Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Long-Awaited Vacation, Part Seven

View from Breakfast Someone once wrote "Ever notice that ‘What the hell’ is always the right decision?" and I guess that maybe to a certain extent he's right but in this post, I'm going to refute that particular axiom as I made that very decision in Saint Thomas and I really think it was perhaps the wrong answer in this case!

Wednesday, March 2nd, would eventually find us in Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands but not until a little later in the day which gave Barb and I the opportunity to try breakfast in the Golden Dining Room which did Open Seating for both breakfast and lunch. Turned out that this was the best way to have breakfast on the ship as it gave you a chance to not only have a nice relaxing breakfast that you didn't have to stand in line for but it also gave us the chance to meet some of our shipmates. Now, I know you're going to be thinking that I spent my whole cruise avoiding people due to what I've said so far but that's not necessarily true - I liked meeting them in small groups just not all at once!

Breakfast on March 2nd

In the picture above the gentleman on the left was from  Ohio and he was there with his wife whose elbow you can almost see!  The lady sitting next to him was from Canada, her husband had been sitting across from her but he'd obviously disappeared when I took this.  Both couples were very nice and I thoroughly enjoyed having breakfast with them.

Barb listening closely

As you can see, Barb found something of interest to listen to in the conversation as the couple from Ohio owned a flower shop and I believe they were exchanging business owner stories!  And aren't you pleased that I brought my camera along and even remembered to use it for a change?!?  Woohoo! The day was off to a fine start.

Approaching Saint Thomas

Following our delightful meal with delightful company, Barb and I made our way out to my favorite spot on Deck 3 Starboard so that I could take some pictures as we approached Saint Thomas.  Have I mentioned how much I liked that spot?? 

Pulling into Saint Thomas

View to the TramwayRumor had it that Saint Thomas was one of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean and we were both ready to get off the ship and take some nice pictures. We had even formed a plan which was to take the tramway up to a vista point where there was a restaurant where we could have a tropical drink whilst enjoying the view, take pictures there, and then make our way back down and explore some more of the island.

First though I needed to make sure I sent some postcards so after getting off the ship we popped into a nearby shop and then the Post Office which were conveniently located next to each other!  Saint Thomas being a U.S. Territory it didn't cost me anywhere near the amount of money to mail postcards there that it did in Nassau - plus we had the added benefit of 3G service on our AT&T cell phones.  It was nice to be back in touch with the people back home who - believe it or not - I quite missed.

So ... anyway ... while I finished up in the Post Office, Barb stepped outside where it had just finished sprinkling a little bit and when I came out she was talking to a gentleman who was trying to talk Barb into coming along on his tour truck to see the island that way instead of going up on the tram.  He said that if we took the tram, we'd only see one view but if we went with him he could give us numerous views of different parts of the island.  Barb told the driver that we weren't interested in shopping or anything like that but that we both wanted to take pictures and he assured us that we would be able to get great pictures if we took his tour.  Barb asked me what I thought about the idea and that's when I uttered that later-to-be-regretted phrase, "What the hell"  and threw a "Why not?" behind it.

After climbing into his tour truck, which was essentially a double cab pick-up truck with seats in the back and a covered roof, we waited for some other folks from Argentina to join us along with another couple of ladies who I think got off the Glory also.  The driver climbed in and off we went but not very far.  We came to a stop at a small plaza/shopping area still within site of the ship and the driver left us there saying that he'd be back in about an hour so that we'd have time do some shopping at the outdoor market.

Outdoor Market

Excuse me?  Shopping?  Hello?  Did we not make it clear that neither one of us were interested in shopping? What the hell? The driver told us he'd meet us back in the dusty park near a particular group of benches and off he went while I decided to take pictures of what is probably one of the U.S. Coast Guard's most coveted assignments ...

A Great Assignment If You Can Get It!

Da Island BrewAvoiding the shopping area like it was inhabited by lepers, Barb and I walked around a bit and found a spot where we could sit at an outside table and partake of a local brew while killing some time waiting for our driver to get back.  The Island Summer Ale was a'ight but it could have been a bit colder for my liking but still ... what the hell, right?

One of the things that I found rather ironic or funny or both was that the place that we ended up grabbing our beer at looked awfully darned familiar to me except for the fact that it was located on a tropical island rather than in the middle of the Maine Coast.  Matter of fact, if i didn't know better, I might have sworn that I was sitting in Camden, Maine rather than Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands!

A Familiar Sign

Oh well, I was pretty sure that were I sitting outside of Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll shop in Camden that I wouldn't be looking at palm trees!

Island Palm

Checking our watches, it looked like it was about time to head back over to the dusty little park where we had been dropped off at to meet up with our driver so Barb and I made our way back though not before I got a picture of some the local ambulances which sure didn't look anything like the ones I dispatch back home!

Saint Thomas Ambulances

While we waited I took a few more pictures because that's just what I do!

Island Chicks
Island "Chicks"
St Thomas Street
An Island Street
Island Steeple
An Island Steeple
Across the Water to the Ships
Our ship and two others sitting just across the bay

Our driver finally returned but two of our party didn't as the other two ladies that had ridden over with us just seemed to disappear ... they probably got a tip that they'd be better off staying where they were and walking back to the cruise ship!  Ah well, what the hell, right?  Finally starting out on our "tour" we went up a rather busy and winding road to a scenic point where we were able to pile out of the truck for about ten minutes and take pictures elbow to elbow with a whole lot of other tourists.  Again, what the hell?

View to our cruise ship

View to the other cruise ships

Getting back into the truck we continued up the windy, curvy, very busy road and then pulled off at another "scenic area" where apparently the whole idea was to try some sort of frozen rum drink and then hopefully buy one from a guy who was apparently a friend of our driver. What the hell? Oh how convienent but no sale from either Barb or myself who were neither too impressed with the view or the drinks!

View From the Scenic Area on the Back of the Island

The driver had promised to show us some of Saint Thomas' beautiful beaches so Barb asked him if were going to see Magens Bay which is one of the top ten rated beaches in the world but he gave us some song and dance about how it would cost $8 more to see Magens Bay and he'd take us to another beach instead that was free where we could go stick our toes in the water.  What the hell?

Barb and Our Tour Truck

Neither Barb nor I had any interest in sticking our toes in the water whatsoever so rather than amble down to the beach with our "tour guide" and the Argentinians we opted to stay in our truck and wait for them to come back.  After awhile, though, I decided what the hell and went down to the water to take a couple of pictures of Sapphire Beach which is where we had ended up at.

Sapphire Beach

The beach weren't much as far as I was concerned but I did like the clouds! Look how tiny they make that cruise ship look!

Island Clouds

I was particularly partial to the palms, too!

Island Palms

After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, everyone regrouped and climbed back into the truck and off we drove back towards the area where our ships were docked.  The driver dropped us off in the middle of yet another shopping area - what the hell? - though this one at least had actual buildings complete with a tobacconist where I grabbed a couple cigars for some friends back home and Barb got one for her father before we wandered back to our ship all the while wondering what the big deal about Saint Thomas was.  Barb had been there before and said that she had thoroughly enjoyed it but that was 16 years ago so she wasn't sure if things had changed that much or what the hell had made it so different.

If you ask me, I'd have to say that it hadn't changed that much but that 'what the hell' in this case had most definitely been the wrong answer! You can darned well bet that I'll be thinking twice before I answer something that way again!


  1. Anonymous7:53 PM EDT


    'What the hell' was definitely the wrong answer i in this case, my friend! I'm so glad I left these decisions up to you as I've been there before and figured we just couldn't go wrong because it's all so beautiful. WTH?!?!

    I've already commented on your flickr photostream, but I'll say it again... you got some incredible shots of the harbor!

    And I wish we'd gone to the Golden for breakfast and lunch more often! Although the Lido Deli pastrami and corned beef sammiches were amazing, and I also enjoyed my Lido Omelets made just for me by Frank!

    I agree, the huge round table in the main dining room was not exactly ideal for conversation. The rectangular tables were much easier for chatting.

    I so want to go again! and sooner is better than later!

    Big hugs :]

  2. What the hell Linda. You really didn't do well with your driver. He had his own agenda. Imagine that.

    Hubby and I could do winters in St. Thomas. I could live there very easily. Even easier if we had the ship Cakewalk.

    I too enjoyed having breakfast in the Golden and meeting new folks. The food was much better too. I wasn't too crazy for the breakfasts on the Lido deck. Lunches were awesome though.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

  3. Anonymous8:07 PM EDT

    You gotta watch those independent drivers. They have their folks to look after... That's usually why I stay on the ship... seen one Caribbean shopping area, seen them all.

  4. Very good photos! I'm ready to go back:)

    Sending big hugs, honey...

  5. It's so annoying when you plump for a tour only to find out it's nothing like what was promised! We did the 'scenic' train round the island of St Kitts only to find we were looking at disbanded sugar plantations, all the same, in the rain. :( You did get some great shots though Linda.

  6. What a beautiful place that is!

  7. Hello dear Linda:-) Finally visiting blogs again and I must say, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your last few posts I had missed. Your cruise pictures are so absolutely beautiful and I love reading about everything you saw and did. It just boggles my mind at how big these cruise ships are!! What a shame your "tour" guide ended up not being a good one...what the hell is right! lol

    The post you made about your day out with your friend Patti really touched my heart. You are such a wonderful caring friend, Linda. I do pray and hope that her surgery was a complete success. xoxo


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