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Sunshine comprehensive trip report 7/7/18 Eastern Caribbean


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By the way, this roughly 6 hour tour does include your entrance your fee to Romney Gardens and the fortress included in the price (I will reiterate that it was a great deal), but it does not include lunch. You may want to take some protein bars or something to hold you over until you can get something to eat, coming up at the last stop. Keep in mind that you cannot take fresh fruit or any open foods from the buffet. You can only take packaged foods so pack a few granola bars or something in your suitcase.

 

Anyway, after the fortress we drove to another scenic stop overlooking the ocean where we could get out for photos. There were some guys here with monkeys who would let you take pics with the monkeys for $5. They were pretty aggressive -- the guys, not the monkeys! They come up to you talking fast and trying to get you to hold the monkeys. Before you know it you have a monkey or two in your arms and another on your head. Then the guy wants you to pay.

 

So just be ready for this and prepared to say no if you don't want to touch the animals. I didn't mind because I did want to get a picture with them.

 

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Our guide provided us with a welcome, generous dose of hand sanitizer when we got back onto the bus after we handled the monkeys!

 

Last stop, we went to a beautiful black sand beach. There was a bar here called the Ship Wreck. There were plenty of chairs in your choice of sun or shade. It was not

crowded at all and you may have noticed by now that this is one of my top criteria for a great beach. We loved it.

 

The water was a little murky. We were told later that the water in St Kitts and St Maarten is usually crystal clear, but right now it is a bit murky due to Hurricane Beryl which passed through and stirred things up just a few days ago.

 

We got an order of nachos from the bar for $8 which was delicious and big enough to share. Enjoyed a refreshing swim and time to lounge around. Finally we met up with our driver and returned to the ship with plenty of time to spare before back on board time of 7:30pm. It was a lovely day. I absolutely recommend this tour for value and quality. Unbeatable.

 

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This is the Ship Wreck bar and Grill

 

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After we all got cleaned up we went to the dining room for supper. We were seated in the very center of the dining room and did not like this location. It was very noisy. We all agreed that it is better to be seated around the sides of the dining room rather than the center.

 

We also agreed that we liked this dinner the least of all our meals. My sister is semi vegetarian so she ordered the tofu steak. She found it inedible. My daughter ordered the mahi mahi and did not like it at all. On the other hand, I had the tenderloin and thought it was good.

 

Our waiter noticed that my sister had barely touched her tofu entree. He asked if she liked it and she demured, saying it was "ok." He offered to bring her something else but she said no. I did appreciate his attention and offering to make it right.

 

I think this is the ox tongue appetizer:

 

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Beet salad

 

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Canneloni was just OK, not great.

 

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Tenderloin was good but we didn't like the polenta side that came with it.

 

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Tofu steak

 

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Salmon cake

 

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After supper we went to the Love & Marriage show. We have seen this on other ships and love it. It is always hysterically funny and did not disappoint.

 

 

The format is always the same. They take one newlywed couple, the couple in the audience who have been married the longest, and one in between who have been married maybe 20 or 30 years. The cruise director runs sort of a quiz to see if the husbands and wives can come up with the same answers.

 

I love this show and always laugh so hard. But I'm going to tell you that the last joke of the show has always been the same. It always ends with the longest married couple and a question about being stranded on a deserted island. I won't give away the answer. It always gets a roaring laugh from the audience. Chris our cruise director did a great job hosting the show. Don't miss it.

 

Here is Chris wearing one of his outrageous suits. He was a hoot and so full of energy ALL the time.

 

 

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I think today was the day we sent out a bag of laundry. We got a plastic bag and a slip of paper in our cabin about the $15 special. You'd be surprised how much you can cram into that bag if you fold it neatly. If you just wad it up and stuff it in there you won't be able to fit as much. My kids did not get the special paper and only had the form which shows the very expensive "per piece" pricing. Our steward said not to worry. Fill out the form and he would make sure they got the $15 special.

 

Speaking of our steward, I haven't told you about him. His name was Ida and he was very nice. Always had a smile on his face. He worked his butt off every day. He said he was responsible for 31 rooms. Thirtyone! I clean one room in my house and I'm worn out! He did have an assistant, but that is still a lot of rooms!! We left him an extra tip at the end.

 

We asked for an ice bucket which he filled every morning for us. I liked to keep it in the fridge so the ice would last longer, but I noticed that if I left it in there he would forget to fill it the next day. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. So I had to remember to get it out and set it on the counter before we left our room each morning. Also, they would not replace dirty glasses if we left any liquid in them at all. Could they have been instructed not to throw out any drinks? I mean just one inch of water left in a glass, and it would not be touched. We quickly learned to empty our glasses so they would be replaced with clean ones.

 

We asked for morning service. I would have preferred twice daily (mainly to get rid of our wet beach towels and towels from the shower instead of having piles of damp towels cluttering up the room) but I felt sorry for them having to work so hard, and I can turn down the bed myself.

 

Here is the room service menu. The items on the left are free 6am - 10 pm. The items on the right have a charge. I don't like this scaled down menu since the last time we cruised Carnival.

 

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Here is the late night 10pm - 6 am menu. Everything has a charge.

 

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Thursday July 12 St. Maarten

 

This was a fabulous day! We had researched ahead of time and reserved a tour with the #1 rated tour on St. Maarten, the Soualiga "most popular tour." Just google Captain Bob St Maarten and you'll find it. This company has hundreds of well deserved five star ratings.

 

We ordered room service breakfast again, and this time it did arrive as requested.

 

We were supposed to meet our tour guide at 10 am at his dock. He had emailed a map for the short walk. It took us about 10 minutes to get there. We left the ship with plenty of time to spare and arrived at 9:15 am. Captain Bob checked us in and said that most of our group had already arrived. When the rest arrived, we left a few minutes before our 10 am departure time.

 

Our crew Brett and Dylan were awesome. Brett is Captain Bob's son. The tour included four stops where we could swim and snorkel. As in St. Kitts, the water was a little murky. It wasn't bad, but some of our shipmates who have been here before said it was not nearly as crystal clear as normal, the result of Hurricane Beryl which thankfully was mild. Brett described the devastating Hurricane Irma including his own family's harrowing experience. There was still evidence of the damage from Irma everywhere we went.

 

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First we passed through Simpson Bay Lagoon where we saw much damage. A washed up fishing boat.

 

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A half-sunk multi million dollar yacht

 

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It was an exciting ride!

 

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That's Dylan, one of our crew, sitting on the edge of the boat.

 

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Dylan and Brett said we might see turtles and rays here. Unfortunately we did not see either, although I think a few people in our group did see a ray. As mentioned earlier, the water was slightly murky. Not bad, but not as crystal clear as we have heard is more normal.

 

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After a little time to snorkel at Tintamarre, we took off for our next spot. A nice place for swimming and we had a picnic lunch on the beach (or you could choose to eat on the boat) provided by our crew.







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There were a bunch of iguanas here and no one charging money to take pics with them, like the monkey guys did.





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A third stop for some more snorkeling. Sorry I don't remember the name of this location. We saw quite a lot of fish.





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Having fun on board!

 

 

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Here we are racing another of Captain Bob's boats.





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We stopped for a swim at this gorgeous spot. Here the water was as clear as a swimming pool.

 

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Lastly, we went to the airport and sat in the water for a few minutes. Watched a small plane come in and then an American Airlines jet directly over our heads! It was pretty awesome. I took a video, sorry I am not sure how to post video here. It was cool.

 

Our day sadly had to come to an end. Here we are heading back. You can just see our Carnival whale tail peeking our from behind another ship.

 

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Be careful to use your sunscreen. We used sunscreen (apparently not enough!), sat in the shaded part of the boat, and wore wide brimmed hats. In spite of all this, my daughter and I both got painful sunburns on our backs. My son and husband wore sun protection shirts and were not burned. Just use your sunscreen 2 or 3 times more often than you think you need because the sun can be brutal.

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I am loving your review ! We leave on The Sunshine on September 8th. We sailed her last voyage as the Destiny before they sent her to be transformed into The Sunshine. I am in shock that I read in your review that there isn't a dedicated nightclub. That is very disappointing. ! Thank you for the heads up on that ! Keep the great review coming !

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Back on board we all got cleaned up and went to the dining room for supper. We went early and asked for our favorite waiter, Lester. This is the second time we asked for him but both times we were told his section was full. So we said, well at least please seat us somewhere around the edges of the dining room because it was so noisy when we sat in the center. They were able to accomodate this request easily.

 

We ended up in Ramon's section, who had waited on us early in the cruise. He recognized us and called my son by name, even remembering what my son liked to

drink. However, service tonight was very slow again. We arrived at 5:50pm. Didn't get our entrees until 1 hour 15 minutes later.

 

The assistant waiter tried to give us a dessert menu and we told him we had not even gotten our entrees yet. Eventually entrees did arrive. We finally finished our meal and left the dining room at 8pm.

 

I really think this is a huge service issue. It was not just a one time incident. There are many fun things to do in the evenings and I just don't want to spend 2-3 hours eating supper. I think the dining room could do better. This is one of my biggest complaints on this cruise.

 

For once I remembered to get pics of the menu!

 

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This is the braised rabbit in puff pastry, which my husband liked:

 

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I'm not sure what the following items are, but you have to admit they are served attractively.

 

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I went by the piano bar to check it out around 9:20 pm. There were maybe a dozen or so people there. The performer was playing a tune when I walked in. When he finished, everybody just sat there, stonefaced. No applause, not a peep. I thought, "dang, this is a tough crowd!"

 

It soon became clear that they were playing some kind of musical trivia game where the pianist would play a snippet of a tune and people would write down their answers. That explains why everyone looked so studiuos. LOL

 

But it still seemed a rather dull time. I watched for a few minutes before moving on. I stopped in briefly one other time, and my daughter checked out the piano bar a couple of times. Both of us agreed that it always seemed kinda slow and not very exciting.

 

Here is the piano bar during a time when it was not open. But I'm sorry to say that even when it was open, it didn't look very lively.

 

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Here are a few photos of the shops on deck 5.

 

I went into the jewelry shop once and got a very hard sell when I expressed a casual interest in a tanzanite earring set. When I heard the price of over $2000 I beat a retreat.

 

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Anyway, after a few minutes in the piano bar I decided to check out the show in the Liquid Showroom. I arrived just as it was scheduled to start at 9:30 and stood in the back. Chris our cruise director was there speaking with another crew member, both of them looking serious and the crew member speaking into his phone.

 

At 9:37 Chris announced "technical difficulties" and said he hoped the show would start soon. I waited another 10 minutes and then left with the show still not having begun.

 

We spent some time in the casino before calling it a night.

 

Here are a couple more late night photos of the ship

 

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By now we had been on our feet for awhile. All of us were hot and tired, so we made our way to the restaurant Chocobar which I had read about online. It was awesome! Our waiter was great. I asked for his recommendation for a refreshing cold adult beverage. The chocolada was spot on! So good!

 

 

 

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We ordered the grilled cheese made with cheddar and dark chocolate butter (amazing!), croquettes, and cheese plate. We shared all of these for an afternoon snack and it was all exceptionally good. We enjoyed taking the time to cool off in the air conditioning before heading out again.

 

 

 

 

 

Croquettes

 

 

 

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Cheese plate

 

 

 

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The most amazing grilled cheese ever:

 

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If you are in old town San Juan, you really must make a stop at Chocobar. You'll thank me. :)

 

 

 

 

 

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I will keep that in mind, as we are there next March when on the Breeze. [emoji106]

 

 

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Anyway, after the fortress we drove to another scenic stop overlooking the ocean where we could get out for photos. There were some guys here with monkeys who would let you take pics with the monkeys for $5. They were pretty aggressive -- the guys, not the monkeys! They come up to you talking fast and trying to get you to hold the monkeys. Before you know it you have a monkey or two in your arms and another on your head. Then the guy wants you to pay.

 

So just be ready for this and prepared to say no if you don't want to touch the animals. I didn't mind because I did want to get a picture with them.

 

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The guys were like that in St. Lucia, very aggressive. My DW was Awwwe, next thing you know they had 2-3 monkeys on her, and I was like they are going to want you pay for this. She was like:eek: "they never mentioned that so why do you think they will charge us?", because this is one of the ways they make a living. In the end they did not ask for $5, rather he said it was $20, but for you my dear it only $15. Well that guy was not happy because my DW is one who is not just going to smile, and pay the $15. I did not have a problem helping the guy out ie; $5 for the 3min photo shoot that he used OUR camera with, but $15 bucks yeah right not happening. While we were trying to pay the guy $5 he was like NO its $15 my DW was like uh, NO. He then had a few choice things to say to us, even calling us cheap Americans. This guys was to say the least heated around the collar, so much so we thought for a sec he would call the local authorities over (do not want to be in a foreign jail). So like the OP said, beware and negotiate price before you take the pics.

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Here are a few photos of the shops on deck 5.

 

I went into the jewelry shop once and got a very hard sell when I expressed a casual interest in a tanzanite earring set. When I heard the price of over $2000 I beat a retreat.

 

Reminds me of our cruise last year, DH saw several watches that he liked, and of course can't see the microscopically printed price tags when they are in the case. So after showing interest and getting the sales pitch like you said, and then finding out the lowest priced of ones he liked was $1300, we too retreated.

 

 

Again, great review, just need April to hurry up and get here!

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Reminds me of our cruise last year, DH saw several watches that he liked, and of course can't see the microscopically printed price tags when they are in the case. So after showing interest and getting the sales pitch like you said, and then finding out the lowest priced of ones he liked was $1300, we too retreated.

 

 

Again, great review, just need April to hurry up and get here!

Lol! This reminds me of something that happened on our last cruise when on the NCL Getaway with our son in law and grandson. They were looking at a particular watch they really liked—for my 12 year old grandson. It was a Hublot. Price tag—$15,000!!! 😱 They ended up with a Citizen watch at a SIGNIFICANTLY lower price! For the rest of the cruise, though, that salesperson would call them in, and tell them they could drop another 1k off each time they saw him! It was a crazy push from that guy to buy that darn watch!

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The guys were like that in St. Lucia, very aggressive. My DW was Awwwe, next thing you know they had 2-3 monkeys on her, and I was like they are going to want you pay for this. She was like:eek: "they never mentioned that so why do you think they will charge us?", because this is one of the ways they make a living. In the end they did not ask for $5, rather he said it was $20, but for you my dear it only $15. Well that guy was not happy because my DW is one who is not just going to smile, and pay the $15. I did not have a problem helping the guy out ie; $5 for the 3min photo shoot that he used OUR camera with, but $15 bucks yeah right not happening. While we were trying to pay the guy $5 he was like NO its $15 my DW was like uh, NO. He then had a few choice things to say to us, even calling us cheap Americans. This guys was to say the least heated around the collar, so much so we thought for a sec he would call the local authorities over (do not want to be in a foreign jail). So like the OP said, beware and negotiate price before you take the pics.

 

Wow! What a story. The guys we ran into weren't that bad. I didn't have a problem with paying them $5, but I agree with you that $15-20 would be ridiculous. And I did not take care to the negotiate the price beforehand so I'm glad we didn't get gouged like your wife did.

 

So fair warning, everyone.

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Friday July 13 Sea Day

 

We slept late, then went and had a big breakfast. My husband, son and I tried out the water slides. One of the three slides was not running for some reason. The other two were fun. We tried out one of the hot tubs but the temperature was way too hot for me, especially with a sunburn.

 

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