1/26 TR Single Mom Debbie-Part 4


Earning My Ears
Feb 15, 2002
Tuesday was our day on St. Maarten. I had booked the Pinel Island Snorkel Tour with the shore excursions. BTW, I had booked both of my excursions before getting on the ship. I thought this was a great idea and I liked the fact that I could book them before our vacation and not worry about waiting in lines on the ship and wondering if I would get the excursions that I wanted to. That morning when we went to the bar where the excursion met, I found out that apparently since there had been a lot of windy days, the visibility on Pinel Island was poor (at best). They offered for us 3 options: to decline to take the tour and get our money back, to take a different excursion or to take the tour and get $5 off the cost. I chose the last option. The only other excursion that was available was the Shipwreck tour, but you had to be a strong swimmer to go on this tour. I knew my daughter would not be able to handle this. I figured if anything it would introduce her to having the mask on and getting used to putting her face in the water and breathing. Plus, they told us that Pinel Island has a nice beach. I thought this was a fair enough deal, so we went.

One thing that I was annoyed at (I’m not sure if I was annoyed at myself or the excursion ppl) was that I forgot to bring towels! They were right in the room that we met in, I saw them, but somehow I forgot all about it. Probably because I realized that I had left my picture ID in the cabin. So I ran back to the cabin and got my picture ID. When we got off the ship, Mother Nature decided to grant us with a lovely downpour. This was *very* uncomfortable because #1 we didn’t have any towels to dry off with and #2 the bus we got on was air conditioned and we all froze! (until someone knew how to turn off the AC, since the bus driver wasn’t on the bus) The bus trip out to the French side of St. Martin was really fun. The lady who was our tour guide was really funny. My daughter still remembers the little “tale” that she told us. She said that there used to be tons of snakes on St. Martin. So what did they bring in to get rid of the snakes? Mongoose. Now there are *tons* of mongoose on the island. So what did they bring on the island to get rid of the mongoose? Fast food restaurants! She said “have you ever heard of Kentucky Fried Mongoose”? My daughter laughed, but I think she didn’t know whether to believe her or not!

When we took the little boat over to Pinel Island the snorkel guides told us that visibility was less than 5% and that snorkeling was useless. He did take some people on a little hike to the other side of the island. We didn’t go since my daughter wanted to play in the water. I enjoyed myself in the water with her for a bit and then she met a little friend named Spencer that she played with. I was laying on the beach chairs (which I didn’t pay the requested $2 each for, since I had only a $50 travelers check on me – I thought the beach chairs were included on this excursion but they weren’t). Anyway the guy didn’t want to cash a $50 travelers check, so he kind of just left me alone after that. Anyway…I was laying on the beach chairs and I asked the man next to me what time we had to go back. He said “in 5 minutes”. I said NO WAY! I couldn’t believe that 2 hours had gone by like that! I wished that we had a longer stay on the island.

Once we got back to the ship, we unloaded our stuff and ate some lunch at the buffet. I loved being able to get right back on the ship after the excursion. Especially to eat lunch since I didn’t want to be spending tons of extra money on food when it was available to us for free (okay well not exactly for free). After we ate lunch, we took the water taxi $3 – I think - for adults, and kids free) over to the shopping/beach area. We went to the beach and played in the water for another 1 ½ to 2 hours. We walked around a little bit and did some shopping. I got a bottle of Cruzan coconut rum for $5.95. If I would have known this was the cheapest I was going to see this stuff, I would have bought a couple more bottles. On St. Thomas, the coconut rum was $8.95. We went back to the ship to take showers and get ready for dinner. I had planned that after dinner we would go back to the island and shop a bit more. That was until I found out that the shops closed at 6pm. I was surprised since we were in port until 11pm. If we are in port until 11pm, why do the shops close at 6pm? And looking at it another way…if the shops close at 6pm, then why are we in port until 11pm? I was disappointed but could only blame myself for not doing my homework. Although we did go to the Del Sol store and buy a color changing t-shirt. This is the *coolest* thing I’ve ever seen! These t-shirts (or rings or nail polish or hats) turn to color when exposed to the sun. Not just artificial light, but it has to be the sun. It’s the wildest thing!

Since we didn’t want to head back to the island, we decided to hit the evening show which was a presentation of Snow Dogs. We had heard that they had projector problems at the 6pm showing of the movie. After sitting there for 5 minutes and realizing that the projector still wasn’t fixed, we got up and left (the movie was on, but the sound was all distorted). It’s too bad too, because it looked like a funny movie. We said we would see it in the Buena Vista Theater sometime later that week (but never found the time…). I believe this is the evening that we wandered upon the pin trading and well…you heard that story!

I think this was another night that we went to the upper deck and hit the pool/hot tub that night. They also had a 24 hour coffee/tea/hot chocolate/milk bar on the pool deck. That was really cute. I loved that idea!

Wednesday was our day on St. Thomas. We did the Dubloon Sailboat and Snorkel tour. This was one of (if not the) best excursions I’ve ever taken. It was just a really fun time. When we walked to the sailboat, my first impression was “that’s the Dubloon”??? But as we started sailing, it just got funner and funner (grammer?). My daughter and I stood at the front of the sailboat and we were basically on a roller coaster going up and down, up and down. They were very free with the drinks of soda and non-alcoholic drinks. Once we got out to Turtle Cove at Buck Island, they gave us a little snorkel demonstration. Mother Nature decided to give us another one of her treats and get us all soaking wet before we went in the water. Then we all got in the water and one of the guys gave us a little tour around the whole cove. I didn’t get to see any turtles (although there are 5 that live there). My daughter saw one, I have no idea where I was looking. I did see some really nice fish. It was a nice place to snorkel. I think the whole snorkeling thing was just a little too much for her. She stayed in the water for about ½ hour and then she wanted to get back on the boat. I brought her back to the boat where Captain Jim was and he brought her up and said she’ll be fine and basically waved me away to go off and snorkel and have fun (which I did).

When we got back on the sailboat again, they raised the sails and we sailed back to the dock. During that time the crew talked to us and told us jokes. They gave us drinks (this time alcoholic if you wanted) and snacks (chips and dip). A lot of us got tattoes of their ships flag, which was basically a screaming sort of skeleton head. There are two funny stories that go with this. That day at 4pm I had scheduled myself for a massage at the spa. I’ve never had a massage in my life and I figured that I would try it out. Anyway after the lady came back into the room and she removed ½ of the towel, she looked at my arm and said “wow! That must have hurt!”. I was confused, but then realized she was looking at the Dubloon tattoo! I laughed and said oh no, that’s fake, I got it today on the sailboat!

Then that evening at dinner the captain came to our table. I was actually quite surprised (and impressed) that he was walking around the dining room and came to everyone’s table to say hello and ask how we were enjoying the ship. He asked us for comments both good and bad. Anyway, when he first came to the table, he said hello to all of us. He looked at me and then did a quick double take to my arm (where the Dubloon’s tattoo was on my arm). I laughed and said, don’t worry it isn’t real, I got it on the sailboat today and I’ll make sure I take it off before I leave the ship! He laughed but said no, no, leave it on, it’s okay with me!

That evening we missed the show “Who wants to be a Mouseketeer”. I’m not sure if we were tired and we went back to the cabin early (I think dinner took longer than usual that evening) or if we went up to the pool.
So you didn't get to even snorkel the first time, after paying for the exursion? I guess I won't pre-pay for this.
Hi Daltondodisney,
No. They told us on the ship that the visibility was less than 30%. In actuality when we got there, the visibility was like 0%. But we *knew* this going into it. They gave us the opportunity to not take the trip and get our money back.

Altho the question I did have was... if they had several very windy days, wouldn't the visability on Pinel Island have been that way for the past several days? I think they should have given us notice 1-2 days before so we could have thought about what we wanted to do instead of telling us that very morning when we showed up in the bar to go to the excursion.

That, I think, was not handled very well. But like I said, we had a great time on Pinel Island. In fact I would have loved to had another 1-2 hours. So I'm not really going to complain.



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