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Old 06-14-2009, 11:28 AM   #3331
justmestace



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Just checking in. Baby had severe jaundice and finally got to go home last night....with the promise of testing him Monday at the Ped's office.
Been a long week.
I can't wait until I have enough time to read the thread and really check out everyone's pictures and maybe post a few of my own!!

I am so glad everyone is still talking. Promise not to go away until I can catch back up!!
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Old 06-14-2009, 09:54 PM   #3332
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Tortola - Shore Excursion, The Baths - May 26th

It was a dark and gloomy day - wait - Florida's days of rain and gloom followed us to the Caribbean?






Yes, it followed us on our ferry ride from Tortola to the Baths. Ferry ride was pleasant enough.






And remained with us through the "open air taxi" ride, stopping for pictures before heading to the Baths. Here is the islands landing strip (a miniature of La Guida.....). It looks like a driveway slightly left of center of the picture.







A scenic beach on the Caribbean side







The Atlantic side (more "wind-swept" and barren, with cactus) - across the street:








The Baths

You disembark the open air taxi at the top of the hill, and walk down the trail and steps. Once at the bottom, there is a bathroom where you can change. There are only two stalls for the women. My recommendation is to wear your bathing suit so that you don't have to occupy a stall trying to change (and if the plumbing jams like it did on our excursion, it will be a very odoriferous 5 minutes). I also recommend a two piece if you are a two-piece suit person, so that it is easy to use the facilities.

Anyway, once at the bottom, you begin to explore the beach and boulders.

Everyone in these pictures is from the DCL first excursion of that day. There are interesting descriptions and explanations for the geology of the Baths (google). Pictures here are for scale and wonder.







Lots of people climbing on rocks (still no sunshine):







Catamarans visible through boulders - another way to get to the Baths:







Nice beach - posted the picture mostly so that people who were on the excursion may be able to have a picture of themselves:







DS19 on the boulders







Snorkelers







The most interesting part of the excursion, the self-directed walkthough the path of boulders - very interesting, unique

It starts out easy - walking on sand, sufficient head clearance.












Sometimes you walk through water







Sometimes you walk on rock (with the aid of a rope)







Sometimes you get a beautifully framed view






and finally, you make it to Devil's Beach








From Devil's Beach, we walked through this opening to see what was on the other side:






...another, small beach - clearly someone was here before us (not today):







On our return, another nice view







We took the long way back, arriving shortly after the buffet was scheduled to start:






Name of the facility:






Picture of "freshwater pool" referenced in sign






View from the top








==============================================

Summary - copied from my original commentary. I thought about "integrating" the text with the pictures above, but prefer to move onto another thread.

Simply, Tortola is new to the whole tourism-destination on a cruise-scale thing - and it shows in many ways. Random thoughts, to be followed with a separate thread of MANY pictures (in process of uploading) at a later date:

1. DS21 did SCUBA on both Tortola and St Thomas. He thought St Thomas scuba was infinitely superior and Tortola "not worth it." He said the St Thomas dive team was very professional, that Tortola was not as friendly, informative, safety-oriented. He also thought the "view" (visibility, variety of marine life) and short dive (mentioned by WiscBill) on the Tortola dive not as interesting. I have pictures of Tortola dive - he didn't take the camera on the ST dive.

2. DH, DS19 and I took ferry / taxi / baths / lunch excursion $89/pp

2a. Ferry ride was OK, but after experiencing a sail to St John the next day, I would not ferry again.

2b. Delay - waiting for ferry return to return us to the Magic - our designated ferry wasn't working and a replacement one was sent. It couldn't dock, so they tethered them together and helped us cross two rocking boats (not bad, but not exactly smooth). I did not mind this, I am just describing EVERYTHING so the reader - especially the readers with arthritis (which I do not have - actually, I have good balance, as I am a black belt in karate - but a black belt carrying an expensive camera in one hand at all times - which makes me more conscious of balance issues - you'll see this theme throughout this post)

2c. While waiting for replacement ferry, another ferry arrives with passengers. The boat is a good 1.5 to 2 feet BELOW the dock. Two excursion people LIFT every single person out of the boat by their arms (I took pictures because I couldn't believe it at first). I'm saying to my family - "Wow, that couldn't be a Disney boat - they would never contract with an excursion company that can't even dock right" - then I started seeing the Castaway Cay lanyards...... I have to believe some of them had comments on THAT - not that anyone was visibly upset, but that had to be uncomfortable for most of them.







2d. Aside - when debriefing with a fellow passenger that evening, he noted that the natives were pleasantly puzzled by the Disney passengers - they said "what does Disney do that their passengers are so nice".....

3. Taxi ride - open air, per excursion description. Pleasant enough. Enjoyed view of Atlantic side and beach shot (you'll see), but not sure it was worth the time. You do have to climb UP into the taxi - again, no big deal but worth knowing if you have mobility limitations.

4. The Baths - truly a unique and enjoyable site / beach (the pictures will save a thousand words) ABOVE

4a. Path DOWN to the Baths - not a problem - stairs, uneven surfaces, but no steep grades. HOWEVER, you need to PAY ATTENTION to where you are stepping. I consider this not terribly physically taxing if you use stairs often. And still, I scrapped my shin on one of the steps... No big deal, just reporting the facts.

4b. Path UP to the Bath - we took the long way up from Devils Bay - and really enjoyed the experience. However, it did require stepping down from rocks to sand. In my attempt to avoid a rock buried in the sand while stepping down (about 24 inches) and protect my camera, I landed on one knee in the sand - which scraped a 1 inch by .5 inch swath on the center of my knee (still weeping today). This would not have happened if I had taken more precautions (hand off the camera, put it away, etc.) - but I can't imagine my mother, with one arthritic knee, doing any of this. Just FYI - this does take longer than the main path - we were rushing a little to return in time for lunch. Turns out, we were in good shape time-wise, but we couldn't tell how far away we were to pace ourselves. You're not at risk for getting lost - but you don't know where you are exactly, either.

4c. Path from beach to beach - we crossed from main beach to Devils and whatever the beach beyond Devils was. It was all fascinating, but challenging for someone with mobility issues - you have to duck, crouch, climb, wade through narrow passages, use rope (one), etc.

5. Toilets on the beach - two stalls for women - some blockage while we were waiting to use it - horrible smell - but unclogged just as we were walking away.

6. Excursion description promised "delicious lunch". It wasn't bad, but it wasn't delicious either.

6a. One drink - rum punch (served by scooping punch from an open air container - if there was rum in it, I couldn't tell), can of Coors lite, cup of soft drink.

6b. Buffet - fish, macaroni, similar to picnic fare - I didn't study it or take pictures.

6c. Top of the Baths restaurant - was cute, had a little pool that some of the kids were enjoying, pleasant surroundings, lovely grounds, beautiful view.

7. Snorkeling - the description said snorkeling was available. I thought, for $89, it was included. DS19 was a little disappointed, but it wasn't a huge deal.


In summary, applying what I learned and am reading from others, IF I were to return to Tortola:
(a) it would be to see the Baths again
(b) I would like to snorkel (another family brought their own equipment - $29 at Target - and were pleased with the fish they saw in the caves; easier to do if you are driving than flying)
(c) I would avoid the ferry and the up/down hike, and SAIL to/from the island, swimming to shore
(d) I would try to be back on board for lunch.

AND it is worth knowing that Tortola is not a seamless, end-to-end Disney experience (yet). I suspect Disney will either get the experience in line with their cruise "brand" or cease to port there.....

8. The Town - we walked through town after our return. We are not shoppers, but we wanted to see what it was like. They have basically set up a "tent city" to sell stuff to tourists. I suspect it will be more like St Thomas over time - permanent stores, nicer walk to it, etc.
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:56 PM   #3333
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Lots of people climbing on rocks (still no sunshine):



My son is in this picture!! He's the one on top of the big boulder...the tallest one in the back. He had a blast climbing and exploring. We did the baths on our own...not through DCL. It really is an amazing place. Pictures simply do not do it justice! You have some great shots...love them!
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:34 PM   #3334
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Great pictures of the baths. It was a stunning place and so peaceful even with all the people there. We had a great day.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-17-2009, 11:23 PM   #3335
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Just testing how to post photos...
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Old 06-18-2009, 12:58 PM   #3336
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The pictures are WONDERFUL....and they are killing me!! I want to go back now. NOW. I'm beat. I must already be too old to be a live-in Grammy. I wish I lived close enough to come over in the a.m. and go home in the p.m.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!!
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:16 PM   #3337
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justmestace View Post
The pictures are WONDERFUL....and they are killing me!! I want to go back now. NOW. I'm beat. I must already be too old to be a live-in Grammy. I wish I lived close enough to come over in the a.m. and go home in the p.m.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!!
I want to go back too...I keep trying to think of a way to get back on that ship...no brilliant ideas yet!

Hang in there!! You'll miss that baby when you go home!
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Old 06-18-2009, 03:57 PM   #3338
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith07101 View Post
I want to go back too...I keep trying to think of a way to get back on that ship...no brilliant ideas yet!

Hang in there!! You'll miss that baby when you go home!
I think there are only 2 ways - pay Disney more money or offer to wash dishes .

Hope you've got some good washing up gloves
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Old 06-18-2009, 06:47 PM   #3339
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Sail / Snorkel to St Johns Honeymoon Beach

We took an open air taxi to the marina






where we boarded the Adventuress







The skipper, talking through safety instructions







A nice, relaxing sail (helped that there was, finally, some sunshine)







Putting smiles on sailors







Gilligan (Joe), Ginger (Andrea) and Skipper













We didn't take pictures snorkeling - thought DS21 was going to take the D10 scuba diving.


Still, we enjoyed this excursion. Once we arrived at Honeymoon Beach, the boat dropped anchor. Most of us snorkled off the back of the boat. Some elected to take the dinghy to the beach. The snorkeling hour passed very quickly. Currents are strong and you can drift from the boat without realizing it. I had to kick my swimming up a notch to get back to the boat (moral of the story - swim up-current, then drift toward the boat).

On the return trip, Andrea brought out fresh fruit, cheese and poured a whole, large bottle of rum in each gallon of rum punch that she made. It was very good and everyone was laughing it up in no time.

Happy customers - and fellow passengers













Returning to the ship







Sailing away from St Thomas






.
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:37 PM   #3340
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Yeah more pictures, was this a dcl excursion?

Stacy where are the baby pictures?????
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:46 PM   #3341
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DCL excursion? Yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOANNEL View Post
Yeah more pictures, was this a dcl excursion?
I usually take "sponsored" tours the first time, until I get my bearings and courage.
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Old 06-18-2009, 10:16 PM   #3342
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Magic in Tortola

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Old 06-19-2009, 08:34 PM   #3343
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Spa Villa for One

I was motivated to try this experience by podsnel trip report (will include link when I find the specific, spa post). I am not a regular at any spa and rarely get a massage, even though I like them.

You start with the reservation and checking in - this report will start with walking down the hall from the check in desk to the spa room:







... a quick turn to the right, Kelly leads me down the hall to HER spa room







... entering into your room for the next 100 minutes. I am standing here in the middle of the interior room, with some sort of hydrobed on my right (don't know how it was used, just reporting) and the massage table on the left. Looking stright ahead, the exterior veranda includes the hot tub (right), chair, and day bed (left - more on that later).







Next, Kelly sits down and discusses - briefly - allergies, preferences, etc.







Here is your robing, decoratively hung up and waiting for you, flowers (silk) on your pillow







A dish of Elemis products, unobstrusive advertising (no sales push at all)















A view of the daybed







...with the tea cart ready, your towels below (my own sandals)







After checking for your scent preferences, Kelly adds something to the hot tub.....






... then provided you with a choice of lemon water or cucumber water. Obviously, I choose lemon here. Later, I past the larger containers of water and tried the cucumber water - very refreshing - would get that next time, only because I get lemon water at every restaurant I go to. I'm sure you could ask for a sample of both, and then choose, if you are not sure!







Finally, IN the tub - here is your view:







You can see where a second person could fit in the tub at the same time - "black rectangle" would be his / her backrest.



Scooting over to the "other" position - this would be that view:







What a nice little towel-rug laid down for you to walk on!






After your massage, you can either return to the hot tub, choose to sit on the daybed, or mix it up any way you want for the remaining time. I chose the daybed, because, unlike Kramer, I don't like eating in the tub.







The tea is from tealeaves.com - the supplier for the Gardenview Tea (Grand Floridian) and Palo's. You also get a dish of fresh fruit and two chocolate covered strawberries.






Othe random thoughts:
1. The quality of the massage - very good. My husband is a certified licensed massage therapist. He doesn' t practice, but I've been exposed to more than you might think, given my opening paragraph - that I am not a spa person. I'd like to be, I just haven't brought myself to spend the money on it.
2. You get $30 off a future massage on the same cruise, with the same person, should you decide to return. I scoffed - what could possibly be more self-indulgent than the Spa Villa Experience? Turns out, Spa +1. Later the next day, I booked.
3. We had an inside cabin - I am sure that made the veranda experience more special than if we had one attached to our room.
4. My classic "test" for myself:
4a. Would I repeat the experience? I would LIKE to, but I think I would go for 2 massages, before one Spa Villa experience.
4b. Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:35 PM   #3344
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More pictures to come....

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Originally Posted by JOANNEL View Post
Yeah more pictures
I may have enough pictures to keep me busy posting right up through the member cruise....
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Old 06-19-2009, 08:50 PM   #3345
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[/Quote]We didn't take pictures snorkeling - thought DS21 was going to take the D10 scuba diving.



.[/QUOTE]

Some snorkeling photos from our camera, along with a picture of Tracy and Bill





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