Relaxed and Helpless
Excitement and trepidation ran through our veins before setting off to Barbados. Never having been to the Caribbean, or on a cruise before, this was a holiday of firsts.
We arrived at the embarkation point very tired and distinctly hot and sweaty, only to be confronted with some minor admin hitches which did not improve tempers. In retrospect it would have been much better to fly a few days before the cruise departed to give us time to get over jetlag, and to make the most of the first day on board the magnificent Silver Spirit. As it was, we arrived on boad just as the drill was being called and we had no time to shower and change, let alone sample some of the champagne in our suite!
We had a mid ship verhandah and it was spacious and well appointed with some very thoughtful details in the layout.
The food was always extremely good, and the choices of restaurants were more than acceptable. We did not choose to use those that had a premium attached to them More
as we spent all of our on board credit on shore excursions. Menus varied pleasingly, the staff were unfailingly freindly, helpful and polite. Hot Rocks was fun and very tasty, but the menu was the only one that did not change that much at all.
Shore excursions were varied and we enjoyed the more active ones - river tubing etc. This was very much more active than anyone had been led to expect, and I strongly suggest that if you do it (it is great fun), you wear shoes, and don't wear anything you are not prepared to lose. White water rapids the whole way!
We are not formal people and managed to avoid the formal nights by not going to the main restaurant on the two formal nights, we ate elsewhere.
How can you fault a fantastic operation like the Silver Spirit, it was simply magnificent. If I had any compaints at all then they are churlish - the fact that I really do not know what to do with a butler, lovely though he was, room service would have been fine!
By the end of our 9 nights we were ready to go back to the real world and step out of all the luxury. To work out whether we could still mix our own G&Ts or carry our own plates to the table etc. 5-6 course meals, champagne, endless cocktails, butlers, deluxe chocolates, uber comfy beds, private balcony, fancy toiletries, endlessly cheerful and polite crew. Goodness, I think I need to go and pick up a bag of salad and some mineral water from Morrisons and experience the joys of the surly check out staff, get back to real life again, I am exhausted from all that indulgence! Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
Charming little place, nothing much to do except walk, swim or sit and swill beer. We walked over to Friendship Beach which is not actually very far, just up and down a bit. We saw a great sign saying "We sell intoxicated liquor". Felt a bit mean not using the taxis as I am sure they only get business when the boat comes in.
It is a short tender ride from the boat to the jetty.
This island seemed to have a lot to offer, and the excursions all appealed. Sadly we only had time for one of them - River Tubing. Great fun, but very challenging. Do not believe the description in the Silversea brochure, you need to be quite daring and physically strong to enjoy this, at least on the day we did it. The river was not in the least gentle, it was white water rapids all the way. This was exhilarating, but also scary as you have not control over which way you face, the rubber ring rotates with the current. It is ESSENTIAL that you wear shoes as you will need to fend yourself off from rocks, and if you come out (as many people did), the bottom of the river is full of sharp rocks. Top heavy men who carry their weight around their chests, and very light ladies had the hardest time staying in the rings. But I loved it, it was quite a thrilling experience.
Roseau appeared to be a very genuine town, but also quite run down. I liked it because it was very real and not titivated up for tourists in the same way that some of the other islands have been.
Very chic. If designer shopping is your thing, then this is a lovely, elegant place to indulge.
It is not my thing, so we went snorkelling instead. The catamaran was owned by a french chap called Thierry, who was great fun and took us out to Sugarloaf rock to snorkel. He gave us a full safety briefing, kitted everyone out with fins and masks and told us not to get too close to the rock as there was quite a swell. The snorkelling was fun and we did see some pretty fish, but I am spoilt for snorkelling as we have been to the Barrier Reef where there is just soo much to see. A very pleasant 45 minutes was spent sloshing around face down with my little Kodak Playsport camcorder recording some of the parrot fish that we saw. However the swell was considerable so most of my pictures look like the fish were swimming out of the frame, when in fact it was me floating being swept this way and that.
I can only do this using second hand experience as tiredness caught up with us and we did not go ashore today. Others said it was "a very nice island". The sugar cane train ride some people found to be a bit too long, but others enjoyed it. No one raved about anything, or even seemed particularly excited.
Mmm, we took a bus tour of the island and although the guide was very good, she had to work hard at finding things to say. The island is in two parts, the Dutch and the French halves. Much of what we saw was half built or falling down. The highlight was some amazing iguanas nestling amongst the greenery on the road side, and they were really very big indeed.
The market in Marigot was interesting, but half an hour was all that was needed there. My general impression is that tourism is the main industry and this makes it less of an interesting place to go.
There was the most spectacular traffic jam going round what seemed like half of the island. I am just glad we were going the other way.