Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 5-6: St. Thomas & St. Maarten

I was really looking forward to stopping in St. Thomas and St. Maarten for several reasons.  Our day in St. Thomas was going to be my 30th birthday and we were going to go back to the beach and hotel resort that Todd & I had travelled to back in the summer of 2009 for a friend's wedding.  I was excited for St. Maarten because I'd never been there and knew the beaches were going to be gorgeous!
Day 5 in St. Thomas (Wednesday, May 15)
Luckily, our day in St. Thomas didn't start too early since we weren't even docking there until 10:30 AM.  We were able to sleep in (until 7:45 AM ha!) and then Todd & I ran 3 mi on the jogging track that went around deck 5.  It was a great change of pace from the treadmill but was extremely humid. 

After showering & eating breakfast at the Park Cafe, we were able to get off the ship and enjoy St. Thomas.  Besides some days on the pool deck, this was the only other time it seemed like there were a lot of other people on our cruise.  We actually had to wait in line for about 15 min to get off the ship and then after that, it was pure chaos to get a taxi.  They had open air taxis with 4 or 5 rows of benches that could seat around 20 people.  Well, of course, the beach we wanted to go to isn't very well known so it took us awhile to find some other people who were planning on going to the same area so we could get a taxi.  It was actually quite entertaining to sit back and watch people fight to get onto the taxis.  Everyone was either going shopping downtown or to Magen's Bay, the most famous beach in St. Thomas. We were going to Frenchman's Reef Marriott Resort which sits on Morningstar Beach. 

Breakfast consisting of a bagel, chocolate milk, and fresh pineapple (they had the best pineapple on the ship!)
Morningstar Beach was beautiful and not very crowded

Todd reading his book under an umbrella....for the record, he actually just finished the book yesterday which is a new record for him, it only took him 10 days to read it whereas the book he finished reading on our honeymoon took him almost 4 years (I'm not joking either)

This picture almost looks fake like I'm standing in front of a backdrop

We ate a late lunch right on the beach at Coco Joe's, the building behind the umbrellas & lounge chairs

All smiles on a great day

It got a little cloudy after lunch so we walked over to the Marriott to get a virgin Miami Vice....seriously, the best ones are made here

Shortly after, we took a taxi back to the ship.  Since it was pretty cloudy still, we went back to our secret balcony to check emails since I had service on my iPad and Todd had service on his phone that day.  It was incredibly slow though and I got frustrated after about 30 minutes.

We had special dinner reservations that night for my birthday at Chops Grille for 7:30 PM.  It is one of the nicer restaurants on board that is an extra cost to eat at.  It was $30/person but again, like most restaurants on board, it's all you can eat which is a really good price for a nice steakhouse.

The outside of Chops Grille in Central Park

We started with appetizers and then each had a filet mignon and shared sides of asparagus, mashed potatoes, and onion rings....I even ordered a bottle of non-alcoholic wine that I was able to enjoy the remaining nights of our cruise

The desserts were phenomenal....we shared red velvet cake and Mississippi mud pie

We had reservations to see the Headliner show that evening at 10:30 PM, which was the music group, Mo5iac.  We ended up skipping the show and headed to the Rising Tide bar instead.  It was a bar in the Royal Promenade that would actually move up to a different floor every 15 minutes or so. 

Rising Tide Bar below in the middle of moving floors

Todd & I

Day 6 in St. Maarten (Thursday, May 16)
  • Ran 3 mi
  • Breakfast at Windjammer
  • Water taxi to Great Bay Beach--laid out, went in ocean
  • Boarded ship mid-afternoon and had lunch at Wipeout Cafe
  • Laid out at the pool and watched us sail away
  • Dinner in dining room
  • Went to Cupcake Cupboard for cupcakes and then the Bow & Stern Pub for drinks
Like most mornings on the cruise, it started with a run on the treadmill.  We ate at the breakfast buffet in the Windjammer before getting off the ship in Philipsburg, St. Maarten.  We had plans to take a taxi to a beach that was about 25-30 min away but we changed our plans when we got off the ship and saw a beach right across the bay.  There was a water taxi that would take you across and you'd be there in 5 min.  It was much cheaper and a lot closer!

View of the beach and shopping area from the dock of the cruise port

A good view of the back of the ship with the Aqua Theater and climbing walls

Starting off our day in St. Maarten

Part of the beach and ocean where the water taxi dropped us off 

Another view

Our cruise ship in the background

We spent several hours on the beach and hanging out in the ocean.  We were able to get what we thought was a great deal too--$20 for a 2 lounge chairs, an umbrella, and six drinks!  The local guy dealing with us was going to give us the 2 lounge chairs and umbrella for $15 so when we threw in 6 drinks for an extra $5, we were sold.  Todd was able to get 4 beers and I got 2 cans of Diet Coke.  One I drank that day and the other one I took back on the ship since the pop on board was a lot more expensive.

After boarding the ship, we ate yet another late lunch at Wipeout Cafe and hung out by the pool to watch the ship sail away for our trip back to Fort Lauderdale.  We had dinner in the dining room and finally had a great sunset!  It seemed like most evenings, it would be too cloudy but that evening it was perfect.  We even went up to the top deck of the ship after dinner to catch a better glimpse.

Beautiful evening

Again, we didn't have a show to attend that night so we stopped by the Cupcake Cupboard where I got a vanilla cupcake with chocolate icing and we went to the Bow & Stern Pub so Todd could get a few beers.  All in all, it was a relaxing evening
The Cupcake Cupboard on the Royal Promenade

Variety of cupcakes

Outside of the Stern & Bow Pub in the Royal Promenade
Enjoying a beer or two before calling it a night

Last recap of our trip will be of our last two full days at sea and our trip home...

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