St. Thomas – 2014 Cruise

This is the first post of our cruise for which there is no corresponding post from the ship. That means no versions of these photos have been seen anywhere in the universe before now.

. . . except, you know, the millions of other photos from other passengers on this and other cruises. 

As often is the case, this is not a short post; plan accordingly.

We woke up already moored to the dock. This time we face inland, but when I looked out I saw this . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

That would be the Celebrity Reflection . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and the MS Maasdam.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

I was a bit worried as I watched these ships come in. It was obvious the Reflection was going to beat the Maasdam into the harbor, but the Maasdam was not backing off.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

I waited for the sound of ship meeting island followed by an explosion and a column of smoke rising from behind the hill . . . nothing. There must be more docks on the other side of the islet.

However, all the berths in this harbor were taken, and the Reflection had to anchor in the middle of the harbor and tender her passengers ashore.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Before I continue, let me get back to when I first stepped out and show you the phone photos of the port side.

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20141216_063507-3_DIGI

20141216_063756-3_DIGI

Notice the restaurant below our balcony . . . later on, it would fill with very loud people and very loud music. And a very loud announcer/DJ.

The middle photo shows the parking lot from which the excursions left.

Before I forget, here’s the St Thomas PatterSt Thomas Port, and St Thomas Excursions. By now we were pretty much excursioned out, and besides, none of the excursions that were left held any interest for us.

Like all the other islands, the story of the place involves Europeans, sugar, slavery, etc.  In 1917, the United States bought the island, along with St. John and St. Croix, from the Dutch. You can read the history HERE.

While others prepped for their excursions we had ourselves a leisurely breakfast, and then walked around the upper decks to see the rest of the harbor.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Them be some expensive little boats out there . . . or at least they looked expensive.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

There were smaller boats too . . . but probably still expensive.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and some that were lots bigger . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

20141216_070142-3_DIGI

That’s Disney’s Fantasy (for them who can’t make out the name of the boat).

We debated going ashore and decided we would, but we were not in a big hurry. We passed more time watching the harbor’s traffic.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

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20141216_070719-3_DIGI

The color cast on the photos is a bit weird as the lighting could not make up its mind; there were a lot of clouds around, but the sun was trying to shove its way down to us.

We watched the Reflection begin its tender operations . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and other boats come and go.

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Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

And, of course, the excursions heading out . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

My eyes kept getting drawn back to the floating toys of millionaires. We had dropped a few decks to get a different angle on them.

These next panoramas are perhaps better seen in their original size. One can do that in the SmugMug Gallery HERE. You can also click on the photos to get a larger — but not full size — version.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Those are composed of multiple shots stitched together . . . here’s one of them shots on its own.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Notice something else . . . the housing here looks a tad on the expensive side. My guess is people who made lots of money in the US come here for the tax-friendly (read: evasion) opportunities. I call them people, but really, I think they are assholes. BUT . . . this isn’t the time or place for that commentary.

Just remember that the median annual family income for the residents is $24K . . . I don’t hink any of them live in those houses and condos, and if they have boats, they don’t look like the ones in the above photos.

Anyway, let’s get back to just reporting on the sights, otherwise I’m going to get worked up and rant about stuff . . . and no one wants that!

So, we had the views of the harbor . . .

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. . . the view of the opulent boats . . .

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Wait . . . isn’t that the pirate ship that passed by empty a little while ago?

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

I guess recruiting went well . . . everyone wants to be a pirate.

. . . they don’t look all that scary . . .

From the lower deck, I also got a different angle on the Fantasy.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

20141216_075336-3_DIGI

The combination of proximity and very wide-angle gives an impression the ship is skewed. It’s not.

One last harbor shot before we decided to abandon ship.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

As we meandered back toward our cabin to pick up our stuff for leaving the ship (stick, water, camera, hat, gun . . . no, wait . . . damn! I keep forgetting I had to leave that at home), I took the opportunity to snap a few photos around the ship. Not as many as I should have but, that’s how it goes.

These are probably my most favorite chairs I ever crossed paths with . . .

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20141216_075747-3_DIGI

They swivel . . . if I could have mounted a couple of water pistols to the armrests, I would have had a whole lot of fun with the people that walked those halls . . . as it was, I would track them as they passed by, rotating to keep them in my (imaginary) sights. Most ignored me . . . some quickened their pace.

This is the crew board . . . or the crew aboard.

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Lots of Italians . . . none of which I spoke with.

There was a neat picture . . . neat insofar as I’ve not seen this type of thing for at least ten years or so.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

That’s a mosaic of the Royal Princess . . . made up of photos from places it visits.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

We had a few minutes of fun spotting places we’d visited, although not via cruising.

Alas, it was time to step foot on the island. I’m adding an image from Google Earth showing our going (light blue) and return paths (green).

Our Walk

The path option in Google Earth shows we walked around 3.5 miles give or take a couple of tenths. The map is not as fine as it is for most places in the US, but it gives you an idea that, combined with the pictures, should paint a picture of our walk. Click on the screen capture for a larger view.

I took a few photos as we were going through the shopping centers that seem attached to every ship-berthing places. Not of the shops, but of other sights. Some neat flowers, for instance, and a different view of the Fantasy.

Phone photo

Phone photo

Nikon photo

Nikon photo

Phone photo

Phone photo

Phone photo

Phone photo

While we took the longer path heading out, anyone reading this and planning to be there and doing the same walk . . . just walk along the waterfront. Nothing to see along the road except for a few chickens . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, . . . and a tree . . . Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, It wasn’t until we rejoined the waterfront that we saw anything worth looking at. Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, Here’s a panorama shot with the phone . . . 20141216_090054-3_DIGI The next photo-worthy (maybe) thing was this boat-house. Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, 20141216_090430-3_DIGI 20141216_090437-3_DIGI Actually, there were not many photo-worthy things, but I did snap a few shots, mostly with the phone. Tourists fleecing . . . 20141216_094757-3_DIGI . . . local’s boat . . . 20141216_094808-3_DIGI The Nikon did come into service for two things . . . a house across the harbor . . .   Cruise 2014, St. Thomas, . . . and a plane landing . . . there’s a longer sequence in SmugMug; I’ll only include a few here as this post is long enough already.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Seaborne . . . a local airline with service between the Carribean islands.

Oh, yeah . . . the Nikon came out for this too, as the phone would not have done him justice . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

I thought the umbrella and sandals were out of place. Otherwise, that’s what I call flair.

Despite the overcast sky, it was warm and humid, and my leg began to give me trouble, so we headed back, this time taking the waterfront path that took us closer to the marina.

Until I say otherwise, all these next shots are taken with the Samsung Note II and processed using Lightroom and onOne Perfect Effects.

First, a closeup of the boathouse mural . . .

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. . . and then, the boats.

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20141216_100329-3_DIGI

These boats have crews . . . I can’t imagine that, just like I can’t imagine having a house staff. Truly, a different world; one that I will never understand.

Then again, I suppose living and working on one of those boats might not be all that bad. 

Except . . . understand, not many, but I’ve met a few people with lots of money; with rare exceptions, I can summarize them thus: assholish jerks. No, wait . . . inconsiderate, self-entitled, odious excuses for human beings who equate wealth, earned or unearned, as somehow making them better than other humans.

. . . ah . . . better stop before, you know, I might say something nasty about them . . . 

Still, nice machines . . .

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I wanted to get this next shot and was lucky in the fact no one was on the boardwalk.

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We were getting closer to the ships, and I was looking forward to a couple of shots I envisioned. By the way, as usual, there are more shots in the gallery (I know; hard to imagine there are more photos than what I show here).

Oh, in case someone wants to look up the place . . .

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And now . . .

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We got back aboard and did our usual snack-shower-eat-coffee-dessert-coffee-dessert routine as we waited for the ship to leave port.

The time came . . . the Reflection, despite having arrived after us, departed a little while before us.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

20141216_160405-3_DIGI

If you, gentle (and hopefully not filthy-rich reader) have never been on a cruise, you might not know that many of the ships blow their horn when leaving  . . . and other ships respond.

This is the Royal Princess’s response to the reflection blowing its horn . . . 

**WARNING** it be loud as we were right under it.

That is an approximation of the theme from the show Love Boat. Last year was Princess Cruises’s 50th anniversary. All last year, and possibly from now on, that is the signature horn blowing all Princess ships. I think all. Perhaps some don’t do it.

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Wait . . . what’s that big red Y in front of us?

It turns out another ship was parked in front of us. There is no good way to look forward unless you are in one of the forward-facing cabins, so we did not know it was there. 

Soon, it was our turn to leave; here a 90-seconds video of us sliding by the other ship . . . including an exchange of very loud horns.

By the way, in case these videos load slowly, here are the links to the same videos in YouTube: Video 1 and Video 2

So . . . what ship was there, hidden from view? The Carnival Glory.

Panorama using Nikon photos

Panorama using Nikon photos

As we slid by the Glory, I captured a few views of where we had been . . .

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and of the harbor . . . 

Nikon

Nikon

Phone

Phone

. . . and, of course, of the Glory.

Phone

Phone

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Once these ships begin to move, they are surprisingly fast . . . you know, considering their size. Despite daylight fading fast, I managed a few more shots of the stuff we slid by.

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Oh, look . . . another toy boat . . . 

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Nikon

Phone

Phone

Phone

Phone

Meanwhile, the Reflection was hightailing it outta there . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

If you are wondering why . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . I’d be running too if a boat with a machine gun was after me!

The Pilot Boat was trying to remain inconspicuous . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . but to no avail . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

Not sure what was the deal with this boat . . . no other coast guard vessel we saw during our trip sported anything obvious in the way of firepower.

Anyway, one more look at the island . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and a far-away ship (not the Reflection) . . . 

Cruise 2014, St. Thomas,

. . . and then we felt the call of the buffet and after-dinner snacks. We lost interest in the slowly receding island.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Caribbean Islands, Cruise Ship, cruising, Machines, Photography, Photography Stuff, Royal Princess, Scenery, St. Thomas, Travel Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to St. Thomas – 2014 Cruise

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    There must have been a heavy list on the boat when they took the crew photos!

    Like

  2. These photos were a HUGE joy to look at! Wow! I love all the boats on the water shots! And the pirate-y boat is cool! I really enjoyed the mosaic of photos, and the mural! And your crew was very attractive! The dude in the fur and feathers is impressive! :-) You saw so much! Thanks for sharing it with us! Oh, and those chairs DO look comfortable! :-)
    HUGS!!! :-)

    Like

  3. I made plans accordingly and when I woke up, the post had stopped loading and there were still no photos. The only way to see all 573 of them is to click on each empty space and open it separately. Not fun. I managed two.

    That horn is terrible as is the row droning on too.

    I take it that it had rained. What are the chairs made of that we’re being taken away? Obviously nothing that would get damaged by the rain so are they comfy?

    Like

    • They came up after I’d commented. Bizarre. The post obviously went to sleep when I did. It looks very lush there.

      Like

    • disperser says:

      They have a strong mesh that nonetheless has some give when supporting what are sometimes very heavy loads. Probably plastic. I did not examine them closely. I sat on a couple when we watched Movies Under the Stars but then they have covers on them, and a back pillow – plus you ger a blanket as it can be a bit chilly.

      . . . and there are 574 photos . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  4. sandra getgood says:

    That was a very interesting gentleman marching along the street…. must have been a performer of some sort, hurrying to his destination. Great pictures! And I liked the chickens, too. I would think a pleasant outing when one visits a busy island like that would be a visit to a beach or seaside park somewhere away from all the tourist attractions…otherwise, it all seems very crowded and unappealing, somehow, which was a surprise, since I always thought St Thomas must be lovely. Certainly can’t blame you for spending most of your time on the ship looking out to sea and taking pictures of boats must have seemed a good alternative. (I liked the little sailboats, and the one little boat someone must use for work.)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      I prefer to think that was his everyday outfit.

      As for beaches and relaxation, to be fair there were excursions to beaches, but neither Melisa or I are keen on sunning ourselves. Now, give us a long beach to walk on, and we’re there. Had there been beaches within walking distance we would have visited them. Going with a tour seems pointless as the idea is to get away from people.

      Like

  5. oneowner says:

    I don’t know much about weapons, is a machine gun a good tool for fishing? I guess I don’t know much about fishing, either.
    Some excellent photos. I’ll have to check Smugmug when I have access to a real computer.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      As it happens, I used to fish . . . dynamite is a better tool for fishing than machine guns, although perhaps not as much fun.

      Thank you. The lighting was pretty strange; overcast yet bright. It seemed to increase the dynamic range of the the scene, and hence the odd look of the processed photos. Kind of odd that, but I was happy with many of the photos.

      Real computer? Are you writing this on a fake computer? What’s that like? Do you have photos? Is it made from cardboard?

      Like

      • oneowner says:

        I’m presently using a Samsung Tablet for most blogging because I’ve been spending a lot of time away from home. It’s helped me keep up with many things and I like it a lot but it’s a little slow and can be cumbersome when trying to load pages. Tablets are both fun and useful but they just don’t have enough firepower for some demanding tasks. I understand the Microsoft Surface is very capable but that’s almost 1000 bucks. I’m confident tablets will become more powerful and prices will come down. Till then I’ll just muddle along.

        Like

        • disperser says:

          Oh . . . I was really looking forward to seeing a working cardboard computer.

          Seriously, I know what you mean. There are fairly powerful laptops out there, but they run more than my desktop.

          I too hope one day everything I use will be accessible in an easily portable piece of hardware. It does look like we are heading that way, but whenever I look, it seems we are quite a ways from it. By that I mean 10-15 years.

          The thing is that, at least for me, there are fairly specific requirements that are not shared by the population at large. One of them is a sufficiently large screen (flexible screen that can be rolled up), significant storage (solid state memory), and fast efficient CPUs (quantum computers).

          Ideally I would like an operating system dedicated to the task. There is nothing in the horizon at the moment. The industry and public are enamored with one-thing-does-everything idea.

          I would prefer a fast, efficient, pece of hardware and dedicated software that does one thing only (i.e. run the adobe suite, or other suites that I use). I don’t need it to also play games, write e-mails, and stream my entertainment. I’m happy to do that on a separate dedicated piece of hardware.

          But I know I am in the minority.

          Like

  6. mvschulze says:

    Spent some time tonight with this, including the Smugmug renderings – Really nice images, great detail, beautiful look at the St Thomas harbor area. The super yachts… most are likely chartered out, so as to make the owner’s accountants feel justified in plunking down about $20 Million his $ for a couple of weeks use – not to mention the cost to maintain and operate! Is that the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef hotel caught as you were departing???? M :-)

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Thank you . . . and, I don’t know, but, I can look it up . . . why, yes; yes it is.

      It certainly has a commanding view of the entrance to the harbor.

      . . . it looks like an affordable place to stay; let me look that up . . . why, no; no it isn’t. $450+ per night seems a tad high to me. Then again, I suppose cruises run nearly as much . . . except the meals are included.

      Like

      • mvschulze says:

        We stayed one night there a few years ago on our way to to a one week charter in the BVI’s. We met out kids (and their sig. others) the next day before a ferry to the BVI’s and a week on sailboat. The night at the Frenchmans’ Reef was about $150 if I recall (most likey a deal my wife found,) and chartering a boat (without needing a a captian) is actually very affordable, especially if shared 2, 3 or 4 ways with “close” friends. ( think under $2000 a week split 2,3 or 4 ways!)

        Like

        • disperser says:

          If I had two close friends, I might not want to spend a week with them in close quarters for fear of losing them.

          $2K per week sound a tad low for those boats. Or do you mean per person per week? Even then, it sounds low because they come with a crew.

          Like

    • disperser says:

      And yes, many of those boats end up being farmed out to other rich folks.

      Frankly, I don’t know how to approach this whole disproportionate wealth thing. I’m sure some of the islanders might consider the tourists on the boat as wealthy, and in some respect we are. But, it still seems obscene to me when I read about people spending more than I used to make in a year on a watch or a purse.

      But, it’s their money. I certainly don’t want to be told how to spend mine. I know some of my lenses cost more than some people around the world make in a year.

      Still . . . I’ve met a few of the substantially rich; not something I recall with any fondness.

      Let’s be clear; I have nothing against the boats themselves. I can admire form and function, and I know the money spent to build and maintain them has a positive impact on a small number of individuals.

      . . . nothing is ever simple . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  7. AnnMarie says:

    Odd for me to read a post in three sittings, but I finally got around to the end of this one . . . three months later. Must say it was well worth reading and looking through. Even though overcast, the photos are very colorful. Masterfully done, E.

    P.S. Mother thinks that Captain Sagani (born in Trieste) is probably related to Capitan Saganich from Lussin (lots of people that left old Yugo dropped the “ch”).

    Like

  8. Celeste says:

    If your hose is too short, or you want a longer power cable, you can probably get replacements, rather than having to buy a new cleaner. You will find yourself picking up dirt you never imagined was around, and which you would not be capable of getting out with many other vacuum cleaners. Of course,because a vacuum appliance is very important in our lives, we must do all we can to make sure that service continues for a longer period of time.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Well, if this is an euphemism, it’s a pretty good one. Of course, I always get a charge from power cables, but I’ve also heard that length is not all that important, but rather how one uses it.

      As for picking up dirt, I’ve found that avoiding laying it down in the first place works wonders for not having to subsequently pick it up.

      Of course, since I know this is some type of advertisement, I took the liberty of changing the link provided. But rest assured I was very impressed with how much your vacuum comment sucked.

      Like

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