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When I travel, I take a lot of pictures. With a digital camera it is easy and inexpensive to do. On our last 8 day cruise I took hundreds of pictures, plus some digital video. One guy I am aquainted with Jason aka Gatorclaw, used Sony Vegas Movie Studio to put all of his pictures and video clips combined with music into a cool video. I want to do the same. So I ordered Sony Vegas Movie Studio.
All of the reviews I have read about Sony Vegas Movie Studio have been very good. They say it is solid, and easy to use. I have used Pinnacle Studio 9, but find it awkward. Some of the reviews mentioned this software and said they had the same experience. So I am expecting good things from Sony Vegas Movie Studio!
I will probably do something much more simple to start off with. Jason does a ton a special effects, and they are great. I might try a few of them. But I don’t want to be tied to my computer for months doing a video of an 8 day cruise. By the end, I would be sick of the thing, and never want to watch it. But the software will be fun to play with. And once I figure out how to do various tricks, it should hopefully be easy to repeat them in the future.
I think the formula for a fun video slide show would be to use good music that reflects the feel that you want. Probably Caribbean oriented music will be good. Party music, etc. Sequence the pictures to tell a story. Blend in just enough subtle special effects to keep the pictures from becoming static. Add some text to help narrate the story. For an outstanding example of what I am talking about, check out Jason’s latest video Islands Of Liberty.

St. Thomas is one of the main ports of call for Eastern Caribbean cruises? Why? Because it is awesome! It is one of my favorite Caribbean islands. If you want to do some shopping in the Caribbean, there is literally no better place to do it than in St. Thomas! You will find deals on watches, cameras, china, jewelry, etc! If you think you might find a better deal on the next island, think again. This is the place to do your shopping!
Besides shopping, St. Thomas has many beautiful beaches. And the island of St. John is just a short ferry ride away. Trunk Bay in St. John is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
We have been to St. Thomas twice. In the first trip, we spent some time in Charlotte Amalie shopping, then spent took a cab to Saphire beach where we spent the rest of the day. On the second trip, we took the ferry to St John, and snorkelled in Trunk Bay. We also managed to spend some time shopping back on St. Thomas.

Here are the ones listed in the Carnival shore excursions book. Not all excursions will be available for every cruise, or during every time of year. Other cruise lines probably offer the same or similar excursions.
Excursions can either be booked through the cruise lines ahead of time, or while on ship. Booking the excursions directly with the operators is also an option. This can save you money, but involves risk if there is a problem.

A Journey Through Paradise (3.5 hours + 2 hours shopping)
Travel around the island in a open-air bus.
Atlantis Submarine (2 hours)
Dive to a depth of 90 feet to a coral garden.
Best Of St. Thomas Island Tour (2.5 hours)
Bike & Beach Adventure (3.5 hours)
Bob Underwater Adventure (3.5 hours)
Explore the ocean bottom in a “BOB” (Breathing Observation Bubble)underwater motor scooter.
Captain Nautica’s Ultimate Snorkel Expedition (3.5 hours)
Castaway Barefoot Sail & Snorkel To Shipwreck Cove (3 hours)
Certified Scuba Scooter Adventure (3 hours)
Coral World (3 hours)
Coral World is a landscaped park at Coki beach. Includes 50,000 gallon predator tank.
Discover Scuba Adventure (3 hours)
Try scuba diving without being certified.
Downtown Shopping & Beach Getaway (5 hours)
Five Star Certified Dive (3 hours)
Five Star St. John & Trunk Bay (4 hours)
Helmet Dive At Coral World Ocean Park (3 hours)
Walk along the ocean bottom wearing a diving helmet.
Historical Blackbeard’s Hill & Recommended Shopping Tour (4 hours)
Island & Catamaran Sailing Experience (3.5 hours)
Kayak, Hike & Snorkel (4 hours)
Magen’s Bay & Paradise Point (3.5 hours)
Mini Boats & Hidden Beaches (3.5-4 hours)
Scenic Pirates Paradise & Recommended Shopping (4-6 hours)
Sea Blaster Speedboat & Snorkel Tour (3 hours)
St. John Champagne Catamaran Sailaway (4.5 hours)
St. John Island Tour (4.5 hours)
St. John Trunk Bay Beach & Snorkel (4.5 hours)
St. Thomas Island & Coki Beach (3 hours)
St. Thomas Island Tour (2 hours)
St. Thomas Shopping Tour (3.5 hours)
St. Thomas Skyride To Paradise Point
St. Thomas Snorkel & Beach Adventure (3 hours)
St. Thomas Snuba (3 hours)
Snuba is a cross between snorkeling and scuba that allows to stay down longer as you breathe through a hose.
Twilight Snorkel & Semi-Sub Adventure (2.5 hours)
Ultimate Island Experience (4-6 hours)
Mahogany Run Golf Course

When it comes to vacation pictures, you can’t take too many! With all the new digital cameras available, and the rapidly dropping cost of memory cards, it costs almost nothing to take hundreds or even thousands of of photographs while on vacation. I haven’t had any regrets over vacation pictures I have taken, but I have had regrets over pictures that I haven’t taken, or have turned out to be blurred. Following our last cruise, I wish I had taken pictures of the menus. I wish I have taken pictures of the guards in Panama. I wish I had taken more pictures of the whole trip. The pictures each capture a little bit of the whole experience. An individual picture might not be special, but when grouped with other pictures help to show the environment. Try to capture the sights and sounds of your travel! Also with these new digital cameras, you can take video as well.
You probably don’t want to print all of the pictures, but they can be put together into a slide show. With software such as Sony Vegas Movie Studio DVD, all of these photos can be put together into a slide show with music, and effects to capture the excitement of your vacation. An excellent example of what can be done with vacation pictures can be seen in the Islands Of Liberty video made by Jason AKA Gatorclaw. He has combined his vacation pictures and video, along with music, and just a little bit of effects to make the video slide show interesting. If watching what he has done in his videos doesn’t inspire you to take more pictures, nothing will!

Jamaica is an interesting place. The locals are known for being kind of aggressive. Stories I have heard include people doing things to get you to take a picture of them, and then if you do, they begin demanding that you pay them. We didn’t run into this scenario, but the locals were noticibly more aggressive than other places I have been. We were warned that it was dangerous to wander outside the main port area by ourselves.
Dunn’s River Falls is a classic stop on many excursions, and involves climbing 600 feet up a water fall. It is a lot of fun, and as long as you are in decent shape, it is not too demanding.
We did the Sanara Sail Snorkel & Dunn’s River Adventure, which took us on a tri-hull catamaran. We snorkeled for a while, then climbed the falls. The rum punch they gave us was strong. I think they just added the punch for a bit of coloring.

Here are the ones listed in the Carnival shore excursions book. Not all excursions will be available for every cruise, or during every time of year. Other cruise lines probably offer the same or similar excursions.
Excursions can either be booked through the cruise lines ahead of time, or while on ship. Booking the excursions directly with the operators is also an option. This can save you money, but involves risk if there is a problem.

ATV Adventure (3 hours)
Bob Marley Bus Adventure (5 1/2 hours)
Brimmer Hall Estate & Dunns River Falls (5 1/2 hours)
Certified Two-Tank Dive (2 hours)
Chukka Cove Beach Horseback Riding (4 hours)
Chukka Cova Canopy Tour Adventure (4 1/2 hours)
Zip-lining through the Laughlans River Gorge.
Cool Runnings Sail & Dunn’s River Falls (3 hours)
Coyaba River Garden & Dunn’s River Falls (3 1/2 hours)
Dunn’s River Falls & Dolphin Touch Encounter (5 hours)
Dunn’s River Falls & Dolphin Cove (5 hours)
Dunn’s River Falls & Dolphin Swim (5 hours)
Dunn’s River Falls Jeep Safari (5 hours)
Mountain To Sea Ride & Snorkel Adventure (3 1/2 hours)
Ocean Kayak To Dunn’s River Falls (3 1/2 hours)
Ocho Rios Highlights & Garden Tour (4 1/2 hours)
Ocho Rios Snorkel Adventure (2 hours)
Party Boat & Dunn’s River Falls (3 1/2 hours)
Rafting On The Martha Brae (5 hours)
Gently float down a 3 mile stretch of river on 30 foot bamboo rafts.
River Tubing Safari (3 1/2 hours)
Sailing To Dunn’s River Falls & Beach (5 hours)
Sanara Sail Snorkel & Dunn’s River Adventure (4 hours)
Shaw Park Beach Break & Dunn’s River Beach (5 1/2 hours)
Relax on a beach for 2 1/2 hours, then climb the falls.
Sun Dancer Yacht Cruise (2 1/2 hours)
Super Yacht San San (3 1/2 hours)
The Enchanter Garden & Dunn’s River Falls (3 1/2 hours)
The Spirit Of Ocho Rios (4 1/2-5 hours)
A tour that visits many sites around Ocho Rios.
Ultimate Jamaican Adventure (5 3/4 hours)
Ride a horse, river tube, and hike.
White River Kayaking (3 hours)
Wild Oats Afternoon Sail (2 hours)
Wild Oats Chapagne Falls (4 hours)
Breezes, Runaway Bay Golf Club

Dominica is a tropical rainforest. Sorry, but there is nothing in the way of shopping here. If you would like to see lots of pretty rainforest and waterfalls, you will like it. Our visit to Dominica was about 10 years ago, and they have added many excursions since then. The excursion we chose was Dominca’s Favorites.

Here are the ones listed in the Carnival shore excursions book. Not all excursions will be available for every cruise, or during every time of year. Other cruise lines probably offer the same or similar excursions.
Excursions can either be booked through the cruise lines ahead of time, or while on ship. Booking the excursions directly with the operators is also an option. This can save you money, but involves risk if there is a problem.

Biking & River Nature Tour (4 hours)
Dominica Snorkel Adventure (3 hours)
Snorkel over a geothermal vent.
Dominica Two Tank Certified Dive (3 1/2 hours)
Dominica’s Favorites (5 hours)
Includes Trafalger Falls and Emerald Pool. Also the botanical gardens.
Emerald Pool & Rouseau Highlights (4 1/2 hours)
Kayaking & Snorkeling Tour (3 1/2 hours)
Middleham Falls Hike (4 hours)
Nature’s Hidden Treasures & Carib Indians (6 hours)
Pool & Falls Nature Tour (5 hours)
Includes Trafalger Falls and Emerald Pool. Also the botanical gardens.
Rainforest Aerial Tram Ride (3 hours)
Ride an open air gondola through the rainforest.
Rainforest & Pool (3 hours)
Rasta Man’s Rainforest Hike & Falls (5 hours)
River Hike To Sari-Sari Falls (5 hours)
River Tubing (3 hours)
Roseau Sightseeing & Trafalgar Falls (3 1/2 hours)
Trafalgar Falls & Sulpher Springs (3 1/2 hours)
Twice The Fun & So Much More (7 hours)
Choice of one morning, and one afternoon excursion.
Wacky Rollers Rainforest Sensation (3 1/2 hours)
4×4 open air military jeep ride.
Whale Watch (4 hours)

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