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View Full Version : The Magical Vacation - 5/29 Tuesday - St. Maarten - LONG & DETAILED


akasleepingbeauty
06-08-2001, 04:40 PM
Our Happy Group:

Me, 36, compulsive planner, hoping all goes perfect
DH, 44, good sport, in need of a good vacation
Teen DD, 15, excited but in a cool way
Youngest DD, 13 months, oblivious to goings-on, just her generally happy self

My parents and sister (25) were traveling in our group as well. This is the first time we have all traveled as a group and it went surprisingly well!!

I will warn you now - these daily reports are going to be long - really really really long. So, if you don't like detailed reports go ahead and hit that back button now!!

I wrote this information as much for me as for all of you. I want to remember as much of it as possible - hence the ad nauseum detail.

Read, skim, or skip completely - whatever works for you!! I will post these by days and then add some general overviews on certain subjects. Please ask questions if you have them!!

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5/29/01 Tuesday St. Maarten

We had decided that since we had to leave the ship early this morning for our excursion we would order room service breakfast. We placed the order form on our door before going to bed and requested 7:00 delivery (the earliest available time). We ordered a variety of baked goods (thanks to the DISer who gave us the tip about being able to write in a request for cinnamon rolls – they were yummy!!), juice, coffee etc. The phone rang at 6:20 (yikes!) saying they would be delivering the food in just a few minutes. We were, of course, not quite ready and had to scramble to find a place for the food etc.

The food was good and we ended up glad it came early as we ended up still running 5 minutes late for our excursion. Luckily, youngest DD slept through all of our getting-ready routine and awakened just a few minutes before we were to meet up with our excursion group. I stayed a few minutes with DD before leaving, hence the running late part, and gave my mom a quick rundown of where all of DD’s necessities were.

My parents had decided to forego any excursions on St. Maarten and so had volunteered to watch youngest DD while dh, teen DD, my sister and I went on the Golden Eagle Catamaran excursion that morning. We really appreciated!! So, after saying our goodbyes, we headed down to the Promenade Lounge about 7:50 and met up with our group. There were several different DIS families on this excursion as well as our friends we met at the hot tub Sunday evening.

We checked in with the excursion CM and turned in our tickets (they delivered these to our room on Monday). You keep half to show later as your receipt. There were a bunch of towels for those going on the excursions so we picked up several and sat down to wait for departure. We finally left the ship about 8:20 and headed for the water taxi to take us to St. Maarten. As we got outside, we could really see the Royal Caribbean Monarch of the Seas that was docked right next to us. It was quite a large ship but it had few rooms with balconies. We also got a chance to wave good-bye once more to my parents and DD as they were on the verandah while we were waiting for our ferry.

Once on the ferry, it was a 10-minute or so ride to the dock. We then walked to the catamaran and boarded. On the ferry over, one of the excursion guides told us we would be required to put our shoes in a basket before boarding the catamaran and that they would be donated to the local charities. He was joking but it was difficult to tell. I wasn’t crazy about searching for our shoes when we got off and didn’t want them to get lost so we just put them in our bag.

I would guess there were about 55 or 60 people on the excursion ranging from kids (minimum age is 5) to older adults. It was a fun group and the crew was also enjoyable. Once on the catamaran, the crew explained where to sit, what drinks were available, what to do if seasick etc. They were clearly “professionals” at this and I felt quite at ease on the boat. I completely forgot to take any Bonine before leaving the ship and I was a bit worried I might feel bad. As it turns out, I was fine but teen DD did not feel so well. A very nice British family offered her some medicine which she took and one of the crew members brought her some ice in a bag and a trash can “just in case.” She did not end up getting sick but she didn’t feel too great either. There were several people who did not feel well so if you are susceptible to motion sickness you may want to take something beforehand.

We set sail and some of the male passengers helped the crew hoist the sail. We began moving quite quickly and it was a bumpy ride. We passed many beautiful homes way up on the sides of the mountains and the water was absolutely gorgeous. The crew served non-alcoholic drinks and you could go up on deck where there is a trampoline-type area (beware – you will get very wet here!) or stay below. I mostly stayed below but sat in the back where I could see the ocean and feel the breeze. We sailed for about an hour before finally arriving at the designated beach/snorkeling area. There were several smaller boats anchored nearby and many of the passengers were nude. I found this amusing, as none of them were people I actually wanted to see nude!! The kids on board didn’t seem to notice, which I think is fairly typical.

The crew anchors the catamaran in just a few feet of water so you can easily get to shore or you can go right into the water for snorkeling. They provide snorkeling equipment in various sizes (although we brought our own) as well as flotation vest and “noodles.” The four of us went snorkeling but were pretty disappointed in what we saw (or more accurately didn’t see). My DH and I have only snorkeled in Hawaii and this could not begin to compare. We did see some fish but very few and nothing very exciting. The coral was non-existent and overall it was a mediocre snorkeling experience. We had an hour off the boat and it went by quickly. Many of the passengers spent the time on the beach instead and the waves were very gentle and the sand was soft. It was quite picturesque and I took a few pictures of the island etc.

After an hour, it was all aboard the catamaran for the ride home. The ride back was quicker – I think the crew took a more direct route. The crew served alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks on the way back as well as chips, pretzels, Doritos, and pastries. We did tip the crew $20 for their hard work – we put it in the bucket they had out upon departure.

After getting back to the dock, we walked to catch the ferry back to the ship. We were back on board about 12:30. It was fun but the sun and water left us tired!! We all cleaned up and decided we were hungry. DH got himself some hot dogs from Pluto’s while teen DD and I ordered pizza and chicken fingers from room service. Youngest DD was still out and about with my parents.

Teen DD really wanted to get her hair braided and to do some shopping in St. Maarten. I had a spa appointment from 3:30 – 4:30 so I did not have time to go shopping (the stores close at 5:00). So, DH agreed to take both DDs and my sister into town. DH put youngest DD (who was back from lunch with my parents and in a very good mood) into the baby backpack carrier and off they went.

I had about 45 minutes before my spa appointment so I decided to pick up the stateroom. It had gotten increasingly cluttered so I took advantage of the free time and the empty room to get it organized. It looked so much better and I was glad I had taken the time to do it.

At 3:20, I headed to the spa. I had an appointment for the Relaxation Package, which is a 25-minute session in the alpha capsule followed by a 30-minute foot and ankle massage. This is a $60 treatment, which is not a bad price considering the alpha capsule alone is $41. My spa consultant took me into the exercise room where the alpha capsule is located. I had worn my bathing suit with shorts and a t-shirt since I wasn’t really sure what the “appropriate “ attire was for the alpha capsule. The CM opened the capsule (which is about 7 feet long and 3 feet wide and oval in shape) and had me get in. I left my shirt and shorts on and I was comfortable. The CM explained where the controls were, how the procedure worked, and how to get out if I felt the need. The capsule has sort of a lounge chair inside of it covered with cushy terry cloth and is very comfortable. I got in and she closed the top of the capsule. She then gave me dark glasses and headphones to wear and turned on the music. She said she would be back for me in about 25 minutes and that I should completely relax and fall asleep if desired. I did get very relaxed and enjoyed the aromatherapy steam as well as the vibrating massage and “new-age” music. I did not fall asleep but I was definitely very very relaxed. The 25 minutes passed quickly and before I knew it the CM had returned. She removed my glasses and headphones and opened the capsule. I got up slowly, at the CM’s recommendation, and proceeded to the Rainforest Room where the massage would take place. I took a seat in one of the heated and tiled lounge chairs. The CM returned and proceed to give me a very relaxing and wonderful foot and ankle massage. She exfoliated the skin, massaged it with various lotions and oils (she even picked a particular oil for me since I was breastfeeding). It was a very nice experience and I would have done it again if it had been in my budget!!

I stayed for a few minutes in the Rainforest Room as suggested by the CM and then headed back to the stateroom. DH and DDs still had not returned from St. Maarten so I took the rare opportunity to read. I got a coke from the cooler and took my book out on the verandah for a nice relaxing solo moment. I get very few of these and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I could see the passengers on the Monarch of the Seas very easily and many of them were photographing or videotaping our ship. I did look at bit at their ship but it was just so plain-looking that I didn’t bother to take any pictures. After about 40 minutes out on the verandah, DH and DDs returned from their shopping. Teen DD’s hair was braided but she wasn’t completely happy with it. I made a few changes for her and all was well. I had given my sister very information about negotiating the price of the braids based on what I had read on the boards. DD only wanted the front part of her hair braided and did not want any beads. So, I told my sister not to pay more than $1/braid and not more than $25 total. I also sent DD with a new rat-tail comb just to be safe. My sister did a great job and negotiated a price of $20. Teen DD had several friends who paid up to $50 for the same type and amount of braiding so we were very happy with this. Also, DD’s braids were nicely done and stayed in well unlike others we saw which were uneven and sloppy and coming out by Friday.

DH bought me a bottle of guavaberry rum (we don’t buy much alcohol but I liked the fact that it was a local product) and bought teen DD a Tommy Hilfiger shirt. Teen DD also bought a few trinkets and overall they seemed to have a good time.

Teen DD got ready to go on the Teen Cruise that evening and left to meet up with her group. She said she enjoyed the cruise, which was just music and dancing while out on a boat. However, they did have to physically remove two teen girls who were VERY intoxicated. Teen DD seemed fairly disgusted with their behavior and I was proud she did not and would not partake in this kind of activity. She returned about 10:00 that night.

Tuesday night is usually the only night without some kind of “show” in the evening, which is one of the reasons we chose tonight to go to Palo. Well, this week they happened to be premiering the movie “Pearl Harbor” and decided to do it tonight. Obviously, we ended up missing this but had hopes we’d see it later in the week. The movie “Bambi” was showing in the other theatre to give families another option due to the more adult content of “Pearl Harbor.” I don’t know if there were a lot of people who went to the premiere since it was such a long movie (over 3 hours) and therefore you would have missed the deck party which turned out to be a lot of fun.

We had reservations at Palo for dinner at 7:30 so we got DD into her pajamas and took her to Flounder’s at 7:00. We returned to the room and finished getting ready and headed up to Palo. My parents and sister were eating at Palo at the same time but we had separate tables, as I really wanted to have an intimate dinner with my DH for the first time since DD was born. DH and I had Marco for our server this evening and he was very delightful. We talked about Italy (his homeland) as well as the food and ship etc. He is funny and personable and helped make the evening a very special one. We started with a Bellini for each of us - a nice and refreshing treat. For appetizers, I ordered the Portobello mushroom and polenta with a roasted shallot sauce and shaved parmesan appetizer (unbelievably rich and flavorful), and dh ordered the beef tenderloin carpaccio with stone-ground mustard, tomato relish and lemon dressing (he said it was very good) and Marco brought us the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper, and balsamic vinegar (very light and refreshing). We tried not to eat too much of the appetizers as we knew there was more to come. For entrees, I had the rack of lamb served with Chianti sauce and baby vegetables (absolutely delicious and cooked perfectly) while DH had loin of veal, which was pan-seared and served with wild mushroom sauce (very flavorful and also cooked just right). Marco also brought us the homemade ravioli with artichoke, ricotta cheese, and oven-dried tomatoes (the most tender and delicious ravioli I have ever tasted – yum yum yum!!!). For dessert, what else but the hazelnut chocolate soufflé with chocolate and vanilla bean sauces. This is without a doubt, the best dessert I have ever had – absolutely heavenly!! Marco also brought us a piece of Tiramisu (which has Palo written in cocoa on top) and some panna cotta, which is a creamy pudding/custard dessert. Both were good but no comparison for the soufflés.

Dinner last about an hour and a half and we enjoyed it immensely. We spoke with 2 couples sitting near us and enjoyed the quiet and ambiance. We could see the lights of St. Maarten outside and just really relaxed and appreciated the opportunity to be together. We tipped Marco very generously – the service in Palo is so exceptional that we could not possibly leave just $5 each. This was one of the best meals I have EVER had and we will make it a priority to visit Palo on any other Disney cruise.

We were now very full but content. It was about 9:00 by now and we had about an hour before the deck party. We decided to walk around the ship and enjoy some quiet time together. It was a lovely evening and the water and island lights were beautiful. We stopped by the room for a few minutes and we were just a tad disappointed that there was no towel animal tonight. My parents got an adorable monkey made from a blanket hanging from the verandah curtains; I guess maybe we didn’t get one because it was so hard to get to our curtains with the pack-n-play etc. Oh well – not that big of a deal.

At 10:00, we headed up to deck 10 for the party and enjoyed watching everyone, especially the kids, having a great time dancing and singing with the CMs and characters. The ship set sail about 11:00 and we watched it pull away. The island eventually faded into the distance and it was a wonderful ending to a busy but enjoyable day.

We picked up DD from Flounder’s about 11:20 and all headed back to the room and went to bed. We once again placed our breakfast room service order on the door. Teen DD came in about 2:00. Youngest DD woke up but went back to sleep quickly with a little help from me.

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Links to other days' trip reports

Day 1: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45110

Day 2: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45111

Day 3: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45112

Day 4: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45114

Day 5: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45116

Day 7: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45119

Day 8: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45121

Day 9: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45122

Day 10: http://www.disboards.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=45123

Tiiiigergirl
06-09-2001, 08:18 AM
I have been jumping from day to day so fast that I realized I hadn't said Thanks! Your reports are great. If I can't be on the cruise myself I at least like to enjoy someone else's vicariously.

mapny
06-09-2001, 05:31 PM
Your reports are great...They read like a short story and are packed with info. The detail really helps picture what things are like - and helps me anticipate my July cruise. Thanks again!!!

susie54
06-10-2001, 12:00 AM
These reports are so great! They have been the most helpful for me in deciding what stuff to do when we go in December. I can't wait to read the rest!