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SleepingUgly

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

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Linda, I think you are correct....the CC site has been a bit "wonky" lately.  The Celebrity board is particularly slow lately, but others, like Ports of Call, have been unaffected.  Still loving your wonderful review and writing style!!  🙂

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Linda, I think you are correct....the CC site has been a bit "wonky" lately.  The Celebrity board is particularly slow lately, but others, like Ports of Call, have been unaffected.  Still loving your wonderful review and writing style!!  🙂

I think it is because the celebrity board is on a different server than the others.

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Day 8 – Grenada (cont.)

 

So there wasn’t too much to see in terms of exhibits or artifacts at Fort George, but the views were amazing.  And it was a fort with quite a bit of history behind it, so that was cool in and of itself.  The fort was built by the French in the early 1700s, so it is around 300 years old.  Its original name was Fort Royal, but when it was taken over by the British in 1763, it was renamed Fort George, in honor of King George III.  Today, the Royal Grenada Police force has its headquarters here, but parts of it are also open to the public, which is where we walked around and toured.

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Prime Minister Bishop was killed in Fort George in 1983; there is a plaque commemorating this event.  Interestingly enough, I did not notice any mention of Bishop, his assassination or the US invasion of Grenada in the National Museum, but I could have just missed it.

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Some more sights around and from Fort George.  We probably only stayed for around 25-30 minutes or so.  Like I said, there isn’t a visitor center or museum or any exhibits with explanations about the fort, but the views were pretty cool.

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Day 8 – Grenada (cont.)

 

After wandering the area for about 30 minutes or so, we left the fort and started our walk back to the pier.  It was almost lunchtime and the day was getting quite hot as well, as it was almost midday.  On our way back, we stopped at a little food stand and bought the girls some local juice, which was served in these extra-large juice boxes for $2 each.  The juice was extremely sweet, but it was good to get some sugar in us.  The walk itself wasn’t bad as it was downhill pretty much all the way.  Along the way, we also got to see the island version of the “emergency brake,” especially helpful on these extremely hilly roads.

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Once back in the heart of St. George’s, we walked around a bit and visited the open-air spice market, where we got some (what else?) spices and souvenirs.  I loved the vibe of downtown St. George's.  Maybe we were there on the right day but it was very busy, with a lot of activities and locals out and about, and it didn't seem too touristy, like everything wasn't there solely for the cruise ship passengers.      

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I highly recommend you get your souvenirs here or other areas outside of the port terminal in Grenada.  As we were to find out later, the stores in the terminal are a bit ridiculously overpriced.  For instance, a large coffee mug was priced at $22, and a key chain or shot glass for $8.  These are Disney World prices, if not worse!  This was quite the shock / change from our previous day in Dominica, where we had gotten shot glasses at two for $5.  However, the prices in the spice market were pretty reasonable, so do your shopping there if you can.

 

After our shopping expedition, we returned to the ship.  Someone was in a much better mood this time inside the terminal ...

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And someone is always in a very good mood.

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Day 8 – Grenada (cont.)

 

The Mein Schiff 5 was still in port with us.  We had passed by many German-speaking tourists in the area around Fort George, and they also had a lot of bicycles unloaded early in the morning for ship excursions, I’m guessing.   Ugh, riding 20-30 miles in 85-degree heat is not my idea of a vacation, and I don’t care how great the views are!

 

The Mein Schiff had this little guy out, waving to passers-by …

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Their “welcome back” station consisted of one, measly table with maybe only water? 

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The Celebrity Silhouette had its usual set-up, with cool towels, different flavors of water, and cushy chairs if you were really tired ...

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We rushed to the Oceanview Café as the kids looked like they were about to run away and join a family that will stay in a food-filled, air-conditioned room 24/7, and dh looked like he was suffering from Stella Artois withdrawal (Symptoms – regular facial complexion, especially around the nose, and no big, goofy grin on said face).  Once there, I proceeded to down a strawberry daiquiri and a pina colada like a boss.  The server was impressed … or scared; not sure what to make of his wide-eyed stare and frantic gulping as I inhaled those puppies in five minutes flat.  I also had a croissant the size of my face … literally.  Man, were those croissants good, too!  And nothing like soft-serve ice cream to finish off your lunch on a hot day.

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It was so hot, even stuffed animals needed to recharge with a cool, refreshing drink.

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After lunch, we headed back to the rooms and rested up a bit.  The middle child ditched us – again – and headed to the X Club to hang out with her friends, and we dropped the little one off at the Fun Factory for a couple of hours.  Again, it was like a walk to the gallows for her, with all that feet-dragging and moaning and begging and pleading and did I really not love her???  But, once we were there, she saw a couple of friends inside and skipped off without a care in the world.  Damn kids.

 

Dh, the oldest and I headed back out to the terminal to check out the shops there.  Again, this is where we found out that we would have been better off getting everything away from the terminal area since the prices in the stores there are a bit outrageous.  We had already gotten some souvenirs and gifts at the spice market, so at least that.

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Our daughter did find the warning labels on the cigarette cartons to be quite amusing.

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We also checked out the liquor stores since dh likes his Johnny Walker Blue.  When I used to travel a lot internationally, I always made sure to pick him up a bottle from either LHR or HKG; prices at times would be as low $120 for a one-liter bottle in the duty-free shops in those airports.  Now, I travel less often and the prices have gone up as well.  On the Silhouette, they were selling Blue Label for $320 for two, one-liter bottles.  Not a bad price these days and we had plenty of OBC left to use, but we thought we’d check out land prices as well .  As you can probably guess by now, they were not that great in Grenada.

 

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Love those cigarette boxes with their health tips.  I can't believe those eye burning, lung choking sticks aren't good for you.

 

Now, if only my husband would smarten up and quit!

 

I'm still here.  The boards have been causing me some serious withdrawal issues these last few days.  And why are the Celebrity boards on a separate server?  Are we bad people?

 

Oh, funny you mention the prices inside the terminal.  My sister came back and told me about the deal she got on her vanilla.  Then when I was outside the terminal I stopped at a stand but the prices were higher.  I got the woman to come down but my daughter gave me a lecture on what a heartless person I was and couldn't I see how much she needed the money?  

I guess those statements about people being less fortunate that her must have sunk in.  And she was right, whats a few bucks in the whole scheme of things?

Edited by Sheal

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Day 8 – Grenada (cont.)

 

We returned to the ship a little after 4 pm and rushed to the Sky Lounge for our first (and only) time playing trivia on the ship.  We had hoped to play more but just couldn’t work it into our schedules.  Or we were just too stinkin’ lazy and I didn’t feel like working my brain cells any more than I had to while on vacation. 

 

Anyway, I think it was a General Knowledge trivia quiz at 4.15 pm that day.  We did respectably well, I think, for it being our first time and since we were the only three on our team.  We got 10 out of 15 correct, and I think the first place team got 13 answers correct.  Who the hell knows that Beatles song, “Hey Bulldog” anyway.  Oh, well.  In the end, what mattered the most was that we had fun.  And that I beat both dh and our oldest daughter, who each only contributed one right answer.  Ugh, I need to find some new people to take a cruise with.  #theyreholdingmeback

 

After the trivia contest was over, we went and relaxed in the solarium for a bit – Because we could!  There was no small child with us! – and then we went to pick up the little one from the Fun Factory.  Again, she looked like she was having fun – she was out the open and playing with Legos, and hadn’t been squirreled away to below deck where she was forced to shovel coal into the furnace in the ship’s engine room – but the minute she saw us, it was game over.  She was clinging to my leg like fleas on an alley cat.  Needless to say – but I’ll still say it – we never returned to the Fun Factory the rest of this trip.

 

We had some time to kill before sailaway – and we really didn’t feel like going back to the cabins just yet – so we decided to go check out the arcade, where my daughters proceeded to shoot each other, while their father passed out at the cost to play just one game. ("TWO DOLLARS?!?  Do you know how much it was when I was your age?" ... Yes, and dinosaurs also roamed the earth then.  We can't all be so lucky ... or ancient.)

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After that, it was onto the library and the card room to see what we could do there.  Actually, the real reason we were in that area of the ship was that we were skulking about the Hideaway in a futile attempt to spy on the 16-year-old and her friends, since that’s where the teens tend to congregate and hang out.  Her oldest sister wanted to check out just how nerdy her new friends were, the little one wanted to see if her sister would be talking to – giggle – a boy (ugh, cooties), and I just wanted to be THAT mom who walks up to her child and embarrasses the hell out of her by asking who her cute little friends were and if they could all just stand together and pose for a picture for me.  Dh just thought we were all weirdos and went in search of another drink ... or another family, possibly.  Alas and alack – we did not find any teens in the Hideaway, but we did spot the card room nearby so we decided to cop a squat there instead.

 

The four of us played a quick game of Sorry.  Hey, don’t judge; the selections were kind of limited.  Anyway, riddle me this – why do people think it’s OK to let their children scream and yell in the card room (or any other public space, for that matter) and also think it’s absolutely darling that the kids climb on tables and furniture, and throw game pieces all over the place?  All while others are in the same room?  Listen, if your kids need to let off some steam – take them to the pool, take them for a walk around the ship, take them to the goddam Fun Factory, for all I care.  But can you please, please – PLEASE – not let them run amok in a room that is not designed to be a playground?  My eardrums will forever thank you.    

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After the enlightening time we spent in Chuck-E-Cheese … uh, I mean, the card room … we went back to our cabins for yet another lovely sail away.  I remember there was yet another rainbow as we sailed away.  Can’t escape them in the Caribbean!

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The Mein Schiff 5 was still in port when we left, but it would beat us to St. Lucia the next day.  I hate losing.  Especially to the Germans, haha.

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3 hours ago, Sheal said:

Oh, funny you mention the prices inside the terminal.  My sister came back and told me about the deal she got on her vanilla.  Then when I was outside the terminal I stopped at a stand but the prices were higher.  I got the woman to come down but my daughter gave me a lecture on what a heartless person I was and couldn't I see how much she needed the money?  

I guess those statements about people being less fortunate that her must have sunk in.  And she was right, whats a few bucks in the whole scheme of things?

 

Maybe I liked the spice market because we could bargain?  I think it's part of our DNA.  The Asians (especially the Chinese) reading this will know what I mean. 🙂  And, besides, I really do think they expect you to bargain.  I think they did offer some things of better quality in the terminal's shops so we still bought some stuff there.  Your daughter has a good heart and is a much, much better person than me.  I just wanted the best deal, haha.

 

Linda

 

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I'd like to add my thanks for such an informative and fun report.  That you and your fabulous family experienced so many aspects of the cruise experience adds so much value.  

 

Throughout my my life as a parent, and also as a daughter I've adored family vacations.  In 2017 my husband and our son and his family and I had an epic trip to Europe.  Think, big anniversary.  All but my then 6 year old grandson had been to Europe many times.  Due to his age and that of his sister, age 9, we knew we had to satisfy all expectations - lots of castles, please Mimi, and hilltops to twirl on like Maria in Sound of Music.  I thought my year of planning was exquisite and detailed but now, after reading your review I realize I'm just a rookie!!!  The image of that calendar will live in my memory forever!!  

 

All worth it, of course as I'm sure you agree, travel and experiencing different  cultures and history will help to create  curious and compassionate young people.

 

Again, my profound thanks.  Your charming and often hilarious take has made our cocktail hour very entertaining the last few days.  

 

Mary Anne

 

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LOL, I wanted a good deal too.  This was like the 2nd time ever that I have bargained and the first time didn't count.  We were in Cartagena (oh, and another first, seeing machine guns up close, hey, why did my grandma bring us here?) and I wanted to bargain for a stuffed parrot.  In the midst of my attempts to get a good price my sister yelled at me and said "just give him the 10 dollars" our ship is leaving.  I folded and paid the $10.

 

Needless to say, I way overpaid for a stuffed parrot that probably cost that vendor maybe a buck.

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Day 8 – Grenada (cont.)

 

Soon, it was time to head to dinner.  Again.  Man, they sure like to feed us on this here ship.  We headed out a bit earlier because the girls wanted to check out the shops again.  Look - they removed the gingerbread display from the main staircase! Of course, we had to traipse down those steps, now that we could.

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We wandered a bit and, while I had my back turned, dh bought a bracelet for the little one from the “inch of gold” table.  Or, should we just call it what it is – “inch of some sort of shiny metal that will not stay shiny for long so please do not leave it on when showering or washing your hands or exercising or walking around or breathing in general”.  Oh, well.  The little one was happy, and the drinks did its job with dh in making him loosen his death grip on his wallet.  Dude, head on up to Deck 5 and check out Bulgari for your wife who BIRTHED YOU THREE DAUGHTERS while you’re at it, why don’t you?  Instead, I got a Celebrity hat.  Yay me.

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We then headed into the MDR for dinner.  I must have been completely off my game because I didn't take any pictures of anyone's food that night.  But I did remember the menu.

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We skipped dessert that night.  Honestly, the desserts are always so disappointing so it wasn’t a big loss.  The best dessert we probably had the entire 12 days was in the Oceanview Café.  At lunch one day, they had these French Napoleon desserts, otherwise known as Mille-feuille.  They were deeee-licious!  We never saw them again in the buffet, nor did we find them elsewhere on the ship.  One-hit wonders, that’s what they were.

 

We then went to the photo studio, per usual, to check out pictures from that day and the previous evening.  The little one wanted some ice cream so we went up to the buffet to get some for her but we were too late.  The ice cream “parlor” closes at 10 pm each night, and we got there around 10.20 pm.  She was a little upset, but then noticed the dessert section was still open so that helped.  We got a couple of cookies and a raspberry tart cake for her.  We took everything back to the rooms, where she had her late-night dessert, and then we all went to bed.  Tomorrow – St. Lucia – and another day packed with activities on another highly-rated excursion.  Hoping for good weather … which we got for the most part, except when it really mattered.

 

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1 hour ago, Sheal said:

LOL, I wanted a good deal too.  This was like the 2nd time ever that I have bargained and the first time didn't count.  We were in Cartagena (oh, and another first, seeing machine guns up close, hey, why did my grandma bring us here?) and I wanted to bargain for a stuffed parrot.  In the midst of my attempts to get a good price my sister yelled at me and said "just give him the 10 dollars" our ship is leaving.  I folded and paid the $10.

 

Needless to say, I way overpaid for a stuffed parrot that probably cost that vendor maybe a buck.

 

If the ship had been leaving, I would have thrown money at the vendor too, no bargaining required!  And I'm sure the story that comes with the stuffed parrot is priceless.

 

Linda

 

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1 hour ago, sealover155 said:

I'd like to add my thanks for such an informative and fun report.  That you and your fabulous family experienced so many aspects of the cruise experience adds so much value.  

 

Throughout my my life as a parent, and also as a daughter I've adored family vacations.  In 2017 my husband and our son and his family and I had an epic trip to Europe.  Think, big anniversary.  All but my then 6 year old grandson had been to Europe many times.  Due to his age and that of his sister, age 9, we knew we had to satisfy all expectations - lots of castles, please Mimi, and hilltops to twirl on like Maria in Sound of Music.  I thought my year of planning was exquisite and detailed but now, after reading your review I realize I'm just a rookie!!!  The image of that calendar will live in my memory forever!!  

 

All worth it, of course as I'm sure you agree, travel and experiencing different  cultures and history will help to create  curious and compassionate young people.

 

Again, my profound thanks.  Your charming and often hilarious take has made our cocktail hour very entertaining the last few days.  

 

Mary Anne

 

 

Thanks for reading, Mary Anne!  That European vacation sounds amazing!  Where did you go / visit?  I have to admit, the first time I visited Europe (some 20 years ago), I had to pack light because the cars there are so tiny so I knew I couldn't lug all this luggage with me for our lengthy trip.  So I created an "itinerary" of my outfits for each day so I knew what to pack and what pieces went well with others.  I kept that list and my oldest daughter found it one day in the basement in some boxes a few years ago.  Scary thing is - she didn't think it was odd, she thought it was a great idea.  The apple doesn't fall far ... 🙂

 

Thanks again for reading, and have a cocktail (or two) for me!

 

Linda

  

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14 hours ago, SleepingUgly said:

 

Thanks for reading, Mary Anne!  That European vacation sounds amazing!  Where did you go / visit?  I have to admit, the first time I visited Europe (some 20 years ago), I had to pack light because the cars there are so tiny so I knew I couldn't lug all this luggage with me for our lengthy trip.  So I created an "itinerary" of my outfits for each day so I knew what to pack and what pieces went well with others.  I kept that list and my oldest daughter found it one day in the basement in some boxes a few years ago.  Scary thing is - she didn't think it was odd, she thought it was a great idea.  The apple doesn't fall far ... 🙂

 

Thanks again for reading, and have a cocktail (or two) for me!

 

Linda

  

Hi Linda!

 

Since my FIL was of Czech heritage and we all have funny Czech surnames, the Czech Republic was the big motivation and destination for the trip.  But first we wanted a more relaxing and recreational experience.  We decided on the Salzkammergut area just outside Salzburg where we could relax, go boating, hiking and swimming while being within striking distance of Salzburg and all of its treasures.  The village of  St. Wolfgang is a picture postcard and the luxury White Horse Inn actually has a floating-in-the-lake swimming pool.  That turned out to be a huge hit.

 

From there we hired a van and driver to go to Prague via Cesky Krumlov, fulfilling the little one's wish for castles. But we were all enchanted.  

 

We spent about a week in Prague, a return visit for my husband and me but the first for my son's family.  We hit all the highlights but included a visit to the wonderful zoo and enjoyed a boat ride on the river.  Since we were a group of six it made sense to hire a private guide for the castle and other historical sights.  We struck gold with our guide who researched the family name and birthplace (Bruno) of my FIL.  We wound up hiring her and her driver to take us there on an all-day trip.  Our original plan was to take the train and explore on our own.  This turned out to be a highlight none of us will ever forget.  So, being flexible is always a good idea.

 

My husband and I continued onto Berlin for a week and then back to Austria for another week before returning home. The little ones needed to go home to the Chicago area as school was starting.

 

BTW, so glad you enjoyed our favorite ship.  We've sailed her twice , both transatlantics and they had to literally force me off the ship both times!

 

Mary Anne

 

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Day 9 – St. Lucia

 

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Welcome back, America (and the rest of the world), to the next installment of “World’s Longest and Most Tedious Trip Report,” which has taken you on a yet-to-be-finished, 12-night Caribbean cruise with five people who you’ve never, ever met before and who, after reading this trip report, you will cross the street and move to another neighborhood and sacrifice yourselves to the gods should you ever see them coming your way.  But, fear not, dear readers, for we have only two islands and two sea days left in this trip report, and then we will fall asleep together in a planetarium in Miami before going off in search of sandwiches at a Publix grocery store, and then it's homeward bound … which means that you can also get your life back and start your therapy sessions, all thanks to this trip report.  So, ready to get back into the swing of things?  No?  Well, I don’t blame you.

 

So it's Day 9, which means we were going to spend the day in St. Lucia.  Dh and I woke up around 7 am to the sight of the ship heading towards the Castries port, and then slowly backing into the lovely, cargo-container side of said port.  It was a tender day – and I don’t mean "tender," as in a day filled with soft kitties and fuzzy blankets and snuggle bunnies.  I mean “tender,” as in – the ship didn’t park next to dry land and we were going to have get into a small, orange boat with 200 of our equally-sweaty fellow passengers to row ourselves to shore.  Or something like that. 

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Look, yet another rainbow ... this time, to START our day ...

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We ordered room service for breakfast again this morning.  Remember how last time, in St. Maarten, they had called us a few minutes ahead of arrival, to let us know the food was on its way.  We were impressed with how well that worked so figured we would try that again for our wake-up call. Unfortunately, that’s not how things went down this time.  On this day, Operation Helpful-And-Timely-Wake-Up Call turned into Operation Holy-@#$%-They’re-Knocking-At-The-Door-Already-Why-Didn’t-They-Call-First-Put-Some-Freakin-Pants-On-Before-You-Open-The-Door.  Ah, nothing like waking up in the morning to elevated blood pressure and mass pandemonium.  

 

At least today, they delivered the right amount of food, and not enough to feed all the animals in the entire National Zoo (who I’m hoping are still being fed in the midst of this ridiculous government shutdown, mainly because I don't need no hungry lions breaking free to search for food, and I just happen to be in the vicinity).  We plated everything for each person, then woke the girls up around 7.15 am.  It had rained last night so the balconies were all wet, so we had to eat indoors today. 

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As noted above, we had been told earlier in the cruise that we would be tendering today.  Since we had docked in every other port, we could put up with having to tender in one port. Besides, Celebrity does this on a daily basis so it should be easy peasy, right?  Ah, young grasshopper, much to learn you have … much to learn. 

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Day 9 – St. Lucia (cont.)

 

So, the tendering process.  According to the Celebrity Today, we were to gather mid-ship on Deck 3, where we would then be directed to board the tenders.  It also noted that peak time was expected to be from 10 am to 1 pm, which didn’t matter to us as we had to leave the ship as soon as it docked.  We had to meet our excursion around 8.30 am.

 

I found our excursion for the day again via online research.  I booked an all-day trip with Joy’s Adventure, which has received may excellent reviews.  The excursion would include a boat ride to a beach by the Pitons, snorkeling at a beach, lunch at Joy’s house, a visit to a waterfall and the famous mud volcanoes, and then a boat ride back to the cruise ship pier.  It was to be another full-day affair – from 8.30 am to around 3 pm.

 

I had contacted Joy ahead of time via email, and they were very responsive.  Cost for the tour was $100 per adult and $50 for our little one.  We didn’t have to put down a deposit; we just had to pay (in cash, preferably) during lunch at Joy’s house on the day of the tour.     

 

We left our cabin around 8.10 am.  Each evening, Joaquim would leave us five towels that we could take off the ship with us.  I wouldn’t necessarily call them beach towels because, to me, beach towels are thick and BIG.  They are not the same size as bath towels.  However, that’s pretty much what these were – cream-colored bath towels that we could take to the beach with us.  Not a big deal; I was happy to have them always readily available.  At first, Joaquim would leave three towels in the girls’ room and two in our room, but he must have figured out that our children were useless beings who didn’t / couldn’t / wouldn’t do anything for themselves, so he started piling all of them in our room instead.  I don’t sound too bitter, do I?

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We made it to Deck 3, mid-ship, around 8.15 am.  There was already a line of maybe 30-35 people in front of us.  They had a table set up nearby that you could grab some bottles of water before you headed off the ship for the day.  These are not free – you would have to pay for them or they would jot down info from your Sea Pass card if you had a drink package.  They had this water table set up by the gangway each port day .  It was very convenient, especially since we always seemed to forget to take water with us.

 

So we stood in the tender line for about five minutes before it started moving.  I believe they let literally four people onto that particular tender.  I see that we are being transported in Smurf-sized boats so we settled in to wait some more.  Meanwhile, the line continued to build.  And people were getting antsier and antsier as most people who were in line that early did so because they were on an independent excursion.  I’m sure all the tours waited for their guests, but people were still worried because the process was taking so long.

 

I got bored so I took a picture of the view skyward.  Maybe I was praying for some sort of divine intervention or something ...

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Around 8.40 am or so, the line moved again.  Sue Denning was there, counting off how many folks could get on every tender.  She let about 30 of us walk down the stairs to the gangway.  There must have been a miscommunication because they apparently could not fit 30 people in that tender, so our family of five was stopped and told to wait for the next tender.  Ugh.  But at least we’ll be first in line for the next tender.  Yay.  But we had to wait around with no AC in the gangway area.  Ugh.  But – hey! – the next tender showed up in just a few minutes.  Yay.  But it’s completely empty, which means we’ll now have to sit inside that stuffy thing until they can fill it up.  Ugh.

 

Overall, this was a very poorly managed process.  Even by 8.45 am or so – more than half an hour after the ship had arrived and been cleared – there were still only one or two tenders running.  By the time our tender left and headed to shore, we (finally) saw at least 2-3 more tenders circling to the gangway, in line to pick up passengers.  This should have been done at least 30 minutes earlier.  I’m not sure if the ship simply hadn’t expected so many people to be in line to go ashore before 9 am, but a lot of us were participating in independent excursions with meeting times of between 8.30-9 am.  Plus, the Celebrity Today’s announcement that peak time would be 10 am to 1 pm may have meant more people were trying to avoid that time period, and thereby, creating a new peak time of 8-10 am instead.  Anyway, it was just a sad experience, almost as if it was the first time ever that Celebrity had ever tendered in a port.  Or maybe they were just trying to punish those of us who hadn’t purchased an excursion through Celebrity.  Whatever the reason, it wasn’t received well.

 

The tender itself took maybe only 7-8 minutes. We sat across from this lovely, super-friendly couple from Iowa who was doing a B2B and had gone on almost 100 cruises.  Wow, talk about living the life!  Anyway, we set foot ashore @ 9.10 am.  It was time for our day to really begin!

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Thoroughly enjoying your review and inspiring me to ditch the parents, siblings & adult stepkids and take DH on a Christmas cruise.

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15 hours ago, bunnyette said:

Thoroughly enjoying your review and inspiring me to ditch the parents, siblings & adult stepkids and take DH on a Christmas cruise.

 

Haha, it was indeed nice not to have to deal with all that holiday hassle.  I know that's not what the holidays are supposed to be about, but it was nice to get away, just the five of us.  Thanks for following along!

 

Linda

 

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Day 9 – St. Lucia (cont.)

 

Once off the tender, we walked into the terminal.  The set-up here is similar to the terminal in Grenada, with little shops and kiosks strewn about.  We walked towards the exit and, upon leaving the building, very easily spotted a young man with a sign that had “Joy’s Adventure” written in big, block letters.  He had been waiting for only us, so once the greetings were out of the way, we were off.  He led us down a few streets and through a yet-to-be-opened street market area, to the other side of the same port where the local ferries and boats dock. 

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There, we met Joy, the man himself, who gave us a warm welcome and told us to sit tight for a few minutes as our boat would be arriving soon.  It had apparently gone to pick up passengers on the other side of the port – where the P&O Brittania was docked – and it would come to pick us up after that.  No biggie.  We waited around for a bit, and around 9.30 am, a small powerboat arrived to pick us up.  It looked new and in good shape, and not like it would take on a leak anytime soon, but it also had no shade / covering, which would prove to be a problem later on in the day.

 

You can kind of see what the boat is like - its size and how it had no overhead covering - in this picture

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In the boat with us was a family with two small children, who were going to hang out at the beach the entire day.  The two from the Brittania were a lovely pair from England – grandmother and teenage granddaughter traveling together.  They were with us the entire day.  Also on the ship were Captain Filbert and mates Jonathan and Shaggy.  Shaggy would be our guide for the entire day.  Super nice guy and full of knowledge of and obvious love for his island.

 

Once we were all onboard , Shaggy gave us the itinerary for the day.  First, we were to head to the beach in between the Pitons and hang out there for about 45 minutes, and then we’ll go to Soufriere after that.  We’ll dock and take a taxi for a quick drive to Joy’s house, where we’ll have lunch.  Then, another quick drive to the waterfall, and at least the mud volcano.  We’ll then get back on the boat, stopping in Marigot Bay very briefly, and return to Castries after that.  This was actually the opposite of how I thought were going to do things – I had thought the waterfall and the mud volcano would be before lunch, and the snorkeling after that - but no biggie.  Actually, I think it may have worked out in our favor.

 

We slowly left the port area, passing by the Silhouette and the two other ships docked that day - the Mein Schiff 5 (which was still in port when we left Grenada the previous day but which had arrived before us in St. Lucia that morning ... #germanefficiency) and the P&O Brittania.  It appears they were now tendering from two exits off the ship now, whereas earlier, when there were so much more people, you could only leave the boat from one spot.

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The trip to the beach took probably about 45 minutes or so, as it was past Soufriere a bit, right to the beach that was literally in between the Gros Piton and the Petit Piton.

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Day 9 – St. Lucia (cont.)

 

For some reason, halfway to our snorkeling spot, we stopped to switch boats.  This was fine by us as we were now in a power cat with plenty of space for everyone and overhead shade provided as well.  I think Joy had a few tours going on that day.  The majority of his business is from hotel guests on the island so I think he had taken those people to Soufriere first for the morning and dropped them off; thus, this bigger boat was now available for us, due to our schedules being a bit off from our late start.  Anyway, our group was much smaller, which was nice.

 

This is the larger boat that we switched to for the rest of the trip to the beach, and for after the beach, when we headed to Soufriere for lunch and afternoon activities.  The girls are standing on the little dock at the beach, with the public beach area off to the right of this photo.  The snorkeling area is behind the boat.

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It was almost 10.30 am by the time we got to the beach.

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So you may have heard about this beach before.  This is where the Viceroy Sugar Beach resort / hotel is located.  If you know the name Viceroy, you will know it is a super-posh, uber-luxury hotel chain.  They lay claim to most of this beach area.  Basically, as the boat approaches the small dock, the Viceroy has its lounge chairs and amenities all on the right side of the pier.  The small, public beach is to the left side of the dock.  There are quite a few lounge chairs located here as well; of course, they are not as cushy or fancy as the ones on the Viceroy side.  But they were FREE.  It was also nice that there was plenty of shade in the public beach area, and we were right next to some really great snorkeling.  So, really, there was no need for us to venture to the Viceroy side, where you can rent a lounge chair for $50 each.  Yes, $50.  Each.  And that does not come with your own personal swaggering cabana boy with six-pack abs and a Colgate smile.  Even if it did, it’s still not worth the price for a day, let alone the measly 45 minutes we were going to be there.

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When we first got there, the public beach section was pretty busy and there were no lounge chairs available.  That wasn’t a concern for us since we weren’t going to be there long anyway.  We had our handy-dandy beach-slash-bath towels from the ship, so we just spread those out on the sand.  Probably not even five minutes after our boat had dropped us off and left the dock, another boat arrived and almost everyone on the beach started packing up their stuff.  I guess that boat was there to pick them up to take them to the next stop on their tour.  Worked out great for us – we now had many loungers to choose from.  The beach never got crowded again after that, so morning was definitely a good time to go to this beach.

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The two older ones wanted to snorkel right away.  There was snorkeling equipment (no fins) provided on the boat, which we had grabbed.  These were of very good quality – much better than what I had used in St. Maarten, I thought.  Dh and I stayed on the beach with the little one, who just wanted to play in the water a bit on her own.  After a short while, though, I wanted to go see what the snorkeling was like in this area so ventured out as well.  Boy, am I ever glad I did!

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Oh, what a cliffhanger!  Did you spot some octopi?  Jaws? 

 

Actually, we snorkeled there last trip on our excursion that did a similar itinerary.  Difference was that they provided lunch at that beach.  My germophobe sister was all nervous about how the food was prepared but in the end gave it a thumbs up.  Snorkeling was great, I stayed in until I turned blue.  We also had a fun time with the guys selling the fruit drinks and trinkets.

 

Edited by Sheal

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Day 9 – St. Lucia (cont.)

 

So I must predicate the following photos by saying that we are not big cruisers.  The last time we cruised was in 2007.  We also don’t do snorkeling vacations often.  Our vacations these past years have been trips to Disney World, or all-inclusive beach vacations in Mexico or, most often, jaunts to Europe to visit family and then to historical / cultural sites around the Old World.  So, for us to spot a fish – any fish – underwater swimming next to us is pretty much the same as finding the Holy Grail.  In other words, these photos may not be that big of a deal to most of you, but the girls and I were pretty excited to have been swimming among so many fishies.  It was like we were in the middle of an aquarium, and to have simply been able to have done and seen what we saw and did – well, that was pretty cool for us.

 

So, in the beginning, I kept to near the shoreline but didn’t really see anything in that area.  There were a few fish in the area, but they looked just as bored as I was starting to feel after a while.

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So I decided to head out more, and that’s when things got a bit more interesting.

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Edited by SleepingUgly

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Day 9 – St. Lucia (cont.)

 

A few more snorkeling shots ... sorry if you are bored with these.  I was super-excited to have seen so many fish!

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Nice pic of that camo fish (biology isn't one of my strong points, LOL)  I'm guessing it is a fluke of some type but I have never seen one that had a green hue.  Mine have always been a boring color of sand. 

 

Can't wait to see more pics of your day in St. Lucia. 

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Sorry, I may have missed this, but what camera did you use for your snorkeling pictures?  They came out way better then mine ever do!  Enjoying your review.

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