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RCCL Explorer of the SeasHello All!

I spotted this article on Facebook today and thought these were good tips to share for people cruising.  I have some of my own comments with regard to the article. With regard to timing, whether it is arrival to the ship for your initial departure or if it is a shore excursion, you  have to monitor the time and get back in plenty of tie to get on board.  I always tried to get back 1 to 2  hrs before the set sail time. Continue reading

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I came across this article today on Wired.com and thought I would share it. It is about the sailing of the Quantum of the Seas through the narrow river from the shipyard.   It is amazing to me what they have to engineer just to get these larger ships from the shipyard out to see.   From what I read, the ship yard is in about 20 miles from the sea to protect them from storms.     Can’t wait to see the sister ships Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas from Royal Caribbean.

Click to read it below:  Thanks and hat tip to Alex Davies for this post on wired.com.  Please click over to read the article titled:  How to Squeeze a Huge Ship Down a Tiny River by Alex Davies.   Click HERE to Read …

Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/09/conveyance-quantum-of-the-seas/

source: http://www.wired.com/2014/09/conveyance-quantum-of-the-seas/

 

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Horseshoe Bay Beach. Courtesy Akem on wikipedia.org

Horseshoe Bay Beach

One of the favorite stops and also one of the most beautiful beaches in the world is Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda.  For those thrifty cruise travelers that don’t wish to book a fancy excursion and pay per person rates, this itinerary below may be right for you if you just wanted to do your own tour.  Our do it yourself excursion is for a 6 – 8 hour trip, but you have to watch your time if your ship leaves the same day. Horseshoe Bay Beach is a Public Beach and has restroom and changing facilities.    So, to plan your trip, you can pack your towels and a bag.  Be sure to ask for a map of Bermuda as you leave the ship. They usually provide a map for shopping that has the details on Hamilton.   For the island, when you buy your transportation pass, they usually provide a small map with the routes.   For planning, Horseshoe Bay Beach has chair and umbrella rentals so take some cash if you are planning to rent (No Credit Cards) or purchases snacks.  You are probably wondering about the money used in Bermuda as I mention cash needs for the transportation, shopping, and public beaches.  Bermuda has Bermudian money, but they also accept US Dollars.  However, you do want want to have on hand smaller bills in Bermuda as getting change for larger USD could be a challenge in some stores and shops.  Some stores do take credit cards, however the public beach chair rentals and the public transportation was a cash only transaction.  Horseshoe Bay Beach has beach chair rentals and rest room, and changing room facilities.    For this trip, you want some good walking shoes and beach attire.     So with these plans made ahead of time,  let’s start our excursion!

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2014-08-19 14.07.04

Snorkel Park, Bermuda

You docked at Kings Wharf Bermuda, but your ship is only in port for a day or two?  What do you do?  Well, don’t panic if you didn’t book a shore excursion. DIY – Do it yourself!  Within walking distance of the ship, there is the Royal Navy Dockyard.  Each time we return to Bermuda, we see this area just keeps on growing with new activities, shops and vendors.  They even have a courtesy shuttle from the ship’s gangway over to the information booth to save you some walking.     From that location, you can catch the Water Ferries to Hamilton or St Georges.    Just be sure to check the Ferry schedules so that you allow plenty of time to get back to your ship!   The information center is very helpful and also sells some souvenirs.   Also, past the Information Center, you will find a Bonefish Grill, and some local shops and cafes.  There is also a museum, and if you walk the path to the one end, you run into Snorkel Park Beach.

Snorkel Park Beach is a private beach and does have an admission, but there is also a bar on the beach, so ask if there is a fee if you just going to the bar.   There are signs posted. We also spotted a Mini Golf course near the Snorkel Park entrance too.   From the ship, follow the walkway over to the information center and go to your right. Follow that street down to the back side of the Dockyard. Snorkel Park, the Museum, and the cafe’s are all there.   If you are in a time crunch, and really do not have time to get to some of the other beaches, such as Horseshoe Bay Beach,  Snorkel Park is an alternative.  It is a smaller beach and since there are usually  2 cruise ships in port at a time, you do want to get there early if you intend on renting a chair (probably before 11am).    You can also rent snorkel gear and there are reefs to see at Snorkel Park beach.   The beach area is smaller than Horseshoe Bay Beach, so check out my article on Horseshoe Bay Beach if you want to do your own excursion to that beach.

Bermuda

Royal Navy Dock yard, Kings Wharf Bermuda

There are limited activities in the area, and typically there are taxi’s right outside the Ship’s gangway if you plan to use a Taxi to get around.  There are a few options for you to travel in Bermuda.  Taxi,  Mini-Bus, or the Water Ferries.  The Public Transportation tickets for the Bus and Water Ferries are sold right outside the Gangway, or over by the Information Center.   In 2014, the cost was around 5.00 1 way, or you can purchase an all day pass.  There was a children rate that was less money.  Just be sure to check the timing so you make it back to your ship on time!   If you are staying in the port area because of the time crunch, the Royal Navy Dockyard is an opportunity.

Snorkel Park Beach Bar

Snorkel Park Beach Bar

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Megan's Bay USVI St Thomas

Megan’s Bay USVI St Thomas

Welcome to Magen’s Bay, St Thomas, USVI

 

If you are into Beaches in the Caribbean, one exciting visit you must try when in St Thomas, USVI is the excursion to Magen’s Bay. This is one of the most beautiful beaches you will find in the Caribbean. There is a small drive and parking and when the bus unloads, you will find a tree line for some shade, and then a wide beach area with white sand and crystal clear water. The picture (courtesy of Gruepig on WikiCommons) shows exactly what you will see looking out to the water way. Continue reading

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Don’t expect Life Guards on your Cruise!

I found this interesting video from Travel on FoxNews.com to share.

http://video.foxnews.com/v/3372290841001/dont-expect-lifeguards-on-cruises-or-at-resorts/?intcmp=HPBucket&playlist_id=1034196603001#sp=show-clips

 

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Click to view a panoramic pic of Hamilton, Bermuda

Click A panoramic pic of Hamilton, Bermuda

When you dock at Kings Wharf, Bermuda, there are several ways to get around Bermuda. One of the fastest ways to Hamilton is by water ferry. For a small fee, they can shuttle you by ferry right over to Hamilton, Bermuda.  As you exit the ship, head towards the dock and around the bend you find the location for boarding the Water Ferry and ticket purchases.   The panoramic picture above was taken right there by the water front, so you can see the lovely colors of the buildings and shops. There are a number of local shops here, and you can spend time walking the town.  As you turn around, the beautiful harbor stares back at you.   It’s not so deep, and in the past only the shallow draft cruise ships were able to dock here in Hamilton right up against the bulkhead.  The smaller cruise ships from years past had a shallow draft of 22-24 feet and were able to make it in here and dock in this vicinity.  Now, these larger vessels are docked out by Kings Wharf and you can use the Ferry, Cab, or their Bus passes to get around the island. The cost is not too bad, so take some cash with you for fares.

Hamilton Bermuda Harbor

Hamilton Bermuda, Click to see.

 

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Sint Martin, Philipsburg  St Maarten is divided between the Dutch Side (Philipsburg) Sint Martin, and the French Side called Saint Maarten has it’s capital at Marigot.  Thus, Sint Martin, Philipsburg  and St Maarten Shore Excursions was born!

Philipsburg has a fairly new cruise terminal and is a popular stop for ships.   Once the ships dock here, it is just a short water taxi ride over to the Philipsburg, or you can walk to town that will take you about 20 minutes.  Once in town, you will find a beach and a paved area that resembles a board walk at some of the USA beaches on the east coast.  The mile long paved walk is lined with shops, cafes, and bars. There are also hotels around this area. There are also very nice cafes and bars along the strip. So, if you wanted to do something on your own, you can explore the shops and cafe’s spread across Philipsburg and experience some local cooking.

When you walk into town just outside this beach area on Front Street,  there are plenty of shops, so this is definitely  a port-of-call for shoppers.

Many shops line the streets in both directions. Jewelry shops, electronics,  and alcohol cater to those looking for duty free shopping.

The water and beach areas are very beautiful and clean.      This is a very beautiful stop for cruise travelers.   Check with your cruise shore excursions list to see what beach tours they have available.  This port-of-call has many shore excursion opportunities as it is a popular stop for Cruise Lines.  However, if you plan to just use the water taxi and head into Philipsburg’s town, there is plenty to see and shop too.

Phillipsburg Cruise Terminal, Sint Martin

Phillipsburg Cruise Terminal, Sint Martin

When you are ready to head back, simply catch the water taxi back to the cruise port.  At the cruise port, you will also find more shops and duty free shops so you don’t need to rush back on board.

 

There was also a local steel drum band playing at the pier.  While waiting to board, you can stop at a cafe, local bar, and just hang out on the pier listening to the local bands playing.

 

Cruise Lines: Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Disney, Celebrity.

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RCCL Explorer of the Seas

Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas

 

Labadee Haiti Resort is a privately leased port on the northern island of Haiti.  This Royal Caribbean’s Shore Excursion is a private resort and a common stop for the fleet in the Caribbean.    In the past, the ships would be tendered into the cove, however, with the larger  Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas in the Caribbean rotation, Royal Caribbean International invested millions of dollars in this resort and put in a large port.

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El Morro Fort in Old San Juan Guards the Harbor

El Morro Fort in Old San Juan Guards the Harbor

 

Many cruise ships arrive for a brief stop, or begin their cruise at the Old San Juan Cruise Terminal.  This article is for those that want to explore Old San Juan right from the cruise terminal.  Old San Juan Puerto Rico Shore Excursion!

On arrival to Old San Juan, you will be most impressed with the massive 42′ walls that at one time surrounded the city. Back in the 1500’s , these walls protected the residents from attack and are clearly visible as you arrive in the harbor.  A tour of El Morro (shown) is highly recommended and they allow you to walk pretty much anywhere on these grounds.   If you are pressed for time, you could take a taxi to El Morro and begin your walking tour at the Fortress and walk back to the port through town.  If you have more time, you can add the Castillo San Cristobal Fortress to to your tour.   Both parks are part of the National Park system, so these are options you can choose when planning.  Continue reading

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