Once again, thanks for sticking with the review. After a hectic Memorial Day weekend (that’s a whole ‘nother blog), I’m back with more. Since there was a crazy delay and I had a crazy week, I made sure today’s review was extremely picture-filled! Pictures make me happy!
As always, feel free to ask away in the comments section and I will respond to you. If you want to read previous entries, you can do that here:
- Pre-Cruise: Traveling to Florida & Port Canaveral
- Day 1: Our First Look at the Freedom of the Seas
- Day 2: Royal Caribbean’s Private Island- Cococay
- Day 3: Dodgeball Tourney, Meet and Mingle, and Salad Envy
- Day 4: St. Thomas, Love and Marriage, and Your Questions Answered
We got up super duper early on Thursday for our day in St. Maarten. In fact, the ship docked at 8 AM, and we wanted to be off the ship as soon as possible for our excursion, which began at 9 AM.
We met up with our friends Linda and Taylor from North Carolina in the Promenade Cafe for a quick muffin and coffee before getting off the ship. We met them through Cruise Critic and booked the same excursion.
For St. Maarten, we booked the Random Wind sailboat excursion. You have to book this online, because it’s not offered by the cruise ship. And you know, it’s probably 100 times better than the one the ship offers, because we got a great product for a great deal.
For $85, we got almost 6 hours on the Random Wind boat, with stops at the beach, as well as lunch, unlimited drinks (they have everything from bottled water and coke to rum punch or beer) and snacks. Most of the sailing excursions offered by the ship cost around the same amount or more for four hours of sailing without lunch or drinks!
I love scoring a deal. Even on vacation.
The first thing we did when we got off the ship was find a cab ($7 per person) to take us to the Skipjack’s restaurant, where we would meet Diane and Trevor, who operate the tour, pay our money, and take a little motorboat to the Random Wind.
We also saw some interesting sites from the cab. I hope we’re not the only people who find taking cabs around islands and seeing the islands that way fascinating, but it really is.
Oh, and our cabbie totally got lost and had no clue where the restaurant was. I can’t say that I’ve ever had a cabbie get lost, but I guess he was new on the job or something, so I’ll give him a break.
The Skipjack’s was a pretty cool restaurant, and if we’d had more time in St. Maarten, it would’ve been an interesting place to eat. Unfortunately, we had to get back to the ship right after our excursion, so no time to eat or get a drink there.
Once on the sailboat, you’re welcome to all the drinks and snacks you want. Clay took advantage of this by having a rum punch and I had a Diet Coke. I usually don’t drink soda anymore, so even a can of Coke was a treat for me. The waters were great, and we sailed out to a little beach, where we swam around with water noodles and just chilled out.
Clay snorkeled a bit and saw some interesting fish. You can bring your own snorkel or use one provided.
After swimming and snorkeling, we had lunch on the boat. Diane cooks the lunch, which is a chicken curry, salad, bread and fruit. She’s a vegetarian, so she actually made tofu curry for the two of us. We all ate and talked. Dianne’s a very interesting lady who’s had a really adventure filled life. She and her family actually live on the Random Wind sailboat, but previously lived in Charleston, SC, so it was interesting to find another South Carolina connection on the cruise :).
The lunch was pretty filling and tasty.
Unfortunately, the waters started to get ROUGH.
Now, keep in mind I hadn’t really eaten all day until I ate this curry- plus, my tummy can play weird games with me sometimes, and after 4 days of cruise food, those games were getting pretty feisty. Just as I started feeling quesy, Trevor stopped the boat and Diane demonstrated the “Tarzan swing”.
Clay went on the Tarzan swing probably five times and had the time of his life.
With my quesyness, I decided to skip the Tarzan swing and hang out on the boat. Unfortunately, my tummy waved it’s white flag of surrender.
Three minutes later, I felt fine- and I was fine for the rest of the day.
You know, those three minutes were the only not-so-pleasant part of my vacation, and if I went back to St. Maarten, I’d book the Random Wind again in a heartbeat. I’d just hope for calmer waters and watch what I ate.
After about six hours on the water, we were back at Skipjack’s and took a cab back to the Freedom of the Seas. Dianne even called us a cab from the boat, and we made it back to the ship with plenty of time to spare before leaving.
Clay and I were both pretty wiped out that evening. He got incredibly sunburnt, even with the overcast, chilly day, and while I felt better, I definitely needed a hydration and a nap. We got a snack at the Windjammer and went back to our room, where we napped and watched some reality show about refurbishing cruise ships.
Later that night, we got ready for dinner and the Quest game show.
For dinner, I had the Caprese Salad and the Eggplant and Roma Tomato Bake. I really enjoyed both dishes!
I also ordered the shrimp dish as well, but only ate the shrimp from it. I was just feeling some shrimp that night, and why not- I needed to replace all the food I left in St. Maarten, right?
Clay had a steak for dinner. Yeppers, you can get steak every night.
And Clay got this fruity dessert…
For dessert, I faced an interesting dilemma: Warm Chocolate Cake, or Tiramasu? So… I GOT BOTH!
In the main dining room, you’re welcome to order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you’d like. It doesn’t cost anything extra. I ate about half of each dessert, but I will say if I had to pick, the Tiramasu was better.
It was a good thing we took a nap earlier, because the night’s show was the Quest.
The Quest was probably the most awesome show I went to on the cruise, and we went to a lot of shows. The cruise director divides the audience up into teams, and it’s basically a scavenger hunt for the strangest items ever. There’s a male and female captain for each team, who find the items from the team members in their audience sections.
Let’s just say, you’d be really surprised what people are carrying around in their pockets, purses, and backpacks while on a cruise ship!
I will say, I did volunteer a few items, but if you really like something, there’s really no guarantee you get it back. Oh, and Clay volunteered his head when the cruise director asked each team to bring him a bald man!
The best part was when the female team captain got clothing articles from the women in the audience to dress up the male team captain in 90 seconds or less. Then, all the “Royal Beauties” walked around the stage in their gear… too cute!
We also got Flash Mobbed :). New friend Taylor even participated in the Flash Mob!
It looked super fun! I hope they have it on my next cruise so that I can do it :).
After the Quest, we headed back down to our room to chill out for the rest of the night and get some much needed rest before our two exciting days at sea!