Friday, May 8, 2015

2015 (April 17- May 1) Southern Caribbean Cruise: St. Thomas; St. Barths; St. Lucia; Barbados; Grenada; Bonaire; and Curacoa

We enjoyed our 2014 Maasdam cruise so much, that when  we received an email with an OBC offer if we booked a future cruise --- we checked the Maasdam itineraries and decided to go back to the Southern Caribbean in 2015---but for 14 nights this time (our longest cruise yet) and with some new (to us) ports of call (Grenada,Bonaire, and Curacao).  We booked a Spa Oceanview since we like being higher on the ship and it was almost affordable. 
A couple months after booking our 2015 cruise, they offered a free Beverage Package and a cheaper fare for new bookings.  Since it was well before final payment, I called and got the reduced fare and the Beverage package, but had to give up our "welcome back OBC" which was only $50@.  After that, we waited about 7 months for the cruise to finally get here.  I was surprised the rates never lowered again.  Since we're not big drinkers, I didn't figure we'd get much use out of the Beverage package and would have given it up for a lower fare.  No further reduction came, but it turned out really nice having the Beverage Package.  On board they were charging $44.99/person/day for the package which included up to 15 drinks a day as long as they were under $7@ ---per person!   I had heard there would be a Beverage card waiting for us in our room when we boarded, but all we found was this card stating the rules and wanting us to sign that we got the card.  After calling the main office, we found out that starting with this cruise, the beverage card was also our room card.
 One day I managed to get 10 drinks, but most of them were water, soda, or smoothies.  I found I could get a "lite" mango smoothie (half mango puree and half water with crushed ice) which was probably my favorite drink and I had it often.
 We took 2 large bottles of water on each of our port calls which we got from the very personable young lady, Caryl Carane, at the Explorer's Cafe.  I also tried the Drink of the Day everyday---most of which were really tasty---such as this one: Beach Comber made with light rum, triple sec, and sweet and sour mix with a dash of grenadine.
 Usually I would get my DOD with lunch. Also would hit up the Lido bar where bar tender Roel would save  a hard to find diet caffeine free Coke for me. 

Usually had a beer or wine for dinner followed by the cordial of the day.  They had a nice selection of brews from other countries.  It was nice trying them all, such as this Boddingtons from England. 
 I found I really liked the after dinner cordials and they even came in a souvenir shot glass.  Now to figure out what to do with 14 souvenir shot glasses!
 Did have to check our cabin statement a couple times and have corrections made for some of the drink charges.  Even ended up with a $25 charge from the lido bar the last night which we didn't bother having corrected on debarkation day since we had $36 in OBC which we weren't expecting for missing Halfmoon Cay.  (Called once we got home and were told it was for a bottle of wine that we didn't get and that it would be credited to our credit card along with the remainder of our credit.)  We ended up leaving with a credit, but I didn't think you get anything back for OBC for shareholders' credit or credit from Holland America---guess we'll soon find out.  We did get the credit!
About a month before our cruise we got an email with an upsell offer to a lanai room for an extra $450/person.  It was only $50 cheaper then upgrading at full fare and I wasn't sold on the shared lanais idea, so we declined the offer; but I kept checking to see if any verandah suites opened up.  About a week before our cruise I noticed a couple verandah suites opened up and decided to call inventory and see if I could upsell to one of them.  The young lady told me they weren't upselling on our cruise any more but would take my name and let inventory know I was interested if they chose to offer another upsell.  Much to my surprise, a couple days later I did get a call from them.  They wanted $700 @ to go to the verandah suite.  I offered $500 and they countered with $550, so I took it---even got to keep the Beverage package and OBC of $350 for stock owners and FCC.  I love having the floor to ceiling windows as well as the private space outside--not to mention the slightly larger room.
We were given category A, suite 182, midship on the Verandah level.  Good location. No complaints with the room.
 Our stewards (Oki and another guy we never met) were very efficient.
The adjustable table in the room is great for the occasional room service meal, too!
Speaking of meals, we had all our breakfasts in the Lido buffet.  Ken was especially impressed with Jomar who almost always waited on him.  I had the cream of wheat everyday with the occasional doughnut, egg, or whatnot.  Only disappointing thing with the Lido breakfast was always having to chase down a bag of decaffeinated tea.  They claim they don't get as many of them because their expiration dates come before they use them all, but they don't put any out.  No wonder they don't get used!
Some Lido Decorations:

 One fish I don't want to meet while snorkeling!

Loved the orchids on the tables---at least until the 2nd week when our ship went into Code Red and all the orchids disappeared.
Loved all the carved fruit.
 Sushi, anyone?

Most of our lunches were in the Lido or Dive Bar.
Everyday they had a corner of the Lido with something special.  This was from when they had the Filipino corner.  It was excellent.
They often had a carved meat station in the regular buffet section.
When we weren't there by 2:30, we often had a sandwich from the deli station or the Dive Bar.  They even had a station in the Lido where pre-made sandwiches were available.
 There was usually pizza available by the deli bar, too.
Their desserts were really good again this year.  Best of any cruise ship I've been on.
There was an afternoon tea in the Rotterdam Dining room every day, too.  On a couple of the sea days, I made it there while Ken rested in our room.
 We had most dinners in the Rotterdam Dining Room.
 A view of the lower diningroom from the upper diningroom.
 They changed the way the menu is presented---with available every night items listed with the rest of the items.  Ken was content with the onion soup, Caesar salad, and salmon most nights.  I liked trying the different choices and enjoyed everything i tried.   There were 3 formal nights and  lobster was served at at least 2 of them.
 Creme brulee was offered everyday
 Did I mention how good the desserts are?
 We even went to the Mariners' Lunch in the Rotterdam Dining room. 
 And were greeted by Captain Ane Jan Smit and the Hotel Manager.
The last night we were looking to burn some of our OBC so we went to the Canaletto Restaurant.  They've changed the menu since last time we went and we enjoyed this dinner a whole lot more then previous ones.
I even enjoyed an Italian beer.
 We shared 2 "small" plates
 We were there rather early, but it certainly lacked customers. 
 My Bistecca was excellent.
Our shared pasta was really good, too.
Ken even enjoyed his meal.  
 He also enjoyed his pistachio ice cream.
 I enjoyed a chocolate dessert, plus they went and got me the cordial of the day.
 Speaking of food---there was a culinary show most days.  We went to them whenever we could.  Not only did we learn about cooking different things, but there were a lot of laughs involved.  This was Jordan's first cruise as Culinary Arts Center Host and she did a great job.
Here Chef Sander and Executive Chef Walter go head to head.  They had us laughing most of the show.
 Chef Walter's completed dish.  He was given rutabagas and sweet potatoes to cook.  Chef Sanders some how had shrimp and scallops to work with.  It was a decisive tie.  Chef Walter even made his 2 ways---one regular and one gluten free.  They're getting on the band wagon of having more gluten free alternatives.
 Another day Hotel Director Kees and Executive Chef Walter answered questions on a chef's life at sea.  The Hotel Director actually had been an Executive Chef before becoming Hotel Director.  Again there was a lot of humorous bantering.
 Chef Sanders also did demonstration on his own (with Jordan emceeing).  He entertained us with a unique sense of humor, too----with the help of Jordan.
 During Chef Sander's cooking shows, we were given tastes.  Loved seeing how to make things correctly!  Who knew I was coating chicken wrong all these years!?
 One of Chef Sanders dishes.
 The Culinery Arts room, also known as the Wajang Theater when movies were shown.  We made it to many of the movies, too.  It's nice that they show a different movie everyday---usually twice a day---and serve free fresh popcorn with it.
 We even went to Mix Bar one day and tried their free appetisers which were very good.  We even played some cribbage while we waited for our food.
 Great little sliders.  The hot wings were great, too, but note an order is only 3 wings.
 While we were enjoying our wings and sliders, there was a beer tasting (for $15) going on.  Would have like to have done it, but couldn't see paying to taste beer when I could get 15 free/day!
 I have more pictures of the Maasdam on my 2014 cruise blog, but here are a few more things we enjoyed around the Maasdam this year (2015).
The Crow's Nest.
 The real flower arrangements.
 The Mix bar where the very talented Jamm the Piano Man packed the place in the evenings.
 More of the Mix.
 The Mix
 The Atrium
 The Digital Workshop
 A week into the cruise some people (TV news said 60 passengers and 11 crew) were hit with the dreaded Norovirus and we went into Code Red---and we were treated to lots and lots and lots of sanitizing gel!
 Another view of the atrium
 Love the tropical flowers in with the others
 Coming out of the Wajang Theatre.
 Laszlo and Claudia performing in the Showroom at Sea---fantastic! 
 A question and answer session with the performers on board.  Neat way to get to learn a bit about them.  This was their last cruise together.  We really enjoyed their shows. 
 The Filipino show which was also excellent---and done at 3pm instead of 11pm!
 More of the Filipino show with some of the ship performers joining in.
 Cruise Director Jeremy Whited.   Very personable, too bad this was his last cruise, too (at least with the Maasdam).
 The library  in the Exploration Cafe.  This was before Code Red.  Once Code Red hit, the books were locked up and you had to sign up to check them out.  Then at a certain time, the wi fi gal would get it out for you.  No more puzzles or cards to check out.
 some of the treats in the Exploration's Cafe.
 One of the many pieces of artworks in the Art Auctions.
 A puzzle to work on before Code Red.
 Fortunately I decided to do laundry Thurs. night.  Friday we went into Code Red and the self serve laundromats were closed for the rest of the trip.  But I thought it was really inexpensive to do laundry---$2 to wash clothes (I brought laundry soap with me), and $1 for 60 minutes drier time.   Fortunately it was just down the hall from us which was very convenient---and never crowded (might have been a different story if it was open the 2nd week). 
 The Ocean's Bar.
 Meeting the officers of the ship
 The Lido pool---before Code Red.  During Code Red, the jacuzzi's were emptied and closed.
 Tennis courts.  They really ought to equip it for pickleball.  I did the tennis serve competition and won a pin (all 3 of us who showed up won).
 The usually empty Aft pool near sunset.
 One of the few pretty sunsets this year.  Last year almost every night had beautiful sunsets.
 towards the front desk---do check on those charges before the end of the trip!

Now on to my favorite part of the cruise-----Ports!!!!  I LOVE the water, so usually try to pick a vacation that takes us to great snorkeling areas.  This cruise went to 7 great snorkel ports: St. Thomas, St. Barth's, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, and Curacoa.  We spent 3-6 hours in the water at each port!

St. Thomas---8am-6pm:

We have been here 4 times by cruise ship and once for a 9 night land vacation.  As we've done the last few times, we rented a car from Budget at the Contant Station.  We've had major problems renting from Budget at the airport, but never from Contant.  We made our way over to the windmill shown above to the far left and called Budget for our free shuttle.  They came within 10 minutes and soon we were on our way to the East end.  When we stayed here, we were in the Wyndham Elysian Resort on Cowpet Bay and loved the snorkeling and amenities there, so we headed straight there. 
 Then we headed straight into the water and around the point to the left side of the bay.

We really weren't there very long when my underwater camera died---for good.  Odd that my last one died at the same spot!  So we swam back in and headed back into Charlotte Amelia to Royal Caribbean where I had bought my recently deceased camera only to find that they no longer sell underwater cameras.  I figured Boolchards would be my next stop, but the one downtown was closed due to personal reasons.  So we jumped back in the car and went to the other Wyndham Resort closer to town at Bluebeards Beach Resort on Limetree Beach and snorkeled there another hour or so.  I was chatting with another Wyndham owner when someone overheard me telling my story about trying to buy another underwater camera and not being able to find any.  They told me about another Boolchard's in Havensight that they knew was open, so off we went to Charlotte Amelia again.  Their selection wasn't very big, but they did have some and I was in a bind.  Ended up with a Nikon Coolpix AW120 for $220.  By then, Ken was tired of driving back and forth to Charlotte Amelia, so we went back to the car rental place, returned the car early, and took the shuttle back to Crown Bay where our ship was docked.  Good thing we were able to get the camera there since I found out the Maasdam doesn't sell cameras, either.  The one time I only take 1 camera on vacation with me and it dies!!!  I guess it was a good thing we had a car rented.  Back on board the ship, we waited for sunset---one of the couple nice ones we had this trip, then went to dinner.

St. Barths --- 8am-3pm: 

 This was a new port for us.  From my research ahead of time, I read there was a beach within walking distance.  So we took off to find it---Shell Beach.  It really was a pretty walk.  The town was beautifully landscaped and the marina full of boats made for a great setting.  I had read to walk to the right about 10 minutes. 
 Most of it was along the dock.
 When the dock ended, it got a little trickier, but a local lady directed us from there.  It was more then 10 minutes for us, but still a nice walk.  The beach made it all worth while.
 Most of it really was covered with shells.
 Snorkeling was fun, too.  Maybe not the best, but good enough to keep us entertained for quite awhile.
Scrawled filefish
 a fish I haven't seen in Hawaii.
and another

octopus changing colors
 a type of Jack
 Even had interesting critters on land.
 Another view of Shell Beach.
 Looking out from Shell beach.
 to the other point.
 female Blue head wrasse.

 Caribbean Grouper
I believe this is another grouper and a blue tang
reflections in the water.
 looking back to the beach
 cactus growing near the beach.
 After about 3 hours we figured we had it.
 After drying in the sun a bit, we walked back to the boat.  Along the way we saw 8' tall cotton.
 WAlking to the pier.
 church behind a huge anchor.
 Not sure what kind of fish this guy is---snook? 
 Back on the ship we admired the views of the nearby islands.
 So long St. Barth's.

St. Lucia---8am-3pm:

We'd been to St. Lucia a couple cruises ago.   
 At that time, we took a taxi to Pigeon Island and really enjoyed it, so we decided to do the same this time.  This time the taxi fare was about $25/person rt as I recall, plus there was a $7 entrance fee into the park. 
 Later I hiked the mountain for views of the coastline.  There are also fort ruins, restrooms, and a restaurant in the park. 
A short walk to the left brought us to the beautiful Caribbean side of the park.
 We went to the next cove and parked our stuff by a bench and took off into the water.
Looking back to the beach from the water.  Lots of ship excursion people showed up later, but they didn't get to stay as long as we did.  Here the excursion crew were setting up for an activity where you walk along the bottom of the bay with a big helmet on your head that has air pumped into it.  
 There were tons of fish along the rocky areas.
Here is a cigar wrasse
 a trumpet fish among schools of juvenile fish
 a porcupine puffer
 a squid
 a juvenile butterflyfish
 blue head wrasse
 a type of file fish
 a very large wrasse (looking deceivingly small here because I couldn't get very close to it)
 a large Spotlight Parrotfish
 a large Hogfish
 Hadn't seen one of these guys before but it looks to me to be a type of Emporer Fish
 There were several of these jellyfish there, but they didn't seem to have tentacles.
 near the point that led to the Atlantic Ocean were lots of large barrel corals
 an eel
 In the shallows by the shore were lots of juvenile fish and these funny looking Dr. Seuss-looking plants.
 a Squirrel fish
 blue tangs munching on some sea weed.
 after about 3 hours we decided to get out and change clothes so as not to get the taxi wet.  They had nice restrooms with changing rooms in them.
 We still had time before the taxi was due back, so I hiked up the mountain.  We pretty much snorkeled the 2 bays to the near left and all the way to the lower right of this picture, just before the Caribbean met the Atlantic Ocean.
 Close up of the 2 bays.  The furthest bay is out of the park and connected to a hotel/resort---maybe even the Sandals that we passed on the way there.
 The fort at the top of the hill.
 Back at the port, I couldn't resist admiring the flowers.  When we left St. Louis, everything was still brown and dormant.  It was so nice seeing greenery and flowers again!
 More pretty flowers.
 Even the white ones were pretty.
 These were by far my favorite.
 I don't think we left the port at the scheduled departure time.  We were on the side of the ship facing the dock and watched several groups of people arriving back to the port long after the be back by time.  Some ran, some walked slowly, one guy even drove a car to the circle in front of the shops and just left it there.
Then we continued on our way down to Soufriere  to tender in people who took the ship's excursions there.  No kids in little boats here "diving for dollars" this time.  There were water patrols there instead. 
 A final look towards the Pitons before shoving off.


This was our 3rd time to Barbados.  It certainly isn't very impressive from the very industrial port.  But away from the port is a beautiful pretty wealthy island.
   First time we were there I took a photo tour and loved seeing the Scottish district and Bathsheba area. The next time we discovered Folkestone Marine Park.  This time we took a taxi and went back to Folkestone.  Fare was about $35/person rt.   Admission into the marine park is free.  
Heading in----
 a flounder
 a blue striped snapper
 a Parrotfish
 another Scrawled Filefish---they were everywhere in the Caribbean
 topography of the marine park.
 spotlight parrotfish
 a trunkfish
 another type of Parrotfish
a male Hogfish
 another type of blue head wrasse
 another type of filefish
 Looking back towards the lifeguard station, store, and restrooms.
Even came across this rather large barracuda.
 Looking down the walkway.  This is a great area.  We were happy to see more people enjoying the area this year, but we still didn't run across anyone from the ship.  I wonder why they don't go here?!


Another new port for us.  Again I had researched places to go and saw there was an Underwater Sculpture Park.  But when we got to the port, we were told by the Tourist advisers that it was too far away. 
 So we took their suggestion as to where we should go and ended up at Aquarium Restaurant beach.
The waves were coming in pretty hard and we were doubting our snorkeling would be any good.  But with our fins and experience, we gave it a try.
The waves were really churning up the sand and visibility wasn't too good until we got about this far out.
Then we got to the good stuff.  Like this guy who I saw for the first time in St. Barth's
 There are lots of schools of Blue Tangs throughout the Caribbean
 Here was another large wrasse and lots of fan coral
 a pair of large butterflyfish
 Seemed the farther down the coast we went the better the snorkeling got.  We started by the tall rock near the right of the page.
 Even saw some Flamingo Dancer snails
 and yellow head wrasse
 The coral was healthy and varied.
 more kinds of coral
 even soft coral
 lots of schools of fish like these Jacks.
 Nice beach quite a ways down, too.  I think this is the beach I had thought we were going to, but the taxi driver said it was a much longer walk then to go to the beach by the Aquarium Restaurant.
After about 3 hours of snorkeling we went back to Aquarium.
 We could even see our ship from there.
 The Aquarium Restaurant has quite a view!
 We even decided to try the local brew---which was quite good.
 Then came the walk up the hill to where the taxi driver parked. 
Some views from the taxi on our way back to the ship.

 beautiful little town.

 historic old tunnel
 All too soon we were saying "Good Bye" to Grenada, the Spice Island.


This was our first time to Bonaire and I was probably looking forward to here the most because of it's reputation for diving.  We don't dive, but that usually means snorkeling is very good, too.  We weren't disappointed.
 I had read that the whole island was a Marine Park and that we could walk to nearby hotels where there was good snorkeling.  Again the tourist advisers told us we would be better off going elsewhere.  So we ended up taking a taxi to Spice Resort/Eden Beach.  At least it was only about $5/person@ way.  It's where a lot of the cruise people go since there are lots of chairs and a bar, but the water looked promising.
 There was a rocky ledge by the shoreline, but we used the ladder on the dock for easy entrance and exit.  They even had boats running from here to Klein Island (where snorkeling was suppose to be really good) for $15rt.  I tried to persuade Ken we should go there, but he was content to stay here and even said maybe we'll do a land vacation here sometime.  I hope that happens!
 Looking one way from the dock.
 Looking the other way. 
 Lots and lots of parrotfish
 another kind of eel.
 I was really excited to see Lionfish.  I know they are invasive and will be killed by divers, but I was hoping to see one.
 a large scorpion fish not hiding very well.
 some sort of sea centipede
 the water was so crystal clear!
 an anemone, I presume
 The dark blue is where the bottom dropped off abruptly---not too far from shore.  That was rather spooky.
 another type of grouper
 beginnings of an artificial reef?
 yep, another scrawled filefish
 tons of schooling fish!

 a pelican wondering what we're doing in his territory.
 divers heading into the deep
 this is a restaurant near where we took the above pictures with the many schools of fish and the 2 divers.
 Heading back towards Eden Beach.

large  French Angelfish
 bone fish, I presume?
 Only place we saw Sea Cucumbers.
 The Lionfish still there.

 Harlequin shrimp

 Soldier fish
 under the dock at Eden Beach
 Spotted Drum under the dock.
 large Cowfish under the dock.
 Another new fish to me. 
 This was about the time my camera battery gave out.  I guess I didn't have it fully charged.  Too bad---saw some more really neat stuff by a couple other docks further along the coast and some great coral beds in deeper water.  Definately a great place for snorkelers to go!  This was where we actually spent about 6 hours in the water.


Another new island for us.  I was surprised how modern both Bonaire and Curacao are.  I imagine Aruba would be, too.  They're known as the Netherland's ABC islands.  Definitely see a land trip out to this area in our future. 
 I really had a hard time figuring out where we should go in my research ahead of time---not that it really mattered since we didn't do what I planned at the last 2 islands.  I had read the best snorkeling was quite a distance away so I reserved us a car.  Once we got there, Ken decided he didn't want to drive---especially since it was a holiday there (the King's birthday).  So we walked to the tourist booth and were told Blue Bay is where we wanted to go.   I knew this is where the ship's Beach Express Excursion was going, but didn't have much luck convincing the taxi drivers we should go to Porto Marie or Pirate Bay or Porto Lagun (which was where I wanted us to drive to).  So for $50rt for the 2 of us, we went to Blue Bay.
There were signs saying $8/person entrance, but noone was there collecting money, so we took our stuff to a tree and left it there.  We don't rent chairs because we're usually not out of the water very long.   The cruise ship customers had not arrived yet.
 It was a pretty bay, but again we had our doubt about the snorkeling----the bottom of the bay was obviously sandy which isn't good for snorkeling.
 But we were here, so we were going in!
 off to the right side we found some rocks.  Surprisingly it wasn't bad.  Here's a Jack.
 and some squid swimming about.
 Then we went around the point of the bay to the right and found some great coral and lots more fish.
 and other critters like these Christmas Tree worms.
 another fish I hadn't seen before!  I always find that exciting.
 these 2 wrasses were sparring nose to nose.
 another filefish
 There were even a lot of cleaning stations where fish like this Parrotfish were being cleaned by these small yellow cleaning wrasses.

 A Parrotfish with markings I've not seen before
 I've also not seen these tiny toby-like fish before and there were hundreds of them here.
 The water was super clear again.  Colors were so vibrant!
 Another large Cowfish---this one was blue.  The one we saw in Bonaire was green.
 Lots of types of Parrotfish.
 Another wrasse.
 More schools of fish.

 Don't know what was going on here, but this grouper kept swimming on top of this eel. 
 Then we swam across Blue bay and into a bay on the other side.  Spent quite a while there.    The restaurant in the above picture is on the left side of Blue Bay (looking out from the beach).
Lots and lots of coral and fish in this other bay.

 not sure if this is a parrotfish or a wrasse.
 saw a few large yellow head wrasses here.
 More groupers with different markings.
 another flounder
 Even came across another Lionfish.
 This Lionfish was quite small.
 a type of Damselfish
 another colorful Parrotfish
 a grunt or snapper.
A nicely marked yellow cleaning wrasse.
 Another colorful Parrotfish

 Another type of wrasse.
 A male parrotfish---they have the longer tails.
 Under the dock by the restaurant.

 Glassy slippers under the dock.
 another colorful fish marked like I've never seen before.
 a Leatherback Jack.
 A Blennie

a toby
 back around to Blue Bay and looking back towards the beach from near the dock by the restaurant.
 Lots of these guys over the sand.
 After about 5 hours, we decided it was time to get out and dry up.  Sat at a pic nic table and watched the above ground critters for awhile.  Never seen a bird like this before.

 or like this.
 We enjoyed the shade awhile
 enjoyed the views of the bay.
 Then I took a walk to take some more pictures.   This was the right side in the bay where the squid were.
 there's the restaurant to the far left.
 One of the many flowers.
 The bay to the left of the restuarant where we spent a lot of time snorkeling.
 another view of the bay to the left from the restaurant.
 someone's creation in the sand.
 Turned out to be well worth going to Blue Bay.  
All too soon we were back at the port.  It was then we noticed the free Wi-Fi signs.  Our room was facing the port, so when we got back on the ship, we checked to see if we could connect from our room.  Much to our delight, we could and spent the next hour (until the ship shoved off and our free Wi-Fi dropped) catching up with the "kids" and uploading a couple pictures to Facebook.  It's pretty hard being "disconnected" for almost 2 weeks!
 Good Bye Curacao.
 We were suppose to have a stop at Half Moon Cay, but the surf was too rough, so we ended up having another sea day.  Although I was disappointed, I was really happy with the way the rest of the cruise went and the beautiful weather we had at all the other ports.  Can't wait until we board another ship for ports unknown!


  1. Thank you for all of these wonderful and informative photos! Can't wait to go to some of these ports on our upcoming Nov. 2016 14 day deep south Carib. cruise.

  2. You are snorkelers like us. I admire your spirit of adventure and just going out on your own. We usually look for other snorkelers, and probably miss lots of good fish. Have you ever gotten in trouble going out on your own? We wear swim vests so I'm not sure what we're afraid of. Sharks, maybe?

    1. When I'm out on my own, I look for other snorkelers to mingle near--just in case I do get into trouble I can yell out to someone) and don't go far from shore. I like taking underwater photos and they don't turn out very good in water more then about 5' deep anyway. I use to be a long distance swimmer, so I feel pretty comfortable in the water, especially with fins on. But I do respect the ocean and stay aware of my surroundings. Sharks---I do have a respectful fear of them, too, but figure if one really wants me, I'll never see it coming.