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The Ma'am's Star Western Caribbean Review with Pictures!

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I had given this cruise to my kids for Christmas 2011. I originally had them all in a Family Suite on deck 12 (Son, Daughter, Son in law and Grand Girl). Then my son got engaged! Oh happy day! We celebrated a June wedding last year, and for a wedding gift, I moved them to their own suite next door to the original one. I now have the Daughter in law of my dreams! (Love you Sweetie!) Then for Christmas 2012, I gave each couple a note telling them that my credit card would go on their accounts at check in. I just did not want to pull an 'Oprah' and give them something that would cost them a dent in their budget. (Daughter is saving to buy a house and DIL is just starting grad school) They know this was a once in a lifetime vacay for the family and Christmas won't ALWAYS be like that! Anyway, I picked out all our excursions with their wishes in mind and paid for them all, even though we did not book them through the ship. I also prepaid their hotel in NOLA as I got a great rate back in May or June.

 

So, I was very nervous and hoping that all was approved of.

 

NOT TO WORRY!

 

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It was beyond their expectations also. I had read recently that the water is not clear. I had read that they had had a wonderful Nov. and Dec. with clear water. So I was anxious to see what the weather would present for us in the clarity of the water.

 

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Just look at that water! It was perfect. You can read on their website how they keep everything natural and don't want to leave a negative imprint on the land/water. The beach was clean and raked and soft.

 

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We all enjoyed these chairs.

 

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The hammock.

 

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And the view.

 

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Edited by medicalma'am

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I am not done bragging on Maya Chan!

 

We all got buttered up.

 

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Unpacked our things and made ourselves at home in our haven for the day.

 

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They had drinks for us imediately and chips and salsa. We got refills on the chips.

 

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Everyone thought the guacamole was the best they have ever eaten. No. It couldn't be better than mine.

 

I don't have a pic of it but I think DIL does. Yes, it was better than mine. :o

 

Or maybe mine would be just as good on a Caribbean beach. :p

 

We felt very secure leaving our things while in the water.

 

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We got drinks delivered to us all day. The food was fabulous and the variety had something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

Edited by medicalma'am

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DH got a massage and went snorkeling. He brought back some finds to show us. We only left them out of the water for a bit, so they did survive.

 

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The two on the right were empty shell that we brought home with us after washing them off.

 

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We all wore ourselves out.

 

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And took naps

 

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Caught up on email and FB and made some posts to friends back home.

 

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We were pampered and spoiled.

 

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Edited by medicalma'am

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A cute story while at Maya Chan:

 

 

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They have a webcam at the bar that looks out onto the beach. You can see somewhat the things going on there.

 

My DIL had texted her family back home. Several of them are employed at the same place. She told them to pull up the Maya Chan website and look at the webcam.

 

They texted her back and said that they had seen my son several times, but had not seen her. I was coming out of the bathroom and they were in front of the camera looking at their phones. I stopped and asked what they were doing and DIL told me that they were waiting to see if her family saw her yet.

 

I could just picture the whole office at a standstill, in front of a computer monitor, watching for them! They did send a message that they saw them! That was fun.

 

There was a wedding there that day. I did not see it, as we were down at the end of the property. I was in the water with my GG and she pointed to the beach and said "LOOK! A princess!!!" I looked up to see the photographer taking a picture of the bride and groom in the water at the edge of the beach. I bet that was a beautiful picture. I will have that vision in my mind whenever I think of Maya Chan.

 

We had a long time at Maya Chan as it is a long port day. It was the best of all our days on the cruise.

 

We headed back to the cruise port in a smaller van bus. This ended up being a smoother ride than the big bus we had arrived in. It just seemed able to take the BuMpS in the road better, maneuvering around them at times instead of going straight through them.

 

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We got some cute pictures at the port. Who can resist the "holding the ship in your hand" photo op?

 

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My family

 

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Tired as we all were

 

 

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Headed back to the beautiful Star.

 

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I am working this weekend. It is time for me to get ready, so I will pause and let Planma'am, and hopefully Screenma'am make some posts of their day in Costa Maya. I may make more posts when I arrive home tonight but may not as I work from 2 pm till midnight today.

 

When I work the weekend, I am the only RN on campus taking care of 400 individuals who are mentally and physically handicapped. If an LVN needs me (we always have at least 23 LVN's on campus to give meds and do basic care.) I come to their aid. It can be slow, or it can be very busy and hectic. We are a large facility physically spread out on what used to be an ARMY base. My step counter racks up! On week days, I am one of five 2-10 shift supervisors, and only take care of 80 individuals (and supervise 6 LVNs) in my Castle Pines area.

 

Did I mention I LOVE MY JOB, MY INDIVIDUALS, and my LVNs?!!!

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This is a really enjoyable review to read. Your family is beautiful and your pictures are so good. What type of camera did you use? Those beach shots with the dark sky are beautiful.

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Thanks to all the ma'am's for the great review. We sail on the NCL Star 3/3/13 sailing. So glad to see the pics and info for Maya Chan-we have it booked for our cruise.

 

Looking foward to the rest of your review.

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We have Maya Chan reserved for our 2/24 Star cruise. I am driving my DH crazy with my countdown. It was so fun to see your incredible pictures. What time did you actually leave the dock area to go to Maya Chan? Great review and it's fun that you are all contributing!

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KWbound; iPhone 4S ! That is all I use anymore. Plan ma'am will have incredible pics when she gets them loaded. Her DH has one of those BIG lenses on his camera.

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Medicalma'am is doing a great job. I can't add much to her posts. Here are some ramblings.

 

We had a wonderful meet & great. There were about 45-50 attendees. We enjoyed coffee, juice and sweets on the first mid-morning at sea. The Captain and many of his crew were there to talk to us. They gave each of us a card with all the important numbers on and said to call them directly if we needed anything. And, yes, the Captain did say he'd be inviting all of us who were interested to a Bridge tour on our last day at sea! What an honor! We exchanged gifts from our part of the country, and had about an hour to chat and meet everyone. We really enjoyed our yummy dates from Southern California! One of the things I most like about meet and greats is seeing people we've met there around the ship and on shore during the rest of the week and being able to say "hi" and wave. Makes it more like being in a small town.

 

I tagged along with Planma'am and her family in Costa Maya. We went to Tropicante and had a good time sitting on the beach, wading in the water, reading a good book and watching people. The food was good, the drinks were good. Planma'am and her daughter had a great hour-long massage right on the beach. My neice also got a couple of nice temporary tatoos. I decided to get one, too, but when I went looking for the lady, she was gone. I really thought it would be fun to freak out the daughter who got a few tatoos in her teens "over my dead body."

 

The bus driver didn't seem to know where Tropicante was. He let us out at the end of the line and pointed us in the direction of the beach. Ended up, we had to walk back a block or two. We had made arrangements for Tropicante prior, so they were expecting us. We had a spot on the beach with a large umbrella and chairs or chaises, whichever we wanted. The beach was beautiful, clean and the water the clearest I've ever seen. There was a dock area with a canoo-like boat that could be used and I kept seeing a banana boat going by. Don't know if it belonged to Tropicante or not.

 

Tropicante is a slice of beachfront with a "restaurant" behind. I use the term loosely. There was a bar area, a kitchen of sorts that I was glad we couldn't see, an area with tables and chairs and shelves full of books you could check out and a bathroom for each sex. We were given a waiter who would take care of us during the day, whatever we needed and introduced to another man who could also help with anything. I must say that it did take awhile to get the food we ordered later. Drinks arrived more quickly. There were other "resort areas" like Tropicante to the left and right of us.

 

What I will say is this -- next time in Costa Maya, I'm going to Maya Chan!

 

DH and I had an aft cabin also, but not a mini-suite. They don't make enough mini-suites in a row! Our little band of cruisers did have 5 cabins in a row, aft, on deck 10 though. It is nice to be able to sit out on the balcony in a lounger, rather than a straight-back chair! And there's nothing more soothing than listening to the wake behind the ship. We had heard that the cruise line no longer allows the steward to open up the doors between balconies. The one between Planma'am and Medicalma'am did happen to come open once, and our Steward allowed it to stay open. We couldn't get ours to happen to come open, though!

 

It was rather nice seeing my neices and nephew and their spouses and children have such a great time on the cruise. We did things together almost every day. The great neices both reeeaaallllllly enjoyed the Children's Place, or whatever it's called. One day we happened upon them having lunch. Just to see them acting so grown up, sitting at a table with other children and the adults in charge, napkins in their laps, eating away and chatting was priceless! When their grandma's decided to take them back to the cabin for a short nap, one of them in particular puckered up her face and pouted. They enjoyed their special place so much.

 

Our two daughters, their husbands and our six grandchildren stayed back at home. There's no way we could afford to treat all of them like Planma'am and Medicalma'am did their children. Daughter #1 gets terribly motion sick, just in a car, and says she'll never cruise. Daughter #2 went on a cruise for her honeymoon, at Halloween 7 years ago. It was quite eventful. Ended up it was a cruise mainly for a certain type of person, and there they were, newleweds, one a male, the other a female! Not a Norwegian cruise, I must add. Their travel agent was out to lunch when she arranged that one.

 

For not having much to add, I've certainly gone on enough. Looking forward to what the other two ma'ams will add.

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HAHA I am LOVING the review mom is doing, its fun to re-live the cruise.

 

I thought I would add my 2 cents.

 

I read a lot of post on cc with just random meaningless complains. I must say I found ALMOST nothing to complain about. The food was way above my expectations in all of the specialty restaurants with the exceptions of la cusina- the food was average and the service was bad- it was the last night of the cruise so maybe everyone was tired? im not sure but that is the ONLY complaint I had.

 

Also for people in Family suites we were in 12530 and the room is AMAZING. Its huge and it is at the section of the ship that is pushed out a little so part of the room is slanted. This is a GREAT thing! From that window you can see straight ahead at where you are heading. Very cool! No one had mentioned that before that I could find. (if i can figure out how to upload a pic i will put on on here so you can see the view). ALmost forgot- The jogging track is all the way around the ship right above the suites. Yes you can hear it but honestly its only during the day and how much time are you spending in the room during the day? Also you only hear it for the few steps it takes to get past your room. This should NOT be a consideration for the room. You WANT these suites.

 

ok ill leave the rest to mom

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Fabulous review. I love all the different points of view. I did this itinerary on the Spirit in 2012 and will be doing it again in April in an aft balcony. We went to Maya Chan as well and loved it.

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Do you have any pictures of the aft Balcony room? What was the balcony like? We are staying in one in April on the 9th floor and are wondering if there is room for two loungers on the Balcony?

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This is 10230 which we were in on Jan 2011.

 

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This is the balcony

 

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Now, if you are on deck 9, I believe that the balcony will be a bit smaller. But you should still have the lounge chairs, just not much room at the end of them to walk around. You may just have a reclining deck chair, which we had one of along with the lounge chair in this location.

 

 

You will love that aft balcony view.

 

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Thanks so much. We are excited about the aft balcony and declined an upsell to a mini-suite to keep it. We're looking forward to the rest of the review.

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:DThis is awesome! I am loving this review. I love it when a whole bunch of ppl give their side of it lol. It's always funny. We are sailing on her sister ship Jewel in November. Keep it coming.

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Wow, Medicalma'am, you've been busy since I've been on here last! I'm going to have to catch up. I've settled in with DH's "laptop", and am ready to go. I put laptop in quotes, as that is the brain I'm working with, but I'm in his Lazy Boy, with the laptop on the coffee table, with two screens in front of me, a 22" and a 19", and a wireless keyboard and mouse on my lap table. Now that's a set up!

 

I am going to go back a few days in time to our first full day in NOLA, and post a few pictures starting there.

 

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There were some good entertainers and bands on the closed-off streets in the French Quarter; we saw this band on CBS Sunday Morning today, too. They were really good.

 

 

 

OK, gonna post this to see if I got the picture full size; this is my first time using Photobucket. Keep your finger's crossed!

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See if this helps. This is how I do it.

 

Go to your photo sharing site. I use Picassa but it should be the same for any.

Open you photo full size on the site.

Right click on the photo. One of the options that comes up should be something like "Copy photo URL". Select that.

Come back to your CC post. On the little icon options on top pick the one that looks like a photo with a mountain and a sun. If you scroll over it it says "Insert Image."

Put your curser in the box that pops up and hit Ctrl V to paste the URL.

Now when you do a preview post, the photo should be there.

 

Good luck! Loving the review and all the photos!

 

Donna

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I wrote a big long post about the funny story but it is gone- I have no idea what happened or where it went. :confused:

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Next try....

 

 

 

There were several entertainers, bands, jugglers, dancers, people in costumes, etc. on the closed-off streets. This band was good; we saw them on CBS Sunday Morning today.

 

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Thank you, Donna. I changed from PhotoBucket to Flickr, as DH has an account and was more willing to help me out since he knows that program.

 

Mrs. H - the story is worth spending the time submitting again. Sometimes I write it in Word or Wordpad, then copy and paste into CC. I have had posts disappear before if I took too long; CC signed me out. But I could go back, and the post came up, I copied it into a word document, signed onto CC again, copied and posted again.

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Pat O'Brien's was busy the day we were there, even though it was a Friday afternoon. I think because it was the first weekend of Mardi Gras.

 

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I enjoyed a Mint Julip, and DH had a Hurricane. Warning about the Mint Julip, it is almost all bourbon!

 

The Ma'ams

 

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And our DHs

 

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There were two bachelor parties there that afternoon, and this is the drink each of the groups ordered! It had to be strong, as soon one member of the first party was sacked out with his head on the table!8442012597_1c8e78ce1d_b.jpg

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Here is a picture from the French Market. A lot of trinkets and souvenirs, but no one bought anything.

 

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Carriage rides were available.

 

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I had seen Central Grocery famous for their muffalettas, about a block or block and a half before the French Market, and went by, but they were closed (close early, either 4:30 or 5:00 if you're interested). We had already eaten, so nothing lost.

 

We then went over to the river.

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As Medicalma'am said earlier, we went to the Irish Pub down the street from the hotel for dinner that night, and I had to leave early as DD & DGD had arrived, and I went back to the hotel to meet them.

 

The next morning I gave DGD the mask I had bought her.

 

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That afternoon the Ma'ams drove first down St. Charles where the really nice homes were, past Tulane and I think it was Loyola, then went to the 9th Ward.

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We saw building in every possible state of repair. Some newly repaired in a sea of abandoned, devastated buildings.

 

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Sunday finally arrived, and it was time to go to the port.

 

I just HAVE to post the whale picture by the whale lot!

 

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If your view of it is from this angle, you have already passed the entrance into the lot.

 

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Once on the ship, it was to Versailles for lunch. The grin on my face is because I'm in my happy place; between DGD and DD after not having seen them for 13 months!

 

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Here's DH and DD:

 

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And my stuffed mushroom appetizer.

 

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DD's suite was ready before ours, so we went up there first and deposited our carry-ons before exploring the ship further.

 

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After checking out the Kids Club and spa, 10th deck cabins were ready, and I finally got to see my suite:

 

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Notice our champagne already being chilled waiting for us. Well, it would keep waiting several days, as we didn't pop the cork until Saturday.

 

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And the bouquet of flowers on the coffee table. I loved my blue slipper chair; I sat there often during the week, it was so cushy!

 

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Notice there were beach towels waiting for us, too. We had no problem with them all week. When returning from shore, we deposited the used ones in a bin, exchanging them for clean ones before getting back on the ship. Don't know how, but we ended up with 4 in our room the last day. I think the steward didn't see ours and brought us more.

 

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I loved this dressing area; I claimed it for the week. The hair dryer is in the right top drawer all plugged in and ready to go.

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Two pics of the bathroom area:

 

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As Medicalma'am said, it is larger than the balcony bathrooms.

 

I just wish the magnifying glass on the mirror over the lav were in the dressing area. Also notice the scales on the floor.

 

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8442071525_05eb1d26ed_b.jpg DGD and DD's friend JaNae on our balcony.

 

There are full-sized mirrors on the dressing room side of the closet. You could open the right one to an angle to see the back of your hair. There were two thermostats for our room, one can be seen in the picture above and one in the picture below.

 

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And looking back towards the door, with a view of the bar area and that fabulous coffee machine!

 

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And the view out onto our balcony. We were on the corner, so the balcony was narrower to the right than on the left.

 

DH asked that I add you would be wise to take European plug converters; you would have more places to plug things in if you could access these.

 

Did you notice the decor of my suite is different from Medicalma'am's? She had dark paneling, and I had light, she had dark blue carpet and I had red. Our curtains were different, too; hers were true blackout, ours were heavy, but not blackout.

Edited by planma'am
added picture

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Our Sail Away Cocktail Party in the Star Bar.

 

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A view of the officers at our M & G, before the arrival of the Captain.

 

 

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And after his arrival.

 

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DD and I

 

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Medicalma'am and I

 

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DD & DGD at the family cupcake decorating.

 

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And JaNae won for the best adult-decorated cupcake!

 

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We did have some entertainment at the martini tasting: Once the glass was full, he poured the rest into his mouth while the glass was still on his forehead. Then he brought that martini to me! (I shared with our group.)

 

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If it's Tuesday, this must be Costa Maya. 6 of us had made reservations at Tropicante. Here some of us are just leaving the ship.

 

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I love the smile on the front of the Star. DH pointed out that from the front it looks like a giant face with shades, chillin'.

 

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The water at the beach at Tropicante was clear and azur, and you could see the ship from there.

 

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DD and DGD enjoying the the warm Caribbean water.

 

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You could also see a light house, and beyond, the colorful buildings of the cruise port.

 

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And a view back to the buildings from the water.

 

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Screenma'am and I had made the decision to take our families to Tropicante, as we didn't want to spend the pp price of Maya Chan that day. We were also put off by the reports of murky waters and sea grass at Maya Chan. I had read reviews of both Tropicante and 100% Agave, ultimately deciding upon Tropicante. We passed by 100% Agave on the walk back to Tropicante; as Screenma'am said, the bus driver didn't seem to know where to drop us off, and we had to backtrack.

 

Tropicante is nice for a lower cost alternative, but again as Screenma'am said, I would also choose to go to Maya Chan the next time. They had much more to offer. Though DD and I did get wonderful hour-long massages on the beach for $25.00 each, whereas DBIL paid the same for a half-hour massage at Maya Chan.

 

Here you can see our 4 loungers and the adirondacks in the forefront. While DD and I were getting massages, GDG got "stung" by something in the water on her finger. You can see her here with the vinegar-soaked napkin she was given to take the sting out, as well as the chocolate, which helped take the pain away (!)

 

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And a sucker, too.

 

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Chillin'

 

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Posing for Grampa

 

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Screenma'am had to get a picture with one of the Tropicante waiters with a U.S. Border Patrol hat, as Bullit, her DH, is retired INS.

 

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Then it's back to the cruise port, greeted by the smile of the Star. The cruise port has a lot of shops, and places to spend the day: bars, restaurants, swimming. But it looked like there were not many people who stayed in this area whenever we were walking through.

 

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The entertainers welcoming us back to the ship.

 

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And the towel animal waiting for us that night.

 

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Wednesday we awoke to rain and fog as we anchored off the coast of Belize. The Ma'ams had decided to stay on the ship in Belize before we even began the cruise, planning to take care of the Grand Girls while their moms and dads went ashore. I'm going to get help from DH to tell you about his excursion to Lamanai ruins, an excursion booked through the ship a few weeks before we left. They had decided to go ahead and book pre-cruise, as we had read on here that it was popular and might fill up before we got on the ship.

 

DH went to the assigned gathering place in Stardust, and met up with DD, only to find that DBIL was not there. DH went to where he and DBIL had said they would meet, but did not find him, so he went back to where DD was, only to find out that DD was no longer there. DH was told he had to leave, so he went to the tender hoping that DD and DBIL were already there; DBIL was there, but DD was not. After the tender got to shore, the guys went to the bathroom one at a time to keep watch for DD before boarding the busses to begin the excursion. DD was nowhere to be found, and they were made to go ahead and get on the bus.

 

Well, come to find out, DD went back to the room to brush her teeth; she said it looked like there would be plenty of time. When she got back to the Stardust and asked about her excursion, someone told her that the tender had already left. There were about 6 of them left, and they took them down to the tender, and they got to the meeting place to board busses last. There were directed to the front of the line of busses where others were still waiting to board a bus for this excursion. So the busses all headed to the river where everyone boarded boats for the next portion of the trip. DH waited to get on a boat, looking for DD, but she was nowhere to be found when they were telling him to get on the boat. DH talked to the guide, asking him to call to see if there was another bus yet to arrive. He did and there was, and once it arrived, DD was about the third person off the bus, and DH, DD & DBIL were finally on one boat together.

 

DH & DD tell me that the lack of organization in the Stardust was the origin of the problem. There were not designated meeting points for each group, and to add to the confusion several of the excursions had to be cancelled, and those people were milling around the Stardust like lost ducks. The only separation for excursions was time, as opposed to meeting areas once in Stardust.

 

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I love this picture; it reminds me of a Monet. DH told me the locals call it a "Jesus Christ" bird because it walks on water.

 

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Termites in Belizian winter

 

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The ride down the river was fast.

 

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They had to slow down when they approached some local fishermen. They showed their take, at least 6 fish caught already.

 

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The boat tour rendezvous point, and restaurant and bar.

 

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Heading out to the ruins

 

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Map of the ruins. The excavation is ongoing, as the excavations only began in 1974, though knowledge of their existence can be traced back to 1917.

 

Temple of the Jaguar; see it's face?

 

 

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And another view.

 

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The ball court that lead up to the High Temple.

 

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