!2th Cruise and counting...
Embarcation was a breeze in San Juan. We cruised in January out of San Diego and that was a nightmare! We had upgraded to a balcony on Spa deck because I thought we may have poor weather and it would be used more. The weather was extremely great and we never had rain but a balcony is a great place to hang wet suits or snorkel equipment and such. We also get Smoked salmon with tea and coffee for room service every morning and had that out on the balcony watchibg the sunrise or the islands approaching. It was great for photos.
We never had a proplem with noisey children, being close to Camp Carvival but the fact that we were too close to the outside wall caused extreme noise in the early morning hours when the washed down all the decks. They tend to scrape the lounge chairs for hours it seems instead of picking them up to move them. I found putting an extra pillow over my ears helpful. There was no fridges in the rooms for the 1st time in 12 cruises...that wasn't cool. More
The water slide was a blast and there was always chairs everywhere but they were not policing the smokers who were everywhere on deck! It really frustrated me as they gave them the aft side on all open decks to smoke. Once one person saw how easy it was, every smoker just did what they wanted...again, not cool.
It was easy bringing water, soda, wine and spirits onboard. They had a store just before you entered and we went off for chardonney wine at $8.95 & water was $5.99/12pk. The water slide was very nice and the big movie screen under the stars was wonderful too, although there were many missing pixels and it needs an overhaul. We found the food great, as usual. I did here someone complain that the beef was tough but people will always complain. For what we pay, all meals were incredible! Life is a Beach! Now go out and enjoy it. Less
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Cabin review: 8F1114 Balcony
Our room was noisy in the wee hours of the morning due to deck location. The balcony did not have a roof as we were on spa deck. The rooms have no Fridges. We did not have night stands as the couch was too long but the bathroom seemed larger that most cruise ship bathrooms, but not much. I did love the location though as we could walk right out to watch a movie, join main pool parties and games, use the water slide and if we walked up one small set of stairs, we were at the adult only retreat.
Port and Shore Excursions
The BoatYard is close to the cruise terminal. It had a $12 cover fee that included entry to the beach for the day, a drink, free cab back to the ship, chairs, umbrellas, water trampolines, dive platform and rope swing off the pier. The sand was white and the the water was crystal clear. The food was slightly costly but with all you get on the ship it isn't necessary. The I would definitely recommend this beach bar.
The Shipwreck Beach Bar and Grill at South Friars beach is a great stop. This was out third time to South Friars. The snorkeling is best here than many other islands and the view of St Nevis is breathtaking. The cab ride was $4pp and there is no cover charge. Two beach chairs with a palm frond hut top was $10. Beers are $15 for a bucket of 6 and you can mix up your choices. They have monkeys and mongoose to photo if you want and massages where $20 but they did not work for the Shipwreck. I didn't get one but many people did and seemed to enjoy it. This is a great beach break with no reservations needed.
We hooked up with two wonderful fun couples from Colorado that had a reservation at the Rendezvous. They let us join them. The cab was $5pp. This place is a couples all inclusive resort. The price was $60 pp for the day. We had unbelievable service with all you could drink and eat. The food was on a veranda with a spectacular view...5 star dining with wine of your choice served. We were given beach flags and when raised, your private cabana boy waited on you. We took out Catamarans for sailing multiple times. We used the kayaks. Our beach chairs were like beds and we had soft pale cream colored gossamer canopy tops. We drank way too much, played hard, laughed, swam ate and everything for one low price. There was also ski boats and we watched people skiing, wake boarding, tubing and more...all included.
Word of advice, without the reservation the cabbies will not take you there. Also, they keep it very exclusive and only allow a small amount of people on their beach. We are seriously contemplating a week there!
This was my 5th time to St Maarten/St Martin. We opted to stay in Philipsburg on the beach at Great Bay on Front street. We bought the all day water taxi for $6 each. When you get to Front Street right off the water taxis, go left and don't stop at any of the first few bars you see. Resellers will try to hock you to the place you are going as they get commission but the deal is sweeter if you go yourself. Head down to "Lizzy's". There you will get two chairs, an umbrella, two Red Stripe beers, two shots of something, a beach float, free WiFi and all for only $12 for the two of you! There is also an ocean trampoline there and you can jet ski if you want to pay. There is no better deal in all of the Caribbean. Remember to just say,"No Thank you" to all the helpful people as you walk down the beach street and find Lizzy's yourself. There is also an ally there that will take you one street over from the beach to shopping. The only negative thing is there are too many beach sellers. When I first got there I had to say no to a dozen pushy people. After that, they left me alone to enjoy the beach and the water.
We Took a taxi at $10 pp to Saffhire Beach. It is close to Red Hook and the ferry to St John's They rent snorkel eqipment for $5/hr or $10/day. Beers were $3 and strong rum punch was $4. Chair rental was $7 (too high) but the large trees provided good free shade. When I mentioned to the owner about the chair rental fee, he gave us a free rum punch.
I had read a review about excessive seaweed on the beach. There was some seaweed on the beach but the hotel there had a crew out every day for cleanup. You cannot control the ocean!
Everyone swam, snorkeled and floated with a beverage while laughing and talking. It was a great beach day.
My Motto is, "Life is a Beach. Now go out and enjoy it."