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Copper10-8

Koningsdam in the Caribbean

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Posted (edited)
On 3/20/2019 at 6:02 AM, killsport said:

Copper - enjoying your pics and your trip. Wish I was there!!!

Any chance you can get closer on this picture? I'm really curious as to the pricing...

THANK YOU!!!!

 

So the way Blend works is that $49 will get you a single (one person) tasting (one bottle of wine). For $59, that same tasting is for a couple (one bottle) and for $19.95 pp, you get four different 2 oz. wine tastings (2 red and 2 white) 

Edited by Copper10-8

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Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands; Adrift out here on the fringes of the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos Islands sit at the bottom of the Bahamas chain, nature's afterthought, 575 miles southeast of Miami, FL. Grand Turk is the largest island in the Turks Islands, the smaller of the two archipelagos that make up the island nation of Turks and Caicos, with 6.9 square miles. Grand Turk contains the territory's capital, Cockburn Town, as well as the JAGS McCartney International Airport. The island is the administrative, historic, cultural and financial center of the territory, and has the second largest population of the islands at approximately 3,720 people.

 

Grand Turk was first colonized in 1681 by Bermudians, who set up the salt industry in the islands. In 1766 it became the capital of the country. The name comes from a species of cactus on the island, the Turk's Cap Cactus, which has a distinctive cap, reminiscent of an Ottoman fez. Grand Turk gained international attention in 1962 when John Glenn’s Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft landed in the vicinity of Grand Turk Island off the southeast shoreline. A replica of the Friendship 7 is on display in Grand Turk at the entrance to that same JAGS McCartney International Airport

 

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A look inside K-dam's Club Orange for breakfast service. On this ship (and I'm pretty sure Nieuw Statendam) Club Orange has taken the place of the Pinnacle Grill for suite/sweet breakfast. It is a full service restaurant with a menu very similr, or identical to, the PG breakfast menu on the other thirteen ships. It also has its own dedicated galley and the manager running the show here is Mr. Jaya aka Ja Ja from the beautiful islands of Indonesia, as are his five person, all-male, staff

 
 
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A look inside the private Neptune Lounge on Deck 7 (no the vessel is not listing uncontrollably, no cause for alarm, the photographer was after too many Wang Wangs) as well as the corsages delivered to our cabin for the first "Gala" night tonite (Tuesday). The concierges are Ella and Tin from the Philippines who have been providing excellent service

 

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So, the capital city of the Turks and Caicos is Cockburn (pronounced "Co-burn") Town on Grand Turk Island, population 3,700. The town is known for its long and narrow streets, like Duke, Front and Queen Streets. To get around, you will need to rent something vehicular and, since they drive on the wrong side of the street here, if I were to do such a foolish thing, chances are pretty darn good that I would be stuck in a roundabout while endlessly going in a clockwise direction unable to exit from same until the Royal Turks and Caicos Police would show up to stop traffic

 

With that thought in mind, we reserved a shore excursion by the exiting name of "The Rainbow Calypso Tram", ja mahn! The tram and its driver/guide, Vincent, would take us on a 2-hr drive of Cockburn Town and Grand Turk, making it all the way to Lighthouse Park on the extreme north point of the island. The arrival of cruise ships is a special occasion on Grand Turk, because it means money for the local economy. On cruise ship days, Front Street bustles with activity, with local vendors selling their wares up and down the street. As a result,our first stop was on Front Street for a comfort break, and something to drink and eat,with the latter serving two purposes; 1) quench your thirst and have a quick snack and 2) find out what a Coke Zero and a bag of plantain chips will cost in the year 2025 🤪

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The Turks and Caicos, a British Overseas Territory and hence, its flag, is a blue ensign with the Union flag in the canton, defaced with the coat of arms of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the center-right. The coat of arms, which was granted on 28 September 1965, takes the shape of a yellow shield which contains a conch shell, lobster, and a Melocactus, visually similar to the traditional Turkish fez, give the islands the first half of their name (the second half, "Caicos", comes from the Lucayan term "caya hico", meaning 'string of islands'.

 

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So what, among some other things, are the Turks and Caicos famous for? Wild donkeys! They're everywhere and so are their daily deposits to society. Starting in the seventeen hundreds, Bermudians arrived on the island seasonally to rake salt from the salterns. They used donkeys to pull loaded carts from the evaporation ponds to the piers where the salt was loaded onto ships. During the off season, the donkeys were free to roam. This ultimately created a huge population of wild jack asses which is still there today although the T&C government is trying to regulate the asses by transporting some to the Dominican Republic to work on farms and to establish a permanent donkey sanctuary on Grand Turk to care for the remaining animals. Maria donated the contents of her water bottle to one 1f609.png?_nc_eui2=AeEzLBlqz6BTs4aZE2V7l

 

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Grand Turk's iconic lighthouse, located on the north tip of the island was constructed in England, shipped in pieces to the island, and erected by British architect Alexander Gordon in 1852. It was built to alert sailors of the nearby shallow reef. The lighthouse stands 60 feet tall, and originally featured eight small Argand oil lamps that used reflectors to magnify the light by 450 times, driven by weights and machinery. Brighter kerosene lamps and a more powerful Fresnel lens were added by the Chance Brothers of Birmingham, England in 1943.

In 1972, the lighthouse was electrified and automated. The original lens is now on display in the Turks and Caicos National Museum. Today, the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper's house are a historic site under the protection of the National Trust.

 

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USMC Colonel (ret.), NASA Astronaut and U.S. Sentor from the State of Ohio John Glenn's, the first American to orbit the Earth, Mercury space capsule "Friendship 7" splashed down off Grand Turk’s southeast shoreline on February 20, 1962. Glenn was brought to what was then a U.S. Air Force base on Grand Turk for debriefing and medical evaluation.

An exhibit at Grand Turk’s cruise terminal celebrates John Glenn’s splashdown, as does a Friendship 7 replica outside the island’s international airport, known as JAGS McCartney Int'l Airport. Glenn's original spacecraft is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

 

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13 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

Yes it is that way on the two new Pinnacle-class ships, Father! Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect cruise line and/or cruise ship. Koningsdam has positive and negative aspects; the loss of the Vista/Signature-class API promenade deck is a negative for us, however, the added entertainment and restaurant venues, the very nice gym with lots of exercise equipment, the "old-fashioned Crow's Nest, etc. are big pluses in our opinion 

 

 

I would agree.  Unfortunately, I did not go to the gym but there is a nice jogging track up on the Sun Deck and I waked a mile on it when the NS was docked in OCO RIOS.  The music venues did not mean much to me as I am very much into Classical music

These two ships were not designed to go through the Panama Canal. The life boats are out top far.  However, I did hear that the next Pinnacle  Class ship will be designed to go through the New Locks in the Panama Canal.  You can check that one out.  I heard it from the CD on the New Statendam on my recent cruise.

 

 

.  

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The Grand Turk Cruise Center, located on the south end of the island, was built specifically for cruise passengers by Carnival Corporation and opened in May of 2006. The $42 million center features a purpose-built, two-berth cruise ship pier that can accommodate two large super post-Panamax vessels and a 13-acre complex that serves as a gateway to the island for tourists. The facility features an expansive recreation area that includes an 800-foot white-sand beach, a swimming pool, cabanas, retail shops and the Caribbean's largest "Margaritaville"-themed bar and restaurant, owned by Jimmy Buffet. K-dam was in port with Carnival Celebration

 

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Dinner on Tue nite was in the Tamarind, HAL's Asian Fusion restaurant (four ships only) on Deck 10 aft at 8:00 PM. We started with the incredible growing/rising/expanding hand towels. The breadbasket did not contain bread, but Krupuk, Indonesian shrimp crackers complete with four sauces; sambal to clear out one's sinuses, a seafood based sauce, a milder sauce and regular soy sauce. Maria had the Fire Prawns with Thai Chili jam, Shishito peppers, Shimeji mushrooms and asparagus and I chose the Wasabi & Soy-crusted beef tenderloin with Tempura of onion rings in Tom Katsu sauce and asparagus. We each had steamed jasmin rice on the sauce and washed it all down with a Sake cocktail. For desert, Maria had a huge fortune cookie with vanilla Gelato and candied ginger, while I had the Yuzu cheesecake with honey Tuile and white chocolate. Always a great dinner experience with gracious service from the Indonesian, and now also Thai, wait staff

 

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The 10:00 PM (late) show, once again a full house, we were lucky to snag one of the "box" seats, consisted of Canadian singer and female impressionist (not impersonator 😉) Karen Grainger. She was really good with impressions of Cher, Celine Dion, Whitney Huston, Adele, Pat Benatar, Blondie, etc.

 

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Finished off another excellent day in the Rolling Stones Rock Room to some classic rock tunes

 
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John, did Karen do "On My Own" as Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald?  My favorite.

 

Roy

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51 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

John, did Karen do "On My Own" as Patti Labelle and Michael McDonald?  My favorite.

 

Roy

 

Yes, she sure did Roy! Pretty cool 😃

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5 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

the added entertainment and restaurant venues, the very nice gym with lots of exercise equipment, the "old-fashioned Crow's Nest, etc. are big pluses in our opinion 

 

I sailed on Nieuw Statendam (have not sailed on Koningsdam); I agree with your opinions about these venues.  I was very pleasantly surprised to see that the reported demise of the Crow's Nest with the EXC "changes" had been very much overstated.  NS's Greenhouse Spa's Hydrothermal Pool/Thermal Suite is pleasantly different than the Vista/Signature Class ships Pool/Suite.  

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Thanks for the great pictures and the deep History of Grand Turk. You are a budding Renaissance man.

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The cruise center at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, just like the one at Grand Turk yesterday, was developed by cruise giant Carnival Corporation at a cost of $85 million. Amber Cove now draws approximately 350,000 cruisers a year for Carnival Corp. brands such as Carnival Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess, P&O, Cunard, AIDA and Costa.

When Amber Cove officially opened on October 6, 2015, it was the first time since the 1980s that cruise ships have stopped at what is known as the Amber Coast, so called for its abundance of the translucent, burnt-orange stone. Located on 25-acres at the Bay of Maimon -- not far from Puerto Plata, which was used as a filming location for the first Jurassic Park film in 1993 -- the new port is designed to accommodate up to 8,000 cruise passengers and 2,000 crew members daily.

 

Two ships can dock at Amber Cove at the same time, and there’s a shore-excursion pier where cruisers can meet up with tour guides and board boats for water-sports excursions. Designed in three architectural styles — Victorian, Colonial, and Fortaleza — the complex boasts a fort-like structure at its entrance, cobble-stoned plazas, retail and food and beverage buildings, and surrounding ocean and mountain views

 

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The flag of the Dominican Republic is centered with a white cross that extends to the edges and divides the flag into four rectangles. The colors used in the flag have a relevant meaning for the Dominicans. The red symbolizes the blood spilled by the fighters in the war of independence; the blue represents the sky raised above the country and from where God protects the nation and its ideas of progress while the white symbolizes the peace and union of the Dominicans.

 

The coat of arms of the Dominican Republic features a shield in similarly quartered colors as the flag, supported by a bay laurel branch (left) and a palm frond (right); above the shield, a blue ribbon displays the national motto: Dios, Patria, Libertad (God, Homeland, Liberty). Below the shield, the words República Dominicana appear on a red ribbon. In the center of the shield, flanked by six spears (three on each side), the front four holding the national flag, is a Catholic Bible with a small golden cross above it

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The flag was created and adopted on November 6, 1844 by the most famous person in Dominican history - Juan Pablo Duarte. He is also called the Father of the Country because he led the Trinitarian society, which brought long-awaited freedom to the Dominicans from Haiti

 

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So today (Wednesday) our destination was Santiago de los Caballeros, or simply Santiago, the second-largest city in the Dominican Republic, and the fourth-largest city in the Caribbean. Driving distance (we were on a shorex named "Santiago Insider" ) is about 63 km, so about 38 miles across the DR's always unpredictable as well as adventurous roads. It would take us about one hour and 10 minutes to reach our first stop, La Aurora S.A., the oldest Dominican cigar factory and the maker of Aurora and León Jimenes cigars, at Parque Industrial Tamboril in Santiago

 

Our longtime guide Eugenio Polanco explained the process from planting to the rolling of cigars with enough depth to make it interesting and light enough to keep it from being boring. We were told that each worker has to make/roll 500 cigars a day. They work 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week with 3 weeks annual vacation

 

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Our 2nd stop in Santiago was at the Centro Cultural León where we had a guided tour of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological collections related to Dominican and Caribbean culture

 

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After a nice lunch at Restaurante Pez Dorado we arrived at our last stop. On a hill overlooking the eastern side of the center of Santiago is a 220 foot high marble monument named "Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración" / "Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration", in remembrance of the Independence Restoration War of 1863, in which the Dominican Republic regained its independence from Spain. The heroes include, but are not limited to; Francisco del Rosario Sánchez and Gregorio Luperón (on his horse), and are represented in bronze form at the bottom circumference of the monument. In addition to these heroes, a special section includes several famous and former players of Las Águilas Cibaeñas (the Cibao Eagles), the baseball team of Santiago de los Cabelleros in their yellow uniforms. Baseball happens to be the No. 1 sport of the Dominican Republic

 

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Upon returning to Koningsdam from the shorex to Santiago, we had a nice surprise waiting for us, courtesy of Concierges Ella and Tin; a combo bitterballen and dumplings and a combo prosciutto and watermelon slices

 

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