I have just recently returned from a trip to San Juan Puerto Rico and a 7 day cruise through the eastern Caribbean. I left for San Juan on November 18th and three plane rides later, landed around 1:00 a.m. November 19th to a steamy picturesque city. Slept in the next day and then took a cab to the San Juan mall and did a bit of shopping. Spent the next day exploring Old San Juan. Took some great pictures of the Caribbean from the Castillo San Cristobal fort.
On Saturday, November 21st it was time to start my Royal Caribbean cruise. This is the second cruise I have been on, the first being with Celebrity Cruise Lines. The Adventure of the Seas pulled out of San Juan about 8:00 p.m. just as we were sitting down to dine in the Mozart dining room. The ship is large and has some great lounges (my favorite being the champagne lounge). Our first stop is November 22nd at St. Croix. We took a tour through the botanical gardens and then the Captain Morgan rum factory. Growing up on a farm I was interested in the rum factory and how the product goes from field to bottle. Beautiful day in St. Croix – 30 degrees and sunny.
Monday, November 23rd found us in St. Kitts. It is absolutely beautiful and was a gorgeous hot and sunny day. The people are very friendly and accommodating. We took the St. Kitts train tour where we travelled by train for about 1.5 hours on the old sugar cane tracks. These were the old railroad tracks from decades ago when they transported the sugar cane down from the mountains by train cars. They have now converted them to a tourist train. We sat inside the train on the main floor where it was air conditioned and enjoyed two complementary drinks and a light snack. Got some really nice pictures as we travelled. We then got a bus tour of the rest of the island heading back to the ship. It was a wonderful day.
Tuesday, November 24th was at St. Maarten. We didn’t take any tours as we had heard that the shopping was fantastic at St. Maarten. We left pretty much empty handed and disappointed. The shopping is diverse if you are looking for diamonds and other gem-adorned jewellery but for anything else other than souvenirs, don’t expect to find it here. I couldn’t even find a nice scarf to take home. Now I wish that we had taken a tour.
Wednesday, November 25th was Martinique. We did not have any tours booked but did wander the town of Fort de France. Again it was a beautiful sunny day. We had been warned by a fellow cruiser that the town can be rather “sketchy” and we soon discovered that we were in agreement with this description. We were off the ship about 4 hours and that was enough for us. The town is not very pretty and it was difficult at times to find someone who was willing to speak English to us. There were men hanging around on the streets asking us to stop and talk to them but we weren’t sure what they wanted – probably money. Later on the ship, we heard of other people who were refused service because they couldn’t speak French. Too bad Royal Caribbean can’t find another location to stop at rather than this one. Woke up this morning with a cold so booked a late day appointment for acupuncture on the ship.
Thursday was Barbados which was gorgeous and hot. The Bajans are extremely friendly people and we enjoyed our tour through Orchid World and the old plantation house. Too bad I was feeling really lousy with my cold.
Friday was our one day at sea. We slept in until 10:30 and went for a nice lunch in the dining room. Read, relaxed and enjoyed some tasty beverages in the afternoon and then enjoyed a late dinner.
Saturday we woke up back in San Juan. It was a two plane ride home with us almost missing our connection in Toronto. I walked in the door Sunday morning shortly after midnight. Some rest and TLC will be taken in the next few days to recover from my cold but I do miss the heat already. It was minus 10 when we landed home.
Cruising certainly has its pros and cons. It is nice that someone else organizes all the tours and gets you there but you have to remember that you are always operating on someone else’s schedule and by the end of the trip I was tired of this and wanted some control back as to when I wanted to do things. Also, the cabins are so small and this was even with a balcony. I am used to a lot of space and I was glad to get back home to my spacious digs – made me very grateful for what I have. I did, however, get to see some beautiful islands and experience their hospitality.