Monday, December 14, 2009

Food, Islands and more food

The remainder of the cruise was characterized by a lot of food and visits to the 5 islands. Oh, and we mustn’t forget that I was staying in the penthouse suite – I know no one on the cruise let me forget! I think I had become something of a minor celebrity due to my windfall. So here’s my run down of the islands I visited.
St. Maarten is apparently the smallest territory shared by two countries – it is half French, half Dutch. It has lots of shops and some nice beaches. St. Lucia – I decided to take a shore excursion and went on a kayaking trip. I met a bunch of nice people on this excursion, who decided to become my ambassadors by publicizing my new ship address to others on the cruise. Afterwards, I headed into town. I probably should have passed that up, as it was rather seedy.
Barbados had my favourite beach of all, the sand and the water were divine. The beach I went to was called Malibu beach, because it housed the Malibu Rum factory. The next island was St. Kitts which is a port that is new to cruise visitors. It didn’t have much to offer and after a short trip off the boat, I decided to enjoy my stay on the ship that day. Last, and actually my favorite port was St. Thomas. I guess being part of the US. Virgin Islands, it is much more developed and had a lot of really nice shops and cafes. In St. Thomas I spent most of the day on the other side of the island at a beach that is called one of the 10 best beaches in the world. Pretty nice, but a little too high praise, if you ask me.
One of the things about the Caribbean Islands I never realized was that there was such a jewellery market in them, most specifically diamonds. They even had a jewellery specialist on board, advising passengers on the 5 “C”s – Carat, Clarity, Colour, Cut and a new one – Confidence. Now, the only reason I know this is that I woke up in the middle of the night one night and turned on the TV to hear this woman’s lecture. And I am sure you have all had that experience where you switch on the TV to find an infomercial in the wee hours of the morning and get sucked in (or almost anyway). Well, when I awoke in the morning in St. Lucia, I decided to check out what the all the fuss was about. And what do you know – I made a purchase. Just a small Star of David necklace – I’m actually really happy with it.
But I must comment on the racket they have going with the diamonds. There is a company, Diamonds International, that must spend a lot on advertising, because what I learned in this “infomercial”, is that when you buy a diamond with them, and, let’s say you come back on a cruise next year, you can upgrade the diamond you have to a larger size, just paying the difference in price. Pretty clever, huh? And it’s clever for the cruise lines, because they are conditioning people to come back on a cruise to upgrade their diamonds.
Someone commented to me that the ship was ironically filled predominantly with Germans and Jews, an observation I concurred with. And at the ship’s chanukkah services, part of this suspicion was confirmed. But the combination of Germans and Jews is a rather odd pairing, to say the least.
Now let me talk about the food. Cruises are apparently all about the food and I must say there is strong evidence to that effect. But when you add on the fact that I was in the penthouse suite, it takes things to an all new level. They delivered extra food to my suite on a regular basis, as a matter of course. There was the fruit plate, the cheese plate, the afternoon snack and the pre-dinner canapés. No wonder I packed on the pounds. In fact, no less than 5 pounds to be exact. I have some serious working out to do now.
On my second last night of the cruise, the formal night, I arranged for pre-dinner drinks to be held in my suite, see the attached photo.

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