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SleepingUgly

Trip Report: 12-night Holiday Cruise in the Caribbean on the SILHOUETTE (2018)

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44 minutes ago, SleepingUgly said:

 

The pools were quite busy on sea days, as to be expected.  If you need more than two loungers together and right by the pool, you should probably set your stuff out by around 8 am or so.  I'm not advocating saving chairs, but I don't think it hurts to set your things down and then go to breakfast at the buffet and be back in 30 minutes or so.  If you get there between 8.30-9.30 am or so, you can probably still find chairs, but not poolside.  After 10 am, it will be nearly impossible unless someone decides to leave midday.

 

If you are not traveling with children, I suggest you definitely check out the solarium instead.  It's indoors but much quieter and relaxing than the pool deck, with almost a spa-like atmosphere.

 

They do leave these little cards on chairs, reminding folks to not save seats and that their personal belongings may be removed if they do not return in 30 minutes.  However, we never saw anything moved by ship personnel so don't think they followed this, but at least they did set out these "warning" cards.  I'm not sure how much good they did because we saw plenty of seats that had stuff on them but remained empty for a couple hours or more, sometime.

 

HTH, and hope you have a great cruise!

 

Linda

 

 

Thanks for the update.  Hopefully the chair hogs won't be there for the February 1 cruise.  We are looking forward to some serious pool time.

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Day 4 – St. Thomas (cont.)

 

When we had gotten to Magen’s Bay and after we got our loungers, we had a decision to make – head to the beach on the right or head to the beach on the left.  We decided to turn right and, while that ended up being a good decision for us, the left side definitely had a lot more space and was much more expansive.  We didn’t find this out until dh and I took a walk along the beach later on that morning.  To get to the far end of the left side of the beach from the restaurant / shop, it was probably a 20-minute, easy-paced walk.  To get to the far end of the right side of the beach, it was probably a 10-minute walk at the same pace.  So, if you are late arriving to Magen’s Bay when there is more than one ship in port, you may want to head to the left of the shop / bar area as there should be more space for you to spread out.  If you don’t bother renting a lounger, you can go way past the crowds to the end of the beach, where you may end up having the beach to yourself. 

 

This is near our section of the beach, which you can see got quite busy by midday

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This was the view from our loungers.  Those are dh's Fred Flinstone feet, not mine.

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This is taken from the far right side of the beach, with the busy section in the back

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Here is another view of our section of the beach, and it got even busier as it got closer to midday.

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Dh and I walked all the way to the left of the beach, where you can see there wasn’t anyone else around.  This would be a very nice area to lay down your towels and just relax with no noise or disruption from others.  Of course, you are far away from the facilities, including food and drink options, but if you don’t need those, then this would be a great place to hang out.  No one is in the water out here, as you can see, much different from the other end of the beach.

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To finish up, just a few more shots of the scenery around us and the girls enjoying the beach.  What a great way to spend Christmas Eve!

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12.24.18, 9.50 - Magens beach, PC240234.JPG

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54 minutes ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

Thanks for the update.  Hopefully the chair hogs won't be there for the February 1 cruise.  We are looking forward to some serious pool time.

 

What may also help is that you should have less families on your cruise.  We traveled over the holidays so there were a lot of families and large groups onboard, and if / when they saved chairs, they would save a lot of them.  Hopefully, that won't be the case on your cruise!

 

Linda

 

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Day 4 – St. Thomas (cont.)

 

I forgot to mention that there is a charge to enter Magen’s Bay - $5 per person, and children under 12 were free.  So we had to pay a total of $20 at the entrance to the beach for the five of us.

 

We left our beachside retreat a little before 1 pm so we had time to return the loungers, get our deposit back and walk to the right location in the parking lot to meet our taxi driver.  Again, we had to drag our own loungers back across the sand, which proved to be a bit more difficult than earlier in the day since there were more people in the way and I don't think they would appreciate dh scraping rusty metal across their legs.  I don't know, just a guess on my part.  Anyway, dh was the one who did all the hard work while the girls and I just wandered along behind him.  Hey, why else do you think I keep him around?

 

We got back to the shop and left the loungers outside.  While dh was handling the deposit return at the counter in the shop, the girls and I looked around.  As expected, prices for things such as sunscreen were outrageous.  An 8-ounce bottle of sunscreen was selling for around $13.  I had bought four bottles ahead of time on Amazon for about $20.  So make sure you get certain, essential provisions ahead of time ... which was emphasized when we went out in search of Motrin that afternoon.

 

Once dh got his deposit back, we walked out into the parking lot.  It was 12.55 pm by this time so we sat and waited for the taxi driver.  And waited.  And waited.  He never showed so, at 1.10 pm, dh walked over to a gentleman in the parking lot who was asking folks if they needed a taxi.  We told him that yes, we in fact did need one, and he directed us to a driver who was looking for a few more people to fill up the rest of his open-air bus.  We quickly walked to his bus; apologies to the passengers who had to sit there and wait for us, especially the impatient gentleman who was yelling at him to just get going.  They may have already been sitting there a while, which is why he was so eager to get on the road.

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The trip back afforded some great opportunities for photos.  Dh sat in the back with the kids and was able to get some good pictures.  I was stuck up front, squashed between two women who didn’t speak much English but who were super nice and kept smiling at me.  Hey, I’ll take smiles over scowls and frowns any day … or worse, agonizing, I’m-doing-my-best-to-hold-in-this-gas-that’s-dying-to-get-out look.  Especially when I’m stuck in tight quarters right next to these people.

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Dh had to get this picture of some dude ... ahem, having a private moment in a courtyard right by the road.  Yes, this is the classy, refined, renaissance man I married.  Aren't I a lucky one.  Stand back, ladies ... he's mine!

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The bus dropped off about half the people in the downtown area and charged them $8 each for the ride.  They wanted to do some shopping and then I guess they will either walk back to the ship or take another taxi.  We stayed on the taxi, which continued onto the port.  We were charged the agreed-upon $10 per person for the trip back.  We also saw our driver from that morning in the parking lot, who was standing next to his van.  He saw us and commented (nicely) that he had sent someone to pick us up.  Well, if we don't know what the heck the guy looked like, how were we to find him?  Oh, well.  No biggie.  We still made it back to the port with no problem.

 

We slowly dragged ourselves way back to the ship.  We had forgotten how much the sun can drain your energy.  The walk from the taxi area to the ship is not bad at all – maybe an 8 to 10-minute walk at a leisurely pace without stopping – but it just felt long to us.  At least we had a special welcoming committee to greet us.

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It was a relief to see the ship and its official “welcome back” set-up of cool towels and different types of cold water at the entrance of the ship.  These ended up always being a favorite of both dh and the little one - dh because I think he really needed to hydrate, and the little one because she just thought it was cool to be served cucumber water after being outside in the sun.  She better not be getting any ideas in that little head of hers for how the service can be improved at home after this trip.

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Entering the ship through the plebian line, because we aren’t one of the elites or even sub-elites or anywhere close on this ship.

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Day 4 – St. Thomas (cont.)

 

We got back onboard and went right to the Oceanview Café to grab some lunch.  It wasn’t too crowded by then as it was 1.30 pm, and all of the food was still set out so that was much appreciated.  We plonked ourselves down at a table and just chowed down, we were so tired and hungry.  I think I also guzzled down three glasses of apple juice in a row; my little one was impressed.  Who knew her mom was so cool.  We decided that we did not want to go all the way back into town to do our shopping – really, I wasn’t in the mood to be pressured into deciding whether or not I wanted to buy a $20,000 ring in under 10 minutes – and there were plenty of little shops in the port area, so we thought we’d just shop there instead.

 

Our stomachs full and our energy restored, we went back to the cabins and dropped our stuff off, freshened up a bit and went back out.  There was a cute little holiday display right on the pier, and the little one wanted to do a photo shoot with it.  This wasn't no highfalutin, fashion photo shoot.  More like, did-I-drop-this-kid-on-her-head-when-she-was-a-baby or what-the-heck-was-I-smoking-when-I-was-pregnant-with-her photo shoot.

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We had one goal on this shopping trip – Motrin.  Our oldest had been having some bad headaches for the past couple of days so she had already used up most of the children’s Motrin we had brought with us.  Granted, we had brought only half a bottle, so we needed to replenish.  We found a small general store-type of shop and got the Motrin.  It was $18 for the smallest bottle ever.  Ugh, highway robbery at its best, but we needed to get it so we made the little one do a song and dance for some coins from passers-by, and she earned about 45 cents that went towards the purchase of the Motrin.  The 45 cents actually came from someone who offered to pay us if she would just stop, please make her stop!  Hey, whatever it takes.

 

We walked around a bit more after that but the girls didn't find anything of interest for themselves or their friends, so we decided to head back to the ship.

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We returned to the ship around 3.30 pm to cat chow … uh, I mean canapes, in our room.

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We rested and relaxed, and also got some nice pictures from our balcony.  I am really loving these aft cabins! 

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On 1/11/2019 at 11:05 AM, SleepingUgly said:

So is anyone still reading this?  I feel like I am talking to myself most of the time, but since I'm probably the only person who finds me to be as entertaining as I like to think I am, I guess that is OK then!

 

 

Count me as one, reading everyday and enjoying the witty narrative and great pics!

Norris

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45 minutes ago, jpodds said:

$18 for a bottle of Motrin...Holy Cow... Gonna rethink taking the travel size bottle....

 

Right?  We thought we were prepared but guess not.  Make sure you take enough with you, and then some!

 

Linda

 

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22 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:

 

Count me as one, reading everyday and enjoying the witty narrative and great pics!

Norris

 

Thanks, Norris, and that is quite the compliment coming from you!  Appreciate your sticking it out.  Hope all is well in Chicago!

 

Linda

 

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13 minutes ago, SleepingUgly said:

 

Thanks, Norris, and that is quite the compliment coming from you!  Appreciate your sticking it out.  Hope all is well in Chicago!

 

Linda

 


Linda, it is snowing in Chicago but on Monday we are flying to Miami to join the Azamara Journey for a 9 day Cuba cruise so I am packing sunscreen!

The review will be titled "X Cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba" and will be launched on the Celebrity Board when I get home on January 25th. I hope you'll pop in and say hi once it is underway.

 

Six cameras.

Nine days.

Only One Survivor!

 

 Sadly I can't afford Jeff Probst to introduce it...

 

Norris

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Day 4 – St. Thomas (cont.)

 

It was soon sail away time.  The Serenade departed first, and we had a front row seat to her leaving the pier.

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Then it was our turn.  We were able to capture photos of the sail away while the sun was still out, to dusk, to nighttime.  It was a beautiful sail away and so glad we were able to be a part of it.

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We then got ready to go to the show that night.  It was a young magician by the name of Trent James.  He very much resembled our oldest daughter’s boyfriend – except the boyfriend is 6’5” – so I think she had an extra interest in the show that night.  He actually put on a very good show.  It may have dragged a bit and could have been wrapped up in, say 35 minutes instead of 45 minutes, but he was funny and engaging and personable.  The magic was quite good as well.  I had never been in the audience for a magic show before – had only seen on TV – so it was pretty cool to watch a performance in-person.  If Trent James is performing on your cruise, I highly recommend that you go and watch.  He really is very good.

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After the show and the obligatory picture the little one wanted taken with him, we stopped by the Grand Foyer, where some of the Celebrity singers were performing Christmas carols, and Sue Denning and some of the officers were also in attendance.  Of course, this being the 21st Century, we must be inclusive, so they also sang “Feliz Navidad” for the Spanish speakers onboard.  I’m not sure but this may have actually been more insulting than accommodating?  Then they also sang a couple of Hanukah songs – and changed up “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” to “I want a hippopotamus for Hanukah” … Why, for the love of God, why?  Because of the alliteration with hippopotamus and Hanukah?  … and that was as inclusive as things got.  Still, it was a nice performance and helped put us even more in the Christmas mood.

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After the performance, we went to the MDR for dinner.  Here is the menu.  I ordered from the classic menu tonight - the French onion soup and the sirloin.  You can see I enjoyed my steak so much from the picture I took of it ... which is when I remembered I should take a picture of it.

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Again, Joseph and Dexter treated us like family and took very good care of us.  The little one had ordered the filet mignon that night, and Joseph was kind enough to cut up her meat.  The oldest had ordered rack of lamb that night, and Joseph was kind enough to cut up her meat.  She can do linear algebra like nobody's business and code up a storm and serve as a TA to a freshman lab that studies viruses that attack bacteria, but she can’t use a steak knife to save her life.  Welcome to your future, America!

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After dinner, we went to check things out in the Sky Lounge again and let the little one dance a bit.  Not sure where she gets all that energy, but she needs to bottle that up and keep it to herself, because I don’t want any of that.  Me likey me naps.  Around 11.30 pm or so, we went back to the cabins and were all in bed by midnight.  Tomorrow – Christmas Day and Santa!

Edited by SleepingUgly

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20 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:


Linda, it is snowing in Chicago but on Monday we are flying to Miami to join the Azamara Journey for a 9 day Cuba cruise so I am packing sunscreen!

The review will be titled "X Cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba" and will be launched on the Celebrity Board when I get home on January 25th. I hope you'll pop in and say hi once it is underway.

 

Six cameras.

Nine days.

Only One Survivor!

 

 Sadly I can't afford Jeff Probst to introduce it...

 

Norris

 

I hope you and Carol have a fantastic trip, Norris!  (How scary is it that I know your wife's name?  That's how closely I've read your reviews, haha.  I'm not a stalker, I swear it!)  I was considering Azamara as well when we were looking at Oceania for our Greek Isles summer cruise.  Can't wait to read all about it!

 

Jeff Probst is over-rated.  Think you need Count von Count.  I've heard he does amazing things with numbers.

 

Linda

 

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3 hours ago, jpodds said:

$18 for a bottle of Motrin...Holy Cow... Gonna rethink taking the travel size bottle....

I actually take the Costco size with me.  Never know when you're going to break a bone in your foot and need it to continue the cruise.   (did this on a Med cruise in 2015.)

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What a wonderful night I have had reading your delightful review & watching the Cowboys lose. I used to live in Alexandria & remain a Redskin fan. 

 

Nancy

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3 minutes ago, ipeeinthepool said:

At $18 for a bottle of Motrin, it just might be cheaper to buy them from Main Medical.  They sell small packets of Motrin for a couple of dollars.  

 

On our last cruise my husband got a bad cough and went to see the doctor.

He prescribed amoxicillin - $100!!!!! 😱😱😱 (Plus another $100 for the exam)

Still had the cough when he got home so our doctor here prescribed another round. Cost $000.00!

(Our doctor actually asked what planet the ship's doctor had the medication shipped in from to justify that cost)

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10 minutes ago, chamima said:

 

On our last cruise my husband got a bad cough and went to see the doctor.

He prescribed amoxicillin - $100!!!!! 😱😱😱 (Plus another $100 for the exam)

Still had the cough when he got home so our doctor here prescribed another round. Cost $000.00!

(Our doctor actually asked what planet the ship's doctor had the medication shipped in from to justify that cost)

 

That may be true, but we have also purchased Motrin from the nurse at the front desk for a couple of dollars

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Linda

We're on the Silhouette for the Oscars and someone on our Roll Call just asked if they would show it on the large screen on the lawn.

I wasn't aware that the Silhouette had a large screen on the lawn.

Does she?

If so, did they ever show movies up there at night?

Thanks!

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10 hours ago, batoryfirst said:

What a wonderful night I have had reading your delightful review & watching the Cowboys lose. I used to live in Alexandria & remain a Redskin fan. 

 

Nancy

 

Amen, Nancy! 🙂  We are not Redskins fans. either - or, let me rephrase ... we are not big Daniel Snyder fans - but we were indeed rooting against the Cowboys.  Today's games should be quite good as well.  Thanks for following along and for the kind words!

 

Linda

 

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9 hours ago, rosewood jo said:

You have a fabulous sense of humor.  You should be a stand up comedian!

 

Oooh, like Joey Gladstone, my all-time most favoritest comedian?  Cut. It. Out!

 

Thanks for reading and for the ego boost! 

 

Linda

 

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2 hours ago, KateWes said:

Following along! Enjoying all the on board photos! Looking forward to seeing more! 

 

Thanks for keeping up!  We do actually do more stuff than sit around the beach and drink.  I think we also at times get up to go pee in the ocean.  

 

Linda

 

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2 hours ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

That may be true, but we have also purchased Motrin from the nurse at the front desk for a couple of dollars

 

Our daughter did try to go to the health center in the afternoon of the first sea day but it was closed when she went and she said she felt like she was down in the dungeon.  Next time, we'll be sure to remember to go there first and see if we can just get some Motrin, but she did end up taking it a few times during the rest of the cruise so not sure if the cost would have added up anyway, if we had to keep running back to purchase a packet each time.  Really appreciate the suggestion!

 

Linda

 

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1 hour ago, chamima said:

Linda

We're on the Silhouette for the Oscars and someone on our Roll Call just asked if they would show it on the large screen on the lawn.

I wasn't aware that the Silhouette had a large screen on the lawn.

Does she?

If so, did they ever show movies up there at night?

Thanks!

 

Karen - I am sad to admit that we did not make it up to the lawn very often and I did not take any pictures of that area.  However, I honestly don't recall seeing a screen in that area and they never advertised anything being shown on the lawn.  In fact, when they showed "movies under the stars" in the evenings, they did so in the pool area.  They also showed movies in Celebrity Central throughout the day so perhaps they will show the Oscars there or by the pool?  

 

You don't need to watch the Oscars - I'll tell you what will win Best Picture.  Crazy Rich Asians.  At least, that's the opinion of this crazy poor Asian. 🙂

 

Linda

 

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6 minutes ago, SleepingUgly said:

 

Karen - I am sad to admit that we did not make it up to the lawn very often and I did not take any pictures of that area.  However, I honestly don't recall seeing a screen in that area and they never advertised anything being shown on the lawn.  In fact, when they showed "movies under the stars" in the evenings, they did so in the pool area.  They also showed movies in Celebrity Central throughout the day so perhaps they will show the Oscars there or by the pool?  

 

You don't need to watch the Oscars - I'll tell you what will win Best Picture.  Crazy Rich Asians.  At least, that's the opinion of this crazy poor Asian. 🙂

 

Linda

 

 

Thanks Linda!

I'm thrilled to hear there were "movies under the stars " by the pool.

It's one of the things I love about Princess - laying on a deck chair under the warm Caribbean night sky and watching a movie (or even dozing sometimes :classic_blush:).

That's probably an even better location than the lawn (for me , at least)

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Welp, two weeks ago, we were in 80-some degree heat and sun and cruising the Caribbean Sea.  This morning, I woke up to this scene in our front and back yards ...

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13 minutes ago, effinaround said:

Linda, I think you should play a part in the sequel!

 

Agree!  It's called "poor relations." 🙂

 

Linda

 

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42 minutes ago, chamima said:

 

Thanks Linda!

I'm thrilled to hear there were "movies under the stars " by the pool.

It's one of the things I love about Princess - laying on a deck chair under the warm Caribbean night sky and watching a movie (or even dozing sometimes :classic_blush:).

That's probably an even better location than the lawn (for me , at least)

 

Karen - I hope the weather proves to be nicer for you than it did for us.  I think we wanted to experience this a couple of times, but the winds made it a bit too uncomfortable to enjoy.  Also, since we had late seating and didn't finish dinner until after 10 pm pretty much everyday, that also didn't help.  The one time we walked by the pool area when a movie was being shown, I didn't see anyone out there, but again, hoping for a totally different experience for you on your cruise!

 

Linda

 

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Oh wow!  Fortunately, I haven't had to shovel yet this season.  We had a dump in November when I was away and that has been it. I hope it stays that way!

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Linda, we got the same here in Delaware, But you review warmed us up when we got 

in from shoveling. Now get ready for the game, Go Eagles!

Kand J

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My husband just remarked about how we haven't had any snow so far (and I told him him to keep his mouth shut and not jinx us!)

Our youngest daughter lives in DC so she probably woke up to what you had.

SO SORRY!!!

I hope it melts by Friday because we're taking them on a Disney cruise and she needs to get out of there.

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Day 4 – St. Croix

 

Let’s not break with tradition and start with today’s Celebrity Today.  We had also received an invite to the helipad for the sail away that evening.  Cool – we are so there!  Sorry but I could not find the invite to take a picture of it, but we got one - I swear!  We didn't crash the party just so we could imbibe endless glasses of watered-down mimosas.  If you want to see the invite, please let me know and I will look for it.  I know we kept the two that we received; they just weren't in the same pile as the dailies.

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Merry Christmas!  We woke around 8 am to yet another lovely view.

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We got the girls up right away since Santa Claus would be making his appearance.  The little one, still a firm believer and not having had any conversations with Dear Leader Trump to sway her otherwise, was super excited about this so of course we could not miss it.

 

We had breakfast in the Oceanview Café, like usual, and then went outside to wait for Santa.  It was kind of a confusing experience.  At last night’s show, Sue had told us to be on the open decks to wait for him.  OK, kind of vague, but we’ll try to figure it out.  Then, in the Celebrity Today, it noted that Santa would be arriving and to be on the open decks of 12, 14 and 15 to watch for him, and that he would then make his way to the Grand Foyer.  OK, some more details so that’s good.

 

That morning, we waited on the Solstice Deck for the king of elves to arrive.  By now, we had already lost our middle child, who saw her friends and scampered off to be with them instead.  Hey, it's her vacation too, right?  The oldest and younger (i.e., "ball" and "chain") stuck with me, of course.

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We finally saw Santa arriving via a small boat a little before 9 am. 

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Since Santa obviously got on the ship on a lower deck, and the Today had said he was heading to the Grand Foyer after that, we rushed down to Deck 3 to wait for him.  Only to be told by Celebrity personnel that he had gone back up to the upper decks and would be making his way down, deck to deck, and not end up in the Grand Foyer until 10 am.  Well, okie dokie then.  That may have been a detail worthy of being included in the Celebrity Today.  No worries.  We went back up to Deck 12, by the pool to wait for Santa.  I felt like a teeny bopper chasing the Beatles out to their limo after their performance on the Ed Sullivan show, but anything for my children, right?

 

We caught his Pied Piper parade by the pool, and the little one was able to give him a high five for being a good sport and getting all dolled up in that outfit – complete with lumpy pillow and fake beard – and still being able to maintain a smile and not gnash his teeth at all the little grubby-pawed whipper snappers running circles around him.

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The parade wound its way down to Deck 3, from staircase to staircase.  Santa got to his throne by 9.30 am, so there went that detail of how “Santa won’t be here until 10 am.”  Man, they really need to coordinate better with events like this and the communicate better with guests.  But, hey, it’s Christmas and we’re in St. Croix and I’m next to the passport bar.  Mango mojito, anyone?

 

The little one was able to get a picture not only with Santa, but also Sue and Kate, the director of Celebrity Life Activities.  Both were super nice and accommodating.  Our middle child also was able to get a gift and picture with Santa, posing with one of her new friends she met on the ship.  I wasn't able to get a picture of them but the ship's photographer got one.  All children under the age of 18 were able to get a gift from Santa.  I think the older one got a small backpack and one of those pop-up buttons for the back of her cellphone, and the little one got an insulated lunch bag and a fidget spinner.  Everything had the Celebrity Cruises logo on them, of course.  Not terribly exciting gifts, but I thought it was a very nice gesture they did for the kids.  Certainly made me feel better about having paid thousands more than “usual” pricing for a holiday cruise.

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36 minutes ago, effinaround said:

Oh wow!  Fortunately, I haven't had to shovel yet this season.  We had a dump in November when I was away and that has been it. I hope it stays that way!

 

Agree, and hoping the same for you!  It's supposed to be a rough weather for us here, but we've had a few easy winters so I guess it's time.

 

Linda

 

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34 minutes ago, Decpl said:

Linda, we got the same here in Delaware, But you review warmed us up when we got 

in from shoveling. Now get ready for the game, Go Eagles!

Kand J

 

They had an incredible game last week, although I was rooting for the Bears.  What a finish!

 

Linda

 

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35 minutes ago, chamima said:

My husband just remarked about how we haven't had any snow so far (and I told him him to keep his mouth shut and not jinx us!)

Our youngest daughter lives in DC so she probably woke up to what you had.

SO SORRY!!!

I hope it melts by Friday because we're taking them on a Disney cruise and she needs to get out of there.

 

Yes, Karen, tell your husband to shut it.  You don't need no crazy talk like that right before leaving on vacation.  The forecast here is just cold this week and the next good chance of snow isn't until the weekend, so I am pretty sure your daughter and her family will be able to escape on Friday with no problem.  I'd love to hear about your Disney cruise when you return - I've heard nothing but awesome things about them!

 

Linda

  

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Day 4 – St. Croix (cont.)

 

After all that excitement with Santa, we got ready to head out to ashore.  Once again, we had no plans for this port.  As it was Christmas Day, I didn’t know what would be open and what would be closed.  If we had our way, we would have taken a taxi into Christansted and done an Alexander Hamilton-related walking tour, as our middle child is a huge Hamilton fan (along with every other person in this country, with the possible exception of dh and me), followed up by some shopping and maybe a closer visit at Fort Christiansted.  However, since it was Christmas Day, the fort – which is part of the US National Parks Service – was closed.  Rats.  And I had emailed someone I found online who supposedly dresses up as Alexander Hamilton and leads a walking tour in Christiansted, asking if he was doing a tour that day, but never heard back from him.  Thus, we decided that we would just do something on our own.

 

Our middle child asked to stay on the ship with her friends; they were going to hang out at the X Club and the pool.  That was fine with us so the four of us prepared to go out.  We left the ship a little after 10 am and got our obligatory pictures taken.  Hey, we bought that photo package.  Dh was determined to get his money's worth.

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We decided to go to Rainbow Beach for the day.  We had to walk down a loooong pier to get outside of the gate.

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We were then directed to an area for taxis.  There was a line of maybe around six people in front of us, waiting to buy tickets from a woman seated behind a table.  It cost $6 round trip per person to get to Rainbow Beach, but you could also choose to walk there as well, if you wanted to since the bus ride took only about 10 minutes and the GPS showed the beach was a little over one mile away.  We did see some people walking to / from the beach on our way there and back, but it may have been a bit dangerous with kids as there is no sidewalk so you have to walk on the side of the road.

 

After we purchased our tickets, we then had to wait for a van.  This is apparently how we wait in line these days.

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The four of us split up into two vans and got in around 10.30 am.  The little one and I got in one van, and dh and the oldest got in another one.  Our driver was funny – she was in a hurry and didn’t have time for the very slow driver in front of us.  She was honking her horn at him and muttering to herself, “C’mon!  Move it!  You drive like a man.”  I am going to have to remember that one and use it sometime.

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We got to Rainbow Beach about 10 minutes later and was told by the driver that the last van would depart from the beach at 2 pm and to make sure we held onto our tickets.  That was a bit earlier than we wanted to leave, but it’s OK.

 

We walked into the little bar / restaurant located on the beach and spoke with a nice young man about renting loungers and umbrellas.  He told us that chairs cost $5 each to rent, $10 per lounger and $10 for an umbrella.  We at first chose to rent just two chairs, since we thought the sun would be bearable, like the day before in St. Thomas, but after just 10 minutes or so, we realized the sun was much hotter today (even though we were only 19 miles from St. Thomas).  So we ended up renting an umbrella as well.  He set us up in a nice, front-row location.

 

In my opinion, it was great that chairs and loungers had already been set up along the beach, and that the young man would set up extra chairs for you.  That way, there wasn't anarchy in people setting their stuff up around the beach, wherever they wanted to.  I saw him speaking with people who came later who wanted chairs set up in front of others, and he very politely told them he couldn't do that for them.

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Day 4 – St. Croix (cont.)

 

Here are a bunch more pictures that we took at Rainbow Beach.  This was a pretty small beach, but the vibe was relaxed and enjoyable, and we sat among some fun, nice people.  There were a couple of heavy downpours during the time we were there, but either we were in the water anyway (the girls loved being able to still be in the ocean while it was raining) or we just all ducked under the umbrella and rode out the storm that way.  The rain never lasted longer than five minutes and then the sun would be out again in full force.  #welcometothetropics

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Here is that nice young man who helped us and many other people that day with setting up chairs and getting drinks.  I'm not quite sure what his name was.  Dh, for some reason, started calling him Noah, but I heard others calling him Danny.  Oh, well.  He answered to anything, always with a smile, and when he told me in the pouring rain that he loved his job, he looked like he really meant it. 

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Dh took the girls on a short walk past the beach to a rockier area where private homes are located (but the beaches are still public), and he and I walked out there later as well.

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The kids had a great time in the water, and tried out our new waterproof / underwater camera too.  The water at that beach was a bit murky to get any good pictures underwater, but we were able to get some much better shots when snorkeling later in St. Maarten and St. Lucia.

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