We are now on day 3 of our cruise. The first two days were spent at sea. We took that time to relax, take naps, and explore the ship a bit.
We are on Holland America for the first time, and the cruise line offers a few nice things that are new to us. The first is that each room has a DVD player and they provide a pretty comprehensive selection of DVDs that can be delivered, which is great, since we don’t usually go to the shows each night. The second nice thing is that to go along with the movies, they offer a “Ship Flicks” package of food – 4 sodas, 3 snacks (Snickers, Twix, chips, pretzels, etc..), 2 bowls of mixed nuts, a bucket of ice, and 2 packs of popcorn, all for $10, which in the cruise world is a smoking deal. Also, each afternoon they drop off a door hanger for breakfast, and you can pick what you want delivered, and at what time – fruit, juice, muffins, yogurt, and all sorts of other stuff. Very convenient, especially on days when we have shore excursions right away in the morning. Saves a lot of time having to elbow old people out of our way to get to the buffet.
Yesterday we hung out in our cabin a lot. This is the first cruise where we’ve had a balcony, and we are definitely using it as much as we can. It’s great to be able to just open a door and step outside to read or get some sun. Julie and I agree that we like this better than we expected to. Last night we dined at the specialty restaurant on ship – the Pinnacle Grill. We weren’t as impressed by the specialty restaurant on this ship as we have been with similar restaurants on other ships. Service was slow and overly “showy”. The food was, of course, very good, but we’ll probably just stick to the dining room from here on in. The food in the dining room is much better than what we’ve had on other cruise lines, so that’s an easy trade off. We’ve also enjoyed spending time reading and playing Scrabble in the library, although, as you can tell from the picture, the Scrabble set they have is a hodge-podge. This is what I am blaming for my losses the last two days.
Today we had our first on shore day, in St. Maarten. We had a shore excursion right away at 8:30, only about 10 minutes after the ship was docked. We were driven to the highest point on the island. We got a lot of interesting history about the island, which is actually split into French and Dutch sides, each with different currencies, laws, and culture. After we got to the top of the peak (about 1400 ft. above sea level), we hiked down through the rain forest (Buddy included), hearing all about the history of the island and it’s various exports in the past – sugar, salt, rum, etc…
We got dropped back off at the pier and stumbled across a patisserie right by the boats, so we treated ourselves to some macarons and spent the afternoon relaxing on the balcony.
Couldn’t ask for a better day!