Our "crew" consisted of myself (39), DH 47, DS 11 and DD 9 Monday was our Character Breakfast in Parrot Cay. What fun it was! Monday also turned out to be the day we had our Champagne Brunch. We didnt want to have it the first day on the ship and didnt want to have it on Thursday due to the seafood brunch served at Topsiders, so that left Monday. Because of that, DH and myself did not eat much at all at the Character Breakfast, but the kids did and they enjoyed it. At 11 am, we sent the kids to the Lab and we went for Brunch. Do Not Miss Brunch!! Whatever you do, do not miss brunch!! First of all, Palos is beautiful and we had a gorgeous panoramic view of the ocean. I am sure it is beautiful to have dinner there at sunset alsur server was Erika from South Africa. She first personally escorted us through the buffet line and explained what each item was and what she thought of them. After we stuffed ourselves with shrimp, crab legs and all sorts of other wonderful things, you then order a "hot entree" gee, and where am I going to put this????? I was so stuffed, but managed to put down a wonderful beef tenderloin. Now I am not a big beef eater, so when I tell you that you could cut this with your fork, and it was wonderful, it really was!! Both Hubby and I both ordered it and then Erika brought us another entree, the Tilapia, which she said "we must try". Well, we couldnt be rude, right? So we both enjoyed the fish also! All this while, we gazed out the window onto a sapphire blue ocean.What more do we need??? We did ask for more champagne and were charged another $10 for both glasses though. The service was outstanding and we tipped her accordingly. Do not miss this .as my hubby said "all the different tastes set your tastebuds going crazy"! After brunch all I wanted to do was lay on a lounge chair and relax. (and digest!) St. Martin Awoke at our first port, St. Martin. We had already decided that we were not doing an excursion, we would take the kids and walk around downtown and then come back to the ship and enjoy some empty pools. Well, let me tell you, I doubt I will ever go to St. Martin again. Now I know there are some of you who might have liked it and I am sure there are some gorgeous beaches you can go to but my opinion of the downtown was not much. As soon as we got there, we were almost "attacked" by everyone trying to get us to buy this, buy that. I did not enjoy it. My DD wanted her hair braided, so some lady approached us and asked us and I asked her how much. She said $1/braid, which sounded good to me, so I said, ok, can you do it here? Meaning on the street she said sure and pretended to go to a building and then slipped down an alleyway and said "come down here". I said I would rather do it out here. Then her "boss" starts to yell at her saying she cannot do it on the street, she must move down between the buildings. She starts to have my daughter sit on a cement step and my hubby comes and says no more. We are leaving. He does not feel good about this situation, so we pay her $1 for the one braid she put in and leave. This somewhat scared my daughter and at this point we all decided to go back to the ship which we did. We had a wonderful lunch at Topsiders and then enjoyed an afternoon of empty pools. If we do this cruise again, I will just stay on the ship that day. I am sure others have some better reports from their excursions they took. St. Martin is beautiful, but I will pass. That night was also the Tropical Party which was a blast! Unfortunately, my DS decided he couldnt stay awake and went to the room and fell asleep by 10 pm. I would say the one thing that was difficult for us during this cruise was keeping my kids up late. During the school year, my kids go to sleep at 9 pm, so staying up every night till 11 pm on the cruise caught up with them and one night we just all went to bed at 9:30 to "catch up"..when we go again, I will start them staying up late the week before to get them "primed"!! St. Thomas is another story. Love that place! We already decided we would go to a beach on our own and swim for a few hours, but couldnt decide which one. We asked our server Jelidi (ooo-laa-laa!) and he highly recommended Coki Beach. So we decided we would go there. First though, it was time for some real hair braiding for my daughter. There are regular stands with tents there on the main street. This made us feel much better and we found a women who charged $2/braid. My DD wanted all the front braided back to a headband style with beads along her hair. It looked adorable, but BEWARE and forewarn your kids .this stuff hurts!! I asked my DD while it was being done if she was ok, and she shook her head yes. My motherly instincts told me otherwise and when she finished 40 minutes later and we were walking for a cab for the beach, my daughters eyes welled up and she said her head really hurt. I felt bad and she said she wanted them out! I asked her if she could wait till we got to the beach and she said " I hate to waste your money, mom",. I felt awful and said if it was that painful, I would remove them ($40 worth of braids). By the time we got to Coki beach and she got in the water, they must have loosened up and she was much better. The braids are still in and she loves them! Just be aware that they are tight and they can be uncomfortable. Coki beach was wonderful. We were greeted by "Bones" who took care of us. The water is wonderful and the kids rented snorkel gear ($10) and I got a raft ($5). 2 chairs and an umbrella were $20. There is a bathroom and food there. It is beautiful and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful beach with great fish for the kids to see. It was smaller than I expected, but not crowded at all. There were other tourists there though, so we didnt feel acqward. After 3 hours of soaking in sun and water, we went back to the ship. We got a deal on a taxi which was $14 per person round trip. A taxi from the boat to downtown St. Thomas will cost you $3.50 each and from there it is $7/$8 per person each way depending on where you go. We loved St. Thomas and told Jelidi how pleased we were with his suggestion that night at dinner!! More to come!