January 27, 2017

St Thomas, St Maarten

It is a very short run from San Juan to St, Thomas. We arrive about 8:00 am and the ship is cleared before 8:30. There is a slight breeze under clear skies and temperatures are expected to be in the upper 70's and low 80's.

I plan to go to the Solarium for breakfast, but find it closed for a private function. There are two large groups on board, each with about 300 passengers. One is a group from the Villages, the other is a Jewish group. Knowing little of their faith I don't know what the occasion is but they are having special functions several times each day.

Yesterday I had breakfast at Johnny Rockets, one of the lesser known breakfast spots on the ship. They offer primarily eggs, pancakes and french toast. Today I am forced back to the Windjammer. Fortunately it is not quite as busy as many passengers scrambled to get off the ship as quickly as possible.

I spend a couple of hours on shore, nothing special. The Viking Sky or Sun, I forget which, is docked next to us. At one point I watched as over 300 passengers were escorted to waiting buses to take a tour. A big tour group considering the ship probably only holds a thousand passengers.

I head to the Diamond Lounge about a half an hour early. I find a seat, but one of the last ones. Again many passengers will be turned away. We are treated to a special treat as the divers, gymnasts, and swimmers are practicing in the Aqua theater.

Dining room food and service is good. It probably helps that the last two people at our table still have not made an appearance, I expect at this point that they won't. We learn that the ship left Port Canaveral with 6,437 passengers. No wonder it is crowded! That number decreased by two that passed before we reached San Juan. Again not unusual considering the number of passengers on board.

Two passengers were missing when it was time to leave port today. I don't know if they actually missed the ship, or were just missed by security when they boarded. Either is a possibility, I have had security fail to check me in properly on a previous occasion, and the ship was not aware that I was actually on the ship.

Tomorrow morning we arrive in St Maarten at 8:00 AM. The weather is expected to be the same, the cold front that was coming from the North that caused so much havoc in Georgia and Florida has pretty much dissipated or stayed to our North.

The captain docks early, and passengers begin going ashore by 8:00 AM. The weather is OK but not great, it sprinkles a little about every 20 minutes or half hour. Just enough to make everything wet and keep the humidity high.

The local Coast Guard has boarded the ship and is making an inspection. Something that is done periodically and unannounced at many ports. Often they are treated to free food, an undocumented job benefit. There are 5 other large cruise ships in port, several of which I have been on. With the sprinkles, the crowds, and having been here before, I elect to stay on board this morning and get off later in the day when the showers have stopped.

Just as I am returning to the Oasis a large Naval vessel cruises past the harbor entrance several miles off the coast. I can't tell what flag it is flying, and I really don't know naval vessels, but the fore and aft decks have some very large guns. Since this does not stir up any activity in the harbor I must assume they are friendly.

After dinner I catch the Ice Show. It hasn't changed, but I still enjoy it. The skaters are very accomplished athletes.

For the next two days we are at sea on our journey back to Port Canaveral.

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