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Sliding down to Fort Lauderdale

The Lost Narratives


View 2013 Maasdam cruise & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

After the cruise I took with my granddaughter in July 2012 to Australia our next cruise was January 2013

n March 2013, I lost all the emails between June 2012 and Feb 2013. That includes the emails about this trip which was a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale from 4 January 2013 to 20 January 2013 and the trip down and back. I have been able to recover from the VT backup files some of the narrative, but I still cannot find the first two days of the trip. So this is a reconstruction from the photos, the tips that Travellerspoint recovered my review of the trip on Cruise Critics, and my memory.

I booked this cruise because there were three places it was visiting which I had not been to before - St. Barths, Grenada and Bonaire. We drove to the cruise because my husband Bob does not like the hassle in the airport. This also meant that I could take as much luggage as I wanted for no extra charge and I could take my scooter in the trunk (broken down to five pieces) which I need because of reduced lung capacity. I have difficulty walking the distances required even on a small cruise ship. My husband did not take the scooter out of the trunk and assemble it until we got to Ft. Lauderdale.

1 January 2013

We left home and were in Morgantown, MD (where the power plant is) by 10.
large_4ce487b0-853f-11e9-a9c7-f350cf356155.JPGGovernor Nice bridge

Governor Nice bridge


On the Governor Nice bridge, we crossed calm Potomac under sullen clouds and started across Virginia.
Potomac River

Potomac River


It got to be about 11:30 and I asked the GPS to show me some restaurants nearby. I picked a non-chain chicken place in Stoney Creek, VA.
Stony Creek water tank with NO TOLL sign

Stony Creek water tank with NO TOLL sign


We got off the highway, but the chicken place had turned into a BBQ place and it was closed.

We got back on I-95 and then got off on the exit before Emporia and found a place called Chester Fried Chicken. So we stopped. Definitely NOT a chain. At first glance, a convenience store with a gas station (with very good gas prices).
6472320-Window_from_parking_lot_Emporia.jpgWindows from parking lot

Windows from parking lot


Bob went to the bathroom and I looked around. There were tables in the back.
Table Inside

Table Inside


Seems to be a local kind of place. There was a counter with fried chicken, fried potatoes, baked beans,
Chester Fried Chicken

Chester Fried Chicken


and chicken nuggets, and ...What are these?" (pointing) Gizzards. And these? Chicken Livers.
Chicken livers, gizzards and sandwiches

Chicken livers, gizzards and sandwiches


I was so intrigued by the idea of getting chicken livers at a convenience store, that I ordered them without consulting Bob (although I knew he liked them) and the medium box
Medium box of chicken livers

Medium box of chicken livers


had so many that we didn't order anything else but just got a juice bottle and shared. And at that we couldn't eat them all. Cost $4.50. As I left people were buying and scratching off their lottery tickets. Our children of course thought we were crazy, especially the ones that don't like liver.

We crossed into SC about 1300 and arrived at the first Hampton Inn about 3:30 after 335 miles. The hotel was about 1/3rd of the distance from our house to Ft. Lauderdale. Normally we either stop in Henderson on the way to Summerville, or go along the coast. But this time I wanted to stay close to I-95 so as not to waste time. So we stayed in Lumberton which is a town in Robeson County, on the Lumber River. It was originally a shipping point for lumber used by the Navy, which was sent downriver to Georgetown, South Carolina.
I stay at the Hampton Inns because they have
-Free internet
-Free hot breakfast
They also had a laptop board in each room and I get points when I stay there. They gave us a ground floor room as I requested.
Night stand (water bottle is mine)

Night stand (water bottle is mine)

Fridge and microwave in room

Fridge and microwave in room

Desk

Desk

Sink area

Sink area

Bob watching TV reflected in mirror

Bob watching TV reflected in mirror


The Hampton Inn does not usually have a restaurant at dinner, but they usually have a book with a list of restaurants that are nearby.
423839106507378-Advertisemen.._Lumberton.jpgAdvertisements in the Hampton Inn reference book

Advertisements in the Hampton Inn reference book


There is also usually a list of local attractions. In Lumberton, the list includes
-Museum of Native American Resource Center
-Historic Train Depot in Rowland NC
-Carolina Civic Center
-Proctor Law Building (the oldest structure in Lumberton)
-Red Springs Historical Museum in Red Springs
-Robeson Country History Museum
-Lumber River State Park

We went to Outback to eat about 5:30
20130816507380-Outback_from.._Lumberton.jpgOut back of the hotel -- the Out Ack Steakhouse

Out back of the hotel -- the Out Ack Steakhouse


and were told that there would be a 20-30 minute wait although we could see lots of empty tables. I gathered that they were having trouble getting people to work. So we left and went to the Texas Steakhouse.
6472330-Texas_Steakhouse_Lumberton.jpgTexas Steakhouse

Texas Steakhouse

64dd2410-8546-11e9-9cb5-ef0ce3f48c8e.JPGParts of the menu

Parts of the menu

Two of the rolls (I have eaten the other two)

Two of the rolls (I have eaten the other two)


Bob's chili bowl and salad $7.99

Bob's chili bowl and salad $7.99

My cheesy chicken breast $8.50

My cheesy chicken breast $8.50

Texas sundae $3.99

Texas sundae $3.99


Bob couldn't set the clock radio in the room to come on because he couldn't find a radio station. So he set the beeper to go off at seven. I had trouble sleeping because the pillow was too fat. I know there are less plump pillows in the room but I was too tired to get up and look for one.

2 January 2013

We got up and went to breakfast by about 8:30.
Breakfast area

Breakfast area


They had cranberry juice cocktail, waffles, hard boiled and scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy, oatmeal, and the usual cold cereal, muffins, bagels and fruit. I had scrambled eggs, juice and a banana.
6507675-scrambled_eggs_Jacksonville.jpgMy Scrambled eggs and Bob's cereal and juice

My Scrambled eggs and Bob's cereal and juice


Bob had cold cereal, juice and hot chocolate. We were on the road by 8:50.
Leaving the Lumberton Hampton Inn

Leaving the Lumberton Hampton Inn

Outback sign the next morning

Outback sign the next morning


We are just driving and not sightseeing. (In terms of how two people that are in their mid 70s do 'driving and not stopping' - we are doing about 320-350 miles a day.) Just straight down I-95 instead of byroads like we usually do. I have the hotels we are stopping at on the GPS and the GPS just has I-95 on it for miles and miles and doesn't talk to us hardly at all. So we are listening to NPR where possible. We crossed into SC (passing South of the Border) before 9:30
large_a8439870-8662-11e9-b7e3-39a4fb69497b.JPG
We stopped for lunch at 12:15 in Ridgeland SC just before the GA border after 201 miles at a DQ (Dairy Queen aka Grill & Chill)
6507684-DQ_sign_Jacksonville.jpgDQ sign

DQ sign


which was hidden back under the expressway behind a BP station - it was filled with local people- lots of plaid flannel shirts and most of the local law enforcement people seemed to eat there.
Sheriff was eating lunch at DQ

Sheriff was eating lunch at DQ


Menu

Menu


They took our orders and gave us a table number and someone brought the food to us. Bob had A chocolate milkshake

A chocolate milkshake


(he always gets a chocolate shake if shakes are available) and a cheeseburger and I had a bacon cheeseburger. I had ordered my burger 'solo' which meant without fries, and they gave it to me with fries anyway. I didn't eat but one or two of them
Bacon cheeseburger

Bacon cheeseburger


Mini blizzard

Mini blizzard


They showed me the cup size of a mini-blizzard, but when it came the little cup was inside the regular cup.
Two cups

Two cups


Cost about $9.50. Bob had trouble swallowing so it took him quite a while to eat which meant that I had plenty of time. We were back on the road before 1300.

One of the NPR stations had an anthropologist who spent a lot of time with the tribes in New Guinea with a title something like Guns Germs and Steel. It sounded as if he was saying that we should give children more freedom to make decisions and that the result of this was that the children were more confident and less fearful. He said that the primitive people didn't die of heart disease or diabetes and none of them were obese, but the reason that they didn't have heart diseases was because they died of infections, disease or war before they got to the age to have heart disease.

A lot of the radio discussion was about parenting and the differences between the perceptions of danger and the ideas that were stressful in the modern vs the agrarian society. One thing he particularly mentioned was that modern babies are in cribs where they are horizontal or in backpacks where they can't see where they are going and the primitive societies hold the baby vertical facing forward, and this is better for the baby.

He also mentioned that in the primitive societies children are allowed to make their own decisions. He wanted some porters and one of the 10 year old boys volunteered for that job - didn't ask his parents first, just took the job. He said that he and his wife tried to give their son the same kind of freedom. When their boy was about 6, he decided that he liked snakes and by the time he was 10 he had about 127 different snakes as pets. (I don't see this as particularly unusual or weird - I'm sure if I had wanted to collect snakes, I would have been allowed to)

One caller was a returned vet with a tour in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, and they discussed the perception of danger that is formed when one really is in danger.

We passed through Georgia and crossed the Savannah River and were in Florida by 3:15.
Jacksonville bridge

Jacksonville bridge


I put the directions to the hotel in the GPS and we were checked into the next Hampton Inn by 3:20 after 333 miles. I picked this hotel because it was about 2/3rds of the way from our home to Ft. Lauderdale and it was cheaper than some of the others in the area. It was also less expensive than the one in Lumberton which had a base price of $105 and this one had a base price of $85).
Elevators

Elevators


When I got up to the room I found two packages from a previous guest with biscuits from Red Lobster and a piece of cheesecake in a brown paper bag.
Extra food in the bathroom on arrival

Extra food in the bathroom on arrival


I wasn't particularly happy about this 'bounty' as it seemed to indicate that the room hadn't been thoroughly cleaned. We had a refrigerator and microwave in the room.

The gas prices through SC on the big signboards that stick up about a mile into the air had been about $3.08. But the price at the gas station next to the hotel was $3.39. So before dinner, we set off to see if we could find cheaper gas. We drove east and saw a place for $3.35, and then tried the other direction, but we ended up headed for what looked like some kind of abandoned property with No Trespassing signs and we were on the wrong side of the road to trigger the lights to get back to the hotel. So we just gave in and got the expensive gas.
Where we got gas

Where we got gas


Bob thinks that the gas mileage was so good yesterday because he hadn't filled the tank all the way up at home, but this time it was still 36 mpg
Bob walking from the parking lot to the hotel

Bob walking from the parking lot to the hotel


We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday
Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday


which was next to the hotel (across the parking lot). We do eat at Ruby Tuesday quite often at home (we get coupons), but I like to go to places that we don't have at home when I'm on a trip. But this was convenient.
Inside Ruby Tuesday

Inside Ruby Tuesday


Bob just had the salad bar,
Bob's selection from the buffet

Bob's selection from the buffet


and I had
A small steak and zucchini which was listed at less than 600 calories

A small steak and zucchini which was listed at less than 600 calories


with spaghetti squash. I substituted mashed potatoes, but didn't eat all of them. They kept promising us biscuits but they didn't come until I had my steak already and Bob doesn't usually eat the bread - I just ate one of them.
Biscuits

Biscuits


Then I persuaded him to have a peanut butter dessert
Peanut butter dream bar from the menu

Peanut butter dream bar from the menu


and we shared, but it was really
TOO MUCH PEANUT BUTTER

TOO MUCH PEANUT BUTTER


Bed and armchair

Bed and armchair


I put a half full water bottle in the freezer so in the morning I had ice in the bottle. I filled it up the rest of the way with water and now I had cold water to drink.
Desk, microwave and fridge

Desk, microwave and fridge


3 January 2013

Bob went to breakfast without me in the morning and he brought me the cranberry juice cocktail, a banana and a bagel.This morning we didn't get started as early. As I left, I went and told the manager about the leftover food in our room and she said we should have been given another room. But I said, no that I didn't want another room (The one we had was just a short distance from the elevator). So she insisted on giving me the 'Friends and Family' rate which was only $55.00.

We left the hotel about 9:20 and stopped at about 11:30 at Denny's for lunch. Bob picked where we stopped this time. We had gone 133 miles.
Bob walking in to Denny's

Bob walking in to Denny's


Bob's chocolate Milk shake $3.79

Bob's chocolate Milk shake $3.79

Bob's senior cheese sandwich $5.69

Bob's senior cheese sandwich $5.69

He got fries too but didn't eat them.
My cheese quesadilla $2.00

My cheese quesadilla $2.00


and a fruit side which was apples, bananas and grapes. Total was $14.81.
Bob's fries that came with his sandwich and my fruit

Bob's fries that came with his sandwich and my fruit


large_IMG_5261.JPG
We kept seeing Silver Alert signs all along the highway.
Silver alert sign

Silver alert sign


Bob said Amber Alert was for kidnapped children and what was a Silver Alert. As a joke, I said it was for kidnapped old people. So I looked it up. I wasn't that far off - it is a lookout for Mentally Challenged people i.e. Alzheimer folks who drive off and may get confused and lost.

We got to Ft. Lauderdale just about 3. Our first excitement came when the GPS routed us via the Florida Turnpike and of course we don't have a Sun Pass. So I looked on the map and figured that we could get off at exit 107 and pay cash for the toll (not all the exits have the ability to pay cash), and it would be only 2 miles over to I-95. So we did that. Then I couldn't figure out whether the GPS knew where we were going - whenever there is an intersection where we can get onto another interstate it tells us which one to take, and it was telling us not to take I-595. So just to be sure I called the hotel and got the information. They said to get off at exit 22 and then a succession of rights and lefts, but we couldn't get the sequence correct and of course ended up in the wrong lane. Bob drove around the hotel twice before he found a place to park. I booked this hotel
Hilton Garden Inn

Hilton Garden Inn


because it had a cruise package which included free parking for the cruise, and a shuttle to the cruise port and back. The parking is gated and you need to use your key to get in. We checked in after 357 miles. I had made the reservation on the internet with a Far Eastern agency called Agoda and they wanted me to pay in advance (which I did) and use a voucher to check in. I worried about it, but there was no problem checking in with the voucher. I made a reservation on the Port shuttle. We have the 11:45 shuttle. The only other option was 9:00 and Bob thought that was too early.
Coffee area in the hotel (we don't drink coffee)

Coffee area in the hotel (we don't drink coffee)

My scooter next to desk with Bob's hat

My scooter next to desk with Bob's hat


After we checked in, we went out to get gas. There weren't any visible gas stations except BJ's and Bob figured that he didn't charge enough gas at BJ's to 'pay for' having the card, and he says their non-member gas is always sky high. We drove over to Route 1 and finally found a gas station - gas was $3.479. This time the gas mileage was 37 mpg.
Where we got gas

Where we got gas


We drove back to the hotel and went to Burger King Restaurant #4511 for dinner.
Menu board

Menu board


Bob insisted on going in and ordering even though we were going to get it "to go" and eat back in the hotel room. I ordered a salad and he had a whopper, fries and a shake. I went back to the car to wait and in trying to put everything where it couldn't be seen by looking in the car while it was parked in the lot and we were away on the cruise, I accidentally leaned on the keys wrong and set the car alarm off.

Then when Bob came back to the car with the food, he couldn't get out of the parking lot to go across to the hotel because cars were stacked up at the light that was just past the exit driveway. When he got to the IN gate, he had to take off his seat belt and open the car door to get the room key to open the gate.
Our order in a bag on the bed

Our order in a bag on the bed


So here we all are in Dania - or maybe Ft. Lauderdale. We have coupons for breakfast.

4 January 2013

In the morning, I wore the camera carrier as I find that later in the day my neck hurts. Just in case, I took a photo of the two vouchers for the shuttle to the port, because we are to give both of them (the trip to the port and the trip back) to the shuttle guy.
Shuttle tickets

Shuttle tickets

Zip check-out

Zip check-out


I decided to take the scooter to breakfast because our room is so far from the elevator. It was, of course, a buffet.
Light in the breakfast area

Light in the breakfast area


6508295-Breakfast_Dania.jpgBreakfast buffet

Breakfast buffet


They did bring us cranberry juice and tea. After I parked the scooter, I got some scrambled eggs, one piece of bacon, some applesauce and a mini muffin. Bob got cold cereal, eggs and 2 pieces of bacon. The eggs were cold and they had stuff in them like onion. The bacon was the kind Bob likes - burnt. There was also some fruit, sausage, fried potatoes and what might have been oatmeal, but I didn't investigate.
6508294-Bobs_breakfast_Dania.jpgOur breakfast

Our breakfast


The charge for this breakfast was $12.95 each - plus tip. Bob tipped $5.00 .
IMG_5274.JPGBreakfast Voucher and Bill

Breakfast Voucher and Bill


Hampton Inns do a much better breakfast, and there is one that also has a similar cruise package so if you are interested in that, I suggest you go there first. We went back up to the room and I did some clean-up work on the computer. There were so few luggage carts that Bob just made two trips to get the luggage down to the lobby. I went down on the scooter and talked to folks in the lobby while we were waiting.
Shuttle Service board

Shuttle Service board


When we checked in with the shuttle guy, he gave us two stickers to wear, and two more for the shuttle back to the hotel, and also gave us a number to call if there was no shuttle there. At 11:30, the luggage including my assembled scooter were loaded into a trailer and we were on our way to the port by 11:35. We dropped people off at the Zuiderdam first
Arriving Port Everglades

Arriving Port Everglades

Special Needs at Sea Check-in

Special Needs at Sea Check-in


and then we were unloaded at the Maasdam. I saw the Special Needs at Sea guy there at the unloading area.

Check-in was pretty quick as there was a special check-in desk for Wheelchair and Special Assistance.
Wheelchair and Special Assistance

Wheelchair and Special Assistance


We were able to go to our room right away - by 12:30. We talked to our room steward later, he has 31 rooms to do. We have a Lanai room (CA) on the Lower Promenade Deck and I had thought I might be able to get out onto the Promenade Deck from our room with the scooter. But the Lanai door has a lip of about 4" and no ramp so it would be hard to get the scooter over it. The scooter hangs up on all the thresholds out to the deck anyway - the ramps are too steep and I/we have to lift it over. We have two reserved deck chairs outside our room and the two mats for the chairs were in our room. The door is mirrored on the outside.
Selfie close-up

Selfie close-up


I enjoyed being able to get out on deck quickly, but did not make much use of our reserved deck chairs. Bob didn't care for it and he never used that door. The windows were cleaned each morning about 7:00 so they were always clean.

The bed was made up as a king, and there wasn't enough room for me to get the scooter past it to the other side of the room so we moved one of the night tables over under the desk and shoved the bed over which is enough room for me to come in and park by the bed although I didn't have an easy time getting to the nightstand or out of bed. We ran an extension cord from the desk under the bed to my side of the bed to plug in the power strip (for the scooter and computer). I eventually put the phone on the floor next to the bed as I had other uses for the nightstand.
Our bed in the cabin

Our bed in the cabin


By this time I was hungry and I was going to just take my cane to the Lido (there was no Explorer (the list of what happens each day) in the room to see what dining rooms were open). Bob said I needed to take the scooter. We came in at the exit end of the buffet. I was not really interested in standing in a long line to get something to eat when I didn't want any of the stuff at the beginning of the line. The things I wanted had no server to serve them. So I parked the scooter and Bob got us some pasta which was very hard to eat as it was fatter than spaghetti and longer than macaroni.
Hard to Eat Pasta in the Lido

Hard to Eat Pasta in the Lido


Then I got bread pudding for dessert (and so did Bob).
Bread pudding

Bread pudding

Dessert

Dessert


They had ice cream, but I didn't want to stand in line for that. We were done by 1:30. There was a band at the pool.
Band at the pool

Band at the pool


Back to the room, we put away the stuff in our carry-ons. There is a small couch on the same side as the bed,
Couch, little table and chair by the Lanai window

Couch, little table and chair by the Lanai window


and on the other side is the TV, with the ice bucket under it and the desk.
Reflection in the mirror with the curtains drawn

Reflection in the mirror with the curtains drawn


We've moved the chair from the desk over next to the couch. There are only two drawers in the two nightstands and three more in one of the closets which also has the safe in it. We had a safe which was opened with a number instead of a credit card like last time (this is better because otherwise we have to leave the card in the room so both people can get in the safe - which makes it not as safe). There are two hanging closets and we had plenty of hangers. The steward kept the room clean and the ice bucket filled and made us towel animals, even though he had so many rooms to do. A couple of times he didn't get to us until after we were back for dinner.
Alarm clock by Bob's side of the bed that was never allowed to ring

Alarm clock by Bob's side of the bed that was never allowed to ring


The bathroom had a tub and I asked for a shower chair so I could sit and use the handheld shower, but they said it would be a safety hazard. I think getting into and out of the tub is the hazard - not sitting on a stool in it. I also had a real hard time getting the shower to give me water that wasn't too hot. The bathroom had shelves where Bob could keep his razor plugged in. He had his pill keeper also on that side. I had mine on the other side, but the soap dish was there, and the pill keeper kept getting wet, so I moved it to the bottom shelf.

It is really nice to have a door that we can just open and it stays open without having to put a chock in it. Bob opens the door and then stands in the hall so that I can get out without running over anyone. The same with the bathroom door. It opens out flat and stays stuck to the wall rather than swinging.
Painting in room

Painting in room


We got all four suitcases before the Drill. Bob looked out the lanai door and said that the only people with life jackets were the crew, so we didn't take ours. I went to the drill on the scooter, going out the door into the hall and then out on deck. I wasn't until we got out on deck that they told us that we didn't need to have our life jackets with us.
Lifeboat Drill Sergeant

Lifeboat Drill Sergeant


They put me on the scooter back against the wall and people were put in front of us so I couldn't see anything except the bottom of our lifeboats.
Looking up from the wall under the lifeboat

Looking up from the wall under the lifeboat


Even though I couldn't see, I could definitely hear as the loudspeaker and whistles were earsplitting. After we finished unpacking I went out on deck through our lanai door to take pictures of the sail-away.
Sailing from Port Everglades

Sailing from Port Everglades

Coast Guard running hot

Coast Guard running hot


To get back in there is a white plastic card which you have to hold up to the black sensor and when the light is green (and it is very hard to see when it is sunny- sometimes I could hear the click but couldn't see the light), you can quick-quick open the door. It is a VERY heavy door. A weaker woman than I am would not be able to open it.
On the left is the black sensor to press your card on to unlock the door

On the left is the black sensor to press your card on to unlock the door


Deck and our deck chairs outside our room

Deck and our deck chairs outside our room


We went up to dinner about 5:00 as the Anytime Dining starts then. We had Anytime Dining because there was a large Jazz-a-sea group on board and they took all the early dining slots on deck 8 and late dining is too late for us.
Entrance to the main dining room

Entrance to the main dining room


The Jazz-a-sea people have a big table of ten, but we did get a table for six at the window.
Dinner table

Dinner table

Sunset over Ft. Lauderdale from the dinner table

Sunset over Ft. Lauderdale from the dinner table


When we came out about 7, there were long lines waiting. The other two couples, were from Ft. Pierce, and from Missouri. The Missouri people flew in today and almost missed the ship as they got to the dock right about the time we were to sail.

The waiter said that we couldn't order prime rib, as it hadn't been put aboard in time to cook it. So I just had the
Chilled pear, cucumber and Melon Gazpacho

Chilled pear, cucumber and Melon Gazpacho


Linguini

Linguini


Bob had the
Calypso Shrimp Cocktail

Calypso Shrimp Cocktail


which was tiny shrimp with a mustard based sauce. He also had the gazpacho, and then he had maple glazed tuna.
Bob's raw tuna

Bob's raw tuna


I was considering having that too, but decided against it. His tuna was almost completely raw. For dessert I had Lemon Torte

Lemon Torte


and a scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (separately). Bob had a pineapple sundae, but it had chocolate sauce on it and not much pineapple.

After dinner we went up to the computer cafe. I hadn't been able to sign on because I was to use the name that I was registered under, but I was registered as RosalieAnn and I had to sign in as just Rosalie. I got signed on to the internet and then couldn't figure out how to sign off. Eventually I thought to look at the directions I picked up at the computer cafe and that told me how to do it.

We had good internet access in the room although occasionally I would lose the connection and then I could not log off. I found through trial and error that I would have to reboot the computer in order to log off.

Came back to the room and Bob thought that the cabin steward had been here, but he had not. He came later

5 January 2013- Sea Day

We got up about 7:30 and went to breakfast in the dining room which started at 8:00. To get to the dining room on 7, we have to go all the way aft on 6 because you can't walk through on 7. On the way we told the steward that we were going to breakfast and asked for wash clothes (which we didn't have). We were opposite one of the laundry rooms, but it was out of service for the entire cruise. I think they were having trouble with their ship laundry as the wash clothes did not seem to be really white in the beginning.

The Explorer did not say which dining room to go to for breakfast so we tried Deck 7 first and then took the elevator up another deck to Deck 8. After we went to the wrong place once, we knew, but it was annoying the first time because with a scooter we couldn't just run up a flight of stairs. We ate with another couple at a table for four - from California. A lot of folks from California on this cruise. Service was pretty slow - took a long time to get waited on. The other couple wanted coffee but the coffee kept getting cold while they waited for service. Once they brought her a clean cup (she didn't want the coffee 'warmed up' with hot in the cold - she wanted fresh coffee). But the second time it happened, we just switched cups with them as we weren't drinking coffee. I had Eggs Florentine
Eggs Florentine

Eggs Florentine


which I love and like better than Eggs Benedict because the ham in that is too salty. Bob had raisin bran and 3 pieces of turkey bacon. And they actually brought him three pieces that he asked for.
Bob's bacon

Bob's bacon


Since we were on deck 8, we went by the shops and I looked at tanzanite because I want to give my granddaughter a birthstone ring for her 16th birthday - she was born in December. They are having a 40% off sale. They don't have prices on things - you have to get someone to tell you what they are. We didn't get back to the room until almost 10:00

At about 11:00, we roused ourselves to go to Team Trivia. Our team is Linda and Nelson from California, and Evan and Wendy from BC. Since we are from three widely separated areas, we called ourselves Triangulation. The trivia was fun as one or more of us knew a lot of the questions. We didn't know the name for a big group of grasshoppers (a Cloud), but we did guess correctly (at least Wendy guessed) who said the first words in the original Star Wars. We got 14.5 our of 22. There was one group that got 18 right.

We went to lunch right after that and ate with a retired dentist and his wife from NY, and another lady. The waiter took the scooter and went on a drive all around the dining room on rabbit speed, and put a doily on the seat with our table number on it. Bob had a

Banana-orange melange

Banana-orange melange

Tilapia

Tilapia


a which he said he hesitated to get because of the tuna last night, but the tilapia was very good. I had Peach and Ginger soup and
Mac and cheese

Mac and cheese


I had a butterscotch sundae and Bob has reverted to his usual ice cream with chocolate sauce.
El Salvador (it's out there)

El Salvador (it's out there)


We went back to the room and I asked Bob to open the curtains. I took a photo of El Salvador (I think) that we were passing on the starboard side. Later, some lady tried to get in our lanai door, thinking I guess that it was a regular door to come in. I eventually put a pillow over my head so as not to have to hear the TV and took a nap. We missed doing afternoon tea.
Dining room flower arrangement

Dining room flower arrangement


Dinner tonight was formal and the dining room wasn't as full as last night. Bob had the shrimp cocktail with the regular kind of cocktail sauce instead of the mustard type sauce that he had yesterday (three large shrimp)
Regular shrimp cocktail

Regular shrimp cocktail


and I had
Mussels

Mussels


(which I like but Bob doesn't), and then we both had cranberry soup and lobster.
Lobster

Lobster


I had
Chocolate souffle

Chocolate souffle


and he had his usual. Two of the five other people at the table were Linda and Evan. Another couple was from Ontario, and the other woman was at the other end of the table and I didn't hear much from her - it was pretty noisy.

We have the playoff game on the TV tonight.

6 January 2013 - Sea Day

Today I had
Belgium waffles

Belgium waffles


Looking down on deck 7 dining room

Looking down on deck 7 dining room


for breakfast and found them doughy so I think I'll go back to Eggs Florentine. We sat with a lady named Sara who had cruised a lot with her husband, but he died last year so she was going solo. We invited her to the Cruise Critics meeting and she came.
Sign for cruise critics meeting

Sign for cruise critics meeting


Refreshments

Refreshments


The meeting was quite interesting. They gave us coffee, tea, water and Bloody Mary's, cookies and pastries. The head cook and the hotel manager and the guy who does the scheduling and the cruise director were there.
Cruise Director and Head Chef

Cruise Director and Head Chef


We are not docking at Havensight but at Crown Point (I think it was the former sub base and is quite a taxi ride from town.) They said there were going to be five ships in port tomorrow (there weren't - there were only 3) and three of them were Code Red which meant that there was norovirus on board. So to be sure to wash our hands a lot.

I asked which would be better - shopping in St. Thomas like the shopping guy said to do, or buying things on board, and the answer was that St. Thomas was the most expensive place to buy things in the Caribbean and that there were no bargains there. He said that the shopping guy is paid by the stores so he would naturally say that the stores were better than the ship.

During the meeting they were teaching salsa dancing on the other side of the Crows Nest. Then we had trivia. Our Canadian friends Wendy and Evan joined another team so it was Nelson and Linda and a couple from NY - his name was Paul. This time we got 15 right out of 21. We didn't know how many drops are in a tablespoon, or the name for a bunch of cobras (A Quiver of cobras), and we could only think of 3 Beetles full length movies (Help, Hard Day's Night and Yellow Submarine). The third one that we thought of (Sgt Pepper) was the title of an album and not the movie. One team got 19 right and the next closest was two teams with 16.

Then we had lunch.
Dining room table

Dining room table

Melon Trio

Melon Trio


I ordered Manhattan Clam Chowder and it came with clams INSIDE THE SHELLS. I finally picked the shell up and opened it with my fingernail to get the clam out, but I am sure that soup is not meant to be a finger food.
Clam chowder with clams in the shells

Clam chowder with clams in the shells


Bob thought he had ordered that, but he ordered the banana soup instead. Then we both had fish and chips.
Traditional fish and chipa

Traditional fish and chipa


Bob didn't eat the fried crust of the fish and I didn't eat the chips. I had a Pavlova for dessert.
Pavolova

Pavolova


There were things from the shops for sale in the atrium
Hats on sale

Hats on sale

Atrium sales

Atrium sales


Our table mates had gone up for the free foot analysis, so we decided to do that. On the way up to the spa, we heard one of the Jazz-a-Sea bands playing at the pool and I tried to record a movie of it but it didn't turn out very well. Their performances were excellent and we bought some of their CDs. We didn't go to any of the shows, although the sight lines in the main theatre are MUCH better than they were before - you can actually see from all the seats. None of the four Jazzsea bands were scheduled in the main theatre which was a shame as that would have been awesome.

The foot analysis guy said I was putting too much pressure on my big toe and wanted to sell us some shoe inserts. But I am going to return them tomorrow.
Fitness equipment

Fitness equipment


Then we came down and watched the Raven's game which they won (which I thought they would). We could only see just the start of the Redskins game before dinner.
Sunset

Sunset


We had dinner with Nelson and Linda again and a couple from Philadelphia. He was gluten intolerant and she determined that the only thing he could have off the menu was chicken. Nelson collects military uniforms and items of that type, so we talked about that some.

Bob had the
Fruit Ceviche

Fruit Ceviche


which looked good and I had
Eggplant Caponata

Eggplant Caponata


but there was very little eggplant in it and it was supposed to come with toast points, but I didn't get anything that looked like toast.

Then I had a
Great Sound Salad

Great Sound Salad


and we both had the
Grilled Mahi Mahi with Roasted Corn Salsa

Grilled Mahi Mahi with Roasted Corn Salsa


which was good. Bob deviated from custom and had key lime pie - I thought I would get mint chocolate chip ice cream, but it was regular chocolate chip and there were very few chips, so I think they just gave me vanilla with some chips on top.
Squid towel animal with note to turn clocks forward

Squid towel animal with note to turn clocks forward


When we got back to the room, the steward had a chance to get in and make the beds and he left us a towel animal and there was a note to turn our clocks forward. We saw the end of the Redskin's game, and got ready to go ashore in St. Thomas tomorrow.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Not Shopping for Jewelry in St. Thomas

Documenting Cemeteries


View 2013 Maasdam cruise & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

We've been to St. Thomas six times before, although we have never stayed on the island. Almost all the cruises stop at least once in St. Thomas. The people who do the shopping talks on the ships are paid by the stores, so many of the cruise ship people spend their money in the duty free shops - jewelry (especially diamonds), electronics, and liquor because U.S. Customs and Border Protection will allow you to enter the U.S. with up to five liters of alcohol duty-free as part of your exemption - as long as at least four liters were purchased in an insular possession (like St Thomas). Rum is the local drink of choice. But I've never been much of a shopper, and at the Cruise Critics meeting yesterday they said that St. Thomas was the most expensive place to shop in the Caribbean. I was thinking about buying some tanzanite here, but I changed my mind after I heard that. I don't need to buy diamonds, I don't see any point in buying electronics in the Caribbean, and we don't drink. So we weren't going to be shopping.

Today I looked at the bow camera and saw us coming into St. Thomas, There was land outside our window.
TV and the lanai door with the curtains pulled aside

TV and the lanai door with the curtains pulled aside


I heard the window being washed and looked out and there was a little guy in a white bellboy outfit squeegeeing the windows.
Washing the windows

Washing the windows


I went out and took some photos. We had not docked in Crown Bay before and it is not as good a place to dock as Havensight. We had been to Crown Bay, because in 1997 when we were on a chartered sailboat, I heard my cousin's call on the radio and found she was in this marina waiting for parts for their boat to be shipped from Italy, so we had lunch here.
Crown Bay marina where I met my cousin in 1997

Crown Bay marina where I met my cousin in 1997

Looking at the port

Looking at the port


We went to breakfast in the dining room
Chocolate crossant

Chocolate crossant

Egg sandwich

Egg sandwich


and I had an egg sandwich which proved to be scrambled eggs and impossible to eat as a sandwich. I get regular bacon and Bob gets turkey bacon.
Selfie

Selfie


They were cleaning the green glass sculpture in the atrium
Atrium sculpture

Atrium sculpture


They had a little lift and the guy on the lift was wearing a harness and a hard hat.
IMG_5423.JPGCleaning the atrium sculpture

Cleaning the atrium sculpture


We gathered ourselves together and got off the ship about 9:00.
Maasdam in St Thomas

Maasdam in St Thomas


I asked the cruise director if we could get a taxi, and she said to go out to the man in the green polo shirt.
Island jitney taxi

Island jitney taxi


He called a smaller vehicle (not one of the big jitney taxis) to come around to where we were, as it was a long walk off the dock and I had not taken my scooter. The footing in cemeteries isn't that conducive to scootering. The cab was driven by a lady named Orellia and she wanted $200.00 for four hours. Bob only had $100, but I had brought $100 also. I took photos of some of St. Thomas while we were driving.
Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands

Supreme Court of the Virgin Islands

"Treasure Sekret" ship (now open for reservations)

"Treasure Sekret" ship (now open for reservations)

Fort Christian

Fort Christian

Zora Sandal maker

Zora Sandal maker


I had made a list of the cemeteries and printed out maps for the ones that had them. First Orellia took us to a Moravian Cemetery which was fairly near Crown Bay where the ship was docked. I thought that Moravian Cemetery had a photo already and a map. But I was wrong. This was a completely new and unmapped and un photographed Moravian Cemetery. This cemetery not only didn't have any place where one could use a scooter, but it was even difficult to walk.
Nisky Moravian Cemetery

Nisky Moravian Cemetery


Bob was doing a good job of taking the photos, but his camera battery died so he switched batteries and thus set the time on the camera back to Jan 1, 2003 at noon (or maybe midnight). I had also neglected to tell him to take a start and end photo so I could tell which photos went into which cemetery. I had to go through his picture looking for time gaps when we went from one cemetery to another. We took 33 photos here, but did not get a photo of the entrance because I thought it had one already

Then we went to Western Cemetery which was huge but did have a map and a photo of it. We took 68 photos here.
From one end of Western Cemetery to another section

From one end of Western Cemetery to another section


We passed Altona Jewish Cemetery and another Moravian Cemetery which were right next to each other. So we stopped and Bob took photos of the gate of Moravian cemetery
Moravian Cemetery

Moravian Cemetery


and some pictures of a few of the stones (this is where I thought I was at the first cemetery) and he also took about 5 photos in the Jewish Cemetery.
Altona Jewish Cemetery

Altona Jewish Cemetery


When I got the photos back to the computer and looked up the Moravian Cemetery on FindAGrave, I found that the people he took photos of in THAT Moravian Cemetery were already listed and the people at the first cemetery were not. Then we took some photos of the entrance to the Danish Cemetery (1666 to 1917), but we didn't go in because that cemetery already had some 300 entries in it.
CEM2327168_135758422349.jpgHistoric Danish Cemetery

Historic Danish Cemetery


Approaching Coki Point Beach

Approaching Coki Point Beach


The next place we went was Coki Cemetery and we just about photographed all the graves and also the gate. This was a small cemetery.
Coki Cemetery

Coki Cemetery


We went to Smith Bay Eastern Cemetery which is a new cemetery just since 2006, and took 104 photos.
CEM2423906_135758355149.jpgSmith Bay Eastern Cemetery

Smith Bay Eastern Cemetery


Top of the vault in Smith Bay-Eastern Cemetery

Top of the vault in Smith Bay-Eastern Cemetery


The tops of the graves were cement slabs and on some of them people had written in the cement and put hand prints etc.

The cab driver said she knew of one more cemetery that wasn't on private land, so she drove us to it, and she said it was the Hoffman Cemetery. This was a small cemetery and we took photos of everything there. This is a family cemetery in the Hoffman district. The obituaries call the cemetery Brookman Cemetery.
IMG_5542.JPGGrave in Hoffman Cemetery

Grave in Hoffman Cemetery


She drove us back to the ship - we were back by 12:30.
Flower pot

Flower pot


I was pretty tired. We went up to lunch in the Lido
View from the Lido

View from the Lido


(the main dining room wasn't open) and Bob got a cheese sandwich and I had a pastrami sandwich.
Pastrami Sandwich

Pastrami Sandwich


Then I had bread pudding for dessert
Bread pudding

Bread pudding


Bob had a sundae which was in a glass shaped like a waffle cone.
Bob's sundae

Bob's sundae


I spent the next two hours organizing the photos into their correct cemeteries and putting the entrance shots that we took onto FindaGrave.

Then we went up to Trivia. Two other couples that we had never seen before were playing with us. We missed (and I think everyone missed) the name of the chemical that burns violet (iodine), and one of the ladies thought that the zodiac sign for a dodecapod was a crab but I thought it was a scorpion so we got that wrong. One of the questions was the age Mae West was when she did her first movie and we put 35 but it was 40. And we also missed the name of Henry VIII's fifth wife. We were thinking that we didn't really know many of the answers. But it turned out that we got 12 right and we won. They gave out HAL pins. That's all they give for the prizes now.

I returned those shoe inserts, and they said they couldn't give me credit until the manager came back, but she would do it when she finished with the meeting. Then it was time for dinner.

This time, we were sandwiched between two Canadian couples. I had the Tomato and mozzarella appetizer

Tomato and mozzarella appetizer


and we both had blueberry soup and Beef Wellington.
Beef wellington

Beef wellington


I had a peach crumble for dessert (that's always available but with different fruits) and Bob had his usual.
Peach Crumble

Peach Crumble


Our towel animal was an elaborate swan.
Elaborate Swan towel animal

Elaborate Swan towel animal


Tomorrow is St. Barths.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:25 Archived in US Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Sand, Tombs and Flowers in St. Barth's

Dealing with a Rough Sea


View 2013 Maasdam cruise & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Lorient on St. Barth''s is the site of the first French settlement and is a picturesque village. I had read someplace that the inhabitants of Lorient village decorated their cemeteries very colorfully, so I wanted to take some photographs there. None of the excursions would allow me to do this The only excursion that I saw that I would have wanted to do was a taxi tour for about $68 per person with no narrative. So I decided for that money I could rent a car. So even though someone told me that they drove on the left here, I decided to rent a car from an agency called Turbe for €30.

8 January 2013

EB920193B94FAEBA64ABB28776CE7F8F.jpgArriving St. Barths

Arriving St. Barths


We were late getting in to St. Barths - the sea was VERY rough and the captain moved the boat at least once. He kept telling us that we shouldn't go ashore that we should stay on the boat.
Lighthouse in the middle of the hill from the ship

Lighthouse in the middle of the hill from the ship


We were supposed to meet the car rental person in Gustavia at 8:30. We had breakfast in the buffet just because we wanted to be ready at 8:30, and we went down to get our tender tickets. But they kept us waiting for a hour while they took the tours first. There were not that many of us non-tour people and I think they could have worked us in. Finally got to shore at 9:30 and found no car person. I tried to phone but my phone said the number wasn't valid. So I went over and talked to the guys in the kiosk including a guy who drove up in a red Chevy Spark (the kind of car we were to have) from Avis. They phoned the airport office of Turbe for me and said the lady would be back in 10 minutes. And she was. Fortunately, the person who told us that in St. Barths they drive on the left was wrong. The French drive on the right.
Sunset Hotel in Gustavia

Sunset Hotel in Gustavia


large_IMG_5589.jpgStreets in Gustavia

Streets in Gustavia


We didn't give this lighthouse the attention that we usually give lighthouses,
Gustavia Lighthouse with no parking sign

Gustavia Lighthouse with no parking sign


but we could see it from almost anywhere in town.
From the streets of town

From the streets of town


It is located atop a hill at the site of historic Fort Gustave overlooking Gustavia harbor on the west side of the island of St.-Barthélemy. It is not an old lighthouse as it was built in 1961 but it is an active lighthouse - a round conical tower painted white with a single red band at the top.
large_xIMG_5595.JPG
The lantern has been removed and is on display at the Musée Municipal de St.-Barthélemy in Gustavia.
218142746508775-Another_phot..Barthelemy.jpgGustavia Lighthouse and cross on the hill

Gustavia Lighthouse and cross on the hill


The fort built by the Swedes in 1787 is the Fort Gustav. It was built on the hill and includes the ruins of the stone ramparts, a sentry box, part of the old brick-floored bakery, cannons and a powder house. We did not visit it because we couldn't figure out how to get there, but it is one of the best vantage points for viewing the harbor. A panoramic table identifying the highlights of Gustavia and the neighboring islands was located on the grounds.
Gustavia Lighthouse with street lights

Gustavia Lighthouse with street lights


We went over the car and located all the dents and then got the car and started off. The map had very little detail and only some vague names (no street names)
Map of St Barts at the airport

Map of St Barts at the airport


but I knew that two of the cemeteries that I wanted to find were in Lorient, and one was near the public beach just north of town, and one was across from the airport. (Two of them I never figured out where they might be on the map.) Since we had to turn the car in at the airport, I decided the airport one would be last. So we started out for the public beach.

Problem. The road to the north turned into one way south. So we bumbled around in town (very narrow, crowded and potholed streets) and finally found a road which was going the direction we wanted, except it went straight up. We went down the other side and we had gone one beach too far.
IMG_5599.jpgNarrow roads

Narrow roads


IMG_5596.jpgOne beach too far

One beach too far


We couldn't figure out how to get back to the public beach, so I attempted to try to find the two cemeteries in Lorient. We drove up and down the mountains, dodging trash trucks and other drivers who knew where they were going,
IMG_5598.jpgHotel and Bakery signs from a speeding car

Hotel and Bakery signs from a speeding car

IMG_5603.jpgIMG_5606.jpg
and coming to a circle and going out in various directions - deciding we were going the wrong way
Traffic circle

Traffic circle


and then coming back and trying another direction. Bob grumbling all the time.
IMG_5604.jpgHills

Hills


Statue in traffic circle

Statue in traffic circle


Finally we took the road past the airport.
Airport runway - planes land over the mountain toward the water

Airport runway - planes land over the mountain toward the water


We passed the cemetery by the airport, and drove along the coast. Roads were much better on this side. We found the first cemetery
Cemetery gates

Cemetery gates


and also found a parking spot. The car lady had given us a parking time indicator. She said you could park anywhere for an hour for free.
IMG_5632.jpgSticker on our rental car window and parking pass displayed on the dash with the time parked

Sticker on our rental car window and parking pass displayed on the dash with the time parked


We went in the cemetery and I took some photos and Bob took a lot more photos (together today, we took over 300 pictures). The slightly raised whitewashed tombstones are nestled in the sand decorated with colorful flowers.
large_7685570-The_Decorated_Graves_of_St_Barts.jpgGrave of Mme. LEDEE Pierre Joseph

Grave of Mme. LEDEE Pierre Joseph

Christian Jean Aubin's Grave

Christian Jean Aubin's Grave

large_103502335_136026258746.jpglarge_nIMG_5619.JPG
A lot of the graves for women said Madame and listed by her husband's name and not her own. When my back started to hurt, I went back to the car and waited for Bob.
7685577-The_Decorated_Graves_of_St_Barts.jpgMarie Florine Berry Ledee who died in 1986 at age 85

Marie Florine Berry Ledee who died in 1986 at age 85


Then we drove along to find the other cemetery (the Upper Lorient - we had been at Lower), and I took some photos of the gate
IMG_5635.jpgCemetery Gate Cimetière Lorient Haut

Cemetery Gate Cimetière Lorient Haut


IMG_5638.jpgGlimpse of the sea

Glimpse of the sea


I tried to do the same at the cemetery by the airport, but couldn't get a good picture - there was too much traffic for Bob to slow down much and the photo was blurred.
You do not have the Right-of-Way

You do not have the Right-of-Way

Music festival sign over traffic at the airport

Music festival sign over traffic at the airport


Now we had to find where to turn in the car. Finally after circling the airport area twice, I saw a sign that said Rental Car parking, and we found a place in the Turbe area to park and went into the airport.
Signs pointing to rental car area

Signs pointing to rental car area

IMG_5645.jpgList of people renting cars and rental car rates

List of people renting cars and rental car rates

Air Caraibs ticket counter

Air Caraibs ticket counter

IMG_5649.jpgTicket counters at the airport

Ticket counters at the airport


There was no one at the booth, but there was a phone lying there, so I used it and called the number on the counter.
Bob returning the rental car

Bob returning the rental car

IMG_5652.jpgMailboxes and Post box at the airport

Mailboxes and Post box at the airport


The lady said to leave the car keys there and she would get to it eventually, but I said we were supposed to have a ride back to the port. So in about 10 minutes, she came and went over the car and a man who spoke no English drove us back to the ship.
Windsock showing that there is a lot of wind

Windsock showing that there is a lot of wind

Sign by the airport runway - Plane approach zone

Sign by the airport runway - Plane approach zone

IMG_5656.jpgIMG_5659.jpgIMG_5660.jpgfollowing a bike rider back to the port

following a bike rider back to the port

road by the beach

road by the beach


I mustered enough French to say Merci beaucoup.
Boats in the harbor

Boats in the harbor

Last tender sign on dock (pax 2:30) in Port de Plaisance

Last tender sign on dock (pax 2:30) in Port de Plaisance


We got in the tender, which even at the dock in the harbor was bouncing around, and pitched and yawed our way back to the boat, and even successfully disembarked.
Tender landing on the ship

Tender landing on the ship

Rough Seas at the Tender Landing

Rough Seas at the Tender Landing


The dining room was open and we just made it up there for lunch before it closed. I had a
Fruit palette

Fruit palette

Lettuce and Blue Cheese Salad

Lettuce and Blue Cheese Salad


and Bob had the fruit also and
Swai tempura with pineapple sauce

Swai tempura with pineapple sauce


For dessert, Bob had banana cream pie and I had
Lemon chocolate slice

Lemon chocolate slice

.
I got on the internet and posted the photos of the cemetery entrances and tried to get the map to give me the coordinates so I could fix the maps of the cemeteries that were wrong. But the map program would not cooperate.

I put the telephoto lens on the camera and went out on deck to take photos of the island.
Ship tender going back to shore

Ship tender going back to shore

IMG_5685.jpgYellow submarine and big yachts

Yellow submarine and big yachts

St Barts from the ship

St Barts from the ship


IMG_5688.jpgLarge private yachts - one with its own helicopter

Large private yachts - one with its own helicopter


Ship tender returning to the ship

Ship tender returning to the ship


The last tender was to have been at 2:30.
IMG_5716.jpgTwo large yachts

Two large yachts

Harbor and sailboats from the ship

Harbor and sailboats from the ship

IMG_5719.jpgBritish yacht

British yacht

Is he nude?

Is he nude?


Now they were recovering the tenders, and they had the deck roped off, but not in any really understandable way. They had the no admittance sign tied to one of our deck chairs.
large_IMG_5715.JPG
I took a pad for the deck chair and sat on the chair under the rope and watched them bring the lifeboats aboard. I took some photos but I still had the telephoto lens on, and things were too close.
large_IMG_5705.JPGlarge_511591d0-895e-11e9-b09e-5fcab4e5764d.JPG
Tying up the lifeboats

Tying up the lifeboats

large_IMG_5710.JPG
IMG_5722.jpgHouses on a hillside

Houses on a hillside

IMG_5724.jpgBig yacht anchored in a cove

Big yacht anchored in a cove

Rock faced house

Rock faced house

Pyramid House?

Pyramid House?

IMG_5729.jpgSurf and rocky Isle

Surf and rocky Isle

Rocky shore edge

Rocky shore edge

IMG_5738.jpgRocky islet

Rocky islet

Yellow buoy

Yellow buoy

Sailing by a rocky islet

Sailing by a rocky islet

Rocky shore

Rocky shore

Speed boat

Speed boat


At lunch the next day someone told me that one of the tenders had a fire, and they sent back to the ship for a part for it and so the people were on it a long time, and then they had to wait to get off on the boat so that they were really green around the gills by the time they got to board the Maasdam. And someone else told me that two people on their tender fell getting off the tender.

A lady came up from the front desk and gave me my medal for having sailed 100 days with HAL, plus an invitation to the Mariner lunch.
Waiters before dinner

Waiters before dinner


At dinner, Bob had the
Seafood cocktail

Seafood cocktail


and I had bacon cheddar cheese soup. Then I had the
King crab cakes topped with black bean mango salsa and served over grits

King crab cakes topped with black bean mango salsa and served over grits


because Bob said that they couldn't be good and they were OK but not good enough that I'd order them again. Bob had the turkey. I had a blueberry sundae for dessert and Bob had his usual (vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce)

We ordered room service breakfast for St. Lucia tomorrow - we should have done that for St. Barth's too, but did not think of it.
Towel animal

Towel animal

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:27 Archived in Saint Barthélemy Comments (0)

A Sea View of the Pitons - A World Heritage Site

The Island Splendor Tour


View 2013 Maasdam cruise & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

St. Lucia has some unique features which other Caribbean islands don't have. In addition to all the usual suspects (snorkeling, diving, rainforest, zip lines, and bird watching) which are also features of many other tropical islands, they advertise that they have the world's only drive-in volcano. I guess this depends on how you define a volcano, as I have driven into the Diamond Head volcano in Hawaii, and most of Yellowstone National Park is in the caldera of a giant volcano.
Pitons - Gros and Petit

Pitons - Gros and Petit


But the World Heritage site feature of St. Lucia are the Pitons, twin mountains at Soufriere which rise above 2,000 feet from sea level. In climbing, a piton is a metal spike (usually steel) that is driven into a crack or seam in the rock with a hammer, and which aids in climbing. But these Pitons are two volcanic plugs - what remains when the softer outside of a volcano is eroded away and only the middle hardened magma remains.

There are other similar volcanic plugs in other areas of the world such as Hawaii, but these two are exceptionally tall and quite near the water. In fact the best view of them is probably from the water.

We had been to St. Lucia once before in 2007. That time, I booked a whale watching excursion which was canceled. The afternoon tour I booked was the rain forest tram. I wasn't so interested in that as we had just done one in Dominica. But since that was the only one available, I did that. I would have liked to do zip-line that was there, but I didn't think I could walk up to the top.

9 January 2013

Room service came on time, and was good. We were to meet on the dock for the Island Splendor Tour at 8:15-8:30. But we were late getting into Castries St. Lucia. There was a Silversea ship right in front of us (Silver Spirit), and an Oceana ship (Riviera) across the way.
Our ship behind Silver Spirit

Our ship behind Silver Spirit

Silver Spirit

Silver Spirit


I was anxious to get to the tour so we went down in the elevator but it would only go down to deck 4 instead of deck 3. And on the stairs we met people coming up and they said they weren't ready for us down there yet. People kept coming and were standing around waiting - including a family with a teenager - apparently there are four teenagers on this cruise.
Shopping area from the van 2013

Shopping area from the van 2013

Riviera in the Harbor from St. Marks

Riviera in the Harbor from St. Marks

Shops at the dock 2013

Shops at the dock 2013

In 2013

In 2013

More shops at the dock 2013

More shops at the dock 2013


Finally they were ready for us and we found our tour section and lined up behind the lady. She led us to a bus and we got on. Then we found it was the wrong bus, so we all had to get off and get on another bus. I tried to sit in the front so I could take photos out of the front. After the first stop, I asked if I could sit in the seat beside the driver and he said it was OK. That was better as otherwise there were too many reflections - for one thing the driver was wearing a shirt with big broad black and white stripes and it reflected nicely in the window.
traffic from the bus

traffic from the bus

street scene

street scene

Square near the ship

Square near the ship

Lone fisherman

Lone fisherman

Headland

Headland

Graffiti along the sea wall

Graffiti along the sea wall

along the road

along the road

sailboat

sailboat

buildings on shore

buildings on shore

Lighthouse on top of the hill

Lighthouse on top of the hill


First we went to a house named St. Marks (not a church). Our driver backed UP the steep driveway. Then three other buses came and parked in front of us.St. Marks is a big old house full of bulky furniture but with a great view of the harbor and Castries.
Entrance and porch

Entrance and porch

china cabinet in the corner of the dining room

china cabinet in the corner of the dining room


Striped overstuffed furniture, and family photos

Striped overstuffed furniture, and family photos


Maasdam and harbor from St. Marks

Maasdam and harbor from St. Marks


Sculpture on top of a china cabinet

Sculpture on top of a china cabinet

Airport from St. Marks

Airport from St. Marks

Porch of the house with souvenirs for sale

Porch of the house with souvenirs for sale


view from the house

view from the house

Run and couch in living room

Run and couch in living room

View from St. Marks

View from St. Marks


We had a guide from the house to show us through, and they had the groups choreographed so that they could be showing three or four groups through the house at once The living room has colorful carpets and furniture with striped upholstery, family photos and a piano. There were portraits of the wealthy merchant owner of St. Marks and his wife who lived in St. Marks until the mid 20th century. The dining room had a large table with crystal swans as a centerpiece, and cabinets filled with crystal and china.
Oriental table - one of the original pieces

Oriental table - one of the original pieces

centerpiece on dining room table

centerpiece on dining room table

old doll in living room chair

old doll in living room chair

Top of one of the columns inside

Top of one of the columns inside


A colorful painting of a St. Lucian Parrot called a "Jacquot" was painted by Christopher Cox in 2009. He is a well known wildlife artist in St Lucia and was commissioned by one of the owners of St Mark's to do a painting of St Lucia's national bird.
From St. Marks

From St. Marks


They had refreshments and souvenirs for sale on the porches. After the tour of the house I used the bathroom and climbed back on the bus. The other buses had to move out of the driveway before we could leave. If you go on your own, be prepared for the steep driveway. Entrance to the studios

Entrance to the studios

Bob taking a photo of the wood carvings

Bob taking a photo of the wood carvings

One of Bob's pictures

One of Bob's pictures

A duck

A duck

More views of the shop

More views of the shop


wood carvings

wood carvings


Our next stop was where they showed us how they did the wood carvings. They do the carvings out of one piece of wood and the wood itself tells them how to do it. They had wall plaques, masks, and abstract figures. We bought a small fish for our son-in-law.They said they got the color by using Kiwi shoe polish.

Bob went and petted the cats that lived there. .
Buses and tourists from the ship

Buses and tourists from the ship

fishing boats

fishing boats

House with conch shell railing

House with conch shell railing

Wall with St. Lucia flag painted on it

Wall with St. Lucia flag painted on it

Main square

Main square

Missed Opportunity

Missed Opportunity

boats on the shore

boats on the shore

conch shells probably for sale

conch shells probably for sale

locals

locals

sports fish boat

sports fish boat

tourists on the dock

tourists on the dock

Street chickens

Street chickens

First sighting of the snake

First sighting of the snake

Talking to someone on the bus

Talking to someone on the bus

local cemetery

local cemetery

Coming toward the tourist area

Coming toward the tourist area

Locals by the water

Locals by the water

Another man  past the bus in front of us

Another man past the bus in front of us

men selling palm leaf baskets

men selling palm leaf baskets

roadside stands from the bus

roadside stands from the bus

Lady trying to flag us down to buy bananas

Lady trying to flag us down to buy bananas


Finally we went to Anse-le-Ray. Anse-La-Raye is a little fishing community located along the western side of the island about half way between Castries and Soufriere. By this time, I decided I had enough and did not get out of the bus. Had I but known, there was a cemetery around the corner where I could have taken photos. Records show the first church being put there in the mid 1700s. As it was, I took photos of the chickens running around and the various people including a guy with a boa constrictor that wanted money but I don't know if it was to hold the snake or just to take a photo with it. It's a fairly old town with many of the buildings being over a hundred years old. Most of the people got of the bus and went shopping.
Church and cemetery in Anse-le-Ray

Church and cemetery in Anse-le-Ray


We got back in time for lunch in the dining room and we ate with people who sailed their boat down to Bonaire, liked it and built a house and became citizens. They were going to get off in Bonaire. I had
Honeydew and papaya appetizer at lunch

Honeydew and papaya appetizer at lunch


and the wild mushroom quesadilla which came with wild rice. Bob had rhubarb soup and haddock fillet. Then we both had rice pudding for dessert.
Looking down from the Lido

Looking down from the Lido

ferry coming around the back of Silver Spirit

ferry coming around the back of Silver Spirit

proceeding across the harbor

proceeding across the harbor

Ferry heading to terminal on shore

Ferry heading to terminal on shore


Afterward I went out and took photos of the harbor area, including the lighthouse which I saw on both visits. Vigie Light, Castries

Vigie Light, Castries

Vigie Light

Vigie Light

Vigie Light

Vigie Light

Vigie Light

Vigie Light

small boats in the harbor

small boats in the harbor

Another view from the harbor

Another view from the harbor

view from afar

view from afar

From the ship leaving the harbor - Saint Lucia

From the ship leaving the harbor - Saint Lucia

Located on the Vigie peninsula, the north side of the harbor of Castries, near the airport, this 1914 lighthouse is active. The station was established 1883. The lighthouse shows two white flashes every 10 seconds. In October 2005 the lighthouse was in poor condition, with no glass in the lantern. That's still true in 2011, but the tower has been repainted. The adjoining keeper's house was in use as office space for the Air and Sea Ports Authority. Site and tower open daily.

Obviously since St. Lucia is an island, you can't get there by driving. It's either FLY or come on a boat. Both times I have been there, I have been by cruise ship.

But St. Lucia actually has TWO airports
Castries TLPC SLU George F. L. Charles Airport (formerly Vigie Airport)
Vieux-Fort TLPL UVF Hewanorra International Airport
Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water

Island Surrounded by Water


Since George F. L. Charles Airport in Castries only handles turboprop and short distance local flights, most tourists are going to come in to TLPL Hewanorra International Airport down on the south end of the island which handles 500,000 passengers a year and has the capability to handle the Boeing 747, Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Boeing 777 and other similar long range intercontinental aircraft. Hewanorra International Airport was originally named Beane Army Airfield and was used as a military airfield by the United States Army Air Forces Sixth Air Force and used in World War II. I haven't been to or seen this airport. All the photos I have are for the TLPC George F.L.Charles Airport
George F. L. Charles Airport runway

George F. L. Charles Airport runway

end of runway from the ship

end of runway from the ship

Plane - lower

Plane - lower


It is possible to sail your own boat to St. Lucia. St Lucia is the final destination of the ARC Rally, one of the prominent boat cruises in the world. In 1997 world attention was briefly focused on the trial in St. Vincent of an American yachting couple, James and Penella Fletcher, alleged to have shot the Bequia man. But the couple was found not guilty for want of evidence (the gun was never found), and the murder went unsolved. There are also sometimes thefts from boats so you have to exercise caution and not leave things lying about on deck.

Vigie Creek (near GFL Charles Airport) and Castries City are Casttries harbour’s two main anchorages. The facilities at Vigie are somewhat run down but basic yacht repair and replenishment facilities may be available. The main advantage of the Harbour anchorage is its close proximity to the capital of St Lucia. Note that there may be up to 5 cruise ships in port and anchoring may not be suitable during busy cruise ship periods. When entering Castries Harbour, it is necessary to avoid the shoal that extends to the west of Tapion Peak, but the lighthouse allows you to identify the harbour at night. Vigie Creek can be rolly in northerly swells. Yachts clearing in must come straight to customs dock or, if there is no space, must anchor in the quarantine anchorage to the east of the customs dock. Failure to do so could result in a fine. Customs and Immigration officials are available during office hours.
Leaving the harbor in 2013

Leaving the harbor in 2013

Little plane coming in for a landing

Little plane coming in for a landing

First photo - Anse La Raye

First photo - Anse La Raye

2nd photo

2nd photo

3rd photo

3rd photo

4th photo

4th photo

Last view

Last view

Pitons

Pitons

Approaching from the sea

Approaching from the sea

Peaks Peeking up over land

Peaks Peeking up over land

Petit Piton

Petit Piton

The same from inside the dining room

The same from inside the dining room

Approach- photo 1

Approach- photo 1

approach - photo 2

approach - photo 2

Approach - photo 3

Approach - photo 3

from the ship

from the ship

Town from the dinner table

Town from the dinner table


First appearing in the mist

First appearing in the mist

Petit Piton

Petit Piton

Grand Piton

Grand Piton

The two Pitons

The two Pitons


There was one seven hour excursion which had started out in Castries and would end up in Soufriere and we would be picking them up there. I didn't get a chance to visit Soufriere by land because it was too far away from the cruise ship dock. I only got to see it from the water. The town was founded by the French and was at one time the capitol. Over the years, Soufrière has had to deal with hurricanes (1780, 1817, 1831, 1898 and 1980), a major fire in 1955 and an earthquake in 1991. Because of these events, the town has been rebuilt several times. Soufrière is located within the caldera of the dormant Qualibou volcano and the area is geothermally active. Marketed as a drive-through volcano, there are numerous hot springs and fumaroles just like there are in Yellowstone. This makes for a smell of sulfur in many places. I wasn't sure I would be physically able to do that tour, but I wanted see the Pitons (which I did not get to see on my first visit). I thought maybe I could see them from the sea. So when we started to move over to Soufriere, I went out on deck - on my scooter this time to take photos of the island and the Pitons from the ship. Although I would miss the geothermal field with sulfurous fumeroles and hot springs, I would have a view of the Pitons. I took lots of pictures. .
The Pitons

The Pitons


The Pitons rise side by side from the sea (770 m and 743 m high respectively), linked by the Piton Mitan ridge. The two are Gros Piton and Petit Piton. The description on the site web page says

The Pitons predominate over the St Lucian landscape, being visible from virtually every part of the island and providing a distinctive landmark for seafarers.The combination of the Pitons against the backdrop of green tropical vegetation and a varying topography combined with a marine foreground gives the area its superlative beauty.

We did miss Team Trivia while we were circling the island

We had dinner with another Navy guy (Harold) and his wife and with one of the couples we ate with last night. Bob had the fruit salad, cucumber pineapple soup and we finally had the prime rib which we didn't get on the first night because it came too late to cook it. I had the same except for the appetizer I had something called
Goat cheesecake with red onion jam

Goat cheesecake with red onion jam


which was better than it sounds. I didn't think much of the cucumber pineapple soup though. Bob had his usual dessert, and I had the Cappuccino Bomb. The waiter asked me what kind of bomb, and I said 'a grenade'. He looked a little surprised, and said 'good one'.
Cappuccino Bomb

Cappuccino Bomb


After dinner we went up to turn in our invitations, and then went up to the computer room and talked about getting some time reimbursed, and then we went to the shops and I got a tanzanite ring. Then we went down to the room.

Suddenly, Bob, who had gone into the bathroom called out "Call the front desk- the toilet doesn't stop filling when I flush it". The bathroom doesn't have a drain so he was standing there flushing it every time it filled up to keep it from running over. I called the front desk, and after a couple of non-answers, I got Hoda (the lady who had delivered my medal) and she said she would be right up. I hung up, walked out and opened the door to the hall and there she was running up the hall. While Bob kept flushing the toilet to keep it from overflowing, she was calling the plumber- she had someone shut off the water, and then in 15 minutes she had the plumber replace the valve and we have a working toilet again.

The captain said that it was going to be rough and we should secure things in our cabin, so I put the big Scope bottle in the sink, and put the computer down on the scooter. Tomorrow is Barbados

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:30 Archived in Saint Lucia Comments (0)

Back Under Ground

Harrison's Cave Revisited


View 2013 Maasdam cruise & Five Visits to Barbados & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

We got room service again, and I tried to make a sandwich out of my over easy eggs and some of the yolk squished out on my shirt. So I had to change shirts. I washed out the one I had on.
room service tray

room service tray

Bridgetown harbor from our room

Bridgetown harbor from our room


The excursion today was Harrison's Cave
Harrison Cave ticket

Harrison Cave ticket


We went to Harrison's Cave in 1996 when we came to Barbados, but since then when we have been here, the caves have been closed and being renovated. We went down to the tour about a hour early. Normally there is a shuttle from where the boats dock to the port building where we had to take the excursion. But not this time. Silversea is parked across from us and THEY have a shuttle, but we don't. I guess HAL is too cheap to pay for the shuttle. I was so slow that it was good that we started out early. Had I known that I could have used the scooter and they would keep it for me while I went on the tour, it would have made my life a lot easier. We walked and I had to stop about four times - twice while we were next to the ship as they let us off forward and the forward end was the farthermost away from the port building. It also was sprinkling, so when we stopped, we stopped under the old sugar loading silos. I got up to the port building and one of the guards there suggested that I ask the HAL excursion lady for a wheelchair back to the ship after the excursion. But she said absolutely NOT, that the Maasdam had no wheelchairs for any such thing.
Bajans directing people to tours

Bajans directing people to tours


I asked the girl who was herding the buses for us if I could get in first. And she said yes. A man came up with one of those walkers that you can sit on - he was complaining because the front desk had said that there was a shuttle. A guy came with a scooter and they had a scooter-enabled bus there for him. When I got on the bus, it was the second bus and I sat in front but the seat was right over the wheel and there was no foot room whatever. The man with the walker sat on the other side and he made his wife sit on the short leg room side. When we were all loaded, the driver came on with the walker and put it in front of the door.
Walker in front of the bus

Walker in front of the bus


The driver/guide was Peter. The bus went very fast so I was glad to take photos out the front. The guide talked very fast too.
Port entrance/exit

Port entrance/exit


exit from port

exit from port

Palm Tree

Palm Tree

Taxis lined up

Taxis lined up

Pelican craft center

Pelican craft center

Pelican craft center

Pelican craft center

Kenington Oval (cricket stadium)

Kenington Oval (cricket stadium)

Cricket statue

Cricket statue

Minibus stop

Minibus stop

Route bus- Minibus

Route bus- Minibus

Chattel House

Chattel House

Scooter driving on the left

Scooter driving on the left

Chattal Houses

Chattal Houses


When we got to Harrison's Cave, we had to walk in and wait for our tickets.
Logo in the floor

Logo in the floor

Entrance

Entrance

Ticket

Ticket

ticket to Harrison's Cave

ticket to Harrison's Cave


Then we went down in an outside glass elevator and we saw a movie about Barbados. Then we were loaded into a white electric tram.
Elevator locator

Elevator locator


Outside glass elevators

Outside glass elevators


Police car from the elevator

Police car from the elevator


When we were here in 1996, there were none of the buildings that there are now
Buildings at Harrison's Cave from the elevator

Buildings at Harrison's Cave from the elevator


Map of the caves

Map of the caves


and no outside elevator. We had blue electric train/trams
Old blue tram from 1996

Old blue tram from 1996


and we had to wear hard hats.
Bob's picture of me taking a picture of stalactite in 1996

Bob's picture of me taking a picture of stalactite in 1996


No hard hats this time. My camera lens and my glasses immediately fogged up.
camera lens fogged up

camera lens fogged up


I had to keep wiping them off. Also the camera had a hard time focusing as the caves were basically dark.
Stalactites in Harrison's Cave.

Stalactites in Harrison's Cave.

IMG_6104.jpg
IMG_6105.jpg
I did get some good photos though. The caves themselves were much as I remembered.
IMG_6152.jpgIMG_6149.jpgIMG_6148.jpgIMG_6141.jpgIMG_6140.jpgIMG_6137.jpgIMG_6134.jpgIMG_6133.jpgIMG_6131.jpgIMG_6130.jpgIMG_6126.jpgIMG_6123.jpgIMG_6119.jpgIMG_6117.jpgIMG_6116.jpgIMG_6112.jpgIMG_6107.jpgIMG_6106.jpg
I asked the driver if he had been there long and he said since 1995. He remembered the hard hats.

When we got back on the bus, Bob took the seat by the side of the bus leaving me the aisle. The man with the walker went to sleep -he had the advantage of an 'arm' on the aisle because there was a jump seat in the aisle. I had a really hard time staying in my seat as the driver swung the bus around curves and I think it would have been better if I had put the jump seat down. But the man was asleep on it and I couldn't put it down without waking him.
Snow on the Mountain bush

Snow on the Mountain bush

sugar cane next to the road

sugar cane next to the road

Sugar cane along the roadside

Sugar cane along the roadside

bus stop

bus stop


We got back to the ship, and I sat in the shop area while Bob went back to the ship and got my scooter.
Shops at the terminal

Shops at the terminal

Pirate outside a shop

Pirate outside a shop


As he was coming to get me with it, the skies opened up and rained. He sheltered under the sugar silos. Inside the building the rain was deafening - almost as loud as gunfire - I think they had a tin roof. One of the shop girls said that she would have gotten me a wheelchair if I needed one. I looked at the Best of Barbados shop for a shirt for Bob but the only ones they had were flowery. When he arrived with the scooter, we started back for the ship and suddenly I saw a man's shop with some batik shirts, so I went in and bought one. Then we went back to the ship. The ramp was quite slippery with rain - I knew the scooter would not be able to get me up the ramp, so I walked and one of the HAL guys brought the scooter up. We went back to the room and saw that the steward had given us a towel elephant.
Towel elephant

Towel elephant


We went up the buffet.
Sitting in the Lido waiting for Bob to get me food

Sitting in the Lido waiting for Bob to get me food


We both had a grilled cheese sandwich
Grilled cheese

Grilled cheese

Bread pudding

Bread pudding


and bread pudding because that was the easiest to get. The line for ice cream is always way too long. Bob took a nap while I sent an email to the Bonaire snorkeling people that he wouldn't be coming. Then I saw that the excursions desk would open at 4, so I got onto my scooter (which I had recharged already) and went down there - I had picked an excursion for Grenada that was a 7 hour tour and I didn't think Bob would want to do that. So I turned it in and got a 3 hour tour of the rainforest instead. I also turned in the 4x4 excursion in Bonaire. Next, I went down to the infirmary and got Bob some Claritin. As I came up to the cabin, I noticed that everyone seemed to be really dressed up but I thought that the dress for tonight was just casual. I did put on a long dress. Then when we got to the dining room, we saw that it was formal night, so Bob went back and changed. We ate with some Canadians that we had eaten with before, and a couple from Pennsylvania that we had also eaten with before - he has celiac disease and some Alzheimer's I think. I had the shrimp cocktail
Shrimp cocktail

Shrimp cocktail


and the cheese and tortellini soup, and Bob had the cold fruit soup. He refused to have the surf and turf and had the anytime salmon. I had the surf and turf.
IMG_6202.jpg
Then we both had the hot fudge sundae for dessert.
Rainbow over Barbados as we leave

Rainbow over Barbados as we leave


Tomorrow is Grenada

Posted by greatgrandmaR 11:34 Archived in Barbados Comments (0)

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