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lschrage

AOS 12/5/04 Review - Part 8

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Hi there-

 

I'm back with the next installment of our 12/5 Adventure cruise. As a refresher, the people in our group consisted of:

 

Myself - 35

Hubby - 36

BIL (Hubby's brother) - 35

SIL (Hubby's sister) - 34

Nephew (hubby's sister's son) - 6

Neice (hubby's sister's daughter) - 3

MIL - low 60's

 

Friday, 12/10 - St. Maarten

 

Today, was to be a great day in St. Maartan. Originally I had wanted to go to Orient Beach first thing in the morning and stay till about noon, where we head back to town to do some shopping. Unfortunately my plan was shot to pieces last night by BIL and the rest of the family since they were starting to get sick of getting up early.

 

That being the case, we ended up eating breakfast around 9:30 or so in the Windjammer, where we had no problems finding a place to sit as the majority of people were already off the ship. By the time we actually left the ship it was after 10:30, and I was a little annoyed since we had already missed 2.5 hours of the island.

 

Well, we took the water taxi ($3 each way of $5 unlimited day use) to Front Street area, which added some additional time. We started out shopping together, but after about an hour, we realized this was a mistake. We did manage to hit this one fabulous souvenir store where I bought a very cute sweatshirt and some Margarita Body Lotion (smells wonderful). They had mini steel drums there that would be great for kids, and the cutest tshirts and tank tops. After that we headed for some more stores. The guys were quickly becoming bored, and I still wanted to do some jewelry shopping.

 

It was after 12:00 and we had then decided to split up. SIL, BIL, and the kids would do a little bit more shopping, go back to the ship to drop their stuff off and get their beach stuff and then head to Orient Beach on their own. MIL and I would continue to powershop and then go back to the ship to get my hubby who would rest in our cabin until we got back (hubby had too much sun yesterday and wanted to stay out of the sun as much as possible today). Once we were back on the ship, MIL, myself, and hubby would meet up with the rest of the gang at Pedro's on Orient Beach. It was a good plan.

 

Except that the shopping took a little longer than I had anticipated. MIL and checked out the Guavaberry store and decided that Guavaberry was just not our thing. I personally thought the taste was too similar to Robitussin, and I can't stand the taste of the stuff when I'm sick, so why would I willingly drink something like it when I'm healthy?

 

We headed out of there and ran across the street to the Del Sol store. Very cute stuff in the store. We played around there for a while. I experimented with the nailpolish, but could never find a color I was thrilled about, and ended up getting a baseball hat for my hubby and BIL (khaki hat with a blue and white embroidered shark on it...very cute), and some hair clips for me (3 clips...one changes to pink, another to orange, and another to purple...I'll just need to somehow mark them so I know which one is which if I try to coordinate with an outfit). MIL bough some tshirts for the kids.

 

I was also very interested in some jewelry. A friend of mine whose family buys alot of "Bling Bling" when they are in St. Maartan recommended a few stores to me: Splash, Joe's, and A Touch of Gold. Well, Splash was on the opposite side of Front Street from where we were, so we'd need to move fairly quickly to get there. I stopped in Joe's and didn't really see anything that struck my fancy. There was a bracelet I was borderline about, but they weren't willing to go down as much I had wanted, so I walked out. Then came Touch of Gold.

 

And that's where the trouble started....We walked in and I saw a very pretty 14K gold bracelet. I tried it on, and of course it looked even better. Well, while I'm trying on the bracelet, MIL is trying on a pair of beautiful tanzanite stud earrings. So while she does that, I wander around and come across an incredibly loveley bracelet. It is 14k gold with australian opal, tanzanite, and diamonds. There is over 4 carats of tanzanite alone in the bracelet. I asked how much and had to choke down a hairball when they told me. Well, while this is going on, MIL starts looking at a very nice tanzanite pendant on a white gold chain. The next thing I know, I'm dealing with them on all the pieces. If that wasn't enough, Sanjay (the guy that works there that I dealt with and came recommended by my friend), shows me a lovely tanzanite, australian opal, and diamond pendant. And wouldn't you know it, but it looks really really good on an Omega necklace. So over an hour and 3 beers later, we walk out with everything. We really worked Sanjay over, and I feel we got a really really really good price on everything. I will take the items to be appraised over the xmas break, and I'm sure the appraisals will come back more than favorable.

 

At this point, it's closing in on 1:30, and we're running much later than we thought. The ship leaves at 5:00 and we still want to go to Orient Beach, but we need to go to the ship first, and before that, I need to find a liquor store to get a specific bottle of booze for another friend. The liquor in question is a 150 year old bottle of grand marnier, which is only sold in the caribbean. She said that another friend of hers saw it in St. Thomas a few months back for $140, but that friend didn't pick up the bottle for her. Well, I wanted to find it in St. Maarten if we could since we wouldn't have a chance to do much shopping in St. Thomas.

 

Before we left A Touch of Gold, I asked for their recommendation on where to find it. They recommended a store (can't remember the exact name...something like Gulmohland's or something), so left to find it. We found the store, and sure enough they had it for $126 (so booze is definitely cheaper in St. Maartan than in St. Thomas). I bought the one bottle, plus a bottle of Napolean Brandy for soemone else, as well as a bottle of Amaretto, Kaluha, and Baileys for us. After that, we stopped in another jewelry store (Diamonds International I believe) to find an australian opal flip flop sandal charm that I wanted. Well ,I didn't like the one they had, and they wanted too much for it anyway. So we ruched back to Touch of Gold to pick up my Omega necklace and pendant since Sanjay needed to put a new clasp on the necklace so that it would fit through the pendant. We dashed back there, then dashed over to the water taxi. We sat on the water taxi for at least 10 minutes waiting for it to fill back up.

 

By the time we got back to the ship, it was close to 2:30. We boarded, and RCCL took the booze (which made me a little nervous since there was a $126 bottle of booze in there), and hightailed it up to the cabin to get my hubby and do a superhero paced change of clothes into the swimsuit.

 

We were back off the ship in less than 10 minutes. Impressive.

 

We grabbed a taxi, and headed to Orient Beach to meet up with the rest of the gang. This gave us a little over an hour to spend there.

 

We got to Pedros and had no problem finding them. As soon as we got there, BIL and SIL explained that they didn't bring enough money to pay for the cab ride back plus the cost to use the beach chair ($5/each but includes free glass of (nasty) rum punch), plus the cost to rent the waverunners tha thtey wanted to use, so could we float them some money. Sure, no problem. Just know that we need to leave around 4:00 to give us plenty of time to make it to the ship by 5:00.

 

So BIL and SIL rent the waverunners and had an absolute blast. I believe the cost was about $40 for a half hour, but they ended up getting close to an hours use. It would have been longer, but I had the waverunner rental guy take his waverunner out to get them since it was now 3:55 and they had no intention of coming back to shore anytime soon.

 

They got to the shore and were bummed to find out that we needed to leave already because they wanted to swim a little. Sorry, but you can't. Next time, get a waterproof watch and keep track of the time. That way you can give yourself enough time to do everything. If we had gotten off the ship earlier like I had wanted, we wouldn't be rushing around now. Grrr. I was annoyed. (note: this is why hubby and I are doing the same cruise next year...so that we can be on our own schedule).

 

We finally grab a cab around 4:15 and make our way back. The cab drive does need to make a quick stop to pick up his wif and little girl which added a few extra minutes, but no big deal. I can't ever say I've had a cab ride where we've had to pick up the cab drivers family. Kinda reminded me of the carpooling days from high school, many many moons ago. The taxi drivers little girl was very cute and was enamoured of Tyler who was sound asleep in the backseat, and kept wanting to wake her up. The taxi driver's wife had to keep stopping her. It was actually very funny.

 

We finally make it back to the pier at around 4:40, which gives MIL and I a few extra minutes to look at the jewelry stores at the pier for the flip flop sandal charm. No luck, unfortunately.

 

We make a beeline to the ship and I do the super fast shower and change thing for dinner. I wanted to wear my khaki capris for dinner, but put them on and discovered that they were waaayyyyyy tighter than before we left on the cruise! Black capris it is then!

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We headed down the dining room, only about 15 minutes this time! My dinner tonight consisted of the scallop risotto appetizer (wonderful), shimp scampi, and tiramisu for dessert. I ended up getting seconds on both the appetizer and the scampi, which I'm sure didn't help my situation with the khaki capris.

 

After dinner, hubby and I went in search of the Loyalty Ambassador so that we could book this identical cruise again next year; this time without the family. We did and ended up booking another grand suite (#1324), which the Loyalty Ambassador said is a bigger grand suite than the others.

 

With next year's cruise booked, we met the rest of the family back in our cabin to discuss tomorrow's plans for St. Thomas. I had wanted to go to Trunk Bay on St. John's, but the family didn't want to get up early again, so we ended up settling on Magens Bay on St. Thomas. I really wanted to do Trunk Bay, but at least we're coming back next year so I'll still have my chance.

 

After the family "pow wow", we all headed down to the casino. Unfortunately, the casino gods were not smiling upon me this night and I think I blew a little over $100 between roulette and the slots. Hubby stayed even, I believe. So I left the casino tired and depressed since I lost.

 

Went back up to the cabin and read the Compass and then went to bed, knowing that tomorrow would be the last day of the cruise. Sigh.

 

Overall, I had a good day on St. Maartan (thanks to the jewelry shopping and the booking of another cruise), but would have like to have spent more time on Orient Beach. I was also bummed about the change of plans for tomorrow as well as the loss of my money in the casino.

 

And that's today's review du jour. Stay tuned for the next installment.

 

Lynne

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Lynne,

What a greta review! Loved reading every installment of it! We are also going on AOS in April.

Hubby is also looking to buy 150 year old bottle of Grand Marnier. Did you ever remember the actually name of the store you purchased it in?

Thanks...and once again...great review!

Gail

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Lynne,

What a greta review! Loved reading every installment of it! We are also going on AOS in April.

Hubby is also looking to buy 150 year old bottle of Grand Marnier. Did you ever remember the actually name of the store you purchased it in?

Thanks...and once again...great review!

Gail

 

Hi Gail!

 

Thanks for taking the time to read it, as it's not exactly a quick read!!

 

Well, in order to find the name of the liquor store, I had to pull out my (very painful) credit card bill which just came yesterday (the day after xmas...how ironic). Apparently, I bought the Grand Marnier at a store called "Gulmohars". It is located on Front Street. When you get to Front Street from the water taxi, turn left. It's about a block or so down and it will be on your right hand side. They had a huge selection of liquor to choose from and very decent prices; probably not the asolute best you can find on the island, but when you're buying the 150 year old grand marnier and are in a hurry, their prices look pretty darn good.

 

Have fun on the cruise. I wish I didn't have to wait 50 weeks until our return....

 

Lynne

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