August 25, 2018

Wednesday August 23, St Maarten

I am sure I have spelled St Maarten several different ways. I think they are all acceptable, but the purest will point out the subtle differences in the meaning implied by each spelling.

We arrive in port early, soon joined by The Allure and the Caribbean Princess. Overnight we passed through several very heavy rains, or at least that is what I am told by fellow passengers. Being oblivious to the outside world is one of the advantages of an inside cabin.

While in port we receive fuel from a barge that moors alongside for several hours. I don't know how much fuel we take on but can assure you it is a lot more than I would want to pay for. Increasingly more stringent air quality standards require the use of lower emision fuels. Years ago ships used the lowest quality oil with resultant high levels of pollution.

Most new ships on the order books for delivery in the next 10 years are being equipped with turbine engines instead of diesel engines and will be powered by LNG, liquified natural gas, instead of bunker oil. This ship has turbine engines, and uses a much lighter fuel than bunker oil, and consequently is one of the cleaner ships as far as pollution is concerned.

I don't make it to the Lazy Lizzard, a favorite watering hole on the waterfront, but do pass by during my 3 hour catamaran cruise along the coast. The air temperature is very comfortable in the low to mid 80's, but the sun is very hot. There is evidence of the hurricane damage from last year, and many of the resort hotels have not yet been repaired.  Our guide tells us that all tourism other than by cruise ship is greatly depressed.

One of the features of the Solstice class ships is the Hot Glass Studio on deck 15. Until about 6 months ago it was sponsored by Corning Glass works and was strictly "watch  the demonstration".  Now the show is operated by Hollywood Glass Studio, Hollywood, Fl. For a fee, guests participate in the making of a glass object of their own choosing. Other objects are for sale and they have packing materials and boxes to assist passengers getting their purchase home safely.

Guests are still encouraged to watch the artists. Personally I think this is much better than the prior arrangement.

We leave port right on time. We are again the first ship to leave, followed by the Allure. The seas remain the same at 1 to 2 meters. The skies have scattered clouds as we begin our journey northwest towards Miami.

The officers reception is tonight for select guests. Select meaning probably 30% of the passengers that have attained a higher status in the Captains Club, Celebrity's loyalty program. The room is over packed, but the staff does an excellent job of keeping drink glasses filled and tempting everyone with an endless supply of appetizers.

Tomorrow is the first of two sea days.

No comments: