WHO: Me (41) DH (40) DS13 (13) DS10 (10) WHAT: 7 day cruise on the Disney Magic WHEN: August 11 - August 18, 2001 WEDNESDAY - August 15 We all got up early (7:00) and went to Topsiders for a big breakfast. We had already docked in St. Thomas. Again, we backed in. TIP:If you are booking a cabin with a veranda, then the starboard side is the side you want to be on. The view is so pretty on that side - beautiful coastline and all the little sailboats anchored in the harbor. Port side gives you a great view of the port, which isn't so great. (On both St. Maarten and Castaway Cay, we backed in and the view from the starboard side was wonderful.) DS10 said this island looks nicer than St. Maarten. I have to agree. DH and I have been to St. Thomas once before, on our RCCL cruise. Now I was looking forward to our trip to St. John since I have never been to this island. DS13 couldn't wait to snorkel. DH's father bought the kids snorkeling equipment a year or so ago, but they've never used it except in a pool, so this was going to be their first real snorkeling experience. I've snorkeled once before, on RCCL's private island, and I was in awe of all the brightly colored fish and coral there was to see. I've read about how wonderful the snorkeling was at Trunk Bay, so I think I was equally excited. During breakfast we saw a father put a tray of food down on a table on deck, then go back inside with his young son (to get more?). While he was away, seagulls kept swooping down, trying to steal food of the table. They were very brazen. One tried to land on the glass of OJ and ended up knocking it over. One came over and stole a strip of bacon, then toast. The man came back and DH told him not to eat his food because the seagulls got into it, so he had to go back and get more. We were able to leave the ship at 8:00. After disembarking, we arranged to have a taxi take us to Red Hook for the ferry to St. John. The taxi was actually a passenger van and was air conditioned. The only bad thing was we had to wait until it was full before we could leave. We only had to wait 10 or 15 minutes, and the driver, whose name was Clifford, assured us we'd make it in plenty of time for the 9:00 ferry (or the fare would be free). I was hoping to catch the 8:30 ferry, but it wasn't that big a deal. It was a 17 minute ride to Red Hook, and the fare was $8 per person ($32 for the four of us.) We took the 9:00 ferry to Cruz Bay. The fare was $3/adult and $1 for DS10, or $10 for the four of us. We sat inside the boat (there are also seats above, on deck) because it was air conditioned. Once we got away from the shore, the ride was quite choppy. I wondered if DS13 and/or DH were getting seasick, since they tend to get motion sickness, but both were fine. The ride to Cruz Bay was 15 minutes. Next we got a taxi, which was one of those open-air vehicles that resemble a pick-up truck with two rows of seats along the sides and a tarp roof, to take us to Trunk Bay. Again we had to wait until it was full, but it filled very quickly so we were off in no time. The 15 minute ride to Trunk Bay is very hilly and twisty, and they drive on the "wrong" side of the road in St. John, so it was a bit unnerving and not for the faint of heart (or stomach). Once we arrived DH told me he didn't feel very good. I assumed it was from the ferry ride, but he said no, it was from the taxi ride. This taxi cost us $4 per person, or $16 for the four of us. We arrived at Trunk Bay at 10:00. There is a $4 admission for anyone over 16, so it was $8 for the two of us. We chose a shady spot on the beach that wasn't far from the main walkway. DH went to rent snorkel equipment for me while I set up "camp" on the beach. He also came back with two chairs ($3 each), in addition to the snorkel equipment ($5). The kids were anxious to snorkel, so the three of us headed to the snorkel trail, which was marked in the water by three large buoys, after first covering ourselves with sun block. There were quite a few people, which I later learned were part of an excursion. You can spot them by their brightly colored green life vests. I wish we could have gotten a life vest, especially DS10, since he's not the strongest swimmer. Also, DS10 did not bring his flippers because he already outgrew them. This ended up having a major impact on his snorkeling experience. We got in the water, and it felt awkward for me with my flippers on. I also had to be very careful because I wear contacts, so I had to make sure I did not get sea water in my eyes. For the most part, it wasn't a problem. DS13 snorkeled like a pro, and he was off and running (or should I say swimming?), but DS10 and I kept getting sea water in our mouths. DS10 kept putting his face/head too far underwater. I don't know what my problem was. DS10 really needed a vest and/or flippers. Even I would have had an easier time of it if I had a vest. The water was a bit deep (over our heads) and everytime I got water in my tube, I had to stop, blow it out, then take my mask off, all while trying to tread water in an upright position with flippers on my feet. It was a bit difficult. DS10 got frustrated pretty quickly sand said he was going back to the beach. Without him to worry about, I had an easier time, so DS13 and I went on the trail. I had my underwater disposable camera with me, but I didn't have much opportunity to use it. We saw plenty of fish, but none were brightly colored. Everything looked gray and drab. Gray fish, white fish, grey and black fish. white and gray fish, ... you get the picture. Where was the bright coral? I kept having trouble with my mask - it probably didn't fit properly, so I had to keep taking it off and putting it back on and yes, I ended up getting sea water in my eyes a couple of times, and it stung. After swimming to each of the buoys, I decided to call it quits. All in all it was a disappointing experience. DS13 was quite thrilled with his first snorkeling experience, but he didn't have anything to compare it to. We went back to our spot on the beach where DS10 was sitting with DH pouting about his experience and was ready to go back to the ship as soon as DS13 and I got back. I told him to play on the beach or in the water for a while, and he did so reluctantly. However, he and DS13 had a grand time the entire 3+ hours we were there. I noticed the excursion people left between 11 and 11:30. They sure didn't have much time there. I went swimming in water for a while, too, and I took several pictures. The beach is indescribably beautiful, with lots of lush vegetation on the edge of the beach. The sand is nice and powdery, but it had lots of sticks, leaves, etc. in it near the edge where the trees were. And the water...so many gorgeous shades of blue. It was warm, too (not like New England ocean water!) I realized I forgot to put sunblock on my back, so I joined DH back on the beach and he applied some. I also forgot my face, but I didn't realize it until it was too late. DH sat in the shade and read his book and I sat or layed and did nothing. We had a sunny day with big puffy whilte clouds all around. Picture perfect! A nice breeze blew every once in a while. We ate the chocolate chip cookies I had sneaked off the ship, and drank the sodas I brought in my soft side cooler. There was a snack bar not too far from us on the beach, but we never needed anything from there. At 1:00 we decided we should clean up, pack up and head back. DH returned the rentals, then the guys showered off. I packed up our stuff. We had 3 hours in paradise, but now I wanted to make that 2:00 ferry. Leaving the beach, we ended up with the same taxi driver we had on the ride over. He insisted we wait so he could round up more passengers. I was annoyed because I was hot, we sat there for 1/2 hour, and I was convinced we would miss the ferry. DH got out and located the driver, who assured us he was just waiting for another group who also wanted to make the 2:00 ferry, but they were being slow. I started a slow fume, and then decided to ask the driver of the taxi adjacent to us if he'd take us. Just as I got out of the taxi we were in to ask the other driver, our driver came back (without the other group) and we left. We had another hair raising ride back to Cruz Bay. I kind of liked it - it was like riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at WDW, only longer. Along the way, it rained rather heavily for about 30 seconds, and then the sun came back out. Again the ride was $16 for the four of us. We made it to the ferry to catch the 2:00 ride with a few minutes to spare. For some reason, this taxi ride only took 10 minutes. On the ferry, my sons pointed out that my face was really red. This is when I realized I forgot to put sunblock on my face. I also had red patches on parts of my arms, where I obviously didn't apply the sunblock evenly. DH also had some patches of sunburn. So take note, you can get sunburned even if you are sitting in the shade and wearing sunblock. Back at Red Hook we got another taxi van with just one other passenger (probably a friend of the driver who wanted to be dropped off somewhere.) Traffic was heavy as we neared the ship, and it took over 1/2 hr. to get back. Our driver told us a little while ago someone was making a deposit at a bank that was nearby, and he was shot and killed. He assumed the heavy traffic had something to do with that. We did see a couple of vehicles with flashing blue lights cut through the traffic. Again the ride was $32 for the four of us. We tipped this driver because he chatted with us and was nice. We were back on board by 3:00ish. We dumped our beach bags in our cabin and went to Pinoccio's for some pizza because we hadn't had any lunch. The kids wanted to swim in the Mickey pool. My next task was to buy stamps and mail the post cards DS10 and I wrote out last night. I went back to the room to get my wallet and headed to Guest Services on deck 3 when I realized I locked my KTTW key in the room. Argh! So I bought the stamps (they require cash) and went back up to the pools and found DH. He let me back into our cabin so I could retrieve my KTTW card, and I left the ship again. I had spied a mailbox in the Havensight shopping complex so I headed there and mailed our cards. There was also a post office nearby, so I could have gone that route. On the way back to the shop, I browsed in several shops in search of starfish for my sister, and a cheap watch for DS10. DH radioed me to let me know he'd be in the Oceaner's Lab. I actually found starfish in the last shop I was going to stop in, so I purchased two, but no watch. I was back on board at 4:00. I couldn't wait to take a shower and get cleaned up. I noticed my collar bone area was a sunburned even though I applied a LOT of waterproof sunblock SPF 45 here. I guess it managed to wash off. I'm glad I brought Banana Boat Aloe lotion, although I'm not sure it helped much. I never ended up peeling, so I guess it useful after all. DS13 and I went up on deck 10 to view the sail away from St. Thomas, and DS10 later joined us. Then we returned to our cabin to get ready for dinner. DH came back from his run and took a shower before dinner. Tonight we ate at Animator's Palate and they performed "the show". It was interesting, but not what I expected. I didn't know why the waiters paraded around the room after they changed to their colored vests, or why everyone was applauding. What did they do? Was everyone clapping just because they changed their vests? Or because they appreciated "the show"? The dining room was freezing again. I ordered the fuit cup off the kids menu for my appetizer (this was really good!). I also got the roasted chicken breast (pretty good, but I wish they'd bone their chicken first), and double fudge chocolate cake (OK, but a bit dry). DH had smoked salmon, the roasted chicken, and strawberry short cake. Our waiters talked our kids into getting smoothies. They thought they were just 'ok' and never ordered them again. We had to hang around after dinner and wait for the completion of the show - I just wanted to get out of there and get warm! The kids raced back to the room to find out what our towel animal would be tonight. We couldn't tell what it was - it looked like a double-rolled towel in an upside-down U, and next to it was a towel in the shape of a leaf. DS13 was certain we got a towel leaf, but I was equally certain that's not it was supposed to be. I yelled at them for wrecking it when they raced into the room. I decided I would leave a note tomorrow for our room host and ask him what it was supposed to be. We went to Who Wants To Be A Mouskateer? after dinner, hoping to win a cruise. We sat in seats J 29-32. The first contestant was a lady who made it to $750 and risked it for the cruise, but was wrong, leaving her with $250. The next four players were in rows U and after, and also in seats 30+ (all in the upper corner of the theater). A 9 year old girl won $25, a 14 year old boy won $250, a guy won $250, and the final contestant, who was in row Z and couldn't come to the stage because he was wheel-chair bound, won a cruise! What a great ending to this show! DS13, DH and I went to some sort of spy party for kids in Studio Sea, while DS10 went back to the cabin to take a shower. This event was for little kids, so we left. We watched the picture-taking in the lobby for a while. One photographer had Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy together. The other had Pluto, by himself, being real cute with all the little kids. My kids are too old for that stuff, but it's fun to watch. I almost wish my kids were still young enough to do that stuff. But then again, I'd probably be spending half my cruise waiting in lines to have their pictures taken, or waiting for autographs. Later, DH and I went to Match Your Mate in Rockin Bar D, a Newleywed type of game. Couple #1 was newly wed, #2 for 13 years, and #3 for 45 years. #3 were the parents of the wife in couple #2. It was really funny. When they asked the guys "What's your favorite condiment", #1 said "I was told to say 'Trojan', but that's in bad taste." So your suspicions were correct - that question/answer was staged. Couple #2 won - they got a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket. We came back and went to bed after that.