November 28, 2017

Day 5 – Martinique

Fort de France, Martinique. We arrive on schedule about 11:00 AM. The sky is heavily clouded, and we run thru several heavy rain squalls as we approach the island. There is a rainbow just off the port side of the ship, but of course it is not bright enough for a decent picture because I do have my camera.

Martinique was added at the last minute to our itinerary instead of our scheduled ports of St. Kitts. There just were too many ships docking in St. Kitts. The port has dock space for 2 ships, and a tendering dock that can handle one additional ship. Had we followed the original itinerary, there would have been four ships trying to tender with only one dock for the tenders to load and unload. It would not have been a good experience.

There is one other ship here, P & O Cruises, Azura, which is docked at the only pier close to the center of town. We are docked closer to the industrial area which is a 5 or 10 dollar cab ride away.

The shore excursion staff basically advised if not taking a tour, there really isn't much here for tourists. Everyone speaks only French, and we were given the impression the locals are not real friendly to tourists, taking great advantage of foreign exchange rates and the language difference. The local currency is the Euro, and we were told they really don't like dollars period.

I have been here before, but it has been several years, and I can't say that I remember any such negative attitude. Maybe the negative points were exaggerated to sell more tours, who knows. I had already decided that this would be a stay on the ship day. Given the morning weather, that may have been a wise decision, though passing storms are frequent in the Caribbean islands, and usually don't last long.

I actually have decent phone service today, and clean out all the garbage messages that accumulate each day. Yesterday in St Thomas, cell service was sporadic at the port. It would be good for a few minutes, and then totally absent for 30. I must assume another effect of infrastructure damaged by the hurricanes.

When I return to the cabin to recharge my computer battery I am given a minor scare for a few moments. The battery isn't charging. After verifying that the outlet in the room is in fact functional, I attempt one of the usual fix it procedures. Remove the battery, clean the terminals and reassemble. Yes it works! At least for the moment. I have already recognized that battery run time is much less than it used to be. Maybe time for an upgrade....

The weather in the afternoon turns out to be much better, clouds and sun but no rain with temperatures in the mid 80's. The concierge lounge is relatively empty tonight, I think everyone that tries is able to find a seat. The service is even good as all the servers are there before 4:30 when I arrive.

I hear no positive comments from those that ventured into town or took a tour, I can only assume that sentiment held for the majority of passengers as the ship is underway at least 30 minutes early. Not something that is seen very often.

Sometimes the management struggles on adapting to cruises longer than 7 days, especially with entertainment. Tonight our entertainment was described as a show put together by several of the singers from the singers and dancers cast. I give the performers three thumbs up for their dedication and desire to perform, but must give Royal a thumbs down for not scheduling and planning entertainment for the night. Since the impromptu show isn't until 10:15, I will pass as I will most likely be asleep by then.

Our next port of call is St. Lucia. Our arrival time is 8:00 am, and since it is so close we are steaming along at a blistering 7 knots! As has been the case so far on this cruise the seas are minimal with no ship motion. How boring.

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