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Sojourn - Caribbean: When your vacation plans get trumped

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52 minutes ago, saminina said:

 

Have you found a real bartender on board?

 

Seabourn's web site says, "Van Flandern will use fresh produce, botanicals and flavor profiling to create a unique list of handcrafted cocktails that take advantage of the local markets that Seabourn ships visit. Guests will enjoy a number of fresh,  balanced, remarkably tasty, food-friendly cocktails with flavors from around the world. Additionally, he will work with our bar team to standardize the classics to provide guests with the same perfectly balanced and served cocktail throughout their cruise. "

 

Perhaps a little bit optimistic.

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22 minutes ago, Videopark said:

 

Seabourn's web site says, "Van Flandern will use fresh produce, botanicals and flavor profiling to create a unique list of handcrafted cocktails that take advantage of the local markets that Seabourn ships visit. Guests will enjoy a number of fresh,  balanced, remarkably tasty, food-friendly cocktails with flavors from around the world. Additionally, he will work with our bar team to standardize the classics to provide guests with the same perfectly balanced and served cocktail throughout their cruise. "

 

Perhaps a little bit optimistic.

Cocktails in the Grill were outstanding.

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3 hours ago, saminina said:

 

Have you found a real bartender on board?

At TK grill they were excellent but we were told we could only have drinks from that bartender if we were dining.

Never really found a real bartender. However, I understand the bar manager is back and I heard Damian boarded when we disembarked. If you find him, I think you will be happy. Sorry I missed him. 

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I think they may be straying the cocktail program (the return of the powdered mix, the bought in Bloody Mary mix, no sign of the giant ice spheres etc...)  The lack of a bar manager hurt in that position being empty somehow meant the supervisory bartenders couldn't properly stock their bars so options that are normally available ship wide were only available at certain bars (eg: Belvedere).  Further refills didn't generally happen, if a bar ran out of something it would be at least until the following day before the item was seen again.  While this wasn't always the case, it seemed the willingness of bartenders to bring items in from other bars was erratic.

 

The Herald and Menus from the 30th (I'm excluding the always available and TK Grill as they don't change - however TK Grill should as it does have a special item each evening)

30H_C.pdf 30H_I.pdf 30M_Cov_Col.pdf 30M_R_EO.pdf

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The second sea day was a trying time.  Not only did I manage to request the worst knock off cocktail I've ever had but I found out the CD and chunk of the internet believe that San Francisco bay is landlocked.  Sad times indeed.

 

Prior to leaving for the trip I heard a customer in a local haunt order a drink comprised of chocolate vodka and champagne.  Unfortunately he didn't know the name or exactly what else may have been in the drink.  While on board Sojourn I figured I'd give the drink a try.  Seabourn doesn't carry chocolate flavored vodka but they do have Godiva liqueur.  I asked the bartender to combine the new champagne (finally the NickF is gone!) with some regular vodka and the Godiva.  Initially it just foamed.  A lot.  When the foam had subsided I was left with something that resembled chocolate coagulated egg whites along with dirty champagne.  The drink tasted of bubbly chocolate (not bad) but the texture - no thank you.  It turns out the drink I was looking to reproduce is a Campfire Champagne Cocktail (chocolate flavored vodka, champagne with a Graham cracker rim).

 

Highly not recommended.

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Lunch today was in the Restaurant and most of us opted for the "Choose your own adventure Steak Tartare" adventure kit.  Had I known Chef Jes was on I would have gone with his version (🤐).

 

We were the raws and the each made our own version and had a taste off.  I think everyone won.

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As I already had a camera out, why not a little dessert?

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I was able to play a game Trivia.  Similar to Where's Waldo it's "Where's the Sam Adams from this time" game.  For the last few cruises on Seabourn and Regent (locale doesn't seem to matter) the text on the back has been the same.

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Thankfully they are still flaming the essential oils.

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The purple hue makes me think Barney the Dinosaur or Tinky Winky the Teletubby will make an appearance.

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Want to know where the veal from the previous nights menu ends up (possibly)?

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I could not remember if it was on Seabourn or a different line where one of the trivia questions was how many crystals are in the chandelier.  So I asked.  

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This was the night the special pre-cruise order stone crab claws were served (oddly they don't really resemble the majority of the claws that come up in a GIS).  They brought on enough for a nice appetizer for all five of us.  I thought they were good, but the request process was not what I'd expected.

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Day 4 was the 1st of December and we docked in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Instead of going with a ships tour we went with Tours by Locals, did a quick walk/drive through of Old San Juan, visited El Morro and then headed out to La Ruta del Lechón.

 

Herald/Menus from the 1st.

 

1H_C.pdf 1H_I.pdf 1M_Cov_Col.pdf 1M_R_EO.pdf

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I think Senor Frogs has moved since I last visited.  A boon for those stumbling between there and their ship.  The more interesting change since my last visit was that there were two pharmacies at the end of our pier.  Useful as it seems Seabourn no longer sells sundries in the shop.

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A local legend of some Catholics having a procession scaring away marauding Englishmen created the basis for this set of statues.  Apparently it's only a legend.

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The old main gate into town.

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Unconcerned cat is unconcerned.

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Our guide claimed this stand was the best place for coffee in Old San Juan.

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Public fountain and child washer?

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The tree may say Christmas but to me the weather said "not so much".

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The building is as wide as the white space surrounding the door.

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Security Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice

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I have no idea.

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I'm not sure if this flag came out for the Holidays or some other reason.

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Yeah...no.

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A view looking back at the flag, it stretched quite a distance.

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Eventually we made our way out of the center of OSJ and towards El Morro.

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The Bacardi factory is to the left of the power plant.  I've been once and didn't have an overwhelming desire to return.

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The entrance to El Morro.

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The former human sentries have been replaced by a scalier version.

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After leaving OSJ we headed to La Ruta del Lechón or the Pork Highway.  Christmas time is a very busy time of year for the restaurants along the highway as family's will spend Sundays together feasting on the lechon.

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Seabourn does have sundries. You ask and they are shut away in a closet. Supposedly someone doesn’t like them out

 

I miss Karl!  I had heard he is not sailing but with corporate. I’d sail on Viking if I knew he was on board

 

How did I not see you and Big Boy?

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You may have seen me.  My friends only brought the "Big Boy" out for trivia, some crew photos and dinner in the Restaurant.  If I wasn't ashore I was usually at the Patio or Sky bars or the Observation bar.

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2 December was originally going to be in Marigot, St. Martin. However due to potentially rough seas precluding tendering we went to the the Dutch side and were docked in Philipsburg Sint Maarten. This had a few benefits, the first was we were docked instead of tendering the second was we would be the only ship in port (though it did mean we'd not be able to see tourists vie for Darwin awards at the airport).

We ended up walking from the ship to the boardwalk and passing some rather colorfully named bars. One of which we stopped at to enjoy a local libation. From the Dominican Republic. Afterwards we walked to and then past the ship to visit the only brewery on the island. It was an interesting setup. They had a interesting choice of ceiling decoration. The beers were decent - definitely different than the Carib lager most places will tout as local.

 

2H_C.pdf 2H_I.pdf 2M_Col.pdf 2M_R_EO.pdf

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I think this yacht or ones similar to it stalk me.

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In case you forgot where you were about 200 yards after leaving the ship

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The ships dock right on top of the shopping mall which is conveinant for RCCI and Carnival as IIRC they own most of those shops.  

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There were no shuttles from the ship to the boardwalk/town (this is one port that IMO could've used shuttles).  We walked from the ship to the boardwalk to see some colorfully named bars.

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That name was a little too much, even for me so we opted for a place with a cleaner name.

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We had a local but not local beer before walking back towards the ship.

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As we had walked in via the boardwalk we walked out of town through the central part (Central tourist trap).

It's always frustrating when you have a shot lined up and someone wanders into the frame.  It's not nearly as aggravating as the people that will watch what you're doing, see you're taking a picture of something from a specific spot and then immediately jump in front of you to take that picture.

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Sometimes if you wait a minute they wander off and no one wanders in again.  

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I think every mall needs a bar like this

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Thankfully I'm not an anise fan so Absinthe never took me on a trip to see the green fairy.

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I did manage to snap a shot of the green fairy however.

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Between the port and the town was an air-conditioned(!) shop that sold a lot of kitschy things as well as Dutch cheeses and the local Guava berry rum.  It was this type of place:

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After enjoying the air conditioning the shop had to offer we walked past the port to reach the only brewery on the island.  They had three bottled beers available to taste and we given a "sample" of their as of then un-released IPA (they were setting up the bottling line so the beer itself was uncarbonated).  I think the IPA was my favorite as it was more true to style than the obnoxiously hoppy West Coast (too much hops just aren't enough) IPAs.

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If you somehow tasted too much you can fall over and stare at the ceiling.

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That night we had a sailaway party.

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Where the F&B Manager was acting as a bartender

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The nights grazing options in the Observation bar

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