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abbydancer

On the Equinox - Live

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I personally prefer being docked at Crown Bay over Havensight, especially if there are multiple ships in port. Far less traffic and congestion in/out of the port area and in generally I don't feel as "hustled" by the locals for taxis/safari busses, etc

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We were at Crown Bay last month with Oasis. No ships were docked at Havensight.

 

 

 

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Havensight is much better...nice shops, pharmacy, post ofc, lots of decent places for lunch,,,good gateway to excursions and downtown or just a nice port area day.,.

 

Have only been to Crown Bay once when it was being finished, Hardly any shops, taxis zoom in and out to maximize fares to/ from town, not much nearby, Guess if we had to go there we'd try a nearby beach excursion which we heard is good.

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We have been to st thomas approx 15 times and have always docked at Havensight It's always nice to be able to shop right there with all the stores in walking distance. Will be on the Equinox in about 3 weeks and have never docked at Haven Sight. Is there any shopping at that port or must we go downtown?

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Today was Sint Maarten, St. Martin. In this port, we'd worked with a local guide, Tony Dublin, to provide a 5 hour taxi tour. We'd be joined by two couples from our cruise critic roll call. Late yesterday, I received an email from one telling me that 1/2 had broken her knee and they'd have to cancel. I asked if they were able to continue the cruise. No reply. The pricing was based on a minimum of 6, so if only four went the price would go up. We hadn't heard from the other two, and didn't meet them at the gathering, so if they didn't show, we'd have the whole price, unless we could recruit our table mates. We couldn't, so if it was just us, oh well.

 

We did a room service breakfast, and because we had a concierge room, we got an expanded room service menu. Yesterday, we'd ordered a bunch of stuff, but today, we decided that a cold cereal breakfast plus some bacon was perfect. We learned that if you order cereal, you do need to order enough milk for it. Then, Beth put her tea bag in my coffee, so another call to replace. At least I made the order taker laugh.

 

We then made our way down to where we agreed to meet. We were pleased to see that not only did the people who hadn't cancelled show up, the people who did were there too. Turns out her knee wasn't broken, so if she didn't have to do serious walking, she could do the tour.

 

We then headed off the ship, and it took them a little while to get off, since, because she'd been taken to a hospital yesterday, she had to be cleared to leave the ship in port. They'd cleared her, but there was no record of it or something. After a few minutes, the clearance was recorded, and off to meet Tony.

 

He took us all over the Island, explaining much about the history, the culture and other interesting facts. We did see a lot of the well known beaches, including Orient Beach and the small communities there.

 

We also visited a farm that is a day resort. They have a restaurant, gift shop, pool, hiking trails and activities. They are thinking of making it a hotel with rooms, and if they do it will be a very nice place to stay. We then went to Marigot, the capital of St. Martin. We stopped to walk around and visit any of the shops or restaurants. We went to Sarafina, which is considered the best pastry shop around. We had fruit beignets which were delicious.

 

From there, back to the dutch side. We made several stops for the view, and also visited Maho beach, known for being right by the airport runway (you might recall a woman died from a jet blast a few weeks ago). We didn't time it right for a big plane, but did see a small one come right over us. A few more stunning views and our tour was over.

 

We then shopped the port a little bit, but really didn't see anything we needed. Then back to the ship. Since it was almost 3 and we'd only had a snack since breakfast we headed up to lunch. Turns out that the buffet ends lunch at 2:30, which to me seems early considering people often come in from excursions later than that. They had what they called afternoon snacks, which was basically pizza, pasta, sandwiches and salads. I tried a burger from the grill and wasn't too impressed. We ate with our fellow cruise critic and tour participants, and had a nice time.

 

We finished around four and headed downstairs for some relaxation time before dinner. I went up to the sky lounge to watch the sail away. Dinner was the usual lively affair, and we pretty much closed the dining room. Two of our tablemates want to attend a homage to Miles Davis, and so the rest of us went to the casino. I don't gamble so it was just to hang out. We stayed for about an hour just watching, while Steve (our tablemate) decided that Beth should meet a high roller. We spent some time talking about whether the ring on his left hand was a wedding or signet. Well, actually Steve talked about it. After that to bed, another fun day in the books.

 

I'm writing this on our last night. I'll write the rest tomorrow and post the final entries on Monday.

Edited by abbydancer

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We docked at Crown Bay. The shared taxi was easy. It took about 15 minutes each way.
Thank you for the info! I'm enjoying reading your live report.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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,and post the final entries on Monday.

 

How is it wakeing up in the real world this morning?

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Enjoying your review. I do have one question. When the ship docks in San Juan the dining room becomes open seating for dinner?

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How is it wakeing up in the real world this morning?

 

Sad, very sad. It helps that we leave for our Reflection cruise in 2.5 weeks.

 

Enjoying your review. I do have one question. When the ship docks in San Juan the dining room becomes open seating for dinner?

 

It did. We ended up going to Murano instead.

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Sorry for nothing yesterday. I hit massive flight delays and got home at 2am on Sunday night, so no brain cells yesterday.

 

Here's the post for sea day 1. Last day and flight home coming tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

 

********************************

This was our first of two final sea days, and the first time that we could sleep in a bit since San Juan. We grabbed a late breakfast, and during breakfast heard the days announcements. Up at 11:30 was the Great Equinox cook off - a, what top Chef would call a Quick Fire, cooking challenge between two Marine officers and two hotel officers. We decided to attend that.

 

Before that, though, we headed to future cruise sales to figure out next year’s trip. Beth has limited time to travel based on her kids schedule and other things, so we worked with the representative to find the perfect cruise - same ship, a week earlier and Western Caribbean.

 

Then, on to the Cook-off. Each team had similar ingredients, but a different protein - they first introduced the hotel team. They walked over to station 1, and then switched to station 2. Apparently station 1 had salmon and 2 steak - and they decided Marine should do Salmon.

 

The teams had 15 minutes to make and plate a dish (two plates each). The judge was the food and beverage manager. The clock started and Sara (cruise director) and hotel guy (forget his name) entertained the crowd with jokes and comments about the food and beverage department. They did point out that on the ship, none of the chefs cook, so are probably very out of practice. The marine team had Nina, a security officer from Romania, who apparently cooks a lot at home. They made a salmon with a garlic aioli, with a side of veggies. The hotel team made a steak with veggies and fingerling potatoes. I’m not exactly sure what their preparation was, since the dishes were never described.

 

The first comment about the steak dish by hotel guy was that the one dish had one extra carrot and the other one extra piece of steak. The hotel team responded by eating them. The tasting was pretty even (and pronounced delicious) but the Marine team won because they had the better plating. As we walked out we could inspect the dishes. We took advantage of that, and spent a few minutes chatting with Sara. We suggested maybe more commentary on what they were making and we also found out about her background. She’s from the Basque part of Spain, and was given English lessons as a child, so that’s why a non-native-English speaker can be a CD. (Every other one I’ve ever has has been from an English speaking country, usually Canada or the UK). She actually has been one of the better ones - spending about 5 minutes each morning explaining the days activities but leaving us alone to do them after that.

 

Today, we decided to go to the Gastro Bar for lunch. They have a la carte pub menu that looked good. We both decided to order burgers and maybe a side. We thought about truffled fries, but Beth doesn’t like truffles. We agreed that the Cheddar soup sounded good, so we decided to split one although not perhaps, the most obvious choice with burgers. The waiter did warn us that it could take a little while and asked if we wanted the soup first. He also offered to bring the soup first.

 

After a time (I don’t remember how long it took - not long enough for me to worry about it) he brought two bowls of soup and two burgers. The burgers came with the truffled fries, so he said he’d bring Beth some plain ones. The soup was absolutely delicious - and the burgers were good, but the burgers and the fries, were not very warm. I think the problem is that the food comes from the dining room galley, which is at the back of the dining room. So in addition to the time it takes for the waiter to walk the food through the dining room to the bar, he/she has to go back to check for it. I’d probably do it again, but maybe just get soup and eat the rest of lunch elsewhere.

 

We then wandered around the shops for a bit, and then got ready for our evening. Since this was Friday night, somebody had set up a Friday night service (Jewish). I know they are passenger hosted, and have always been curious so we decided to go. It was led by a young man from London, and he seemed to know what he was doing. Because there were people from different branches of Judaism, the service was a little different - but I don’t go very often so I can’t be very specific as to what was what. The ship (I assume) provided wine (Manachevitz) and Challah (bread). They only set out about 6 wine glasses, and somebody suggested we all share, but we weren’t exactly up for sharing with strangers. Someone found a stash of wine glasses, so Beth and I shared a bit, and we all shared the bread. Apparently some people dip it in honey so there was exactly one individual package of honey (the size you get with the sugar for coffee and tea). We did speak to the leader afterwards, and it turns out he’s a cantor (singer in the synagogue) and on his honeymoon. There were also prayer books, so I’m thinking the ship has them, since I doubt people bring 10 identical hardcover books on board.

 

We had about 40 minutes after it ended before dinner, so we decide to walk around for a bit. And at the nearest bar we ran into our stablemates Steve and Manny, so we sat and had a drink with them, and then headed to the dining room for a fun dinner.

 

Since this was supposed to be the start of the annual meteor shower, we headed up to the rear of the ship to watch for meteors for a while. We hung out there for a while, and then gave up. Terry and Claude (our other stablemates) went to bed, and the rest of us went to the casino. Manny played a bit of slots, with us taking turns pushing the button. It took about 10 minutes to lose 20.00. He played a second game while we watched. Next it was roulette, and Steve talked Beth into playing some roulette.

 

At this point, I decided that I wanted to change my shoes from heels to sneakers. I went up from the casino on 4 to our room on 10, carrying a bottle of water, a glass of ginger ale and my shoes. Got to the room, and my key had stopped working. So back down to Guest Relations on 3, new key, back up to 10, back down to 4. Did I mention I did all this via stairs? When I returned, Steve was still there with Beth, who’d already played and lost her small chip set. Then we watched Steve play 3 card poker for a bit. Finally, we decided to go back up to the top to see if the meteors had shown up. I’d brought my phone so I could Face Time Glen, so I decided to text since it was getting late his time, and I wanted to let him know I’d try to call. The message didn’t go through, because it was text - I was on the wifi, so I thought it would go through as iMessage. I then tried FaceTime and it said it was awaiting activation. After about 10 minutes of trying, I got a text from Glen (via iMessage) asking if I’m seeing (or saw) the Carnival Magic behind us. I did, and figuring that iMessage, and FaceTime would work, I called him for a bit.

 

By this time, it was getting on 2:30 am, so we decided to go to bed. Steve decided he was hungry, so we stopped by the buffet. On the way, we noticed a crew door open with stairs. Steve suggested that we go down and find the crew bar. Beth and I said no.

On arriving at the buffet, we found nothing there. This surprised me, since it was a cruise ship, you’d think there would be food 24x7. Apparently you could order from room service, but after 11pm, there’s a delivery charge. We gave up and went to bed.

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And for the final sea day ....

 

We decided to sleep in so hit the very late breakfast. There was a decent set of choices, even with what they called late breakfast - no poached eggs (Benedicts) available, but you could still get omelettes, etc. We were there so late that they were setting up lunch, and we happened to see a whole display of gluten free desserts. Two of my nieces have Celiac, so that was very reassuring for Beth.

 

We then had a sort of do nothing day, until we went to lunch a couple of hours later. We were seated at a 4 top table, and right after we sat down, we noticed that Tom and Michelle, from our St. Martin tour, were walking to a nearby table. We had them join us and we had a very nice and delicious lunch, that lasted a long time.

 

After lunch, we went to Guest Relations to get Beth’s card replaced yet again (it had demagnetized before lunch, and I noticed people with disembarkation tags. We’d never received anything. So while at the front, I asked about it. We should have received a disembarkation letter and tags, so the agent gave them to me for our preferred time. (Last debarkation time since we weren’t flying out until evening).

 

After lunch we did a final use the OBC shopping trip (I found some very nice earrings) and then got ready for dinner and, sadly, pack. Originally, Beth had arranged with Manny and Steve that we’d come and get them at 6, and go to the Casino before dinner. The Celebrity Today showed Beauty and the Beast playing at 5:15 and we thought it would be fun to watch the start of that. So on our way, we stopped by their room to let them know we’d meet them in the Casino around 6.

 

We did watch the first 50 minutes or so of the movie and then headed to the casino, where Steve and Manny were waiting. They said the casino was too dead, so we went to the GastroPub bar. They all ordered drinks from the gastropub, but I went to the Martini bar to get my last Candied Apple Martini (yes, it’s very sweet). Beth and I wanted to see the last of the shows - Life. Manny decided to go with us, and then we talked Steve into it. He said he’d go but only if we sat near an aisle so he could leave early. Deal struck and off we went. We did sit by an aisle, and Steve made it through all but the last number of the show. I felt this was the weakest of the shows. There was minimal costuming and set, and I guess the very vague story line was boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, or something like that.

 

We then went briefly back up to the room to grab pen and paper to exchange contact information and went to our last dinner. We were all there, although many tables seemed to be empty nearby. Steve and Manny had brought a bottle of champagne, so we had several toasts. The best, had to be Beth’s, who toasted that this was the best table she’d ever had on a cruise (remember this is her first cruise). After dinner we bid a fond farewell to our waitstaff (and Manny who decided to go to bed early) and headed back up to the Sunset bar to watch for the meteor shower, which was supposed to peak tonight. We spent time chatting and looking, but all we saw were a lot of cruise ships going every which way. We did, after about an hour, see one, so we gave up and decided to call it a night, since everyone has to be up early.

 

But first, we headed to the front of the ship to the Sky Lounge where they were doing the second of two instances of Silent Disco. That, if you’ve never been to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah lately, is where participants wear headphones playing music and they dance to it. There are 3 channels so everyone’s dancing to different things. There was a short line to get headphones, so I decided to join it. Although Steve said he thought it could take hours, he decided to join too, as did Beth. We then bid Terry and Claude a fond farewell.

 

It took only a few minutes to get our headphones, and we joined the party. First step was to order our parting drink from the bar and then we danced. Beth and I found some of our favorite songs that were played at the Susan Koman 3-day (an event we are part of every year) and other songs that I’d love to dance to. After about 45 minutes, we returned the headphones, and head back to our rooms. We bid Steve a fond farewell, put out our bags very late, and made one last trip to Guest Relations to take care of a couple of odds and ends. Thus ends our last full day.

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Thank you for taking us along during your posts! I'm going to have to try the Candied Apple Martini when I get on board in November!😉

 

Sent from my SM-T350 using Forums mobile app

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You are all most welcome. I'll post the final going home entry tonight.

 

 

I should be back in two weeks for my Live on the Reflection thread. I will try to be more on time, more humorous when possible, and with pictures.

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We didn't want lunch, so went to Cafe Bacio for coffee, and then sailaway. After that, we didn't do much until dinner.

 

 

Small correction ... Cafe Al Bacio ... we call it Al's ... I spend way too much time there.:cool:

 

Thanks for taking the time to report; I know it is time consuming.

 

Ken

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Small correction ... Cafe Al Bacio ... we call it Al's ... I spend way too much time there.:cool:

 

Thanks for taking the time to report; I know it is time consuming.

 

Ken

 

I knew that! I keep forgetting the Al part.

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Sadly, it’s debarkation day. We awoke around 7 and were happy to see that our bags were gone. We dressed, packed up and headed to the buffet for a final breakfast, since we’d missed the dining room. Never did make it there for breakfast. It was possibly the busiest place we’d been all week. We finally found a table, and grabbed some food - I had a final eggs benedict and our last really good orange juice. We still had quite a while before our group would be called - we were in group 40 and I think they were up to about 7, so we went to the sky lounge to wait for our number. Our official “meet time” was 9:40 and at about 9:55 they called all the final groups. We headed off the ship into a fairly long line at the bottom of the gangway. It seemed to take a while, although honestly, it was probably more like 10-15 minutes. Once at the bottom of the escalator (which was probably the reason it was slow, it was fairly fast to get through immigration. We then went to the baggage claim, and there were carousels. I’m used to wandering through a section of a warehouse looking at every bag. It didn’t take long to find our bags and head outside.

 

It took a while to figure out where the rental car pick up was - we never did figure it out. I saw a Budget truck drive by so I ran (as much as I could with suitcases) and found the van past the port area, and at a lunch truck. I asked the drivers if that was our van, and they told me to hop in. I called Beth and once we were on, and they were finished with their snack, it was off to the Budget office.

 

I’d heard stories of long lines on turn around days, and when we dropped the car on the way in there were lots of people waiting. Since the Equinox was the only ship in, and we were the only ones on the shuttle, there was no wait and the car was ready.

 

We were flying out of Ft. Lauderdale in the evening so lots of time. First thing we decided to do was visit the Wynwood Walls - an art exhibit of graffiti on building walls - the area was previously warehouses, and now features work by well known street artists. We walked around for about an hour, including a stop at a coffee house. It was very warm, so we left after an hour.

 

Next stop was the Holocaust Memorial in South Beach. Beth said it gets great don’t miss reviews on trip advisor. If you drive by, you see a sculpture of a hand reaching up, but if you park and go in, you see all the people sculpted with around it, and around the base. If you walk to the center, you walk among the sculptures - very moving. The walls also have panels with victims names - apparently the names are those that were submitted to them.

 

After that, we decided to head up to Ft. Lauderdale for lunch and then the airport. Several years ago we’d spent Thanksgiving in Ft. Lauderdale, so were familiar with it. We knew the mall there had some good restaurants, so we headed there. We ended up at the Capital Grill having burgers - very good, and better than what we’d had on the ship. From there we went to Starbucks, and put gas in the car. (When we rented they said for 14.00 we could return without gassing up - since we put in about 5.00 worth, we were glad we didn’t do it.

 

At the airport, we were disappointed we weren’t in the same terminal, so Beth walked me to my security checkpoint, since it was nearer to the rental car return, and we said see you in November. We both then went to our delayed flights.

 

My first flight was about 20 minutes late, and I had a 55 minute connection in Denver. It looked like the gates would be about 5 apart and we’d only be a few minutes late, so I was told it wouldn’t be a problem, and there were 16 of us connecting to San Francisco. When I arrived in Denver the flight to SF was going to be 30 minutes late - and I think it was just announced, since I was checking constantly while on the first flight. It ended up, by the time left, being almost 2 hours late, and I got home at 2:00 am.

 

It was a fun trip, and now time to start thinking about my next one - I’ll be back on with a Live from the Reflection in just under two week

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