Here are some photos from our Royal Caribbean Cruise on the Nordic Empress. We left Philadelphia Thanksgiving day, 11/22/2001 and returned 11/26/2001. (Click on the small thumbnail image for a larger view.)
We started out a bit rough with a major delay when our flight was cancelled due to the plane having engine problems. However, we had plenty of time to explore the Philadelphia airport and pose in front of our first Christmas tree of the season. We also had ample time to watch them work on the engine until they finally declared the flight cancelled. We were then scheduled to fly to San Juan Puerto Rico so late that we missed the ship and had to stay overnight in San Juan to take a "Puddle Jumper" flight from San Juan to Saint Croix the next morning. The view from our hotel balcony in San Juan was spectacular. Too bad we had to dash out at the crack of dawn to wait in the San Juan airport for hours.
As we were flying into St Croix, we caught the first sight of our ship docked in the harbor. When we finally got to the ship we didn't see much of St Croix before it was time for the ship to leave the island. I left the ship briefly at sunset to get some photos of the ship. Here is the Pier as we pull away.
In the center of the ship is the main elevator system in an area called the "Centrum" with over 10 stories of open view. The ship is a fascinating contraption. Here is a couple of the elevators with views into the Centrum.
Our first morning on the ship delivered us to the Island of St Maarten. We went shopping at several of the small street vendors that were quite anxious to load us up with all sorts of souvenirs. We took a taxi ride to the other side of the island and then a small island shuttle boat to Pinel Island where there was supposed to be the best snorkeling. The snorkeling we found there was great and we spent hours there watching all types of colorful fish, beautiful coral formations, and even saw a large crab eating his lunch on the coral there.
The next day we were in St Thomas and we hired a nice taxi driver named George to take us on a tour of the island for a few hours. We saw many of the tourist attractions of the island including the many surrounding islands and beaches. We saw both Black Beard's and Blue Beard's forts and a bench seat where Sir Francis Drake would sit and view the ocean. We saw the Gore house where Bill Clinton stayed and the vacation home owned by Michael Jordan.
After lunch, we enjoyed the main event that we took the cruise for: Bell Diving. We had gone bell diving in Bermuda two years ago and really enjoyed it. Since we were taking this cruise to celebrate Heather's 13th birthday, and she really wanted to do it again, we made sure that we took a cruise that made that possible. The excursion that included bell diving was to a nice tropical sea park called Coral World. Here we first signed up with the diving crew and then explored the many aquariums. At one point, we were allowed to hand feed Sting Rays. There is an underwater observation chamber where we were able to watch and photograph the bell diving group that preceded us.
From a hill overlooking the harbor and docks we had a great view of our ship on the left. A Holliday Cruise Line ship in the middle and the newest and largest member of Royal Caribbean Cruise fleet on the right.
Finally Cheryl and the girls are looking off to see if they can see our house from there......I don't think they did...Mainly because they were looking North East and Pennsylvania is North West of Puerto Rico...