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14 day Caribbean Cruise
Below is a brief overview of my most recent Caribbean cruise experience.
We set sail on the Celebrity Constellation on December 4th for a 14 night cruise to the Caribbean. Our destination, eight of the most popular islands.
Our first stop was St. Thomas; one of the US Virgin Islands. Both the US and British Virgin Islands have a multitude of little islands doted everywhere, pristine waters to swim in, wonderful harbors, and lush mountain vistas you can view from your ship. These islands aren't as immediately visibly poor as some of the Caribbean. We took a cab and did the island tour but it was a rainy day. I got a couple of reasonable photos when the sun came out, taken from the highest point of the island looking down to the ocean. All the Virgin Islands I have seen are lovely and well worth a visit.
Antigua was our next port of call and again we took a cab around the island. This island is very poor and it isn't always a pleasant trip. Depending on your driver, you will be told about the religions (hundreds ) the history, the prison (our driver was a little too knowledgeable about that particular establishment )! Again, it was somewhat rainy but in between the showers, I got the odd shot. I wouldn't return to Antigua by choice because of the pressure on you to buy things at every single opportunity and the sadness of the poverty.
After our tour in St. Lucia, we took a swim when the sun broke through. The water was just right; nice and refreshing. St. Lucia again is very beautiful but poor. I managed to get quite a few photos from the dock. The Pitons, Waterfall and Gardens are the main attractions, as well as the lovely beaches and active Volcano ~ however, if you don't like the smell of Sulphur, this is not recommended for a visit.
The next morning, our ship docked in Barbados. We went through historic Bridgetown and along the seafront. Its quite lovely and well-maintained. We visited friends who have live there for six months of each year. As such, we didn't get to see much of the island, but it is lush and mountainous and I am told it is very beautiful. The people seem very friendly, but there is still quite a bit of the high-pressure sales as soon as you leave the ship. We went swimming at a local beach where, like all of the islands, you pay for your deckchair and umbrella (and there will be folk selling their ware coming up to you whilst you try to rest ). Like all Caribbean Islands, the coastline is spectacular.
Grenada ( the Spice island ) is my favorite! What a beautiful island. We took a typical island tour. One of the stops is a shack that sells spices and educates you on the various spices grown there. We made our purchases and came back to the ship smelling exotic, wearing the garlands we had purchased from the locals ~ who make them from the colorful spice pods . The island undulates with lush vegetation, mountain peaks and breathtaking views of valleys, with a magnificent coastline. I will definitely return!
Tobago was scary! I wandered into the immediate town (from where our ship docked ) and was accosted by a mad woman who said she would "chop me into little pieces!" She was visibly drugged, as were many other of the dubious characters hanging around the port. As with all of the islands, you'll find that being a tourist (especially from a cruise ship ) means constant bartering for your attention; whether it be to take a tour or to buy something - the islanders are jaded and think we are all millionaires who deserve to be ripped off if we don't want to buy. It's a sad fact that they have become ruthlessly aggressive. As such, I didn't go any further in this island and so only saw a minuscule part of it.
Aruba is Dutch. Its okay if you want nice beaches and casinos. Other than that, it is an island full of Cacti and Geckos! We visited the small Church and the Lighthouse, the Rock Formation and the coastline.. that's about it. The rest of the time we dragged ourselves around yet another shopping center where jewelry, watches and other luxuries all call out your name... and, like all the Islands you visit on your cruise, if you dare to show the slightest interest in anything, you will have a sales representative as an attachment for the rest of the trip (they are very persistent). We left with our sales assistant walking rapidly by our side ...If you don't like high pressure sales, you won't like the Caribbean.
Curacao is a breath of fresh air. Its also Dutch and is quite lovely. You arrive at the Dock and walk through an old Fort to get into the town center. Everything is immaculate and colorful. I was very impressed. It's quite lovely. The open bus tour took us over the suspension bridge and around the rather lovely island. I would definitely go back; there is none of the poverty, smells or filth of some of the other islands. I may even relocate!