Thursday, April 30, 2015

Trip Report - Caribbean Cruise - Overview of the Week March 8th to March 15, 2015

March 8th - Left San Juan. Traditional lifeboat drill. Thank goodness we don't have to wear lifejackets anymore! Got to explore the ship. Went to reserve a table for two in the dining room for dinner and found we were already scheduled to be seated with the doll-making group. A nice bunch of people, but since I have a problem with food* I much preferred to eat at the buffet.

March 9th. This was a sea day, which meant that we didn't land anywhere.  I met with my doll-making group, while Harry went to the Cruise Critic meet-up. After the meet-up Harry went on a tour of some of the Cruise Critics' cabins and suites. (I belong to the Cruise Critic Boards, and if there are enough CC members on a cruise, they will schedule a get-together. )

March 10th. First island - Bridgeport, Barbados. I had signed us up for a ship-sponsored tour of Harrison's Cave, which was very interesting. Most of the Caribbean islands are volcanic islands, but a large part of Barbados was created from layers of sediment, so that water dripping from the surface through limestone has created an extensive cave system. When you get to the entrance, there are educational exhibits and a good video, then you get to ride in a little trolley down a tunnel through the cave. There is some controversy about whether excavating to make a tourist attraction was a good thing or not, but before this was done the only way to get into the cave was by crawling on your hands and knees and wading through water. This is a 'young' cave, geologically speaking, so the stalactites and stalagmites are not developed like those say, in Carlsbad Caverns, but the formations are still very intriguing.

Inside Harrison's Cave. (I'm waiting for my husband to send me his better photos)
On the cruise ship we get some of the first shore information with "info" maps that show only the businesses that have paid to be advertised. There is a short blurb about the history of each island, though, but other than that, you're on your own.

March 11th. St. Lucia. I had signed us up for an all-day tour called "Island's Delights". If I were to go again I would choose only one of the many places we visited, but as it was we drove and drove and the roads were very windy. Among our stops was Sulphur Springs, which is advertised as a drive-in volcano.
You can't get too close, but you can sure smell the sulphur.
We went through some little fishing villages, where I am beginning to suspect that 'picturesque' is a synonym for 'poor as dirt.' At one point I saw a woman washing clothes in a stream and my first thought was to grab my camera, but my second thought was to be embarrassed.

We had lunch at a hillside restaurant.
View towards the Pitons.
The final stop was Diamond Botanical Gardens, which were truly lovely.

Loved this sign.

Diamond botanical gardens

March 12th, Antigua

In Antigua we had to take a small boat across the bay to get to town. I was tired of package tours, so we used my husband's cell phone map as a guide. At first we wandered through the 'locals' part of town, where we had a snack at a bakery undiscovered by tourists.

Then we walked back through the 'touristy' area, and then back to the ship.
The beach in St. John's

A colorful house

A local told us that this building was "old slaves quarters".

Beautiful graffiti - Rihanna?

That night we went to the Beatle Maniacs show on the ship, which was very good. It was sad, though, to realize that I was probably one of the few people in the audience who had heard the Beatles when they were new.

March 13th, St. Maarten. St. Maarten is occupied by two different countries. Sint Maarten, where we docked, was settled by the Dutch. Saint-Martin, on the other side, was settled by the French. We spent some time in Phillipsburg, then took a taxi over to Saint-Martin to see the French side.

March 14th, last stop, St. Croix. First settled by the Danish but now the US Virgin Islands, it seemed one of the more prosperous of the islands we visited.  My husband splurged and hired a driver and we had the 'three-hour tour'. 
Botanical gardens

Flower of the Cannonball tree in Botanical Gardens

Fruit of the Sausage Tree (not edible)

Things for sale
March 15th - back to San Juan. "Get off the ship" time. Part of me wanted to stay, and part of me was glad to be back on land.

We went back to the hotel we had been at before, left our bags, and then went back into San Juan.

(More later)

*If food is put in front of me, I tend to eat it. For that reason I don't do well in restaurants.

No comments:

Post a Comment