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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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,

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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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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,

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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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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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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,

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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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