We arrived by bus at the Catamaran only to wait around for over 30 minutes while the captain readied his vessel carrying on supplies and such. This is a small, older vessel, which was in need of a hose down the day we sailed. (the head needed an overhaul too).
There are 2 very small forward nets so a few of us sat in themas we got underway and had a sail over to Long Bay by the Samana resort. There was some fruit, and breads and yogurt and canned juices and coffee. It all seemed fine so far, but then the cooking commenced...
Two and a half hours of sitting in the same location of shore either outside in the hot sun, or inside with the heat from the cooking. this is not my idea of a good time. Yes, we swam off the boat, but the first mate and captain were both so occupied making lunch, there was no safety supervision in the water. Since I am not a very strong swimmer, I only stayed in for about 30 minutes. Even if you swam to shore, there was no shade and a nice burn was your payoff. So we either sat inside or wet down our shirts and sat in the full sun on deck. BORING! A few of the guys felt seasick and sitting in the sun was not good for them either. There was a dinghy but they never offered any of the less adventurous in the group a ride to the beach anyway, as they were so busy chopping veggies, peeling shrimp and cleaning fish and cooking! A few people complained about the flies landing on the food, and the first mate said he had never seen so many flies before. Hum... he did get some plastic wrap and cover things up, to his credit.
Let me say the long awaited "gourmet lunch was no big deal either. The ribs never appeared and many of the offerings were starch based. We had a buffet with rice (tasted box mix to me) with a bit of seafood, a potato salad with egg, a rice salad,and there was a green salad which unfortunately was loaded with feta cheese and eggs neither of which I can tolerate. The bread was day old too. I would have been ok about the food, but the beer and liquor and juice was the cheap stuff. We basically had to serve ourselves drinks. After lunch we sailed back toward Phillipsburg close to Maho beach for a second stop. We were told to swim at our own risk as the currents were strong. Most people opted to just sit onboard again. Then they brought us their "signature drink" which they tout on their website. A 2 ounce cup of a banana and Bailey's smoothie. Wow, it tasted good but could they spare it?
The worst is yet to come. Once we got back to the harbor the captain stopped the engine and sat us on the water till everyone payed up. I guess he was afraid people would not want to give him the full amount or something. He probably has experienced difficulties in the past. I paid my fare. Then I realized how late we were getting back. I flipped out and demanded to be let off the boat immediately. I saw no reason to sit there while people lined up to give him their cash. I guess he knew I was serious, because he did start the engine and dock within seconds. What an insulting way to treat people!
These 2 personality impaired pirates are running a real amateur show. We went basically nowhere, got no info about St Maarten, and were returned an hour and a half late to the harbor! Then we had to fast walk it back to the ship.
We were lucky to make it for our sail away. They charged 115 bucks per person for this cheesy ride! At 16 heads I guess it's a sweet deal for the captain. He certainly didn't waste any fuel on us! He just sat us in the hot sun while he cooked a mediocre meal. This was a never again experience for us, and it is meant to be a warning to all who read it. Economic times are tough and the Celine is obviously not what she once was!
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