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Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial


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Then we came to the spot where they said the Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed with the skeltons hanging from the cliff. Like I said, I have never watched this movie, so I have no clue what they were talking about. When I try to look it up online, I get this picture:

 

pirates_of_the_caribbean_curse_of_the_black_pearl.jpg

 

 

Now you tell me if that looks anything like this:

 

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To me, it doesn't look anything alike. Look at the bottom by the ocean water.

 

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It kind of gradually goes out. There were tons of kids sitting on this area and they were all jumping off into the water when we passed by. In the picture above, it looks like a straight drop off to me. I'm pretty much convinced that these "boat tours" they give you in places like this are just made up to make it a good tour. I don't find anything online that states that Mick Jagger or Sophia Loren owns houses there either. But it does state they own places in the Caribbean, but not St Lucia. Of course there are many other places in the Caribbean that we have been to that they say famous people own places there, and they'll point to a house, but online, you can never find any of this information to confirm.

 

 

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See the kids in the water? They were having a great time. The guy on our boat (from the other couple) was begging to do this. They would not allow him for insurance purposes.

 

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Our boat driver yelled at the kids and started throwing them the remains of the water we still had left in the cooler. They swam out and got it from the area it hit in the water.

 

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Thank you SO much for taking the time to share all your experiences with us. I love all your reviews, but this one is so timely for us as we will be in many of these ports in about six weeks.

 

 

 

I've read mixed reviews of Boatyard - primarily that it can be too crowded. From your pictures it didn't look like that was the case. How many ships were in port that day? We are also considering Lobster Alive, which I understand is next door.

 

 

 

We are doing the Land, Sea and Beach tour with Spencer so loving reading that review as well. We are still deciding on St. Kitts so looking forward to your thoughts.

 

 

 

Again, thank you so much for sharing your pictures, experience and cruise life with us!

 

 

I will chime in here and tell you that we used Royston Tours in St Kitts and I would use him again in a instant. There were 12 of us so we were able to tell him exactly what we wanted to do and he did it (I had done a lot of research so I knew what I wanted to see). He was inexpensive and so knowledgable, and a really cool guy. I was really impressed with the island. I have a review below with details from my Independence cruise.

 

 

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P8192532%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

The driver starting talking about how everyone says Christopher Columbus discovered St Lucia when in fact, someone else had discovered their island long before him. He said "google it". LOL Then we told him we are from Columbus and the Santa Maria ship was located downtown on our riverfront.

 

We seen flying fish everywhere...from the kind we sometimes see while we are on the ship to some really big fish flying up out of the water. He told me what the other kinds were (which I swim with them often and see them often, but for the life of me don't remember what they were, but I had no clue they could jump up out of the water like that).

 

He showed us some places that had black sand beaches.

 

Then before long, we were pulling back up into the port, at 4pm, and our Fascination was waiting on us.

 

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As soon as we got off the ship, Sakari took off running. Um, where are you going? She had to potty and potty bad.

 

We found the nearest bathroom and then did some shopping and was back on the ship by 4:25pm. For some reason I have been unable to locate my magnet I bought here. I remember that I wanted something with the pitons on it to signify what we had seen and done. I thought I found something, but I can't seem to locate it. I was thinking that I didn't find what I was looking for with the pitons and settled for something else. But...it is missing.

 

It was super hot and you really couldn't stand to be outside for too long while trying to shop. Everyone was trying to walk where there was some shade and I finally gave up and told Kendra I was heading back to the ship. This meant leaving her all alone, with a child that likes to run off, all within 5 minutes of all aboard time. Let's see how responsible she is. At least there wasn't a long pier to run down. We were right there. So, I left and hoped for the best.

 

 

 

 

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After our shower, we headed up to the pool deck to watch the sail away. No signs of Kendra or B running toward the ship, so I guess that's a good thing.

 

At 6pm we met the kids club in the buffet area and dropped Sakari off to eat with her friends.

 

We decided to try the food in the back of the ship this time around.

 

I was looking out the back windows (this area is an awesome place with an awesome view) and I decided to take a picture of it because the clouds were looking like it might storm. My flash went off and scared the crap out of the lady making my sandwich. She thought lightening had struck her. Oops

 

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P8192539%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Hubby ended up with a grilled cheese, which he said was awesome, and I ended up with a turkey wrap, which Kendra had been telling me was awesome.

 

P8192540%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

What was really nice about this area in the back, you had the pizza place there and also the sandwich place...then right beside it was a bar. There was hardly ANYONE ever there. That meant I could get my pop from here instead of drinking the icky watered down drinks they sometimes have.

 

We headed out onto the pool deck and this is now what it looked like:

 

P8192541%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

The wind picked up and things started blowing over. The windows they usually have open on the pool deck needed to be shut and people were struggling to get them to shut.

 

P8192542%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Although I didn't really feel the ship moving or rocking, I did notice these at the elevators

 

P8192545%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

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We headed to the casino...of course, and stopped at the bar on our way in. The bar staff there already knew the hubby and immediately went and made a coke & diet coke. LOL We didn't even have to say anything.

 

P8192543%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

I went up and down with my earnings and there was nothing to write home about tonight.

 

We picked up Sakari from the kids club and she was playing a ball game. She said she had won several games tonight and she walked away with a medal and was very happy.

 

We headed to look at our pictures and we also checked the kiosk for our balance. Oh my gosh, I still had over $1000 on my account. I needed to get to spending.

 

We headed back to the room and found our monkey towel animal.

 

P8192544%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Sakari was hungry and we decided to give room service a try. For some reason I felt extremely hungry myself and it had only been about 4 hours since we ate a sandwich on the back of the ship. I guess that wasn't really much so we decided to place an order.

 

The person answers: "yes, room service"

Me "I'd like to place an order"

her "yes"

Me "I want to order 2 of your tuna fish sandwiches"

her "uh huh, anything else?"

me "I want to order 2 of your grilled cheese sandwiches"

her "anything else?"

me "I want potato chips with both of those"

her "anything else?"

me "A peanut butter and jelly sandwich with chips"

her "anything else"

me "A slice of cheesecake"

her "anything else"

me "no, that is all"

click

 

So in about 10 minutes, they are at the door. Wow, that was really quick. I tipped them and took the tray.

 

This was what we got:

 

P8192548%20copy-L.jpg

 

Notice only 1 tuna sandwich and 1 grilled cheese. No chips with the grilled cheese and Sakari was upset no pickle for her. No cheesecake. Now I have to admit, the actual reason why I decided to order room service instead of going upstairs was to get the cheesecake.

 

I called again and told them I did not get all of the food I ordered. I told them just to send the cheesecake and the hubby wanted cookies for desert.

 

"Anything else"

 

Now this "anything else" was not an "ok no problem, can I get you anything else to go with that" type of tone. It was an ANY TING ELSE so I can get off the phone and hurry up with your order please" type of voice. I felt rushed every time. She was unfriendly.

 

So someone is knocking at our door within 10 minutes. I take the tray and just when I was about to tip him again (and I was ONLY going to do this because we did order some cookies, which was not on the original order...even though they had screwed up the other), I decided to look under the plate covers. There was my cheesecake and then the other had a piece of chocolate cake. NOPE, unacceptable for them to screw up a second time. No tip for you, send it back, I ask for cookies, this is the second time my order was screwed up. Away he went. I don't like chocolate, I wasn't going to eat it. Sakari doesn't like chocolate and wouldn't eat it. The hubby doesn't like cake and wouldn't eat it.

 

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Finally the cookies arrived

 

 

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By the time they arrived, Sakari was already asleep and she didn't get any of the cookies, but the hubby enjoyed a few.

 

Our bellies were full and it was time to pack our beach bags for tomorrow and then off to bed we went.

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After our shower, we headed up to the pool deck to watch the sail away. No signs of Kendra or B running toward the ship, so I guess that's a good thing.

 

At 6pm we met the kids club in the buffet area and dropped Sakari off to eat with her friends.

 

We decided to try the food in the back of the ship this time around.

 

I was looking out the back windows (this area is an awesome place with an awesome view) and I decided to take a picture of it because the clouds were looking like it might storm. My flash went off and scared the crap out of the lady making my sandwich. She thought lightening had struck her. Oops

 

P8192538%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

P8192539%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Hubby ended up with a grilled cheese, which he said was awesome, and I ended up with a turkey wrap, which Kendra had been telling me was awesome.

 

P8192540%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

What was really nice about this area in the back, you had the pizza place there and also the sandwich place...then right beside it was a bar. There was hardly ANYONE ever there. That meant I could get my pop from here instead of drinking the icky watered down drinks they sometimes have.

 

We headed out onto the pool deck and this is now what it looked like:

 

P8192541%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

The wind picked up and things started blowing over. The windows they usually have open on the pool deck needed to be shut and people were struggling to get them to shut.

 

P8192542%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Although I didn't really feel the ship moving or rocking, I did notice these at the elevators

 

P8192545%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Lol. I was on a "hurricane" cruse one time and they had bags every where. We were not effected and had the ship to ourselves.

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P8192537%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Kim, do you mind answering a couple of photography questions for me? Your pictures are awesome and I hope to one day be a decent photographer myself.:)

 

What mode/filter effect did you use to get the look of the above picture?

 

Do you do much post processing of your photos?

 

I assume you do underwater mode on your camera with the snorkeling pictures. Do you have to do much post processing to make them not blue or do they come out of the camera with the corrected color?

 

Thanks so much. Loving your review!

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I'm going to hide my head in shame and admit that I have no idea what the Tara Library stands for and I assume that the Scarlett you are talking about it Scarlett O'Harra? I don't know anything about that either and never watched it (at least I think it was a movie?). I did use to collect high end Barbie Dolls and I had the entire Scarlett series, but still knew nothing about them. :o

 

 

The movie is Gone With the Wind which is based on an epic novel that begins with the beginning of the civil war and the aftermath for the South. Tara was the plantation house that Scarlett O'Hara grew up in - her father owned it. It is believed that the plantation in the book was based on Nottoway Plantation:

http://www.nottoway.com

 

Margaret Mitchell who wrote the book the movie was based on says the green velvet drapes were in her grandmother's house, but they are also in the library at Nottoway.

 

The movie, Gone with the Wind is one of the best reproductions of a book ever, but it is a very, very long movie - around 4 hours. But on the other hand, the movie is well worth watching.

 

I guess you didn't notice that the ship had a movie theme - it's Salute to Hollywood according to Beyond Ships website. "Passage to India" is another big epic movie. I believe there was a "Diamonds are Forever" nightclub as well - James Bond movie. Puttin' on the Ritz - 1927 Irving Berlin song used first in a movie of the same name and used in lots of movies over the years - including Mel Brooksk "Young Frankenstein." Casino Royale - also a James Bond movie. The buffet is the Coconut Grove bar and grill. The Coconut Grove was a famous nightclub in Hollywood in the Ambassador Hotel during the Golden Age of Hollywood - 1920's -1940. The pastry shop is called Bogart's Cafe - after actor Humphrey Bogart.

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Yes that village "Soufriere" is the place where the vans used to meet a boat at the dock there when Spencer Ambrose did a land tour portion (a year or so ago they quit that) then you would get on the water taxi and go around the Piton to the beach in between. Yes the Drive through Volcano is just up the road from that little town, as are the Mud Baths (since the two are next to each other) they also take you to a very pretty waterfall where you can get in the cool water. Worth the trip next time you are there. We did the mud baths the last time we were there (in 2015) with Spencer Ambrose. He is a great guide/guy. You can definitely smell the sulfur... which is actually a good thing. When you can't smell it the volcano is getting ready to erupt :eek::eek: Your review is bringing back so many great memories.

 

Yep, I had my GPS on my camera and it says Soufriere. It's the first time I have turned the GPS on, but I think I'll keep it there from now on.

 

Oh what interesting information about the sulfur. I didn't know that.

 

I'm definitely doing the mud bath next time we go whether the hubby likes it or not. :D

 

 

Love the Report!

 

Just thought I would give you some help with the ID's....

 

that is a chain moray eel

The red and pink coral, is rope sponge

The orange coral is another sponge, vase sponges come in various colors but brown-orange is most common. There are hot pink vase sponges that will take your breathe away.

 

that last striped feather duster inside the brown barrel sponge looks like a type of anemone, but can't be sure from the photo

 

Caribbean squid... not cuttlefish.

 

the stuff that is colorful on top of some coral, that looks like it has big openings on it is another type of sponge (sponges are very common), the round opening is a clue its a sponge

 

This is AWESOME information. Thanks for it! I'm not very hip on the whole sponge/coral thing. I know elk horn and brain coral and that's about it. LOL

 

It was a feather duster worm in the sponge. It went inside the tub when I got near for a close up.

 

Yea, not a cuttlefish since they have the striped looking bodies.

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the top group are a FANTASTIC find! Looks like Orange Cup Coral... which are not that exciting during daytime, but at night they extend their tentacles to feed. They look like this:

036orangecup.jpg

Divers go nuts for these.... as they are so hard to find. Usually they are under piers or rocky areas in dark spots. They don't like sunshine.

 

 

OH EM GEE! :eek: That is amazing and so beautiful. Can you imagine what these all looked like at night? There were walls and walls of them at this place out right before you go around the corner and it drops down deep. They were amazing and so many of them. :)

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Those are WOW pictures Kim!

I LOVE the trunk fish...they look like they are wearing mascara and eyeliner. I saw a pair in Curacao and I swear one had red lips (like lipstick)!!!!! Must be the female!

 

Waiting (im)patiently for more.

 

Red lipstick? Wow, that would be not only funny, but amazing to see. Now I will be on the hunt for a red lipstick wearing trunk fish!

 

 

Thank you so much for the website to buy the mermaid tails from!

 

On a different note, I was browsing cakes for ideas for one I have to make this week and came across this one:

 

http://cakesdecor.com/cakes/59827

 

All I could think of was your daughter! Maybe for her next birthday?

 

 

I can not believe you just showed me this!!!! :eek: You are not going to believe this...I MADE THAT CAKE for her birthday last year. It was my first experience trying to do fondant.

 

Ok...I'm digging out my pictures to show you!

 

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Now I don't do cakes and this was my first attempt...so go easy on me. Sakari was turning 7 for this birthday and a 7 year old didn't really notice the difference and she loved it. :D

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Wow, wow, and wow!!! I am really enjoying you St. Lucia portion, your pictures are awesome, and can't wait until the end to tell you. I know you mentioned you kind of wished you were going on the land tour with the rest of the group, but you made the right decision (or your hubby did) to just go on to the beach. I would just love to have that whole snorkeling section to ourselves as you did. Both times we were there, there were others there so at times it's hard to get into certain areas and get pictures. Later in the day when the rest of the tours start showing up is when the visibility can get low with the sand getting kicked up from everyone snorkeling. And I never even thought to try snorkeling over in the swimming area...next time. I have already begun to do some arm twisting of my DH for another cruise to the southern Caribbean out of San Juan and when we do, we will be doing Spencer's Beach Break again. Really looking forward to more.

 

Honestly, there really wasn't very many people there the entire day. I can tell you that not every beach chair was ever filled. There was the one big group that came in by boat and that was the picture I got with all of them going in the water. They went out and they were pretty much spread out and then they left. The other was the snuba people and they went out and were in the deep and wasn't anywhere near the snorkelers (those were when Sakari was out in the deeper, darker area and diving down). So you didn't even know they were there unless you spotted them. But it was awesome and I still want to do the land trip too. I can't wait to go back! :D

 

 

Thank you SO much for taking the time to share all your experiences with us. I love all your reviews, but this one is so timely for us as we will be in many of these ports in about six weeks.

 

I've read mixed reviews of Boatyard - primarily that it can be too crowded. From your pictures it didn't look like that was the case. How many ships were in port that day? We are also considering Lobster Alive, which I understand is next door.

 

We are doing the Land, Sea and Beach tour with Spencer so loving reading that review as well. We are still deciding on St. Kitts so looking forward to your thoughts.

 

Again, thank you so much for sharing your pictures, experience and cruise life with us!

 

 

When we were in ALL ports, we were the only ship. That's the nice thing about going now I guess? So maybe that's the reason that it just felt pretty empty most of the day. I have never heard of Lobster Alive and it was never mentioned on these boards to me prior to going there. There were some other places mentioned and I'll probably have to check them out next time I'm there. :)

 

Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate it.

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Lol. I was on a "hurricane" cruse one time and they had bags every where. We were not effected and had the ship to ourselves.

 

Yea, I don't think it would effect me much either. I have been on some rocking wavy cruises before with no issues...thank goodness.

 

Just curious if you have ever eaten dinner in the main dining room or do you just do the buffets?

 

 

Yes, we ate at the MDR on the first night. We were going to go on the first sea day, but didn't make it.

 

We normally only eat at a MDR if it's a sea day. But I honestly prefer the buffet over the MDR because they basically have the same thing and you don't have to wait on it and if you want more, just go get it. I'm a visual person (as you can tell by my reviews) and I would rather see my food before getting it. IDK, I just love buffets. :D

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You are still working on your review! I have been away on my cruise (Splendor), just home tonight, and just had to check your review. I have a LOT of reading to do:D I left off at that great hotel in San Juan before your cruise, so going to start back where I left off. I am so happy to have your review to help me get over my "just of a cruise ship blues":)

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Kim, do you mind answering a couple of photography questions for me? Your pictures are awesome and I hope to one day be a decent photographer myself.:)

 

What mode/filter effect did you use to get the look of the above picture?

 

Do you do much post processing of your photos?

 

I assume you do underwater mode on your camera with the snorkeling pictures. Do you have to do much post processing to make them not blue or do they come out of the camera with the corrected color?

 

Thanks so much. Loving your review!

 

That picture I had it on the miniature setting. It is supposed to be a "tilt-shift" look to it where it blurs the sides and then you focus on the sharpness of what's in the middle. If you do this picture from on the ship, looking down into port, and there are people there, it looks just like the tilt-shift pictures. It's a pretty cool setting and I use it a lot because I like it. It also makes the picture super bright and colorful, which I find cool.

 

The only thing I do with the pictures, after picking out the best ones, is to use an "action" that I have saved on my computer which resized it to a MUCH smaller size and sharpens for web. Then I just name stamp it. If the colors are too far off, I won't use them (most of the time, but some times you'll see me use horrid pictures just because it was something that I really wanted to show...for instance some of the snorkeling pictures from Barbados where I must have accidentally hit the settings button).

 

The camera has so many settings on it that I am constantly changing the settings to get that "perfect" photo. I may take the same exact picture on 3 different settings hoping for a good picture. I take thousands of pictures and end up with several hundred that are good or at least decent. This cruise I had over 4500 pictures. What you will see on here is what I ended up with. I share them all. :D

 

The movie is Gone With the Wind which is based on an epic novel that begins with the beginning of the civil war and the aftermath for the South. Tara was the plantation house that Scarlett O'Hara grew up in - her father owned it. It is believed that the plantation in the book was based on Nottoway Plantation:

http://www.nottoway.com

 

Margaret Mitchell who wrote the book the movie was based on says the green velvet drapes were in her grandmother's house, but they are also in the library at Nottoway.

 

The movie, Gone with the Wind is one of the best reproductions of a book ever, but it is a very, very long movie - around 4 hours. But on the other hand, the movie is well worth watching.

 

I guess you didn't notice that the ship had a movie theme - it's Salute to Hollywood according to Beyond Ships website. "Passage to India" is another big epic movie. I believe there was a "Diamonds are Forever" nightclub as well - James Bond movie. Puttin' on the Ritz - 1927 Irving Berlin song used first in a movie of the same name and used in lots of movies over the years - including Mel Brooksk "Young Frankenstein." Casino Royale - also a James Bond movie. The buffet is the Coconut Grove bar and grill. The Coconut Grove was a famous nightclub in Hollywood in the Ambassador Hotel during the Golden Age of Hollywood - 1920's -1940. The pastry shop is called Bogart's Cafe - after actor Humphrey Bogart.

 

 

Yes, I did notice it had a movie theme but I didn't put it all together until you just said something. I kept thinking "that sounds familiar" lol. I just ask the hubby about it and he said the same thing...sounded familiar but didn't put it together. :D Thanks for letting me know this. That makes it a little neater.

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My mother always Used that phrase on my Birthday cards. I had saved my last couple cards from her & plan to use her own signature. I want to incorporate her favorite flower & possibly a bird.

 

Oh, how sweet. I plan on doing the same with my moms letters and maybe something with her birthstone or something.

 

 

You are still working on your review! I have been away on my cruise (Splendor), just home tonight, and just had to check your review. I have a LOT of reading to do:D I left off at that great hotel in San Juan before your cruise, so going to start back where I left off. I am so happy to have your review to help me get over my "just of a cruise ship blues":)

 

 

Whew...it's never ending! I worked yesterday on picking out pictures, downloading and everything and spent THE ENTIRE DAY today on just getting St Lucia done. My hubby came home from the shop and was like "How did you day go"...I gave him that "look" and he said "You have been working on your review all day haven't you?" Then I informed him that I had only made it to day 5 and still had 2 more ports to go and OSJ. :p

 

How was the cruise? This is helping me with my own cruise ship blues. It's been almost 3 weeks now. Sigh

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I enjoyed your day in St Lucia. I think you got the best snorkeling by getting there early before everyone else arrived. Great job in spotting all the different fish, coral sponges, and everything else you saw - and got pictures of!

 

I noticed your mention of Sakari wanting to learn scuba, and as a diver myself, I totally get why she wants to learn. Take a look at their Bubble Makers program, which she would be able to do now. I think you said she's 8 earlier in this review, but I didn't go back and look. Then decide if you want to show it to her or not. Of course, she may already know about it!

 

http://www.padi.com/padi-courses/youth-scuba-diving-programs/

 

If the link doesn't work or gets deleted - hope I'm not doing anything wrong by posting it here - just go to padi dot com and look at courses. I would love to hear what you and Sakari think.

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Oh, how sweet. I plan on doing the same with my moms letters and maybe something with her birthstone or something.

 

 

 

 

 

Whew...it's never ending! I worked yesterday on picking out pictures, downloading and everything and spent THE ENTIRE DAY today on just getting St Lucia done. My hubby came home from the shop and was like "How did you day go"...I gave him that "look" and he said "You have been working on your review all day haven't you?" Then I informed him that I had only made it to day 5 and still had 2 more ports to go and OSJ. :p

 

How was the cruise? This is helping me with my own cruise ship blues. It's been almost 3 weeks now. Sigh

 

Good morning! (Monday morning:eek:), the cruise was one of those "I just cant put my finger on why" it was not right up there with my very favorite ones. I'm still trying to figure out my mind why. I loved the ship, the food, and lots more, and as always the crew were fantastic. There were a couple of hiccups though along the way. I will probably post a review in the members review section this week. I did still have a great time though, and never had a bad cruise. Now back to reading your awesome review, and loving the photos as always:)

Edited by SMSACE6
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Long time follower of your reports, I just want to say thank you for all of the work you put into them. We are going on a similar itinerary in November, and I am loving all your posts about the ports. Especially St. Lucia as we are doing the same excursion that you did. I wasn't super excited for this port but after reading/seeing your pictures I can't wait! The snorkelling looks amazing! Thanks again!

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Enjoying your review! Of course, I enjoy all your reviews! Looking at this cruise for 2017 and loving the excursions you did. My problem is I love to snorkel and DH won't. Good grief - makes things difficult.

 

Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put into this review. It is very much appreciated!

 

 

Kim

 

 

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