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  #1 (permalink)  
Old July 15th, 2003, 03:13 PM
Luisa
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Default RE: Aloha: Out of town

To all the CruiseMates.com family message board readers:
I will not be able to answer your questions from July 16-28, since I will be on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Star in Hawaii. I plan to write articles about NCL's youth program and also about Hawaii for families upon my return. Also, I'll answer your message board questions after the 28th. Thanks for your continued interest in CruiseMates.com's family message board.
Smooth Sailing!
Luisa Frey GAynor
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Old July 15th, 2003, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: RE: Aloha: Out of town

Hi Luisa,
Have a wonderful time, can't wait to read your review, be sure to take lots of pics to post :-)

Enjoy!

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Old July 21st, 2003, 10:08 PM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: RE: Aloha: Out of town

Luisa - wished I read this sooner! Hope you had a nice trip - you were on with my parents!! They wished we booked that cruise instead of our planned Disney cruise. They called me from Maui and were raving about it! Hope it was great! By the way, I was the one looking for an idea on St. Thomas for my nearly 5 year old that Disney couldn't help us with shore excursions....we are probably going to book a private day charter for the day and sail and snorkel around St. John! My husband decided to make my 40th nice after I found the general idea. I'll let you know how it turns out and if it I'd recommend it for young ones. The Captain promise to tailor to our needs - I can't wait!

Sharon
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Old July 29th, 2003, 01:31 AM
MissMissy
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Default Re: RE: Aloha: Out of town

Looking forward to hearing about your trip since we will be traveling on the Star in January with our 4 kids (8,6,4,8mos.) and our extended family. My sister-in-law (25) will also be traveling with us as our off & on babysitter.
PS
After reading some of the reviews on the site, I am very nervous about this trip. I hope yours was a success!!
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Old July 29th, 2003, 11:30 AM
Luisa
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Default Re: Re: Re: RE: Aloha: Out of town

Hi Sharon:
It's a small world! Just got off NCL Star to Hawaii and loved it. It's a great ship for families and Hawaii is beautiful.
Let me know about your private charter in St. John and how your child liked it. When do you cruise Disney?
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey GAynor
Family Cruise Editor
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Old August 4th, 2003, 11:54 PM
SSinCT
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Default Re: Re: Re: Re: RE: Aloha: Out of town

Luisa - first, yes it is a small world! My parents adored the Norwegian Star - they are still raving about it! The day sail was absolutely the best day we could have done between St. Thomas and St. John. And for $450 to have the boat to our selves, was highly worth it! Imagine a family of 6 - a great value given what is charged for shore excusions. Please see my positive comments after Disney cruise mention:

THE BAD NEWS:

Our cruise on Disney was absolutely horrible - in fact probably the worst trip and product I have seen as someone who has worked in the travel industry as a publicist for 19 years for Cunard Line, Four Seasons, Hyatt Hotels, Virgin Atlantic. If you want, I can share my entire story separately - simply put the service and food levels were very poor (staff was rude and unpolished and had a can't do attitude) and they did not take good care of my daughter, among many other things. At one point guest services was bold enough to say that "I simply didn't understand hospitality." A comment that should never come out of anyone's mouth in the service hospitality industry. I even had to hear from our waiters about what they think of Americans (nothing positive) and other staff about staff orgies onboard - yuck!

The only pluses were the nice bathrooms in our cabin, our cabin steward, the port lecture guide and the great shows at night (including the dueling pianos). I think you need to get another current report on this ship - we dubbed it the Disney Madness instead of the Disney Magic. The ship even manage to give our luggage away at the end to another passenger and did nothing about the situation to correct it. I had to track it down at Delta (not our carrier) and demand my luggage which was tagged to another woman 12 states away! I have a disability and Disney made me run around the airport in search of my luggage! Thankfully having worked in a senior role for an airline, I knew what to say, otherwise that luggage would have never been returned. Anyway....

THE GOOD NEWS:

The day charter was the best day of our entire cruise vacation! I highly recommend it (especially as a travel publicist with 19 years of experience!!) We went with Captain Jim, a smart, laid back 42 old Californian, who is a former chef. He not only made us feel at home, but totally catered to both my husband and I and especially my nearly 5 year olds' needs! He we sailed on his ship - Jester (Jester Sailing Adventures). His email is jester@islands.vi I am giving him my total endorsement for free!

Below is the initial email I received from him as a response to my query. He was so so nice. We went to Honeymoon Cove where the waters were tranquil and quite. He had noodles and a small child's life vest. He even prepared at my request all of my daughter's favorite foods - grilled chicken, black olives, Trix yogurt, etc. He watched at one point, so I could snorkel with my husband (although she also snorkeled with us too and loved it). Jim and Samantha fed the fishes from the boat while we snorkeled. Then he let into the galley to make a special surprise birthday cake for me! I cannot stress what a great day this was.

If you remember I was the one looking for a wonderful way to celebrate 40 without the stress of the taxis and ferries to St. John and back! since Disney would not allow Samantha on a boat oriented shore excursion due to her being a few weeks shy of 5. Anyway this was the best day! We did not want to go back to our cruise ship, we were all having such a great time!

EMAIL FROM JIM:

My name is Capt'n Jim, and I would love the opportunity to take you and your family sailing during your birthday voyage and show you the very best of the Virgins! I am still available for Wed. 7/30 and I promise you a daysail on Jester would absolutely be one of the highlights of your vacation! I do often sail with guests visiting off the cruise ships and PP (Point Pleasant Hotel) is really only about an easy 20 min. cab ride from the cruise ship dock.

One thing you should not miss while visiting the islands is a day trip over to the island of St. John to visit the Virgin Islands National Park. It is a fun and easy sail through the protected crystal blue waters of Pillsbury Sound and the beautiful surrounding cays. We will anchor off of a breathtaking white sand beach and a colorful reef with loads of tropical fish and some great snorkeling! Usually after lunch we can make a second snorkel stop at one of my favorite spots near one of the secluded outer cays before a relaxing downwind sail back to St. Thomas.

Aboard Jester you can either, get involved and learn to sail or just kick back, relax and enjoy being pampered. Jesterís open bar is always fully stocked with a variety of ice-cold beverages and specialty libations (you'll love my famous "Jester Juice"!). On your trip to St. John I offer breakfast bars and muffins in the morning and also serve a very tasty, freshly prepared BBQ lunch consisting of Voodoo Chicken, Rasta Pasta, Caribbean Corn on the Cob, and also a homemade Island Salsa and chips. I used to have a "real job" in the restaurant business, so guests are always impressed with lunch and its presentation. I can also always accommodate any special diets or specific provision requests.

I sail with a maximum of just six guests, so you will never feel crowded. A full day trip is $100 per person (all inclusive, just bring your beach towel and camera!) and runs from 9am to 3pm. You can also book the boat exclusively for just yourselves for $450. If you would feel more comfortable with a half-day, I can do that too. It would run about 4 hours, the cost would be $350 exclusively and you can choose the times. Although the day goes by fast, there is plenty of time to comb the beach, swim and relax! For a half-day I would not serve a full lunch, but all the drinks and some light snacks would be provided.

Jester is a very safe and comfortable vessel that is also fast and easy to sail. There is a roomy shaded cockpit with lots of pillows as well as a large cushion on the foredeck for relaxing and soaking up some sun and scenery. The boat is also very spacious below deck with a full galley, private head, and comfortable sleeping quarters for six. Jester is also equipped with an easy to board swim ladder, a fresh water shower, top quality snorkel gear with safety vests, float mats, fishing gear and always some great music! There is also a sturdy dingy for exploring and getting to shore.

I am a Coast Guard licensed Master Captain and have been living in the islands since 1985. I have extensively sailed throughout the Virgin Islands and know much about the islandís history and folklore and all of the very best spots to visit as well as the places to avoid. Iím very easy-going and keep a flexible schedule and itinerary and will gladly organize and tailor any sort of daysail you desire.

I do accept all major credit cards and of course travelers checks and cash. To reserve a trip I would take a credit card number, but would not charge the card until the day of the trip. In the unlikely event of bad weather or some unforeseen circumstances that would prevent us from sailing, nothing would be charged.

If I can provide any more information or assist in any way with planning your visit to the islands please feel free to call me personally at (340) 513-2459. You can also re-visit my website at www.sailjester.com where you will find some fun photos and a chart of the islands.

I hope to hear from you again soon!

All the Best!

Capt'n Jim

I am a Coast Guard licensed Master Captain and have been living in the islands since 1985. I have extensively sailed throughout the Virgin Islands and know much about the islandís history and folklore and all of the very best spots to visit as well as the places to avoid. Iím very easy-going and keep a flexible schedule and itinerary and will gladly organize and tailor any sort of daysail you desire.

I do accept all major credit cards and of course travelers checks and cash. To reserve a trip I would take a credit card number, but would not charge the card until the day of the trip. In the unlikely event of bad weather or some unforeseen circumstances that would prevent us from sailing, nothing would be charged.



Luisa - I know this is long - hope it all useful to you and your reader! Smooth sailing to you!
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old August 5th, 2003, 11:32 AM
Luisa
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Default Re: TO Miss Missy

My article on Norwegian Star in Hawaii was just posted on this site. Hope you've read it. Feel free to ask add'l Q's. Next month's piece will be on what to do with kids in Hawaii.
Smooth sailing,
Luisa Frey Gaynor
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Old August 6th, 2003, 03:06 PM
MissMissy
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Default Re: Re: TO Miss Missy

Thanks, Luisa! I can't wait to read more. (I'll wait to read your next installment before I hit you up with questions.)

We are telling my parents about the cruise on my dad's birthday, August 18th- The trip is a surprise for both of them; we'll be on board for their wedding anniversary. It has been so hard not spilling the beans since we are all so excited!!!

~Missy
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