires agility and you need footwear that doesn't slip off. We typically wore reef shoes to the island, with tennies in our pack. Changed shoes on the beach so we didn't have to hike with sandy feet. Remember to take a towel and water when you leave the ship, and cash for Praslin and La Digue. If you want postcards and stamps, get them at the souvenir shop at Eden Island, pre- or post-cruise. Take a pen, write them there, then take to the valet desk at the hotel.
  15. With only a few sailings left, I hadn't planned to write a review. The review from last year was fairly accurate. I'll add some things that weren't previously mentioned. Pre-cruise: No problems with prescription drugs at DXB. Hand luggage is x-rayed, but no other screening. Passport control lines were long when we arrived at 11:30 PM. Expect to wait at least 40 min. Driver was waiting outside baggage claim, with a Crystal sign in hand. Traffic in area of Ritz was jammed at 1AM. Ritz Carlton is beautiful, right on the beach with great pools. It is within walking distance of shops and all sorts of restaurants. Crystal package, and any additional nights, include breakfast buffet. Also included was a half-day city tour on Saturday morning at 9AM. It was poorly attended, but if you haven't seen Dubai, really interesting. We visited a mosque (outside only), Dubai museum (crowded, but very worthwhile), old Dubai, spice souk, gold souk. Traffic on Saturday morning was pretty bad as well. Esprit was lovely. In addition to the included shore excursions, there are also independent opportunities to bicycle or take a shuttle to the beach in La Digue, stay longer at Anse Lansio, have a speed boat ride in a Wider 32 when Esprit is at Eden Island (don't miss that one), swim off the back of the ship with the captain and crew at Curieuse, also champagne and caviar in the surf (for just an hour or so) at Curieuse with island entertainment. Women wore dressy sundresses or similar for dinner. Men wore short sleeve shirts with collars. No jackets. Tortoises are plentiful and friendly. They want you to rub their necks and scratch their heads. Let me know if you have other questions.