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The Symphony, The Key, Two Teens, And Me!


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Loving the review! The Wonderland bit has me a bit nervous now. We have the BOGO and cannot reserve until we get on the ship. My goals are Hooked and Wonderland. I'm going to have to make that priority #1 when we get aboard, even before the Key luggage drop, it would seem. Don't want to miss the opportunity.

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8 minutes ago, Ralphinsc said:

Loving the review! The Wonderland bit has me a bit nervous now. We have the BOGO and cannot reserve until we get on the ship. My goals are Hooked and Wonderland. I'm going to have to make that priority #1 when we get aboard, even before the Key luggage drop, it would seem. Don't want to miss the opportunity.

 

We were asking about it on Day 2, when everyone had made their reservations on Day 1.  I'm sure you will be fine.  One tip I have heard is to go up to Hooked to make your reservations, as most people go to the restaurants on the lower floors.  We didn't do specialty dining so I can't vouch for that, but perhaps someone here can chime in and say if this is a good way to avoid lines of people booking their dining.  

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Day 3!  Day at Sea!
 
So again, we slept in, and missed most of the breakfast offerings.  I am pretty sure we just bypassed the breakfast thing and went for lunch, possibly pizza.  
 
Oh by the way, we were making GOOD use of the soda cups.  I am super addicted to the Barq's Diet Creme Soda with Strawberry flavor.  Omg I drank that all week and I still want it.  Sometimes I was like "Look, I keep getting this.  I have HUNDREDS of options.  Why not try something different?"  So I would try the diet Fanta Strawberry (eh) or the diet Fanta Cherry (Ok that was good) and maybe the diet Minute Maid sparkling strawberry something?  In the end I was like "Why mess with perfection?" and I just got the diet strawberry creme soda.  Lots of it.  There was a machine up near El Loco and 2 machines at Sorrento's, and 4 machines (?) in the Windjammer, and one in the Park Cafe.
 
Day 3 was more of the same from day 2.  DD and I laid out on the pool deck after searching high and low for chairs.  Again it was REALLY windy, and difficult to find chairs.  DD wouldn't go to the Teen Club because "It will just be the same and all the people are older than me and they all know each other" ok FINE whatever.  I mean, I should be glad she wants to be with me but really?  What teen wants to spend their vacation with their mother?  I guess I'm just super cool and awesome.
 
You've actually already seen most of my photos from Day 3, interspersed in the earlier posts.  DS did the Flowrider again, with the same crowd, at the same time.  He was actually pretty good at it, especially considering he had never done it before!  
 
Oh I did find a photo of the Main Dining Room!
 
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Dinner must have been uneventful, but dessert was very special.  On day 2, Shadiek had said he and Vinko had no luck getting us in to Wonderland for dessert, but he offered to bring Wonderland to us.  I asked if that was really possible, and he said yes.  
 
So for dessert, we had all of the Wonderland desserts.  
 
The World (I do have a video but I don't want to ruin the surprise.  You can see videos on You Tube if you want to see what happens) chocolate, caramel, peanut butter... so good!
 
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The Forbidden Apple (raspberry mousse, lemon curd, coconut)
 
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The Mystical Mushroom which was meringue and marzipan?  
 
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Now, they were supposed to be safe for DD but they forgot about her coconut allergy, and the one that looks like an apple had coconut.  They had thought she was allergic to peanuts but she is not, so she was able to have the chocolate World dessert.  And the mushroom thing had loads of nuts so that was off limits.  So I ate the Apple Shaped Raspberry Lemon Coconut thing, DS ate the Mushroom Full of Nuts thing, and DD ate the Chocolate Amazing Everything I Like thing.  
 
The Apple Raspberry Lemon thing was good, but the chocolate one was the best.  
 
Day 4 was approaching, and it was our first port day!  We would wake up in St. Kitts, and we had a tour scheduled with a local guy.  I'd never been there before, so I was excited to explore the island.  
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Wait, Day 3 was not done yet. I really am forgetting everything now. I need to get this done before I forget everything!

I had booked the Adult Comedy Show and was excited to finally go somewhere that DD couldn't tag along. Again, I enjoy her company, but she would.not.leave.my.side.  

I am an introvert. I need to have some time where someone isn't interacting with me. I can have my introvert time around others, as long as they are leaving me alone. A lot of people don't understand what it means to be an introvert. People often confuse "introvert" with "social phobia". I hear things like "So you don't like people?" or "Oh I am such an introvert; social situations terrify me!" and neither of those things have anything to do with being an introvert. I like (most) people. Some social situations are terrifying, but most are not.  

Being an introvert or extrovert is more about how you recharge yourself. Think of your phone (or your Walkman, if you're one of those people). When it isn't plugged in, the battery is slowly draining. It works just fine until it gets down to 10-15%, then it starts sending out warnings. "Plug me in!!" The phone (Walkman) is you. Your battery is slowly draining when you are away from whatever it is that charges you. You manage just fine, until you've been away from your charging situation too long. For me, an introvert, I charge when I am not interacting with people. If people keep trying to talk to me when I am trying to recharge it makes me angry and resentful. I want be left alone, not because I hate them, but because I need a break. I need to not have to answer questions or interact. I need to process and think and be alone with my thoughts, again not because I am being dramatic or can't deal with your crap, I just need that time. I can't explain it because it just is that way. Extroverts, I guess, are the opposite. I would imagine after being left alone for a while, an extrovert needs to interact with someone in order to recharge.  

So anyway, all that to say I had tickets to the 18+ comedy show and DD had to fend for herself. I made her go to the Teen Club and said I wouldn't be able to text her during the show because I'd be heckled by the comedians (that is very likely to happen, right?) so she had to just do her best.  

So I tore myself away from DD and went to The Attic, which is illogically located on Deck 4 , and once again I got there RIGHT before the show was starting. I was directed to an area where you had absolutely no chance of seeing the stage and had to watch on a screen. No thank you! I walked around a bit, and the other open seats were behind poles. One of the comedians actually joked about this because it was ridiculous how many poles were in the room, blocking the view. I finally found an empty chair in the middle of the main room, next to a couple. I asked if it was taken, they said no, I asked if they minded if I sat there and they said it was fine.  

Simeon went first and was HILARIOUS! There were some people up front who are Diamond status (not the highest loyalty level of Royal, but high up there). He was totally picking on them (and others). At one point he said "Oh, Diamond people, if you only knew what corporate thinks of you" and then he looked at the bar tender, who was laughing so hard she had to leave the room. Yikes, guess he got a little too close to the truth there? But it was funny!  

Simeon also said there were 1500 kids under the age of 12 on board, and someone corrected him and said 1700. 1700 kids under the age of 12! That is insane! When people say Disney is the only cruise line for families, I want to point out that statistic to them.  

Anyway, he did his bit and was awesome. I had seen him the week before we sailed in some videos shared by some long time CC members, so it felt a bit like seeing a celebrity. I guess he was the Cruise Director that week, but he was not CD on our sailing.  

Then Rich Aronovich came out and he was also hilarious. Both guys picked on audience members (the way comedians do), so if you have thin skin don't sit anywhere near the stage.  

I was so glad that I went to the show. It was nice to get out and laugh, and be around grown ups.  

Meanwhile DD was suffering in the Teen Club. She did text me, asking when she could leave, etc. I ignored her during the show. Again, don't want to make myself a target.  

I finally texted DD that she could leave the club so she did, though she had actually made friends. She said she talked to some other girls who also thought the club sucked. I was so happy for her! See? You CAN find friends, DD! That's great, what were their names? I don't know. Are you going to go back another night and see if they are there? No, I hate the club and I don't want to go back there.  

So there we were, end of the night, ready for our first outing the next day. One of the comedians had said "Oh, we're going to be in St. Kitts tomorrow. Are you excited for that?" and after we all "WOOOOOOO"ed, he said "Obviously you haven't been there before.  

But we had plans, and I was hopeful that the photos I had seen would pale in comparison to the actual island.

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4 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

 

(Hey, another Nancy here!)

 

I kept searching for reviews of this itinerary, and couldn't find any.  What excursions do you have planned?  

 

Yes, there is another Nancy here. Actually, I’ve run across a few of us around here. 

 

It it will be just DH and I on Symphony, no teens involved. We are ziplining in St Kitts, I will be scuba diving in St Thomas, not sure what DH will do there yet, and we are both snorkeling in Nassau.

 

I would love to get my hands on those Wonderland desserts without actually having to go there. I’m sure it would be fun, but like your DD, I have food allergies, so I really don’t like to go outside of my comfort zone.

 

I totally understand your explanation of being an introvert. While I really enjoy being around people most of the time, but I also need my time to recharge. On a cruise, that is usually balcony time for me.

 

I was hoping to figure out when the iSkate and Aqua Nation shows would be on our cruise, but the show schedule on your sailing is very different from ours. Our first night has just one show, one performance of Hairspray.  Hiro starts on day 2, with1977 and Flight being at the end of our sailing. Right now the app has iSkate just on day 4, I think, with one show during our late dining and a second show at the same time as our comedy show. I guess we’ll have to wait until we are onboard before we know for sure. I know we will have a great time regardless of what the show schedule turns out to be.

 

I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your cruise !

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Day 4!  St. Kitts!  Solid ground!
 
It had been windy, but the sea had been fairly calm.  We had started out wearing Sea Bands, the motion sickness bracelets, but we had taken them off by day 2 since we didn't really need them.  We would later, but at this point we didn't.  Nevertheless, we were glad to see land and get off the ship for a bit.
 
Before I forget again:
 
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So, knowing we had to be up and out early to get to our tour guide, I ordered us breakfast to the room.  There is a free a la carte continental breakfast option, with pastries, fruit, coffee, toast, etc.  You can add on options like eggs, bacon sausage, pancakes, etc. for $7.95 flat fee.  So we went for it and got some toast, doughnuts, eggs, bacon, hash browns, etc.  No photos, sorry.  It wasn't good.  The hash browns were too salty, the eggs were not salty enough.  The bacon was ok.  And I am pretty sure there was the requisite grilled tomato, so there's that.  
 
So we cobbled together enough to keep us satisfied for a while, and headed off the ship.  
 
When I booked this cruise I wasn't sure what to do in St. Kitts.  I knew we enjoyed snorkeling, but we were planning to do that in St. Thomas, and it didn't seem like that was as much of a thing in St. Kitts.  I asked DD (back at home, long ago) what excursions she had liked on our other cruises, and she said she liked driving around and seeing the place that we were visiting.  So I looked into it, and it looked like there were some tour options that would work.  I did my research on CC, and Trip Advisor, and found 2 tour companies that were run by locals, who would take you around in a smaller group and show you THEIR island.  
 
The first one I read about was Royston, the other was Thenford Grey.  I ended up with Royston, not sure why, but it was a great choice.  I am sure Thenford would have been great, too, but I think I hadn't heard of them yet and had already reached out to Royston.  After a few quick emails, we had set it up.  I would pay when we were done with the tour.  So far it was just the 3 of us.  I posted about it in our cruise group, and another mom said she would be interested in going.  Her son was about the same age as DS, and had similar interests, so we thought it would be a good idea.  She also had a 3 year old, and was traveling with her mom, sister, and sister's family (husband and young daughter).  She wasn't sure who would be joining us initially, but in the end everyone joined and we had a full van.
 
Now, when I was reading the reviews, the same words kept standing out to me.  Words like "rustic" or "rugged" or "off the beaten path" or "Royston are you sure this is a road".  I had read that his vehicle was a van where the glass had been removed from the windows.  One reviewer said something like "If you are expecting an air conditioned tour bus, this is not the tour for you."  They were right!  But all of the reviews were glowingly positive, and the photos on the website and Trip Advisor were stunning, so I felt like we would be fine. 
 
When I told my kids about our plans, I was trying to describe the vehicle, so they wouldn't be surprised.  
 
What I said was: "It's a van with no windows."
 
What I meant was: "The glass has been removed from the windows."
 
What they heard was: "We are all going to be murdered." 
 
So after a bit more explaining, they were on board.  But every time I mentioned the tour I kept talking about the van with no windows and they were like "Mom stop talking about that it sounds so shady" but I couldn't stop.  
 
First look at St. Kitts from the balcony!
 
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I really love waking up and throwing open the curtains (and watching my kids writhe in horror from the sun like vampires) and seeing where we are.  
 
So when you order breakfast, you choose a time window for it to arrive. Little did I know they call you before they show up, so it is like a bonus wake up call.  I was already awake, but was like the third alarm for the kids (1.  the actual alarm on my phone, 2. me opening the curtains and saying "Oh look, we're here!  Look at that!", 3. the phone ringing so loudly in the room).  
 
We ate out on the balcony, at least I did, and the kids ate in bed because they really didn't want to leave their beds.
 
Eventually they rallied and we got up and got out.
 
I did have a few moments of self-doubt here and there.  What do I really know about this Royston?  How did I know he didn't write all those reviews himself?  Were we actually going to be murdered?  But I shut those thoughts aside and decided it was probably going to be fine.
 
Always have to take photos of the ship so we know where we parked it and we can find it later on.  No?  
 
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So when we got off the ship I quickly realized I had no idea where to go.  At all.  None.  
 
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I thought somehow Royston would be in the port with a sign, or something, like the airport drivers, but of course that was ridiculous.  So what to do, what to do.  
 
There were lots of guys asking if people wanted tours, wanted taxis, etc.  So I approached one of the louder and more confident guys and said "Hi we're supposed to meet Royston, do you know where he is?"  I figured it was a small island, probably everyone in the tour business knows each other.  Well score one for Mom instinct because he was like "Oh yeah, Royston.  He'll be over there, outside the port, on that side."  
 
And there he was.  With the murder van.  And the other family we would be touring with.  Who we hadn't met yet, and somehow had more people than they had said.  Royston was a little off guard about having so many people but the younger kids mostly sat on laps so it worked out.  We sat in the second row behind Royston and whoever was in the passenger seat at the time.  
 
Moms, get this: I DID NOT SIT IN THE MIDDLE AND MY KIDS (mostly) DID NOT FIGHT!!!!  I was the one paying for this tour (for my kids and I, not the other family), I was the one who wanted the photos, I was sitting next to the dang window.  It was a Christmas miracle.  
 
So we got into the murder van and headed out.  We drove through downtown Basseterre.
 
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And then we went out of the city and off to the hills.  There are 3 volcanoes on the island.  One of them is still active, and is smoking.  The last time it erupted was 1500 years ago.  We asked if it was going to erupt again and Royston kind of shrugged and was like "I don't know, maybe?" and we were all satisfied with that reply.
 
We were driving down the road, all normal, like any other tour vehicle, and then suddenly Royston jerked the wheel and turned off the road onto this dirt path that was maybe as wide as the van and going up at about a 45 degree angle.  "Aha" I thought, this is where the "Royston are you sure this is a road" comment came from on Trip Advisor.  We went up and up, through the branches, bouncing around, swaying side to side, bumping through holes, up and up until the brush cleared from one side and we had a stunning view of the end of the island.  And also a sheer drop that was about 12 inches from the tires (maybe less but I want to believe there was a foot of road there).  We kept going up, and eventually came to a clearing and Royston asked if we wanted to get out.  YES we wanted to get out!  At least I did.  There was enough space to walk around, and here the drop wasn't so sheer.  There was a gentle slope, and a ledge, and another slope... it was fine.  That's what I told myself anyway.  But it was worth it for this. 
 
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We piled back into the murder van and made our way down the "is this really a road" road.  Oh by the way DD would not get out of the car and she was terrified for most of the ascent and descent.  She had been in the window seat so she and DS switched so he was at the window.  Seemed to work out better for them.  
 
So this is the one thing I didn't like about St. Kitts.  Ok not the monkey, but what I'll show in a bit.  There were wild monkeys all over the island.  Royston said they had come over on ships (with humans, not on their own, although THAT would be a GREAT story).  Apparently the monkeys would climb the mast of the ship and they would get really excited when they saw land.  Probably because they had been trapped on a ship with humans for weeks or months and that isn't really the monkey's natural habitat, is it.  
 
So we started seeing the monkeys all over.  And chickens.  And roosters.  And chicken nuggets (baby chicks, duh).  
 
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I'll circle back to the monkeys in a bit.  
 
We kept driving, and stopped at this cemetery.
 
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Then, we got to the water, and a dock/pier, and Royston just drove right out onto the pier.  "Ok", I thought to myself, "We might not be murdered, but this IS where we will die."  I mean he was like 6 inches from driving off the pier, for sure.  I don't want to think about it.  I just looked out and admired the view.  
 
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First we thought this guy was a statue.  Then everyone thought he was spear fishing.  But it turns out he was measuring the ground levels or something for something that was being built.  
 
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I mean can you see how close we were to the edge?
 
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There were huge fish down there, and I consoled myself with the knowledge that the water wasn't that deep and if we fell in it would be pretty easy to get out of the van, what with the lack of glass in the windows.  
 
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Then we drove into a residential area and this is what I was talking about with being sad.  We stopped at this house, where this monkey was in this little chicken wire cage on the side of the house.  He was also chained to the house.  Royston gave us bananas to feed him, and petted him and loved on him, but it still made me sad.  I kept trying to ask questions like "But does it get to come out of the cage?" and "Does it get to go in the house, or go anywhere else?" but I don't think I got any real answers.  I probably don't want to know anyway.  
 
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Royston also drove us past his house.  His dad has a shop in front of the house, and he has an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea (I stupidly called it "The Ocean" so I felt dumb for the next 30 minutes or so).  He also took our lunch order and asked if we wanted fish or chicken.  Almost all of us wanted chicken.  We had no idea what that meant, because that was the extent of the lunch order.  "Fish or chicken". Would there be something served with the fish or chicken?  Were these sandwiches we were talking about?  It was very mysterious.  
 
We made a bathroom stop, which seemed to be a random bathroom in the yard of someone's house?  And Royston was friends with the guy of course.  I want to say that's where he got our lunch but that can't be right.  I don't want that to be right.  
 
We got out and saw some dogs, and at least one of them was chained.  I really just hate seeing this. I hate it.  We petted the puppies and then I realized they probably had fleas or worse so we washed/wiped our hands before getting back in the murder van.  
 
We drove out to this site, which is apparently an archeological dream come true as it has petroglyphs from the 1600s and they just recently discovered a whole rum distillery that they never knew was there.  We did not get out and explore, we just drove through.  There is a train that takes people around the island, but Royston said it just goes around the outside, not really inside the island.  Obviously these are not the tracks for that train.  That would be a death train for sure.  There were remains of the aqueduct, etc. all around.  I do wish we could have explored. 
 
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We drove around some more.  
 
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Edited by Grenouille21
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Day 4 continued

 

And eventually we came to the fortress.  
 
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Hey, you can see the murder van in this one!  
 
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Looking up to where we were heading.
 
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I believe this was the gunpowder storage building.  Which seems odd as it was not all the way up, but what do I know about forts. I could also be totally wrong. 
 
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Looking down at what I referred to as the "gunpowder building" or whatever it really is.
 
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This place was really cool.  
 
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So this is where we had lunch.  There were picnic tables, and Royston drove right out to them, because of course he did.  This is what we ended up having.
 
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You can't tell, but there was SO MUCH FOOD in here.  And it was all delicious!  His friend had made it.  I asked if he knew what was in it (like, the spices) and he said no.  We all told him how good it was, and said to tell his friend he is a great chef.  He said no way he was going to tell his friend that because then he would start charging more for lunch.  
 
We all ate (though it was a bit unsettling eating chicken after seeing all those chickens running all over the island) and explored.  
 
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Speaking of unsettling...
 
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What is going on there?  At first I thought "Oh he must be guarding the fort."  But no, the fort is behind him and he is 5/6 surrounded by solid walls.  He could easily be blown apart by anyone from most angles.  Then I thought "Oh, maybe he is off duty and that's where he rests."  But there is no resting happening there because it is basically a standing up open coffin.  It reminds me of the security guard in Seinfeld, when George wants to give him a chair.  I wanted to give him a chair.  But that didn't end well in Seinfeld and I am sure it wouldn't end well here.  But I still do not know what was going on.  So I just took a picture and moved along.
 
There was a long, sloped walk up to the top of the fort.  It's worth it.  
 
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Down in here they have rooms set up like they were when the fort was active.  Go down and check it out.  
 
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"I can see my murder van from here!"
 
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Let's take a moment to examine this picture.  On the right you see the sign for the Bake House, where they baked the bread.  On the left you see the bathing room and latrine.  Hmmmm.  I don't think I would be eating a lot of bread if I were stationed in this fort.  
 
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This is the bake house.  No thanks, trying to cut carbs!  And norovirus! 
 
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I did not take a picture of the bath house and latrine because there was an actual toilet in there.  I know I took a picture of a bathroom earlier.  I'm just making up excuses.
 
Then this was the barracks.  DD swears she saw one of these guys move.  That would be a fun prank. 
 
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We eventually piled back into the murder van and headed back down.  DS and the boy from the other family had become friends and had walked around the fort together.  DS said he was really nice, and he did seem really nice. The whole family was very nice.  
 
We were going around the other side of the island, where the weather is worse.  We had been on the Caribbean side, and now we were heading to the Atlantic side.  This here is where the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean meet.  See the white waves out there waaaaaaaay in the distance?  That's where they meet.  
 
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This is just a pretty view.  There are lots of them here.
 
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Oh yeah, so then Royston drove right out to the waters edge.  We were basically driving in the water.  I don't really remember why.  Probably just because it seemed like a fun idea.  If I recall we had a hard time getting out of here.  The wheels kept spinning.  That would start happening more and more.  Good times.  
 
This was the view opposite the water: 
 
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And on the other side of the van:
 
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See how uneven this terrain is?  Yeah we were still driving in this.  No worries its all good.  Royston's got this.  
 
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At this point there was not even a question of whether we were on a road because it was very clear we were not.  I mean it was fine, we were just 100% off road in a vehicle that did not seem like an off road vehicle.  But he knows what he's doing.  
 
There were a bunch of cows chained up out here.  Again, so sad.  I hated seeing this.
 
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We drove past this sugar mill.  I gave DS my phone to take photos, which was a mistake because he took selfies and pictures of his shoes instead.  Luckily Royston has been there done that and he turned around so I could take my own photos thankyouverymuch.  
 
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We asked each other whether anyone would want to sleep in here overnight.  There were a surprising number of "Yes" replies.  I am guessing those were false positives though.  Both of my kids said they would and I know for sure they would hear one random noise and bolt.
 
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I'm sure this donkey was also on a chain.  Royston had stopped and bought some sugar cane, and he gave it to us to feed the donkey.  He said the donkey is probably diabetic now from all the sugar he gives it.  It was funny at the time, but now not so much.
 
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We were near the end of the tour and we finally got to the place I had really wanted to see.  Black Rocks.  
 
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Of course it started pouring so everyone ran back to the murder van.  I didn't run.  I think we then drove out onto this crazy rugged terrain and got stuck.  Wheels spinning, we were on a very steep angle, and I was sure we were going to have to get out and push the murder van out of there.  But sure enough it rallied and we got out.  Whew.
 
We drove through another town that was Royston's favorite town.  He liked the way it looked, and so did I.  We were rounding a corner and Royston was driving slowly so I asked DS to take photos of this tree because it was so cool.
 
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After this we drove back to the port and said our goodbyes.  I told Royston truthfully that we would never forget St. Kitts or him, and that I would recommend him to everyone.  And I do.  Despite all of the "Uh oh, are we going to die now?" moments, it was totally worthwhile to see the island from his perspective.  
 
I'm going to stop here because I am exhausted.  
Edited by Grenouille21
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11 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:

 

Truly what IS it about the car that makes kids insane???  And yet they could be back there with 10 friends, squished as can be* and not fight once.  Put them in the back seat with one sibling?  World War 3.  

 

*I am not condoning cramming 11 kids in the back seat of any moving vehicle.  This is hyperbole.  

LOL this made me laugh - so true!  And I love your disclaimer 🙂

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9 hours ago, Grenouille21 said:
 What teen wants to spend their vacation with their mother?  I guess I'm just super cool and awesome.
 
 

Why yes, you are!  Mine always hung with me except my middle one, she would often go find people to hang with but spent part of the time with me.  Heck we just took youngest and his GF and they stayed with us a lot of the time, it was nice.

 

BUT I completely get when you're hoping for some downtime of your own - been there!

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Thanks for this hilarious and informative review!  It's making me rethink my idea of cancelling our December sailing in favor of another cruise line (trying to speed up the tier climbing).  Looking forward to reading more.

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Still catching up on the great review, but one thing I need to point out if no one has..

 

Not sure if you took the drone pic at the beginning, or someone else, but...

 

Don't fly drones on ship.   I had mine on the Anthem and was considering it, and noticed someone starting to fly one off the pool deck late at night (presumably for a similar shot).  

 

I'm not kidding.  3 minutes later 2 security guys and an officer were there requiring he bring the drone it, land it and never use it on board again or he would be disembarked immediately...

 

I knew they had a policy but assumed it was hit or miss enforcement.  Nope.  Not this one.    (https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/can-guests-bring-drones-onboard)

 

And now, back to the review (only on P2 so far!  Great work!)

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OMG, I love your review - it's both informative and very funny.  You tell a good story.  Can't wait to my November sailing.  I've taken notes along the way, but most definitely will keep referring back to your review.  

 

This is by far the best review of Symphony.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do this.

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13 hours ago, perfect match said:

 

Yes, there is another Nancy here. Actually, I’ve run across a few of us around here. 

 

It it will be just DH and I on Symphony, no teens involved. We are ziplining in St Kitts, I will be scuba diving in St Thomas, not sure what DH will do there yet, and we are both snorkeling in Nassau.

 

I would love to get my hands on those Wonderland desserts without actually having to go there. I’m sure it would be fun, but like your DD, I have food allergies, so I really don’t like to go outside of my comfort zone.

 

I totally understand your explanation of being an introvert. While I really enjoy being around people most of the time, but I also need my time to recharge. On a cruise, that is usually balcony time for me.

 

I was hoping to figure out when the iSkate and Aqua Nation shows would be on our cruise, but the show schedule on your sailing is very different from ours. Our first night has just one show, one performance of Hairspray.  Hiro starts on day 2, with1977 and Flight being at the end of our sailing. Right now the app has iSkate just on day 4, I think, with one show during our late dining and a second show at the same time as our comedy show. I guess we’ll have to wait until we are onboard before we know for sure. I know we will have a great time regardless of what the show schedule turns out to be.

 

I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your cruise !

 

You are a brave and fearless Nancy.  I am a keep-my-feet-on-the-ground Nancy.  I would love to see and hear about your experience zip lining but I will never do it!!  

 

I hesitated on whether to share that they brought us the desserts, because I don't want to get them in trouble or have everyone requesting this from their servers.  BTW every table around us was staring, and people came up to us after we finished and were asking "What WAS that????" as though they had missed something on the menu. 

 

So, when I was booking our shows there were only a few options and most were during dinner times.  We did not see Flight 😞 but I have heard it was great, too. Aqua Nation (which we only saw the end of) was postponed due to weather.    I wonder if they will change the schedule at all for you.  It seems odd that it is so different.  

 

7 hours ago, ShillyShally said:

Why yes, you are!  Mine always hung with me except my middle one, she would often go find people to hang with but spent part of the time with me.  Heck we just took youngest and his GF and they stayed with us a lot of the time, it was nice.

 

BUT I completely get when you're hoping for some downtime of your own - been there!

 

I guess we are both just the coolest moms ever!  😛

 

7 hours ago, CruisinMama2003 said:

What an amazing review so far! And SO hilarious too 😂 (im)patiently waiting for more......

 

Thank you!

 

6 hours ago, Denversail said:

Nice Review! I have around 100 days and counting. Can't wait!

 

Lucky!  I have far too long before my next cruise and I may have to squeeze one in there sooner.

 

6 hours ago, Just Jo said:

Thanks for this hilarious and informative review!  It's making me rethink my idea of cancelling our December sailing in favor of another cruise line (trying to speed up the tier climbing).  Looking forward to reading more.

 

Ooooh tough call.  I keep going back and forth between sticking with one line vs trying out a bunch.  RCI has great itineraries but some of the ones I want to do are at times when I can't go.  Such big problems, LOL.

 

5 hours ago, Judyrem said:

Ab fab report!  Love it!  You so "get" the kids and I LOL at it.

You dear,  are quite a descriptive writer!

 

Thank you so much!

 

4 hours ago, Loonbeam said:

Still catching up on the great review, but one thing I need to point out if no one has..

 

Not sure if you took the drone pic at the beginning, or someone else, but...

 

Don't fly drones on ship.   I had mine on the Anthem and was considering it, and noticed someone starting to fly one off the pool deck late at night (presumably for a similar shot).  

 

I'm not kidding.  3 minutes later 2 security guys and an officer were there requiring he bring the drone it, land it and never use it on board again or he would be disembarked immediately...

 

I knew they had a policy but assumed it was hit or miss enforcement.  Nope.  Not this one.    (https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/can-guests-bring-drones-onboard)

 

And now, back to the review (only on P2 so far!  Great work!)

 

I did not take the drone pic, that was borrowed from Royal's site.  Drone flying is far outside my skill set at the moment, so I am not that familiar with the rules on ships.  I know I have seen some recent drone pics but I do not know the details behind them.  

 

3 hours ago, Marbel69 said:

OMG, I love your review - it's both informative and very funny.  You tell a good story.  Can't wait to my November sailing.  I've taken notes along the way, but most definitely will keep referring back to your review.  

 

This is by far the best review of Symphony.

 

Thank you for taking the time to do this.

 

Thank you so much!  You are going to have a great time!!!

 

27 minutes ago, Marbel69 said:

What time did Royston get you back to the ship - how long was his tour?

 

Thank you.

 

Great question!  So, it was flexible and sort of up to us.  We stopped and shopped a bit before going back on the ship.  We had plenty of time to spare, though. I want to say we returned around 3?  3:30?  We met him right after we docked, 9:30ish.  After lunch we had the option of going back or continuing.  I definitely wanted to continue.  I think some people felt it was too long,  but I was happy seeing so much of the island.  

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Really enjoying your review..... I was thrilled to read about Royston!! Like you, we read glowing reviews on Trip Advisor....but its always great to hear input from someone who just toured with him. We are scheduled to tour with him the week of April 15th...Although we won't be on Symphony of Seas...we will be cruising on Adventure of the Seas. Looking forward to the rest of your review!!!!

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OMG I was looking at the schedule for the shows and they are on rather late!😴

My ten year old grandaughter and her slightly older🙄 grandmother will be lucky we can make the 8:30 shows!

 

Where your kids exhausted?  I am, and I am just reading your post!

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1 hour ago, Loonbeam said:

Excellent!  I also put that in there in case someone saw it and went 'What a good idea!  Lets take my drone!' for future reference.

No, great first hand insights, I don't own one but in case I'm every travelling with anyone who thinks it's a good idea I can either persuade them otherwise or be far removed if they attempt it!

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2 hours ago, Loonbeam said:

Excellent!  I also put that in there in case someone saw it and went 'What a good idea!  Lets take my drone!' for future reference.

 

56 minutes ago, lcpagejr said:

Really enjoying your review..... I was thrilled to read about Royston!! Like you, we read glowing reviews on Trip Advisor....but its always great to hear input from someone who just toured with him. We are scheduled to tour with him the week of April 15th...Although we won't be on Symphony of Seas...we will be cruising on Adventure of the Seas. Looking forward to the rest of your review!!!!

 

Don't tell him I repeatedly referred to his vehicle as "The Murder Van" OK?  Thanks.  

 

He was great.  He will take good care of you, for sure.  I would go on a tour with him again, definitely.  

 

56 minutes ago, Judyrem said:

OMG I was looking at the schedule for the shows and they are on rather late!😴

My ten year old grandaughter and her slightly older🙄 grandmother will be lucky we can make the 8:30 shows!

 

Where your kids exhausted?  I am, and I am just reading your post!

 

1977 was at 7, if I recall, and iSkate was at 4 or so.  Yes, the others were late.  We are night owls so it didn't phase us.  DS stayed at the club until 12 every night, so it was a non-issue, though it was likely part of the reason he had a hard time waking up in the morning.  

 

38 minutes ago, rccllovergirl said:

Have they charged you for the deserts from Wonderland?

 

Great question, and I wish I could recall.  We had a few other issues to deal with on our bill so I never really thought to look for whether they charged us for dessert.

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