the First Caribbean Cruise – Cruise # 20

Explorer of the Seas Voyage # 634
Bayonne – Eastern Caribbean 11 Night Cruise

This cruise we finally visited ports other than Bermuda. Gosh it felt good! However, I’m really learning to appreciate the Vision’s itinerary. We had 1 or 2 sea days tops on our 7 day cruises and only a maximum of 3 during the 11 day cruises, but here we have SO many sea days. The Bermuda cruises had 3 sea days and this cruise we’ve had 5!! Gosh. Sea days are terrible because the Photo Gallery has to stay open all day and so we’re working the whole time.

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There doesn’t seem to be as much to do in the ports. Most people either go shopping or to the beach, which has been fun. In Phillipsburg, St Maarten, there’s a really cool beach bar called Honky Tonk where all the crew members go. So after walking about the shops for a bit, we ended up there for a few beers and wifi. We had some great beers. I know… It sounds weird coming from me, a traditionally non-beer drinker, but I’ve started enjoying it. Maybe it’s because it’s so incredibly hot here! We had a Dominican beer first and then some tequila blended beers and then good old faithful corona. I had a bubbly day!

We also went to Labadee, which is a private island owned by Royal Caribbean, in Haiti. Everyone was psyching me out because we do a lot of shooting there and they made it seem like a hell of a day. But hurray! It wasn’t bad at all! Yes, we work longer hours compared to in the other ports, but after you get past the heat, you can kind of enjoy the work. I was on beach duty, so I spent 3 1/2 hours wandering up and down the different beaches, taking pictures of people. I was surprised by how many people want their picture taken while in the sea and I had to wade into the water up to my waist at times to take the photos. So I spent my day walking around barefoot and wadding in the water. I even found some sea urchins, or pumpkin shells as we call them in South Africa. Besides worrying about getting my equipment wet and having to bug people for pictures, it was a good day.

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Other ports we visited include San Juan (Puerto Rico), St John’s (Antigua) and Basseterre (St Kitts). I have nothing amazing to say about any of these ports… Although, I spent the day in Puerto Rico in a shopping mall, so next time I will try see more of the city, I hear it’s pretty awesome!

Funny guest story #1: this cruise Alex, who is always very polite and friendly with guests, had a lady ask him how she will know which photo is hers, to which he very sweetly and in all seriousness replied: “Madam, you are in the picture.” Really…

Funny guest story #2: While prowling the Labadee beaches for guests to photograph, I met a man searching for treasure with a metal detector… I stopped to watch him (rather excitedly) dig around for the object that was causing his contraption to beep. It took him quite a while to discover his treasure, which turned out to be a bottle cap… What struck me as odd, is that metal detectors aren’t available for hire in Labadee… This means that He must have brought it with him on the cruise!

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Highlight of the cruise: Once again, we’ve spent time together as a team this cruise. I’m really enjoying the social aspect of being in a big team. Whether chilling on back deck, relaxing in a beach bar, camping in the photo corridor to watch a movie or crowded into one of our tiny cabins, we always have fun together.

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