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MITSUGIRLYS FREEDOM OF THE SEAS REVIEW & PICTORIAL

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So here we are. Tuesday and ready for our first NEW port and I couldn't wait!!!

 

We headed to the buffet for breakfast and it was yummy as usual. 

 

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Kia decided not to go on this tour so now we were down to 8 people instead of 11. We were going to have lots a room on this 22 person bus private tour. 

 

I contacted Kendra and they were up and moving. We made plans to meet her at her room and get off the ship as soon as it was docked. However, we couldn't find her. We waited and waited and ....typical Kendra fashion...she was no where to be found. Now normally I would wait until we found her but this time...I remembered there was ONCE...and ONLY ONCE, that she couldn't find me and she decided to get off the ship and went to the port entrance to wait on us. Well, I had envisioned this in my mind and made the choice to go ahead and get off. Wrong choice, she wasn't out there.

 

Now usually you have to exit the cruise compound and out some gates to get to any outside vendors. Well not this time. Lawrence was standing on the pier waiting for us with his sign. 

 

We waited and waited and FINALLY she came off the ship (Billy and his scooter was spotted). 

 

Then we were off and running for our tour. Well, at least in my mind I was because I was so excited. Lawrence wasn't running...he was an older gentleman and I don't think he would appreciate it if we made him run. 

 

 

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We got to the tour van and it was the exact same van like we had the day before. Lawrence passed out a map and showed us where we would be going today.

 

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He also had this...

 

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So it made me wonder what happened for the last 7 years? (Notice 2012). 

 

The first stop was going to be Long Bay Beach. It was pretty much on the other side of the island so quite the drive. The kids were excited about going to the beaches today and couldn't wait to get in the water. I kept hearing "Are we almost there yet?" "What's taking so long?" Ugh...so hard to plan things with this group and be patient. 

 

Along the way he was on his headphone speaker system and telling us things that we passed. Like the day before, I remembered next to none of it. So, I snapped pictures as he spoke about the things and I'll share just a few. 

 

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All this space and the kids insist on sitting side-by-side and Sakari insisted on sitting on one of the middle seats that fold down like she did the day before. Kendra, I have no idea what that face is about. Did you just eat a lemon?

 

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Look at the hearts made into the fence...

 

 

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Brayden: "Mamaw, are we almost to the beach yet?"

 

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Sakari: "Are we there yet mommy?"

 

 

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Kendra... "Mom! How far of a dri......." I cut her off and told her to sit back and relax and look for some more cows that were horses from yesterday. 

 

 

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Billy's scooter kept rolling back and forth with each stop. He finally decided to take advantage of it and prop his feet up on it to make it stop. 

 

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We finally arrive at Long Bay Beach at 9:53am. So we started to grab our things to head to the beach and Lawrence says "Ok, so this is Long Bay Beach. You can get out and your are welcome to take a look around, take pictures, and then meet back here in 10 minutes"

 

WAIT!!!! SAY WHAT??? My face must have turned 5 shades of red and the kids were all glaring at me. Ohhhh noooo! This is not how this day is going to go at all. I immediately spoke up. "I was told this was a private tour and the emails I got said we are welcome to stay at the beach however long we wanted. We are not on a "tour" so-to-speak. We are here to actually GO to the beaches....as in swimming and relaxing and having fun. I'm not here to get out and look around and on to the next. We would spend the entire day just riding in a van and that's not at all what we were looking for. We plan on staying for awhile!"

 

He asked me "How long do you plan on staying?" "Well, we plan on swimming, snorkeling, and taking a bit of time and I have no idea how long that is going to be but it's not going to be 10 minutes".  So he said we were welcome to stay as long as we wanted and we would do the tour at our own pace. Well, I certainly hoped so since that's what I was told in the email. 

 

Out we went and OH EM GEE...the beach was BEAUTIFUL! It kinda reminded me of St Thomas. 

 

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There wasn't a lot of people here at all and it was great. 

 

A carving they had in the tree where we put our things. 

 

 

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Now to the right was a place that was closed. There was a sign that the hotel was no longer open. I bet it would have been great to stay at right up against the beach when it was open. 

 

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The kids were excited to hit the water finally. 

 

 

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Sakari wrote a note to Loki...yes, she was really missing him. 

 

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The water was a little cool and Shawna's body language said that loud and clear. But it didn't take long to get used to it. 

 

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Oh course since we were on limited time (so to speak), I immediately grabbed my snorkeling gear and headed out to see what there was here.

 

Somehow I ended up with a water spot on my camera. Like how does this happen when you are IN water? Like it makes no sense but it has happened in the past. It comes and goes. It's weird. I do not like it here or there I do not like it anywhere. Ugh.

 

 

 

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Now the further you got out, the more rocks there was. It looked as if it had a path to follow where there were no rocks and it led out to the ocean.

 

However, it was VERY wavy and hard to keep away from the rocks and coral. So, I didn't go out too far.

 

You see the huge blue surgeon fish under the rock.  

 

 

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It's hard to tell because the water was so wavy and stirred up but I was following a large school of blue tangs down this rock path.

 

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It really was getting hard to keep from being thrown up against the rocks so we decided to turn around and go back. It just wasn't worth it at this point. 

 

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This is what happens with your flash goes off. I hate the flash! I wish there was a way to automatically keep this off when you turn on the camera but it automatically goes to on each time you turn it on. 

 

 

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My attempt to capture and over under didn't turn out too well and I wasn't about to try forever since we are on limited time but I did spot a mermaid tail. 😉

 

 

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I always love your water pictures.  I haven't snorkeled since I was a kid and this makes me want to try it again.

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Great review so far, Kim!  Can't wait to read the rest 🙂  Your Antigua tour sounds a lot like the beach hopping tour I did in Curacao last year... when I saw that long list of beaches they recommended for your tour, I was thinking you would need 12 hours in port to spend a decent amount of time at all of those places!  I'm curious to see how the rest of the tour turns out and how many beaches you make it to in the end 🙂  Thanks for taking the time to write your review!

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Posted (edited)

That was quite the adventure you had in St Kitts! Definitely not my kind of tour! 

 

We we stopped in St Kitts on the Symphony Cruise we just got back from and did the Sky Safari zipline tour. We loved our tour and had a great day!

 

We have been to St Kitts twice now. I can’t believe that in two stops there, I have not even managed to stick one little toe in the water. That may have to change the next time we go there.  🐡🐠🐟 😀

Edited by perfect match

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On 5/7/2019 at 10:52 PM, mitsugirly said:

So, final comments on this James Javin My Island Tour. It was definitely something different than what we normally do. It wasn't all that bad (yea, I say that now that we have done it and it's in the past and my memory is fading lol) and we got to see more of the island than in the past.

 

The rain forest was neat and pretty and gave me some great picture opportunities. It was just a strenuous walk for most, both old and young. It was not what I was expecting at all. I had no clue we would be climbing and walking on moss covered rocks/boulders and pulling ourselves up by branches or any of that. But, it was definitely pretty and don't get me wrong, I did like it for the most part.

 

As for the lava rocks...it was a very pretty area and again, great picture opportunities. The hike down and back up the hill using the rope was somewhat difficult and there a lot of "slips" along the way (no falls). It just kinda aggravated me that they weren't doing their job of holding the rope for people to get back up and just stood there. 

 

The lunch was amazing and very yummy. They had plenty of water along the way as well.

 

Peaches was a lot of fun and entertained us the entire time.

 

The old cotton factory...just not my type of thing.

 

The snorkeling wasn't that good and not something I would ever want to do again. Then the fact that we were pretty much left to struggle on our own with no thoughts about something going wrong or supervision was just plain annoying and unsafe in my opinion. Also the distance in which we had to swim just to get there was crazy and I just think there has to be a way to go down the other side of the beach bar instead. 

 

The beach at Cockelshell...well, just not a place I like and would pick any other beach over that one. But just my opinion.

 

So, I'll let you all be the judge on whether it would be the right tour for you or not for $95 pp. Our family members did not think it was worth the actual price paid (especially after doing other things during the cruise for a much cheaper price).

 

Next time I return to St Kitts, it will be a buggy tour for us or a different beach (Frigate since we haven't been there and actually the buggy tour takes you to that beach).

Looks like a tour through the rain forest I would have like about 20 to 30 years ago.  LOL  Looked fun but don't think could do it now.  Know better half would have cared for it.  Also like you not my kind of snorkeling.  We are heading to Bermuda in October and not sure about snorkeling there but will probably still take gear in case I change my mind.  I am like you doing my own thing in the water and find everyone gone or I am off the beaten path checking things out. 

 

The Ump

John

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21 hours ago, Russ Lomas said:

If you ever do book the Oasis class, you will like the Promenade even more.  They have skylights to let real light into the Promenade from Central Park above.  Even better, once you walk thru Central Park, you might not want to ever walk thru the Promenade again.  We went up 2 or 3 floors of stairs just to walk thru Central Park then went down 2 flights again afterwards.  It is that nice.

 

Do not feel sorry for the people in the Promenade cabins.  They only pay INTERIOR rates and they get a window (2 windows in you have the family promenade cabin I mentioned to you before).  Pull the curtains and it is just like an interior room.  Open them and you can get some more light in and look down on the Promenade.  I will not even describe to you the benefits of what you get if you stay in the "Ben and Jerry Sweet" overlooking the Promenade.  You pay the same rate for that cabin and get some extra perks.  I will let you Google that one.

 

Oh, I know I will. I have seen pictures. Some day I hope!

 

I did look up the Ben & Jerry Sweet and after staying in the room we were in, it just looks so small. 😄 

 

 

21 hours ago, Russ Lomas said:

Just be glad they do not let 13 year olds in the Solarium.  When RCCL offers a "Kids Sail Free" promo from time to time, that only applies to those 12 years of age and under, so according to RCCL, a 13 year old is not a child (at least when it comes to being able to charge more for the cabins anyways).

 

But you know what? I've seen 13 year olds that look 16 so...I know they don't go around carding them. 

 

You have a good point with the "kids sail free" and not being a child after 13. Oh boy. 

 

17 hours ago, fyree39 said:

I always love your water pictures.  I haven't snorkeled since I was a kid and this makes me want to try it again.

 

Thanks so much. I just can't imagine life without snorkeling. hehe

 

14 hours ago, deladane said:

Great review so far, Kim!  Can't wait to read the rest 🙂  Your Antigua tour sounds a lot like the beach hopping tour I did in Curacao last year... when I saw that long list of beaches they recommended for your tour, I was thinking you would need 12 hours in port to spend a decent amount of time at all of those places!  I'm curious to see how the rest of the tour turns out and how many beaches you make it to in the end 🙂  Thanks for taking the time to write your review!

 

Thanks a lot! Glad you are enjoying it. 

 

I was wondering how we were going to get to all the beaches myself when he told me. But, now I know...just "seeing" them and not staying. Not at all my cup of tea!

 

12 hours ago, perfect match said:

That was quite the adventure you had in St Kitts! Definitely not my kind of tour! 

 

We we stopped in St Kitts on the Symphony Cruise we just got back from and did the Sky Safari zipline tour. We loved our tour and had a great day!

 

We have been to St Kitts twice now. I can’t believe that in two stops there, I have not even managed to stick one little toe in the water. That may have to change the next time we go there.  🐡🐠🐟 😀

 

Yes it was an adventure in St Kitts. But at least we can say we did it and managed to see more of St Kitts than ever before. Now that I've seen other areas, St Kitts is still not my favorite island. 

 

1 hour ago, theump said:

Looks like a tour through the rain forest I would have like about 20 to 30 years ago.  LOL  Looked fun but don't think could do it now.  Know better half would have cared for it.  Also like you not my kind of snorkeling.  We are heading to Bermuda in October and not sure about snorkeling there but will probably still take gear in case I change my mind.  I am like you doing my own thing in the water and find everyone gone or I am off the beaten path checking things out. 

 

The Ump

John

 

Definitely some snorkeling in Bermuda. We loved it there. But, each time was a different experience. 

 

I think Bermuda has some of the BIGGEST parrot fish I have ever seen before. They eat their Wheaties there!

 

Over at St Georges, we found Tobacco Bay to be excellent snorkeling the first time around. The second, it was still good but not as good. HERE'S SOME PICS

 

The only other place I snorkeled was at Snorkel Park. A lot of people say it's not any good, but I found a lot of decent things and it wasn't bad AT ALL.  HERE'S MY PICS     

 

There's a place called Achilles Bay too with some snorkeling. It's located in St George by St Catherines beach.

 

We absolutely loved Bermuda and I'm thinking about heading back maybe this summer. 

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Posted (edited)

Alrighty then...let's try this again. I typed up my next segment and must have hit something and it completely disappeared. 

 

 

Back closer to the shore, we found a few sea urchins. 

 

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Back at shore, there still wasn't very many people here. It was pretty awesome.

 

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Kam had made a flower pot. It was full of sand and sea weed and she tried like crazy to take it with her. When she wasn't looking, Kendra dumped it and packed the bucket away. Kam was highly upset. 

 

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My little (now big) peacock mermaid was having a blast. 

 

 

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I have a lot of issues with my camera always fogging up. You go from the heat to the cool ocean and then back to the heat and then I battle with it fogging up non-stop. It's frustrating. I have usually taken several photo's before I notice this. I'll have to remove my fish eye lens, wipe it down, put the lens back on only to repeat that over and over again to the point I get so aggravated that I'll eventually just take it off completely. 

 

 

 

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The hubby was enjoying a local beer. 

 

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Here is where Lawrence sat with the locals to keep cool. 

 

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We had been here for about an hour and figured it was time to pack up and get back on the road to the next beach. We really liked this beach. It was just so pretty and not crowded and we highly recommend it. They do have chair rental (we just wasn't going to be there long enough) and also a place for food and drinks. 

 

We pulled out at 10:42am and was on our way to the next place. 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by mitsugirly

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On the way, Lawrence started passing out drinks and the partying began with all the kids boozing it up in the back. Us adults had to remain sober and supervise these little rugrats. Shawna face-timed her mom as we were going down the street and had her convinced she was drinking on this tour and Kendra helped her along by telling her mom "yea, didn't you know the legal drinking age is 13 here?" Of course she didn't fall for it because Shawna was the only 13 year old with us and everyone else is younger. LOL

 

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Into the rain forest we went...only this rain forest tour consisted of driving. That's my kinda tour. LOL

 

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We stopped at one point and Lawrence was telling me that the "black pineapples" they grew there were amazing and some of the sweetest pineapples you can get. 

 

Well, I heard "black" and tried to take a picture. All I seen was the black hanging from what I thought was a banana tree. Hmmm

 

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Now that's a colorful house and stones. 

 

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We passed a place where people were zip-lining and all the kids were like "man, why didn't we do that instead?" I said "because I can't get Sakari to do it". Sakari said "hey, I would do that!" I told her it was higher and scarier than zip-lining at the small one at DePalm Island in Aruba that we have been to several times so how is she scared of that and not this? Maybe she is about to go back to my fearless child I used to have that would do anything???

 

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I mean she was 3 years old zip-lining in Belize all by herself.

 

 

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IMG_5252-S.jpgShe was 5 years old jumping off a 2 story deck into the ocean as well. She was just fearless back then. 

 

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That child has swam with stingrays and sharks and everything else but all of a sudden developed a fear of zip lines 2 years ago. Now all of a sudden she wants to do it again. We have a couple zip-lines here in Ohio down south and I think I'll take her this summer to "test the water" (or land) and see how she does before ever booking another zip line excursion for big money in the Caribbean.

 

 

Meanwhile, Billy felt the need for a nap...

 

 

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We were winding and twisting up and down the rain forest mountains. 

 

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Now I know he said something about this tree. Maybe it's some of the biggest trees grown there or bagillion years old? **edit** the hubby said he told us "it's over 100 years old". 

 

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He pulled over on the road, at a little market, and bought us some goodies. Well, this is the "black pineapple" he was talking about. It was GOOD! 

 

I was the lucky one who sat in the middle section of the bus and I passed it back and forth. (True story here now...) It started up front and the hubby and Billy took one each, I took one, passed it back to the kids and Kendra and they took one. Then passed it back to me, I took one, then passed it back up front and we repeated this process over and over until....Kendra caught on that I was getting a "double-dip" each time it was passed to me. Oops! LOL

 

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We came to this area and it was SO BEAUTIFUL. I was hoping this might be one of the beaches we were about to visit but it was not. This is Morris Bay! They definitely should put this place as a beach to visit or their "tour".

 

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Funny thing is, I posted one of these pictures on my SM and one of my cruise friends said they had the exact same picture. LOL It definitely wow's everyone as you come around that corner and see it. 

 

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The water was crystal clear. 

 

 

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It was just so beautiful. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

 

Then there was a field. A field with no palm trees...Kendra informed me these were the black pineapples. Ohhhhh....now I get it. So I wasn't looking down on the ground when they told us about it before and missed them.

 

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Billy woke up in time to see these houses. He was now on face-time with a friend back home and he just couldn't get over the houses on "stilts" LOL I mean we have these in the US...he don't get out much I guess. 

 

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Goats gone wild....seriously. They were all over the road and on the side. 

 

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Edited by mitsugirly

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I noticed a sign that said "Turner" on it. Now I knew there was a Turner's Beach and hoped that we were there. 

 

 

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This was our next stop. It was Turners Beach. (Our driver in the picture below-very tall). 

 

 

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We came up to the eating area and a very short older gentleman came up to us and introduced himself. "Hi, I'm Lawrence. Are you enjoying the tour and our beaches?"  😮🤣

 

Oops, I had thought this entire time we were touring with Lawrence.

 

When we stopped, our no-named driver, who I will now have to refer to as Mr NotLawrence, told us that if we were hungry, this would be an excellent place to stop and eat if we wanted. He said the service was fast and the food was good. 

 

 

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The beach was beautiful and the water was amazing. However, no palms trees lining the beach like I like. Darnit. 

 

 

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I immediately set out to find us a place in the sand. From the looks of things, we weren't about to find any shade on this beach. 

 

 

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It was pretty crowded here too. It's obviously a popular beach. 

 

 

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The boys said they were hungry and was about to order something. I really wasn't hungry and wanted to just "snack" on something like fries. Sakari only wanted fries as well. So, I sent the hubby after 2 orders of fries for us. 

 

This is what a crazy salty beach hair looks like. 

 

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There was a guy walking by with a donkey and asking if you wanted to take pictures. What does this guy do when his donkey goes potty on the nice clean beach?

 

 

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Sakati knows to put her 100 spf sunscreen on. This will be the first cruise we really didn't burn and feel uncomfortable for a few days. Good for us. Sakari always does nothing but tan anyhow but I still make her put it on. 

 

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I decided to go exploring....Sakari and Kambriah came with me. B and Shawna headed for the water instead. 

 

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Sakari found a crab. It was dead, but Shawna didn't know that and it would be the perfect opportunity to scare this child that has never seen any of this stuff before. LOL

 

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I really didn't see any areas that looked good for snorkeling. This was more of a "beach only" type of visit for us. I did see several people head out in this area along the shore, but they weren't there for very long before they came back. I imagine there wasn't much to see. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I couldn't get the kids out of the water at this point. They were just not cooperating for any pictures. Kam, jumped for joy and decided to be my guinea pig. 

 

Floating above the water kid...man she really got pretty high up!

 

 

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Since she did something for me, I had to let her bury my feet in the sand. 

 

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The kids having a blast trying to ride the waves in....

 

 

 

 

Well now....for some reason I am missing the rest of my pictures from this beach. I'll have to stop for awhile and see why they didn't upload the rest of them when I get home some time later tonight. Darnit. 

Edited by mitsugirly

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14 hours ago, skidawg79 said:

Wow that water at turner beach! 

 

 

Isn't it beautiful!

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So the hubby came back with mine and Sakari's fries....

 

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Only it wasn't 2 orders of fries. He said they didn't just sell fries. I thought that was weird. I really wasn't too hungry (enough to eat a cheeseburger) but Sakari really just wanted fries so she ate the fries and I ended up with the cucumber cheeseburger instead. It was yummy I have to admit.

 

One thing I did find interesting is that this place serves you on REAL plates! Not plastic or throw away.

 

The kids continued to play in the water until the very end.

 

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We had been here for about 1 hour and it was time to pack up and head to the next place.

 

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Lawrence said his goodbyes and we headed to the bus with Mr NotLawrence and off we went.

 

 

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Now I guess Mr NotLawrence was going to head to each beach along this area and let us take a look and if it was something we wanted to stop at for a while, he'd stop. Otherwise, he'd keep going.

 

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Next up was supposed to be Darkwood beach, but when we got to this one, he said it was Ffryes Bay. Once I laid eyes on the water toys...I knew this wasn't the place we wanted to stay. With this many kids, it just wasn't a good idea to have to deal with resisting the temptation not to play on them for the youngsters. So, we kept going...

 

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The next place we came to was Valley Church Beach.

 

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This place reminded me of Aruba. You can drive down the street and find all these neat places to stop, pull up under a tree in the car, and head out to swim. There were tons of trees everywhere with several cars parked by them and I thought this would be a nice place.

 

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He kept driving on down to where everyone parked. It was the "crowded area" with beach chairs, tons of people, and a concession stand. Hmmm, that's not at all what I was looking for. I told him to turn around and go over by the non-crowded area and the trees. That's what we were looking for.

 

He turned around and ask where I'd like to be. He tried to park at the very end of the parking lot (which was a little far away) and I said "Are you not able to pull up where the trees are to park? Like, where the other cars are parked? He said, "oh, you want to go down there...." So he went to an area we picked out and we all got out and found a spot. Then....he drove off back to the parking lot. LOL Ok, obviously he wasn't going to park there like the other cars so I gave up on the point I was trying to make. I was hoping he'd stay there so we didn't have to unload everything and we would also have cold drinks.

 

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This is where we ended up at and it was the perfect spot.

 

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We ended up enjoying the rest of the day here.

 

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Funny faces

 

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Billy played ball with the kids in the water. They really had him hopping around all over that beach. 

 

 

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Awesome review. Freedom is my favorite Royal ship. I can't wait to see what she looks like after her drydock.

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They had some really neat "tent" rentals there. I guess it's a tent campground and you can rent these.

 

 

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Except they are not just your every day tent....they are "luxury tents".   When we walked past them, someone was opening theirs and holy mother of god they were nice! They have a full-size bed in them...like a bed! Like with bedposts and all. They have dressers and a couch and just wow. It was like a little studio apartment. How crazy was that?

 

When I got home, I looked them up and it was around $1100 to stay in for 8 days.

 

We decided to walk down the beach and to the concession stand for something cold to drink.

 

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I guess it wasn't too overly crowded here. From the parking lot, all I could see was the sea of chairs lined up. But, when we walked the beach, a lot of them were empty.

 

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I absolutely loved the colors of this concession stand. If I had a house in the Caribbean, I'd want to do it like this. 😄

 

 

Now every place we have stopped at has had pop for $1 a can. This place was outrageous and charged $3 I think it was.

 

 

 

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As we headed back to our spot, after getting drinks, we stopped in the parking lot to ask Mr NotLawrence what time would be a good time to be leaving. He replied around 3pm.

 

 

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There were areas along the beach where the tide has come in and it created little areas of shells and crushed shells as well. It was so pretty and felt so neat as I ran my hand through it.

 

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We had a fun and a relaxing day hanging out here. It was partly cloudy by the time we arrived here and we were able to just sit and hang out and talk while the kids enjoyed the water most of the time. 

 

Then at one point, the clouds went away and the sun was blaring down on us and that was our queue to get ready to pack up.

 

It was almost 3pm and knew this adventure was just about to end. We didn't make it to the last beach, Jolly Beach, and I don't believe he bothered to even show it to us nor did I see it as we passed it. We had been here for 1 1/2 hours.

 

I took a few more pictures as we packed up our things.

 

 

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Mr NotLawrence pulled up across the street and we all piled in and off we went.

 

 

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I always look forward to your reviews, and they have been super helpful on previous trips!  We did the Freedom in 2018 and loved the ship, the Freedom class is my absolute favorite of the Royal ships. 

 

We started booking more Carnival and MSC cruises because our family outgrew the royal rooms and my kids no longer willingly shared the double sofa bed.  I was so excited to see your pics of the ultra spacious room.  I showed my husband last night.  Good to know that we have some options!!!  Thanks so much for the info 🙂

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