We spent one night in Miami and 4 in St. Lucia. We had to depart our resort in St. Lucia at 6:30 a.m. to make our 8:45 flight. We paid $21 each departure tax at the George Charles airport. We boarded our American Eagle prop job at 8:00 and departed at 8:50. We arrived in Puerto Rico at 10:25, 35 min ahead of our scheduled 11 am arrival time. At George Charles in St. Lucia, all 4 of our bags were searched, as well as carry-ons, book pages were turned, all devices turned on. Then a second time, all items were again removed from my purse, even the Altoid mints were smelled.
Customs was a breeze in San Juan. We were at the taxi stand at 11. We were given a ticket and quoted $19 for the fare and $2.50 for our bags (50 cents for first 3 and a dollar for the next one). The driver had us at pier 1 at 11:25. We went to see if we could leave our bags with Silversea in the terminal and were immediately offered the $100 pp early embarkation that had been refused at time of booking due to the cruise before ours being a charter. We jumped all over it. A white gloved, formally dressed gentleman waited with us while all of our bags were loaded on a dolly. He escorted us up the gang plank and to reception on the ship where we were happily greeted. Our ID cards were ready. We surrendered our passports and were told it would be 10 minutes for our suite and that we would have to come back later for our security photos. We were given Vueve Cliquot champagne. Everyone seemed so happy we had boarded the ship and would be sailing with them. We were already feeling the same way.
Our white gloved gentleman took us to the Panorama lounge where a very nice lady offered us anything we desired to drink from a seat with a lovely view of our choice. They had mixed nuts also at the bar. We took a few pics outside until it began to drizzle.
Leisurely, we browsed the computer center, library and other public areas and then went to our suite, as we were told lunch was served on deck 4 from 12-1:30. Our bags were ensuite, laid out on the bed, and the stewardess was in the room stocking all the refrigerator and drink selections we had made. Only thing not there yet was the orchids, which arrived soon after and also the foam pillows I had requested online.
Upon walkup, we saw 915, our suite number, a mail slot, and a doorbell and card slot for entry. Inside, the bathroom had a glass-enclosed shower stall, toilet, double marble sink, a tub with a removable shower head and there were 2 shelves below the sink. There is a clothes line that you can put across the tub area for drying swimsuits. The stewardess did this for us each day. Also all the Aqua de Parma amenities were theretwo types of soap , body gel, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Shelves above contained water glasses, cotton & Q-tips, and tissues.
Next was a walk-in closet. There were a number of hangers along two racks and then half the closet with only one rack for longer items, a suitcase shelf, a shoe rack, a tie rack, a chest of drawers, a digital safe, and those trusty life jackets. There was a light, and the closet also had a blanket in it. One drawer had a number of items for shoeshine, a sewing kit and a hair dryer.
The bed had a nightstand on either side with lamps, and the left side had a clock. Four pillows were under the covers and then there were 3 throws. Opposite the bed was a dressing table with stool and various style plugs, including American. There was a magnifying mirror there.
Next were the drapes than can be drawn and then the sitting area. There was a nice love seat with lamps and end tables on both sides. There was a chair that was more comfortable than it looked and a small table. There was a bigger table in the closet they can add on top of this to facilitate dining in the suite.
Along the wall was the fridge in the lower left cabinet of the desk, which contained juices (4 kinds, one each) and then a few soft drink items and ice. Personalized stationery, postcards, in-room dining menus, and a book about the services offered were on the writing desk Above on the left was a cabinet where they put glasses, binoculars, and any drink items you requested. On the right side, there was the very small TV/VCR that swivels (when you figure the device out) and on the shelf below there was a DVD player that will also play your DIVX and mp3s from home.
Below that was fruit-grapes, banana, pear, apple and sometimes a plum. The desk also had a variety of plug-ins.
Each light throughout the cabin had a conveniently located switch to control it, so there was no wondering around trying to figure the lights. Recessed lighting is used a number of places, as well, so you can have it as light or not, as you choose.
The verandah was nice with 2 comfortable, adjustable lounges and a small table. No footstools like those shown in the brochure. There were walls on either side for privacy. We were the last cabin on deck 9, so we knew we were not being looked at. I cant comment on if this would ever be an issue or not, but I doubt it would be worth any concern.
In our closet were two thick, lovely robes and two sets of slippers, mans and womans. We got Aqua de Parma and Bvlgari both. Not everyone did.
Lunch on April 5 -- After our survey of the room, we went down to deck 4 to The Restaurant and had a lovely 5 course lunch. We had penne pasta with meat and tomato sauce as an appetizer, cream of chicken soup, salad with balsamic vinegar. Todd had a sirloin steak, while I had broiled flounder. For dessert, Todd had apple pie with cream, and I had crème brulee and a side order of mixed berries. They offered wine of the day and then coffee or espresso. Service was outstanding, as it had been since arrival. Guests were rather well dressed, but we found out some were there just for the day, etc.
People were talking across tables, and it was louder than we are used to. We were to discover this would be a common thing. Not a real issue.
April 5 activities
We checked out the rest of the public areas. The lounges were beautiful. The card room was larger than I was expecting. They had a nice conference room, though not large. The spa looked inviting. The gym had a number of machines, bottled water, lots of towels, and iPods, as well as headphones to listen to the TVs that were playing. The fitness schedule for the entire cruise was available for taking back to the room.
We picked up the daily crosswords and sudoku puzzles in the library and went to get our pictures taken and then on to the suite. Todd stayed in the room and laid around reading the literature and resting, while I checked out regular embarkation. They had a receiving line with champagne or fruit punch, refreshing towels (which we didnt get) and then a line in the bar for taking pics, checking in and then caviar and smoked salmon canapEs made to order and finger sandwiches. There were many people there to take guests to their suites.
I disembarked the ship after having my card scanned. I walked a mile or two around Old San Juan, getting a feel of the town. The architecture was interesting. There were many interesting-looking Indo-Latino restaurants and a lot of unique shops. I sat around in a couple of places to feel the vibe of the area.
I came back about 5:15, and we readied ourselves for the 5:30 lifeboat drill. We went to level 5 to the B area and were greeted and told about when we should come there and then we were escorted to the Viennese lounge where they gave a demo of the life jackets and took the opportunity to plug the spa and shore excursions.
In our suite were already the tickets for our shore excursion, my spa appointment card, etc. We had left a message for the golf pro for details of Todds golf excursion in Antigua and we picked up info on that and the program in general. Back in the suite, Frasier, the pro, called to discuss the outing with Todd and then ask about what type of club shafts he wanted.
Lots of guests had been hanging out on the pool deck, as they served late lunch/early dinner there for a couple of hours, along with soft drinks and a full bar service. Mixed nuts and chex mix were available here. It was loud and bustling there, but festive. BTW, the guests were all ages, mostly 40s to 80s, and we saw a hand full of teens. Guests were not so formal as at lunch but not tacky or anything like that. Most had a long, hard travel day and were happy to be greeted by an inviting staff.
Another tidbit, the gentleman that took us to our room had told me about the April 1 Pfizer charter. Because they had an early departure (most of them) they let us on. That was nice, but others missed out that didnt gamble to see.
We went to the library and selected a couple of videos and then came to the room and watched Prime on the in-room movies. They had about 4 channels running various movies, and they had a booklet explaining it and showing the DVDs available. The TV had Fox News, BBC, and CNN. It had a navigational station we enjoyed that was tracking the ship (this played in the hallway on Deck 5, also) and some other info channels on the ship and its activities. There are also many VHS movies in the library, but they are not as new, but you will find old faves. Also in the library were many novels and also a puzzle there to be worked, chess, checkers, etc. Other public areas had board games and books about birds and fish and things of that nature.
Sometime the stewardess came to offer additional types of toiletries, but Todd was alone and didnt pay attention to what was offered and told her to come back.
After the movie, I steamed my pantsuit, and we dressed for dinner. At 5, we had tried to get a reservation for La Terraza for any night. They were already booked for the entire cruise. I should have done this at 11.
Dinner in The Restaurant on April 5 -- We asked for a table for two, and we were given one. This was the quieter side, though the room was noisier than a cafeteria, something we were not expecting, but again, not a big deal. Some people asked to join others, and both types of wishes were granted easily.
We had seen the menu in our suite and had an idea of what we wanted to have. They offered the daily pour and also were available to explain anything. Service was good.
For appetizer, Todd had the king prawns with Indian spices, I had the Greek salad (feta cheese, cucumbers, and pine nuts inside a tomato with 4 green leaves). We enjoyed them. For soup, Todd had the beef essence, and I had the red onion with ginger. We loved them. Rolls were many hard varieties, we were not too interested in them. For salad, I had the greens with balsamic again, and Todd had Caesar salad (which had bacon and anchovies). You must order the sorbet, or it will not come. It was pina colada. Good taste! For the entrEe, Todd had the striploin with fries. I had halibut with garden veggies. The waiter brought the veggies and hand selected each vegetable at my urgence and whim! The fish was healthy but a bit plain. There were other choices, but I was trying not to gain weight. For dessert, Todd asked for mixed ice cream, and I had more sorbet. We nibbled on the petite fours. One tasted like chocolate cookie dough. Yumm. Others had fruit and cheese from a trolley. We did not. The trolley was something else you had to request. During dinner, our waiter hustled, and glasses were filled regularly. After Dinner April 5
We finished dining at around 9:30. The casino was not open in San Juan due to laws. We went up to The Bar to hear Daryl. He sang '60s tunes and played electric assisted piano. He read the words from a computer. I enjoyed him, but Todd didnt as much because the songs were his own rendition, vs. him trying to sound just like the artist. He stated that when he started the set. A few couples danced.
At 10, we went to the show lounge for the Taste of Things to Come show. Ron, the cruise director, alternated introducing 3-5 staff members with a production number about 4 or 5 times. It was great to hear about the staff (not a single American except the cruise director who splits his time in South Africa). The golf pro indicated that he was sold out for the Antigua excursion. This whole program was a little too infomercialish, but we did see a few good production numbers. Randomly, guests got wait service. We did not, but it wasnt a concern.
Ron ended the show at 10:45 so that guests could get ready for the sailing at 11. Some celebrated above us on 10 and others by the pool on 8. We hung out on our veranda from 11 to midnight until the lights of San Juan was out of sight. It was spectacular.
April 5 pet peeves: Stewardess took club soda I had just prepared and was coming back to because we were not in the suite. Welcome champagne we were not done with was taken. Dining is louder than we expected.
We went to sleep to one of the videos from the library, Generals Daughter.
April 6, 2006 Virgin Gorda
Woke up at 6:25 to someones set alarm from a previous stay! No problem, we were waking up on our own anyway due to our surroundings. It was a beautiful sunrise that morning, postcard perfect. We passed by little islands after that and also saw lots of yachts. It was like a moving postcard. We enjoyed the view on the veranda and scoped it out with the binoculars. Todd worked both the crossword and the sudoku already by early am.
We skipped breakfast, as we were still full from dinner. Todd went to the golf swing clinic. No swinging, just talk about technique. He got to chat with the pro.
I ate a plum from our fruit in the room and went to the body conditioning class with Margit, the fitness instructor. Several ladies had been there for step, but I was alone for the toning class. She and I did it togetheraerobics with hand weights and then floor exercises. She kept asking me if I could feel it. What dummy would say not? Then I rode the exercise bike a while, looking out at the view.
Todd and I went outside the observation lounge and watched the ship come into port and took some pics.
Todd watched a movie from one of the in-room movie channels for an hour, and I laid out on deck 9 in my swimsuit. On 8 (pool deck) and 9, they brought cold towels and mist and offered drink servicebottled or sparkling water, soft drinks or other drinks, anything. There was sun or shade available and cushioned loungers with towels set up.
We got ready for our excursion to The Baths. We went to lunch at La Terazza at noon when they opened. A number of people were already there. We prefer sit down to buffet, but the sit down started at 12:30, and our tour was leaving at 12:45. The selections included lovely salads. I had mixed greens with balsamic. Todd skipped salad, opting for a slice of cold roast beef. For entrees, we asked for bite sized of most to try several. They had carved chicken, Schezwan (sp) beef, lasagna, pizza, fried cod, pizza, and pasta cooked fresh to order. They had pumpkin soup (yum) and chilled raspberry cream soup. For dessert, they offered low carb and sugar free. I had berries, and Todd skipped dessert. They had several ice creams and all sorts of toppings, including pistachios, chocolate chips, etc. There were some hot desserts, also.
Everything was carried to the table. Our glasses were filled with water almost before we sat down, and we were offered the pour of the day, something Greek. Dishes were cleared at just the right time.
We arrived in the Vienesse Lounge as per our tickets at 12:45, but they seemed to have sent letters (we didnt get ours, we didnt think but found it the next day) on it being moved to the gangway. After going to Vienesse and then heading to gangway, we missed the tender and waited for the next. We were given towels and water. We missed our tour, but the tour director arranged for a staff member to take us in his personal jeep to join our tour at The Baths.
The Baths is close to where the ship anchored. We were given drink tickets and told how to get down to The Baths. Thankfully, we saw some SS people and felt better about having missed our ride. Everyone was able to lay their towel in sun or shade as desired. T-shirts, etc. were available (we didnt buy anything). They also sell soda and beer, not sure what else. We didnt walk up there. This excursion with SS is $45 pp. For this price, they should have had a cooler or two down there or something, as we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. I think the entry fee for adults was only $3, so the transportation and entry were a bit much compared to what SS must have paid, though we thought it was reasonable when booked. I didnt see cabs after we tendered but I think there was a place for them.
We spread out our stuff and went swimming amongst the rocks and took pics along the beach. We walked part of the way thru the caves toward Devils Bay Beach (I think that is the name) and got some great pics. Todd got the HP camera a bit wet it wouldnt come back on (later discovered the pics were at least saved on the SD card). We still had the Kodak.
The climb back up seemed fierce after my personal session with the fitness lady. We got some punch with our tickets and sat on the patio overlooking The Baths and the bay. It was soo beautiful the huge rocks, flowers and cacti on top of the ocean made an interesting backdrop.
Back on Ship
We were back on the ship at 4:30. We rinsed off our sand. I sat in the hot tub and chatted for a very long time to various people, including a lovely couple in their late 30s who had sailed SS a few times. Todd went to the putting contest. He got 4 points there. Sounds like I should have gone since not too many ladies were there.
From one of the hot tubs, the couple and I witnessed a very drunk man. That guy had started rubbing my back out of nowhere at the bar while I was nibbling chex mix and waiting for a club soda (the reason I headed off to the hot tub). His friend had done the same earlier (nickname Roach). We called the other guy blue shirt. He passed out, and his friends could hardly get him up and out. Neither were Americans!
Evening of April 6
This was formal night. I steamed Todds shirt, and we got dressed-tux for him and long dress for me. We joined the end of the captains cocktail party. Looks like we missed about everything. They had shrimp cocktail it seems (heard it was literally one shrimp pp). We did hear some more about some of what was going to occur the rest of the cruise. It was all very festive but hard to describe.
We headed down to The Restaurant for the formal dinner and asked for a table for 2. Someone took our order before ever offering wine or water, but they tended to all of that. Since we got seated near a table for 12, our waitstaff were more focused on them. Our service was then average but not bad.
I had the goose liver appetizer with candied plum. This was divine. Todd had the mixed berries in blue Curacao. For soup, I had the celeriac and apple soup (wonderful), and Todd had the chicken consomme with matzo balls. There were always 3 soups offered at every meal. I had the greens with balsamic, and Todd requested and got a Caesar. He had prime rib and requested a baked potato with bacon and cheese. It came plain. I had the lobster thermidorchix sized, just a few bites in each side of the tail, but it was enough for me. We skipped dessert, even the petit 4.
We headed to the casino for a bit of roulette. We lost $80 but it took a while, and we had a lot of fun. Stakes were $2 min per number and $10 min on any outside spot (vs $10 total on the outside). This gave them a lot of advantage.
We went to listen to Daryl for a bit. He played 60s tunes. We played roulette and lost $80 but had a good time. The table had an advantage on the outside due to limit being 10 dollars a position vs. the total of the outside. Then Todd went to the room, and I went to the Toast to Broadway show. It was a costumed show with a number of Broadway tunes. I was very tired.
We went to bed and woke up a few times. Todd was snoring, and I curled on the couch a bit and slept.
April 7, 2006 Antigua
We did barely wake up for coming into port because the doorbell rang at 7:45 with our breakfast. I had bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns. Todd had same except my eggs were fried, and he had an omelet. We shared the grapefruit and cantaloupe.
Todd got ready for golf with his Cedar Valley Silver Links 365 group. I got ready to go off ship, too but took my time.
I went to the computer center and got connected over there. I bought 100 minutes for $55. I didnt really need to do this because I had my Blackberry, and my GPRS service worked in every port and sometimes out at sea. They had around 6 pcs in the center, and you couldn print from any of them. You can also use wifi on your laptop against the same allotment of minutes. The wifi worked in the library/computer center, card room and lounges. I didnt try it anywhere but the computer center.
In Antigua, the ship is at a pier, so there is no need to tender. You just walk off the ship, making sure you have your ship ID card and a photo ID. Shortly after departing the ship, I found a taxi stand. The gentleman there told me it would cost $12 to go to Sandals resort and asked if they were expecting me. I indicated I had a day pass over there. We walked a couple of blocks to his van, and we were to Sandals in about 6 minutes in traffic. I tipped the driver, and he was off.
We had some hassle at Sandals because I had evidently said I needed the pass for Friday, April 8. Well, instead of asking me if I meant Friday or April 8, they assumed April 8, so they were expecting me the next day. It took 3 people to get to that, but I did get in and was all set with the pass.
I walked around looking at the property. I really liked the garden areas with the pools. The gardens were quite lush. These areas were nicer than the main swim-up area. The beach was wide and long. One thing to note is that the beach goes beyond Sandals on both ends, and it is public. Therefore, there were kids walking by, etc. This area was just beautiful. I think a day pass here is a wonderful option for anyone on a non-inclusive cruise, as it is minutes from the pier, and then you get drinks and a beautiful beach, one of the nicest.
I checked out the lunch buffet. They were cooking pasta to order and carving a whole pig. I just wanted to have some mango and a little salad. I was seated Oceanside at a table for two. It rained briefly and lightly. That brought a lot of people in, but it was over quite quickly. I headed down to check out the upcoming Mediterranean Village. It looks like it will be large and quite beautiful. The pool is going to be huge. Rooms will be suites and will all be identical. They are set back a ways from the ocean. It is to be complete in November. I should be able to check it out next February.
I didnt want to miss too much time on the ship, and I still wanted to walk around town. The resort called a cab over for me, and it was the same price to go back. The cab let me off at a good location in town. I went around to various shops and bought some souvenirs before heading back to the ship on foot.
Id missed all the regular meal hours, but I decided to check out the room service menu, not knowing when Todd would be back from golf or if hed have eaten. I was guessing he would have.
Room Service Lunch
The menu looked quite good, and I wish Id have ordered a soup. I ordered mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, two shrimp cocktails, and pizza margherita. The menu warned that the pizza takes 20 minutes. I spent this time on the veranda perusing my email on my blackberry and contemplating my surroundings.
I didnt time the food, but it must have been 20 or 30 minutes. The person that brought it was willing to set up my table the fancy way they do, but I just took the tray. It was just me, anyway. The salad was the same crisp greens with balsamic I had been enjoying. Silversea makes such a wonderful balsamic that Id been having it often. The shrimp came as 8 shrimp on a plate with delicious cocktail sauce. The pizza was a thin, crisp crust. I did not eat even half of it, but it was the best pizza I have had at a non-pizza place-ever! It was so yummy.
I went out to lay around on deck 9. After a short while, I was misted and had a drink order taken. There was plenty of shade or sun and lots of cushy loungers with towels. They have lots of refreshing soft drinks and will make anything else you want, too.
I went to Cruise Consultant Carls get together talking about the upcoming 2006 and 2007 cruises. This was held in The Bar.
I checked back at the cabin around 5 p.m. to see if Todd was available and wanted to do anything. He had only got back in the room at 4:30. He was a bit burnt because his golf outing was so long. He had put on sunscreen but didnt bring any with him.
We watched an in-room movie while Todd unwound from his 8 hour outing.
Todds Golf Outing
He met his group at 8:45 at the gangway. He brought his own shoes, balls, and glove and signed up to rent their Nike clubs. We arranged his outing at www.silverseagolf.com, and I recommend golfers do this in advance of their cruise if possible because this excursion sold out. The group went to Cedar Valley. Todd thought the course was interesting and had some good views. He shot an 84 here. There were 3 groups of 4 playing, and the other 11 all knew each other. The pro played 4 holes with Todds group, 5 with another and 9 holes with another. Frasier, the pro tried to change peoples whole swing, rather than work with what they had. They were fed chicken wings and some other food. Transportation was included, and they also spent time on the range. This whole jaunt was in the $200 range when it was all over.
Evening April 7, 2006
This evening they had a sailing party on deck. We just checked it out briefly. They had 3 types of appetizers. I tried 2 of the little nachos. We chatted with Buckie and Jane, the couple wed met that were celebrating their 40th anniversary. Jane was excitedly telling me about her needlepoint class. Todd did not try any appetizers. I got in the hot tub with the nice couple from Georgia Id met before. I just didnt want to get out and stayed a long time. The night was magical.
This was an informal evening. Todd wore a jacket and tie, and I wore a dress. We headed to The Restaurant around 7:30. For appetizer, I had planned to have the king scallop ravioli with shellfish sauce and basil oil, but this was substituted for something with goat cheese. Instead, we had the mango, papaya and pineapple medley. For soup, we had the cauliflower and parmesan veloute with pesto crostini. This was quite good. I had assorted greens with balsamic, and Todd asked for and received Caesar. We forgot to order the sorbet but did this later and got it. They had key lime daiquiri sorbet. For the entry, I had the poached izumi dai fish with lemon butter sauce. It was a bit buttery for me but I took it out of the sauce. Todd had a beef dish and fries. I had the peach zero zero ice cream for dessert, and Todd had some other ice cream.
We found the service only adequate on this evening. They did offer the pour of the evening, and they do offer to switch to red wine if you are so inclined when the entree comes. I did try it, Todd did not. We had already ordered our food before this or water was offered. This is the evening JJ, the head sommelier was in the restaurant. We were seated near some large tables, though we had asked for a quiet table. The large groups were not noisy like some in the distance, but they did receive the bulk of the service. Like I said, service that evening was adequate, just not over the top. Still better than many resorts.
For the evening, we went to hear Daryl for a few minutes and then went down to the show lounge to watch Cirque Nouveau. This show was a tribute to Cirque de Soleil. There were a number of costume changes, and there was some dance up ropes, etc. It was a nice show for what they can do on a small ship.
After the show we went back to the casino. I played quarter slots for a few minutes and got bored after spending about $10. We moved on to blackjack and played the $10 per hand each. We did only OK with the first dealer and then did well with the second. We cashed out and moved on to roulette. We played there for some time, and we cashed out up for the night $359 after the previous nights $80 loss. We were thinking we might play the last night, but they were staying in port until 11, and the casino cannot open in port.
We sat on our balcony a little while, added the chocolates on the bed to our stash, looked briefly at the next days menu and activities, put out our breakfast menu and checked the television for news and movies before dropping off to sleep. April 8, 2006 Tortola
I purposely left the drapes open between the sleeping and sitting area so that Id wake up for yet another sunrise. Tortola did not disappoint, and I happily watched more of my personal moving postcards delivered right to my door. I did close one side of the drapes for Todd to rest and played some with my email on my blackberry in between snapping photos.
We had the same breakfast as the day before bacon, egg, hash brown and fruit for me and omelet, hash brown and fruit for Todd. I forgot to order toast to go with my fried eggs. The day before, they had delivered one fruit plate even though I wrote down two. I cant believe I didnt order toast. SS seems to deliver exactly what is ordered, so things you take for granted will not come. Breakfast was had in our living room on the table as we watched the ship sail into port, one of our favorite experiences each day (sailing out was also a favorite).
The morning was rushed as we hurried to make our 8:45 BVI snorkel trip. Buckie and Jane were trying to join because their 1 pm one was cancelled They did make it on because the 3 teens decided not to join their parents and younger brother. As always when disembarking, towels and water were readily available.
We were taken away in a jeep safari type vehicle down to a large catamaran. Two guys ran the program. They had the fins and snorkel gear on board, and they asked sizes and passed everything around. We went out to Norman island, passing Peter Island on our way. We were taken to an area with great visibility. We saw fish of many sizes, and there were caves to explore, but there were thousands of jellyfish, and they were especially fond of the caves. The jellyfish didnt sting anyone, but they were a deterrent. I preferred, by far, our snorkeling at Anse Cochen a few days earlier during our resort stay in St. Lucia.
We were given rum punch after snorkeling and taken to a small beach island called Pirates Island. The facilities there were closed. They kept us there an hour, which we didnt think was necessary. Jane was very excited about fish nibbling her toes, and I hung out watching them in the clear water while Todd and Buckie sat in the shade in two different spots.
The sail back was also beautiful, as we were surrounded by little mound islands and yachts. I was chatting with two ladies when $100 bill floated by and into the water. One lady pointed it out to the loser of the money that it had flown by. The lady barely batted an eye.
We got back and rinsed our sand off. I sat in hot tub briefly. We went up to La Terraza for the lunch buffet, feeling we could not go so close to closing (it was 1:40) to the course by course place. This day, the selection was not as appealing to me as the other day, and I so much had wanted a sit down meal. I had salad and gazpacho (nice and spicy) and some berries and pistachios. Todd had some hot dishes a grilled fish and some garden veggies. I did try just a bite of the curry chicken. It was listed as mild and was. I was not feeling well and did not take a portion of it, just one bite to taste. A waiter informed us they were closing the hot items at 2 and that the salads and desserts would remain. However, at 1:55, they pulled the pistachios from the ice cream station. Someone did begrudgingly bring them back for me. We were offered tea or soda that day for the first time. We were a little bit turned off by them pulling some of the food before 2 pm when they close. We have seen this at resorts, and we never like it, either. Even if they dont take new guests past 2, they should leave the items out for those that are still finishing after 2. There were at least 30 people there that had all been on that snorkeling trip and were doing the best we could.
In Tortola, I did go out to the tents past the pier and bought some souvenirsmagnets and some marble and glass items. Nobody there would bargain one dime, but some were cheaper than the others. They did make change in USD if desired. They had some nice shirts, but I didnt bring enough money out and didnt want to go back.
Todd retired to the room a bit for an afternoon in-room movie and to finish a video he got at the library. He was not wanting any more sun and thought he might nap. I laid on deck a bit and then went to the internet café to work on using up my minutes.
At 4 pm, I met Jane at afternoon tea for needlepoint. She had been so excited about it. I was so glad I went because I met Yolanda, the international hostess. Jane was working on a little clutch case, and Yolanda gave me a choice of several scissors covers and showed me how to do it. We had nice tea and conversation. Jane had a fruit tart. The selection was nicescones, pastries, tarts, custard cups. Jane remarked that it had been 15 minutes since we ate and that we should eat again! She is so tiny.
After this, I went to see Carl, the cruise consultant about booking future cruises. He spent a great deal of time with me comparing various ones, prices, etc. and discussing his opinion on specific cabins. I was very impressed that sometimes he was even down-selling trying to show good value. I had enjoyed him at his talk a couple of days prior. I got everything arranged, and he drew up our papers and sent them later to our cabin, and I paid him before 7:30 that night, as he requested.
At 5 pm, Todd joined Jane and Buckie at the golf putting contest. I joined at 5:20. I missed the short putt contest but played in the long putt contest. After that, we cashed in our points and got 2 money clips and a memo holder. You do get points for just participating and more for winning. Todd won something here. Yolanda is the one that cashes in the points.
Next, I went to the hot tub. The Spanish family had their lap baby in the pool. The staff eventually blocked the hot tubs to get ready for the BBQ but did not throw anyone out. I was appreciative of that, as I was tired and enjoyed myself immensely. The temps were always so nice in the hot tubs, and I loved my 6 pm ritual every night. Jessica and Rich, the couple from Atlanta called out to me from above. She said she lost a lot at the casino the night before and had rewarded herself w/ a 15 course breakfast. They were going to Le Champagne that night to avoid the bbq. I had wanted to go to the sit-down at The Restaurant, but Jessica said they were having lobster at the bbq, so I got suckered in. In my mind I was thinking, go sit down at dinner and then stop by buffet to see if there is lobster and then see the show.
Evening of April 8
Todd was not in any hurry to leave the suite. It was so comfortable, and we were just lying around. I told him people were already filling up the tables even though it wasnt 7:30 and that wed have nowhere to sit and probably get bad service (by now, we had agreed to go to the buffet since I still was not feeling well ).. This night was casual. People still looked nice and festive. We sat at a table with a Latino couple. They never spoke to us. We had to flag someone down for water, etc. I just dont like buffets no matter what is served, for the most part. They had no soup, my favorite part of a lot of meals. They had grilled steaks (most tender of the trip), ribs, chicken breasts, hot dogs, build your own tacos and then lobster claw paella. They had salads and desserts, including bananas foster and a number of ice creams and toppings. I tried the lobster claw dish, but it was salty to me (I dont salt my food). I ate salad and custard and some fruit. Todd had a rib and steak and some ice cream. We had trouble getting plates cleared. While many were getting great service, we were not, as we seemed to have been skipped since we were on time rather than early.
The main reason we came, other than me not feeling well was to see the Latin dance show. We enjoyed the costumed dancers. They repeated the salsa number from the welcome party and did some other numbers. They changed costumes several times very quickly. After that, they started the dance party with the guests. Todd went back to the cabin, and I danced some with Yolanda and the other ladies either there alone or with partners that wouldnt dance. The music was so good that I rushed to the cabin to get Todd, and he danced with me a little before we retired back to the cabin around 10:45.
We were to have our bags out by 11:30. Some people had them out by 6 pm; I assume they didnt want to interrupt their evening. We, of course, barely made 11:30, but we did. We put our grey tags on the bags, keeping our carry-ons. We checked just after 11:30, and all bags were gone. We managed to time it well at 10:45 to watch the sailing because they left a little earlier than 11 pm. Our stewardess had not done our turndown. Instead, she just stuck out our luggage sheet to protect the bed and put one suitcase on the bed and threw our literature and chocolates on it.
We considered going to the shops or casino after 11:30, but that is late for us, so we snuggled into the comfort of our cabin, relaxed till the lights on-shore were gone and then laid around as long as we could stay awake and drifted off after calling for a wake up call for 6:15.
April 9 Back to San Juan
Unfortunately, our wake up call did come. By about 6:30 our final statement was on the door. We didnt have to do anything about it, as I had followed the announcements and advice and gave an imprint earlier the previous day. Everything was in order, so we just saved the bill for our records.
We got ready for our long journey home, enjoyed the scenery going by and packed our carry-on for the most part. We headed to the breakfast buffet at 7 when they opened. The sit-down was a choice, but we wanted a last sit in our cabin before we took off. For breakfast, we didnt bother with eggs to order. We had scrambled eggs. Todd had ham, and I had bacon. I had fruits and toast. Todd had a lot of orange juice, I went for tea. This didnt take too long, and we were able to return to our cabin and relax a bit. We were the last group called and were called right at 8:30, the time all were to vacate their cabin. We had brought some bottled water and soda for our long journey home.
We went to level 5 for immigration. Yolanda and a couple of other nice ladies were there. We received our passports and went to The Panorama lounge to await the call to customs. We had nice juice and tea and relaxed, though we did get smoked on (found out later we were in the smoking section, though we didnt know there was a difference). The lounge here had pastries, juices and tea and coffee. Only a small number of guests retreated here, while many sat uncomfortably herded with crowds when there was no need. All the public areas were open. We were not called until 9:50, and we went through the inspection easily.
We had been offered a tour of Old San Juan and transportation to airport from SS at a reasonable cost, but I had done my own tour, and Todd wasnt interested. We just went to the taxi stand and paid the same $21.50 from before. We were at the airport at 10:30 and tried to stand by on the 12:16 flight. We could not get on, so we were stuck until 3:20 because I had foolishly booked this flight thinking we could pay for late debarkation. The San Juan customs didnt allow it. We were bored and tired after 5 hours at the airport, and both of our flights were oversold and crowded. I went to Burger King in Miami and went through a very thorough purse search since I didnt have luggage. We reached Houston on time but one bag was not there. It had come on the earlier flight and was at the claims office. After that drama, we arrived home at about 11:15. We were tired, but we are still reflecting on our time and looking forward to our next cruise, this time on Silver Wind, in February, 2007. Read Less