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Old 08-01-2014, 10:43 AM   #181
Tinker326
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Originally Posted by skier_pete View Post
Hmmmm...looks like a fun tour, mostly. The plane thing is neat, seen it on TV before. Where I used to live you could park at the end of the runway and have the Jets fly right over you, so I think I've experience it.

Just think, it's the only place in the world where you can be on a beach and both be attacked by a shark AND die in a plane crash! Awesome!
There is place to also park and do this near O'Hare but it's nowhere near as close as the St. Maarten one. The planes literally touch down right there... on the other side of the beach. It was like nothing I've experienced before & I thought it was way cool!

Oooh, I wonder if that's ever happened at the same time? I must google.
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Old 08-01-2014, 10:46 AM   #182
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I'm sorry Sarah got hurt, but I do love that picture of her in the water. That is pure happiness!

Love the underwater shot too!

Having the planes fly overhead is awesome! I'd love to see that! I definitely would have wanted to stay on the beach and skip the rest of the tour too!
The two girls had so much fun in that water until Sarah got hurt.. then she was out... but up till that point they were in their glory!

I now know if I ever go back to St. Maarten to just go to Maho.
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:32 AM   #183
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I like to call this pose 'the Richard Nixon'

All your pictures you look way less dorky than me in mine. It's a good thing I'm Dum.

The planes were deafing. Especially the big one. And I guess the airport will only allow take offs at certain times of the day and they try to clear the beach because the jet pushes out so much that it blows people/cars/item hundreds of feet..... there's a bunch of you tube of people holding on the fence trying to withstand the take-offs........

I think there was a reason Taxi For Jesus ended up in the junkyard... it was a downright scary tour....
The reason my pics look less dorky is because they usually get deleted before there's any actual proof that I took said photo!

case in point...

my "excited" pose.


To add insult to injury, apparently this is NOT a bad photo according to my family, this is what I LOOK LIKE ALL THE TIME.

We got this. Maybe we should have been going by TweedleDork and TweedleDorkier this whole time.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:04 PM   #184
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The reason my pics look less dorky is because they usually get deleted before there's any actual proof that I took said photo!

case in point...

my "excited" pose.


To add insult to injury, apparently this is NOT a bad photo according to my family, this is what I LOOK LIKE ALL THE TIME.

We got this. Maybe we should have been going by TweedleDork and TweedleDorkier this whole time.


I like TweedleDork and TweedleDorkier. I mean, we have to own our dorkiness, right?
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:20 PM   #185
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Oh cool! We have booked a Bernard's tour, too. The web site says the Iguana Farm is still under construction. Is there no where else they could take us? Maybe more time on Maho would be better. Oh well, ours in not a private tour, so I guess we go where we are taken. We are most excited about Maho, too. My DH has worked on airplanes his entire career, and has quite the obsession with them. So, this tour was a MUST for us.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:03 PM   #186
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Oh cool! We have booked a Bernard's tour, too. The web site says the Iguana Farm is still under construction. Is there no where else they could take us? Maybe more time on Maho would be better. Oh well, ours in not a private tour, so I guess we go where we are taken. We are most excited about Maho, too. My DH has worked on airplanes his entire career, and has quite the obsession with them. So, this tour was a MUST for us.
Read my review of St. Maarten with a grain of salt. I truly believe it would have been a lot better if there were not as many people.. we just had too many.....

There were still Iguana's running around- even under construction... and if there were less people, I am guessing they would have done more of a hold/picture thing which is what my daughter REALLY wanted but we didn't get.

And Maho is so neat.
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Old 08-02-2014, 05:03 PM   #187
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I'm loving your trip report! It's nice to read one with humor.

I thought I had already replied to this, but not I can't find my post...so forgive me if this is a duplicate.

We were on that same 5-night Dream cruise back in 2012! And you and your SIL look familiar to me...maybe I met you all in line for the Aqua Duck or running the 5k??

Congratulations on the adoption! Two of our three kiddos were adopted.

We are going on the Fantasy in early October...so I'm curious to hear about your final thoughts of a 7-night cruise compared to the shorter one.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:28 PM   #188
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Look at us in our official ladies'/girls' night out uniform! Old Navy loved our anchor theme!

As to the Bernard's tour... We did a power walk around the Iguana Farm perimeter. I did not even look in any of the "habitats" because the fox made me sad. Probably not my favorite part of the tour.

I really would second the Maho beach needing more time idea. Also, I kind of wish we had made the Orient Beach stop that usually happens. (Or so I have read.) But I know some were concerned about the nudity thing. Whatevs.

You are now leading the trip report race. I will have to update tomorrow to catch up!
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:17 AM   #189
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First of all I love the anchor shirt! I had my eye on it for months bad as soon as we booked the cruise I wished I had purchased it! So cute!

I am sorry your excursion wasn't that great. I hate to see the way other countries treat animals and I agree, it is hard to see! The planes on that beach look so awesome!

Funny story about sharks, last week we went to the beach with my in laws. The other day I was on face book and saw an article "hammer head shark comes on beach in FL". Naturally I click on said article and it was the very beach I was in exactly one week earlier!OMG! I was already so so on beaches, however between that and the amount of jelly fish we saw, I am DONE with the beach! Well, except at Castaway Cay where the sharks sing songs and say funny like fish are friends, not food, right?
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:45 AM   #190
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I'm loving your trip report! It's nice to read one with humor.

I thought I had already replied to this, but not I can't find my post...so forgive me if this is a duplicate.

We were on that same 5-night Dream cruise back in 2012! And you and your SIL look familiar to me...maybe I met you all in line for the Aqua Duck or running the 5k??

Congratulations on the adoption! Two of our three kiddos were adopted.

We are going on the Fantasy in early October...so I'm curious to hear about your final thoughts of a 7-night cruise compared to the shorter one.
We did talk to a Disser in line at the AquaDuck on the Dream! It was before we left port? Was that possibly you? The conversation was along the lines of we probably should not have waited in this long line at this time.......

We both also ran the 5K!

Congrats on the Fantasy in early October! Of all the times we've cruised, October is my favorite month! I love longer cruises vs. shorter ones traditionally- however for whatever reason, I just really liked the Dream better than the Fantasy. Not sure why that it is..... This particular cruise seemed much more crowded than the Dream...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lauralynn0612 View Post
Look at us in our official ladies'/girls' night out uniform! Old Navy loved our anchor theme!

As to the Bernard's tour... We did a power walk around the Iguana Farm perimeter. I did not even look in any of the "habitats" because the fox made me sad. Probably not my favorite part of the tour.

I really would second the Maho beach needing more time idea. Also, I kind of wish we had made the Orient Beach stop that usually happens. (Or so I have read.) But I know some were concerned about the nudity thing. Whatevs.

You are now leading the trip report race. I will have to update tomorrow to catch up!
We did Oriental back in 2007- and actually didn't see a single person topless. My husband was quite disappointed!

I would have gladly given up the shopping in St. Margiot for either more time at Maho or a stop at Oriental.

I have yet to wear my anchor shirt again since that night! I need to remedy that. I think I'll wear it to work this week!

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First of all I love the anchor shirt! I had my eye on it for months bad as soon as we booked the cruise I wished I had purchased it! So cute!

I am sorry your excursion wasn't that great. I hate to see the way other countries treat animals and I agree, it is hard to see! The planes on that beach look so awesome!

Funny story about sharks, last week we went to the beach with my in laws. The other day I was on face book and saw an article "hammer head shark comes on beach in FL". Naturally I click on said article and it was the very beach I was in exactly one week earlier!OMG! I was already so so on beaches, however between that and the amount of jelly fish we saw, I am DONE with the beach! Well, except at Castaway Cay where the sharks sing songs and say funny like fish are friends, not food, right?
Yes, Castaway Cay has a net. A beautiful, wonderful shark net. Even that singing shark Bruce can't get in it!!!

I saw that article regarding the hammerhead pop up too last week! Funny!! I mean, not funny for you since you were on that beach. But funny that came up in my news feed as well! Hammerheads are so ugly. I mean, not that any shark is really pretty.....

With jellyfish, I remember one time I booked a snorkeling tour in the Keys- years and years ago (pre-kids) and we pulled up and the place was just crawling with jellyfish and the guy was like 'eh, it's fine- end of season, their stingers don't hurt... just jump in'. I was like, uh..no! But then my cousin pulled me in with her and we spent the entire snorkel trip trying to out swim jellyfish. The other girl in our party did end up getting stung. .and funny enough, she said it DID HURT! A-hole tour operator!
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:43 AM   #191
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With jellyfish, I remember one time I booked a snorkeling tour in the Keys- years and years ago (pre-kids) and we pulled up and the place was just crawling with jellyfish and the guy was like 'eh, it's fine- end of season, their stingers don't hurt... just jump in'. I was like, uh..no! But then my cousin pulled me in with her and we spent the entire snorkel trip trying to out swim jellyfish. The other girl in our party did end up getting stung. .and funny enough, she said it DID HURT! A-hole tour operator!
Ugh, Jellyfish. I fear them MUCH worse than Sharks. Just too much s**t in the ocean for me to want to go in there on any sort of regular basis. (Oh wait, I'm going to Myrtle Beach in 10 days...oh crap!)
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:28 PM   #192
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Ugh, Jellyfish. I fear them MUCH worse than Sharks. Just too much s**t in the ocean for me to want to go in there on any sort of regular basis. (Oh wait, I'm going to Myrtle Beach in 10 days...oh crap!)
You know the waters off Myrtle Beach are high concentration of both Whites & Bulls. 2 of the 3 biggies in shark attacks. In case you wanted more to fear.

Plus lots of jellyfish. My Girl Scout co-leader goes there every August..and every August someone in her family gets stung by a jellyfish.

Happy vacationing!
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Old 08-14-2014, 07:42 PM   #193
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And That Wraps St. Maarten

Howdy fellow readers... sorry for the bit of a delay- life is getting busy with work deadlines, back to school, fall activities/sports.... you know, the usual drill called life.

I do have exciting news to share over on my Pre-Trip report when I get back to it. I will get back to it. Just not today. Or tomorrow. Or anything like that. Ha!

Anyways, let's finish up our not-so-wonderful St. Maarten experience.

So after a very awesome, but much too quick stop at Maho- we once again were herded in our big bus to head towards the French Capital of St. Margot..or something like that.

I don't remember the city name because I didn't like this stop in 2007. And I didn't like it in 2014. It's a market with trinkets.

Our bus, as usual, was the last of all the St. Bernard's busses & it was also the biggest one and so by the time we FINALLY got off and over to the 'draw' of St. Margot- which is the French pastry shop called Sarafinas, the place was packed to the gill, the line was literally out the door.... and we were just hot and cranky from too much time on a bus!



Plus, this was the exact time an unnamed child who's cute and therefore forgiven after the fact- decided she COULD NOT WAIT to use the potty. Of which, as you can guess, was nowhere to be found. Because...there wasn't one.

And so someone had to walk her all the way back to the market. And no one wanted to because we were all hot and tired & snippy. And so it almost became WW3 on who that said person would be.

Let's just say there were 3 of us in this war. To go by our ancestral nationalities they were Hungarian (my mother), Italian (my husband) and Lithuanian (myself). Italy lost. And as a result, Hungry and Lithuania had to pay for that anger the rest of the day by another Cold War. It added to the fun of the day.

Now, getting back to the actual food. One would think I would love this place. Because, well, it's sugar. And if you know me.. you know I belong in rehab for my sugar addictions...



But.... by the time we got up there, many (many!) things were gone thanks to the 100 plus people that just unloaded in front of us... and I was left slightly ticked that my only option for a Macaroon was a vomit colored pistachio one.



That being said, it did actually taste very good.

I eased my frustrations and the fact Italy wasn't going to forge any alliance with the Eastern European countries of Hungry and Lithuania anytime soon by drowning myself in lemon.



And chocolate.

Then another child who will remained unnamed but has blonde hair had to use the washroom. Because apparently it's very hard to have to go 10 minutes before when your sister has to go.

This time, Lithuania lost (me). And off she and I went to use the lovely capital bathrooms. (read between the lines).

And then we attempted to meet up with the rest of our little group in the market.





We were SO hot. And so not happy with each other..and so not wanting to get back on to that bus....that we decided we should celebrate with a family picture. To record the wonderful vacation memory.



It's even more special that I think I look especially fat in it.

But you can see the special souvenirs we picked out from the market. One wooden Nemo bobbing head toy for Ms. Charlie & one new island purse bargained down (like a pro) by Ms. Rebecca.

Charlie's Nemo got eaten by the dog within 1 hour of us returning home. Rebecca still uses her purse. So I consider that a 1:1 ratio..and in our family that's a success!

Where are we? Is this tour or this post over yet?

So we loaded back on the bus. Hot, sweaty and ready to go home. The family behind us with small babies....and the family in front of us with small babies determined they too had enough (I honestly don't blame them, I don't) but wailing, screaming babies now added to our wonderful tour.

Oh, but wait... there's more.

Let's stop at the sea urchin farm. Where Hungry, Italy and China refused to move from their seats.

This stop was a highlight for my tomboy. Mostly because she got to wade in water and with some spiky, ugly creatures....







It was a very pretty spot. I wish the tour had been more time in places like this vs. on/off a bus.







Although, again, the animal treatment/conservation is not great in this island. The people pulling the urchins out were townpeople, who mishandled them, pawned them off on people to hold (tour buses) for a tip and then when the urchins eventually died- they just threw them down on the beach or back in the water.. we saw lots & lots of dead urchins and starfish here.

Anyways... also the following fun facts were learned on the very last leg of our tour. I found this interesting and the only redeeming part of the long, crowded bus ride...

So.. this island is two nations. Dutch and French. Therefore governed by two sets of laws.

The French are considered 'uptight' and 'strict'. Lots of laws and restrictions. Me being the rule follower that I am (I am such a nerd about that) I appreciate the French on this island.

The Dutch.. um.. not so much. Think.. red light district Amsterdam. You want a woman- eh, go to the wh#re house. They lined the roads (we saw them). (and just so you know, to be fair to all those workers they 'rotate through different countries every 3 months- South American, Asian, ect..'). How the tour guide talked about this like it was no big deal and didn't think 'wow, those woman are probably trafficked here' is beyond me.

I did make a mental note to never allow my young daughters as young women to come to this island as visions of Natalee Halloway filled my brain.

Anyways.. in addition to your woman.. have some drugs. Legal.

Oh, and drinking and driving... well, according to our guide.. you shouldn't have a license if have not demonstrated you can BOTH drink and drive together. So- perhaps check the nationality of your tour guide driver.

So there's your St. Maarten geography lesson for today. You are welcome. All the little kids on the Disney boat were really excited to learn this today too on the tour. I mean, I don't know about your kids..but my kids school doesn't cover that! I can hear the Kindergartener on her report to 'what I did on my summer vacation' already!

We finally (thank goodness) finished our tour around 2:30. We all ran off the bus. They tried to get a group picture of the bus occupants..and well... we just wanted to get out of there..... so we didn't stick around.

Since we were already at war, I forced my family to take another 'special' memory photograph. Looking straight into the hot sun. Aww, I look at this and think.... wow, I remember how much we really all hated each other at this point on the vacation..........



I am actually surprised we are all smiling.

Although you will notice Italy is nowhere near his Eastern European cohorts.

Let's get back on this ship, shower & be happy again!





Once on board... it was time to prepare ourselves for one of my favorite things about a Disney Cruise.

PIRATE NIGHT!!! And I have 9,000 pictures of that coming up in the next few posts!!!
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:24 PM   #194
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Thanks for your candid review of St. Maarten. We were going to go on a Bernard's tour, but I feared being on the bus too long and not having flexibility with my kids. So we booked a private tour with another company (just my family on board) and hoping we enjoy the island. We've only been to the Bahamas and Cozumel on cruises so looking forward to seeing a different area.
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Old 08-14-2014, 08:44 PM   #195
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Thanks for your candid review of St. Maarten. We were going to go on a Bernard's tour, but I feared being on the bus too long and not having flexibility with my kids. So we booked a private tour with another company (just my family on board) and hoping we enjoy the island. We've only been to the Bahamas and Cozumel on cruises so looking forward to seeing a different area.
Oooh, I didn't mean to push anyway from St. Bernard's- they really do get great reviews.. we just had way too big of a group. It was based off our DIS board & we had like over 100. I don't think that's in anyway normal...

It was unique circumstances....I even think within our own group, the smaller buses had better experiences. We just were on the very big bus that was always last. Again, luck of draw...... but in no way representative of the company.

Our Taxi For Jesus back in 2007 was private (just our family)..and well... we still have nightmares about that!

I think it's the island of St. Maarten for me that is cursed.
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