Background: We began our trip in style with a limo trip to the airport (courtesy of Deb, our travel agent) and processed through the ignominious TSA experience in good time leaving plenty of time to wait for the flight to Miami. We flew in one of the smaller jets with our seats in the row in front of the exit row. Lesson learned on this experience: the near vertical, non reclining seat was not good for the backs – next time ask questions of our cruise line booking person, if possible.
Our stay at the Hyatt Pier Sixty Six hotel was uneventful except for the acquaintance with resort prices in a “past its prime” facility. The room views were marvelous of the intercostal waterway on a beautiful afternoon and we were close to the pier to see ships come and go.
The next morning we checked in with our Regent representative and waited for the bus to the ship where check in was speedy and pleasant. An education was watching the unionized longshoreman stand around watching our bus driver unload all the bags before they felt obligated to haul them to the ship after loudly asking for a tip. The Seven Seas Mariner, the ship we took around South America a couple of years ago, was berthed next door but they wouldn’t allow us to visit. Of course the Navigator had a wonderful lunch service while we waited for our cabin to be cleaned (the house keeping crew has to clean all 400 + cabins from arrival time at 0600 until 1400) and we reacquainted ourselves with several crew members we’d met on previous Regent cruises. We saw our contact for the Project AHEAD School supplies, Regent’s VP for Guest Relations and also Navigator’s General Manager who assured us the supplies were aboard and well secured. For those not aware of it, with the help of Rotary clubs, the First United Methodist Church and our travel agent we collected 11 boxes of supplies for an autistic school in St Maarten. Working with local St Maarten Rotarians we’re looking forward to visiting the school with these much needed supplies.
The next day we became fully immersed in the great hospitality of this all-inclusive cruise and attended the routine Rotary makeup meeting hosted by Assistant Cruise Director Dana Logan. Several of the attending Rotarians are interested in joining us for the presentation of the school supplies and Phillipsburg Rotary meeting following. Tonight we enjoyed a conversation with the ship’s General Manager about the very supportive plans being exercised for our visit to St Maarten. The ship plans to send a videographer and representative with us for the presentation. From what I’ve learned this attention to the wonderful work of the school will be very helpful in giving them visibility and possible future support.
We also attended a couple of informative lectures, participated in games (including Trivia Tea Time with more strawberries then I've seen in Plant City, FL), read books in the sun and ate. Tonight’s singing and dancing show was up to expectations. While this vessel is 300 passengers smaller than our previous Regent cruise vessels Mariner and Voyager, the crew is even more friendly and helpful.
Tomorrow I get to snorkel while Mary relaxes and accomplishes a load of laundry while the ship visits Grand Turk.
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