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Old April 22nd, 2009, 12:07 AM
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Default "Why do they even stop there?"

I'm tired of hearing about ports that people are unhappy with. Every Caribbean port looks the same these days.

Grenada used to have the beautiful carenage, you could only tender there. It was unspoiled with colorful little boats, the spice stalls, a peaceful and beautiful island with wonderful people. Once a young boy about 12 decided he was my "guide" and took me to his home for a barbeque lunch - maybe it was unwise of me as a blonde female traveling alone, but his mother and sisters were most gracious and the little bit of money I gave him probably paid for a lot of things for the family.

A hurricane destroyed the carenage and they built a new Terminal. One could be air-dropped there and not know what port they were in: there's Diamonds Int'l., Colombian Emeralds, Tanzanite Int'l., and every other shop common to all other islands.

I've heard too many times, "Why do they even stop there - there's nothing to do?" Most of the time, those speaking did not take a cab ride or a tour to explore the beauty of the island, meet the kind local people, they merely walked into the terminal and shopped and went back to the ship.

At the San Blas Islands in April a few years ago, it was VERY hot. I explored each of the 3 enchanting islands until it was time to tender back to the ship. In the elevator, someone said, "It's too damn hot - why do they stop here?" I said, "Didn't you read the itinerary before you came onboard? You're near the Equator, it's April, it's hot. You might want to check out an Alaskan cruise" and got off the elevator, annoyed with the person.

I fear that cruisers are beginning to want hotels that float, not the adventure that travel is supposed to be. Walk through the terminal, find a cab or a van, have an adventure and see the place as it was before the Americanization of these beautiful islands caused them to all be alike. Then no one will have to say, "Why do they even stop there?".
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 12:53 AM
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I'm with you this is what I loved about Italy. I studied the maps so well that I could take the Metro anywhere in Rome. I loved taking Public transportation. It gives you more of a feel of the place. We find a grocery store in Rome at the train station. Which is excellent because it's how real people eat.

Same thing with Venice. I got a Venice card and took the water bus everywhere. It's interesting to see the cultural differences. One of my best memories of Venice is taking the wrong water bus and getting lost on the Grand Canal. It's an island so we just kept riding it until we made it back. The unplanned parts of a trip are sometimes the best things.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 11:27 AM
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I am not flaming or using a tone or being outraged in any way. I just want to know....

Why do you say they are "Americanized"?

I know bashing Americans has become the popular thing to do but not all cruisers are Americans. Not all cruiselines are American.

I have always found it interesting that we are supposed to accept the cultures of other peoples when they visit America but when Americans go to other countries, we are told to "not to act too American".

Why the double standard?

And why are another countries rehab efforts following a hurricane deemed to be "American"?

My guess is that the "quaint" pre hurricane village was also horribly rundown and living conditions horrendous.
What country wants their 12 y/os bringing strangers home for lunch? What you viewed as quaint others might see as poverty.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 11:53 AM
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I have to agree with the previous post. I lived in Grenada, pre hurricane and even pre revolution. St George and the immediate harbor area was quaint and cute. The rest of the country was impoverished, with few services available. We had to have our water trucked into our tank. most roads were barely navigable; even the fire engines (tenders) didn't always work. Modernization unfortunately may cause some loss of uniqueness, but down there and in the region as a whole, it is a price worth paying for the inhabitants. Plus there is always a lot to do in most places if you just do a little preplanning that doesn't involve port shopping
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 12:31 PM
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O.K., "Americanized" was a bad choice of words. Perhaps I should have said "cookie cutter terminal improvements" to point out the similarities of each cruise ship terminal (don't start, I know there are a few exceptions). I think these terminals are sometimes the only place people go and then make a decision about the entire island, and that's too bad for them.

Regarding the poverty: I completely understand the situation on these islands having traveled extensively in the Caribbean (not always on cruises).

My point was the complaining of the passengers when they seem surprised that it is hot, poor, and doesn't look like their home town.

I did not use the word "quaint", although maybe it was as the definition is "marked by beauty or elegance, pleasing or strikingly unfamiliar", which Grenada definitely is compared to northern Michigan.

Back to the original question: Have you never heard someone say "Why do they even stop there?".

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Old April 22nd, 2009, 04:57 PM
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belgique

Here is my problem, and I feel it reflects the "tone" of the point you made in your original post.

CRUISING HAS BECOME TOOOO BIG IN PLACES NOT BUILT TO TAKE IT

When I first started cruising maybe one or two max ships would appear in these islands per day and in todays value "SMALL". Now we have seven per day dumping up to 20,000 people on a small place between them

HOW can anyone enjoy that experience?

The locals once upon a time could deal with it, two ships and 2,000 people,,,but the ships now offer no experience of life in this place. I use the word experience carefully.

My experience now is these "traditional" stops have not grown to the same extent as cruising...and basically they cant cope. There is greed here, either on the ships part or in what they the "island" as a community expect or can offer given their size and ship passenger expectations.

They want to tell the ships to back off, as what the new passengers expect is no longer possible given todays numbers that hit their shores, compared to not so long ago.

People on shore that live there are stressed, passengers are also stressed and missing the whole experience.

So no-one wins
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 05:30 PM
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"Why do we even stop here?"

I thought that the first time I went to Nassau. Didn't say it out loud though.

And the answer was: the cruiseline and the country have an agreement. It's about finances. This might answer the cookie cutter syndrome. They hire the same people to rehab the ports.

But the govt of Nassau doesn't really seem to try to make it a memorable experience for it's visitors. They are just raking in the cash.

Then again, I think people forget that these people live here -- it's not a resort --- it's their home.

Half of one --- six of another.
That being said, I could skip Nassau in a heart beat.
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Old April 22nd, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildRover
"Why do we even stop here?"

I thought that the first time I went to Nassau. Didn't say it out loud though.

And the answer was: the cruiseline and the country have an agreement. It's about finances. This might answer the cookie cutter syndrome. They hire the same people to rehab the ports.

But the govt of Nassau doesn't really seem to try to make it a memorable experience for it's visitors. They are just raking in the cash.

Then again, I think people forget that these people live here -- it's not a resort --- it's their home.

Half of one --- six of another.
That being said, I could skip Nassau in a heart beat.
The last time I was on a cruise that went to Nassau I stayed on ship and enjoyed the pool.
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Old April 23rd, 2009, 11:10 AM
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Wow I guess everyone missed the point of the OP. What you experience in port, depends on what you know before you arrive. If all I know about the place I'm going is a list of ship shore excursions, I'm missing much of the culture of the island. The cruise lines build store fronts right at the pier so they can get your money as soon as you leave the ship. The passenger needs to know where to find the culture and the true spirit of the stop. Walk away from the shopping center and head to the little church on the corner.
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Old April 24th, 2009, 12:21 AM
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Katlady: Thank you for the logical interpretation of my original post! Somehow it was getting confused and a bit too complicated!

Gotta be because we are both "Cat People".
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Old April 26th, 2009, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Wow I guess everyone missed the point of the OP. What you experience in port, depends on what you know before you arrive. If all I know about the place I'm going is a list of ship shore excursions, I'm missing much of the culture of the island. The cruise lines build store fronts right at the pier so they can get your money as soon as you leave the ship. The passenger needs to know where to find the culture and the true spirit of the stop. Walk away from the shopping center and head to the little church on the corner.
We tried to do that in Bermuda as we deemed Bermuda "safe" enough to away from the touristy area. We had been told about an old historic building just slightly off the beaten path in St. Georges. One of my hubby's workmates was from Bermuda, and she had told him abut this building (an old small historic church) and said we should go see it. It was close enough to the toursit area to walk to it. We went and saw it and afterwords noticed a gang of teens( thugs we feared) following us. They did not gt close enough to hurt us, as we quickly returned to the more populated tourist area that was only a half mile away, when we noticed them. Needless to say this worried us.

No way would I even think of doing such a thing in a place like Jamaica.

Hire a taxi driver? They are no better. They think you want to see the touristy stuff, they don't "get" for the most part you want to see a native area. Sometimes though,I wonder if they do "get" what we want, but they know it is unsafe, so they discourage us, after what happened we experienced in Bermuda.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 03:06 PM
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belqique...I couldn't agree with you more. The comments I hear on cruises never cease to amaze me. Sometimes I find them downright embarrassing.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 01:26 AM
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The only port I ever wanted the cruise not to stop in, is the port it started at. Just keep going.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thasic
The only port I ever wanted the cruise not to stop in, is the port it started at. Just keep going.
Some people just retire at seas and never get off. Like Bea Muller (Queen of the seas). Check out this interesting story.
http://www.goworldtravel.com/ex/aspx...xe/article.htm
They did retire the QE2 and Bea Muller had to move. This is from another story.
http://wearecunard.com/tag/bea-muller/

Eighty nine year old Bea Muller has been “living” aboard the 1969 built ship for the past nine years. I’m heartsick. I will miss her so.,” said over 4 o’clock tea in the liner’s fabled Queens Room. “After all, she’s been my “home” off and on for the past 14 years and for 9 years permanently. I’d visit up to as many as 48 ports a year on QE2. We will never see a ship like her again. I’m going to cry a lot, but now I must find it new “home”. Mostly I will miss the wonderful QE2 personnel. First, I’m going to Queen Victoria and try to live at 21 knots, and then to Queen Mary 2 for her World Cruise”
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Can you imagine a retirement like that?
!!!
I wonder how she affords it?
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 02:18 PM
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Some of these ports were built by the cruiselines or commissioned for them. For example, Belize, Costa Maya and the Turks and Caicos are examples.

For some people cruising is all about adventure. You get to go and explore another culture without having to unpack, repack and lug your luggage around. On the other hand for others it represents a very safe way to see the world, still entirely sheltered from it.

I'm sure we have all seen it, the people who won't eat any food off the ship, won't try anything local and go on excursions because it means that they don't have to deal with the language. Versus the people who put a few things in a backpack and walk off the ship to explore the port, have lunch at a local dive and try to do things local.

They are just two different types of travellers. Last year we saw how some reacted when they were told that their cruise was going to be an "immersion" cruise where some of the food was going to be targeting the locals, entertainment for them and even some of the TV. Some people were up in arms afraid that they wouldn't get their hamburgers and have everyone cater to them in English.

A long time ago I realized that I'm not the average traveller. Sea Urchain tapas.. sure! Nasi Goreng for lunch, bring it on. And running through a museum with no signs in English... I'm there. But that's just not for everyone. It's also why I miss those smaller ships that could get into places like Martinique.

Now, how many cruisers will never get to see Madrid, Zurich, Luxembourg or even Calgary simply because it's not on a coast and you can't get there by ship.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 11:42 PM
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Beautifully put, Ephraim - thanks for understanding my original post.
Happy trails to you!
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katlady
Wow I guess everyone missed the point of the OP. What you experience in port, depends on what you know before you arrive. If all I know about the place I'm going is a list of ship shore excursions, I'm missing much of the culture of the island. The cruise lines build store fronts right at the pier so they can get your money as soon as you leave the ship. The passenger needs to know where to find the culture and the true spirit of the stop. Walk away from the shopping center and head to the little church on the corner.
I work in Las Vegas. It never ceases to amaze me when people complain of the extreme heat and monsoon weather in July and August. Or when it is 30 degrees in December. Or those that think Hoover Dam is next to the strip. Doesn't anyone research their destination? For our cruise, way in December I already have maps printed for the ports and researched the areas we are interested in. I have to know everything, so I miss nothing and am well prepared.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha C
I work in Las Vegas. It never ceases to amaze me when people complain of the extreme heat and monsoon weather in July and August. Or when it is 30 degrees in December. Or those that think Hoover Dam is next to the strip. Doesn't anyone research their destination? For our cruise, way in December I already have maps printed for the ports and researched the areas we are interested in. I have to know everything, so I miss nothing and am well prepared.
Ask any Canadian.... we have all seen it. I have seen people with skis on the roof of their car in July. I have been asked if I live in an igloo. I have been ask if you can drive from Montreal to Vancouver, for the weekend. I have been asked if you can do a day trip from Montreal to Niagara Falls (you can, but at 8 hours driving in each direction, it's not going to be much fun!)
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ephraim
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha C
I work in Las Vegas. It never ceases to amaze me when people complain of the extreme heat and monsoon weather in July and August. Or when it is 30 degrees in December. Or those that think Hoover Dam is next to the strip. Doesn't anyone research their destination? For our cruise, way in December I already have maps printed for the ports and researched the areas we are interested in. I have to know everything, so I miss nothing and am well prepared.
Ask any Canadian.... we have all seen it. I have seen people with skis on the roof of their car in July. I have been asked if I live in an igloo. I have been ask if you can drive from Montreal to Vancouver, for the weekend. I have been asked if you can do a day trip from Montreal to Niagara Falls (you can, but at 8 hours driving in each direction, it's not going to be much fun!)
Montreal to Vancouver? Wouldn't that be like driving from NY to Seattle?
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
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Montreal to Vancouver? Wouldn't that be like driving from NY to Seattle?
Almost the exact same distance... Europeans don't have the same sense of distance that we do.

Then again, many Americans don't really understand Canada's size. Halifax, is actually closer to London, England than it is to Vancouver. Driving from St. John's, NL to Vancouver, BC is a total distance of 7132 km. Halifax is just 4583 km from London, England.

Incidentally, Montreal is closet to Los Angeles, CA than we are to Vancouver, BC
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momofmeg
Montreal to Vancouver? Wouldn't that be like driving from NY to Seattle?
Almost the exact same distance... Europeans don't have the same sense of distance that we do.

Then again, many Americans don't really understand Canada's size. Halifax, is actually closer to London, England than it is to Vancouver. Driving from St. John's, NL to Vancouver, BC is a total distance of 7132 km. Halifax is just 4583 km from London, England.

Incidentally, Montreal is closet to Los Angeles, CA than we are to Vancouver, BC
I live near Atlanta, Ga and the flight to London was 4000 miles-of course we flew over Canada, Greenland etc, so I suppose as a bird flies, it would be around 3000 miles. Los Angles is 3000 miles from us and my guess is Vancouver would be a little over 3000 miles, only because there are no direct flights. We have to fly to Seattle and then take a connecting flight.

Now I knew Vancouver was on the west coast because we took our Alaska crusie from there, and I also knew it was a long ways from Ontario. What I had problem understanding was how far Quebec was from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I have an internet buddy I thought could meet me at one of those ports when we did our 2007 transatlantic. She said she was still a good 500-600 miles from either port. I had no idea. Of course I should have, I grew up in Augusta , Ga and my grandmother lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, although we only crossed GA and AL to get there, it was around 500 miles to drive-so I SHOULD have realized!
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
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I live near Atlanta, Ga and the flight to London was 4000 miles-of course we flew over Canada, Greenland etc, so I suppose as a bird flies, it would be around 3000 miles. Los Angles is 3000 miles from us and my guess is Vancouver would be a little over 3000 miles, only because there are no direct flights. We have to fly to Seattle and then take a connecting flight.

Now I knew Vancouver was on the west coast because we took our Alaska crusie from there, and I also knew it was a long ways from Ontario. What I had problem understanding was how far Quebec was from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. I have an internet buddy I thought could meet me at one of those ports when we did our 2007 transatlantic. She said she was still a good 500-600 miles from either port. I had no idea. Of course I should have, I grew up in Augusta , Ga and my grandmother lived in Tupelo, Mississippi, although we only crossed GA and AL to get there, it was around 500 miles to drive-so I SHOULD have realized!
Driving from Vancouver to Atlanta is about 4500 km. Los Angeles is about 3500 km from you. And according to BA, 6756 km is the distance to London, UK.

We deal more with distances in Canada, I guess. Montreal is 6 hours by car from Toronto, Boston and New York City. Halifax is a good 14 hours away. Quebec City is about 2.5 to 3 hours away. We also deal with more time zones than most Americans, Newfoundland, Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific. When it's 6:30P in Montreal it's already 8:00P and it's only 3:30P in Vancouver.

But even if you look at Italy, which is very small in size, just going from one part of the country to another will not only give you differences in language, but a lot of differences in food. The same is true of Spain and France as well.

Unfortunately, I think that there are too many people who are afraid to delve into the real country when they visit. And as countries develop they inevitably throw off pieces of their past. Let's face it, the US isn't what it used to be either. Who in the 1950s had even heard of a chain restaurants, never mind fast food restaurants. The same thing is happening with much of the developing world. Where it was too expensive to wire a country for telephone service today you can walk in and get a mobile phone and a phone number in minutes. You can have a boxed hamburger that is the same almost everywhere in the world that is just the same as the burger in the US. You can drink chemical-sweetened bubbly water anywhere that is the same.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Ephraim, I know England is further than California or Vancouver from me, by the way the plane flies, that is why I said "by the bird flies,"

The plane does not fly diagonally across the ocean (the closest way)but instead flies over Canada all the way to Newfoundland then to Greenland and Iceland then down to Brittan in order to stay over land as much as possible.

I did not know the exact miles but I do know it is a 5 hour flight to Seattle, and to California, a direct flight to Los Angles or San Diego is also around 4 and half to 5 hours for us.

I have wondered though if we could take a direct flight to Vancouver would it be any further than Seattle? My guess is yes, but not much.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
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Ephraim, I know England is further than California or Vancouver from me, by the way the plane flies, that is why I said "by the bird flies,"

The plane does not fly diagonally across the ocean (the closest way)but instead flies over Canada all the way to Newfoundland then to Greenland and Iceland then down to Brittan in order to stay over land as much as possible.

I did not know the exact miles but I do know it is a 5 hour flight to Seattle, and to California, a direct flight to Los Angles or San Diego is also around 4 and half to 5 hours for us.

I have wondered though if we could take a direct flight to Vancouver would it be any further than Seattle? My guess is yes, but not much.
Actually, it would be shorter to fly if they flew bigger airplanes. There are rules about distance from an airport based on the number of engines that a plane has. (Scratching head trying to remember if it's 60 minutes from an airport with 2 engines and 90 minutes with 3 engines. Then there is the requirement if you are 2 engines to be ETOPS equipped and of course to follow the North Atlantic Tracks because of lack of air traffic control in some parts otherwise.

I checked for air distance and ATL-YVR is 3609 km and ATL-SEA is 3502 km. Not much of a difference, about 15 minutes by airplane.

Now, when in Spain are you going to try the Sea Urchin tapas?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Sadly, I know what your talking about..We stopped to see the Kuna Indians more than 20 years ago and I would not want to go back and see the "modernization"..This cruise we stopped in St. Lucia where we had to go through a terminal with all the jewelry stores and a few local shops.. I had hoped to find Bagshaws which I did in the mountains more than 20 years ago and had on a favorite blouse and bag...not only was there a Bagshaws in the terminal.. but nothing of his designs... The guide on the cruise ship said something I appreciated..he said... leave your $$ on the island... .. Meaning not in the emerald, tanzanite etc. etc. chains..Talked to a woman last night who went back to Macchu Piccju for the second time... and regretted it.. what with Starbucks coffee, five star hotels, etc. etc. When we got off the ship in Tobago.. the first thing we saw was a.... Kentucky Fried Chicken...yet in Dominica.. it was sweet and charming..the way the islands used to be.. We prefer not to cruise the Caribbean..but cruise t/a from Europe...but save me from St. Thomas...and the shops
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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Several years ago, I flew to St. Thomas for a long weekend. Had been there years before on cruises and liked it. Stayed in a B+B instead of a big hotel, but when going out to dinner the cabdriver kept trying to take us to KFC or other US chain fast food. I had to get emphatic that we wanted local food. Ended up at a big hotel where they did a floor show while serving their version of local fare. So much for the conch civiche my mouth was hankering for.
Marty
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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First time we were in Molokai they were talking about the coming invasion of a KFC on the island. It was a beautifully quaint island... where the luggage rack at the airport was a bench and even the best hotel on the island didn't yet have telephones in the rooms. I still hope it's like that. That.... I would be willing to go back for.
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Old May 15th, 2009, 10:33 PM
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I've enjoyed reading this thread and in effect, I agree with virtually all views and opinions if such be possible.

Ephraim, I absolutely love Canada, at least the small part I've seen which is only Niagara Falls to Toronto. We lived in the Hudson Valley for 27 yeas and we used to love to go up to Niagara Falls for a few days. Needless to say, we didn't even slow down on the American side but headed straight for Clifton Hill. Canada has the abolute cleanest towns and the one city I visited, I've ever seen. This was back in the 70's but I was enthralled with Ontario Place and the Science Museum. I've also always wanted to see Montreal which looks absolutely gorgeous. Of course Rollerdonna and James will have probably moved to the Maritimes by then.

As I've mentioned on other threads, I am a major student of WWII. My favorite theater is the Battle of the Atlantic.

That is why I hope to someday soon go on a New England/Canadian Cruise but one that hits both Montreal and Halifax (where the convoys would gather prior to crossing the Atlantic to Great Britain). Being also heavily into the history of Trans Atllantic travel, I'd of course love to see the cemetery where the victims of the Titanic are buried.

I also love the Caribbean islands but the first time we were ever down that way was 2006 so I don't know about the "then vs. now" comparisons other than through personal research. As a point of interest, I have seen photos of a German Light Cruiser (if I remember correctly, the Liepzig) taken in 1936 sitting in the bay at St. Thomas....no quay, no town, no buildings and I think I could make out but one house.

I also understand the apprehension of cruisers not wanting to strike out on their own. It's sad but crime has become a major issue on many of the islands (last year in St. Thomas, some guy from a cruise ship wanting to explore on his own, unknowingly wandered into the housing project and was robbed and killed. Crime against tourists in Jamaica is almost epidemic...sometimes even on an escorted excursion.

Yes I understand that we've brought a lot of it on ourselves by the overwhelming "encroachment" of the tourism and cruise industry, especially over the last ten to fifteen years. I remember about twenty years ago being incensed upon reading that a major tourist resort in Jamaica actually provided few jobs and bought nothing from the islanders themselves....it all being imported from the United States even though if I remember correctly the resort wasn't American owned. Back then as is so often the case, the government was obviously corrupt and the developers more than greased a few palms.

In any event, time changes eveything, often not for the better. I am, however, so pleased that last year we saw Bermuda and I am thrilled that we are again returning on our cruise in less than a month. It still is, if not "pristine" nevertheless absolutely gorgeous.

In closing, I'll say again I can agree with most all viewpoints to a greater or lesser degree that have been exhibited in this discussion and I feel privileged to have contributed something, albeit very little, to it.

Todd
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