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Victory 10/3/2010-10/10/10

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Just off the Victory Sunday. We had a great trip & made a lot of really good friends. We choose to be around positive people that can make the best of any situation & not complain so we had a blast. Sometimes the best plans don't turn out so you have to adjust & we did!

Being so port intensive we were up early every day touring the islands but we still did all the nightlife so we survived on 4 or 5 hours sleep a night. We decided we could sleep when we got home so we are still exhausted.

We flew into San Juan & took a cab to the Sheraton Old San Juan. The cab fare was $19 plus $1 per bag. It took about 20 minutes to get there.

We really liked the Sheraton Old San Juan. We booked it using our credit card reward points so it was almost like getting a freebie! We had a room on the 7th floor overlooking the bay & we were able to see 'our ship' to the right outside our balcony when we woke up & San Cristobal Fort to the left. The room was large & the 7th floor had really big balconies. The hallways were a little musty smelling but not bad & it was raining off & on while we were there. Our room was very clean too & the beds were comfy.

We were starving when we got there so we walked behind the hotel to the Latin Roots. Our waiter's name was Albert & he was very good. We ordered rum drinks & asked for chips & salsa which they did not have but he recommended the plantain chips & guacamole. The chips were very good & unique so we were glad we tried something new. He recommended the skirt steak (amazing) & my DH had the chicken mofongo. Of course he liked my steak better, he always likes what I order better but they were both very good & different. Yes, I took great pictures & will try to upload some later.

The salsa band & dancing started at 8 PM I think so we stuck around & watched for awhile. We were to exhausted from our day of traveling to get out there & try it but it looked like fun!

We left & walked around Old San Juan for awhile but it was raining off & on so we didn't stay out to long. We went by the CVS (right down the street from the Sheraton) & bought our two bottles of wine, cokes & a twelve pack of water & some rum & went back to our room.

The next morning we ran to our balcony to see our home away from home for the next week, the Carnival Victory! She looked wonderful & we couldn't wait to get onboard!

We went up the street to La Bombonera for breakfast & it was as amazing as I had read it was! I had a bacon & egg sandwich on a thick crusty bread & my DH tried the oatmeal (the lady beside us was from San Juan & she suggested he try it) & he loved it. Now the problem is how do I get Puerto Rican oatmeal in Tennessee? She tried to tell me how to make it but I was in vacation mode & did not want to think about cooking. Still don't & we have been home four days!

We went back to the hotel & asked for a late checkout & they gave us 12:00 instead of 11:00. We were glad we got the late checkout because it was packed there at 11:00. We packed up & walked across the street to 'our ship'. The lines were long but moved quickly & we were on the ship & taking our carryon to our room within an hour. They gave us a letter while we were in line stating that the rooms would not be ready until 1:30 but we could drop off our carryon in our room.

Yayyy! We finally got to see the ship! We walked around exploring for awhile. I liked the blue & green colors everywhere & we loved the seahorses (they didn't bite us once all week but we were watching out for them) & we always think any ship is BEAUTIFUL! Probably not how I would decorate at home but that is not why we cruise.

 

We got off the ship (very easy) & went back out to explore Old San Juan. I almost forgot! We got to meet the 'infamous John Ripka'! I had read about the notorious scam artist on CC & warned my DH. We were walking down the street in front of the cruise terminal & we were approached by a tall blondish colored hair man. He asked if we spoke English. My DH said yes & he said "Thank God. My name is John Ripka &..." & I said NO & pulled my DH away! I was aggravated at myself later for not listening to his spiel but he caught me off-guard & I reacted to quickly so we didn't get to hear what his sob story was this time! We looked for him on the way back but did not see him again.

We walked over to San Cristobal Fort & walked around there for a couple of hours. It was overcast but the views were still breathtaking! We left the fort & thought about walking up to El Morro but it is not that far but very hilly & it was HUMID! We decided a beer in one of the bars was calling our names so we headed there instead. Beers were 2 for $5. We caught a little bit of one of the football games there.

We really wanted to do the Segway Tour but they were closed because they were on vacation that day.

We went to a little Mexican restaurant by the pier (Tijuana's Bar & Grill). They had beer 2 for $3 (all that walking in the humidity made us thirsty but I am not usually much of a beer drinker, DH is though!) & free chips & salsa. They also had tequila shots for $2 each so we decided to try one (we are on vacation afterall). Everything was good. They even had a little mariachi band playing & had great views of the bay.

Time to head back to 'our ship'! We stopped at the liquor stores at the pier & bought a couple of bottles. I could not believe how cheap liquor was. I wish we had waited to buy our wine there. And then we boarded the ship again. We went to our room to see if our luggage was there & it was already in our room. Our cabin steward Michael from Dominica was very good & we felt bad for him since Dominica has been dropped from the itinerary & he has a wife & child there that he did get to see on a regular basis.

We went to eat in the dining room & it was open seating so we could go anytime & you sit beside whoever you walk in with. We then went to the muster drill & on to our CC meet & Greet. It was great to put names with faces & we were so glad we went because we made many good friends that we hung out with throughout the next week. We watched the sail-away with some of our new friends. We went to check out the Piano Bar which turned out to be our group's hangout for the week.

More later!

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you were able to buy liquor at the pier as you board? I thought that

wasn't allowed anymore. How did you carry it on board?

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you were able to buy liquor at the pier as you board? I thought that

wasn't allowed anymore. How did you carry it on board?

 

 

We bought three bottles when we got off the ship & went back into San Juan & checked two. It was very lax going through security.

We had a backpack full of bottles of water that we had taken out of the package so they would fit in the backpack & they never even opened it or questioned us. They really were all water though.

BTW, the water on the ship was good. We could have filled our bottles with the ships water.

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Cobblestone streets in Old San Juan

 

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La Bombanero

 

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Our new home for the week ; The Carnival Victory

Also really close to the area where we ran into John Ripka

 

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Ready for a great trip!!!!

 

 

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OK. I know these are HUGE & I am working on it but at least I finally know how to post pics! YAYYY!

 

 

HUGE is AWESOME! :D Don't worry about it! They're the perfect size for Cruise Critic!

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Great review so far. I will not be able to finish it though as we are leaving tomorrow to fly down to San Juan and your ship will be OUR SHIP!!! I see you are from Middle Tennessee...I live in Murfreesboro. Glad you had fun and I look forward to reading the rest of your review after we return!

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St. Thomas & our 26th Anniversary!

 

Today was the reason for the cruise, our 26th anniversary. I felt so blessed to not only wake up to step out on our balcony & see a gorgeous island but also to share it with the man who is still my best friend! OK, enough mushy stuff but it was our anniversary & I always get sentimental!

 

We tried to go to the lido deck for our usual omelet but the lines were crazy! We ended up going to the restaraunt for breakfast that day & every day after because the lines on the lido were so long. We usually never have breakfast in the restaraunt so this was a change for us but we enjoyed it. We enjoy meeting new people so it was nice sitting with a different group every day. We were almost late for our tour though because we had not planned on all the time it took to figure out where we were going to eat. The restaraunt actually ended up being a whole lot faster than the breakfast buffet though.

 

Getting off the ship was very easy & only took a few minutes in all the ports. We had the two hour island & two hour beach tour booked with Papa Bear from Air Force 1 in St. Thomas & were supposed to meet him at 9:30. We found Papa Bear & some of our friends from CC waiting outside & joined them on the bus. Papa Bear waited a few minutes on a group of six that did not show up & then we left. We did not mind waiting awhile longer but he did not want to cut into our tour time waiting on the no-shows which we appreciated. There ended up being eight of us on the tour. About an hour into our tour the no shows called but they were very understanding that he could not go back for them so try to be on time for your tours.

 

We had a good day with Papa Bear. He is very likeable & knowledgable about his island. We saw beautiful scenery & never felt rushed. It did rain off & on but we were usually in his open air bus when it rained so we were fine. The tour was from 9:30-2:30 (I think we actually stayed a little longer) & was $35. There was a $2 fee each to get in at St.Peter's Greathouse & Botanical Gardens & my DH & I chose to go to Magen's Bay which has a $4 entry fee each.

 

 

St. Thomas

 

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Pablo's Farmhouse

 

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Papa Bear

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What a view!

 

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Papa Bear said this is where a lot of weddings take place but they took down the gazebo because of the storms. We had one of their famous banana daquiris & I can see why they are famous!

 

 

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More Views!

 

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More St. Thomas

 

Sorry but I forgot to say that the two pics I posted with the white fence were from St. Peter's Greathouse & Botanical Gardens. So are the next two.

 

 

 

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And then my DH & I went to Magen's Bay. We had a great club sandwich & fries there that we split because it was huge & a few beers. They had a nice beach bar & restrooms & showers.

Magen's Bay was not crowded at all but we were the only ship in port.

 

Magen's Bay

 

 

 

 

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We enjoyed our time at Megan's Bay. The water felt wonderful & it was very quite & peaceful when we were there.

They had chairs & floating mats & lockers for rent but we knew we only had a couple of hours so we just laid our towels on the sand.

I had read Megan's Bay is rated one of the top ten beaches in the world & I don't think I would go that far but we had a good day.

Some of our friends that were on the Papa Bear tour with us went to Coki Beach & snorkeled. (I don't snorkel. I am afraid of fish. Put me on a 1200 pound bucking horse & I am fine but a tiny little fish freaks me out. Crazy isn't it?) They said it was the best snorkeling of the whole week (we had some tropical depressions though so not sure if they would have thought that if the other islands had better weather).

Papa Bear picked us up at 3:00. We actually got more beach time than the others because he dropped us off first & picked us up last.

He took us back to the pier & those that wanted to had time to shop.

We went back on the ship & ordered room service. I love the BLT's & veggies & dip & we ate on our balcony. What a life!

We got ready & explored the ship some more & went to have pictures made since it was our anniversary. Ok. We have pics made almost every night. My DH humors me with this. Pictures are my weakness & make up the biggest part of our S&S card.

Then we went to dinner. We are not big foodies so I have no idea what we ate. I do remember the first & last night they had ribs & they were very good. My DH loved the lobster as usual but he thought the shrimp & salmon were mediocre. I don't eat seafood (remember my fish phobia, lol!). The filet & ribeye were good. My prime rib was very dry but maybe I just got a bad one. The pasta with chicken & mushrooms was delicious & you can order it as an appetizer if you want a smaller portion. The pasta & chicken in thai sauce appetizer & the strawberry soup were excellent. I tried several different desserts but it is hard to beat the warm chocolate melting cake & I love the bitter & blanc & it is only available one night so better get it then.

The service was pretty good. We did have to constantly ask to have our water glasses refilled even when we had different waiters at breakfast.

There is one Welcome Aboard Show at 10:15 on Monday & we thought it was really good. We liked Karl with a K & he is a very talented entertainer. He did some great impersonations & is funny as well. We never encountered him on the ship so I don't know how he is off stage.

We danced a little & then headed to the Piano Bar to meet our friends.

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Our 26th Anniversary Door Sign

 

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Suchi

 

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HUGE Carrot Cake from the dessert bar. $2.25 We really meant to go back & sample more of the lucious desserts but we were always to full!

 

 

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Our 26th Anniversary

 

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Dinner in the Pacific Dining Room

 

 

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Dominica to follow.

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Thank you sooooo much for sharing your photos! We booked in July for a Jan cruise and I dream of it daily. Your photos are giving me a realistic view to dream of when we go!!

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I am a mush too...our first cruise was to Alaska on our 10th anniversary and it was so very romantic. Seems like yours was too. Congratulations!

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Thank you sooooo much for sharing your photos! We booked in July for a Jan cruise and I dream of it daily. Your photos are giving me a realistic view to dream of when we go!!

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! I am a mush too...our first cruise was to Alaska on our 10th anniversary and it was so very romantic. Seems like yours was too. Congratulations!

 

 

Thanks. An Alaskan cruise is on our bucket list.

I can't believe our Southern Caribbean cruise is over. It goes by so fast!

Have fun on yours. Hopefully the weather will be a little better although we had a great time anyway.

Juli

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