December 09, 2016

St Kitts, St Maarten, At Sea

The weather this morning in St. Kitts is pretty much the same, mostly sunny skies, 82 degrees, with an 11 knot breeze out of the East. There are three other ships here, NCL Breakaway, the Arcadia, and The Wind Surf, a modern 5 mast schooner. The Wind Surf is anchored a half mile or so off our starboard side in the harbor and using their life boats for tendering passengers to shore. Definitely an upscale ship, I doubt she carries more than 150 passengers.

I have decided not to get off the ship at these last two ports, at least that is my plan at the moment. There is a train excursion here is St. Kitts, but I have taken it at least twice, the last time just a year ago. I will also be back here and in St Maarten again in a few months.

I spend most of the afternoon working on train club stuff. The national convention for the NMRA is in Orlando next summer, and I have a lot of work to do yet, not the least of which is to complete more of my layout at home to bring it to a presentable level. Of course there are priorities, cruising always comes first.

My youngest daughter has been looking for a house of her own for about a year now. This afternoon I received an email that she made an offer on a house and it has been accepted. She is keeping me in suspense on any of the details, but I can assume that if the house inspection goes as expected she will be moving within a month, leaving all the "old" people in my 55 plus community as a memory in her past.

I am very fortunate in that all my children live close by and get along with each other very well. I don't need to travel long distances to visit them and can therefore devote all of my travel energy to cruising the high seas.

The Beakaway is scheduled to leave at the same time we are, so passengers are boarding at the same time. In case you think all cruise lines are the same, when approaching the gangway for the Eclipse there is a chance to sip on flavored ice water and everyone is handed an ice cold towel to freshen up.

In contrast the breakaway has a receiving line of about 75 staff and officers dancing to a DJ blasting music that can be heard inside many areas of our ship and along the entire pier into town. Personally I find the music level deafening, but each to his own opinion. I have just been reminded why I haven't sailed with NCL, and probably won't. Too much noise for me.

I again dine with Lisa and Bill in the Oceanview Cafe after we have last call for happy hour. Bill is much like me in many ways including our same appetite for sports. They are staying on next week for basically the same itinerary. Lisa is celebrating her birthday, and they are both, obviously, celebrating their wedding anniversary.

Tonight is a short cruise to St Maarten. We have already been warned there will be many ships there and everything will be quite busy. At this point I plan to stay on the ship, but I will see what tomorrow brings.

We arrive for another gorgeous day, mostly sunny, 84 degrees with a slight breeze. As expected there are four large cruise ships in port, and several very small ones. I conclude that my original plan was the best, and stay on board, as do many other passengers. I don't have breakfast, instead going to lunch right after noon. The Oceanview cafe is very busy. The featured menu items vary from day to day, but they always have pizza, pasta, sandwiches, fruits, salads, etc.

Celebrity offers several Cultural Lecture series on all of its ships, usually covering topics relevant to the area where the ship is sailing. On this cruise there have been presentations about weather patterns in the Caribbean, how the islands were formed, and political history. Another series was an entertaining series on spy stories and movies presented by an author of thriller books. I have attended none of them, but did stick my head in the theater several times just to see how many other passengers were interested. Essential no one attended the history series, but the author series was well attended.

Our captain has an unusual sense of humor. This afternoon as he was telling us about the plans to be the first ship leaving port, he made a very special announcement for the passenger that had reported earlier this morning that he had lost his gold Rolex watch... the current time is four twenty two.

As we leave St Maarten, we head into the North Atlantic to begin our two days cruise to Miami. Being so far South it doesn't sound correct that we are sailing in the North Atlantic, but it is true. The weather is forecast to be much the same as we have experienced the last 12 days.