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Women of the Caribbean

Discussion in 'Non Disney Trips and Travels' started by Tink, Nov 30, 2008.

  1. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    OK, so the title is shamelessly plagiarized from Pirates of the Caribbean, but you'll allow me a tiny bit of poetic license? It really does fit, if you think about it.

    As many of you know, Herself won a week long cruise to the Caribbean, and that is where we spent the week of Thanksgiving. (November 23-30). It was a women's only cruise, aboard Holland America's ms Westerdam.

    There were men as crew, of course but all passengers were women. What a wonderful way to relax, go a tiny bit wild :wink: rejuvenate, recuperate from political ills and find a deeper resolve to see that this world does not deny equal rights to anyone... but it was a fun time so we'll focus on that, eh? :D

    I'll give you some general aspects, and then as with my other reports allow the photos to do most of the talking. :yes:

    Did we like the ship? Well. Yes, but it didn't have a wow factor. It was a simple basic ship, very clean but with no grand atrium or wonderfully ornate anything. Lovely enough, but no real majesty.

    Was the food good? Ummmm...yesssss, I guess. It was an odd parceling out, I must say. The meal times were rather rigid which isn't something we are used to (having cruised a whopping two other times with Norwegian Cruise lines :D ) and you had to be more ready to eat on "their" schedule than you may have preferred. The food was all edible, most certainly but nothing was tremendously delicious. I prefer my hot food to be scalding, so was not really thrilled with the temperature of the food, but that really was a minor point. We had one special meal (in the restaurant where you pay a cover charge) which I'll explain in a bit. That is the only one I took photos of...

    The spa area was lovely and we spent some time each day there. It was an extra fee for use, but we really felt that it added to our holiday.

    The cabin was small, but winners won't be complainers! The bed was quite the most comfortable ship's bed we've had. :yes:

    The service was impeccable. Regardless of the type being provided (cabin steward, meal server, etc.) every crew member was extremely polite and solicitous of our comfort.

    The ports of call were all nice enough. We fell in love with one. That's coming. We chose not to go ashore on one... the first port... but all in all quite nice.

    The voyage itself was a bit rough from time to time. I think that had more to do with the size of the ship (I have the details here somewhere) which was a bit smaller than we've been on previously, but the seas were rough in some areas.

    The weather was essentially wonderful, once we were underway. It was cool as we set sail, but warmed up nicely (and stayed that way) until our return to cold, miserable rain this morning.

    I'll get on with it then. If you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. I'll do my best to answer!
  2. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    First, the ship and the flags that we flew. The banner, says Olivia Feel Free... a lovely slogan, yes? And you'll recognize the Rainbow Flag, and then the flags of the ship...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    The cabin and the toiletries provided by Holland America. Each evening there was turn down service with chocolates and sometimes towel animal creations. Each morning the cabin was made up with fresh linens (only if you left the used ones on the shower floor) and fresh toiletries upon request, and ice in the bucket. :D Oh, and there were robes provided for use throughout the cruise. They were available for purchase. We chose not to do so.

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  4. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    There were two outdoor pools (and one indoor) on board. These are the dolphins of the main pool. This is the sail away party on deck 9 (the Lido Deck). The shoreline is Fort Lauderdale where Port Everglades is. I must say, I far prefer the Port of Miami... but that's just me and my adoration for big cities. :D

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  5. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Not a very lovely port city... but it will do...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Here are some shots of the interior of the ship. We got a big chuckle out of the 'conversion' of the men's rooms into women's rooms. :lol: When I entered this room my first thought was, "What in Sam Hill have they done to the bidets? :unsure: OH! OH!" LOL. (So I'm slow... you'll still love me, yes)? :D

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    More interior shots of the ship...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    The ports... The Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We also visited St. Martin (by ourselves). We fell in love with that French side of the Island. We found a little shop, L'Epicerie Marie where the shopkeeper had glorious cheeses (we splurged) and had spent some time working at the France Pavilion in EPCOT! All together now, "It's a small world after all..." :D :D He was a charming young man and made us laugh. Although their currency is the Euro, he allowed us to use our US dollars. Very convenient! :D We'd love to visit St. Martin again some day.

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Ports continued...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    One of the most beautiful and alluring things about the Caribbean is the color of the water. I've tried to capture it, but clearly it takes much more sophisticated equipment and talent than I have. Here, the blues of the Caribbean...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    How could it be a cruise without events?! :D One of the main events for this cruise (and the gay community as a whole) is the White Party. Several cities host White Parties at various times of the year. Miami's SoBe does it the best (in our opinion of course). There, the White Party also functions as a fund raiser for HIV+/AIDS research, treatment and care. White is the required color for clothing. No white, no admission. Here, on the ship it is much more relaxed. No fund raiser, just a fun time.

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  12. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    The couple in the third shot from the bottom (directly above)... aren't they beautiful? They were with us for another event (we'll get there) and when I saw them again at the White Party I asked if I could photograph them. They were so full of life and had been together for nearly ever. :yes:

    There were beautiful, heart stoppingly beautiful young women on board this ship, but those who moved me to tears were the older women. They have been through so very much in their lives. They are pre-Stonewall women, and know what it truly means to be discriminated against, to live in true fear... This cruise brought all sorts, shapes, sizes, colors, ages together and provided an area where no one worried about anything other than what the next song would be!

    The White Party photos encompass some dining room shots, and some party shots. Becca my friend, you'll be happy to know, "Babylon" is alive and well where these women are concerned! :D :D
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    And now for the other event. It was a double event, if you will. It was Formal Night. Anyone who chose to do so could dress as elaborately as they pleased for dinner. :yes:

    There were two couples there, highland women! Two of them were in full Highland Dress. Now that gives a wonderful new meaning to proper Scotswoman! :yes: (I thought of our Scotswomen here and wished I'd had the courage to ask to take their photo, but I'm afraid your old Tink was too shy. :sorry: ). They were beautiful strong women, but you'll have guessed that by now. :D

    We had a lovely dinner that evening. We chose to go to the specialty restaurant.

    Here are some shots of our dinner.

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    OH GEE!!! I nearly forgot! We visited an aquarium on St. Thomas and took some shots of the wildlife there.

    Quickly, before I forget again, let me interrupt our specialty dinner and Formal Night to share these shots with you...

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    Oh, and I wanted to share these with you too... shots of the tenders being lowered from the side of the ship... and underway...
    This was the only really disquieting event of the cruise. The tenders didn't work properly. Now, remember please those tenders are also the life boats! :eek: And who would it be that ended up on a tender that had it's engines stop working all together? You've got it! Us. We ended up having to have another working tender come along side and disembark the malfunctioning one and cross over to the one that worked. Not a fun time. But we all survived quite nicely. Not so sure it's good policy to have tenders/lifeboats that don't operate properly though. :unsure:

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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    OK. Back to Formal Night, shall we? We are nearly at the end of the report. Aren't you relieved?! :D I took some license with the order of the photos. For example, the shot of the full ship is off Half Moon Cay, and not Port Everglades. The order of events is taken out of sequence also. Formal Night was the second night at sea.

    Oh, the second event of Formal Night? Well, that was for anyone who chose to participate, as well. We, my dearest friends, chose to participate...

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  17. kazzaqld
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    kazzaqld Addicted to Mickey

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    Beautiful, beautiful photos Tink - thank you for sharing. It looks like you both had a great time!
  18. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Does that mean what I think it means? If so, I am very, veryhappy for you my dear :hug2:


    The photos are beautiful. It looks like a beautiful ship and it also looks like it was nice and WARM!
  19. Tink
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    Tink Cead Mille Failte! Staff Member Administrator

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    It does dear Johnie. It does. :yes: :D

    It was warm! GLORIOUSLY WARM!!!
  20. uscwest
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    uscwest Senior Cast Member

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    Some absolutely gorgeous pictures my dear friend and it looks like a great time was had by all.

    CONGRATULATIONS

    I am truly happy for you.

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