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Old 01-22-2012, 06:26 PM   #421
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Oh, those savory rolls were a hit with my sister and niece! And strawberry soup...Yumola! You know, my warm chocolate cake with pear sauce did not look nearly as good as yours. Me thinks the Monarch needs to get working on perfecting their recipe.

OceanAria is not an extra fee, correct? It looks incredible!
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Old 01-24-2012, 04:50 PM   #422
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OceanAria looks like a really nice show. Thanks for posting pics and video. My daughters thought they were cool.

Staring at the strawberry soup pic and brought back fond memories of Disney's soup. Yummmmm.
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Old 01-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #423
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Miss you!
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Old 01-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #424
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Either the mail or the kids and life in genera; are keeping you busy. Missing you and your reports.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:02 PM   #425
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A Pirate's Life For Us!

Wednesday September 21 – Day 4- St. Thomas, USVI

Welcome to:



It was the usual routine for us this morning, Ron up early, me sleeping as long as I could. He went exploring up on the Sundeck- which are the “cantilevered” wings over the bridge that extend out over the ocean. It is a great place for pictures and to relax, but it is now quite popular:







We had not yet arrived in St. Thomas.





Ron spotted this pirate ship, not knowing that it would be the one we would be on for our excursion!



Breakfast on the balcony, this morning it was from Park Café. The boys enjoyed the breakfast sandwiches similar to Egg Mc Muffins from McDonalds. They did like the sandwiches overall but didn’t care too much for the Canadian bacon on them.

This is all I had, and the girls both had just cold cereal. Would that turn out to be a mistake?



Look how well behaved they are. Ha ha ha….. These moments are few and far between.




Finally we docked (late) and were cleared quickly to disembark. Our excursion had a meeting time of 8:30 and we did not even arrive in port until 9 AM. Today we would be doing the Turtle Cove Sail & Snorkel through Royal Caribbean. We normally do not do excursions through the cruise line, as we can often arrange our own plans for less cost. But this excursion was so reasonably priced and was right what we were looking for- a short unique snorkeling experience- that we decided to go with it. The cost is $56/adult and $30/child and we felt that was well worth it for the experience. Sarah, at age 3 was still too young for this experience so she would spend the morning in the kids’ club. She did offer a little bit of resistance about going to the club this morning but once she was there, she was fine.

You know what's cool about this excursion? You can do it on DCL too! See! :

http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cr...l-and-snorkel/

Our shore excursion tickets just said to meet at the dock, so we headed down to the gangway to disembark. Once outside on the pier we could see no obvious meeting place for the group.



I spotted these pirate flags from across the bay though and figured that’s where we would be. I….was right!



We made our way through the security gates, and since Ron didn’t believe me that we needed to head towards the pirate flags, he finally found a gentleman with a sign for our excursion and pointed us…where else…to the pirate flags! Well, now that we are sure on where to go, we took the short walk over, past all of these guys….so cute!!



We still had to wait for more folks to arrive. This is a very popular excursion and often sells out; there were in fact well over 100- maybe close to 200 people gathered once everyone had arrived. Here is my favorite tip for excursions: use this time while you are waiting to apply sunscreen! We were slathering on the sunscreen now, while most were just hanging out. Later on they were all applying the sunscreen on the boat, a more cramped and bumpy environment, while we were just enjoying the ride….sort of. More on that to come, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.



Before too long, the excursion operators began to divide us into groups for the boat ride. We had read many reviews of this excursion and had read while most often one the Pirate Schooners is used- occasionally a catamaran is used for overflow. Having kids who were really excited about the Pirate Ship, we were a little antsy to get our tickets in and get placed on one of the Pirate Ships, the Doubloon or Bones. We were lucky enough to be one of the last few families to get onboard the Doubloon. (I don’t think getting “stuck” on the Catamaran would have been an issue today- we did not see one at Turtle Cove while we were there.
In any event, here comes Doubloon to the dock:



We boarded Doubloon and headed up to the bow. Along with the minimal breakfast this may have been mistake #2.



At first we enjoyed the ride from Crown Bay over towards Turtle Cove at Buck Island.











But the water was quite choppy and even though I am not prone to sea sickness, I among a few others in the boat (including Savannah) felt a little -or a lot- nauseous by the time we finally arrived about 40 minutes later. I know I would be fine once I got off the rocking boat and into the water. Savannah though, felt really sick and didn’t want to go snorkel at all. We let most folks get off and into the water while I waited with her hoping she would feel better. The really nice family we were sitting next to on the boat gave her a Bonine, which she took, and with a lot of persuasion I finally convinced her to at least take a little swim in the water.

Turtle Cove at Buck Island:







Just as I thought, as soon as she was off the rocking boat, and in the water she was fine, and then she decided to snorkel. I waited while she swam back to retrieve her equipment. The staff of the boat- by the way- was great. They were very funny, and friendly and helpful. We had Captain Alex, and “Mermaid” Dawn, and First Mate Kurt was the other guy I think. Just an awesome crew!

Meanwhile, Ron, Brendan and the rest of the excursion-goers were following “mermaid” Dawn as they called her on a short guided tour of the cove. Right away they saw the wild sea turtles, and other great tropical fish, coral, urchins, and other sea life.

Before too long Savannah was back in the water with her gear on, and snorkeling around like a fish. Most everyone else in our group had already seen the turtles following Dawn around, we were playing catch-up. It took us a while to find them, but then when we finally spied one, they seemed easy to find.
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Old 01-26-2012, 06:07 PM   #426
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A Pirate's Life For Us! (Part 2)

It was a lot of fun just to watch them chilling out, eating grass, going up for air. Brendan got to gently touch the shell of one as it ascended to the surface. Here are some pictures taken from the doubloon website (we did not have an underwater camera):







In fact, if you are considering this excursion, do go check out Doubloon.com, they have lots of info and pictures and links to the other boats you could be on if you go on the Turtle Cove Sail & Snorkel.

And this nice stock photo of Doubloon with the sails up:







More general pics of Turtle Cove:





They let you snorkel for quite a long time. Well over an hour I’m sure. This was just a terrific excursion for the money! We loved it!






When it was time to head back, Mermaid Dawn mixed up a batch of their Painkiller punch. According to their site the juice mixture is 4 parts pineapple juice, 1 part orange juice, and 1 part Coco Lopez (coconut milk). She mixed all of that very imprecisely with generous pours of this very interesting Brazilian Rum:



Boat Drinks, waitress we need two more boat drinks….



The drinks were really good, and they certainly kept them flowing. I had at least 2, and I think Ron lost count how many he had.

There were sodas for the kids, and anyone who preferred non-alcoholic drinks as well.



As we enjoyed the ride back, Dawn came around with temporary tattoos for everyone. They had the flag logo for the Doubloon:



These were like super-industrial grade temporary tattoos. They really lasted. In fact I had to scrub, and scrub, and SCRUB almost to the bone to get it off several days later. Brendan’s stayed on well after we got home. You can decline, of course if you don’t want one, but everyone onboard was having fun with it, and I admit it was pretty cool to spot others from the excursion later on in the cruise around the ship by their tattoos!

Tattoo time: (video! Click to Play)









Then at one point Capt. Alex came out in the T-shirts they had for sale. We knew it would be a sales spiel but he was so hilarious we really enjoyed it. And yes, we bought the shirts.



Capt. Alex joking around in his Pirate girl duds:






And in case you ever wondered what a real marine head looks like. Just keep pumping, just keep pumping….



Look what’s hiding around this corner… (They can actually *HIDE* that thing!?!?)

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Old 01-26-2012, 06:12 PM   #427
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A Pirate's Life For Us! (Part 3)

Back on dry land…our friends were still baking on the rocks:



‘Sup?



And strollin’ the streets, and chillin’ under picnic tables, and hittin’ on hot chicks at the bar….





They were feeding them cherries, actually. It was fun to watch!

Look! C-Bay! (as in Crowne Bay?) LOL!



The not-so-hot Wi-Fi hotspot. No signal at all.



Nope, couldn’t fit it in this time.



Up Next: Hang Ten, Gain Ten
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Old 01-26-2012, 07:14 PM   #428
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Looks amazing!! How long did the excursion last all together?
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:29 PM   #429
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Ooooh! Hanging and Gaining...does this mean Savannah's zip line is coming up?

Wowsa, the water is so beautiful. We are so wanting to do an Eastern Caribbean for the sites...I hesitate since they typically have an extra at-sea day (I prefer port calls myself).
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:16 PM   #430
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProudMommyof2 View Post
Looks amazing!! How long did the excursion last all together?
It was a fun excursion! It was about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. It was exactly what we were looking for because this vacation was much more about the ship than the ports.

Another great update Jen!

Ron
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:28 AM   #431
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Okay, the aerial show looks fun! Did the kids get wet?

We loved St. Thomas! I don't remember seeing so many iguanas there Your pirate snorkel sounds like the perfect excursion - Plenty of rum punch, plenty to see, and time to shop and eat after
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Old 01-27-2012, 10:42 AM   #432
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I can't be the only one that gets excited when I go to the last page on this thread and watch my scroll bar indicator get REALLY tiny as Jenn's pictures load?

Also ... I keep seeing pics of it, but I still can't believe how HUGE that ship is!!!
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:58 PM   #433
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Great update Jen, we were going to do that excursion on our last DCL cruise.

Wish we had now.
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Old 01-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #434
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loving this review!
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:52 PM   #435
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Really enjoying your TR - we are thinking of broadening our Cruise horizons and your wonderfully detailed and (truly ) entertaining report is giving me alot to think about! Thank you.
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