Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
mitsugirly

MITSUGIRLYS FREEDOM OF THE SEAS REVIEW & PICTORIAL

Recommended Posts

I am so sorry you had such an ugly experience with that dive shop in Barbados.  What a drag.  At least you got in 1 good dive with lots to see.

 

Just to remind you - if you get certified, you will get 2 dives for around the same price and time involved as 1 discover class.  More time underwater + no need to demonstrate skills anymore.  I really think it is worth it financially as well as for "fun factor".  Its more fun to dive than stand around in a pool going over skills.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  •  
On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 4:26 PM, tcmagnum said:

Love your review!!

I'm like you, I love snorkeling...

Have you made it to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific?

Harder to get to, but amazing snorkeling...

 

Thanks so much. 

 

I haven't heard of Cook Islands. What port would that be?

 

The Cook Islands are South/West of Hawaii.  As far as I know, no cruise ship goes there.  Only flights from LA or New Zealand or Australia.  10 hour flight from LA, but the islands...the water...the snorkeling...OMG.  Best I've seen anywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/15/2019 at 3:09 AM, perfect match said:

 

I wondered how much that doing the class before your dives helped your comfort level while diving. As long as you’re happy with what you’re doing and willing to deal with doing the class each time, which, at this point, it sounds like you are, then keep doing what you’re doing and enjoy!

 

As I get older, I have definitely been scaling down the difficulty of the dives I choose to do.  I’d say I’m about 15 years older than you, and knowing that I want to be able to keep diving for as long as I safely do so is what motivates me to stay in the best shape I can. I know you’ve been enjoying your diving, especially lately, and I’ve certainly been enjoying your pictures, so I hope you will be able to keep diving for a while longer! 🐠😀🐟

 

Thanks so much...and the older we get, the more we realize our limits. I think I'm pretty much at my limit and comfort zone with this one and I'm enjoying it the way it is for now. I couldn't ask for anything more at this point and just living life and getting to enjoy a little more than just snorkeling is good enough for me.

 

8 hours ago, ABQrobin said:

I am so sorry you had such an ugly experience with that dive shop in Barbados.  What a drag.  At least you got in 1 good dive with lots to see.

 

Just to remind you - if you get certified, you will get 2 dives for around the same price and time involved as 1 discover class.  More time underwater + no need to demonstrate skills anymore.  I really think it is worth it financially as well as for "fun factor".  Its more fun to dive than stand around in a pool going over skills.  

 

It really wasn't too bad...until the end. But I would definitely love to do that dive again. I just don't like being promised something and them go back on their word...especially after proving it to them and showing them the emails. If I go back to Barbados, I will definitely be doing this again. The shipwrecks were awesome (I'll be on the lookout for those sneaky little garden eels with every dive I do this time 😉 ) hee hee

 

It does make more sense to get certified but honestly, without going into details, I have been given some bad news regarding my health and given "5 years or less". So, I just don't think that it's in the cards for me at this time and I'm happy with what I'm doing as long as I'm living life to the fullest and just happy to be blessed enough to spend this time with my family. We will see what the future holds for me. It's just too up in the air at the moment. 😞

 

4 hours ago, tcmagnum said:
  •  

 

Thanks so much. 

 

I haven't heard of Cook Islands. What port would that be?

 

The Cook Islands are South/West of Hawaii.  As far as I know, no cruise ship goes there.  Only flights from LA or New Zealand or Australia.  10 hour flight from LA, but the islands...the water...the snorkeling...OMG.  Best I've seen anywhere.

 

Yea, that's probably something I would never get to see but it sounds amazing! I haven't done Hawaii yet just because of the long flight. Yikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

April 27: Saturday

 

ST MAARTEN 8-6PM

 

We really struggled with what to do here this time around. We have been here multiple times and the last time, we had our very own personal tour guide (Kia), who used to live on the island for years, take us around to every location possible around the entire island. I mean, who can top that right? So what is there left to do?

 

I searched and searched and found a tour online (boating) that looked interesting and posted it on here and didn't find anyone that had ever done it. I thought that was extremely odd. While I'm very grateful for the suggestions that people on here mentioned, I had either already done it or didn't interest me. So back to checking out the boating again and decided to throw caution to the wind and blindly book. We needed something "different" to do this time around (since we didn't get a chance to do any dune buggies and I had to endure listening to Kendra the entire cruise talk about it).

 

Breakfast consisted of the same old routine and then we were pulling in.

 

P4272611%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272613%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272614%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272617%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This tour was called "Self-Drive Boat Tour and Snorkel from Simpson Bay" The cost was $75 a person, so not bad at all. You book it using Trip Advisor (and I will say there are TONS of great reviews on there...which is what convinced me to book). It is your responsibility to get yourself to the place however.

 

We caught a cab and off we went to Simpson Bay to the "Rhino Riders"

 

Once we arrived, we checked in (which is a building located along the water and you walk from the front of building that is a restaurant (outside) to the back.

 

P4272365%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272366%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

After checking in, they gave us life jackets and fitted us with fins and anything else we needed...including giving us a bag to use to put all of our things in that we were taking with us. All items we didn't want to get wet went in totes and stored in a locked building.

 

P4272367%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4260074%20copy-L.jpg

 

We were given a quick lesson on how the boats worked and how we were to follow each other in a line in certain places, the no wake zones and most importantly the hand signals. Then everyone was assigned their boat.

 

P4272368%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Now these are "blow up" LOL boats (using that term loosely). They have a hard bottom so it's easy to get in and out of and not at all what I had pictured (honestly it was hard to picture anything about a "blow up" boat).

 

We had a 3 person boat (but they also come in 2 people boats). We were able to add Shawna with no problems and they switched one of their 2 person boats for a 3 person. We managed to be put in the fastest boat they had and oh was it fun!!!

 

 

P4260076%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

We first had to do some circles in front of the place to get used to how the boats handled. 

 

P4272369%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272370%20copy-L.jpg

 

They also had us stop and pose for pictures for the paparazzi (which happened to be their photographers that sit on the second floor of their building).

 

P4272372%20copy-L.jpg

 

Then off we went. As you can see, some of the pictures are Kendra's...which she ended up handing the camera off to Shawna at some point. Shawna took some very nice pictures of the floor, shoes, peoples legs and ....well you get the picture (well actually, you don't get the picture itself lol).

 

P4260087%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P4272374%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

These boats could really move!

 

 

 

P4272375%20copy-L.jpg

 

Now the 3 person boat is like this...2 people sit in the back (this includes the driver and a passenger) and then the 3rd person sits in a middle chair (which is where I sat). The only issue I had with this is that there's no back on that chair and of course the faster you go, the more it throws you back and you have to keep your balance since there's nothing to lean against. But weight distribution it is....

 

P4272376%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272377%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272379%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272384%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272386%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272388%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We came to an area that was a no-wake zone and it was really cool cruising in that area.

 

P4272390%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272391%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Kendra kept turning around looking for Billy and Brayden and they were no where to be found.

 

P4272393%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272394%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272397%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

We had made it pretty far before we finally seen a spot coming up behind us. Finally, here came Billy and Brayden!!!

 

 

P4272404%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

I guess their boat had broke down in the beginning and they had to be switched out. But, they managed to catch up to us with another one of the guides.

 

P4272407%20copy-L.jpg

 

We took off and was having so much fun! Our boat was really moving. I did end up in Sakari's lap once when we jumped a huge wave and I had never laughed so hard.

 

 

 

I think my jaws were hurting so much from the laughter and smiling going on that day.

 

Billy jumping one of our waves:

 

P4272408%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

They were going back and forth trying to pass us...it just couldn't keep up with our 3 person boat.

 

P4272412%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P4260092%20copy-L.jpg

 

Kendra had finally noticed that Billy was with us and was relieved.

 

 

P4260093%20copy-L.jpg

 

Hey at least she managed to get one picture of us. LOL  I figured giving her my camera would allow some pictures of us boating but I guess not really.

 

P4260094%20copy-L.jpg

 

We slowed down and let Kendra pass

 

P4272414%20copy-L.jpg

 

Sorry Billy....we're not letting you by... lol

 

P4272417%20copy-L.jpg

 

Ok, we felt bad for him....

 

 

P4272420%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4270099%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were coming to an area that had a huge hill coming up out of the water. I guess this would be the place we were stopping to snorkel. It was supposed to be a Marine Park (I forgot to mention that you have to pay $5/pp to be/snorkel in the park and that is paid to them at the shop before you leave). <---why this isn't just added to your total booking and paid at that time I have no clue.

 

P4272422%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

After pulling up, we all roped off together.

 

P4272424%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272425%20copy-L.jpg

 

I wasn't wasting any time and grabbed my gear and jumped off and waited for Sakari.

 

 

 

 

She had an absolute fit about wearing the lifejacket but I insisted. I told her she didn't have any fins with her (meaning monofin because she refused to wear the regular fins) and it was better to play it safe than sorry.

 

Off we went snorkeling... it was mostly rocks in the water with some coral. I was really hoping this wouldn't be all there was to see at this "Marine Park" that I just paid $15 for.

 

P4272427%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272428%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272429%20copy-L.jpg

 

Headed toward the rocks where we were told the best snorkeling was.

 

P4272432%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

P4272433%20copy-L.jpg

 

I was still not impressed...but did some of this beautiful red sponges that we seen at St Lucia.

 

 

P4272434%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

As you can tell, this area was pretty shallow and loaded with rocks. I decided to let Sakari "off her leash" and she removed her life jacket. I held it while we snorkeled and she was free as a bird...or a fish I guess. She was so happy but I kept a close eye on her just in case. I know she's a great swimmer but I just feel so much better when she has her fin on.

 

 

P4272435%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272437%20copy-L.jpg

 

There were a lot of black spiney sea urchins all over the place. I warned Sakari not to put her foot down for anything and if she needed to rest to grab onto me.

 

 

P4272439%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P4272441%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272445%20copy-L.jpg

 

Sakari was having a blast and diving down to explore. That child...I swear...

 

P4272448%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

P4272450%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272453%20copy-L.jpg

 

I think it's funny that the tanner Sakari gets, the redder she looks under water. I can always spot her when swimming...just look for the red in the water.

 

P4272454%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272456%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272458%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

There were a few interesting things in the water but for the most part, I was very disappointed in this so-called snorkeling area. Maybe St Maarten really doesn't have much to see.

 

 

P4272459%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272463%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272467%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spotted some ballyhoo at the surface. They creep up on you and you don't know it because you are usually looking down when snorkeling.

 

 

P4272468%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272469%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Sea urchin spotted

 

 

P4272470%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272474%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

A very bleached out or dead coral. It was odd because I didn't really see much of this here.

 

P4272475%20copy-L.jpg

 

Four-eyed butterfly fish down there..but it was pretty far down to get a good shot (right below my name).

 

 

P4272477%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272478%20copy-L.jpg

 

PURPLE!!! MY FAVORITE!!!! I wish I could have got down there closer for a close up pic but it was nice of this fish to get in the picture for me.

 

P4272481%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

P4272485%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272488%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272491%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272493%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272495%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272497%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I popped up to see how close I was to the rocks and noticed something move.

 

P4272500%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Look in the middle of the picture...

 

P4272504%20copy-L.jpg

 

I managed to sneak up on him...

 

 

P4272504-2%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272506%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272508%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

The water was getting deeper. I hate when my hair floats in front of my camera at the same time I try to get a picture.

 

 

P4272511%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Trumpet fish spotted down there

 

 

P4272517%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

School of grunts from what I can tell

 

P4272519%20copy-L.jpg

 

Ok, see the difference between the other pictures and thie two pictures below? Well, this is what happens when you zoom in using an Olympus camera. The zoom function seriously SUCKS! All of my cameras are like that despite the model number. I know this and have always known this for years....but here I am...still trying it out....hoping that magically one day it's going to change and I'll get a great picture only to get back home and see the pictures and think "what was I thinking?" It's better to take a normal picture and crop it to get a close up.

 

 

P4272521%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272522%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

P4272526%20copy-L.jpg

 

There are a few drop offs here...

 

P4272528%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272530%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Then I spotted this...and I kept starring and I knew I had seen them before (online from the dive site we used in St Thomas at Coki) and knew immediately what it was...a remora. They are sometimes called a suckerfish and can grow up to 2 feet long. They suction to things like boats or fish like whales or sharks and you can find them hitching a ride. I really wish it would have been closer (shallow water) to get a better picture but they have a very distinctive look and you know it when you see it. They have a flat head with gills which is where they suction.

 

P4272538%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

(Here's a pic from the web to show you what they look like).

 

image.png.904a8348fe64441d141e2cfb45b9e788.png

 

 

More ballyhoo

 

 

P4272541%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272549%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

So we decided there wasn't much more to see in this area and decided to head back to our boats, which was quite some distance away. The bad part was it was somewhat of a difficulty swim. We were going against the waves and whew! I asked Sakari if she wanted her life jacket and she actually said "yes!". I knew it was a good idea for her to bring it.

 

P4272548%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

It took awhile, but I was never so happy to see this....

 

 

P4272551%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Wait, how are we getting back up in the boats? You want me to do what? Oh boy....

 

 

P4272553%20copy-L.jpg

 

Now this is not an easy task. Grabbing a hold of the boat and trying to pull myself up and the hubby pushing me like he's pushing a broke down car to the gas station...uphill...in the snow...while it's pouring down raining and you are sliding 😉

 

It took several attempts, but I did make it up in the yellow one...then I had the task of transferring to our white boat. All I could picture is me falling back into the water and having to do this again. LOL

 

P4272555%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

I got the great idea that I wanted to try to drive the boat on the way back. Ohhhhh my gooddddnessss! LOL I'm pretty sure I almost flipped it a few times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was giving the hubby a ride of his life and Sakari was doing the filming and photography. I just want to take this moment to thank Sakari for taking such an unflattering picture of mommies double chin. I knew I shouldn't have had that extra 5 pieces of bacon this morning. 

 

P4272558%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272559%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272560%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272561%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272566%20copy-L.jpg

 

We went into a bunch of different areas that we didn't go to on our way there. We were told "on the way back...open her up and have some fun"....and fun it was. 

 

 

P4272573%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272574%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272577%20copy-L.jpg

 

We were zig-zagging  back and forth and going everywhere.

 

 

P4272578%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272581%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

P4272587%20copy-L.jpg

 

Finally the zig-zagging got me a few goods time by banging my knee into the throttle handle and I was done for. I stopped the boat and switched with the hubby because I could not endure this abuse any more. LOL

 

Then we were off to the races again

 

 

 

 

 

And a little slow down so they won't pout and I can get some good pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had fun all the way back and once we got back into the bay we started at, they turned around and we headed back out for some more fun. WOW! They really let us go out for quite some time! It felt like it was longer than we expected and it was definitely worth the money for sure.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a great time! I'm wondering if this was the park you're talking about or if that's yet to come...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once we got back to the place, they had the pictures they had taken of us for sale. I want to say they were maybe $15 but not completely sure.

 

P5162781-S.jpg

 

We had talked about walking down to the beach after our rhino tour (because it ended a little after noon or 1pm). They told us it was a short walk from there...just go out front, take a right and follow the street until you see Burger King and take a left and that street would run into the beach at Buccaneers (which is where we stopped for food with Kia last time we were here). 

 

We headed out and Billy was dragging behind...by dragging I mean he hadn't even made it out of the building yet. LOL  Then all of a sudden one of the employees that gave the tour stopped us by the street and ask if the handicapped guy wanted a lift there. There was a lot of gravel along the way, which would require him to go out onto the busy street if he wanted to roll on his knee scooter. He apologized that he didn't have room for all of us, but we were fine with that. I ran back and told Billy what was going on and he came out and got his free ride.

 

We continued walking the path they told us and ended up right where we wanted to be.

 

We sat in an area by the bar and ordered some lunch.

P4272605%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

The kids headed out to the beach to play in the sand

 

P4272603%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272602%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

I headed out to the water to take some pictures and cool off after that short but hot walk.

 

 

P4272589%20copy-L.jpg

 

They had a lot of paddle "things" for in the water there to rent. I have no idea what they cost.

 

 

P4272591%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272593%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272598%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272599%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272600%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272601%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272606%20copy-L.jpg

 

P4272588%20copy-L.jpg

 

After eating the kids went out to play in the water for a bit and we relaxed in the shade.

 

P4272607%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272609%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

As soon as Billy took his walking boot off and laid down to nap, I let him know it was time to grab a cab and head back. LOL Oops.

 

The bartenders there said they'd call a cab and then told us to head up to the street and down it and there was our cab (several of them actually so not really sure it was "ours" or that's just where they wait).

 

Back to the port we went.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/10/2019 at 7:22 AM, mitsugirly said:

Thanks and drydock? 😮 I can't seriously imagine what she would need done to her to make her better. She's beautiful and in such good shape.

 

cruisedeckplans.com says "Next drydock Jan 19 to Mar 1, 2020. Adding Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Bar, El Loco Fresh, Fish and Ships, Jamie's Italian, the Bamboo Room, Laser Tag, the Perfect Storm (waterslide), Sky Pad (bungee trampoline).

On 5/7/2019 at 8:52 PM, Russ Lomas said:

For the ultimate, look at the panoramic cabins.  They are the best and there is one on each of that class of ship that is larger than the others.  

You're right! I don't know how I found these cabins, but I made a spread sheet of two 7-day cruises (for a B2B) without repeating ports, eliminating dates that conflicted with University events, then checking each one for availability of that larger cabin (1864) (1814 on the starboard side is "accessible" and so far that is not needed!) and the also-spacious panoramic cabin just aft of it. I had to book in January 2021 to get these prime cabins together! The large one is a triple and I booked my mom in with us, hopefully she will still be in health to travel. My brother and SIL will be in 1866 -- they love the Caribbean and snorkeling etc. 

On 5/5/2019 at 12:58 PM, mitsugirly said:

I did not feel ANY movement at all this cruise. We did have beautiful weather though, so not sure if it would have been different had we had some wavy water/ocean conditions.

I was SO GLAD to read this! My DBro is susceptible to seasickness and DH and I recently had our first high-and-forward cabin on the HAL Zuiderdam, with no problems for us, but I was aware of motion while lying in bed at night, and was worried about my 2021 plans (the deposits are non-refundable!).

 

Also your positive review of the ship, as well as others' responses, have alleviated additional misgivings I had after reading CC reviews of sailing out of San Juan on FOTS. (See: "non-refundable".)

 

Finally, it took me HOURS to read the 15 pages of this review, because of its completeness AND because of the notes I was taking! You covered six of our ten ports (counting San Juan), and gave me much to digest and to help with our plans!

 

So thank you very much!!!

Edited by crystalspin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, crystalspin said:

 

You're right! I don't know how I found these cabins, but I made a spread sheet of two 7-day cruises without repeating ports, eliminating dates that conflicted with University events, then checking each one for availability of that larger cabin (1864) (1814 on the starboard side is "accessible" and so far that is not needed!) and the also-spacious panoramic cabin just aft of it. I had to book in January 2021 to get these prime cabins together! The large one is a triple and I booked my mom in with us, hopefully she will still be in health to travel.

We have 1864 booked for an 8 day cruise on the Adventure for March 2020.  The panoramic cabins are great but the larger ones have twice the amounts of windows.  You will love them.  Definitely one of the little "secrets" of knowing which cabin to book and booking early to obtain them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to make a couple comments on your scuba experience in Barbados.  I have dove those wrecks 3 times now.  I have been certified for about 25 years now to dive.  The last dive I did in Carlisle Bay was this past March with 4 of my relatives, including 2 of my daughters (15 and 10 years old at the time of the dives).  They were both doing their final two openwater dives to complete their PADI certification.

 

The five wrecks are really quite amazing for saying how close to shore they are and what you can find down there.  Every time I go, I find hundreds of garden eels, so you must have been looking in the wrong spot.  As for the method you mentioned to equalize the pressure, I was never told to put the tongue to the roof of my mouth, but that is just what I do naturally.  It works really well.  Now that I realize that is what I have been doing all these years, I will mention this to my daughters to try on their next dives.  Thanks for pointing this out.

 

As for the skill of removing your mask totally, I have never known any operator to have someone on a Discover Scuba program do that.  They do have you let in a bit of water and clear it, but do not do full mask removals from what I know.  Now, you do have to do that as part of your PADI training though.  I have videos of my daughters doing it in 30 feet of salt water at the bottom of Carlisle Bay during their checkout dives.  They were good for about 20-30 seconds without the mask but then put their heads back and took water up their noses, panicked and had to put the mask right back on.  You are supposed to be able to do this for a full minute in open water at depth.  I tried it myself while watching them, but truthfully it was the first time I had done so since being trained 25 years ago.  I managed to do it, but definitely see how it makes many people uncomfortable.

 

I am sorry to hear about all the issues you had diving there.  I have always used Rogers Dive Shack for my 3 visits to Barbados and have been very happy all 3 times with Roger.  It is nowhere near as luxurious as your facilities looked, but the service has always been top notch.  He picks you up AND takes you back to the ship when you are done diving.  The cab ride to Carlisle should cost $5 US per person each way otherwise.  My 10 year old was very nervous doing one skill and in tears over having to do it (going to a depth of about 25 feet and having to surface with no regulator in your mouth while remembering to slowly exhale - a required emergency accent practice).  Roger was FANTASTIC with her and took almost half an hour to work with her and encourage her until she finally did it.  He is a great guy and I recommend you try diving with him if you decide to dive again in Barbados.  Don't expect a 5 star facility, but you will get 5 star service with a decent boat, transportation included, adequate facilities, decent equipment, right on Carlisle Bay and there is a restaurant on site too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

 

Thanks so much...and the older we get, the more we realize our limits. I think I'm pretty much at my limit and comfort zone with this one and I'm enjoying it the way it is for now. I couldn't ask for anything more at this point and just living life and getting to enjoy a little more than just snorkeling is good enough for me.

 

 

It really wasn't too bad...until the end. But I would definitely love to do that dive again. I just don't like being promised something and them go back on their word...especially after proving it to them and showing them the emails. If I go back to Barbados, I will definitely be doing this again. The shipwrecks were awesome (I'll be on the lookout for those sneaky little garden eels with every dive I do this time 😉 ) hee hee

 

It does make more sense to get certified but honestly, without going into details, I have been given some bad news regarding my health and given "5 years or less". So, I just don't think that it's in the cards for me at this time and I'm happy with what I'm doing as long as I'm living life to the fullest and just happy to be blessed enough to spend this time with my family. We will see what the future holds for me. It's just too up in the air at the moment. 😞

 

 

Yea, that's probably something I would never get to see but it sounds amazing! I haven't done Hawaii yet just because of the long flight. Yikes.

 

Kim, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having health issues. Being in the medical field yourself, I’m sure you already know that the medical community of today can do some pretty amazing things. You have a great attitude, as always, which will be a very important factor in maintaining your health. No need to say any more on this public Internet forum. I was thinking you were outgrowing Discover Scuba, and we’re ready to move on, but you’re definitely doing the right thing.

 

I have wanted to do the boat tour you did in St Maarten for a while now. Some of my table mates on our Independence cruise did it, and said they had a great time. Sounds like you did, too. My biggest drawback - getting back in the boat! I’m not sure how I’d do at that! 😱 I have heard of similar style boats in other ports that had ladders. I specifically asked the reviewer about that and she said they did. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what port she was in. 🤔 If I decide to book one of those tours, I think I’ll need to contact the tour op because I don’t want to jump out of a boat I don’t know I can get back into!  BTW, the best fish you saw while snorkeling was the Sakari fish!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Russ Lomas said:

I just wanted to make a couple comments on your scuba experience in Barbados.  I have dove those wrecks 3 times now.  I have been certified for about 25 years now to dive.  The last dive I did in Carlisle Bay was this past March with 4 of my relatives, including 2 of my daughters (15 and 10 years old at the time of the dives).  They were both doing their final two openwater dives to complete their PADI certification.

 

The five wrecks are really quite amazing for saying how close to shore they are and what you can find down there.  Every time I go, I find hundreds of garden eels, so you must have been looking in the wrong spot.  As for the method you mentioned to equalize the pressure, I was never told to put the tongue to the roof of my mouth, but that is just what I do naturally.  It works really well.  Now that I realize that is what I have been doing all these years, I will mention this to my daughters to try on their next dives.  Thanks for pointing this out.

 

As for the skill of removing your mask totally, I have never known any operator to have someone on a Discover Scuba program do that.  They do have you let in a bit of water and clear it, but do not do full mask removals from what I know.  Now, you do have to do that as part of your PADI training though.  I have videos of my daughters doing it in 30 feet of salt water at the bottom of Carlisle Bay during their checkout dives.  They were good for about 20-30 seconds without the mask but then put their heads back and took water up their noses, panicked and had to put the mask right back on.  You are supposed to be able to do this for a full minute in open water at depth.  I tried it myself while watching them, but truthfully it was the first time I had done so since being trained 25 years ago.  I managed to do it, but definitely see how it makes many people uncomfortable.

 

I am sorry to hear about all the issues you had diving there.  I have always used Rogers Dive Shack for my 3 visits to Barbados and have been very happy all 3 times with Roger.  It is nowhere near as luxurious as your facilities looked, but the service has always been top notch.  He picks you up AND takes you back to the ship when you are done diving.  The cab ride to Carlisle should cost $5 US per person each way otherwise.  My 10 year old was very nervous doing one skill and in tears over having to do it (going to a depth of about 25 feet and having to surface with no regulator in your mouth while remembering to slowly exhale - a required emergency accent practice).  Roger was FANTASTIC with her and took almost half an hour to work with her and encourage her until she finally did it.  He is a great guy and I recommend you try diving with him if you decide to dive again in Barbados.  Don't expect a 5 star facility, but you will get 5 star service with a decent boat, transportation included, adequate facilities, decent equipment, right on Carlisle Bay and there is a restaurant on site too.

 

Russ, thank you for the info on Rogers Dive Shack. I’m hoping to get to Barbados at some point, so I found and bookmarked their website for future reference.

 

Glad your daughter was able to master her emergency ascent skills. Certainly not a skill you ever want to have to use, but critical to know if you ever need it! Back in the 1970’s, I had an air hose burst on me at 60 feet. This was before the days of anyone having an octopus regulator set up, so buddy breathing and emergency ascent skills were essential. I’ve also had my mask knocked off unexpectedly. I still practice these and other basic skills on a regular basis so I will know what to do when an unexpected situation comes up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

13 hours ago, tcmagnum said:

The boats look fun!!  Snorkeling not so much....

 

 

Yea they were super fun. Snorkeling wasn't the greatest at all but hey it got us in the water for a bit to cool down and at least there was some things to see I guess.

 

12 hours ago, fyree39 said:

What a great time! I'm wondering if this was the park you're talking about or if that's yet to come...

 

Yea, it was the park...ugh. I wished that there was more to come. 😉

 

9 hours ago, crystalspin said:

cruisedeckplans.com says "Next drydock Jan 19 to Mar 1, 2020. Adding Hooked Seafood, Playmakers Bar, El Loco Fresh, Fish and Ships, Jamie's Italian, the Bamboo Room, Laser Tag, the Perfect Storm (waterslide), Sky Pad (bungee trampoline).

You're right! I don't know how I found these cabins, but I made a spread sheet of two 7-day cruises (for a B2B) without repeating ports, eliminating dates that conflicted with University events, then checking each one for availability of that larger cabin (1864) (1814 on the starboard side is "accessible" and so far that is not needed!) and the also-spacious panoramic cabin just aft of it. I had to book in January 2021 to get these prime cabins together! The large one is a triple and I booked my mom in with us, hopefully she will still be in health to travel. My brother and SIL will be in 1866 -- they love the Caribbean and snorkeling etc. 

I was SO GLAD to read this! My DBro is susceptible to seasickness and DH and I recently had our first high-and-forward cabin on the HAL Zuiderdam, with no problems for us, but I was aware of motion while lying in bed at night, and was worried about my 2021 plans (the deposits are non-refundable!).

 

Also your positive review of the ship, as well as others' responses, have alleviated additional misgivings I had after reading CC reviews of sailing out of San Juan on FOTS. (See: "non-refundable".)

 

Finally, it took me HOURS to read the 15 pages of this review, because of its completeness AND because of the notes I was taking! You covered six of our ten ports (counting San Juan), and gave me much to digest and to help with our plans!

 

So thank you very much!!!

 

Oh gosh...I'll have to look up the review you are talking about. I can't imagine it being bad for anyone. FOTS is amazing and so are the ports and PR is my favorite place to sail out of.

 

Haha on the reading. It's quite lengthy. What are ports are you going to? I have other reviews and port reviews (some not listed) that could possibly help you out.

 

9 hours ago, Russ Lomas said:

I just wanted to make a couple comments on your scuba experience in Barbados.  I have dove those wrecks 3 times now.  I have been certified for about 25 years now to dive.  The last dive I did in Carlisle Bay was this past March with 4 of my relatives, including 2 of my daughters (15 and 10 years old at the time of the dives).  They were both doing their final two openwater dives to complete their PADI certification.

 

The five wrecks are really quite amazing for saying how close to shore they are and what you can find down there.  Every time I go, I find hundreds of garden eels, so you must have been looking in the wrong spot.  As for the method you mentioned to equalize the pressure, I was never told to put the tongue to the roof of my mouth, but that is just what I do naturally.  It works really well.  Now that I realize that is what I have been doing all these years, I will mention this to my daughters to try on their next dives.  Thanks for pointing this out.

 

As for the skill of removing your mask totally, I have never known any operator to have someone on a Discover Scuba program do that.  They do have you let in a bit of water and clear it, but do not do full mask removals from what I know.  Now, you do have to do that as part of your PADI training though.  I have videos of my daughters doing it in 30 feet of salt water at the bottom of Carlisle Bay during their checkout dives.  They were good for about 20-30 seconds without the mask but then put their heads back and took water up their noses, panicked and had to put the mask right back on.  You are supposed to be able to do this for a full minute in open water at depth.  I tried it myself while watching them, but truthfully it was the first time I had done so since being trained 25 years ago.  I managed to do it, but definitely see how it makes many people uncomfortable.

 

I am sorry to hear about all the issues you had diving there.  I have always used Rogers Dive Shack for my 3 visits to Barbados and have been very happy all 3 times with Roger.  It is nowhere near as luxurious as your facilities looked, but the service has always been top notch.  He picks you up AND takes you back to the ship when you are done diving.  The cab ride to Carlisle should cost $5 US per person each way otherwise.  My 10 year old was very nervous doing one skill and in tears over having to do it (going to a depth of about 25 feet and having to surface with no regulator in your mouth while remembering to slowly exhale - a required emergency accent practice).  Roger was FANTASTIC with her and took almost half an hour to work with her and encourage her until she finally did it.  He is a great guy and I recommend you try diving with him if you decide to dive again in Barbados.  Don't expect a 5 star facility, but you will get 5 star service with a decent boat, transportation included, adequate facilities, decent equipment, right on Carlisle Bay and there is a restaurant on site too.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your dive experience with Rogers Dive Shack. I'll definitely check them out next time. I could care less about the facilities (heck, our last dive didn't even have facilities lol) as long as the service is good.

 

This place did give the pick up and drop off service....but it's like you said, before and after the dive. We had no intentions of wanting to just go for the dive and wanted to spend time on the beach before and after (as they knew) and by that time, they didn't have a "driver" to take us I guess. But knowing that's what we planned to do and we were in port so long, they should have calculated for that with their driver.

 

Yea removing your mask has always been one of the big drawbacks of wanting to get certified for me (and the swimming portion they talk about with the distance). I don't have any issues with letting the water in and clearing the mask, but full removal...yikes!  The one lady who refused to do it and said she wouldn't dive did end up diving (and they didn't make her do it but seemed frustrated about it).

 

7 hours ago, perfect match said:

 

Kim, I’m sorry to hear that you’re having health issues. Being in the medical field yourself, I’m sure you already know that the medical community of today can do some pretty amazing things. You have a great attitude, as always, which will be a very important factor in maintaining your health. No need to say any more on this public Internet forum. I was thinking you were outgrowing Discover Scuba, and we’re ready to move on, but you’re definitely doing the right thing.

 

I have wanted to do the boat tour you did in St Maarten for a while now. Some of my table mates on our Independence cruise did it, and said they had a great time. Sounds like you did, too. My biggest drawback - getting back in the boat! I’m not sure how I’d do at that! 😱 I have heard of similar style boats in other ports that had ladders. I specifically asked the reviewer about that and she said they did. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what port she was in. 🤔 If I decide to book one of those tours, I think I’ll need to contact the tour op because I don’t want to jump out of a boat I don’t know I can get back into!  BTW, the best fish you saw while snorkeling was the Sakari fish!

 

Thanks so much Nancy. Yea, we have come a long way in the medical field and it's not that they can't help me it's the cost/insurance issue that is the drawback while also knowing this is the same thing that caused my mother to die on the table when she was 61. 😞  It's just scary to me.

 

Nope, I will never outgrow scuba. The water and ocean have always been my world (and obviously Sakari's).

 

Yea getting back on the boat was no fun but they assured me they'd get me back up there (although it was my hubby that did it instead).

 

As for a ladder....lol....I remember our experience with renting a whaler in Bermuda and it had a ladder and trying to get back up on the boat with it...oh em gee! It was a nightmare. The waves crashing against the boat and moving it, the rocks underneath us made it hard to stand (but at least we weren't in deep water) and every time you would try to pull up on the ladder it would pull the boat down and the ladder would not be "up and down" but going sideways and under the boat. It was a nightmare. LOL

 

The Sakari fish was the best sighting of the day while snorkeling...I agree.

7 hours ago, perfect match said:

 

Russ, thank you for the info on Rogers Dive Shack. I’m hoping to get to Barbados at some point, so I found and bookmarked their website for future reference.

 

Glad your daughter was able to master her emergency ascent skills. Certainly not a skill you ever want to have to use, but critical to know if you ever need it! Back in the 1970’s, I had an air hose burst on me at 60 feet. This was before the days of anyone having an octopus regulator set up, so buddy breathing and emergency ascent skills were essential. I’ve also had my mask knocked off unexpectedly. I still practice these and other basic skills on a regular basis so I will know what to do when an unexpected situation comes up.

 

 

Yes, thank you Russ for the info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Back to the ship and sail away time...

 

P4272628%20copy-L.jpg

 

At some point we ate again

 

P4272649%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272650%20copy-L.jpg

 

Sakari wanted to swim more...of course....

 

P4272666%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

And a little hot tub time

 

 

P4272670%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

I knew that I had to get the luggage packed up and did some packing. I always hate when there's a port day the day before we get off the ship. It just makes things feels so rushed.

 

We did go to the casino for a little bit and it was an ok night.

 

P4272709%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

P4272711%20copy-L.jpg

 

This was our hanging towel ________ tonight....like what the heck is it?

 

 

P4272698%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Tonight was the night we were finally going to get to pick up our photos from the week. I managed to grab every one of them I could.

 

Now this was the photographer we had issues with about the photo package....I almost didn't stop to take a picture with him but we needed some from St Maarten so....

 

 

P5162770-S.jpgP5162771-S.jpg

 

P5162772-S.jpgP5162773-S.jpg

 

 

P5162774-S.jpgP5162775-S.jpg

 

The day we were in Barbados, when we got off the ship, there wasn't a photographer around. This turtle was actually upstairs at the buffet to take pictures during breakfast...I'm glad we at least found him.

 

P5162776-S.jpgP5162777-S.jpg

 

 

P5162778-S.jpgP5162779-S.jpg

 

P5162780-S.jpg

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I ended up with 67 photos to keep from the package we paid for and I'm pretty sure Kendra probably had at least 15 or so. That's about 80 pictures for the price of $269 or a little more than $3 a picture. Not bad I guess (even though lets be honest, if you had to pay for them individually I would have never picked a lot of these out with some of the funny smiles Sakari makes nor would we have been dressed down so much. LOL

 

P5162784-M.jpg

 

 

P5162785-M.jpg

 

 

P5162786-M.jpg

 

P5162788-M.jpg

 

 

P5162789-M.jpg

 

 

P5162790-M.jpg

 

We had a lot of fun with these and the picture frame...I have a huge one of these I use for pictures as well. lol

 

 

P5162791-M.jpg

 

P5162792-M.jpg

 

 

These were some of my favorites with the posing

 

 

P5162793-M.jpg

 

 

P5162794-M.jpg

 

 

P5162795-M.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We continued to hang out at the pool deck until it was time to drag Sakari out of the water so that I could get as much water out of her bathing suit and get it packed and put our luggage out when it was needed. I have to say, there were several "over-achievers" in my hall that had them out super early. LOL

 

 

P4272713%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

Now just so you know....

 

 

There's more to come with getting off the ship.....as everyone knows...WE ARE AN EXCEPTIONAL GROUP AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM US....this time....we outdid ourselves....and took Kia along with us for the ride  LOL

 

 

Also coming up, spending our day in Puerto Rico before flying home the following day....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...