For years now we have cruised the Eastern and Western Caribbean… perhaps that is why the Southern ports were my favorite. New territory? I really have no clue, but I fell in love!
We never book excursions ahead of time. Anytime we have tried to do this, we end up changing our mind and don’t want to do the excursion we have already paid for. FYI: Attempting to get a refund on an excursion really sucks. So the new protocol for us is I always look through the excursions at home and read the reviews. Once we are on the boat we decide what we are going to do and have never really run into anything we wanted to do being sold out. (knock on wood) *Just watch… I have said it, so now it is destined to happen.
This was our first 8 day cruise and our first cruise with 4 ports.
My original plan was to do a snorkeling excursion, but do to the inability to go to sleep before 4 am thanks to the rocking disco below our cabin, I opted not to pay for this. I was seriously afraid we would not be able to get up early enough for the excursion and if we did everyone would be grumpy! Since this was our first of 4 ports, I did not want to start off on the wrong foot. That’s no fun on vacation. So we woke up when we woke up and got off the ship. We walked around the port and found a taxi that took us to Magan’s Bay. (I had researched ahead of time just in case … Score 1 for Mom!) The taxi ride was $28 each way for all of us. I believe the price to get into Magan’s bay way $8 each. It was reasonable anyway. We bought some water at the little restaurant, avoided the outside bar (due to the 9 year old being present) and then changed into our bathing suits. They did have ample bathrooms and changing facilities. Magan’s Bay was beautiful! The weather was nice and the water was perfect! Our son was just ecstatic to be on a beach. After several hours of fun in the ocean we took the taxi back to downtown St. Thomas. We asked for a place to eat authentic food and were told to go to Cuzzin’s.
After we left there, we ran across a man dressed as a pirate (I hope it was a costume) with a shopping cart full of fresh coconuts. They were only a couple of dollars so we got 1 for Trenton. The man/pirate took out a huge hatchet looking knife and went to whacking away at this coconut. In the end he had carved a little cup out of the coconut to hold and drink out of.
Pretty cute :) From there we hopped a taxi back to the port and called it a successful day. * St Thomas is really something to experience. The mountains, hills … whatever they were are beautiful. The houses built into the side of them are just amazing. The roads going up and down seem a little narrow and scary, but the views are phenomenal! Our taxi driver was speeding up the crazy little winding road when we turned a corner and saw a man literally jump in the bushes to avoid getting run over by us! If you choose to walk there… beware! LOL
We attempted to go to bed early this night to get a head start on the music and base, but were woken up at midnight. 1am we got the call from guest services that they had another room for us. It appears someone departed in St. Thomas (don’t blame them… I contemplated staying too!) The keys were delivered to our cabin and we happily trucked across to the other side of the boat to our new room in our jammies to get some much needed sleep!
Antigua: This is one we booked as soon as we got on the boat as we were fearful it might sell out. We booked the Champagne and Lobster Catamaran Cruise. Mark had been looking forward to this excursion for a month. No way, sleep or no sleep we were missing this. We were extremely thankful for our new room and left the boat this morning well rested! On the reviews this excursion had all 5 stars… and we now see why! Antigua is beautiful. Cruising around on the Catamaran you were really able to see so much and there just are not words to describe it.
We were taken to the first beach which had some vendors selling dresses and jewelry. They didn’t really hassle you. I wanted to buy a necklace, but Mark had taken off with the money. The lady insisted I take it and said not to worry… she would find me in a little bit…. And she did. Beach chairs were available for rent. The water was so clear and amazing. Seashells were abundant. Someone did say they saw some jellyfish in the water. We kept our eyes open and stayed close to our son, but never saw any. After an hour or so we boarded the Catamaran and sailed to another beach. I did not think the first beach could be topped, but I was wrong. The color of the water here was something off of a postcard. It hardly seemed real! There were little huts on the beach where you could kick back and relax in the shade. Mark took full advantage and was snoring in no time!
The crew broke out the grill on the back of the Catamaran and grilled the most amazing lobster I have ever eaten in my life! (I think Mark’s dream of fresh seafood from the sea finally came to fruition). I am now officially a lobster snob. Holy Moly!
They had side dishes too… potatoes, cole slaw, salad and rice and beans! You know I loved those potatoes! They cleaned up after lunch and broke out the music. People were dancing and had canon ball contests off the back of the boat. There was one “elderly” couple on the cruise. The little man was dancing away with all the women and the little lady was judging the canon ball contest! It was a great time. The boat also included all the water, soda, full stocked bar, champagne and a rather deadly (if consumed in large quantities) rum punch. Best 6 hours ever!!
Tortola: We decided not to book an excursion here. All the ones I had looked at included a beach. We had just spent 2 days straight on a beach (with sunscreen) but I kinda felt we needed a break from the sun. No one objected :) This was a short port for us. We had to be back on the ship around 3:30 I think. We ended up getting off and walking…and walking… yeah, we still weren’t there and walked some more. Finally we reached the flea market type of stuff. Tortola was very HOT… compared to the other places. We ended up taking a taxi a little further into town and walking through some shops. It was not your usual shopping type area. Most of the shops looked like little houses. It was fun. We visited Sunny Carabee the spice and tea shop then started making our way back to the ship.
There were chickens running around everyone and one man with a donkey under the tree. He asked if we wanted to pet the donkey. After we did he then held out his hand and said $1. We didn’t have any small bills. Mark looked at him like he was crazy and said “Uh… No. You didn’t say anything about paying!” ha ha We walked away.
We kept stopping at the little stores and had to make one last stop at the jewelry store before starting the treck back to the boat. Trenton was done. The boat looks rather close, but in actuality was probably about another 1/2 to 3/4 mile walk. If he finds out I posted this pic he will kill me ... but that's what Mother's are for right? Tortola was not his favorite port. Perhaps we'll schedule a good beach in next time and he will think differently.
Nassau: We all have always wanted to visit Atlantis so there was no question what was happening this day! I had read some horrible reviews about how busy it was and how it was not worth the money. There were 4 ships in port that day so I had prepared myself for a disaster :)
Once again, pleasantly surprised! The line to get our wrist bands was rather long (apparently it was popular). After that we walked a little way and boarded an air conditioned bus to Atlantis. (Anytime you have to board a bus in another country and it comes with air conditioning… Score!) Downtown Nassau looked very dirty and sad. Cross the bridge though and it was as if you were in a whole other world! After we got off the bus they handed us a map and wanted everyone to wait to get some lengthy informational talk and tour. (You should all know now… this is not impatient hubby’s style) I had read all about this so we just asked the tour guide if we could go on our own and they said yes… so we were off! We visited the Dig, Gift Shop and Predator Lagoon.
Had a nice little lunch in an outside area and then set off for the water park. We ran into some people we had met on the ship and they informed us they took a taxi over and just walked right in. Didn’t pay a thing. I can see that because our wrist bands were never checked or acknowledged. Oh well… probably still wouldn’t risk that if we went back. (I would get caught somehow!) The water park was wonderful. It really did not seem any more crowded than any water park we go to in Texas. The lazy river… which is not lazy at all, more like the roaring rapids river, we walked in and were able to get inner tubes immediately. It was a lot of fun! Trenton and I got tipped over in our double tube by a huge rapid …by the time I collected myself there were lifeguards perched to jump in… saying “Ma’am are you alright?” Yep, that’s me. I’m fine! Trenton was climbing back in the tube yelling “Come on Mom!” We played in some of the pools and then Trenton wanted to go down a water slide. We stood in line for the Abyss… probably not more than 10 minutes. The down fall here was I had no idea what I was about to do. As we got near the slide I saw the disclaimer sign that read if you have a fear of heights, darkness, speed, have a heart condition etc, etc you should not go on this ride. I told my (barely tall enough to ride son) I am not sure this is a good idea. He assured me it was not steep (though we had just climbed a skyscraper worth of stairs). He goes down the slide and I don’t hear a peep out of him. Ok... time for mom. Oh my Jesus! Prayers started immediately! You sit down and as you let go you are whisked away in darkness as the slide drops out from underneath you and you are free falling… Forever. About the time I thought I was falling through a black hole never to be heard from again my bottom touched the slide long enough for me to inhale before I dropped (free falling) again. Thankfully I was then dumped into a pool of water, to which I discovered I was in fact still alive (only half naked) as my swim suit was in no place it was when I first started this journey. I was able to collect myself again before I was saved by lifeguards and made it out of the water, but my legs were jelly and Mark and Trenton were laughing so hard they were crying. (What’s new?) No more… It’s time to leave. I am sure of it. Atlantis was worth the price and proved to be a memorable and highly enjoyable family day…. But more so, I am not as young as I once thought I was.