September 07, 2023

September 6 - St Marten

The ship is tied up before our 8:00 AM scheduled arrival time. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid to upper 80's today. Any chance of rain is less than 10%.

The Lazy Lizard opens at 11:00 so we wait until after 10 before going ashore. A shuttle takes us right to the water taxi. My bad, I forgot that the water taxi is cash only, I have exactly enough for the two round trip tickets.

I would like a few bucks to tip the taxi and the shuttle on my return trip so I google for an ATM. In luck within 50 feet of where we exit the water taxi. Well that is the end of the luck, my pin number does not work. Or more correctly what I remember as the pin number does not work. I almost never use a pin number with this Visa card, and obviously it has changed from what I though it was. Most likely when the card was replaced at some point.

Nick has completed the patio, and the interior wall opposite the bar is now finished. It looks very nice. He still has much of the same staff.

Chicken wing appetizer serves as lunch. I ask Nick if would give me $10 cash back on my credit card. He is reluctant because that would mess up his books. Instead he just hands me $10 and says pay him back next time. It is nice to have good friends.

His business is doing well. Nearly every group of customers while I am there are people that have known Nick for years. He is working on plans to extend his hours and do additional marketing to the locals so he is not so dependent on the tourist trade. Probably a smart move as only 8 ships are scheduled for this entire month.

The weather in St Marten so far in September is the hottest ever recorded, a tidbit shared by the water taxi spokesperson.

There is always someone. As I waited for the water taxi there was a couple that did everything they could to get on the taxi without buying a ticket. Distraction by the wife while the husband tried to walk on. Claim of not understanding. Etc, Etc. No it did not work. The staff has seen all the tricks before.

With good cell service through my T Mobile plan, back on the ship I take some time to catch up on my email and post my blog. Yes the days are out of order in the blog.

Two ambulances visit the ship today to take passengers to the local medical facilities. The first was in mid afternoon, and the second just after our scheduled departure time. No word on the cause or outcomes.

Dinner was a perfectly prepared New York Strip steak. The same menu as several days ago.

Performing in the theater tonight is James Cielan, one of the best magicians I have ever seen. A regular in Vegas, probably the third time I have seen him on various ships. His slight of hand card tricks are amazing.

The seas remain calm as we head to Tortola, BVI. We are scheduled to dock at 7:00 AM.

September 4 - Labor Day

Again we enjoy sunny skies as we head to San Juan. The temperatures are in the mid to upper 80's. The pool is packed with sunbathers.

The Equinox has been fairly well maintained, but in places she is showing her age. The power shades in the sky lounge are being replaced. Much of the external glass is fogged or discolored. Our balcony floor is covered with old paint chips.

The casino is smoke free, a relief to many passengers. Public areas are kept meticulously clean, but the shortage of  workers is apparent. Most often there is no beverage service in the theater, only 1 server in the sky lounge and many of the crew are working on extended contracts, essentially forgoing vacation time and staying on board to work.

In general, the crew is excited about the ship coming to port Canaveral next year. Partially because it is a new port for them, and partially because they  have a dream of being able to visit Disney at some point.

Everyone scrambles to the outside decks to watch our arrival into San Juan. The skies darken, and just as we turn the corner and the fort comes into good view, the gods respond with a heavy rain. Fortunately I have a nice dry seat in the sky lounge.

The showers continue on and off for the next several hours. I could care less, and stay on the ship.

Several passengers arrive with suitcases in tow. They missed the sailing in Port Everglades because their flight from NC was delayed. Why would you fly a day ahead of time?

A tour bus provided some excitement for those of us remaining on the ship. As it departed and moved about 75 feet from where passengers boarded, something happened and the back of the bus dropped to the ground stranding the bus and blocking the main road for all traffic in both directions.

Traffic had to be rerouted, and after several hours no progress had been made despite many people looking at the problem. I have experienced tour busses breaking down, but never within the first minute of starting the excursion.

Dinner is an excellent strip steak with cherries jubilee for desert. A comedian provides the main stage entertainment tonight.

We leave San Juan about 10:30 PM, an assumption on my part as departure is long after my bed time.