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Old November 7th, 2005, 01:17 AM
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Default LAND HO!!

Land Ho!

Today we saw land (St. Maarten) for the first time in 5 days. We’re a bit in shock that it’s already day 14 of this cruise. Two more sea days, and this party will sadly end.

I think most everyone onboard was happy to see solid ground. That was certainly true of many of the crew departments, who work “double time? during sea days. As passengers I don’t think we realize all the logistics involved in a cruise with a lot of continuous sea days. It affects everything from having extra stores onboard (supplies, not shops), because everyone is always on the ship, to staffing issues, to extra work required by the entertainment staff.

With virtually all the passengers rushing off the ship to feel “terra firma? again, Philipsburg just about exploded in a volcanic eruption of consumerism. People were buying everything in sight! I got a bracelet for Mrs. Kuki today, and I thought it was a pretty good trade (OLD joke).

Mrs. Kuki had got a bracelet here on a previous visit, which she wasn’t all that crazy about. We took it back to the store where it was purchased, and they gave us a full credit of the purchase price towards a new bracelet. Happy 25th anniversary to Mrs. Kuki!

I don’t think there’s real shopping bargains on high ticket items in the islands, like there used to be several years back, but the selection is quite good.

I think everyone’s buying frenzy may have been accentuated by the situation of missing time to shop in Barcelona. I did notice the ship’s onboard shops have been very busy during this crossing as well.

After seeing nothing but ocean for the past 5 days, we had no desire to go to a beach and look at water, so we just took the water taxi into town, wandered, and shopped, and stopped along the boardwalk to have a drink and people watch.

Phillipsburg has been cleaned up very nicely in the past several years. It used to be that most everyone went over to the French side to go to the beach, or shop, or just have lunch in a nice “European style? café. With the changes made to Philipsburg, if you’re not going to the beach, and have seen this island before, a trip to the French side is not so necessary anymore.

Tonight was the ship’s “Legends? show, where they use passengers and some cruise staff to imitate singing stars. There was only one show at 10:30. I didn’t attend tonight. This cruise has been a bit strange, in that the theater fills up a long time before each and every show in the showroom. Yet, the other entertainment venues on the ship are VERY quiet.

No doubt this will all change once the Liberty begins its Caribbean itinerary, and starts carrying its normal age demographic.

We’ve spent most evenings, after the shows, in the Piano Bar. Each night it draws a small but enthusiastic crowd, and over the length of the cruise those of us who have become “regulars? truly have had some fun. I’m surprised more people haven’t found this spot in the evening. Once again, I’m sure it will be hopping, once the ship starts its regular sailings. Cameron, the entertainer here at the moment has a very dry sense of humor, and since I enjoy that humor, I enjoyed him a lot.

If you’re sailing this ship soon, go have some fun, and tell Cameron Kuki sent you.

For this cruise we’ve been at 5:45 PM dinner seating, and I must say this is simply too early to dine. They have four seating times, 5:45, 6:15, 8:00, and 8:30. Ideally we would have liked 6:15 dining (with the evening free to enjoy the ship), however there was a group onboard of over 400 people, so they got the 6:15 dining room seating.

There are some empty tables for two located right near us. Four nights during this cruise, there’s been two people, who are normally on late seating, but have chosen to come to early dining. Not a problem, if there’s room. The problem has been each time they arrive an hour late.

I am VERY surprised that they’ve been admitted to the dining room, and served. Each time they’ve done this, we’ve witnessed the strain this has put on the serving staff. It’s not that they’ve just got two more people to serve, but the kitchen is already set up serving different courses. The late arriving, out of sync couple, causes the service staff to have to wait in different lines in the galley… and this, unfortunately, causes delays in serving their guests who arrived on time.

This is an example of self centered behavior by two passengers being allowed to go on, and adversely affecting many other passengers, and putting undo stress on the staff. And allowing it to happen is a big mistake by management. By not wanting to offend two passengers, they offend 20.
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