Rainbow on our approach to St. Maarten
This is my continued post about my recent Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard the Celebrity Solstice. Click to start from the beginning.
We were mid-trip at this point, and really getting into the swing of things. Our fourth day started as always with breakfast in our cabin. We had to get an early start to the day because we had an excursion planned. The Solstice was tendered in port in St. Maarten during our cruise which we found out about a month or so before the cruise. Tendering of course meant that you could be delayed in getting off the ship. On tender days, there are 3 ways to get off the ship. 1) have a suite, or be a frequent Celebrity cruiser and receive a priority tender ticket; 2) go stand in line the morning that you will be arriving in port and receive a tender ticket with a number to follow; or 3) wait until the ship announces opening tendering. We had a suite, so we received a priority tender ticket.
We were off the ship by about 9 a.m. ship’s time. This is something to note- Celebrity typically changes its time during the week to the local time throughout the week of the cruise. In the Caribbean, that time would be Atlantic time, one hour later than Eastern time. In fact, I was worried about arriving to my privately booked shore excursion because of the time change situation. But I was assured that the ship would be acting on local time. The first day of this cruise, they advised us that the ship’s time would not be changing for the week. So, local time was 10 a.m. when we arrived on the island of St. Maarten.
Our first impression of St. Maarten was not that great. The pushy people trying to sell us a beach chair on the cruise pier were not impressive. Every 20 seconds we had to contend with saying no to someone that we were not interested in their wifi, or their beach chair, or cheap beer, etc. If you are interested in that sort of thing- know that it is readily available for you every 10 yeards.
I had a one p.m. scuba diving tour with Ocean Explorers Dive Center at Simpson Bay. The logistics of figuring out the transportation was a bit confusing. Since our ship was tendered, we did not take a water taxi into the port. This means that we were not where our directions told us we would be. We borrowed some local people’s cell phones and called the transportation company (numerous times throughout the morning.) Eventually we were picked up and driven to Simpson Bay. The view was beautiful during the drive. Ocean Explorers is on the beach, adjacent to a little bar called La Bamba. Apparently there was quite the wild party the night before as the place was a bit trashed. We were like 2 hours early for the dive so we went for a walk on the beach- there was a kayaking excursion occurring at this bay. After we just hung out at a table at La Bamba. This must be the norm because no one minded. Dave and I split a lunch consisting of a wrap and fries for about $10. The food was tasty. The dive was great. And we returned via the transportation company set up by the dive shop to pier to pick up the tender. A short wait and a bumpy tender ride and we were back on board. The water was CHOPPY all day today.
Back on the ship we headed up to the buffet for some snacks. A portion of the buffet was open since it was a non-traditional dining times. It was not crowded, but I am always amazed by the rude people who tend to appear at buffets. I was waiting in a small line for some cheese and bread. I was the last person in the line. The others got their cheese and off they went. I walked up to make my selection and some older guy came out of the side and just cut right in. And this was not one of those occurrences where he was in and out and I was not to his area. I had to wait to have access to the cheese. And to make things worse, he didn’t even use the tongs. While I am on the subject of buffet etiquette. People- please stop licking your fingers while in the buffet line and then touching the next set of tongs. No wonder noro-virus is so prevalent. We use anti-bacterial after going through the lines to cut down on the transfer of other people’s grossness on to us.
Dinner was again in the dining room. It was nice to catch up with our table mates to see what they had been up to the last 2 days. It makes the meals so much more enjoyable. By the way- we had a table size of 6, and this to me is just perfect. You can interact with the whole table without having to be too loud. For me, it is the perfect sized table.
After dinner we retreated to the room. We were exhausted. Traveling all day, being out in the sun, plus the diving for me in some choppy choppy water, made it an exhausting day. That night on the ship the show was Ghostlight- The Spirit of Broadway. Celebrating the best music of broadway, past and present. At the end there was apparently a guest performance by the captain! It was enjoyed by those that attended. That night was also the Caribbean deck party poolside at 10:15. And before that they offered Wine & Cheese Concert on the Lawn. At 11 p.m. that night there had the Liars Club as their late night comedy show. All of those events sounded entertaining, I just did not have it in me. I was asleep by 9:30.
Thanks for continuing to read my blog. Sorry for the delay in the posts. I have a full plate with running my law office, and working as a travel agent. Life is full and busy right now! Stay tuned for Day 5 – a day in St. Thomas.