MITSUGIRLYS EPIC CRUISE--2nd time around-1st from Port Canaveral

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VA Beach VA
43 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Hi Kim!

Just following along. You and I were on the same breakaway cruise to Bermuda last Oct (2015). I used your review from your Dawn to Bermuda trip to extensively plan our time in Bermuda! Here we go again -- we have the same trip on Epic planned for Dec 2017. This time instead of just me and my husband we will be bringing our 2 kids who will be 4 and 13 months at the time of sailing, as well as my parents and brother. Let's just say - thank goodness for the UBP!!! Thanks again for such an extensive review. It helps just to daydream - seeing as it's still over 1 yr away!

Sorry the baths weren't what you expected. Extended family certain can complicate things when you are trying to make everyone happy. We are just planning on Cane Garden Bay that day - I don't dare do anything too adventurous with little ones along. Did you happen to see any "regular" taxis on Tortola? Not the open air ones. I don't mind our 4 yr old traveling a short distance without a car seat but we planned to bring a seat for our 13 month old. I doubt open air taxis are designed to accommodate a car seat!

Hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Thanks again - Love the pictures!!!
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by riddle
On my transatlantic on the Epic I had booked LeBistro and was taking a new friend. However, on the day my stomach was giving me fits so I cancelled.

I called a few days later to book again and was told that LeBistro was booked for the remainder of the cruise. Now this was a 13 day cruise and we had only been on the ship about 6 or 7 days. I looked at my letter and it said LaCuchina could be used so I was able to book that. I told the rep that it was ridiculous that I could not use a Platinum benefit at this point in the cruise (before I knew about LaCuchina) but she was inflexible.

I would have taken this higher but decided to just book LaCuchina. I really, really hate the reservation thing on NCL for the shows especially. I had the dinner package and it is so hard to get reservations for dinner and a show that work together. I did the standby a couple of times for shows and it actually works better I think.

I just don't understand partly empty restaurants that have no reservations. I guess they just don't have the staff but that makes no sense to me. They "give" you the packages as a perk then make them very hard to use.

I used to be an an NCL cheerleader but not so much anymore. Some of the staff look so worn out and you see them at the start of the day and still at the end of the day. Most always with a smile on their faces, but still I feel for them. My room stewart was a gem but I could tell that by the end of the 13 day cruise he was just not as perky as before.

Anyway, I will continue to cruise NCL with 28 cruises thus far but I have less enthusiasm for the "extra" things to spend money on.
I couldn't have said it better. I was "somewhat" of a cheerleader, but with all the recent changes and now being able to get the free packages...things are just too crowded at the bar, crowded at restaurants, sucking up the internet....the list goes on. It use to be a special occasion to get the perks, now it's an every day thing. I have less enthusiasm as well. This is why I have been enjoying breaks and going on Carnival. It's a nice change for us and I am really enjoying them. I almost 99.9% I will cruise with them next. So sure that I purchased some gift cards with Verizon today...just to use as a deposit when I decide to book.

Originally posted by SuiteTraveler
I LOVE the peacock mermaid tail you got for Sakari! Did it come with a matching top like her other tails? It's really beautiful!

Here's the 411 on Richard Branson and Necker Island:
Richard Branson: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necker...Virgin_Islands)

Necker Island: http://www.virginlimitededition.com/en/necker-island

The Necker Island website makes me want to go back to the Caribbean!

Kim, I think your feelings about The Baths were colored by the behavior of others which was...distracting, to say the least. When we were there, the other visitors were helpful and kind - even to people who were going the opposite way. It was such a completely different experience than yours. All I can say is think about what you saw and experienced and decide for yourself if you want to try this again or not. I imagine it is like most places where you can go 100 times and have 100 completely different experiences.
I did not check into the top/bottoms. I honestly don't really care for their "style" in bathing suits (you by them as a suit, not just top). They have the tie strings at the top and bottom versus the clasp hooks and the way they are designed in the front is just weird as well. They kind gap in places and it's just not a good fit. I have bought 2 of them so far to match her tails, but I don't think I will buy anymore.

Kendra informed me that she bought Sakari 2 mermaid tails tonight...purple and pink ones. Oh boy...she's going to be busting at the seams with tails this Christmas. Courtney/Kolin had also said they were going to get her one too.

So this Neckler Island...did you check out the prices to stay??? Oh my. Did I understand right that you pass this place on the ferry? I swear I almost took a picture of something that looked like this building and then thought, nah...it's just a hotel.

I believe it was colored by others as well...but I'm still not convinced that it's the right place for me. I will probably give it another try in the future...ONLY when we don't have others with us and can enjoy it. I'm just not sure if it would be on the "next" cruise there. We are due to return in October...but I'm double thinking it.

Originally posted by DC
Kim, great review as always. The Epic was the first ship that my wife and I ever cruised on, as newlyweds, and she hooked us on cruising. Seeing her again 5 years later brings back a lot of great memories.

I'll have to admit, reading your Baths experience brought back memories of a different sort. We were there this summer, and I booked a ship excursion for the first time ever, since we had a short (7 AM - 1 PM) port time, and I didn't want to chance missing the ship, but wanted to see the Baths. Everyone said how wonderful and beautiful it was, and that it couldn't be missed. I was really excited about it.

And so we get there...and it's hot as Hades, and it's crowded. The excursion turned out to be the same ferry you were on, with an unceremonious "Well, here you are, the entrance is over there, have fun." We, along with the rest of the world, journeyed down the stairs, got to the bottom, and it was...pretty? I guess?

The rock formations were kinda cool, but I feel like they were built up to be more than they really were.

The beach was pretty...small. It didn't help that there were wall-to-wall people, with even more swimming into shore from another excursion.

We snorkeled for a bit, and the snorkeling was good.

Then, we hit the caves, which were neat but harrowing, and it felt kind of rushed. There people were in front of us and behind us, and it was hardly roomy in there—even less so with our backpacks, and the amount of food we were both consuming onboard. None of my pictures really came out because of foggy lens syndrome, and in the few that did, we look hot, tired, and uncomfortable. Which we were.

I don't regret going, but I would not go back if I found myself in Tortola. The snorkeling was good, but I've gone to beaches with cool rock formations and better snorkeling—Tobacco Bay comes to mind.

Later on, I sort of questioned myself—was it just us, or were the Baths, ya know, not that great? Reading through your review, I couldn't help but have a bit of a wry smile. Maybe it wasn't just us.
Yes, that's what it reminded me of-Tobacco Bay and I loved that place. However, I didn't have to climb things either. I just don't know. I'm torn about this place. It's hard for me to get excited about going again and trying it out when I think back at the bad time we had. I just don't know. You are probably the second or third person that I have read that really didn't "enjoy" the baths like everyone else does. You are not alone.

Originally posted by Bruce's Pad
This has got to get better! Fun loving Kim, on her favorite ship, with her family, having a down day at a beach. I've read all your reviews and have never read this before. I'm sure this is going to get much better, it has to.

I'm going to post again when this review turns around some.

bruce...
I know right? It's just not me.


Originally posted by Carla
Is there a cost for the trampoline and the spider climbing thing?
Nope, no charge if you can ever find them open...good luck.


Originally posted by redred
Hi Kim, Great review as per usual, the Epic was my first cruise earlier this year and it gave me the bug! Am off to Dubai in January for my second cruise We are going on a lot smaller ship, only 1300ish passengers, so am interested to see how it compares to the Epic...

I am organising the meet and mingle/greet, Do you have any advice on this? Am only at the stage of getting people's names, who do I have to get in touch with pre cruise? Sorry for bombarding you but I have read every review of yours in the last 6 months, You are a legend! If you don't know about it, no one does

Thank you, Lorna.
I have been on much smaller ships and it's definitely a different "feel" to it. I like them as well. They just never seem as crowded to me.

Here's something to get you started: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1300907


Oh I don't know about knowing about things....I'm still a young grasshopper with a lot to learn. So many helpful people on these boards.

[quote-aztek] Yay, another Kim review!

Ahhh the joys of vacationing with family or others ... some days are gems and others, well, you wonder why you do it. Luckily those occasions aren't often, but, they do happen.

We have a rule; you do what you want, I'll do what I want if we both want to do it wonderful, if not, no hard feelings, go have fun! Even with that there still sometimes a few stressful moments. LOL usually my sister wanting me to do what she wants to do, which is shopping and no thank you! [/quote]

Yes....family....ah....ugh....sigh. They like to do me in that's for sure. The problem with my family, they don't know anything about the places we go and are not on here. So, they would be totally lost if they didn't come with me. I do usually give them a choice and do research and go over it with them (by them I mean the girls), then we pick. But, I guess you win some and you lose some. Oh well.

Originally posted by Zippy
The issue with the restaurants is not the number of tables, it is staffing. This was explained to me by an officer I met on the Gem last year. He said if they fill all the tables service slows down so much people complain even more than usual about how long it takes for dinner. I booked all of my restaurants and shows at 90 days just to be safe. Sorry you had such a rough time Kim. Things have changed a lot since your first Epic cruise it seems.
Yea, I kinda assumed that was the deal, but not for sure. I figured they staggered the people coming in so that when they were seating the last bit of the restaurant, then the first half that sat down should be about ready to go.

I just find it SO HARD to book anything before cruising, let alone 90 days out. Heck, I don't know what I'm going to be in the mood for as early as that morning while on the ship. We eat at different times and different factors go into whether or not we would come back from a port and even feel like dressing up and going somewhere fancy. That's why I like freestyle, which isn't so free on the mega ships now.
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by blusun
Hi Kim!

Just following along. You and I were on the same breakaway cruise to Bermuda last Oct (2015). I used your review from your Dawn to Bermuda trip to extensively plan our time in Bermuda! Here we go again -- we have the same trip on Epic planned for Dec 2017. This time instead of just me and my husband we will be bringing our 2 kids who will be 4 and 13 months at the time of sailing, as well as my parents and brother. Let's just say - thank goodness for the UBP!!! Thanks again for such an extensive review. It helps just to daydream - seeing as it's still over 1 yr away!

Sorry the baths weren't what you expected. Extended family certain can complicate things when you are trying to make everyone happy. We are just planning on Cane Garden Bay that day - I don't dare do anything too adventurous with little ones along. Did you happen to see any "regular" taxis on Tortola? Not the open air ones. I don't mind our 4 yr old traveling a short distance without a car seat but we planned to bring a seat for our 13 month old. I doubt open air taxis are designed to accommodate a car seat!

Hope you were able to enjoy the rest of your trip. Thanks again - Love the pictures!!!

Well hello there! Hope you are doing well.

Wait a minute....wait just a minute. You have a 13 month old...hmm, if my calculations are correct (and they may not be because I'm super tired and have been sick)...you got a lasting gift/reminder from the Breakaway cruise. Congrats. More power to ya for bringing the "Little" on your next cruise. I remember Sakari's first cruise and 3 1/2 years old. I really wasn't sure how she would do, but all turned out well. We just brought tons of cheese plates back to the room for her dinner. I think she was clogged for weeks. But eating at one of the restaurants (and sometimes the buffet) presented to be challenging at times.

You know what...now that you mentioned taxi's, I honestly did not see one. I knew we didn't need any, so maybe I was just oblivious to them around me. I just looked at my pictures and only seen the open air buses too. Hopefully someone else can chime in. I mean I can't imagine them not having any. That would be weird.
Nevada
6,623 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Kim, I think blusun said her little one will be 13 months at the time of sailing in Dec. 2017. Which means she must be at 9 months or just had her baby. Or did I misread it?
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by julie3fan
Kim, I think blusun said her little one will be 13 months at the time of sailing in Dec. 2017. Which means she must be at 9 months or just had her baby. Or did I misread it?

Oh, whoops. I told ya I was tired. LOL I can't think straight or read right. I've had a terrible croupy cough for days, laryngitis for several days, and my head is completely full of...."stuff" that keeps me from breathing and obviously thinking straight. LOL Oops. Ok, off to a nice hot shower to open me up and then bed.
St. Stephen, N.B. Canada
4,767 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Oh, whoops. I told ya I was tired. LOL I can't think straight or read right. I've had a terrible croupy cough for days, laryngitis for several days, and my head is completely full of...."stuff" that keeps me from breathing and obviously thinking straight. LOL Oops. Ok, off to a nice hot shower to open me up and then bed.
Get well soon!
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Lisa



Past Cruises
NCL Spirit Feb 20/16-7 day western Carib
NCL Dawn Feb 8th/15- 7 day western Carib
Carnival Dream Jan 18th/14-7 day Western Carib
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Carnival Miracle Dec 31/06- 7 day Western Caribbean
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VA Beach VA
43 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by mitsugirly
Well hello there! Hope you are doing well.

Wait a minute....wait just a minute. You have a 13 month old...hmm, if my calculations are correct (and they may not be because I'm super tired and have been sick)...you got a lasting gift/reminder from the Breakaway cruise. Congrats.

Not quite a souvenir from last October - I just had a baby boy 5 weeks ago. He will be 13 months when we sail Dec 2017. Though we do have a 3 yo souvenir from our first cruise on the Sun in 2012!
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Originally posted by katiecat
Get well soon!
Thank you

Originally posted by blusun
Not quite a souvenir from last October - I just had a baby boy 5 weeks ago. He will be 13 months when we sail Dec 2017. Though we do have a 3 yo souvenir from our first cruise on the Sun in 2012!
Whoops sorry, it was a long day and I was tired and completely missed the part that said "would be ___ year old at the time of sailing". Congrats on the new addition to the family.
OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Wednesday-Nov 16: St Thomas 7am-2pm








The port info:




I was REALLY looking forward to this day. We decided we were going to do something brand new...never experienced before. So, I was super excited, but yet very nervous for this day to arrive. I knew that it was going to either be the best day on the cruise...or possibly the biggest let down. Only time would tell.

I had my alarm set for 5:30 am and jumped in the shower to attempt to wake up a little more. Man I was tired. The night before I had read in the dailies that the buffet didn't open until 6:30am, which would be too late, since we had to be off the ship at 7am. We started thinking about other options, such as O'Sheehans or the MDR. But that meant we couldn't just eat and go. We would be at the mercy of slow service if it was anything like the other times. We headed up to the buffet just to check things out...and it was open. Thank goodness! Maybe they decided to open earlier than normal due to an early port day. Either way, I was happy.

I had my usual, other than the scrambled eggs. I have to say that I have never had a problem in the past with the "powdered" scrambled eggs, but this time...they were icky. You could tell they were not "real" and they just wasn't good. Oh well, I had my waffle still.

Taken with my already foggy camera lens...ugh




Kolin discovered that they had a new type of chocolate milk and he was really in love. He must have had about 5 of them with breakfast. He just kept talking about how good they were.




He said they were the best thing he had ever had. Later in the week I would try one and I didn't care for it. Remember I don't like chocolate, but I will drink chocolate milk. This stuff was injected with steroid chocolates and was just too much for me.

We headed back to the room and hung out on the balcony because we knew that we were still moving for some reason.


OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010



Beautiful St Thomas.

Sakari was super excited to get this day going as well.







Announcements were made that we were coming in late, so we wouldn't be able to get off the ship until 7:30am. Yikes. No, let me off now, I'll swim. hehe




They said due to the late arrival, our new "on board" time would now be 2pm. Ok, I guess that makes up for it. I'm good with that.

It was looking like a very cloudy morning.


OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
A view of the port from our balcony:



I can see the sky ride from here.



At 7:30am, we headed down to Deck 5 in order to get off. But, we soon discovered that we still had not fully docked yet. Grrr.

We decided to hang out and wait there at the art gallery area. There were maybe around 25 people or so there. It's a big open area that's basically part of the hall that goes back and forth to the atrium. For some reason, the lady in uniform there approached us (we were standing along the wall) and told us "You can't wait here. You need to go somewhere else until they call for everyone to get off. Go have breakfast or a cup of coffee". Seriously? Do you think we are standing down here because we haven't had breakfast yet? Also, is there a reason that you signaled US out? Not a single other sole was approached and told to leave. We watched her the entire time, pace back and forth, and she did not say anything to any of the other people waiting in the same area as us. I thought that was rude. So...I did my usual style and plopped down on the floor and leaned against the wall and WAITED, just like everyone else. We were not in anyone's way, we were not doing anything wrong, we were quiet. So therefore, we were also waiting! Unless she wanted to clear the entire room, what she had just told us to do was completely invalid to me. I'm not a rule breaker, but I'm also not a pushover. Don't signal me out and not tell anyone else.

We were unable to get off the ship until 8am, so 1 hour past the time that we were supposed to get off. They made one last announcement, reminding us that we were getting off late (like we didn't know) and the new time to come back would be........drum roll.....still 2pm. Ugh. They could have at least changed it to 2:30pm....or 3, or even 6pm. Once again, I will double check any port times on my next cruise to make sure there's not a stupid 7-2pm port day. I just hate this.

We headed off the ship for the paparazzi to be waiting outside for us.





OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
So now I want to stop and take a moment to explain why we were so excited about St Thomas and what we had planned on doing. If you read my Fascination cruise (at the end), we got in to all this, so you might want to skip this part. (We got in to it so much that I guess it got a little off topic of the review, but the review was over, that the mods locked the thread for awhile to shut us up lol oops).

Anyhow...Sakari, my dear precious, late arrival-compared to my other kids, child. She is so different and unique compared to, not only my other daughter Kendra, but to most children. She's not your typical "girlie-girl". Kendra was a gymnast and a cheerleader. We're not talking about just kid football games or high school gymnast or cheerleader, we are talking about competition gymnast/cheerleading. She started at a very young age (gymnastics) and competed in other states. She won tropies and medals and was quite good. Then she broke her arm and hit a growth spurt and had major problems with her hip and foot. She moved on to competition cheerleading and competed in various states as well.

I tried to get Sakari into dance and gymnastics...it didn't last long. A lot of money spent on 3 classes a week and uniforms for shows...she decided it wasn't for her. Learning to do a cartwheel was her only goal and "freestyle" dancing was her only goal. She didn't want to follow a routine to music, she just wanted to do her own thing. So, as much as I wanted her to be like her older sister, it wasn't going to happen. I wasn't about to push her...I just want her to be happy with what she does.

She's only happy if 1) She's drawing, 2) if there's animals involved or 3). it involves water. THAT'S IT!

So...our last cruise she watched several scuba divers go out in the water below us in St Lucia. It's all she could talk about. "I want to breathe under water like they do!"

Nancy, (Perfect Match) told me about the PADI Seal program for "littles" and I just knew I had to check it out. I contacted my local dive shop and then went in to talk to them about having Sakari take diving lessons. For those that don't know, the PADI Seal program is for children 8-10 years old. It introduces them to scuba diving, the equipment, and how to do certain things. You do the classes and the dives and then you are a certified PADI Seal. After that, they have monthly dives that are considered "specialty dives" that incorporate a different category each time: night dive, photography, navigation, diving a "ship wreck", creature ID...and so on. You do this once a month until you turn 10 years old and can be certified to scuba dive in the open water. PERFECT!

I signed her up and she was super excited and it's all she talked about for a month.

Here's a few pictures from her learning to scuba dive and her class. I'll try to pick and chose certain things so that it don't get too long, but I was super excited.

IF YOU WANT TO READ ALL OF THE THREAD AND DISCUSSION ON IT, CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL BREAKDOWN: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...396178&page=58






















I have to admit, she was making me a little jealous watching her in the water with her gear on. The hubby and I were debating if we would like to do this some day as well and she was doing a great job convincing me that it was a lot of fun.

OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
So after she completed her classes and got her PADI Seal certification, she did one of the specialty classes offered for that month: Night diving. It was pretty fun to watch them turn the lights off and the things they did. They had little stations set up in the pool with fake coral and fish, some pvc pipe that would signify diving into a cave or shipwreck that you had to maneuver. She had so much fun.

They had a video set up under water and we could either watch from above the water (with me sticking my hand under the water for pictures at times) or go to another room and watch them on the tv.




So once that was over, she couldn't wait for the next specialty dive the following month. HOWEVER, there was a problem...the next specialty dive was going to be while we were on this cruise.

So...once again, these fine people on the boards suggested that I contact Coki Dive Center in St Thomas and see about getting her to do the PADI Bubble maker class that they offer. So...that's exactly what I did. The website said that the parents could join if they wanted to, but of course we are not certified, so decided to do the "Discover Scuba Diving". I figured that would give us a little taste of scuba and see if we would like to pursue this in the future for when Sakari is 10 and can be certified. We know that we would never want her to do this without us being there by her side, so someone has to do it (which is something the hubby has always talked about).

I contacted Coki, explained she was a PADI Seal already, and set her up to do the class. HOWEVER, Kendra decided to also sign up Brayden. He was going to try it out with her as well. The hubby and I signed up for the Discover Scuba and Kendra and Kolin decided they would too. Billy rarely gets in the water and to be around fish...no way. Courtney was scared and is not a very good swimmer to begin with and the thought of it freaked her out, so she declined.

So this was either going to be the most exciting day of the cruise or I was going to freak out and things not go well. But we were about to find out.

We headed out of the gates at the port and there were open air shuttle buses in the parking lot waiting for the passengers. They ask where we wanted to go and I told them. They were trying to get as many people as they could on the shuttles...of course, and I over heard them say "Emerald Beach". After getting on the shuttle (which was about the 5th in line and the other shuttles didn't even have but a few people on them), I ask other people on the shuttle where they were going. They replied Emerald Beach.

Oh no, I'm not about to head to another beach and wait for drop offs and kill time. I'm also not about to sit on this bus and wait for 4 other buses to pull out ahead of us, which would not move until they are full. It was after 8am and our class was at 9am. Time was wasting and we haven't even moved.

So now that I'm home, I just decided to look up Emerald Beach and ....it's in the total OPPOSITE direction of Coki and the other side of the island???? Seriously? Is there more than two Emeralds? I would have been livid if we would have stayed on that shuttle and headed the opposite way, then back tracked then on to Coki. That would have taken so much time and we probably would have been late. Nope, not happening.

We quickly got off the shuttle, of course being questioned by the guys operating them and trying to drum up business, and said "We are not going to Emerald Beach. We are going to Coki and we are not about to head somewhere else and waste time. We'll find a private ride" and off we went, while they said "You are making a big mistake. You will pay more". Well, the last time we were here, our driver outside of the gates told us $9 pp and I believe the kids were free. This shuttle inside the gates told us $10 pp. It's not a matter that we were trying to save $1 pp, because that didn't matter, the point is they said we would pay more and we actually paid less AND got a private bus for just us.

Out of the gates we went, and over to the shopping area that we had walked to last time, to find a driver. But, there was no one around as we were walking. It was weird. Nothing was open yet. I was starting to get worried. Then we came around the corner and found several open aired buses in the parking lot by the stores. Yep, they would take us for $9...I knew I would get a better deal and it was just us!!! The lady was super nice and talked to us along the way, using her loud speaker. LOL

WELL...my picture hosting site just stopped working. I'm getting a blank screen and I can't get any of my pictures. Maybe this is a sign that I need to start getting ready for work. LOL


I'll return in a little bit once I figure out what is going on.



3,312 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I'm totally thrilled that you got her into the PADI Seals class and that she did a dive on your vacation. I know that for a mermaid like her, being under water is the most important thing, and I'm excited to hear how it went for her (and you too!).
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loving your review and laughing about the day at the Baths...I'm sure you weren't laughing then! My cruise in 2015 was much like that with the 2 "friends" we brought along and it made for stressful days even though I tried to keep calm and enjoy the things around me
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Carnival Glory 9/12/15 Western Caribbean...brought along 2 new cruisers! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...7#post47825577
Crown Princess 9/25/16 Mexican Riviera
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2410139

RCCL Allure of the Seas 9/3/17 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2543853
Future:
Carnival Vista (Caribbean) 1/21/18 with 2 new cruisers and 1 that was with us on the Allure
RCCL Jewel of the Seas (Greek Isles) 9/18/18 just BF and me! FINALLY!


OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Ok website is back up and running, so I'll continue on for a little bit before I have to leave.

We immediately passed the sky ride and I have fond memories of going up there to Paradise back on our last Epic cruise in 2010. Such a beautiful site overlooking the ships. Great opportunities for some awesome pictures.





Home of the Bushwacker...great drink!




I kept trying to get pictures of the water down below, when we were on the streets passing areas you could see, but our driver never slowed down enough to get a good picture.




There always seems to be a lot of wall paintings in the places we go. It must be the "in" thing.







Take a close look at the wall around this house. All you single ladies put your hands up ♪ is all I could think.





OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We pulled out of the port, in our private taxi at 8:20am. We arrived at 8:41am. 21 minutes and we were there. HOWEVER, right before we got there, our driver pulls over on the side of the road and ask if we wanted any ice cold drinks. There were two guys sitting on the side of the road and had coolers full of drinks. They told us $1 each!!!!! HECK YEA! SCORE! Time to get my diet pop on!

We all stocked up and the guy was very grateful... and so were we. I thanked the driver for allowing us to stop there and get such a great deal. She let us know that he was an old friend of hers that also use to drive one of the open aired buses and could no longer drive them. So, she likes to help him out when she can. I really appreciated it and she had actually helped us out as well by getting us such a great deal.

So, it was a 21 minute drive that INCLUDED a short stop to get pop. Not bad at all.

We pulled up to Coki and I immediately remembered this place.

Water on one side of the street and beach on the other.










We let our driver know what time we needed to leave by and she gave us her card and said she would return at that time. Since we now had to be back on the ship at 2pm, factoring in driving time and possible traffic, I believe we told her to return some time around 12:30-1pm. That should give us plenty of time to get ourselves together and the ride back with hopefully a little shopping if needed.




I knew that Coral World was to the right (if facing toward the beach) and that the Coki Dive Center was over that way. So we headed off in that direction.




Parking lot at Coral World.


OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010




As we came around the corner, you could see the small dive shop.




We went and checked in with the dive shop and they got us started on signing papers and gave us an instruction booklet with all the information in there and tons of pages to sign. I felt like I was signing my life away. Yikes! I presented a paper from my physician saying I was "fit" (LOL, using that term loosely) to dive and another paper from Sakari's physician saying she was ok to dive (because of her ears).




We were signing and signing and signing...and at that point, I was just so excited that I really have no idea what I was signing. Once we were done, we went over to give them the remainder of our payments...then Courtney decided she just couldn't miss out on this opportunity. She wanted to do it as well. They said they could add her, but they would need a third instructor and caught a guy, as he was leaving for the day, and ask if he would mind staying and going out with our group of now 5 adults. The kids had a different instructor, but would be with us for a small portion of the dive. The guy agreed and I joked with him about it only being 9am in the morning and he was already leaving for work. He said he would be returning that evening for a night dive. (So honestly, I have no idea what happened to this guy because he never did go out with us and I don't recall seeing him after this. You could tell he really didn't want to).

Since we now had to wait on Courtney to read and sign all of her papers/books, Kolin and I was checking out the area. There were chickens and roosters everywhere.







The dive shop




OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010





The dive shop sits up on a hill with stairs that lead down to the beach. The kids somehow wondered off and I found them down by the water (Billy was already down there setting up our spot for the day). I really hate when Sakari acts like this. She would have never wondered off if Brayden wasn't there. She needs to learn to be a leader and not a follower at times.

I can't believe she dropped her mermaid tail and bag on the steps and ran down there. Perfect opportunity for another "Little" to come and snatch it up and fulfill their dream of morphing into a mermaid.




Then they would have us put our beach bags and things into lockers they had there inside the shop and lock them up. I had brought all of our snorkeling/scuba gear, but they encouraged us to use theirs instead. They really didn't seem to care for my "shortened fins", but after this was all done and over with, I feel that I would have preferred to have had my fins on. But, I did use my own mask. I was concerned about it being new and it fogging up, even though I had done the toothpaste to remove the "newness" film. It still did not have much water time yet. They assured me that they would "fix it up" for me and I wouldn't/shouldn't have any issues.

Off we would go to "class"...where Luke said that Sakari would be teaching class to us, since she was the pro and all.




Notice how enthusiastic Sakari is and in the lead always.



Our classroom




The "classroom" was over at Coral World. I liked this. I had pictured an actual room, like when Sakari did hers, but this was even better!



We had 2 other people in our class. This couple was actually staying on the island and was leaving, I believe, the following day to go home. They were in our class, but they would not be diving with us and would have their own instructor.


OH
24,630 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Ok, gotta run. It's time for work and I need to stop for some breakfast so that I will be able to function.

I'll be back in a few hours to continue...