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March 17 Windsurf spring break St Maarten - St Maarten BVI
This was our 2nd sailing on this refurbished ship which was an amazing return after 12 years. The ship is a beautiful as ever. From the captain who was very informative, entertaining and "good looking" to the incredible service from all the staff, it ranks as one of the best of over 15 sailings I've been on.
I published various public videos on you tube which show the ship and some of the destinations. This is not a cruise for youngsters or the weak/infirm.
*Cabins - renovated and enough space and enjoyed the free soda and water throughout. The steward, who were rarely saw, kept the place top notch.
*Food dining - we ate at the Restaurant most of the time because they had the best variety but we loved dining under the stars in Candles and on the BBQ night. Breakfast was always delicious and the filet mignon was very good but some of the other beef dishes were tough. The pork and chicken were very good as were the fish dishes and the side dishes and app/dessert. The wait More
staff went overboard to please and make sure everything went well and you were a happy customer.
*Nightlife - the family band playing in the lounge was perfect as was the duo who played on the Compass Rose. Unfortunately we were generally so wiped out that we went to be early many times.
*Excursions - well run and complemented to ports. The staff were informative but did not seem to have the detailed kowledge with "inside tips" if you wanted to deviate from their excursions.
** Overall, we will definitely sail this ship, or maybe try another, in the near future. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We next went to Les Saints (Terre-de-Hauts) off the coast of Guadalupe, FWI for the day. My wife and daughters did not like this island but I like many aspect of it. First of all it is French throughout, has a beautiful fort (Napoleon) at the top of one of the hills encircling the harbor, and has a true french fishing village feel. We walked to Ft Napoleon, about 20 min from tender pier, then to Pompierre Beach. I loved that beach but for my wife and college age daughters too many goats (they pretty much rule/infest the island and poop and pee where they feel). I then climed to Ft Catherine overlooking Pompierre for amazing fiew then literally ran from the fort to marigot to town all the way to Grande Anse and met my family there. This beach was nice to look at but was way to rustic an with strong waves to stay at. The girls went back tot he ship (which has a marina that it opens from the back) and I walked back to Pompierre for the balance of the day
Were here over night and had great time. The people are friendly. Went to Foxy's after we landed the first night and there was plenty of raggae music, even dudes rope dancing (use a rope tied to tree as other arm of "partner"). Next day took 5.00pp taxi over the hill (better than walking) to White Bay where there is the great Soggy Dollar bar with its great mix of powerful drinks. The beach was great wide clean and long. Spend the whole day there. Very nice place away (until Star Clipper showed up and dumped its passengers on beach)...
Rented a car privately (Turbe) which met us (late) at pier. Drove to every beach on the island and loved only two. The best for waves was Flamands and the best swimming beach was Gouverneur. We never made it to Saline so cannot comment but here its a bit sketchy there. We drove by it and found the salt pond really smelly.
At about 2pm it started to rain the entire rest of the day putting a big damper on our visit. We returned car early and stayed on the ship :(, eventhough we were in port till 10 pm and wanted to go back in for drinks, but tender ride was a bit long for that due to congested harbor caused by a regatta in town.
This was great trip. My family (Wife former motorcyclist, and 2 daughters, both of which rode ATVs before) handled the ride well as did the 4 other riders on the tour. There were amazing views and informative (including Hugh centipede show)stop offs by very excellent guides while riding on dirt roads thru the old sugarcane fields on the mountain. But there were some very steep parts of the road which were not for the riders and I feel that the cruise line should have had a higher degree of difficulty on the tour description for this tour. As with any ATV tour there was a bit of dust but well with the 80pp price.
was part of our ATV tour at end where we were able to have refreshments and look around house. Was beautiful location with interesting history.
Soper's Hole, Tortola, B.V.I. - Quaint small village port where we took snorkel tour from town to Norman's Island and had great rum drinks on ride back. Did not spend much time on Tortola itself because left for Jost von Dyke later in the afternoon.
Took private tour from this destination to "The Baths" which were amazing (check out youtube videos etc for that location). We took the Bravura 5.5 hr sail http://www.sailbravura.com/ for 5500.00 because we wanted to do private charter for first time ever. We had lunch on board the sailboat and took long cruise that really leaned the sailboat at (from the captain 20 degrees). In retrospect we probably would have been better off taking early morning taxi to the baths and stop at a few beaches along the way. Otherwise, the private sail was very different and exciting but could have been more comfortable and the captain was a bit grumpy and not very personable yet very knowledgeable and an excellent chef (will post tripadvisor review on the sail later).
Our ship had a tender doing triangle to the Prickly Pear Island and the Bitter End Yacht Club. Prickly Pear is nothing special with bar and music (can't really judge b/c did not spend much time there) for the day and the Bitter End was very nice looking place and I'm sure very comfortable.