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MITSUGIRLY has a JEWEL of a time on my 1st RC cruise in years!

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Your pictures are very good, thanks for sharing.

 

 

Wow, Sakari is growing up so fast but kind of neat that we all get to watch her grow up.

 

 

The Jewel is a beautiful ship I have only been on he newer bigger ships and the Majesty and to be honest I don't think I have ever seen the Jewel in any reviews that I have read. Very nice. I hope your trip was enjoyable.

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Absolutely loved your review. My hubby and I are celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the Jewel; Med Cruise 21 Oct 2019 and I cannot wait. Your pictures are fabulous it looks like a really gorgeous ship. Thank you so much for a really informative review.

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So on with Day 1 on the ship.

 

After getting on the ship, we just went around exploring and checking it out (and of course taking pictures).

 

Well hello there Puerto Rico.

 

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SaKari got a kick out of the SaFari club and said it was named after her...but just spelled wrong. For those that don't know how to pronounce her name...it's just like safari but with a "k" as in kari not fari. Sometimes when I yell for her I actually say "kari" instead of sakari.

 

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At 1:45pm, we headed to our room to put our things down. Hubby was carrying around the laptop in his book bag and I still had my shoulder bag I use for vacation loaded with all the "important" stuff.

 

I decided I would take the plunge and carry my pop cup with me to see how this this works. Now normally NCL gives you a cup with the soda package, but I never want to carry it around with me and leave it in the room. However, give me the chance to have unlimited pop and I can help myself...yep, I'm carrying it.

 

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Still exploring...this is the teen center across from the arcade.

 

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Sakari has been telling me a lot lately that she can't wait to get to this age to be in here. Idk, looks boring to me.

 

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After dropping our things off in the room, we decided we would head inside to see what they offered for lunch.

 

Now I'm just going to put this out here now...I knew going into this that it seems like there wasn't much option for food late in the evening and I had been warned by everyone already that the options are limited and I would probably starve to death. (We are very late eaters normally). I was also told the pizza was terrible and the premade sandwiches wouldn't be the greatest.

 

But...no one told me just how GOOD the food was on RC! Amazing! I didn't find much of anything that just wasn't GOOD! I AM VERY PLEASED with the selections and the taste! Absolutely amazing! I would venture to say better than NCL and Carnival...at least in the buffet so far!

 

Now...for the after hours food...we'll discuss that later.

 

So, here's lunch, which almost looks like dinner to me but everything just looked so good and it was!

 

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So a little history. From me doing reviews here on cc, I made the most wonderful friend! During one of my St Maarten reviews maybe 2 or so years ago, she messaged me with info because she had actually lived there for 7 years, but had moved back to the US. She told me if I was ever to cruise to St Maarten again and she was there on land vacation, she would show me the sites.

 

Well, we cruised together last Spring Break (even though we don't live in the same state, our children have the same spring break) and we had a wonderful time. She and her children are amazing and wonderful friends!

 

We knew last year that we would be cruising again at the same time, so we made plans to cruise together again. Yes, she had the Mexican Riviera booked too and we decided to do this cruise instead and rebooked.

 

Kia (Thrilled) on here and her beautiful children Xander and Michaela were going to be with us again. We desperately tried to book the same hotel she had pre-cruise, but it was already booked. So, it was a waiting game to find her on the ship...but it didn't take long! We met up on the pool deck and Sakari was so excited to see her that she went running up to her and threw her arms around her and hugged her so tight. Sakari had told me for months that she was more excited about this cruise than any other cruise and it was because Kia and her family were coming "with us".

 

We hung pretty much the rest of the day there, periodically checking for our luggage in our room...which didn't seem to be showing up.

 

Finally we decided to head to the kids club to sign Sakari up and check it out. They asked me if she would be allowed to have privileges to sign herself out. Big sigh...."no". I'm not ready for that...not yet. I let Sakari have a little more leeway this cruise than ever before. But I'm not willing to let her sign out on her own and come and go as she pleases.

 

Sign up was quick and easy and they gave her this to put her card on...

 

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She wore it almost the entire cruise. I'm giving her a little more responsibility these days...she's about to be 10 and has been very responsible with her choices up until now (unless she is with someone that is influential, such as Brayden).

 

We headed back up to the pool deck to hang out until it was time for the safety drill, which was 6:30pm.

 

We checked in and before long it began.

 

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The kids club informed us they would be having a Easter Scavenger Hunt from 7-8pm and Sakari was excited to join. Well, the safety drill was not even over until 7pm and then the hoards of crowds made it impossible to move quickly to get all the way back up to the 11th floor to participate.

 

Once we made it, they handed the kids their "Easter Bag" to decorate. Anyone recognize these bags?

 

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Yep, they are barf bags. LOL

 

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Sakari was already missing her dog and started drawing a howling wolf on her bag. So much for a cute little bunny or Easter eggs. Right?

 

Kia showed up with Xander and he would have his first meltdown due to the markers he used was smearing on his paper. Many attempted tries of correcting it wasn't working. The poor little fella.

 

Eventually they handed us a list of places to go to find the goodies. Each had a rhyme to give you a hint where they may be located and off we went .

 

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They had us running all over that ship (as all of the ships seem to do every year)...you'd think I would lose a lot of weight cruising.

 

Of course the other side of her bag had to have a peacock...because it's her favorite bird.

 

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When we made it to the last 2 places on the list, there wasn't anyone there. We were all disappointed! It wasn't even 8pm yet like they said. They had also told us the ending spot was in the Arcade and I guess I'm used to Carnival having a huge party at the end...and there was NOTHING here. Nothing. No people, no nuttin! Well that was a disappointment.

 

What they handed out was very tiny little plastic eggs. I didn't realize they even come this small. Inside was 1 sticker, 1 pack of very small round pieces of candy and a dinosaur (with each egg being a different type of dinosaur). Hmmm.

 

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Not sure it was worth my time racing around the ship for that, but at least Sakari had fun.

 

We headed back to the room to find our luggage had finally arrived. I broke the rules of immediately putting our contents from the luggage away and just let it sit. Then I would see what "probably" took so long to get our luggage...

 

 

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There was obviously something in my luggage that looked suspicious. However, the paper said it wasn't taken. I have no idea what it was.

 

We found a fruit and cheese plate left in our room. But, we have no idea why or who it came from. Usually there's a note or something and there was nothing. I wasn't even sure it was delivered to the right room. I would later ask our room steward about it and he said "It's yours".

Hmm, ok.

 

 

There was also 8 bottles of water. Obviously someone who doesn't know me left it? Because everyone who knows me knows I don't drink water (however, I'll let you all in on a little secret...I have been drinking water right before going to bed and I keep one on my nightstand at night in case I get thirsty). <---shhh, that's a secret. I have a reputation to live up to as being a pop drinker only!

 

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Loved your pictures of the ship. It really looks beautiful.

Buffets are not my favorite food option. I do love the choices but hate having to walk around and look for what I want. I like hash browns and omelets and they are never easy to find right away. I wish they handed out a buffet map with what is where, I might like them more.

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Now knowing that we could possibly starve on this cruise, I decided it would be best to go get our bellies full at the buffet for dinner. I also knew that the kids club WAS OPEN tonight for 1 hour and I was going to take advantage of that! Carnival does NOT open on the first night, NCL does.

 

Off to the buffet we went.

 

They had some awesome displays to celebrate Easter. Chocolate fountains, carved bunny fruit, chocolate everything else.

 

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I couldn't believe the amount of huge chocolate eggs and stuff laying all over the place for the taking.

 

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They also had some HUGE chocolate bunnies (not in the picture below and I forgot to get a picture) and these are one's that are bigger than the ones you find in the store!

 

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I guess it's probably a good thing that I don't like or eat chocolate or I would have needed to grab several of those.

 

But, it was a very impressive Easter display.

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Dinner consisted of a baked potato with bacon, cheese and sour cream and a salad and I was very pleased...

 

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until I went to find some desert and decided loaded fries with bacon and ranch dressing would also need to be consumed...along with the desert.

 

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I was happy with the food selections and the taste of everything was great...including the deserts (one thing that NCL can NOT get right).

 

We were pulling out of OSJ for a week adventure and the party was on!

 

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There's the Fascination...what an amazing vacation we had that time around on her! I was hoping that this would be no different.

 

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Hi there! I decided to pop in here to see if you’ve started your review and it’s already up to page 12!! Hehe, looks like I have some reading to catch up on. Miss you guys 🙁

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Sakari had been begging to go swimming but for some reason, we just never swim in the pool on the first day. It always seems too crowded and I'm just never in the mood.

 

I knew I wanted Sakari to go to the kids club tonight so that we could head to the casino to check it out. So, I made a deal with her. If she went to the kids club for 1 hour (how long they were open), then when I picked her up, I'd let her swim for awhile. She agreed and off she went.

 

The hubby and I high-fived each other after dropping her off and skipped happily to the casino...wait...where is everyone? Why are the machines all disabled? FAIL! They weren't even open yet. I assume we just wasn't out far enough yet. Darnit. Night one was a complete failure.

 

I decided if we can't have fun at the casino, we might as well go back to the room and unpack. Sounds like fun right? Blah

 

It felt like only minutes after dropping Sakari off that it was time to pick her back up. Sigh. We headed to the pool and gasp...it was closed. Oh no, now I'm the bad mom. Oops. I had no idea they would close by 10pm.

 

I must think quickly on my feet, I must come up with something equally as fun to do to make up for it. I know...putt-putt!

 

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We made the mistake of taking too long to pick out our putters and balls and a huge group of teens went ahead of us...and stayed and stayed and took forever. We finally decided to skip #1 and head to #2.

 

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I can see the improvement in Sakari's game with each cruise. She actually made several hole in ones...and so did I...and so did(n't) daddy.

 

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By the time we made it all the way around...guess what group of teens were still on #1? Yep, still there...just hanging out. I'm glad I didn't decide to wait on them. It could have been an all night thing.

 

 

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We decided to hang out in the sports area for awhile.

 

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Sakari insisted in playing a game of basketball. Do you notice anything?

 

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She's the only girl in the group. She don't care and even though a majority of these boys were a lot older and bigger, I can assure you that their shooting skills were level with hers...non-existent. LOL The entire game, which lasted forever, both teams combined made 3 baskets. LOL

 

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I stopped at the buffet to fill up my VIP fancy pop cup and back to the room we went.

 

It was time for the shower and packing our beach bags for our very first port...TOMORROW!

 

Sakari would do a quick drawing while waiting for me to finish packing and then I hear a "mom, I have something to tell you"....oh no, I have only heard those exact words twice in my life from my children and both times it was from Kendra and it followed with an "I'm pregnant". Well, I know this can't be the case in this scenario, so...I felt a little relieved.

 

Sakari continues "For about 2 years now, I've had an imaginary friend named Gola. She is a girl and I talk to her in my mind". Allllrightyyyy then. "This is a fast picture I drew of her, well not really her, but something like her. My picture I drew on the plane was her"

 

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On that note...it was time for bed where I would now dream of dragons racing around in my daughters head.

 

 

 

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I only made it through page 3 and I have to go make dinner for the minions now. But before I go I just wanted to say that I am so happy that you have "a do not avoid" hotel in PR coming up at the end of your review. I was hoping that you would like since I was saying positive things about it. Also, please keep an eye out over the next couple of days for an email from me. I will be requesting certain pics :(, if you know what I mean. (aarrgghhh). Great review so far as always!

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I'd forgotten how beautiful that ship is. It's a far cry from the Carnival circus look I'm used to.

 

Yes, she is a beautiful ship.

 

 

Your pictures are very good, thanks for sharing.

 

 

Wow, Sakari is growing up so fast but kind of neat that we all get to watch her grow up.

 

 

The Jewel is a beautiful ship I have only been on he newer bigger ships and the Majesty and to be honest I don't think I have ever seen the Jewel in any reviews that I have read. Very nice. I hope your trip was enjoyable.

 

Thanks for the compliments on the pictures.

 

 

She is definitely getting big.

 

 

I didn't do any research on the Jewel prior to going so I really didn't know what to expect or what the ship was like. I was definitely pleased.

 

 

Absolutely loved your review. My hubby and I are celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the Jewel; Med Cruise 21 Oct 2019 and I cannot wait. Your pictures are fabulous it looks like a really gorgeous ship. Thank you so much for a really informative review.

 

Thank you so much. There's much more to come!

 

Loved your pictures of the ship. It really looks beautiful.

Buffets are not my favorite food option. I do love the choices but hate having to walk around and look for what I want. I like hash browns and omelets and they are never easy to find right away. I wish they handed out a buffet map with what is where, I might like them more.

 

See I'm just the opposite. I would much rather go to a buffet and actually view my food before picking my selection. Then I like the option of going back for more if I really liked it or going back for something else if I didn't. clear.png?emoji-smile-1742

 

Hi there! I decided to pop in here to see if you’ve started your review and it’s already up to page 12!! Hehe, looks like I have some reading to catch up on. Miss you guys 🙁

 

Well hello there love! We miss you too! I can't wait until next Spring Break!

 

I love, love, love the food on RCCL! It all looks delicious.

 

It definitely was good!

 

 

 

I only made it through page 3 and I have to go make dinner for the minions now. But before I go I just wanted to say that I am so happy that you have "a do not avoid" hotel in PR coming up at the end of your review. I was hoping that you would like since I was saying positive things about it. Also, please keep an eye out over the next couple of days for an email from me. I will be requesting certain pics clear.png?emoji-frown-1741, if you know what I mean. (aarrgghhh). Great review so far as always!

 

Pshh, the nerve of the minions thinking they need food for some reason. clear.png?emoji-tearsjoy-1678

 

I will definitely keep my eye out. I haven't got to all the pictures yet, but I'll send you anything I can find.

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I almost laughed out loud when you said the mom I'm pregnant. lol. Awesome review. What a beautiful ship. I love the nautical decorations.

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We were on the Radiance of the Seas last summer to Alaska. I agree, all of the windows to be able to look out is just amazing!

We also don’t get making reservations for MTD. That is why we choose MTD, so we can just show up when we’re ready.

 

 

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Great start, Kim, as usual! I have been wanting to do the itinerary you just sailed for a while now, but I'm spoiled by living in FL and being able to drive to port instead of flying. Maybe you will inspire me to finally book......

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DAY 2: St Croix!

 

We had never been to St Croix before and I was super excited to visit. I knew that the one thing I wanted to do was to go to Buck Island. It looked so beautiful from the pictures I had seen.

 

Buck Island is a small island that is uninhabited and about 176 acres. This is a protected area and a National Park. It is known for it's great reef and snorkeling area and I just knew I had to go!

 

Thanks to the wonderful people here on the boards, I found that there were several vendors that would take you there: Big Beards, Caribbean Sea Adventures, and Jolly Rogers.

 

It was next to impossible to get in touch with Jolly Rogers. No email, no return calls. Eliminated!

 

CSA, I had been in contact with them off and on and when I said I wanted to book, they informed me that they were already full. Ugh-Eliminated.

 

So that left Big Beards. Now I went back and forth about which excursion to book. They have full day and half day sails. I see a lot of people say they have had a wonderful experience with Big Beards, so I felt that I was in good hands.

 

However, I didn't feel too comfortable with the full excursion because of our time frame in port and the amount of travel involved. Although I try to make the most of our day any time I get the chance.

 

The half day trip: 9:30am-12:30pm and also 12:30pm-3:30pm. The cost is $75/pp adults, $60 for children, $22 for tots.

 

...goes to Buck Island and offers 2 stops. One on the beach at Turtle Beach for about 45 min-1 hour, which is supposed to be rated one of the prettiest beaches by National Geographic. The second stop involves the reef and underwater trail where you snorkel for 1 hour. They give you the guided tour for about 10 minutes and the "cut you free to explore on your own". Then you are returned to Christiansted.

 

The full day tour: 9:30am-3:30pm and is $105 per person/adults and $26 for children 6-12 years old and $25 for children 5 and under.

 

...same as above but then you go to a beach (which is back on the main land, but feels like you are on another island and is very primitive and secluded). You have a BBQ lunch here, for about 1 hr 45 min, and then you sail back to Christiansted.

 

So, you have to take a taxi from the cruise ship area (you meet a rep at the taxi station named Ms Gumbs). You also have to pay an extra $16/pp round trip for the taxi that is NOT included in your excursion price. Check in is at 8:30am at the taxi's and check in at Big Beards is 9am.

 

Note that you must prepay for this tour with Big Beards!

 

After considering the travel time and the return boat time was 3:30pm, add another 1/2 hour in the taxi puts us at 4pm, then more time for anything that could go wrong (with all aboard time at 4:30pm), I decided I didn't want to cut things that close and I would just do the half day tour.

 

I mean really when you think about it, $105 x2 + $85=$295 for the full day.

 

versus

 

half day... $75 x2 + $60=$210.

 

This is a difference of $85!!! Do you really think we are going to eat $85 worth of food? It's hamburgers, hot dogs and chips with fruit and rum punch.

 

I decided to book the half day...then was told they were SOLD OUT! UGH! Go me for waiting for so long. Now I'm stuck with a full day.

 

I started frantically researching and seen someone comment about how much they enjoyed their trip with Big Beards and they had really wished that they would have done the full day sail instead and was recommending it. So, I felt a little better after that...but still nervous.

 

Jill at Big Beards said they would make sure that they had enough taxi's waiting for when we returned to head back to the cruise ship and we would make it on time.

 

So, the day had come! I knew I was going to be a nervous wreck all day, but yet trying to enjoy myself.

 

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We were on the Radiance of the Seas last summer to Alaska. I agree, all of the windows to be able to look out is just amazing!

We also don’t get making reservations for MTD. That is why we choose MTD, so we can just show up when we’re ready.

 

 

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Radiance was my first RCCL cruise - also to Alaska. As I understand it, she (being the first in this class) was specifically designed FOR Alaska with all the glass. My second RCCL cruise was on Brilliance (sister #2) to the Med. And in 76 days I'll be on Jewel (baby sis) to Greece! Only the Serenade to go and I'll have cruised all the Radiance sisters.

 

I will speak to why I make reservations with My Time Dining. I make them for the same time every night at a time between the two seatings. First it allows me to eat at a "decent" time instead of stupid early or crazy late. Second, since I have to eat gluten-free, I like having the same service team, but since I cruise solo I do NOT like being put at a solo dump table or worse being the lone solo with a group of couples. It's just never a good scene - way too awkward. With my reservation for the same time each night, they are able to give me the same table in My Time Dining each night with the same service team. It works beautifully. There was a whole little colony of us on Brilliance who did the reservation at a normal time thing and all sat in the same area. So while *some* people may feel that the point is to eat whenever, for others of us the point of MTD is to allow us to make a reservation at a time that works for us between the two fixed times.

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Monday morning and time to rise and shine at 6:30am. I was having problems sleeping...truth be known I was VERY worried about the time frame today.

 

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I woke my family up at 7am and we were out the door by 7:15am.

 

Up the elevators we went to the buffet. Only this time...we noticed something...

 

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All the elevators said "Monday" on them. Hmmm. The day before they said "Sunday" and the hubby even ask me if that might have been the previous name to the ship. LOL So now we know. They actually change them daily to say what day it is. How neat is that!

 

I feel like such an idiot now.

 

We made it to the buffet and there was hardly anyone here. That's weird. No crowd and your choice of tables to sit at. No waiting in line for food. Well this is a first.

 

Then I discovered it...the ABSOLUTE BEST BACON IN THE WORLD!!! Made right here on the Jewel. It was cooked PERFECT and crispy with no fat or chewy stuff and layered in the tray perfect and best part...NO BACON POLICE! Hallelujah! I had found my favorite place to be!

 

They also had corn beef hash! It was AMAZING <--- I'm singing that word now in my opera voice.

 

(Notice the potatoes and no hashbrowns discovered yet.)

 

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Well hello there St Croix...

 

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Continue to follow...

We were on the Jewel a few moons ago in Fort Lauderdale.. She is a beautiful ship too.

We sailed out of San Juan a few times... but its nice to hear other experience and shore excursions as well

Thank you

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Up the elevators we went to the buffet. Only this time...we noticed something...

 

 

 

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All the elevators said "Monday" on them. Hmmm. The day before they said "Sunday" and the hubby even ask me if that might have been the previous name to the ship. LOL So now we know. They actually change them daily to say what day it is. How neat is that!

 

 

 

I feel like such an idiot.

[\QUOTE]

 

 

We did a transatlantic on the Jewel 10 years ago (my then-3-year-old’s very first cruise, in fact!). I’d forgotten how beautiful the ship was, but I’ve NEVER forgotten those glass elevators with the ocean view and the days of the week! My daughter LOVED those. (And more than one staff member joked during the cruise that “they change them on every floor”.).

 

Enjoying the review!

 

 

 

 

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We were able to get off the ship right at 8am. It was a L-O-N-G pier.

 

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We headed out and tried to find this taxi stand they said to go to.

 

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We had to ask a few people, but found it.

 

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The person that was working this "Christiansted Shuttle" tent was actually the person they told me to look for.

 

I did see little booths set up with vendors there.

 

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We paid for our taxi and got our tickets. We were in the van and leaving by 8:28am

 

I'm not sure what "Welcome to Fire" means...

 

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I did see a sign along the way that said "Free estimates for basic home repairs from hurricane". I guess the hurricane must have tagged them too?

 

The driver told us that the oil factory there was the second largest and owned by someone that lives in New Jersey.

 

My view:

 

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I didn't really see much poverty like you do in a lot of the ports in the Caribbean.

 

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It seemed fairly nice here.

 

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I don't know just how many motorist have to hit a fire hydrant before you have to put up a concrete barrier around it and paint it bright red...

 

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We are coming to a dead end...we must be here.

 

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It took us 34 minutes to get there.

 

Here is Big Beard's

 

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This was the place that you check in and they also had a little "store" inside there. You could buy drinks, beer, chips and so on to take with you on the excursion. We did buy some pop of course and a few extras. They provided some coolers with ice and you could put your things in there to keep them cold, which was nice. I just wished that I would have bought more than I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the dock area and you can see the huge sail in the air...that would be our boat.

 

P4020379%20copy-L.jpg

 

The dock.

 

P4020380%20copy-L.jpg

 

IMG_3918%20copy-L.jpg

 

So..I just have to comment on the "choice" of boats they have.

 

First- those on the half day sail are on a boat with motors and said they were speed boats.

 

Second-those on the full day sail are on an actual sail boat.

 

Ummm, shouldn't this be the other way around? Shouldn't the people that are on a full day sail be the ones with the faster boat? They are the ones pressed for time to get back and make it back to the ship on time. They actually advertise their "leisurely sail back to the dock" with their sail boat and I'm sorry, but it kinda irritated me with the thought of being late because we we're "leisurely sailing" along. We need to be in a hurry to get back when it's all over. Sigh, I'm going to give myself a heart attack thinking about this all day.

 

 

 

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