I’d booked the Sea & Sea tour and hoped it wouldn’t rain again! Took my brolly just in case. we had a couple of stops, including Marigot for an hour did a boat trip to see some underwater wildlife then returned to the ship.
Our departure was 6pm, the same as Epic while the other two left an hour later. There was a small horn battle with Liberty then we tootled to St Kitts.
Kelly Monteith had been due to do his show that night but hadn’t arrived, which was a shame.
St Kitts was our next port and one I’d not been to before. It was a very humid 28c.
I was booked on the scenic railway tour and right from the start there was confusion despite the instructions saying to meet in the terminal building. There were a few of us and we were ordered rather rudely to follow one of the tour staff through the security gate. Here he took the tickets then handed some back. He told me and a family of four to go with him but didn’t say where to. It turned out to be the bus. So we went for the ride to the train. On the train, we were all packed like sardines with your back facing the scenery. The ice crusher for Pina Coladas would completely drown out the guide’s voice while the noise of the train was pretty loud. I had many comments on Facebook when I said I was doing this tour, telling me to enjoy the free rum but nothing about the actual tour itself. As I’m still on painkillers for my back, it was soft drinks. At the beginning, people were trying to take photos without falling out of the train but after our third of four bridges, lots of green one one side and sea on the other, hardly anyone bothered any more. Even the singing was failing to hold attention as it had the first time. The guide told us there were more monkeys than people on the island but no one saw any which weren’t in cages or with touts at the port asking if you wanted your photo taken. We were back on the bus and at the ship in time for lunch. Maybe if I did it again, I’d get hammered then say how great it is!
Sailaway was slightly early and the sky was absolutely perfect. Kelly Monteith had arrived so did his show, which was hilarious. He certainly had sea days summed up.
Dinner and I’d tried pre-ordering a bowl of chilli for a few days. It had started as a joke by my table companion Sarah then became a challenge. José took my order, wrote chilli with rice and I got rice with chilli flakes instead. I eventually got a curry as a replacement with a promise of chilli the next night.
Our final port before Miami was St Croix, another first for me and also where everyone had the mandatory immigration inspection as you were entering the US. They had tour groups first, which was good. It was meant to start at 7am but the doors to the theatre opened 20 minutes late. Another 20 and I was out, your SeaPass card punched to show you’d been cleared to leave the ship.
I’d booked the panoramic tour where we saw lots of trees and had photo stops to see more and a golf course. We couldn’t get to the viewing point due to mud and they had no Plan B so we ended up spending a soaked hour in Christiansted instead of 45 minutes. Afterwards we went back to the ship. I grabbed my umbrella and went back out for pics after lunch.
By the time we sailed at 5pm the rain had thankfully stopped, though some dark clouds still hung around like a bad smell. I got my bowl of chilli for dinner – yay!!! And delicious it was too. I have read many complaints online about the new menu. Not much I often fancy on it either, unlike the old one. But it’s easy to have something off menu if you just talk to your waiters. A friend never has anything on the menu when we go on Cunard because he doesn’t like any of it. By bed time it was pouring again.
The 8th was our penultimate sea day. It was going to be another lazy day for me but I was awake for sunrise, which was unusual. Then I went back to bed! When i got up again it was another beautiful day, temperatures of 29c. They had a barbecue by the pool but I preferred the Windjammer. Less queues! Sunset was sadly marred by low cloud but we had company ahead in the shape of Norwegian Sun.
Evening was the International Parade of Flags, something I know was done on other ships but I have only seen it on Vision. It certainly wasn’t on Indy or Radiance. I just love this aspect of the cruise and the crew obviously have a lot of fun. I missed it in September but Captain Ban was on in 2012 leading the parade so I was not only pleased to see him do it again, but also it was still happening with the new Centrum. Then dinner.
Our final sea day saw Norwegian sun behind us and Vision having had a coughing fit from her funnel during the night. There was the Royal Caribbean supported charity Walk For Wishes after lunch, which included the Captain and other senior crew members. Norwegian Sun was later joined by Norwegian Star, which I had last seen on the 23rd March 2008 from the very same balcony, the first time I sailed on Vision from LA.
Thanks to locked doors, I’d been able to access the new Chef’s Table, which had been included in the corner of the Aquarius dining room. But my waitier Emil had told me to go and see my head waiter José at first sitting and he would show me it. It seemed odd going into the restaurant at that time and seeing other people at the tables. I really liked the Chef’s Table, especially the light fitting.
The last dinner was fun as Emil was showing us tricks. José took over the cork in the bottle one before Emil did two others. At 10.15pm was the second acrobatics show. The first had been at 8.15pm but the Compass didn’t say it was only 15 minutes so I and several others didn’t go. I had seen the rehearsals during the cruise and this was quite disappointing compared to some of the things they were doing.
We had to put the clocks back an hour but that still didn’t help me sleep. As well as now being in a force 7 – woooooo!!!!! – other ships appeared outside. Norwegian Pearl was one, which I’d last seen in Southampton back in December 2006 as new and I just got out of bed to see Oasis having passed, which I’d last seen in Fort Lauderdale in 2011. She is my next Royal Caribbean cruise and again, crossing after refit but this time from Southampton. Wish there was at least one more port to break up 8 sea days. Even Labadee or Nassau would do! I also caught Allure of the Seas and Norwegian Epic in poor conditions.
And so Miami beckoned! I was up after just 2 hours sleep to catch Carnival Freedom going south. We had our pilot and headed in, docking in berth G. Bimini Superfast was in H. we were followed by Norwegian Star, Norwegian Pearl, Carnival Glory, Regatta, Norwegian Sun, Disney Magic and AIDAbella.
7.25am is a stupid time for someone to check the mini bar. Disembarkation was at 8.10am which was chaotic. There were three carousels in the terminal with out 8 baggage numbers on them, and not put on in order. I eventually found mine. Not on number 2 but number 3 minus its label. Then it was off to the airport where I had lunch with my friend Nicole Goldstein, who I’d first met in Sydney when going to watch Radiance of the Seas sail.
So that was the end of my 6th and possibly last cruise on my favourite Vision. 😦