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Shrek Takes On Mickey: The Dreamworks Experience Aboard Allure of the Seas 9/18-25

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by nenner1, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. livingis2me

    livingis2me DIS Veteran

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    Well, it's official... We put our deposit down for 9-22-13 on the Allure.:cool1: Just can't wait to get back....:goodvibes That will end up being two years in a row that we cruise the same date. ....assuming those Mayans are wrong.;)

    Ron
     
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  3. MAGICFOR2

    MAGICFOR2 DIS Veteran

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    Yay for booking!!!! :yay: Now you can start your spreadsheet!:3dglasses
     
  4. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Yea! Savannah enjoyed the zip line...very cool! And the lunch she ate to "pack" on those pounds (um, looking at pictures it does not appear she packs on much though!) looks yummy. Who can go wrong with chocolate cake, right?
     
  5. livingis2me

    livingis2me DIS Veteran

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    I think it's time for an update Jen.:rolleyes1

    Ron
     
  6. floydfamily4

    floydfamily4 DIS Veteran

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    Miss you! Please come back:surfweb:
     
  7. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    Mea Culpa. Sorry for the delay- the sick has been rolling through this house again- knocked me out for a good week. Then it seems like every time I come to the Dis lately it has been so slow, I can never manage to get much done.

    And now I am trying to learn my new camera-whoa. Why did I need a new camera you may ask? Well. you'll soon find out. But first- dinner at Chops Steakhouse! :rolleyes1

    We now return you to your scheduled trip report.....lol...;)
     
  8. LoriABil

    LoriABil DIS Veteran

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    The H2O Zone looks amazing! Can't wait to read more!
     
  9. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    This evening our dinner was one I was really looking forward to- Chops Grille! It was absolutely by far the best meal we had onboard Independence and we expected no less for this cruise.

    We got the kids fed early (Sorrento’s again) and up to the kids’ clubs ASAP. We had an 8PM reservation and actually wanted to get there-and hopefully seated early because we had the Comedy Show scheduled at 10 and wanted to arrive there with enough time to (hopefully) get a decent seat. Our last meal at Chops-as wonderful as it was- was quite lengthy so we were concerned about the time constraints.


    I really love the location of the specialty restaurants on Central Park. It is so beautiful lit up at night, the perfect atmosphere for an elegant, intimate dinner.

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    The little light show is fun and relaxing to watch:

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    This evening ominous clouds were overhead and it was actually beginning to sprinkle a bit outside. As we approached the restaurant, we considered the outdoor seating options, I was concerned with the heat, since we had been quite warm at both Rita’s and Samba. At least some of the outdoor seating area did have a semi-glass enclosure and appeared to be somewhat air-conditioned but we decided with the chance of rain that it was better to stay inside.


    We arrived at chops at about 7:45 PM, not very early for our 8:00 reservation after all. As we checked in, we inquired about being able to be seated early. The restaurant was obviously very busy but the hostess said they would be able to accommodate us, and asked us to take a seat in the waiting area.

    We ended up having to wait a while for a table. We watched quite a few couples arrive and be immediately seated and as it grew closer and closer to our 8 PM and our actual reservation time, we really began to get concerned about the time and that we had been overlooked (even though we were the only ones seated waiting for a table). As we saw a few more couples enter the restaurant at 8PM, we decided to get up and return to the hostess stand to express our concern, and as we did so, we were told our table was ready. Hmmm.

    Chops was very lovely inside. The décor is rich, with dark woods, heavy fabrics and patterns and intimate low lighting.

    We were brought to a very small two-top table in a long line of tables that were booth seating on one side and a chair on the other side. The tables were impossibly close together, less than 2 feet apart- probably more like 18 inches. Even the skinniest of patrons had to turn sideways to squeeze between the tables. I did not care for such tight quarters at ALL. It is impossible to not hear the conversations at the tables adjacent- no matter how hard you try to speak in low tones or whispers, and regular conversations could be hard to hold if tables on both sides of you were talking. I didn’t really want to listen in on our neighbors but you really didn’t have a choice. And I didn’t feel as comfortable about relaxing and enjoying our conversation as well, knowing that we were being heard too (not that we had anything negative or salacious to say, just that I felt rude actually talking, like we were imposing on the tables besides us or something. Call me neurotic but I just would have felt much, much more relaxed with some room to breathe.

    Chops Menu:

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    I was also not as comfortable taking pictures inside Chops. It has a very dark atmosphere and my camera- even my good one- was not a DSLR so I had no choice but to use flash. Flash in a dark restaurant can be quite imposing but especially in such close proximity to others. I did not want to be disturbing everyone so I took only the minimal food porn shots, and I didn’t really get any good pictures of the inside of the restaurant.
    Here is one picture of the interior, graciously borrowed from Cruise Critic Member QTMichele’s awesome review..

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    And this picture from Beyondships.com shows our table exactly (the 2nd one from the end). You can see the close proximity of the seating arrangements.

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    We explained to our server that we had the comedy show at 10 and she assured us that would not be a problem. We are pretty fast eaters anyway so I felt comfortable we would make our reservation. I started with her suggestion of the Chops signature cocktail. I wish I could remember better but it was some sort of blackberry and blueberry martini. It was fabulous!

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    The bread came out shortly afterward. It was a whole grain bread with sun-dried tomato butter. I didn’t recall the bread in Chops on Indy being this variety- I recall it being a white bread that we ate way too much of. I didn’t care for this bread as much, which is probably a good thing- to avoid filling up on it!

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    We placed our orders and quickly our appetizers arrived. I chose the Warm Goat Cheese and Basil Soufflé- double baked soufflé served with portabella mushroom confit and creamy sage reduction.

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    DELICIOUS!!! Rich, cheesy, smooth, everything you would sant in a cheese souffle. The Portabella caps were grilled to perfection. Tender but crisp, and not chewy. YUM!

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    Ron chose the Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cake with Remoulade sauce. He also said it was amazing, crispy and flaked with thick chunks of crab shrimp meat.

    He also selected the Forest Mushroom Soup-scented with white truffle oil. Earthy, creamy, and just fabulous.

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    Our meal- despite the unintended intimacy with our neighbors- was off to a pretty good start.

    After a short wait came the moment we had been waiting for. Drum roll please…our steaks!

    We both selected the Filet Mignon- 10 ounces of a thick and flavorful cut from the tenderloin. Since I like my steak Medium-well, mine was butterflied, which I do not prefer, but it is the standard practice at Chops for medium-well and well-done filets.

    And of course…the ever present halved grilled tomato.

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    Ron likes his steak medium, so his was not butterflied:

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    We also requested onion rings as a side order, and we shared one of the gigantic football sized Rock-Salt Baked Idaho Potatoes. Since we had mentioned our intention to share the potato, it was served to us already split:

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    Now, about the steaks…..maybe we had unrealistic built up expectations based on a memory 18 months in the past and our recollection was not as we thought. But- and I hate to say it- the steaks were not GREAT. They were good, but not cut with a spoon, melt in your mouth great like they were on independence. My steak- although a perfect light pink-grey medium well, seemed not quite as tender as it could have been. I could (and should) have stated my preference to not have it butterflied, I’m sure, and I would advise those of you out there to do choose to not butterfly if you prefer your meat more on the cooked side. I know they can do it-any good steak house of that caliber should be able to prepare a filet medium -well without having to butterfly. It was still tender enough- and great with the sauce but the meat itself did not have a huge amount of flavor or spice. And I just did not prefer having so much crispiness due to the searing of so much surface area of the steak.

    Ron’s opinion did not differ too much from mine. Very good but not GREAT. We almost felt like the steaks were a little bland. The potato was good (but it just a baked potato after all), and the onion rings were just OK too- nothing special. They tasted a lot like Johnny Rocket’s onion rings (Ron liked JR’s better though).

    So, I would not say we were disappointed in the food, just not blown away like we thought we would be. Maybe our expectations were unrealistic. I’d like to say they were but in hindsight we had a much better overall experience the next night at Giovanni’s Table. More on that to come!

    Of course we were not leaving without the amazing Mud pie for dessert. I was way too full to even attempt to eat it now, so I chose to take mine to go. Ron could still manage to eat his now though:

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    Now this did not disappoint a bit. By far the best dessert onboard. Amazingly dense, rich and so chocolately. Sinful!!!

    True to her word, our server did have us finished and leaving the restaurant in less than an hour and a half. We did not feel rushed too much however, and like I mentioned we like to eat more fast paced so it worked out well. She hasn’t the most personable though, and she had a thick accent that was difficult to understand. Not bad service by any means, just not outstanding either.

    Overall we left Chops satisfied but not feeling like we’d just had the best meal ‘evah’-like we were hoping we would. I really do think our dining experience would have been much improved by a more isolated seating situation. When you are having an intimate romantic dinner- and having three children, we just simply do not get enough of those to just the two of us- you don’t want to feel as if you are being eavesdropped on or listening to others (albeit unintentionally). If you go to Chops and want a quiet-more private experience – do ask before being seated if you can avoid those tables. If you are the kind that likes meeting tablemates and eating with others those little booth seats may be more for you!

    We did have just enough time after dinner to run up to the room, drop off my mud pie and change into more comfortable clothing and shoes. I had worn a pair of heels to chops that was quite uncomfortable. I was retaining a bit of water, and I don’t know if it was due to all the walking onboard but my feet had swollen considerably. I hadn’t seen such sausages since I was 9 months preggo! Bring comfy shoes, folks!!! I was much, much more comfortable back in my flip-flops!

    Up Next; (More) Close Encounters of the Weird Kind
     
  10. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    We went down to the Entertainment Place on Deck 4 to the Comedy Live venue.

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    Love the theming down here in the “basement” LOL!

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    Ron and I both love stand-up comedy so we were really looking forward to this show. As we arrived at about 9:40 PM, we found that while there was still some seating left, all of the good center seats were gone. We ended up toward the back on the side. There was an awful lot of awkward seating going on where couples would sit and leave one chair, then another couple would sit and leave another open chair and so there were lots of scattered individual seats. We witnessed an interaction where a couple arriving asked another couple seated to move one chair down so that they could sit together and were met with resistance. It was pretty funny when that same couple then spotted another pair of seats near the front- obviously occupied as there were personal items in the chairs..The woman headed for them while muttering “THERE IS NO SEAT SAVING” and I knew she was going to get turned away by the rest of the people in that party-and of course she was. That couple did eventually find seats together near the back. When the standby folks were let in about 5 minutes to show time, there was a lot more of the groups or couples asking people to move a seat down and we were a bit surprised to see that nobody really would. (Not us, we were already on the end of a row, and would have happily scooted but there was nowhere for us to scoot to!) Standby folks have to expect to be separated though-keep that in mind if you decide to do standby at a show.

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    We loved this little venue though. The seats were deep and comfortable-although the view from the back was not the greatest, the intimacy of the club leads to a camaraderie with those around you that when you are all laughing together it doesn’t matter so much that you can’t see the stage.

    Here are several views of the interior of the intimate comedy club:

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    The view from our seats (sorry for the blurry pic)

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    Ron liked the ‘Cocktail Comics” bar menu: Creative!!!

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    So with all of the pre-show seating comedy (and drama!) over, the show began with a short 5 minute stand-up routine by Matt (I think that was his name), the activities director. Even he was very funny. The show was off to a good start!!!

    The opening act was a 30-minute set by comedian Rick Corso. We had never heard of him before (off-hand) but he has is no stranger to the club circuit back on land and of course had been on TV featured on Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV and VH1, among others). He had a lot of cruise-ship based material and also a lot of his act based around New York and New Jersey and being Italian. It was really funny stuff. I was laughing so hard. Totally loved his act. He ended up with song about life on a cruise ship, watch this short video clip on you tube to see a little taste of his material:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB7Pc19o0HY

    We thought Rick Corso was so great, we didn’t think it could get much better with headliner Phil Tag, but boy were we wrong! Phil was just terrific. I was laughing so much I was crying! Phil, like Rick had been on Showtime, Comedy Central, A&E, and also the Tonight Show. He was very polished and professional and his timing was impeccable. Not as much of his material revolved around cruise themes, but some did. The joke I found the funniest was in regards to the size of Allure and how she looked like she just *pooped* out the little carnival ship behind to us in port. (Of course the other word for poop was used). I was rolling at that one because we thought the same thing back when we took this picture in Port Everglades:

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    It has been a long running joke of our family about Allure and Oasis having “butts” (well, the design of the Aquatheater lends that impression, does it not? Yeah we aren’t above crude potty humor in our household. We have two tweens after all!) So hearing that little tidbit which took it to the next level was a special echelon of hilarity to us.

    This was just one example, though, of his act. Our mouths and face muscles ached from laughing after the show, and everybody in the club seemed to enjoy it as thoroughly as we did.

    To get a little taste of Phil’s comedy, check out this short you-tube video. Some of the material is the same as what we heard onboard!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjaSKZ6Y-tc

    Phil Tag did do a meet & greet outside the venue after the show and he also had a video for sale, but we were in a hurry to get the kids out of the club before 11:15 when we would be charged for another half-hour. (After 10 PM is $6/hour). So if you do enjoy the comedy show on your cruise, and you are interested, you may get an opportunity to meet the comedian, get an autograph on your Compass, or buy some of their material.

    So our opinion is absolutely do not miss the comedy show on your cruise! Though you will likely have different comedians (they change all the time), this is an example of the caliber of performer to expect. And just a note- the comedy shows on Allure are for adults only (18 and up). We found that the content was only mildly sexually tinged and while there was a lot of profanity it wasn’t really over the top. While obviously not appropriate for children, I do not believe most adults would be offended by the material contained in this show. Of course it is a comedy show. Come with thick skin, you may get heckled!

    Wish we had time to hang out in Blaze; I just love the name and design!!

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    Quest was also this evening, at 11:45. We were just way too exhausted to even consider it though. I don’t know how everybody does it, we were literally about to drop once we got back to the room. While I am bummed that we missed Quest –AGAIN- at least on our next RCCL cruise we still have something “new” to look forward to. C’mon Royal throw us a bone and move Quest to a Sea Day, would ya???? Please?

    Down in the Aquatheater, the beautiful Fountain Show was in full swing:

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    I wish we had time to gab a drink at the bar and sit and relax and watch it but in all honesty we both probably would have fallen asleep right there in the beach chairs!

    Back in our staterooms, we had a cute little frog and the kids had a stingray!

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    Up Next: Capt. Alan’s Wild Ride!
     
  11. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

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    Another great update! Sorry you haven't been feeling well...hope you are well on your way to feeling great now. Interested in hearing about the new camera!

    What a major disappointment as far as your dinner is concerned. I agree on those tables...too close for comfort (and how I felt eating in Le Cellier). At least dessert was good though, right? (A person can pretty much always count on chocolate!)

    Love those comic menus in the Comedy Club! Seems like you ended the evening on a good note!
     
  12. Jennifer48

    Jennifer48 Not a Disney bride but engaged and honeymooned at

    Joined:
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    I hope everyone in your house is feeling better!

    We felt the same way regarding the intimate tables in Jiko. DH & I barely talked because we didn't want to feel like we were disrupting anyone's meal like they were to us.

    What is with those grilled tomatoes everywhere?! :lmao:
     
  13. Disney Family Lee's

    Disney Family Lee's Mouseketeer

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    We have missed you!!
    Glad your back and we hope everyone is doing better!!
     
  14. jenseib

    jenseib Mommy to Claire

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    Great updates. I love comedy shows!
     
  15. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

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    I'm sure you will get to this in your TR...but what about tipping? On Disney you have the same serving team every night...but with all the choices it sounds like you wouldn't have the same serving team...so do you only tip the room steward? Just curious! Loving your report!
     
  16. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

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    :thumbsup2 Can't wait to do it again! Next time is a Western- to Cozumel, Jamaica, and Labadee (RCCL's private "island" on Haiti!).



    I know- and they used to back int he day (like 2006) My very (very) old Passporter had all of the Southern port info on it. BRING IT BACK DCL! ;)

    :rotfl: Ha ha! Now THAT would be interesting! :rotfl2:

    Oh my gosh I haven't even started my Fantasy Spreadheet yet....I know, I know:o I may just have to turn in my Dis card. LOL.

    In my defense though I've been waiting for the Fantasy to start sailing so I can get an idea of how things will shakedown onboard. Shows, Meets, Pirates, Rotations, all of that good stuff I have NO IDEA how it will go yet. And it is slowly killing me. :lmao:


    Never! (even though that particular cake was questionable. LOL. No she sure doesn't pack on the pounds. But I gained enough for both of us! :rolleyes:

    Yeah, yeah yeah I know. You can tell the story too ya know! :goodvibes:rotfl:

    I promise I won't abandon ship on you all! as soon as I think we're back on track around here something else comes up. BUT for now the seas are calm so ...:thumbsup2

    It really is so much fun!!! I admit i thinkt he donut pool might just be my favorite too! :lmao:

    Not 100% yet, but hanging in there. I go back to the Dr on March 7 and have to get a bunch of bloodwork and stuff done so hopefully I'll be back to my old self by then. I was just thinking today I haven't used a single day of vacation time since this cruise last Sept so I am starting to get really tired and burnt out at work. All the more reason to get lost in this TR, right? :)

    Oh yes, I wish we had realized it was going to be such an uncomfortable situation. I hated taking the pictures- but actually when the table to my left turned late in the meal, the lady who was seated there was taking pictures too and it was funny we had a short conversation about our food porn. I should have asked her if she was a Diser too! Haha!

    Oh yes, we did! It was a ton of fun!!



    Getting there, thanks!!

    Yes! Such a shame, since I think our meal- like yours- would have been so much better had the seats not been like that. We made sure to not be seated in the same type of situation the next night and it was so much better!!

    I know!!! Too funny!!!! :lmao:

    Thanks so much, everyone else is good, I'm slowly getting better. :goodvibes I'm going to try to keep this ball rolling!

    Thanks, me too, it was so much fun! It is the most popular show onboard Allure and I know why! ;)

    Excellent question! On Allure if you do traditional dining, you have the same servers each night, like on DCL. If you do MTD like we did, since you may not have the same servers, you are required to prepay tips prior to the cruise. The tip money is them distributed evenly to all of the MTD staff. In our experience on RCCL most of the time we had the same servers in MTD. You can certainly request to have the same serving team each night if you like. On this particular cruise we only had different servers one night and that was because we were late for our reservation but still in a hurry, so they seated us at the first open table, which happened to be in a different section. They are great about accommodating you. :thumbsup2

    Thanks so much for reading!! :goodvibes
     
  17. DisneyZell

    DisneyZell Likes Adventures on the High Seas

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    good to know. thanks for the info! :)
     
  18. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

    Joined:
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    Thursday September 22- Day 5- St. Maarten

    Can you believe it’s already

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    I can’t!

    We had already docked in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten when I awoke this morning. Initially skies were blue and it looked to be a gorgeous day in the islands:

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    There were a few dark rainclouds scattered here and there. Nothing too ominous. Here’s my breakfast on the balcony: a Pumpkin Spice Latte, yum yum!

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    Today we had booked a charter independently with Captain Alan (www.captainalan.com). We had read about the Three-island snorkeling tour on Cruise Critic on the St. Maarten port boards in 2009 and previously went on the same trip with him in 2010. Even though conditions weren’t great on that excursion, we had so much fun we decided we had to do it again. It is easy to book online through their website, and they even offer a clothes optional version of the trip for those of you who like to get a bit nekkid!

    We had to meet near the pier at 8:15 AM so we had to hurry up. As soon as we stepped off the ship, we could see it was raining in a nice even strip along the boat. It wasn’t raining anywhere else but where we needed to walk. In fact I don’t even think it was raining up by the bow. The stern was getting pretty soaked though. It’s a big ship, you know. LOL.
    The little shower didn’t hinder us at all. We were going to get wet anyway, right? (Oh boy, were we!)

    We stopped for a quick mandatory picture at the sign. I was thinking maybe we should do this on the way back but now I’m so glad we didn’t. As it turns out, we didn’t have a working camera on the way back!!

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    Looking back at the private for-Allure-only rain shower:

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    We arrived right on time, and it turns out most of our group had assembled and we headed for the taxi to take us to the marina. The taxi ride to Oyster Pond took about 20 minutes. Once we arrived at the dock, we took care of a little bit of paperwork, paid the remaining balance, and got fitted for our gear. It was so much easier to do this here than on the boat!

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    Meanwhile Captain Alan got the boat ready for us. We were on the Awesome last time, but we would be on the smaller (and more powerful) scarab “La Bonne Vie” this time around (translation: the good life). This boat looked great, as it had a lot of bow seating and we discovered on the last trip that that’s where all the fun is! We would not be disappointed! We had to wait a short while for one more group to join us, in all it was three groups of folks, our family, a group of three gals from California that were a whole lot of fun, and another friendly, older family group from Allure.

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    When it was time to board the kids scurried right up to the front of the bow seats. There was plenty of room for all five of us plus the three girls up front. It was to be quite a ride!

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    It turns out there was a storm a brewing in the Caribbean. It wasn’t a serious one but it would evolve into Tropical Storm Ophelia. The disturbance was causing choppy seas (Alan said 5-7 ft. swells) so it made for quite a bouncy ride around the island. The kids- LOVED IT! And so did everyone else!

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    Sarah called it a roller coaster boat ride, and she pretty much nailed it with that description. The most fun I’d pretty much had anywhere. It was thrilling!

    Here’s some video of Captain Alan’s Wild Ride!

    (Video- click picture below to play)

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    And what Sarah thought about it:

    (Video- click picture below to play)

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    The pictures really don’t do the waves justice, but I didn’t want to have my camera out during the really high waves since it isn’t a waterproof camera, and we were getting splashed pretty good up there. I kept it rolled up in my towel, in a death grip when we weren’t going slow enough to have it out.

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    We rode all the way around the north side of the island to Creole Rock, where there is a spectacular reef with amazing snorkeling!

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    Ready to go!!!

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    I took Sarah so Ron could go on the little tour with Alan. He showed everybody the great spots to snorkel at and the gorgeous sea life. Ron said it was right up there with the barrier reef at Cayman Islands as the best snorkeling he’d ever seen!

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  19. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

    Joined:
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    [​IMG]

    Meanwhile, the two other kids cruised around and I dealt with Sarah. She got in the water briefly but got cold (it was still overcast out and a bit windy) and wanted to get back in the boat. I was so thankful that one lady from the other family group had stayed on; I would not have been able to get Sarah back onboard without her help! She was so nice, but didn’t speak English much so we couldn’t have much of a conversation. I tried, LOL, but I only had 2 years of Spanish. Haha!

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    The island of Anguilla in the distance. Both Anguilla and St. Barths are close enough for a day trip.

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    Back on our side of the pond:

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    Before too long, everyone made their way back to the boat and we headed to the next stop, which is absolute favorite beach of all time, anywhere ever: Happy Bay Beach.

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    We had been here before on our last Capt Alan’s trip. It is just beautiful. It is secluded and rustic, and being on the French side, beachgoers tend to let it all hang out. We’d explained to the kids before about nude beaches and they thankfully acted mature and ignored the few nudists that were out this day. Generally our experience has been that when they see kids approach, the nude sunbathers will cover up or turn over. With the exception of one guy who was strutting his stuff, it was completely a non-event.

    Even on an overcast day, just beautiful!

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    On Happy Bay Beach is where the mud bath is held, a tradition with Capt. Alan’s trips- it started on the island of Tintamarre- which is now a protected nature preserve. The special mix of minerals is great to slather on your skin and hair and let dry it really does noticeably exfoliate a bit, leaving your skin smooth and silky. Legend is it will give you 10 extra years to live… not sure about that one but it’s worth the shot, right?

    Captain Alan shows us the mineral mud prior to mixing it and explains how to apply it:

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    Everyone had fun playing in the mud!

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    As if on cue, the sun came out just in time to dry us up like mummies!

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  20. nenner1

    nenner1 <font color=darkorchid>I must've been distracted b

    Joined:
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    3,564
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    After applying the mud, we all relaxed on the beach for awhile. Ron and Sarah built a nice sand castle, complete with windows, stairs, and a slide (as all good sand castles must have!).

    It’s just paradise!

    The sand castle video:

    (Click to play)


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    All too soon, it was time to rinse off the mud and make our way back on the boat. We still had one more snorkeling and one more island stop to go!
    Capt. Alan rigged up a little rope for the kids to grab, as the waves were so big they were having trouble holding on. This helped a lot!

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    I believe this is Grand Case:

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    Our next snorkeling spot was a little reef close to the main island. It’s hard to tell from the map, but I believe it may have been Anse Marcel. Ron let me go first this time since I got so little snorkeling time at Creole Rock. I thought it was just amazing! The reef is just gorgeous. Tropical fish everywhere corals, amazing colors. Fantastic. After a bit I went back so Ron could get in. He said this reef was not as amazing as Creole Rock, boy I sure thought it was pretty great though!!

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    Meanwhile, back on the boat this kids enjoyed their little snack: Be advised that his website states just that: “little” snack, and he isn’t kidding, it’s basically just a pack of crackers. We didn’t really care though! (There is also an open cooler filled with sodas, water and beer!)

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    Something’s burning up there….

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    We were shortly on our way to our third and final stop, Pinel Island. This used to be an old French penal colony. Really? Someone please tell me what I have to do to go be punished here!

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    The resort on the island was closed, due to it being off-season. Even though it was totally closed and abandoned, no doors or locks, just a sign that said “Respect My Place” Awesome.

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    Looking back towards Cul De-Sac/Orient Bay.

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    What a gorgeous place!!!

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    Of course Pinel Island was the calm before the storm, so to speak. As we headed back towards Oyster pond, the seas were rougher than before. More watercraft were out, causing us to encounter some large wakes. We were having a blast plowing into these HUGE waves, the airtime was amazing. What a thrill!!!

    But before long we hit a wave that took even Capt. Alan by surprise! We plowed right into a gigantic swell, and the wave crashed right over the bow, washing those of us sitting up there right off of our seats! It was like a real life tidal wave! It was super fun, until I realized I still had my camera in my lap, wrapped up in my now completely drenched RCCL towel! OMG!

    Oopsie. It was my own fault; he had warned us we should put anything that shouldn’t get wet underneath in the cabin. We weren’t the only ones to lose a camera, though, the group of ladies from Cali also had theirs with them, and it was soaked now too! Neither of our cameras would turn on now.
    The last picture taken with my Canon Powershot S3 IS, may it rest in pieces…

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    Since there wasn’t anything we could do about our cameras, it was back up into the bow to enjoy the rest of the exhilarating ride back! It was just so awesome I can’t put it into words! And we were laughing hysterically at the huge pool of water at the back of the boat that had been washed aboard with the wave. Swimming around in it was soda cans, snorkeling equipment, sunglasses, sunscreen containers and other debris. It was freakin’ hilarious!!! And of course Alan, who has a great sense of humor, was loving it as much as we were!

    We were so bummed to see this half day trip come to an end. Truly, the best excursion evaaah. Can’t recommend Capt. Alan’s enough. Try it, you won’t be sorry! (Waterproof cameras only. Seriously.)

    So after bring dropped back at the Marina, we all piled back in the van to head back to the port area. The three girls got their camera to turn back on but ours was pretty unresponsive. I guess we would be going camera shopping once we got back into town.

    One thing that sucked was all of our towels got drenched so we were carrying a 40 pound bag of wet towels around, hindering our shopping. Plus we were dropped in the area right by the port- not the main shopping area of Phillipsburg. If we wanted to go into “town” so to speak we’d all have to ride the water taxi, and lugging six wet…dripping, completely soaked towels would not be fun. So we stuck to the little shopping area right where we were- it had one…one electronics and camera store.

    We didn’t have a lot of cash, and although we had a backup credit card, of course, we didn’t want to use it unless absolutely necessary. I am the type that likes to do a lot of research before buying anything electronic and especially cameras, so I felt uncomfortable having to shop uninformed. Even though I was wanting to buy a DSLR anyway we didn’t even entertain the thought of such a large purchase at this time. Instead we just wanted to grab a cheap point & shoot to get us through the rest of the cruise. Of course when I asked the price of one Canon model I was looking at, it was nearly $300- for a P&S!! Ack! I told the guy I was hoping for something under $100. He looked at me like I was crazy. LOL.

    So Ron and I began discussing if we should just pick up a camera onboard the ship, and lo and behold the salesman told me they did have one $99 deal- for a Nikon Coolpix S3100, with a case and a 2 GB memory card. Sold.

    I was afraid we’d just been had really bad and imagined that we’d just bought a $39 camera for $100 but when we checked the prices back home -although it is an older model- the prices were actually comparable. So…we kind of really did get a deal. And it turns out the cameras in the shop onboard were all over $250, so we were really happy about our purchase in the end.

    Back onboard, we headed to Park Café for some lunch. All I had was my flip video cam since the new camera had to charge. So here’s our lunch!!!
    (Video- click picture below to play)

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    Up Next: Giovanni And His Table
     
  21. iloverags2

    iloverags2 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2002
    Messages:
    2,361
    Wow! Captain Alan's sounds incredible! I will definitely look this one up when we go on an Eastern cruise.

    So sorry about your camera...thank goodness you were able to get a good deal before heading back onboard.
     

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