Thursday, January 2, 2014

Toes in the water

I still haven't gotten around to editing our pictures from Tennessee, but this time of year it seemed more important to get the cruise photos done.

Our first stop was in the Bahamas.  It was at a private beach owned by the cruise line which was nice because on-shore lunch was included but it didn't offer the chance to see other parts of the Bahamas.  So although this was a nice day at the beach I imagine there are better beaches with clearer water.  It wasn't great for snorkeling (per our friends who snorkel often) and the water was kind of rocky if you tried to get in and swim.  One side of the beach was crowded with lounge chairs and people, cabanas, etc.  But the other side was less popular and prettier if you walked down past the immediate area where all the amenities were.

Our next stop was St. Maarten.  We elected to go to Orient Beach as it was highly recommended.  The beach and bay were pretty enough, and really long, but it was narrow and basically wall to wall lounge chairs and beach bars.  Which was ok, and convenient, but very busy.  Not the place you wanted to go for any tranquility.  Also, there were local people wandering around asking if you wanted to buy something (bracelets, hats, etc) every 5 minutes.  Also, the water was pretty rough so unless you were into riding the waves or other activities that didn't require smooth water it wasn't that great, at least in the area where we were.  We had a good time but I think if I went back I'd try somewhere else.  The problem is that once you spend the time and money to taxi over, find a spot and rent chairs you don't really have time to go to several places before you have to be back on the boat.  And bring cash everywhere-that seems to be all the "taxis" take.

Next up was St. Thomas.  At this port we all wanted to go to St. John.  The mistake we made was not getting up early enough.  The boat docked at 7:00AM but we wanted to sleep in a bit so we all met for breakfast at eight.  By the time we got off the ship and taxied over to the ferry we missed the 9:00AM boat.  We didn't realize it was a 20 minute ride to the ferry and that they only left on the hour.  So we had to sit and wait.  Then we taxied over to Cinnamon Bay.  FYI the taxis are open air safari buses driven what definitely seems like too fast on very narrow, winding roads.  It's a little scary.  But, it's worth it.  We chose Cinnamon Bay because it's supposed to be almost as beautiful as Trunk Bay but not as crowded (as it's not the one listed in the cruise guide).  I think this as an accurate description.  We did see Trunk Bay as we drove by (the two are right next to each other) and it did look look very pretty.  But Cinnamon did not disappoint.  There were a few people there but mostly it was very quiet.  And the water was perfectly clear blue and calm.  The sand was powder soft and continued into the bay making it perfect for swimming.  This was the only place we really spent any significant time in the water.  But we could only stay a few hours because we had to taxe, ferry, and taxi back to cruise ship by 3:30!  So after $90 in transportation we spent 2 hours on the beach!

Last port was Grand Turk.  This was only a half day stop so we stayed at the beach at the port.  You could walk along the beach away from all the people and there were lots of conch shells to pick through if you wanted but the water was rocky and the beach/island not as pretty as some of the others.  But I've been told other beaches on the island are very pretty and great for swimming.  There was a Margaritaville with a large pool at the pier if you did want to swim.

Thus far St. John is the place we would like to go back to, but some of the other islands we probably didn't get to see the best parts of, so it's not a totally fair comparison.

Our ship was very much like the one we took to Alaska so no surprises there, but we were pleased that it was never hard to find an open lounge chair, even during peak sun hours.  Our friends have sailed Royal Caribbean a few times and they said getting a deck chair on their boats could be an ordeal.  We had perfect weather every day except for a few short rain showers one day.  We had in inside cabin this time, which is ok since we were hardly ever in it.  But it was kind of depressing to wake up every day in total darkness.  But, it motivates you to get up and get moving right away so you could see what the weather was like.  And pretty much every day when we did get to an outside deck we were greeted with warm air and sunshine, a lot better than the cold and snow that was going on at home.

Here are few of our pictures from the ship.  I was too lazy to scan them so these are photos of photos.

1 comment:

Diana said...

Looks wonderful!!