Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Past the Halfway Point

Our arrival in Gustavia St. Barths was bright and early in the morning. We took the tender into shore after a relaxing breakfast. The first shop we saw was one of Glen's favorites, Quicksilver. And that says a lot, as Glen, like most men I know, is NOT a shopper. We headed straight over and Glen browsed for a new sunhat, flipflops, tshirts, everything. Eventually I grew bored with the fact that I was not doing the shopping and we moved on. Walking along the main street there were many souvenir shops of a much higher caliber than previously seen on the cruise. There were also LOTS of great looking restaurants and bars where we could sit on a patio and people watch. We walked the length of the port which is a large U shape and then back again. We picked out a nice restaurant to have lunch and sat and watched all the locals and tourists go by.

The first thing we noticed about St. Barths was that it was so clean and tidy. Clearly the french influence was a great benefit. Plus, ALL the people were saw were smiling from ear to ear. Whether they were locals or tourists it was very clear that everyone really liked being in St. Barths! We had to agree. It had a great feeling and was a little more upscale but not so much it felt snobby. It was very comfortable. We will definitely be making our way back to St. Barts in the future.

After a nice walk after lunch we headed back to the ship and hit the pool for a swim. It was so hot and sunny and the pool was the perfect refresher. Along with a nice cold beer and on to my second book of the trip.

After enjoying a relaxing afternoon we prepared for our group dinner in The Restaurant. We got ready early as we had the privilege of touring some of the other cabin category's prior to meeting for dinner. We were able to view one of the larger cabins which is exactly like our cabin only doubled. During the Wind Surf's renovation they had knocked the wall down between two cabins and created a 'his and hers' bathroom and instead of two beds, the second bed area became a living area. We couldn't believe how big and spacious the cabins felt until we got to see a Bridge Suite. Wow! Huge! Luxurious! The bathroom with separate shower and jacuzzi bath was larger than my master bath at home! Large flat screen tv and surround sound had my husband hooked.

After our fantastic tour, we finished on the Bridge Deck right by the Bridge and decided to check out it the. We had been told it was quite amazing to see at night in the dark, with all the instrument panels glowing. The bridge office kindly explained all the equipment and gps system and even zoomed the gps in to the Toronto Harbour so we could see all the vessels currently docked in port. How amazing.

Off to our group dinner and by this time the ship was sailing quite quickly to Basse Terre, Guadeloupe and the wind had really picked up. The Restaurant is at the front of the ship where one feels the rocking and swaying of rough seas a lot more. Many of our fellow group members were looking a little green around the gills and it was quite the challenge to just walk across the dining room. It did make for fun dinner conversation as all the passengers appeared thoroughly inebriated as they tried to reach the exit without knocking over any waiters.

We decided to adjourn to the bar at the back of the ship where we wouldn't feel the swaying quite so much but we seemed to be the only ones trying to put a brave face on it. The bar was deserted as everyone was hiding in their cabins down below.

The next morning we arrived in Basse Terre and it was raining. Mind you, only a Caribbean rain shower which for the most part only lasts a few minutes and then the hot sun is back blaring again. Unfortunately for us, the showers came and went, numerous times. We had been told by the bridge officer the previous night that Basse Terre wasn't that great a port and we'd be better served to visit Ile des Saintes in the afternoon. The only difference was that Basse Terre was the only port of call where we didn't have to tender. But, we decided that our view from the deck was plenty and instead watched the rain showers moving over the island and out to sea from the comfort of our canopy covered deck chairs.

After lunch we arrived in Ile des Saintes which was, as promised, worth venturing out. The port was really tiny compared to some of the other ports we've visited but quaint. We decided we would rent scooters and go exploring... except that as we disembarked the tender, Glen realized he'd left behind his driver's license. So, we walked instead. We walked right across the island to a beach on the other side. it was a lovely walk especially as there are almost no cars on the island, only scooters. The streets are just wide enough for one car so scooters and pedestrians are easily accommodated.

After a swim and sunbathing at the beach we walked back to the port for a drink at one of the bars. We sat out on the patio and watched all the activity out in the harbour. It was such a beautiful day and everyone was clearly enjoying the water sports. Just as we were heading back to the tender the local school children got out of class. It was the same organized chaos as back at home, only here, the children were being met by their parents on scooters instead of minivans!

Back on board we decide to order dinner from room service. This was a bit of a challenge due to the fact that neither Glen or I could decide what restaurant we wanted to order from! Once we learned we could order from ANY of the dining menus or the room service menu it made things even worse. In the end I ordered an appetizer from The Restaurant, entree from the Degrees and Glen ordered from room service menu and The Restaurant. Then we ordered two bowls of popcorn and sat and watched a movie from the DVD library. Just like home!

The next morning was our next shore excursion at Pigeon Island, St. Lucia. We were going Deep Sea Fishing, something Glen and I had never done before. It was quite the experience as anticipated. The seas were very rough once we left the comfort of the shoreline. We were also bombarded by numerous storms with freezing cold rain and high winds. We had to hang on quite tightly as the ship was bouncing up and down with the waves. Sadly that was the most excitement we had... never did catch a fish, although we did get a few bites. Not what we'd hoped for but the experience was worthwhile nonetheless.

We returned to the pier to enjoy a bbq lunch on the island which had been canceled. Unfortunately the rain showers had been so continuous and long lasting the hot dogs and hamburgers were swimming in their buns and the staff had called it quits. We headed back to the ship for a delicious on board bbq lunch instead and no one seemed to miss the beach bbq at all.

We had our group cocktail reception this evening to say goodbye to our host and newly found friends. We watched the sunset as we sailed around the Pitons. It seemed the Captain was able to maneuver the ship very close to shore. We could actually see into peoples homes along the shoreline as they turned on their lights. We could even see people taking photos of the ship as we sailed past. It was really amazing to be so close to shore in such a large vessel.

Off to pack up our suitcases and early to bed as we had customs and immigration at dawn the next morning!

No comments:

Post a Comment