Port and Shore Excursions
Patrice was the guide on the Best of Antigua tour. The island is another feast for the eyes. The Nelson shipyard and views from fortifications and viewpoints were the special stops. If you love large sailing craft, this tour is a must do. Patrice tried to get us all to sing our national respective National Anthems. That was fascinating. Patrice had a good singing voice. The "Black Watch" was moored next to us. It's a pretty ship. It looks like an old Princess ship from the late 1990's. It was on a two month cruise from OZ to Europe. I wanted to take the helicopter tour over the Monserrat volcano damage. However, the weight limit is 230... Few exceptions. This is where the Antigua charter company should take some lessons from Blue Hawaiian. I've never been turned down on Maui or the Big Island. They just charge for "excess baggage"..,
-- I made a neophyte mistake and did not book a tour. When we were leaving the cruise terminal, it was like being thrown to the wolves as all the independent tour/cab drivers were selling their services. We just walked around town and enjoyed the many sights, shopping and culture. We need to return to Aruba to see the rest of this beautiful island. It was the "Hottest" location on the cruise.
Barbados was a gem. We took a cab up to the Crane Resort. The resort was featured on Life styles of Americas Rich and Famous. It is quite the place for weddings and Honeymoons. The beach is one of the best (and most photographed) on Barbados. Of course, timeshares are available. We had lunch in the main restaurant. We caught a cab at the cruise port. It was about $25.00 each to go up to The Crane. Next time, we'll take a beach and city tour to see the island. There are many other fabulous resorts and beaches to see on this Island.
-- I woke up as we were approaching Curacao. I thought we were sailing into He## or into a volcanic zone. There were clouds over the mountains reflecting a spectacular pulsating red glow. The glow was caused by the burn off flares from refinery's.
Our independent Cab driver was Hubert #132. He gave a very thorough tour and provided cultural and historical details as well as took us to the fort and other view points. We drove around town several times as he pointed out the landmarks. This island was a wonderful stop. I'd recommend Hubert. His cab is decorated with an Iguana on the sides.
-- We took the Best of Grenada Tour. The Grenada tour made three stops without much substance. This driver was definitely not "Mandoo". He didn't even try to attract a monkey up at Grand Etang NP. We toured a spice factory. The viewpoints they stopped at were usually obstructed by wiring. Be sure to tip the improvisational Calypso singers up at Grand Etang or you will find yourself in one of their songs (smile). I'd probably stay on the ship the next time we visit this island.
I took the Volcano and Pitons land tour. Jalousie was our guide for St Lucia. We hit every sight a first timer might want to. The bus stopped at a Christian owned spot. The Maranantha Gardens and the restaurant across the street. (not to fear) They did serve the Carib brand of beer and had wonderful BBQ... Expect lots of stairs and walking as you visit the volcano. Per the guide, If he vanishes, the volcano's erupting. Time to run quickly. .Our driver had a PHD in driving. I'm assuming that was in "Pot Hole Detection". This Island is a must see. Beautiful beaches, bays and coves galore. This tour offered several photo opportunities to shoot the "Pitons".
Everything that you may have read about Bernard's Tours in St Maarten is right on the money. Look up Bernard Augustin and St Maarten on the Internet for more information. Our driver's name was John. He was an excellent tour guide. Beer, rum punch and less spirited drinks were provided for guests. I was the bartender on our tour. The rum punch was handy for working up the courage to feed Iguanas and stand under arriving aircraft at MOHO beach. The plane spotting souvenirs at the Sunset Bar are pricy by local Standards. But, they are worth it. We had a choice between three beaches. A family beach, the clothing optional side of Orient Beach and the family side of Orient Beach. We chose the family beach down the road. The water was calmer and you could walk out about 400 feet before having to swim. It was wonderful. Besides that I hadn't filed an Environmental Impact statement to use the nude side of Orient Beach. :-). After all, the French have standards to uphold (smile).
The "SUV of the seas" was in St Thomas with us. We were at Havensight. They were in the other harbor. They looked like a sky scraper towering over the hill across from our cabin. The roads were very busy in Charlotte Amalie. It was hard to imagine the impact of four or five ships being in town... I would guess total deadlock. It might be good to book a real tour in USVi rather than relying on a cab tour. Our driver did not drive down to Megan's beach. We had hoped to see that at "Sea Level" rather than From "See Level". There was no need to take the Havensight sky ride as we were taken to better/higher viewpoints during morning light. For a photographer, the sky ride is a morning treat unless you want to catch the views away from town to the East. Again, the "SUV of the Seas " was in St Thomas and brought in 5,000 of our fellow travelers. I would recommend Sharkey in cab "rock and roll" for an island tour. He advised that he was a trained and certified driver and tour guide. Since I'm "certifiable", we got along well. I recommend a tip to Sharkey to go down to Megan's beach on the tour. He drives a cab/open air tour vehicle called "Rock & Roll".
As we sit in the fabulous harbor of Charlotte Amalie, I'm left to wonder..Where do these people get the $$$$$$ for the floating toys??? Many of the yachts here would require a paid crew of five to twenty people. This looks like a place entrepreneurs go when they go to Heaven :-)..More so than St Maarten or Aruba / Cura'ao.