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Old April 26th, 2008, 08:30 AM
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Default VIRTUAL Cruise REPORT- Freedom Translatlantic Apr-26 -May 10

Later today I'll be boarding the Freedom for the 14 day sailing Miami To Rome... Hope you'll sail along with me here and follow my continuing misadventures!
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Old April 26th, 2008, 12:21 PM
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Kuki -

I certainly will follow your adventures - the wife and I made the voyage in the other direction.

One hint - if you want to get on Noortje's good side, buy her a coffee. Todd is too stingy.

Also, please give my regards to Todd & Noortje - tell them The Coffee God says hello.

Jon
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Old April 26th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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Thanks Kuki for the updates Tell Ray and Helen hello for me, and to take plenty of pictures.

Wishing all of you smooth seas and sunny skies; 8)
David
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Old April 26th, 2008, 05:22 PM
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By now everyone one is aboard and muster is finished. Now sit back and enjoy that cruise. Will look forward to any news you can give us about the fun and games you all are having and doing!! ENJOY!!!!
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Old April 26th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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One Tale Ends- Another Begins; and one tail is still chasing another

Today I boarded the Carnival Freedom. My ole buddy Sam Sonite flew into Miami today via British Air, who had in fact done their deed yesterday by losing my luggage at the new and quickly becoming notorious Terminal 5. They may simply want to change that name to Terminal Luggage, the 5 Billion Dollar luggage burial site.

At any rate, the guest relations desk onboard the Freedom helped me call British Air to try and track down Sam. After some time on hold, while they called Miami and the delivery service charged with getting my suitcase to the Freedom, they told me the bag had indeed been delivered to the Freedom, and signed for by Charles. Charles Keating? Charles Manson?.... no way to know.

The staff on The Freedom have no way to confirm that the bag was delivered and is onboard. Not a great system! If lost luggage is delivered to the ship, it is simply dropped with the porters, and placed in bins to go on the ship. There is no confirmation system, to know if in fact it is on the ship or not. That's an OY!

A very pleasant Guest Relations desk told me to check back with him if it hasn’t been delivered to my cabin by 8 P.M. If by 8 P.M. it hasn’t arrived, and I call the Guest Relations to tell them, then we’ll both know it’s not here, maybe

In the meantime, I'm going to shower for 8:15 dinner, and turn my underwear inside out (just kidding I have underwear) And we'll report back later.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 08:45 PM
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Default Virtual Cruise Report - Freedom Transatlantic - April 26-May

I feel your pain, Kuki. I remember when my luggage was lost on the Liberty for only a couple of hours. I was not a happy camper. The Guest Relatons lady was funny (now!). She said, "Oh, we've NEVER lose any luggage permanently!" She followed that up by saying that she had seen luggage floating in the water!

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Old April 27th, 2008, 12:52 AM
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April 26 – Day 1 – Freedom
I stepped out of the shower shortly after 7 P.M., and was about to shave using the safety razor Carnival offers in the small baskets in the cabin washrooms, when our cabin steward knocked on the door; poor wayward Sam Sonite had made his way to our door. Limping from his previous wound, and exhausted from his trip to Malaysia (or wherever he may have gone) I think he was as happy to see me, as I was to see him.


Somehow, despite the systems in place which do their best to leave a reasonable person in a state of confusion, British Airlines had got my suitcase to the ship prior to sailing, and Carnival had delivered it to my cabin.

I do have to say, just prior to 8 P.M. Joel, from the Guest Relations Desk, called to ask if my suitcase had arrived. I was impressed with the good follow-up from a customer service perspective.

Now to back up a bit to the beginning of the day…
We arrived to the pier at about Noon, and there were some line-ups for check in. Apparently the prior cruise had been late disembarking in Miami. From what I understand, lately this has been a bit of a common theme with Customs & Immigration procedures in Miami the culprit. Plus the Freedom was not using her “normal” berth and terminal, but instead was berthed at Pier F, one of the older Terminals at the Port of Miami.

As we tried to enter the VIP embarkation area, a Carnival shore side employee asked for our tickets to verify that we are Platinum members of Carnival’s repeaters club (10 or more Carnival cruises to qualify), before allowing us to proceed. As they did so, someone who obviously looked more honest than us walked right on by into the VIP check in area. Once allowed in, our check in procedure was quick, and after waiting only a few minutes they began to allow boarding, and we were amongst the first group to board.

This is my third time on the Freedom since Nov. ’07, so I am certainly familiar with the ship. This trip we’re in a cabin on the stern, facing aft. The motion is a bit more noticeable in these aft cabins, but the balcony is almost twice the size of standard balconies along the sides of the ship.

For dinner, we’re assigned late seating (8:15 PM) in the Posh Dining Room. Our table, #441 is on Deck 3, and in the central portion of the dining room. It’s an excellent location, and I knew that because I had requested it specifically. Entering the dining room the first night is normally slow, as passengers don’t yet know where their tables are located, so everyone has to be escorted to their tables. It was 9 PM before we started eating, and the service was a bit slow. After being on a Freestyle cruise just last week, it’s going to take a little adjusting again to return to set dining times and tables. But we’re with CruiseMates friends (82 in our CruiseMates group), so all will be well as we settle in.

Tomorrow morning at 11:00 we have our first CruiseMates get together.
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Old April 27th, 2008, 08:33 AM
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Please give everyone a big hug From The Pearls, who surely are wiith you in Spirit. Tomorrow is our 40th anniversary, and we should have been onboard with all of you, toasting this "amazing fact":) Please, do it for us:):) Enjoy every minute:)
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Old April 27th, 2008, 08:56 AM
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Kuki-
Glad your luggage made it
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Old April 27th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Have a wonderful trip. I look forward to reading you adventures. Glad to see you and your luggage are on the same cruise together. Mike
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Old April 27th, 2008, 06:49 PM
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Kuki, a bit off topic, but do you know who will be the master of the Splendor ?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 12:06 AM
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April 27 – Carnival Freedom – at sea
I have to admit to having one of my best sleeps in over two weeks last night. I was back at sea, reunited with my possessions, and had begun a 14 night transatlantic sailing.

This morning I ran in to our cabin steward in the hallway. He amazed me. He not only remembered Mrs. Kuki and I from an earlier voyage on the Freedom, he actually remembered our cabin number! We told him we didn’t remember leaving the cabin in such a state of disarray that he should remember us with us such specific detail. It was a very impressive display of memory, especially since I don’t remember yesterday.

In a case of unusual circumstances we’ve been on the Freedom three times since November. At this time I’d have to say it’s a bit too much of a good thing. While I think she’s generally an excellent ship I believe I am somewhat tired of her, as I’m seeing more faults than I have on previous cruises on her, such as the very uncomfortable speakeasy type of chairs in Scott’s Piano Bar.

We’re in aft cabin 8461, which has a very nice oversized balcony, with the great view off the stern. However this cabin has an unusual layout. For some reason one closet and shelving unit protrude into the entrance way. This makes for very narrow and very limited closet space, while making the entry into the cabin particularly narrow. So narrow in fact that opening a closet door and looking inside is actually uncomfortably tight.



In square footage this cabin is larger than the standard balcony cabin I was in last week on the NCL Jade, but because of the layout it feels quite a bit smaller. Of course, part of it could be that on last week’s cruise I was alone, and this cruise Mrs. Kuki is with me. But I am feeling as though I am living in cramped quarters.

This morning we had our first CruiseMates get together, held in the Swingtime Lounge. There are 82 people in our group on this cruise. At this morning’s gathering I gave out the cabin door magnets, name tags, and telephone directories I had made for everyone and the group socialized. I got so involved with handing out the goodies that I forgot to take many pictures. I’ll make up for it at later meetings.

Tonight was the first “Cruise Elegant” night – Carnival’s new term for what used to be formal night. Most on this cruise were still quite dressed, wearing at least a jacket and tie. I, on the other hand, tested the waters with a more casual look; wearing dress slacks, dress shirt, and a leather sports jacket, with no tie. It was the first time for me on a formal night on a non NCL ship that I didn’t wear at suit or tuxedo. No one on the ship looked at me as though I were a leper; nor did I feel entirely out of place. Though I do think the crowd on this longer cruise could be expected to dress slightly more traditionally than, for example, a seven day Caribbean cruise.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 07:38 AM
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so Kuki...are Katlady and CrazySis behaving or are they on cabin restriction already ?
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Old April 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Kuki - Glad to see Sam decided not to venture too far from you this time around. Guess he really missed you last time. (Or maybe it was the fear of Mrs. Kuki waiting for him ) Looking forward to your post as I really enjoyed the NCL Jade report.
Smooth sailing and fun times!
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Old April 28th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Glad all is well and you are reunited with Sam, woohoo, a good thing!

Give Gella and all onboard my regards, particularly Ray and Helen!!! I talked to Phyll right before the limo was due to pick them up. She was excited!

Thanks for the updates, I'll be reading along and wishing I were there! TAs are my absolute favorite cruise! Enjoy and have a few gooey deserts for me!!!
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Old April 28th, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Kuki -

Pleased to hear that you are having a good time thus far.

I am curious about your cabin and the differences from the normal cabin. We are booked in 6487 on our Liberty cruise next month, so I suspect the cabin will be very similar. We are going to be three in the cabin for a week. Hopefully, it won't be too tight.

Anyway, enjoy the TA - it was a good time coming in the other direction.

Jon
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Old April 28th, 2008, 08:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSFP
Kuki -

Pleased to hear that you are having a good time thus far.

I am curious about your cabin and the differences from the normal cabin. We are booked in 6487 on our Liberty cruise next month, so I suspect the cabin will be very similar. We are going to be three in the cabin for a week. Hopefully, it won't be too tight.

Anyway, enjoy the TA - it was a good time coming in the other direction.

Jon
MTSFP,
I'm booked in 6489 for our August cruise. Right next door to you.

Happy Cruising to all ;
David
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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:04 AM
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April 28- Day at Sea – Freedom
This itinerary is ideal for those who love days at sea. I didn’t get out of bed until nearly 10 AM, and was greeted by cloudy skies, and some rain showers. By mid-morning the skies began to clear as the Captain did his utmost to adjust our path to avoid storms. As the day proceeded temperatures did reach into the eighties.

With the early showers, there were plenty of sun-loungers available pool-side, and lots of people enjoying themselves indoors. Today’s daily “Carnival Capers” was filled with a long and diverse list of activities; dance lessons at 10 AM drew a near capacity house to the 70’s Disco. There were sign ups for the ship building contest, and a planned get together for those wanting to play Scattegories.

I was shocked at the number of passengers attending the Art Auction. Frankly, as many cruises as I’ve been on, I am still in bewilderment that people will purchase their art, sometimes at great costs, on ships. The practice is obviously a successful one as all the cruise lines continue having Art Auctions, and I continue shaking my head – and wishing my name was Park West.
Our own CruiseMates, Ray and Helen, were once again the stars of the Marriage Game this afternoon. Though I think they’ve participated in more Marriage Games than years they’ve been married; and they’ve been married 62 years. God bless them, because they love each other so dearly, and love cruising just as much!

At 1 PM the Cruise Director, Todd, and many of the Cruise Staff held a “meet and greet” for all passengers in the Swingtime Lounge. The purpose was two-fold; encouraging passengers to socialize, and also asking guests for their opinions and suggestions about activities they’d like to see planned during the upcoming sea days. I thought this was a pretty innovative approach by the Cruise Staff, as this is surely not Carnival’s normal Caribbean crowd on this sailing; for example they’ve had to find more space for Bridge players to use.

Later in the afternoon, Mark Silver, also one of the members of our CruiseMates group, voluntarily hosted a seminar on learning basic Italian. The large International Lounge, aft on Deck 5, was packed to overflowing, so kudos to Mark.

About 7 PM I was about to step out on the balcony, when suddenly the balcony was awash, and appeared it might be ready to flood into the cabin. No, it wasn’t raining. Something was occurring on Lido Deck right above us that was obviously flowing down to us. I realized immediately it wasn’t the swimming pool having sprung a leak because the water looked soapy. I surmised that they must have been washing some floors above, and had simply pushed the gathered liquid over the stern, but I had no way of knowing that.

I did try and call guest relations immediately, but the button on the telephone marked Guest Services wasn’t functioning. About 15 minutes later the same thing happened again. I checked the balconies on either side of me, and the situation was the same on those.

We were about to leave the cabin for dinner, so on the way I went by the Guest Relations Desk to inform/inquire about this strange downfall, and asked if this was going to be a regular occurrence through the cruise. They, of course, looked at me like I had just told them pigs could fly.

They had no explanation, but said they would check with housekeeping. If it happens again I’ll ask them to supply umbrellas for the balcony. Had I actually been standing on the balcony I would have been soaked with lord only knows what kind of liquid.

From there we went to the dining room for dinner. We’re now three nights into the cruise, and I’m disappointed with the food quality and the menus. This is quite the opposite from even my most recent cruise on the Freedom in January. I’m unsure if the menu is new just for this 14 day crossing, which is an unusual run for this ship, or if the changes are fleet wide.

The last several years I’ve been a staunchly positive advocate for Carnival’s food department, so I’m concerned by this seemingly sudden reversal. Hopefully the future meals on this cruise will prove my opinion of the past three nights anecdotal, but at this point, comparing the meals I’ve had to those experienced on last week’s NCL cruise… NCL wins hands down!
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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has the Moose been skipping showers; is it Carnival's way of letting you know that you need a bath hahaha
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Kuki,

Glad you are having a wonderful time you really need to lighten up! Anyway, have you met Sis and Kat? Tell them I miss them and the Cruisin' Club is just not the same without them! Hugs to all!

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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:37 PM
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Default Time to Relax!

Kuki, you are living proof that it is possible to cruise to much. I think you miss Canada. I hope you are able to relax and have a good time. I think it is time to have a beer. Mike
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Old April 29th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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Hard to believe the food isnt good just because its a 14 day trip. Food in general on Carnival is average at best so when is everyone going to realize that? This is not an upscale cruise line, its one for the masses which unfortunately means subpar food more often than not. Some items shine once in awhile but most are prepared for thousands and reflect as such. I usually eat at the deli which has always been pretty good and stay away from the dining room desserts which are iffy at best. The melting cake I had on the Glory last week wasnt really melting, it was more like my sisters Easy Bake Oven cake when she was a little girl. (sort of cooked but not quite and kind of bland). Other than that enjoy K!!
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David West
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTSFP
Kuki -

Pleased to hear that you are having a good time thus far.

I am curious about your cabin and the differences from the normal cabin. We are booked in 6487 on our Liberty cruise next month, so I suspect the cabin will be very similar. We are going to be three in the cabin for a week. Hopefully, it won't be too tight.

Anyway, enjoy the TA - it was a good time coming in the other direction.

Jon
MTSFP,
I'm booked in 6489 for our August cruise. Right next door to you.

Happy Cruising to all ;
David
My son is in 6489 this cruise. I'll have to go take a peek to see if his cabin closet layout is the same as ours.
I'll try to post a couple of pictures that better illustrate what I was trying to explain.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:35 PM
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Default Re: Time to Relax!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravelMike
Kuki, you are living proof that it is possible to cruise to much. I think you miss Canada. I hope you are able to relax and have a good time. I think it is time to have a beer. Mike
Nah... you can never cruise too much! I'm enjoying the cruise. It's still a much better way to travel than driving, or flying!!!

But I do try to tell ALL... the good and the bad. If I skipped over the bad I'd just be writing cruise brochures.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstill
Kuki,

Glad you are having a wonderful time you really need to lighten up! Anyway, have you met Sis and Kat? Tell them I miss them and the Cruisin' Club is just not the same without them! Hugs to all!

Melody
Yes, of course I met Sis and Kat and the clan. They are just two tables away from us in the dining room.

We've only had one CruiseMates get together so far, but more coming up during the crossing.

You misread, if you think I'm not enjoying the cruise. But I felt I had to report on the differences I've noticed in just a few months, since I was last onboard. I do think that's interesting.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Hard to believe the food isnt good just because its a 14 day trip. Food in general on Carnival is average at best so when is everyone going to realize that? This is not an upscale cruise line, its one for the masses which unfortunately means subpar food more often than not.
I actually disagree that the food on Carnival is "average at best". I've cruised Carnival quite a few times in the past 2-3 years, as well as other lines, yet I felt Carnival food matched up very well against the other mass market cruise lines.

That is part of the reason I am disappointed so far with this cruise...I know how good it can be.

And it's not that the food isn't good because it's a 14 day cruise. It may be just that it's different menus for a long cruise, than a seven day cruise.... or the menus may have also changed on the shorter cruises.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 03:10 PM
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I'm going to try and better explain the odd closet configurations of 8461. Just as you enter the cabin, to the left are two closet doors, which lead to a very shallow closet, where the clothes have to be hung facing forward.


Next to that closet is a deeper closet, where the clothing is hung "normally" to the side.

Immediately next to the that, the door opens on a shelving unit.

But the shelving unit and the deeper closet extend into the cabin entry, narrowing it considerably.

Hope this illustrates, and makes the issure more clear.
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Old April 29th, 2008, 05:54 PM
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Seems like they would have to get a pic of the passengers in order to assign that cabin! Some might not make the squeeze!

Kooter,

I'm glad you are having a good time! Tell Kat and Sis HI *waves* for me! Now if it ever gets too tough, I'll be happy to take your job!

Melody
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Old April 29th, 2008, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mstill
Seems like they would have to get a pic of the passengers in order to assign that cabin! Some might not make the squeeze!

Kooter,

I'm glad you are having a good time! Tell Kat and Sis HI *waves* for me! Now if it ever gets too tough, I'll be happy to take your job!

Melody
Melody -

Are you inferring that I might have trouble squeezing into the space provided?

Heck, at my weight, I sometimes have trouble squeezing into showers - and not just cruise ship showers.

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Old April 30th, 2008, 12:26 AM
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April 29 – St. Maarten – Freedom
I’ve been thinking a bit about what I’ve found “off” about this cruise. One has to remember I sailed this ship just over three months ago, and thought it was a first rate cruise experience. The ship is still in pristine condition, so that hasn’t changed. However many of the staff and crew onboard has changed. Many have moved on because their contracts ended, and they went home on vacation. And others have left for a break, before joining the new Carnival Splendor. Cruise lines often take many of their top people to bring out the new builds, and that may indeed be a contributing factor here.

Today was our first port stop, St. Maarten, and also our last port of call in the Caribbean before we cross the Atlantic. Including the Freedom there are four ships mega-ships in port today, which means somewhere in the neighborhood of 16,000 visitors. Complicating things today; it’s Carnival in Phillipsburg, which is a major holiday, with parades on Front Street.

On the Freedom guests were warned about possible traffic woes caused by the holiday, and advised to stick with ship’s tours, or use the available water taxis from the pier, rather than local taxis or rental cars. This created unusually long line-ups waiting to board the water taxis to downtown Phillipsburg.

We left the ship around 10 AM, and walked towards the shopping area at the pier, and the spot to board the water taxi. Having been to St. Maarten quite a number of times, the last being just a few months ago, we chose not to stand in line, and just wandered the pier’s shopping area. Kuki Jr. and his fiancé, who are traveling with us, did sign up for a snorkeling tour that would take them to the French side of the island, and visit Marigot.

Kuki Jr. and his fiancé Shira returning to the ship.

As things turned out there was a bit of misinformation given to passengers. The parade in Phillipsburg was not scheduled to begin until 2 PM, so passengers could have rented cars or taken local taxi tours if they did it earlier in the day.

From the “you can’t make this stuff up department”, overheard on the pier at St. Maarten today in reference to the island being partially Dutch and partially French: “Is the island split lengthwise, or in half?”

We were scheduled to depart St. Maarten at 4 PM, with “all aboard” at 3:30 PM. However, there were 3 headline entertainers who were to join the ship today, to entertain during the crossing, and their arrival was delayed by late arriving flights (ah yes, another shining example of my favorite industry- the airlines at it again).

This morning an ambulance removed a passenger from the ship, then sadly, just prior to sailing another ambulance was called to take a passenger as well as their family from the ship. I certainly hope the ill passengers recover, and wish their families the very best. I also hope they had the absolutely CRITICAL travel insurance. I’ve seen this situation come up much too often, particularly on longer sailings (with more elderly passengers), but it can happen to anyone… even on a three day cruise. NEVER try to save money by skipping on purchasing travel insurance. I offer a word of advice here as well; do not buy the insurance from the cruise lines. More comprehensive and less expensive insurance can be purchased through third party suppliers. You can compare and investigate these at www.insuremytrip.com.


After sailing away from St. Maarten with a beautiful sunset behind us, I was sitting on the balcony, when liquid started dripping from above once again. It wasn’t a deluge like the previous night, so this time I was able to spot where it was coming from, a sprinkler head on the outside structure above Lido, on Deck 10. I called Guest Relations, and they sent a maintenance man up right away. He looked at, agreed with me that it was leaking, and said he would tell his boss. It’s going to be interesting to see who’s going to hang off the back and top of a moving ship to fix this one… and how they’re going to attempt it.

Tonight I am happy to report I enjoyed the meal in the Posh Dining Room. The menu still strikes me as having odd choices; like only one salad choice or the always available Caesar Salad. But I enjoyed a very tasty, and tender, pork tenderloin.

Judd, Shira, Kuki

The show this evening, ventriloquist Gerry Goodspeed (who I’ve seen several times before) was held pre-dinner for late seating guests, to allow everyone to enjoy Todd Wittmer’s version of the “Carnival Fun Hop”. By dining room and section, passengers are divided into three teams; Red, White, and Blue, and instructed to meet in various lounges for warm-up fun. Then at 11:45 the party moves up to the Lido Deck for an energetic deck party.

Having sailed with Todd as Cruise Director before, this deck party is normally a great success on Caribbean sailings. However I have to admit to being surprised just how many people participated in the fun on this cruise. With a passenger demographic close to ancient, tonight they were acting as though it was spring break for seniors.
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