Day three is the arrival in St. Juan. It was a lazy morning and after a late breakfast, we set out for more trivia. Later we met the other Cruisemates in Scott's and watch the gift exchanges. While this was going on, the Freedom arrived at the dock in San Juan. After the crowd had departed for the island, we had a bite to eat and off to the dock ourselves. Unfortunately, the rain had started and it was coming down quite hard. We enjoyed the rum samples in the little mall at the dock, took pictures with a statue on a bench and went back to the ship. At least we didn't get soaked as the others had. At dinner later, we found that our table assignment had been changed for the better. Afterwards, off to the show then off to bed.
Day four found us arrivng in St. Thomas. What a beautiful place. There was a time that I was standing on the balcony and I noticed the Jewel of Seas, which was behind us, had her lifeboats out for an exercise period. A large boat appeared between the lifeboats and eventually worked its way through the boats. As it got closer to our ship, I realized that it was more than a boat, it was a BUS!!! I bus that was floating in the water and being used as a boat. Later, I was able to see a float plane arrive and take off as well.
We went ashore and enjoyed the shopping areas nearby. There was a threat of rain so we didn't go far. Good thing. It did rain and I got soaked.
As we left that evening, I took many pictures of the island and the lights lining the streets hidden by the trees.
Day five, St. Maarten. Gosh, it was hot!!! A taxi took us into town and the streets are so narrow that they seemed like sidewalks. The hawkers were in full force. We couldn't stop on the beach without being hassled by the vendors. Back to the ship and general safety from them.
Day six and seven were sea days and we had fun at all of the games and the shows. The ship is fantastic and I didn't want to get off of her.
Day eight. Back in Miami. We didn't have any transfer and had an 11:00am flight. We did the self debarkation (thankfully we only had 4 bags) and caught a cab to Miami airport. Things went downhill at that point.
A porter from American Airlines, took our luggage at the dropoff and I paid him $10.00 to take care of our bags and to get us checked in. He couldn't do it because we had too many flights. He lead us inside to the terminal and we had to check ourselves. Off from Miami to New Orleans. There was a 30 minute layover in New Orleans. However, we left the gate 45 minutes after we were supposed to and then we took off to Dallas. Upon our arrival in Dallas, I noted that our flight was supposed to have left 10 minutes earlier. We were held on the tarmac for 15 minutes and then we got to the gate. Out we went and of course, our flight ot Houston had been gone 35 minutes. They put us on another flight, 4 1/2 hours later, and we weren't offered meal money, a discount (they said it wasn't their fault that their equipment didn't leave the gate on time at New Orleans) or even a care of an apology.
Arrived in Houston, My bags were missing. They were still in New Orleans. We caught a shuttle to my car after a 35 minute wait in the chilly and damp weather, had to pay an extra day for the parking, So, we were home!!! I got my bags the next morning.
The ship was wonderful, St. Thomas gorgeous, the flights were a terrible sore. I'll never do American Airlines again. On a side note, my second wife was stranded in Dallas in 2000 after AA cancelled her flight.