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About MNgardens

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  1. I figure flights this close in may cost more than if book earlier. Waiting might get you a cheaper cruise but more expensive flights.
  2. Regarding St John: Trunk Bay has all services - snorkel rental, bathrooms, showers to rinse off, food services. I was just there in July. Peace Hill has a short hike to a ruin of a windmill. The islands were sugar cane plantations for the Danish and conditions were brutal.
  3. My recommendations: There is a quick ferry from CA to Water Island. There is a nice beach there with a beach bar there called Heidi's. If you are up to driving on the left, rent a vehicle and head off the beaten path to Hull Bay. There is a restaurant there too. It is not the most gorgeous beach but there will be no excursions to it from the big ships. Often there is a small dog Lily hanging out to swim with people. This is much more of a locals scene with local boaters, not yachts. I have not done it- way off the beaten path: Drive and park at the entrance to the fancy development called Botony Bay. The guard will give you instructions on how to walk down to a beach area known as Mermaid's Chair. When the tide is low there will be a spit of land that appears and is very instagrammable. No services. Bring plenty of water etc. The walk back to the car is up hill. More on the beaten path - Magen's Bay is super beautiful but likely to be crowed at one end if there are multiple ships in port. Put yourself at the far end away from the bar/restaurant/shop and you will be fine. Beautiful sandy beach. Not much snorkling. There is an entrance fee, I believe cash only. Coki Beach has good snorkling. Another place that may get crowded. It is next to Coral World which is a small locally owned marine park. You could spend a couple of hours there and then eat lunch at Coki. The homemade waffle cones at the ice cream shop are outstanding. The best strategy if you have a car is tour Coral World first, get their parking permit, then walk next door for Coki. In addition to their aquarium and wild life displays, Coral World has visit add ons such as SNUBA, helmet walk on the ocean floor, swim with a sea lion, dolphin encounter, shark interaction, etc. This is not one of the more shady big corporation operators. The owners have a huge commitment to their animals' welfare and a passion for educating visiting and local youth about the ocean environment. Closer to Red Hook are Sapphire Beach and Lindqvist Beach. Sapphire has a lot of condos, a bar, etc. and is a common destination for day trippers. Lindqvist is more of a community park, small fee to park, no services. One time I was there a man had a floating bar set up that he was mixing drinks from. It is a beautiful long sandy beach. Traffic can be a little slow downtown. Driving on the left really isn't that bad because no where on the island can you really go more than 35-40 due to the many curves and hills. The car are with the steering wheel on the left (like the US) so remember to "Keep your shoulder on the road's shoulder" and you will be fine. The island will still bear witness to the devastation of the hurricanes two years ago. There are still churches with the roofs blown off. You will still see houses with blue tarps. The schools all need rebuilding. The hospital was just recently granted US money for rebuilding. Electrical power is unreliable. It has been two years. The islands have definitely been neglected by the mainland. Any money you can spend locally will have an impact.
  4. Am I correct in thinking that the St Thomas stops will be on Sundays? Depending on your hours in port, this company runs a day trip to Culebrita from St Thomas. They also have trips to the taco boat anchored off St John. I am heading to the taco boat in about 10 days while I am on St Thomas for a vacation. http://stthomasboattours.com/
  5. For the future - Do people think that checking the marine traffic map before heading to port is a good idea or do these snafus happen infrequently? Here is a link - https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-12.0/centery:25.0/zoom:4
  6. I just on windy dot com checking the conditions in the Caribbean. For fun I looked at the Atlantic near Spain. On the top right is a way to select for waves instead of wind. At the bottom of the page are about 10 days worth of forecast. You can slide along to see for a particular day. If the forecast holds, your first couple of days after Gibraltar could be a little bouncy, followed by much nicer conditions towards Bermuda.
  7. Tauck Tours uses the Windstar vessels for several of their trips. Do you think this reduces capacity for the rest of us? Are prices high through a deal with Tauck in order for Tauck people to not jump over to booking cruise only?
  8. MNgardens

    Carbon offsets

    Unfortunately neither Azamara or sail assisted ship (Windstar etc) made this report card but it certainly is eye opening for the other lines. Friends of the Earth is an organization I have not heard of before so take it with a grain of salt. https://foe.org/cruise-report-card/
  9. MNgardens

    Carbon offsets

    Nordski: It is overwhelming to try to distinguish which organizations are ethical and effective. I donate instead to a wildlife rehabilitation and ocean research center in Alaska. The wildlife and oceans are being impacted right now and this is how I set my priority. I don't think that it has to be an 'offset' organization per se to be impactful Perhaps you can find an Arctic research group that could either use a donation or recommend an organization.
  10. I completed the survey through the link above rather than through the one in my email. It asks when you last sailed with Azamara. (For me, within in the last year.) It then asks which stateroom. I answered veranda because that was the one for the last year. However I had sailed in the CC two cruises before that which is perhaps how I got the email. Did I interpret the question correctly - which type of stateroom matches my most recent cruise? And my two cents: not on the list of possible enhancements - one that I would prefer is unlimited laundry for the big corner suites. If I had ponied up the big bucks, I would rather that over an in suite minibar. I too belong in the camp of let's not try to create a class that is treated as more special than others in highly visible ways. We are all incredibly fortunate to be able to take such a fabulous vacation. The vocabulary that has been used in these two pages are "caste" and "segregation." These are highly emotionally loaded words which reflect a strong distaste for attempting to create an atmosphere of exclusivity. The head offices should note this. Twiga: There is a lounge that is available for only a subset of the passengers is one that I can think of with out having sailed on them. I have heard of other cruise lines having special tendering lines, seating areas etc. I don't know much about Oceania.
  11. I wonder if they are looking at using Oceania as a model? For those of you that have cruised on Oceania, how did the segregation affect your experience?
  12. I have never stayed at a hotel through Azamara. I am unlikely to since they seem to pick very high end hotels and that is not my scene.
  13. I am in the US and got it. The nice thing about Azamara passengers is that there is no ostentatious display of wealth. One could be chatting with a tech millionaire or with a skilled tradesperson. Everyone is interesting. I have never encountered a braggart.
  14. Just one to add: The day sail boats I have been on require people to take off their shoes before they board. You get your shoes back at the end on the dock. Just want to give you a heads up on that in case she is wanting to wear lace up sneakers. There may be a bench to sit while putting them back on but I wouldn't count on it.
  15. It was heavily damaged two years ago in the hurricanes. The property is currently for sale.
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