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Cruise #37: 14 Days Circle Caribbean

11/25/2023 - 12/9/2023


Emerald Princess:

The view of Ft Lauderdale as we are sailing away.











We are in Crooners on the Emerald Princess, listening to our favorite Princess piano man,
Kory Simon.  Lou and I got married on this very same ship in 2013.   On our wedding night,
we stumbled upon Kory in Crooners.  He asked the audience if there were any newlyweds on
the ship.  Lou raised his hand and told Kory that we'd gotten married on the ship that very
same day.  Kory asked us to come to the dance floor.  He sang "Can I Have This Dance for
the Rest of My Life" while Lou and I danced.  Prior to this, we had only danced once
in public and I have to admit I was very self-conscience dancing in front of people.  Fast
forward to this cruise: Between sets, Kory always stops by a few tables and chats with audience
members.  Lou and I reintroduced ourselves to him and told him the story of 2013.  At the beginning
of his next set, Kory recounted the story to the audience and asked us to come to the dance floor
once again while he recreated the moment with the very same song.  I have to say, I was a LOT
more comfortable this time since Lou and I have danced in public many times in the past almost
11 years.  Plus, Lou's spontaneity and his attitude of never meeting a stranger has somewhat
rubbed off on me, thank goodness!

And here is the man himself, Kory Simon.  He is such a great entertainer and it is
standing room only in Crooners every single night he is there.   What is so special
about Kory? Well, he is extremely talented on the piano and has a great voice,
but the really special thing is how hilarious he is and how he gets us all to sing along.
For songs such as "Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer)" he competes with the us to see
whether the audience can sing higher than him.  At the end of each song like this,
it turns into a Screech Fest.  And Kory says he can get the audience to do
ANYTHING!  (It's true.   All your inhibitions go away and you don't mind making
a fool of yourself.)
A picture taken from our balcony of the horizon and pretty clouds. 







Ship: Emerald Princess

Cabin : D715 mini-suite




Date Description Start End
Nov 25 Fort Lauderdale 3:00PM
Nov 26 At Sea
Nov 27 At Sea
Nov 28 St Kitts 9:00AM 6:00PM
Nov 29 Guadeloupe (Pointe-A 8:00AM 6:00PM
9:45am Sainte-Anne On Your Own

4 hours

Nov 30 St Lucia 8:00AM 6:00PM
8:30 am Whale & Dolphin Watching Cruise
3 hours

Dec 01 Barbados 8:00AM 6:00PM
Dec 02 Grenada 8:00AM 6:00PM
Dec 03 Trinidad (Port Of Sp 7:00AM 5:00PM
Dec 04 Martinique 10:00AM 8:00PM
Dec 05 At Sea
Dec 06 Aruba 7:00AM 4:00PM
Dec 07 At Sea
Dec 08 At Sea
Dec 09 Fort Lauderdale 7:00AM


St. Kitts:

Jagged volcanoes soaring above azure and turquoise seas, dense rainforests in myriad shades of green, rolling fields of sugarcane--welcome to St. Kitts. Along with its neighbor, Nevis, St. Kitts presents an exotic landscape more common to Polynesia than the Caribbean. The islands' terrain, rich soil, and climate made them ideal locations for raising sugarcane. In fact, St. Kitts and Nevis were once the crown jewels of the Caribbean. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain, France and England vied for control of the islands, with the English finally winning out in 1787. Today, British and French heritage is evident on both islands. Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts, boasts fine, restored colonial buildings. Impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress, called the "Gibraltar of the West Indies," is one of the most impressive fortresses in the Caribbean.


We just love the island of St. Kitts.  It is so picturesque!


Guadeloupe, a butterfly shaped gem of a land, floats between the islands of Antigua and Dominica. Between the wings of Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre lies Pointe-à-Pitre, the main economic center of the area. Founded in 1763 by the French governor Gabriel de Clieu, this gracious city of some 16500 souls is a perfect blend of old and new, a place where colonial buildings rub shoulders with vibrant modern architecture. Pointe-à-Pitre itself has much to offer-lively markets, upscale boutiques, bustling cafes and a charming harbor make for a perfect invitation to spend the day exploring. A trip to Basse-Terre would not be complete without a visit to the spectacular Jardin Botanique de Deshaies (botanical garden), where a mile of pathways winds through 15 different garden areas, housing over 1,000 species of plants and flowers. On the eastern "wing," Grand-Terre, lies one of the most breathtaking sites in Guadeloupe. Pointe de Chateaux ("Castle Point") is a windswept peninsula made of unique rock formations, with a cross shaped memorial at its tip. Visitors to the area will be rewarded with stunning views of the Atlantic and the neighboring island of La Desirade.


We visited a small cafe and market in St. Anne.  We bought whole vanilla beans
....one package for Carol and one for  Lou's Retina Specialist, Dr. Veronica Graversen. Dr. Graversen is originally from Ecuador and had mentioned to Lou that she loves to cook with whole vanilla beans and wished they were more available in the states. She was happy to receive them and rewarded Lou with big hug.


Carol and Lou take a selfie in St. Anne.





This was our first and probably last visit to Guadalupe, a French colony. It did not seem like you're classic Caribbean tropical island. Instead, the island felt very built up with mostly tall buildings.  We had booked an "on your own" excursion to the town of St Anne. The excursion description had stated that we would take a short bus ride to the quaint village of St. Anne which has cafes and shopping with a short walk to the beach.  Instead, it turned out to be a 60 minute plus ride out to a tiny shopping area surrounded by traffic and lots of noise... nothing worth while here for us. Not very quaint at all.  In addition, our tour guide was French and she had a difficult time speaking clearly in English.  But the real problem was that she never completed her sentences so no one on the bus was ever sure of what she meant. We were expecting a quaint town with French sidewalk cafes and nice shops.  Instead, there was one cafe that was in the craft market and the craft market contained poorly made beach cover-ups and dresses, and such baubles as refrigerator magnets.  At the end of the 2 hours on our own, all of the tour group met back at the previously agreed upon departure point to catch the bus back to the ship.  There we were informed that the bus driver
had changed the departure point due to traffic and we would all have to walk a half mile back to where we had just come from.  As we began walking, the heavens opened up and, as Carol likes to say, "it started raining cats and dogs!" Within seconds, all of us were thoroughly soaked and the rain never let up.   There were several people on our tour who had mobility issues so we felt bad for them.  We say we
would give this tour and island a one star at best.  




St. Lucia:

Nestled below the Pitons, twin peaks rising over 2,600 feet above the azure waters of the Caribbean, St. Lucia is an oasis of tropical calm. The island's capital, Castries, is a town of charming, pastel-colored colonial buildings, home to some 60,000. Yet despite its peaceful setting, St. Lucia has a turbulent and colorful history. Fierce Carib warriors overran the peaceful Arawaks in the 9th century. The first European settler, Francois Le Clerc, was a French buccaneer. Le Clerc's countrymen followed in his wake, establishing the town of Soufriere in 1746. Sugar was the lure, sugar was king. Within four decades some 50 plantations flourished on the island. Thus St. Lucia became part of the Caribbean's 18th-century trade triangle of sugar, slavery, and rum. Today this beautiful island welcomes visitors drawn to its exotic tropical landscape, superb beaches, crystalline waters, and colorful marine life.

St Lucia Whale & Dolphin Watching Cruise:

The waters surrounding St. Lucia are home to more than 40 different species of whale and dolphin. Get to know the area's most exciting and friendliest natural wonders on an exciting three hour adventure. Cruise in search of the most common humpback whale as well as sperm and pilot whales, and spinner, striped and common dolphins. This tour takes you on an unprecedented whale- and dolphin-watching voyage aboard a specially designed sightseeing boat perfect for viewing these amazing marine mammals. As you seek these sea creatures, enjoy a relaxing view of the island's coast, while sipping your complimentary beverage. Chances are very good you'll get to see some of these gentle giants, and in calm waters a hydrophone is used in locating whales. While every effort will be made to locate them, actual sightings cannot be guaranteed. You'll conclude the day back at the dock.

Lou enjoys a cigar in the smoking area of the ship.



Barbados is one of the few Caribbean islands solely colonized by one nation. It's no wonder Bajans describe their country as being "more English than England sheself," surnames like Worthing and Hastings abound. But look around and you know you're not in England: rich and fertile tropical fields meet a glistening, azure sea. The soft pastels of old chattel houses blend with the vibrant reds, oranges, and greens of roadside fruit stands. In short, Barbados exudes a charm all its own. Perhaps it is due to Bajan culture, that celebrated blend of English tradition and the African heritage brought to the island by slaves imported to work the sugar plantations. The potent brew which results flavors every aspect of island life, from music, dance and art, to religion, language and food.


Lights Off

Lights On


Grenada is the Caribbean's "Isle of Spice" -- one of the world's major producers of nutmeg, mace, clove, cinnamon, and cocoa. Indeed, the fragrant aroma of spice seems to envelop the island's emerald hillsides, tropical forests, and sun-drenched beaches. Grenada is truly a feast for the senses. Americans, of course, may remember the island from the 1983 U.S. military intervention. Over two decades later, Grenada is again an ideal vacation spot. No building here may be built higher than a coconut palm. The majority of hotels are small and family owned. St. George's Harbor is a picture-perfect postcard of an idyllic Caribbean anchorage.



Beautiful bay.

Beautiful Yachts.

Lou and Carol

Lou and Kory Simon


Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago:

Trinidad, the birthplace of steel pan and calypso music, is one of the Caribbean's most vibrant and interesting destinations. The island and its capital city, Port of Spain, are both industrial and cosmopolitan. In fact, Trinidad and Tobago is the largest oil exporter in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most industrialized nations in the West Indies. About the size of Delaware, the island of Trinidad boasts a profusion of floral growth and an incredibly diverse population. Once a prime destination for business travelers, it is now becoming a serious vacation destination. There is plenty to see here, from the Asa Wright Nature Center, devoted to naturalists and bird watchers, to the more traditional tourist attractions like the Queen's Park Savannah, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Magnificent Seven, a strand of impressive colonial houses reflecting Trinidad's unique heritage. Port of Spain serves as your gateway to this lush tropical island with echoes of its colonial past.



To the Arawak, Martinique was their treasured "isle of flowers." Lying in the Lesser Antilles between Dominica and St. Lucia, the island is a tropical paradise of dense rain forest, rolling savanna and stunning beaches. The rich volcanic soil nourishes banana plantations and pineapple fields as well as mangoes, papayas, lemons, limes, and West Indian cherries. Little wonder that Columbus praised Martinique as the "best, most fertile, most delightful, and most charming land in the world." Martinique's cultural heritage is as rich and bountiful as its soil. The island has been governed by France for over three centuries. Today an overseas department of France, the island boasts a culture that is a unique and zesty blend of French, Caribbean, African and Middle Eastern influences, resulting in that spicy combination called Créole. Créole culture is reflected in Martinique's architecture, cuisine, language, and music. For years the mayor of Fort-de-France was the internationally acclaimed Créole poet Aimé Césaire. Five centuries after Columbus made his landfall, Martinique remains a rare flower in the Caribbean.


This is a really pretty island and the people are very polite and friendly. Carol did not
want another garden tour so we simply wandered around and found an excellent
French bakery with out of this world chocolate croissants and chocolate eclairs.
Totally yum yum.  Carol purchased a very pretty purple beach cover-up. A perfect

The island of Martinique as seen from the portside balcony on the Promenade Deck
of our ship.


Dutch influence still lingers on this balmy Caribbean island, part of the former Netherlands Antilles until its independence in 1986. Aruba is a contrast: the island's arid interior is dotted with cactus and windswept divi-divi trees while secluded coves and sandy beaches make up its coast. Aruba's long and colorful heritage is reflected in its dialect. Called Papiamento, it is a tongue that combines elements of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, African and English.


Lou presented Carol with a pendant and earrings - an early Christmas gift.



Kory Simon

Kory Simon 2

Baked Alaska


Random Stuff:

Another shot of Carol with her new jewelry.

Carol ordered an early birthday cake for Lou.

Here we are at the Crown Grill - our favorite specialty dining venue.

There is a cruising tradition that we had never heard of before this cruise:
Passengers bring rubber duckies to hide on the ship for other passengers to find.  Carol found a "lucky duck" hidden in a plant display at the entrance of the Crown Grill.


Cruise Log:

11/25 Ship
We are departing on our 14 day circle Caribbean cruise on the Emerald princess. This is my 37th cruise and it just does not get old.

11/26 Ship
Day One was pretty spectacular. We ended the night at our favorite piano bar with our all time favorite Princess entertainer, Kory Simon. He's got an incredible vocal range and has mastered the ivories. He always involves the audience and that makes it so much fun.

11/28 St. Kitts
Lazy day by the pool with burgers, pizza and margaritas.

11/29 Guadeloupe
our first and probably last time to Guadalupe a French colony. It did not seem like you're classic Caribbean tropical island. instead it felt built up with lots of tall buildings. St Anne on your own excursion was supposed to be a short bus ride to a quaint village with cafes and shopping, followed by a short walk to a beach. Instead it turned out to be a 60 minute plus ride out to a tiny shopping area surrounded by traffic and lots of noise... nothing worth while here. We struggled to fill the 2 hours we were given on our own and at the end we ended up getting a soaking while we walked from the original meeting point to the new meeting point about half a mile away. The tour guide is French and she had a difficult time speaking clearly in English as her sentences were not completed so we were not sure what she meant. I would give this tour and island a one star at best.

11/30 St Lucia
today. dolphins/whale watching cruise. lots of pilot whales and hundreds of dolphins! no pictures of the mammals. the sea was too rough!

12/1 Barbados
Carol and I took a long walk into town about a mile each way where we bought some shirts and had some local food. We then spent 4 hours in the ship sanctuary on deck 17 enjoying drinks food and in the shade overlooking the city. We are now on hour balcony enjoying more beverages before we head to dinner in 2 hours. After dinner we plan to go listen to our favorite piano player Kory Simon and then do some gambling.

12/2 Grenada
Pretty island and ease of access. We walked off the ship and walked about a 100 yd to a very nicely laid out and air conditioning shopping area With nice stores and a few restaurants and watering holes. Did not stay long as we are not professional shoppers although Carol got sunglasses and I got another Hawaiian shirt.
Later Carol is getting a massage on the ship while I consume a few beverages by the pool.

12/2 Grenada
Spoke to Kory on deck about music.

12/4 Martinique

12/6 aruba
Today was a great fun day. We stayed up late last night at the piano bar so today we slept in till 10 AM. We had coffee and some croissants in the International cafe to start our day. We then walked off the ship into downtown Aruba where we walked around several blocks looking at bars andStores finally ended up buying a few shirts and Carol got some Christmas presents. We had healthy lunch in the buffet where we both had huge salads. Good to have rabbit food after days of yummy food. Later we walked around the ship before dinner and dinner consisted of pork tenderloin for me and chicken white chili for Carol. After dinner we went to karaoke where Carol sang "Walking After Midnight" and "Have You Seen Rain on a Sunny Day". No video because I fat thumb the recording. We ended our day at the piano bar once again with our favorite entertainer Kory. See the video of the insanity.

12/7 Ship
An excellent day spent at sea on board Emerald princess. We spent a considerable amount of time in the casino playing 3 card poker. When not in the casino seems like we were eating including our second dinner at Crown grill. Casino treated me well the first week but not so well the second week. I am currently down a little bit and so will try to regain tomorrow which means I probably will lose more. Carol on the other hand won $827 on a slot machine today. Carol also found her first duck.

12/8 Ship
Our last day aboard the Emerald princess was fun fun except for the casino taking back everything that gave us last week. We are all packed and ready to walk off the ship first thing Saturday morning. We started our day by spending a few hours in the sanctuary comfortably having coffee and light food. I have not been hungry in about a week and if I ever eat again it will be way too soon.
Carol have enjoyed the past 14 days on board ship very much as we think we have found our stride RROK just hanging out and not trying to cram much into our day.



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