Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise Part 2: Weather and Ports

Time to get into the cruise a little bit more! You can read Part 1 here

So... the weather. The weather on our cruise was not good. I mean, really. It was often BAD. Bad enough that the people who are scared of the water stayed for hours and hours in one seat, in the middle of the ship, close to their emergency meet point. Bad enough that things were falling over as the ship rocked side to side. And, by things, I mean usually people. People were stumbling everywhere. People were seasick. There was vomit involved. People were unable to sleep. Basically worse case scenario for anyone with reservations about cruising.

All we had heard was that you never even know that you're on a big ship, it's SO BIG that you never feel it. Well, you could feel it SO MUCH our entire week that it became a running joke between hubs and me after we'd walk into a wall or something "Wow, you'd never even KNOW you were on a boat." I was at home sitting at the computer 36 hours after getting off the ship and noticed I was STILL swaying inside.

I know that the weather is out of the ship's control, but it was the way the weather was dealt with that was kind of an issue. The ship was unable to go into port at our first stop, Nassau, since the water was so rocky. And it rained and rained nonstop. And it was SO WINDY that you couldn't even walk outside. All of this resulted in 5,000+ people stuck indoors in artificial light on a ship that massively rocked from approximately 6pm Sunday until we docked at St. Thomas at 7am or so on Wednesday. Seriously.

And for those 2.5 days... things ground to a halt. Many of the shows couldn't go on because of the weather conditions. No ice shows, water shows, etc., (understandably). The entire massive boardwalk area was mostly useless. No rock wall, no surf machine, no zipline, no putt putt, no basketball, no kiddie splash park. Every pool is outside and each one had a net thrown over it to keep people out. All of a sudden, having almost every activity OUTSIDE didn't seem like such a brilliant plan. I know, I know, sh*t happens, but the entire ship spent 2.5 days of our cruise bunkered down indoors with little to do.... Not a great start for those of us who weren't completely sold on a cruise to begin with! 

Blowing away on the top deck! 

Then.... on Wednesday. We docked!! And the sun was out! And everyone ran off the ship and kissed the ground! LOL! 

Hubs and I were married on St. John and we have talked forever about taking our families back to see the beach where it all began. We were so excited to use this day to show our girls! We took a taxi across St. Thomas to the Red Hook dock and took the ferry across to Cruz Bay on St. John. This was definitely a lengthy and somewhat expensive process, but was totally doable. 

Sea turtle spotting on the ferry ride between the islands! Gorgeous!! 

Lunch at Across the Street on St. John

Of course my little one thought this was serious (and a great idea! LOL)

Sweet wild deer at Hawksnest Park

Hawksnest Beach where we were married was just as lovely as we remembered. Seriously. It is pretty much perfect. The WAVES, however, were out of control and we all got knocked around and lost a few things. Everyone was talking about how uncharacteristic this is.... Oh well. One more crazy weather situation to add to the trip! LOL! 

We caught the return ferry just in time for it to start pouring rain again... Ugh. St. Thomas is kind of gross so we were actually excited to get back on the boat!! Haha! 

The third and final stop was St. Martin/Maarten. The grandparents took the girls on a day tour of a local butterfly farm (was kind of a long and uneventful day for young kids) and the hubs and I caught a taxi to Orient Beach. We just randomly picked this beach off a map and it was really gorgeous. It is on the French side, so there is a nude section (um... def too much old man nudity, as expected... hahaha). 

It was interesting to hear our Dutch taxi driver ranting about how much she hates the French. The island is divided in half between the two countries and it is obviously VERY divided. She spent lots of time talking about how the French try to get you for every dollar they can. This was 100% our experience as a guy tried to charge us $20 a chair on the beach for a couple of hours (we sat on a towel on the sand) and a lady at a gift shop ran our credit card in Euros instead of dollars (made it 1.5x more expensive, we didn't notice until on our way back to the ship). And, of course, it rained while we were there... but it was pretty! haha! 

View of St. Martin from our room's balcony!

Orient Beach, St. Maarten

I was surprised that hubs didn't want to try these water jet pack boot things!

So... the ports were SO nice for a change of scenery. All of a sudden, when we could get on/off the boat, cruising made a lot more sense. We have already talked about how cool it would be to cruise an area of the world with fabulous cities that are maybe not the safest to spend a long amount of time in (like Turkey, for example!). 

Stay tuned for more info on the ship itself - food, shows, activities! Let me know if you have any questions at all! I'm so happy to share!! 

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