2017 Cruise #2 - Extended Vacation

by Steve, Kat, & Gus


We arrived back in Port Canaveral early Sunday morning. On Saturday, Southwest emailed me that our flights were cancelled due to the hurricane. We were originally connecting through Houston. I had moved us to flights connecting through Dallas, but on Sunday morning, I woke up to another email from Southwest that those flights were cancelled as well. By that point, the earliest flight I could get us on was a Tuesday morning flight.

After we got off the ship, we were picked up by Hertz and taken to their facility to get our car. Again, I can't say enough good things about how convenient the car rental process was with Hertz. They ran lots of shuttles, so we waited about 2 minutes. I would definitely use them again if we take another cruise out of Port Canaveral. After we got our car, we headed back to Orlando. I booked us a hotel from my phone, but it was too early to check in, so we went to Disney Springs to walk around. Right after we got there, it started raining.

David waiting for the Star Wars Galactic Outpost to open.

David waiting for the Star Wars Galactic Outpost to open.

On the bright side, David bought a light saber umbrella, but I was sad that it was raining. I would have loved to go to Disney for the day or Universal Studios to the Harry Potter parks. However, the park tickets are so expensive that neither one of us wanted to spend money on it if we were just going to have to walk around in the rain.

Sad face for being in Orlando  in the rain.

Sad face for being in Orlando  in the rain.

We ended up going to a movie Sunday afternoon and then I worked in the hotel room most of the day on Monday while David watched TV. We were happy to get to go home on Tuesday morning.

We had a really great cruise. We loved the Oasis. We booked another cruise onboard with NextCruise to go on Symphony of the Seas next year. It will be fun to be on a brand new ship. We also discovered that we could still book with Costco through NextCruise, so we got the onboard booking deal (which was about $300 less than what I looked up on Costco), the $100 per person onboard credit offer from NextCruise, plus all the Costco perks. I didn't expect to be able to get both the NextCruise deals and the Costco perks, so we were pleasantly surprised.

I can't have a dog free post, so here are a few pictures of the pups surviving the remnants of Hurricane Harvey.

Mike and Dayna were able to get Steve and Kat out during a break in the rain.

Mike and Dayna were able to get Steve and Kat out during a break in the rain.

When it rained, Kat made do with playing some ball with Mike and Dayna.

When it rained, Kat made do with playing some ball with Mike and Dayna.

At Gus's dog ranch, we have to pay extra of we want Gus to be a VIP pup where they post pictures of Gus every day on their Facebook page. We decided not to pay extra, but luckily Gus is a good photo-bomber and made it into a lot of pictures that the ranch posted of the the VIP pups. We were able to catch a glimpse of him just about every day to see that he was still having a good time. Below are some of his best "bombs."

At Gus's dog ranch, we have to pay extra of we want Gus to be a VIP pup where they post pictures of Gus every day on their Facebook page. We decided not to pay extra, but luckily Gus is a good photo-bomber and made it into a lot of pictures that the ranch posted of the the VIP pups. We were able to catch a glimpse of him just about every day to see that he was still having a good time. Below are some of his best "bombs."

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2017 Cruise #2 - Sea Day and Nassau

by Steve, Kat, & Gus


Friday of the cruise was a sea day. We didn't do too much except relax. We watched the comedy dive show in the afternoon and did some reading on our Kindles. I might have taken a nap too.

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That evening, we went to see the music and dance show, Come Fly With Me. While it was another show with a mystery story line, it was very enjoyable. The dance numbers were good and the acrobats were also good.

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At 11 pm, we went to The Quest. It's a game show, but the whole audience gets involved. It was super fun and our team won. Once again, Cruise Director Tim made the shows really great. David and I both laughed so hard at various points in the show.

On Saturday we docked in Nassau. We didn't plan an excursion for Nassau because we didn't see any thing that really spoke to us and our other excursions were more pricey than what we did on our February cruise, so we thought we'd just save money. We did get off the ship to do some shopping. I like to get Kasyn and Lakyn a postcard and something from every stop. I try to get them something from local vendors, but Nassau was so hectic. It was so hard to get out of the port area because so many people were trying to get visitors to go on an excursion or rent a scooter or whatever. We ended up buying shirts for the girls at a chain store and hurrying back to the peace and quiet of the ship.

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Also on Friday and Saturday, we started hearing about Hurricane Harvey hitting Texas. Our local weather person was predicting 50+ mph winds in Pflugerville and torrential rain. I was really glad to have internet service once we heard about the storm. Steve and Kat's pet sitter was in constant contact and went above and beyond to bring in some of the things we had outside. My mom called the ranch to check on Gus and they were also set for the storm. When we left, we thought Harvey was going to Mexico and didn't plan for it to head to Texas. Luckily the dogs were all safe and well cared for.

 

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2017 Cruise #2 - St. Thomas

by Steve, Kat, & Gus


On Thursday we docked in St. Thomas. I booked a kayaking trip through St. Thomas Adventure Tours. I knew that the company kept the tour groups small, but on the day we were there, no one else signed up, so we had a private tour. The tour operator, Michelle, came and picked us up and the port and drove us a short distance to a beach where we met our guide, Sven. Sven gave us some kayaking instructions and then we were on our way.

One of the instructions was that I was supposed to keep a steady paddling rhythm. David, in the back, was supposed to match my rhythm. I was pretty sure we were going to need marriage counseling by the time the trip was over as we were never in sync.

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Nevertheless, Sven did get this picture of us!

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We paddled over to another island that is a nature preserve and snorkeled for quite a while. I ended up getting sea sick while snorkeling, which I thought wouldn't be possible.

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After lunch. My stomach has recovered.

After lunch. My stomach has recovered.

After snorkeling and eating lunch, we paddled back to the main island and stopped at a different beach. We walked around the beach for a while and Sven pointed out the different kind of trees and talked a bit about the history of the island. Then it was time for more snorkeling. We saw so many sea turtles! It was really neat. I have never seen sea turtles in the wild before.

David, me, and a sea turtle.

David, me, and a sea turtle.


2017 Cruise #2 - Sint Maarten

by Steve, Kat, & Gus


On Wednesday, we arrived in Sint Maarten/St. Martin. We docked on the Dutch side, so Sint Maarten.

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This cruise, we booked our excursions through third parties that I found through forums and Trip Advisor. On Sint Maarten, we did a boat tour with Soualiga Destinations. It was so fun. There were 16 guests on the boat and we made five stops and went around the island. The guide, Brett, was really knowledgable but also really funny.

At our first snorkel stop, there was some people on a really nice catamaran along with their dog. A little later, I saw one of the women paddling the dog to the beach. He jumped out of the kayak, ran off into the brush (presumably to go to the bathroom) and then hopped back into the kayak. That dog must spend a lot of time on the catamaran!

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Here's David at another snorkel spot.

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We had a really nice lunch at a local restaurant. I have recently learned that it was totally destroyed by hurricane Irma. It's really sad. We are supposed to stop at Sint Maarten again on our Symphony of the Seas cruise in December 2018, so I hope to go on this same boat tour again and hopefully the restaurant and others have been able to rebuild.

Lunch spot - Yellow umbrellas - Pre-Irma

Lunch spot - Yellow umbrellas - Pre-Irma

After lunch, we went over to the Princess Juliana airport and watched a plane come it. Capt. Brett said it was a flight from Amsterdam.

Sint Maarten was really beautiful. I hope that the island is able to rebuild and recover quickly from the hurricane.

Panorama from our lunch spot.

Panorama from our lunch spot.

Panorama from the dock

Panorama from the dock

The island was really lush and green. This is the French side.

The island was really lush and green. This is the French side.


2017 Cruise #2 - Lazy Sea Day

by Steve, Kat, & Gus


Tuesday of the cruise was a sea day. We were really booking it to get to Sint Maarten after going out of the way for the eclipse. In the morning, we went and played mini golf. On Oasis, the mini golf course is at the back of the ship. That worked a lot better than on Liberty where it is in the front. My ball didn't blow around in the wind and my hair wasn't constantly in my face!

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We also watched the first half of the Belly Flop contest. It was really fun. Our cruise director, Tim Connors, is a great host for game shows and he made everything really fun. We had to leave the Belly Flop contest early to go on a Cabin Crawl that I found out about on web forums. We got to see other types of rooms. The best was that we saw a Crown Loft Suite. It was super nice! Too bad the suites are incredibly expensive. We probably won't ever spring for one, so it was nice to see it at least once.

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We had dinner at 150 Central Park. It was really delicious and the waiter was excellent. I like the Central Park atmosphere for the specialty restaurants on Oasis.

The pups were still having a good time in our absence. Steve took some time to look like SuperDog.

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