Sunday 27 January 2019

Return to Bayonne

Sunrise January 9, 2019
I don't have many photos from the last few days at sea, because, well there really isn't much to see on those days.  There was no other traffic within viewing distance, so the sights beyond the ship were  the sea and sky.  I'll add a few photos from various days sunrise and sunset.

It may sound odd, but sea days tend to be busy.  The ship's activity cruise director schedules additional activities during the day, so one can be as busy or as lazy as one likes.  This cruise I spent a lot of time at trivia.  It was held a few times a day, more frequently on sea days and I was part of a somewhat nebulous group who came together to play.  Along with L (who I met at the airport), there were Sandy and Jeff, Beth and Tom, Kate and John, and Nora. At one point we said we should call ourselves the "one away" team as we were often one right short.  However, the group did win occasionally, I was there for two of the wins so came home with a highlighter and a key chain.  The latter was won on the sea day, when the category was Captains.  We had finished one trivia and waited for the second an hour later, and brainstormed possible captains.  Many of the questions were in reference to a captain, for example what was the real name of Captain America? - Steve Rogers.  We missed only one question, when was Captain Crunch cereal introduced.  We guess 1962, but it was actually 1963.  

Another sea day, I went to the afternoon matinee of We Will Rock You - a musical play featuring the music of Queen.  It was set in the future; musical instruments no longer exist, and the music is synthesized.  A Queen and her minion are in charge, the young people are near robots, with the exception of two, Galileo and a young woman who wears black and doesn't fit in with the rest of the young women.  The two find each other, and embark on a trip to a place where rock and roll still exists.  After a number of mishaps, they eventually find the one last instrument (a guitar) and rock and roll is reborn.  It was fun to watch, and best of all was the guitar player Joyce Kuo (not one of the actors).  She was truly amazing!

One afternoon I was playing Soduko in 2-70 prior to a presentation the Royal Caribbean cruise line history, when I was joined by Alan and Teresa (from the pre-cruise dinner).  We chatted about cruises we've done and our plans for the future.  Oh, by the way, I did book another cruise while I was on the ship.  I'd been looking for a British Isles cruise for 2020 but the prices were too much for my pocketbook.  RCI was offering significant discounts for booking on-board.  I'd gone down to the Cruise Next desk a few days earlier just to see what the price might be and ended up booking the Brilliance of the Seas for June 12, 2020.  The price differential between what I was seeing and their cost will more than cover my flights and hotel!  The presentation was interesting and I was excited to learn that the Brilliance will be undergoing a refurbishment this year.  Teresa told me, too, that the crew of the Brilliance are very loyal to the ship, and many have been there for years.  

Sunset January 11, 2019
I also spent as much time as I could outdoors, either on my balcony or on deck 5 (promenade deck).  I kept thinking it seemed stuffy in the ship - and then learned that the air conditioning wasn't working in the forward areas of the ship.  Luckily my cabin was in the aft and I wasn't affected.  It took several days for the issue to be resolved and by this point there were many upset passengers.  RCI did provide compensation between $200-500 per cabin but from what I understand many people were not happy with this and that saga goes on.  Of course, by the end of the second sea day we didn't need a/c any longer.

Sadly, we also had a medical emergency and as a result were diverted to Bermuda.  We arrived late one evening, the passenger was removed to a waiting pilot boat and sent to the hospital there.  A nurse from the ship escorted the passenger, so we anchored offshore until she returned.  We were told she had a respiratory issue but beyond that I've heard no further news.  I hope she recovered and is at home by now.  

As a result, the ship was delayed into Bayonne.  Initially the captain had indicated we'd have a two hour delay, but that was later changed to 3 hours. It was abundantly clear that I would be missing my flight.  That took up a fair amount of time, as I had to call the airline and Airmiles to make the changes and was on hold for 45 minutes or more each time. Here too, the cruise line was awesome, I was able to make the calls at no charge, and my change fees are being reimbursed.    

Sunset January 25, 2019
On the final sea day, I met Alan and Teresa, Angelina and Marcel, at Jamie's for lunch.  This is a franchise of Jamie Oliver, the food is fresh made and so very delicious.  We had a lovely lunch with lots of laughter and way too much food.  I even ordered the small order of the entree, penne carbonara and it was too much.  I left before dessert to meet L at the Cruise next desk - we'd met for dinner a few nights earlier and she mentioned she had also booked another cruise. It turned to be the same one I'd booked!  We thought we'd look into the cost of booking a balcony room to share, as I'm in a studio and she is in a virtual balcony (it's basically a video screen of the wake of the ship).  However, we discovered the cost was too significant to make the change.  But we both would like to spend some time in London prior to the cruise, so will plan to travel together.  We'll likely meet in Toronto and fly from there...lots of time to figure all that out!

On Friday morning, we docked in Bayonne shortly after 9 a.m.  My original flight had been scheduled for 10:30; the ship had to clear customs before we could disembark and the airport was about 25 minutes away so there was no way I could have made that flight.  Fortunately while this was happening I was on the telephone finalizing my changes with the airline and I was able to change to a 3:15 flight out of Newark.  I was scheduled to take first shuttle from the port to the airport, so had only a short wait until I was off the ship and through customs.  (I don't they really care in the U.S. when one is transiting to Canada - I basically walked straight through).  We did have a wait on the shuttle for about 20 minutes waiting for the bus to fill.  

When I got through security (very brief - hooray for TSA prechek) and into the gate areas, I decided to grab some lunch.  There was a cafe a short distance beyond security, I looked in and who should I see but L.  We sat and enjoyed another meal together before heading to our gates, which were side by each.  She was scheduled to leave shortly after 2 but due to weather my flight actually left prior to hers, even with a delay of 20 minutes.  Then it was off to Calgary, and finally back to Regina.  We arrived shortly before midnight and I was in bed by 1 p.m., tired but glad to be home.

It truly was the best cruise ever!  I loved the ship, the itinerary, and met some absolutely wonderful people.  The entertainment on the ship was fantastic, my favorite was "The Gift" - an original RCI muscial production, sharing the story of a family devastated by the loss of their mother - in an artful dream sequence.  It was odd, but beautiful, especially as the gift is revealed at the end.  I can't recall the actual words, but the message was that love lives on beyond death.  I'm an odd ball because I liked it, most people I talked to did not.   The weather was fantastic, though I suspect I would have not enjoyed it as much had I lost the a/c in my cabin.  Even with the delay returning to Bayonne, RCi made what would have been a stressful time much easier.  As the captain stated in his messages, the passengers are their priority.  

Thanks for sharing in my latest journey.  I'm home now for a couple of months before I head out again.  I expect my posts will be more sporadic, as it is time to start prepping the house for sale, and doing some sorting and clearing out of stuff. But I'll be around! 

Have a great day!

Saturday 26 January 2019

Basseterre, St. Kitts - January 14

Our last port!  This was a port intensive cruise, with six ports in the same amount of days, and I'll admit I was getting tired and ready for the following sea days.  Silly, I know, because that's one of the reasons I cruise; I unpack once and wake up somewhere different every day.  

I was awake again at 5:30 that morning well before we arrived in port.  There was no going back to sleep, so I decided to start my packing.  All the dirty clothes were folded and put into a bag I have just for that purpose, and filled up one side of the suitcase.  Whoohoo I thought, I finally didn't over pack for a cruise.  Then I realized there were still as many clothes still hanging up and in the drawers. One of these days I'll get it right.

St. Kitts and its sister island were created by volcanoes, 
though neither are active.  The islands lie between the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean sea.  

I'd been to the island once before, and had taken a tour on the scenic train car. It was an interesting way to see the island, though there were a couple of spots where the train tracks ran over bridges that seemed rather rickety.  This time I decided to stay with the relative safety of a motor vehicle....though they do drive on the left side of the road. 

I met my tour group just off the pier for our 10:45 meeting time.  We were escorted to our van just after 11 and met our driver, Mr. Magic.  Throughout the tour, he kept up a steady stream of chatter, pointing out various buildings along the way, sharing information about the island and its people, and answering our questions.  

Our first stop on the tour was Fairview Garden, a former plantation home turned museum.  It was truly a lovely place, and we had a half hour to tour the house and grounds on our own.  I'll let the photo do the talking!

The pool in the photo above, is shaped like the islands of St Kitts and Nevis.  The plantings were simply gorgeous especially against the backdrop of the ocean.  The interior of the house was very nice as well, but I didn't spend a lot of time indoors.

There were chickens running about everywhere.  Natural insecticide!

We hopped back in the van and drove up into the hills to our next stop, Romney Plantation. This was formerly a sugar cane plantation, but is currently the home of Caribelle Batik creating lovely (and expensive) fabric.  

At the entrance is a 400 year old tree.  I'm sure Magic told us what species it is, but I've forgotten.  It was truly amazing and has become the home to other plants.  

We were given about a half hour to tour the grounds and visit the gift shop/batik display. I needed almost all that time to get a photo of the tree without other people standing in front of it.  This photo doesn't do it justice as it only shows a small part of the tree, it's canopy was huge!

Again, like Fairview there were gorgeous plantings every, and I particularly like this spot with the addition of the bird sculpture.

I did take a turn through the gift shop (which was the only way to exit), but didn't find anything I wanted.  The batik material was absolutely gorgeous, but at $65US for 2 yards, I decided I didn't need it.  

Outside the gift shop, I stopped at the small cafe for a Carib beer, and the viewing area.

We gathered at the van, driving around the mountain and past the airport with our final stop across the island at Timothy Hill where we joined a dozen or so other tour buses.  Magic let us know, there would be young men with monkeys there - if you had your photo taken with a monkey, you would be expected to pay...and not to pick up a monkey unless it was wearing a diaper.

 When we left the van, I made certain to avoid these guys and walked down the hill a bit to capture this scene.  This is the Atlantic ocean, and the Marriott operates a resort on the beach.  (I just's $448 a night! I guess I won't be staying there any time soon).

Then it was back up to the top of the hill for the view of both the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean sea, with Nevis in the background).

We had about 15-20 minutes before it was time to head back to the terminal and the shopping area.  I wandered the stores a bit, used the washroom in the busy casino and bought a t-shirt* for Eli, using the free wifi to check for e-mail.  I considered whether I should stay on shore to find something to eat, but ultimately decided, with the heat I was ready to get back on the ship.  

After a bite to eat, I sat out on my balcony reading.  As we began sail away the clouds were building over the city.  I think they may have gotten some rain!

I know I've said this about each port, but it truly was a wonderful day in St. Kitts.  It is such a pretty island, and the tour was a great way to see more of it.  

By the end of the day, I was a bit sad to realize that we would be heading north that evening.  Little did I know there would be one more stop.

Next post - returning to Bayonne

*To answer Kim's question, I've purchased t-shirts at most ports, as D is planning to use them in a quilt, once Eli has outgrown them.  I'm not sure how practical that idea is as I'm guessing they'll be a bit 

D and Eli left about an hour ago for home.  We're supposed to get snow and high winds today so she left shortly after daylight to avoid the potential bad weather.  I've got my hands full today, with bedding to be washed, toys to be put away, floors that need a good sweep and mop, and all the fingerprints on the windows, mirrors, and even the wall by the kitchen table.  

We did have a great visit, Eli is growing up, learning more words everyday.  As he approaches the age of 2, no is becoming one of his favorites.  He also says, hello, down, all done, more, go, cool, wow, and so much more. He is also learning to count, one, two (for when he's naughty), and ten, nine. Some of the stuff he does makes me laugh, and sometimes he gets on my last nerve.  Mostly when he gets into things, like the cat food bowls and water fountain or when he poured body lotion all over the carpet in my bedroom.  Either way, Eli is pretty darn special.  

Have a great day everyone!

Friday 25 January 2019

Bridgetown, Barbados - January 13

This was one of the days when my inability to sleep beyond 6:30 was beneficial.  I had arranged before the cruise to meet Joe and Phyllis, along with another solo Nora for a catamaran cruise.  I love being on the water, so was very excited the day had finally arrived.  

I was out on my balcony watching as the pilot boat arrived.  Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but the pilot is brought on board as the cruise ship enters or leaves the port channel to assist.  The pilot is transferred to and from the ship with the pilot boat, and when he (I've seen a woman yet), arrives or leaves the ship, they are brought on board through an opening on the side of the ship.  I understand there are times when pilot has to climb a ladder to reach the ship.  My balcony was not positioned so that I could actually view the boarding.

The sun was just coming up and we were docking at the industrial port.  Later, Captain Nick told me that there is some push to build a larger pier specifically for the cruise ships, as currently only a couple of ships can be in port at the same time.

Like the rest of the islands, tourism is the mainstay of the economy so capacity is important.

We met shortly before 8 at the forward elevators on Deck 3, then the group waited for me because I'd forgotten to bring along my bathing suit. Duh!
To get to our shuttle, pre-arranged by Calypso cruises, we walked through the terminal building, past a number of waiting taxis and outside the gates to a large tree.  Joe was wearing a Calypso cruise crew t-shirt, so it was easy for our driver to find us.

At the marina, we were greeted by James who took our shoes and helped us board the catamaran.  On board were Captain Nick, and Little.  The latter's last name is Little but he truly is little in stature as well. There were six of us from the cruise ship, and another six passengers who were staying at various hotels in the area.  

After introductions and an offer of an alcoholic drink - it was only 9 a.m.! - we were sailing out of the marina a short distance to Carlisle Bay.  Here we anchored so that the rest of the group could go snorkeling, to look for turtles.  Little led the group out taking along a bag of bread to entice the turtles.  I suspect that isn't part of their natural diet. :)  

Meanwhile I stayed on board the catamaran as I've never snorkeled...I took photos instead.

Yes, I got to see a turtle too!  He/she surfaced just off the side of the catamaran.

I believe there were several passengers who later sailed on this, or a similar ship. I was told there were 94 on board...we were fortunate to have only 12!

After a brief stop, we moved further out in the bay to a spot where there are a couple of ship wrecks, one natural (not sure that's the right description) and one intentional.  This time I didn't see anything, just sat and chatted with Captain Nick.  He was born in Nova Scotia, and raised in Barbados. His father is a master ship builder, and when Nick acquired the Calypso it was in rough shape due to a hurricane.  With his father's assistance he has repaired the catamaran and built up his business.

When everyone was back on board we sailed to the west end of the island. 

The drinks were flowing, I even had a beer at 11 a.m., (it must be 5 o'clock somewhere, right?), and then James and Little started bringing out the appetizers.  We had cheddar and blue cheese, sausage, parma ham, salami, smoked salmon and cream seemed endless!

But then it was time for lunch!  We had green salad, potato salad, baked macaroni, rice and beans, grilled chicken and fish. 

After all that it would have been nice to curl up and relax, but it was time to swim!  I'm always a bit nervous jumping into water that is above my head.  I can walk out and be fine, but we were in 8-10 feet of water so it took a life jacket and a bit of encouragement to get me in.  Once in the water, though it was incredible!  

All too soon, we were back on the catamaran and sailing/motoring back to the marina, about 60-90 minutes away.  Unfortunately we had a short day in Barbados, as all aboard was 3:30 p.m.  

After saying our good-byes, we were shuttled back to the terminal gates.  I stopped in the terminal to use the free wifi and pick-up a t-shirt for Eli.  Then I grabbed the shuttle on the pier arriving back at the ship at 3:15.  I"m pretty certain that is as close to all-aboard time as I've ever been.

This was truly one of the best days I've had in the islands.  It was very hot that day, but being on the water it was felt comfortable.  It was wonderful of Joe and Phyllis to arrange the cruise; they've sailed with Calypso many times and all I had to do was show up (and bring my bathing suit).  

Next post - St. Kitts

Thursday 24 January 2019

Castries, St. Lucia - January 12

Bad news - cruise was half over, good news - today was St. Lucia, my favorite island in the Caribbean.  I have been fortunate to have had two land vacations there, back in 2011 and 2012, and fell in love with the country and its people.  

I knew exactly what I wanted to do that day, spend my day at Reduit beach and the town of Rodney Bay.  The ship did not offer and excursion, so I joined a group in a taxi - for $14 per person, we got a round trip to the beach. For another $15 I got a chair and an umbrella, and because we were early the spot was great, close to the water, and a short walk to the nearby washrooms.  

But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.  This is not a photo of the beach, but the airport in Castries.  Before we were able to disembark, I spent some time out on my balcony.  It was a beautiful morning!

After a quick breakfast, I headed off the ship, and into the taxi. Hooray!

This was my view from the chair (before the beach go busy).  About 12:30 (3.5 hours after I arrived), I decided I'd had enough sun.  It was time to go to Rituals, my favorite coffee shop for a bite of lunch and good cup of coffee.  Side note: this is one of the things I did not like about the cruise ship - the coffee was awful, so bad I switched to tea.

I walked up the street to the corner where Rituals was located, was gone.  In its place was a bar!  Undeterred, I decided to continue to downtown Rodney Bay - if I couldn't go to Rituals, I knew I'd find another restaurant.  

Just before I reached the restaurants, I stopped to chat with a young man selling trinkets by the side of the road.  When I asked about Rituals, he advised me that they had moved to the mall.  Yes!!!

A few minutes later, I had placed my order and was sitting out on the patio with my coffee, enjoying people watching and the shade!

My tuna panini arrived soon after, and I devoured it.  The sandwich was as good as I had remembered it.  Another side note: The cafe's patrons were mostly local, I have to wonder if the tourists just hadn't found it yet.

After my meal, I continued into the mall a gift shop where I bought a t-shirt for Eli, Caribbean coffee for my son, and a set of dolphin salt and pepper shakers for my daughter.  Then it was back to the beach to catch a taxi to Castries.  I must say the walk back to the beach seemed much shorter!

Back at the ship, I exchanged my beach towel, changed into clean clothing, and made the decision to have a piece of Sorrento's pizza...since I'd done all that walking I deserved a piece, right?  I also needed to re-hydrate, since I'd finished my bottle of water early in the morning.  

I decided not to go for dinner that night, to attempt to get a photo of the sunset, but it turned not to be spectacular.  I did get this shot (with my finger in it) as we passed by the airport runway. 

I had a wonderful time in St. Lucia!  It felt a bit like coming home, even though things had changed since my last visit, it was all familiar.  The weather was terrific and I spent the day in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Next post - Barbados

Eli is busy being a toddler, chattering up the storm, climbing on everything, scattering his toys, spilling his cheerios and cookie crumbs, and being as lovable as ever.  He and his mom went to bed early last evening, and about 20 minutes later, the bedroom door opened and out popped a little boy.  He spent the next hour racing around the house, visiting with me and his uncle.  At one point, he walked up to Saku, who was lying on the couch, and gave him a kiss.  Eventually I put him back to bed and he settled down soon after.  He was wide awake by 5:30 this morning, so we all got an early start to the day.  At the moment he's watching Paw Patrol in my bedroom and being quiet...I best go check and see what he is up to!  

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday 23 January 2019

St. John's, Antigua - January 11

For the first, and last, time of the cruise I slept in...until 7:30!  With this exception I was awake between 4:30 and 6:30 every morning, which made for quiet mornings and early nights.  I think the latest I stayed up was nearly 11 p.m., which didn't affect my early rising.

By the time I woke, we were already docked in Antigua.  I stepped on my balcony to check the weather and was greeted by this sight.  Not the prettiest vista!

But when I turned and looked towards the city of St. John's the view was much improved.

These are the spires of St. John's Cathedral - a beautiful Anglican church re-built for the third time in 1845 after earthquakes in 1643 and 1745 destroyed the previous buildings. - Wikipedia.  On my last visit to Antigua I had toured the church.

In Antigua, like St. Maarten before it, I had no real plan of what I might do.  I did know I would walk up towards the church again, and then would wander for a bit.  And that's what I did.

I started my walk in the shopping area right off the pier, but immediately stopped to use Diamond International's wifi.  

Then I was off, leaving the tourist area, where I was offered tours and taxis by numerous drivers.  No, thanks! I'd rather walk.

I continued up the street a few blocks, and then turned to my left.  It was probably about a 1/2 mile walk to the church, not far but uphill and definitely warm!  I've learned to carry a bottle of water with me everywhere.  It's definitely needed on the islands.

There was damage to the church in the last couple of years, and the work continues to repair it.  I took a few photos and started my walk back down towards the pier.  

Our ship on the right, and the Carnival ship's fishtail were visible from the where I was standing.  

I came across the museum as I was walking, and stopped to wander the grounds.  I wasn't in a museum mood, so didn't go indoors.  

The plantings were lovely!

 My next stop was the local market, but there was nothing of real interest to me there, so back to the tourist shops I went.  The plaza was two story, and the upper was shaded so being the savvy, and overheated tourist I was, I headed upstairs.  In one of the shops I found a t-shirt for Eli, a photo album and a magnet for myself.  The latter reads "if you're not barefoot, you're overdressed!"  My family would tell you, that I put on socks in November and remove them in April...and if the weather isn't too cool you'll find me without them during that period as well.

At this point I was ready for a sit down, and some wifi.  I headed to a corner cafe called Cheers, where I paid $4US for a can of coke (eek!) for the privilege of using the wifi.  The table I sat at was a picnic table, and across from me was a lady named Barb, also on the Anthem.  In our chat, we discovered we both we're cat lovers so had quite the conversation.  I messaged with D for a bit, checked both FB and e-mail, while I finished my drink, then it was to wander a bit more.

I ventured beyond the shopping area, and market crossing a parking lot to reach the marina area.

Had I known there was a boardwalk, I could have had a nicer walk!

By this time I was ready to get back on board, so off I went, where I went to my cabin, changed into my bathing suit and headed for the hot tub. (I know that sounds odd, but I needed to give my feet a bit of a massage in the jets).

After a lunch break in 2-70 I went to the excursion to book something in St. Kitts, our last port, for a few days later.  

All aboard was 4:30 that afternoon, with sail away at 5, but were delayed by a few passengers and one crew member.  The former ran the pier, while the latter strolled.  I have photos but won't share.  Normally the ship would have left without them, schedules are generally strictly adhered to, so I have to assume that the ship was aware of their delay and the reasons for it.

As we sailed away, I got another photo from my balcony, this time with both the industrial pier and the church! 

Another great day in Antigua!  Next post - St. Lucia.

To answer a question John asked about the shops on the cruise ship, I had to do a bit of research as I didn't know.  According to an article I found, the shops on 90 plus cruise lines are owned by one company, Starboard Cruise Services. The employees of the shops are not cruise ship employees, they work for the SCS.  A few reviews suggest that when the shops are open, the employees may work up to 14 hour shifts!  However, when the cruise ships are in port, the shops on board are closed so employees are able to leave the ship and enjoy their time off.  I would say it is a young person's job, they get to travel, work with people from around the world during their contracts (generally 6 months).  It's can be very hard work, long hours, for not much pay, and dealing with demanding passengers must be at times, difficult.  However, I understand too, that the company covers their health costs, rent, food, and airline tickets.  Another reviewer said it becomes a lifestyle and since I know of passengers who virtually live on cruise ships, I can see how that could be.

D & Eli were delayed this morning as she was waiting for a package to arrive.  In the meantime I got a bit more housework done including scrubbing down the bathrooms.  I sure wish my cabin steward was here to do that for me.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Philipsburg, St. Maarten - January 10

We arrived about 10 a.m. in the morning of January 10 in Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This is the Dutch side of the island, the other side is known as St. Martin.  I didn't bother getting off the ship for a bit to allow the first rush to get through.

If you've been with through previous cruises, you may remember on my last visit, I spent my time at Maho Beach, photographing the aircraft landing at Princess Juliana airport across the street.  I had a great day that day, and thought I might go there again.

But recalling that I have approximately 250 photos from that excursion, and decided I'd spend the day in Philipsburg that day. After walking off the ship, I paid for a ticket on the water taxi to cross to the town.  I could have walked, but it was a hot day...and I'm lazy!

We had just a little company that day, with the Regal Princess in port with us.  If memory serves, this was the ship I sailed into St. Maarten on the last time I was there!

As an aside, on the lower right of the photo are people standing above the bridge.  I finally found the door out to that area a few days before I left the ship.  It was a great viewing platform.

After landing off the water taxi, I walked down the street towards the shopping area.  There were two piers where the water taxis were dropping off passengers; I got dropped off at the furthest one.  So I still had a bit of walking to do.  I found a t-shirt shop and picked up a cute little t-shirt for Eli, but I really wasn't there to shop.

As I walked, I passed by this lovely church.  I've since learned it is the Methodist Church, is open to the public and charges no admission.  I should have stopped in.

A little further along the street is the Courthouse. Such pretty buildings!!

It was nearly noon, it was hot, I'd finished my bottle of water so I was ready for something to eat and a cold drink.  I turned back towards the beach and the first restaurant I came across was a Hardrock Cafe.  I figured they would have free wifi (and they did, if you consider having to buy something to get access free).  

No surprise, I chose to sit outside to eat my meal.  It was quiet when I arrived, but by the time I left the deck was full.  After checking my e-mail and Facebook, and chatting via Messenger with my daughter it was time to walk off some of that lunch.

The beach wasn't full, there were lots of loungers and umbrellas available.  I had worn my suit under my clothing, I might have rented a chair, but it was 29C (84F), with no real breeze.  

I did stop a minute to dip my feet in the water, that felt good!  Then it was time to head back to the ship and the air conditioning and ice cold water. 

I walked down the beach to the closest pier, and waited about 5 minutes (in the shade) for the next water taxi.  

So many people enjoying the beach and the water

That water! I don't think I'll ever get over how amazingly blue the water is in the Caribbean.

Back on the ship, I spent some time on my balcony, enjoying the view and reading.  Even though I didn't do much in St. Maarten, it was a wonderful day.

Next post - Antigua.  I'm not sure when I'll get it posted as D and Eli are coming to visit tomorrow and not leaving until the weekend. Hopefully I'll get it done before they arrive as I suspect I'll be busy after that!  A good kind of busy.