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tiggerman101

Victory Review 3/22/09 With Pics

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My DH and I are going on this cruise 5/24 and I am getting so many great ideas from your review--Thanks so much for sharing. Your Dominica excursion was amazing, but though my DH could easily manage the hike, I know I would have to be left behind and catch up with a group a few WEEKS later!! :p Did you hear about any tours, excursions, etc that sounded good without needing to be in such good shape to enjoy? We had wanted to go on the Champagne Reef Snorkeling excursion through Carnival, but it isn't offered when we're on our cruise.

 

Keep the review coming...

 

Levi (Bumpiing Tours) does other tours. I mentioned earlier that we'll be with him when we're in Dominica (4 weeks from this past Tuesday) and we're doing his Roseau Valley Treasures tour (which hits all the main sights but doesn't have so much hiking involved).

 

http://www.bumpiingtours.com/cruise-ship-visitors.html

 

Tiggerman - I am a little concerned about the swimming, though. I'm not really a swimmer, but Levi assured me I'd be OK with the swim belt and with his help (or whomever we have as a guide). I'd hate to go all that way and not get through the cave to see the waterfall.

 

OK, now must go back and read about Barbados.

 

PS: I believe it was Hurricane David that hit Dominica

 

Yep! Thanks, Google!

 

http://www.cakafete.com/dm/davidphotos.html

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From the banana fields we drove up into the mountains again. This time our driver stopped at a random place on the side of the road. We all got out and he showed up a local tree that had some edible fig like pods on it. It was quite interesting and they tasted pretty good. I have no idea what they were called. He did pull a bunch of the tree for us and they ended up in the backseat with us. This concerned Wade because he always wants to make sure we keep a van/car, etc clean whenever we go on an excursion. He tells me he feels awful if people have to clean up after him. He is the kind of guy that picks up and wipes down the cabin before the room steward comes.

 

After that it was off to another scenic lookout point above one of St Lucia's many fishing villages.

 

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This is where I learned an important lesson in St Lucia. Just go ahead and buy a necklace or something the first chance you get. Everywhere you stop you will have locals hounding you with necklaces. Now, they are not rude or pushy at all, but they can be persistent. I went ahead and bought one for each of us to put on. This way whenever we stopped people knew that we had already bought something and supported the locals. Believe me, this will save you a lot of grief. So we drove further on and again stopped on the side of the road. Curtis wanted us to try some coconut water. So he bought us two unripe coconuts from the side of the road. After cutting a hole in them and allowing us to drink the water, he cut of the top of the coconut. He then showed us how to eat the jelly inside that was full of nutrients and very good for you. Wade loved it.

 

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There was also a man with a boa constrictor. He started to come over and I laughed. Wade is deathly afraid of snakes. I do mean over the top afraid. I just watched his eyes get big as he started to stutter and run off for the car. I just signaled him away and we headed off. Our next stop was where they made Cassava bread in this small hut. We were shown the whole process and then Curtis had us pick out what kind we would like to try. Again he paid for this. Our collection in the car was becoming quite big and we know had a ton to eat back there.

 

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Curtis had asked us early on what we wanted to do that day. He was open to anything. I told him to just show us his homeland and take us wherever he thought we would enjoy. He was consistently checking on us to make sure everything was alright. All I told him was that I wanted to go south to checkout the Pitons. After the Cassava bread we headed up into the mountains again and then stopped at our next lookout. There was the mystical Pitons with the former capitol of Soufriere.

 

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I stood there fir awhile and just gawked. This is another case of a picture not being able to come close to the reality. To me, the Pitons were more then just a beautiful piece of scenery. They had some kind of drawl to them that I cannot explain. I was in awe at the sight of them. We would get other views and eventually get closer to them, but this was my first grand vision of the two.

 

At this point Curtis asked if we had wanted to go to a beach and if so which one. I mentioned Jalousie beach and he said that wouldn't be a problem, but he wanted us to see the "Drive-in" Volcano first. Off we went to one of the worst smelling places I have ever been to. It is basically a collapsed volcano that still has activity running underneath it. We parked (I think there was a fee, but Curtis paid it) and from there you get out and they assign you a guide. There isn't a lot to the place, no long trail, etc. We walked over to a viewing area and the guide told us all about it. It is very interesting and there was a lot to learn.

 

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Now we are talking volcano here so of course there was a very heavy sulfur smell in the air. This wasn't just a scent either. After a few minutes I felt like it was permeating my entire body. I didn't mind it, but it was very powerful. Walking back towards the parking area we saw trails that led down to the mud baths. There is a lot of medicinal value in the mud and these people were caking it on like mad.

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So after the "Drive In" volcano we headed off to Jalousie Beach. There is an interesting story here. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to get there without paying for the water taxi. However, you can get there from the road now. The beach is actually part of a very expensive resort. Originally they tried to completely restrict access to the beach from their road. The government stepped in and said they could not do this. After that they said people could park way up at the top by the gate and then just walk down. Now this is a long way and I would never want to walk back up. Again the government said that this was not good enough and they would have to come up with a different solution. Now, you park at the gate to the resort and they will call their small van to pick you up. They then drive you down to the beach and you just go to then when you want to go back. The vans are pretty small and I am sure this is on purpose. This way large groups cannot get down there.

 

So Curtis parked at the gate to the resort and they sent the van to come pick Wade and I up. We could have spent as long as we wanted there as Curtis waited in the car. However, we knew there was more to see so we just told him we would be back in 45 min. The parking area is right below Petit Piton and it was a really good up close view.

 

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The driver picked us up and we settled into the van. He didn't seem thrilled about it and reminded me a bit of Lurch from the Adams Family. Still, he did provide some info about the resort and showed us around a bit. At the bottom there is a large pool area, a bar and restaurant, and then the beach itself.

 

Wade at the pool area.

 

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The beach is spectacular and one of the most scenic I have ever been to. It is actually a volcanic beach, but the resort spend a ton of money to truck in white sand. It is nestled in between the Pitons and the water is a remarkable clear jade color. Beautiful.

 

 

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We stayed there for about 30 mins, sitting on the dock and just marveling at the beauty. This was one of those moments that doesn't feel quite real. However, the sun was very real and it was scorching down on that beach. We walked back to the drop off point and the driver took us back up. Curtis was waiting for us with fresh drinks in hand and we settled back into the van. Driving off he did stop at another look out point for a final view of Petit Piton

 

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We were headed for the St Lucia Botanical Gardens. Of course there was another scenic view on the way. This island just kept going and going with it's views.

 

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Off to the Botanical Gardens. The place was very nice. Once you pay at the gate they assign a tour guide to you. Now the tour guide is "free" but they do make a point to inform you they do not get paid except for tips. No big deal as I always appreciate good service. Our guide was very informative stopping to point out all the unique plants and flowers. There was a lot to see here and it was beautiful to walk through the place. Near the bird sanctuary I had Wade snap a picture on a bridge. I figured my Mother would eat this one up because of the cheese factor. Honestly, it looks like I crashed an Olen Mills session.

 

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We also stopped to hear a demonstration of all of St Lucia's spices, nuts etc. It was very well done and we tried a few of the different beans laid out. At the end of the garden was a path back to Diamond Falls. They also had some mineral pools that you could climb in and try and a gift shop with the usual stuff. Diamond Falls is pretty neat. According to the minerals present the fall itself changes colors, etc. Of course we had the guide snap a picture.

 

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We made our way back out to the street and met Curtis once again. This time we drove into another fishing town and stopped at a house there. Curtis wanted to run in and get us some fresh baked bread. Wade and I got out to stretch our legs and take in the town. As I mentioned before, every time we stopped there were locals around to sell you necklaces. I also said they are not rude at all but can be very persistent. It has never really bothered me in any port where this occurs, but Wade gets a bit unnerved because he feels bad that he can't buy everything from everybody.

 

So we stood by the car next to this bridge going over a small stream.

 

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I got curious and wanted to see the stream itself so I climbed up the embankment. Down on the other side I saw two ladies washing clothes. Suddenly one lady snapped her head up and looked directly at me with these big bulging eyes. It was as if I was a five pound bag of pot and she was an airport drug dog. She had sniffed me out. All of a sudden she reaches down, grabs something and holds her hands up high screaming "You!". Of course she was holding an armful of necklaces and I could tell she was going to come at me with a vengeance. I ran down the embankment to the car where Wade was just standing there staring at me. He kept asking me what was wrong. All I could do was furiously look back over my shoulder at the bank. Feeling like I was trapped in a bad zombie movie I just sputtered "Shes coming!.... and she has necklaces!".

 

Wade's eyes grew big and I saw the panic set in. He was trying to get the car door back open, but couldn't quite get it. "How much time do we have??" he yelled while looking at the building that Curtis had gone into. I could tell he was contemplating making a run for it. We looked back at the bridge and there she was, arm extended coming straight at us. I ran to the other side of the car, but poor Wade just froze up. She went straight at him and pinned him up against the back of the car. I could tell that Wade had reached full panic mode. His eyes were wide and he had no way of escaping. At this point I just busted out laughing which didn't help Wade to calm down at all. The lady persisted, arms flying right and left and necklaces jangling in Wades face. I couldn't tell what she was saying, I could just hear Wades poor sobs of refusal. Finally Curtis came out to the car and joined me in the laughter. It really was a funny sight. Curits politely talked to the lady and got her to back off. We then jumped in the car and headed off. Oh yea, the bread was absolutly deliousous. It was nice and hot.

 

We drove some more and Curtis took us up to the overlook of Marigot Bay. This is also the local "Hurricane Hole" for small ships.

 

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Our final stop was to view our ship from up high and have one last grand scenic view.

 

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Curtis did keep asking us if there was anything else we wanted to do. He offered to drop us off in town to shop while he waited for us. However, it was getting late and I wanted a little time on the Lido deck since I had yet to be up there during the day. he dropped us back at the port and I paid him while adding a very nice tip. As I said the tour was $100 a person. It might seem like a bit much, but it was entirely worth it to have our own driver and the ability to dictate our experience as we wanted. Curtis also paid for just about everything we did. I really felt like it was a bargain and would not hesitate to use Fabian Tours again. If you want a great, but private excursion, then please look them up. I can't say enough good things about our day in St Lucia.

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Tiggerman,

 

Now you have me laughing out loud! You should give some serious thought to writing travel reviews for a living. I think I'm going to print this out when you're finished and give it to my husband to read on the flight to San Juan. It will be a perfect way to transition from work to cruise! :cool: Thanks and I can't wait to read more...

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Ohh...you are making me think that 2011 is too far away! This is what I want hubby and I to do for our 30th anniversary. Thanks for the great review!!!!!

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I can't wait to read more! We are sailing on the Victory in November, and reading your review is helping build up the excitement! :D

Erin

 

When are you going in November? I am scheduled for 29 Nov, which puts most of the cruise in December. Taking my brother and sil for their 1st.

 

Love this review as well. Can't wait for more of the reviews...and can't wait for the cruise even more now.

 

:cool:Brad:cool:

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Getting back on the ship I decided we decided to grab a snack (of course, a "snack on a cruise ship means a full plate of buffet food for us!). I then laid out on the Lido deck for a bit before heading down to the room to get ready for formal night. I found it a little odd that the two formal nights were so close together, but again, no big deal.

 

Wade and I heading on our balcony before dinner.

 

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We were also treated to a nice sunset on from the balcony so here is the obligatory picture of that.

 

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Dinner was nice as usual. Being in the restaurant business I am always impressed by the level of service we receive on our cruises in the dining room. Our table had gotten past the initial "icebreaker" stage and we were having a lot of fun every night. i was very happy to know that our table mates (all of which were on their first cruise) were having a blast and loving every minute of it. When we got back to the room we had my personal favorite towel animal waiting on us. I think Wade was imitating him here. Kind of scary.

 

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We changed and did our nightly ship tour and went to the show. Tonight was "Vrooom!" It was very well done and a certain crowd pleaser even if it seemed like a bunch of songs strung together with no coherent plot. This is not a negative on the show at all, just an observation. It was very enjoyable. I am sure that I also threw more money at the casino God's who were just laughing at me at this point. The night ended with another long talk on the balcony with my neighbor's. This is a picture of all of us together.

 

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Our other neighbor's were a couple who were also on our Roll Call. They were a lot of fun as well, though I didn't see them as much. Our aft balcony became quite the social spot. Often Wade would be talking to one neighbor while I talked to the others, etc. We had a blast out there and I loved the balcony. Of course the view of the wake is always trance inducing and peaceful to me. I really enjoyed having that right outside my cabin. This was a different night, but someone wanted me to post a view from our balcony so here is one of Wade out there.

 

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We found that we were going to sleep pretty early every night, but this was a very active cruise. We were happy to know that we could sleep in a bit the next morning. We had a group from our Roll Call heading to Jolly Beach all inclusive resort the next day in Antigua. I was looking forward to a nice beach day again.

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:eek: I have not laughed this hard in a long time. This is the most fantastic review I have ever read. I am booked for Nov 29 and this has just revitalized my anxiousness for my own cruise. My cabin is the wrap around balcony just next to your cabin I believe.

 

This is precisely how I like to catalog experiences. They aren't all perfect but they certainly are memorable. You and Wade must be very lucky to have each other as partners and friends. You need to publish all the dates of your future cruises so those of us who wish to join you can do so...:D

 

Thank you so much for the time and effort for this review. And actually thank you for going on the cruise in the first place.

 

Just my 2 cents worth,

 

Brad

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LMAO at Thong Man! My 4 year old step-daughter took a look at him and couldn't stop staring! I thought he was so tacky! I will NEVER forget him. I was sure someone would tell him to put some clothes on!

 

It was funny how by the end of the cruise everyone on the ship knew who he was. I see he made a lasting impression on you as well.

 

NCTribe- Thanks for sharing the info about bumpiing tours. He does provide other tours as well that do not include Middleham Falls. I think these would be pretty accessible to most anyone. Also, don't worry too much about Titou Gorge. The swim belts will keep you afloat and I felt safe the whole time. If you do feel uncomfortable at any point (which I doubt you will) just stay near the guide. He will help you out. Do the swim though. It is amazing inside the gorge. Very beautiful.

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:eek: I have not laughed this hard in a long time. This is the most fantastic review I have ever read. I am booked for Nov 29 and this has just revitalized my anxiousness for my own cruise. My cabin is the wrap around balcony just next to your cabin I believe.

 

This is precisely how I like to catalog experiences. They aren't all perfect but they certainly are memorable. You and Wade must be very lucky to have each other as partners and friends. You need to publish all the dates of your future cruises so those of us who wish to join you can do so...:D

 

Thank you so much for the time and effort for this review. And actually thank you for going on the cruise in the first place.

 

Just my 2 cents worth,

 

Brad

 

Thank you very much Brad. Wade and I have a lot of fun together and love to travel. Our future cruise dates are in my signature. We have an aft wrap booked on the Freedom in October and I can't wait to try it out. I hope your aft wrap is on deck six. As we were waiting to be called to disembark we noticed the people had already vacated the one near us. We snuck down and took a peek at it. You are in for a real treat. The room layout made the cabin itself seem so much larger. As you well know the balcony is outstanding. After seeing that cabin Wade is pumped to get in ours on the Freedom.

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Thank you for your very enjoyable and informative reviews and your stunning photos. You sure do have a knack for writing. We will be on this cruise on May 3rd and I can't wait to read the rest of your review! We had "Speedo-Man" on our last cruise. A different speedo every day and a different tuxedo every night, not just formal nights. Everyone on the ship knew him too. Thanks again for the terrific review!

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Thank you very much Brad. Wade and I have a lot of fun together and love to travel. Our future cruise dates are in my signature. We have an aft wrap booked on the Freedom in October and I can't wait to try it out. I hope your aft wrap is on deck six. As we were waiting to be called to disembark we noticed the people had already vacated the one near us. We snuck down and took a peek at it. You are in for a real treat. The room layout made the cabin itself seem so much larger. As you well know the balcony is outstanding. After seeing that cabin Wade is pumped to get in ours on the Freedom.

 

Great review and pictures.

 

You're going to love the aft wrap. Had one on the Destiny and have one on our May 10 Victory cruise.

 

Again, great review.

 

Sea ya!!!

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We have sailed on Royal Caribbean, for the last 9 years, we are considering the Victory, as we sail exclusively out of San Juan every year. I was looking of some input on what everyone thinks of the Vicory, the ship itself, (condition, dated showing wear, is it clean?) cruise staff (are they a happy bunch), food, (both in MDR, and Lido any supper club), finally cabins, (condition, frig's in cabins?, bed's comfortable? ) Formal nights (I love to dress up!!! Would I be out of place with an evening gown?).

 

I would like to try Carinval, we sailed on the Fascination, out of SJU, 13 years ago, liked the ship, thought the food was fine, in the MDR, but lunch was Kraft bottled salad dressings and cold cuts. I eat that way at home, but on vacation I would like alturnatives.

 

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!! RCI has changed it's loyaty program, so we are jumping ship!!!!!!!!

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Thank you again for your wonderful review! I truly love your writing style!

 

We'll be sailing on Victory in September. Which island would you suggest for snorkeling? Do you have any pics of inside of your cabin? We booked a balcony GTY. Needless to say we have yet to find out our room number. This is our first cruise and your review has me very excited and anxious for September to get here!

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When are you going in November? I am scheduled for 29 Nov, which puts most of the cruise in December. Taking my brother and sil for their 1st.

 

Love this review as well. Can't wait for more of the reviews...and can't wait for the cruise even more now.

 

:cool:Brad:cool:

 

We are leaving on November 8.....just a few weeks before you....I promise to keep the ship in wonderful shape for you...:D

Erin

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Love the review and pictures. We are going on this cruise in 3 days (yeah)! I have to thank you because of your review we are now booked with levi on Dominca. We actually didn't know what we were going to do and were thinking of making a sea day out of it. We would have missed out on a great island and experience if I hadn't been so captivated by your review. Can't wait to read the rest!

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Day 6- Antigua

 

As I said I had planned this to be a relaxed beach day. Those of you that have been on this cruise, and those of you that are going on it in the future, know what a difficult cruise this is to plan for. Not only is there a port everyday, but I also tried to balance everything out so we weren't exhausted and drooling on ourselves by the time we had to debark the ship. This is why I kind of alternated the ports from beach to adventure. I do not regret any of the things we did. However, if I were to go back to Antigua, I would probably do some sort of island tour. I thought the island would be flat like Barbados. In fact it has a lot of different environments and mountains that I would like to explore someday. I choose to go to Jolly Beach Resort for the all inclusive day pass. Again, I do not regret this at all. Considering the amount of activities we were doing over the course of the whole trip, this was a much needed day of reprieve.

 

Anyway, we pulled into the port on Antigua pretty early and did the usual stuff.

 

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Our trip that day had been put together by the one and only Jodi. A wonderful woman who pulled a lot of our Roll Call together. Her and her husband Tom also accompanied us on the Dominica tour. Once we had figured out who from our Roll Call was going to Jolly Beach Resort Jodi contacted a driver to take us at a really good deal ($12 each round trip). About a month before the cruise I contacted the resort and requested day passes from them by email. They were very prompt and we were told we would be on the list for the day ($60 each). We had decided to meet right past the dock at 10:00 am. That way we could all somewhat sleep in and take some morning time.

 

The drive over there was nice and our driver patiently answered all our questions about the island. Most of us knew each other by now so we were all immediately relaxed. The resort process was quick and painless. We paid and they gave us an armband. It was all inclusive so we had free reign of the two pools, the beach and chairs, the open bars scattered about and also a buffet lunch. The two pools were very nice. One was smaller and quiet. It was on one side and remained sparse the whole day.

 

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The other one had all the action. It was a really big pool with a swim up bar. The bar had stools you could sit on which were very nice. There were also tables in the pool itself that you could sit around. Pretty neat.

 

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The view of the beach from the pool area was also beautiful

 

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They had a few bars scattered about, but they also had frozen drink machines set up in various places. This included Pina Colads, Strawberry and Mango. You just walked up and got your own. They were all non-alcoholic coming out of the machine, but they left a bottle of rum next to every machine so you could pour it in if you wanted and as much as you wanted. You could also just walk up to the bar and they would make you anything you wanted. Wade had a mudslide and trust me, they did not skimp on the alcohol.

 

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The buffet for lunch was, well it was a buffet. They did have a man grilling burgers and chicken to order. It was good and like I always say about buffets, it fit its pourpose.

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Love love love your review! My friend and I will be sailing next year and as someone who loves sea days, I have to admit I'm a little "worried" about a port intensive sailing. One of my friends sailed in December and he's given me some opinions on which ports to lay low in though.

 

Of course, I've asked him 3x already and yet again, can't remember which ports he recommended. :o

 

I'm definitely enjoying seeing how you spent your days though!

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Wonderful Review, I'm so excited to be going on this cruise in Jan. 2010.

 

Thanks so much!!

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