With all of our destinations visited, it was time to start sailing back to Miami. That Friday, Casey and I slept in. It was the first day that we'd done that, and it really felt good! When we got up, we went to the main dining hall and had breakfast. I had a tasty ham and cheese omelet and some very good hashbrowns. Much, much better than Rosie's offerings for breakfast. Then, we wandered around the ship and mostly just watched people. One of the funniest things on our cruise was that there was a Santa Claus convention on the ship. There were about 30 guys that ALL looked just like Santa. Their group was called "Santa On Vacation". Everytime someone asked their name, they would reply, "Santa Claus". When someone would ask where they were from, they would say, "the north pole." Too funny! We had lots of fun watching them compete in deck contests and go back and forth from the pool and hot tubs. Talk about the leverage the parents on that ship had!
Views of the ship.
Balancing our "Sail and Sign" card.
Santas on Vacation
Later that afternoon, I participated in "On Deck for the Cure". It was a 1 mile symbolic walk/run to raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer. There was a good little group of people, and it was a lot of fun. They do this run on every ship in the Carnival fleet and have raised a good deal of money so far.
Friday night's dinner was a formal night. It was our second one. The first was Monday night, which I forgot to mention. We had pictures made the first night. Then we found out one picture was so expensive to buy, that we opted not to have one made the second night. All I have of the second night is the snapshot of us with our servers, Rico and Armando. Here is the one from the first formal night.
After dinner, we went to a show. It was an all 80's review, and it was REALLY good and a lot of fun. After that, we stayed to see the comedian. Very funny! It was a bout 2 a.m. when we finished, so we decided to call it a night. This was what was in our room Friday night.
The last day, Saturday, was pretty uneventful. We went back for breakfast and lunch in the dining hall, since the food was fantastic there. We wandered around the ship some more, picking up last minute souvenirs to bring back home. We went back to the room and got everything packed back up, so we wouldn't have to do it Saturday night. That afternoon, at sunset, Casey got some BEAUTIFUL pictures from the ship, an some of me stretching after the run.
We found this, when we decided to call it a night on Saturday.
All too soon it was Sunday morning, and we were pulling into port in Miami. Our cruise was over. It was one of the best vacations that I've ever had! We are already planning to book another one for 2010, and I can't wait.
Our ship arrived in port at Phillipsburg, St. Martin by 7:00 a.m. Our port was on the Dutch Side. St. Martin or Sint Martin is shared by two countries. The Netherlands and France. Casey and I decided to take our time and have some breakfast at Rosie's. After we finished the business of breakfast, we made our way off the ship. Even the dock at St. Martin is beautiful. They are in the middle of a dock rebuiling project. It is very neat and clean, and the flowers are beautiful.
Our ship at the dock in St. Martin
A guy playing the kettle drums at the dock.
We took a water taxi across to the main shopping area to have a look at all the little shops. St. Martin's shopping district was absolutely beautiful. Right behind all of the shops, is a beautiful beach. It was the same as the port, very neat and clean. The plants were beautiful. We arrived before a lot of the shops opened, so we had a chance to look around a bit. There was not nearly as much hassling as there was in St. Thomas, so it was a lot more enjoyable. We made sure to stop by the Yoda Guy's shop, Planet Paradise, since we are HUGE Star Wars fans. Yoda guy was instrumental in helping Lucasfilm to develop the Yoda puppet.
View from the water taxi.
The market place in St. Martin
Planet Paradise...Yoda Guy's shop.
After we were finished shopping, we caught a regular taxi to Orient Beach in Marigot on the french side (St. Maarteen). Orient Beach is another one of the world's top ten most beautiful beaches. We had been warned that there was European sunbathing at this beach. There is also a totally nude beach there as well. The taxi driver dropped us off. We had to decide whether to go right or left and make our way down the beach. Wouldn't you know, that we chose right and walked right smack in the middle of the nude beach!! We hadn't even been there 5 minutes! Now, I know a lot of you are thinking, "Cool, nude beach and good looking people." Let me tell you, these are the kind of people that you don't want to see nude. Most of them were elderly too. When we realized where we were, we started going the other direction. We found a spot, in front of a little food shack. We got our lounge chairs and umbrellas and settled in for the day. Orient beach is absolutely gorgeous! It has the softest white powder sand, and the ocean is a beautiful turqoise blue. Since we rented our chairs and umbrellas from the food shack, we got 2 free drinks and 2 free shots of guavaberry liquor. Guavaberry is the thing on St. Martin. They have guavaberry everything. We tried the shots. I still don't think that I've gotten over the burn yet! We also were able to get hamburgers for lunch. The cool thing is you go up and put in your order. They then deliver it to you at your chair. How cool is that? Not the best hamburger I've ever had, but it was o.k. to stop the hunger. Orient Beach is a really good people watching spot. Casey and I just sat and lounged and watched the people go by. Oh, we did swim too. The water was nice and warm and clear. You could be neck deep and still see your feet!
As much as we didn't want to, we had to leave the beach and make our way back to the ship. St. Martin was our last stop in the caribbean islands. It was fantastic, and I can't wait to go back someday.
Tomorrow, our last 2 days on the ship at sea.....
This past weekend really flew by. On Saturday night, Casey and I went to the Montana Drive In with some friends. We saw the double feature of Indy 4 and Iron Man. Admission is $6.00 for both movies. I really thought it was a steal. I know by reading the reviews the past several days that there is no middle ground, where Indy 4 is concerned. I'm happy to report that I LOVED it. I've been a HUGE fan of Indiana Jones, since Raiders. I know that a lot of folks are saying that it doesn't fit with the other 3, and they hate the use of CGI. I feel differently. At the time they made the original Indiana Jones movies, they were using all the cutting edge technology. Why wouldn't they use the cutting edge technology today? It didn't detract from my enjoyment. I never once questioned this one's place in the original 3. People change over the years. If they made the exact same movie, well, we've already got it in our DVD collection. I was so into the movie that it was like no time had passed for Indiana. It was kind of like seeing someone you see everyday. You don't realize they are going grey. It's only later that you realize, suddenly, that they have. As for the use of the alien plotline and feeling like it was over the top and unbelievable, I ask this: What part of flying ark ghosts, melting men, beating hearts in bare fists, the crusading knight and the grail didn't seem a little unbelievable hmmmm? That all seems a bit questionable too. The movie entertained me, and it let me visit some old friends from my childhood. Time well spent, I say..
Iron Man was equally good. I loved the humor, and Robert Downey Jr. did an excellent job. It made me really proud to see him on screen. I'm glad that he was able to get his life back in order, and I hope that he continues to do well. Now, I just can't wait for the sequel!!
On Sunday, we went over to our friend Loki's house for a pre Memorial Day cookout. There was a ton of food, and we enjoyed visiting with everyone. We spent a lot of time gathered in the computer room laughing at YouTube.
Yesterday, Casey and I basically lounged around the house all day. My Mom had planned an elaborate outdoor cookout to start around 5:00 p.m. That plan was trashed, when thunderstorms rolled through the area. By 6:00 p.m. the rain had stopped, and Casey was able to get the burgers grilled. It was too wet to eat outside, so we just took everything in. Even though we were eating inside, the food was just as good!!
The ship docked in St. Thomas VI a little before 9:00 a.m. Casey and I had decided to go to Rosie's and grab breakfast, before we went through immigration. Since St. Thomas is a US territory, and we had been to the Bahamas, we had to go through immigration to debark from the ship. So while everyone was rushing the immigration line, we sat and enjoyed a tasty breakfast. The view was breathtaking just from the ship. It looked so much like I had always pictured Monte Carlo.
Views of St. Thomas from the ship.
We managed to make it off the ship by about 9:30 a.m. We hopped on a taxi and headed over to the main market place at Charlotte Amalie. We had been told that out of all the places to shop on this cruise, St. Thomas was by far the best. As soon as we got out of the taxi and headed for the shops, we got stopped by a guy who wanted us to do a contest. Incredibly, we both won a prize. I supposedly won some money. All they needed was my credit card, and they would make a replica of it with my funds. Yeah. Right. HAHAHA! What a scam! It was really hot and humid there. I guess it wouldn't have been so bad, if we had already had hot temps here. The shop owners in St. Thomas REALLY want you to buy from their shops. The run out in the street and try to convince you, drag you, or lure you in with coupons. This even went for the convenience stores. They are so pushy that I felt harassed. I know that they depend on tourism, but WOW!! This was the only negative experience that I had anywhere that I went. At the shopping program we attended we were given a list of the very best shops to do business with. They were so good, in fact, that the ship would guarantee your purchase. Casey and I went to look for Diamonds International to pick up my free charm bracelet and my free charm from St. Thomas. We also made a quick stop into Venetian Jewelers to claim my free 1 carat midnight sapphire that Casey had set for me. We stopped by another jewelery store, which I can't remember the name right now, and claimed the free necklace. We stopped in AH Rise, a really cool store with jewelry, liquor, and LOTS of other really cool stuff. I also got a t-shirt from Del Sol. Del Sol is a really cool shop, where everything they have changes color in the sun or UV light. They even have nail polish that changes. After we were done shopping, we grabbed a taxi back to the ship to drop off our stuff and change into our swim suits to go to the beach.
The marketplace at Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas VI
We wanted to go to Maegan's Bay Beach, which is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. We managed to get a really sweet taxi driver named Earline (prounced Er line like a straight line). She had driven tourist taxi's for 30 years. She gave us some history about the island and lots of good information. The drive took us over the really narrow, winding roads of the mountains on the island. The scenery was breathtaking! We were all busy trying to take pictures. She dropped us off at the beach, and we asked her to come back and pick us up at 5:30. I can definitely see why Maegan's Bay Beach is a top beach. It is BEAUTIFUL!! It was a little crowded that day, because of all the cruise ship tourists, but it was still GREAT. Since it's a bay, the water was nice and calm. It was super warm and really easy to swim there. There's a $4.00 charge to get into the beach. They use the funds for the upkeep. There's a little restaurant with food and drinks right there, along with picnic pavilions and a shower/restroom area. It was very clean and well kept. Maegan's Bay was one of the highlights from my cruise!
Scenes from Maegan's Bay Beach
Me in the distance playing in the water.
The time just flew by at the beach, and soon it was time for Earline to pick us up. She had noticed that we were all scrambling to take pictures, while she was driving. She was SO nice and sweet that she told us to wait and she would take us to 2 look out points on opposite sides of the island to get pictures. One of the views was looking down on Maegan's Bay and one of the views was looking down at the port. What views!! I'll never forget those views.
Overlooking Maegan's Bay Beach
Overlooking the port.
All too soon, Earline had us back at the ship. She dropped us off at the little marketplace right in front of the ships. There, Casey bought me a beautiful Caribbean bracelet. With much reluctance to leave St. Thomas, we boarded the ship. It was nearly 7:00 p.m., so we hustled to get ready for our dinner seating. Dinner was fabulous as usual. I had a yummy broccoli soup with grilled chicken and vegetables for dinner. They had FANTASTIC Tiramisu for dessert. Afterwards, we returned to our room. We had an early morning in St. Martin coming up.
Casey and I are headed out to the Montana Drive In to see Indiana Jones 4: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull tonight. The double feature is Iron Man, which is GREAT, because we haven't seen it yet. I know the reviews of Indy have been mixed. I'm going in with an open mind. I'm sure I'll love it, just because it's Indy. If I'm entertained for the time I'm there, then it was worth my money. I'm just really looking forward to it! SQUEEE!!!!
I'd just like to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day!! To all the men and women who have served our country and who are currently serving: Thank you SO much for all you do!!! Also, a VERY special thanks to all of our canine and animal troops as well!!