Carnival decided to reposition my favorite ship from NYC to the West Coast...so a year ago, when I learned of this sad news, I had to book this rare treat of a 10-day! A little about myself: I'm a solo cruiser with a cruise history of 25 past cruises on Celebrity, Norwegian, one on HAL, 13 with Carnival (6th time on the Miracle). I cruise 2 or 3 times a year, usually out of NY.
Embarkation day for us had a storm brewing, and it definitely impacted our first couple of days. I'm from the Hudson Valley of NY so I drove to the port. I dropped off my luggage with the porters, drove around & then back up to park at the pier ($350) because it's extremely convenient to do so.
Check-in was a breeze & we were boarding before noon. I went up to Lido, had a light lunch, & happily met up with friends with whom I had cruised before. It was freezing cold that day! After braving the cold for as long as we could stand it, I invited everyone to my cabin, ordered a couple of bottles of wine & we chatted until they called the muster drill. The muster drill went quickly & smoothly & then we were on our way!
Fabulous cabin! Large bathroom with jetted tub & great shower & dual sinks. Dressing area with lighted mirror, vanity & stool, & closets. Main cabin area is very spacious with 2 additional closets, plenty of drawers and storage, a bar area, a couch, chair & cocktail table. Large expanse of floor to ceiling windows. The balcony is very long with 2 chairs, a table and a lounger.
I love Grand Turk...have been there many times & never get tired of it. Last April we did the snorkel & stingrays with Carnival & had a blast. This time I went straight to Margaritaville & hung out at the pool with friends all day. It was a gorgeous day, warm but not sweltering. I had a Bloody Mary early, then later had 2 "perfect margaritas (yummy!) & a "Cheeseburger in Paradise". The waitstaff were attentive & very nice people.
Having been to San Juan many times before, this time I decided to hang on the ship & have a "me" day. I was at the Lido pool for a while, on my balcony reading my Nook for a while, it was all good, had a great day!
On previous calls at San Juan we had gone to El Morro which was excellent, did shopping in Old San Juan, took the city tour, did the Bioluminescent Bay kayaks, which was great. And most times we went to dinner at The Parrot Club in Old San Juan, which I highly recommend to anyone who likes fish. And martinis!
St.Thomas remains one of my favorite ports ever. I ALWAYS go to Sapphire Beach, which is the most beautiful, in my humble opinion. This time we had 45 people from our roll call at Sapphire Beach from 9AM (leaving Havensight) until 1:30 (pick up at the beach to return to Havensight). We contracted with Godfrey from Godfrey Tours, who sent 2 open-air taxis for us & who was kind and courteous and prompt as usual. We could've stayed longer at the beach because our ship wasn't leaving until 6PM...but many wanted to save some time for shopping.
I signed up to go to Jost Van Dyke for a half day snorkel & beach ($70) with tour operators BVI360. It was a beautiful day in Tortola, & Sam from BVI360 met 17 of us at the pier with an open air taxi. Before we left the dock area he explained that the ocean was very rough right now (we knew that, we knew that, lol)...and therefore we had to drive to the south side of Tortola to catch the boat to JVD. Then he added that all of us would get very wet on the crossing to JVD where the Atlantic met the Carribean. He further mentioned that someone drowned last week. During the half-hour drive to Pusser's Landing (where we were to catch the boat) I re-thought this whole thing & decided to back out! Sam brought the group to the marina where they were divided into 2 groups...one group in a regular boat and 1 group in a rubber zodiac! Sam brought me back to the pier where I wandered and shopped at the market & had a great day. BVI360 refunded my $70 promptly via Paypal which is how I initially paid for it.
It was my own choice to do this...those that went had a good time. Next time I'm in Tortola I'm going back to Lambert Beach which I've been to before & loved. I guess I'm a big chicken!