Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 2008 Cruise -- Day 5, Carnival Glory

Sint Maarten, Netherlands Antiles

Welcome to St. Maarten
When we woke up the Carnival Glory was just pulling up to the dock in St. Maarten. The island is pretty but not nearly as beautiful as St. Thomas. We noticed how dry and brown it looked, especially after seeing the lush green of St. Thomas. It must be the winds that bring one island rain and another a drought.

Today was balcony cleaning day and we were warned to stay off until 2:00. So, after breakfast in the buffet we walked to the tourist shops at the end of the pier and took the water taxi into downtown Philipsburg. For US$6.00 you get a wrist band and you can ride the boat as many times as you want, all day.The water taxi stops at the cruise ship pier, Bobby's Marina and downtown.

Many visitors rent a car and drive the eight miles to the French side of the island -- Saint Martin -- for French food and shopping for fashion items.
Carnival Glory at the dock in Philipsburg
The water taxi is fun and you get to see our ship from far away and from the waterline. Carnival Glory is the only ship in port today so there are no crowds at all.

The little village is very touristy but fun and very Dutch looking. We have visited other Dutch islands in the Caribbean -- Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao -- and they also look like tropical versions of Dutch seaside resorts and they are lots easier to pronounce. We shopped, bought t-shirts, had a Coke, watched people and took the water taxi back to the ship at 12:30.
Carnival Glory's main lobby
And then it was time for lunch and a nap.

Comparing Carnival and Princess -- Princess ships have a booth in the main lobby to promote future cruise sales. They display all the Princess Cruises brochures and offer shipboard credits on future cruises if you make a deposit right now. The booth is staffed for much of the day. On Carnival Glory there have been no mentions of booking future cruises and I haven't seen any brochures tempting us to sail on Carnival ever again.

Something Carnival does do well -- the toilets flush as soon as you push the button. Now and then this is a problem on Princess ships. The flush timing is determined by the water pressure in your area of the ship. Sometimes it takes a few seconds, and once in a while two minutes for the flushing to happen. Just thought you needed to know.

Another feature on the Glory that I never saw on a Princess ship -- ice machines. The first time I called room service for some ice I was told there were two ice machines on our deck, in the hallway on each end. This is a wonderful convenience. Now if they could just add some vending machines for soft drinks!

It is windy out and all evening the sea has been getting rougher. Lots of swells and the ship is doing its best to keep us stable.

The cruise so far:
Port Canaveral to Nassau
279 Nautical miles, 321 land miles, 516 kilometers

Nassau to St. Thomas
870 Nautical miles, 1001 land miles, 1610 kilometers

St, Thomas to St. Maarten
114 Nautical miles, 131 land miles, 211 kilometers

Total so far from Port Canaveral to St. Maarten
1263 Nautical miles, 1452 land miles, 2337 kilometers

Note: 1 nautical mile = 1.15 land miles = 1.85 kilometers

Wednesday's towel sculptureWe weren't quite sure what tonight's towel animal is. Some kind of sea bird, perhaps?

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