The ship dropped off passengers who had purchased shore excursions from the ship at the main port by tender. Then the ship repositioned to allow remaining passengers to tender either to a beach or a "National Park". The park was an steep hike to an old fort. The beach was sand and water. No chairs, no facilities, no security in a remote area.
I took this cruise especially because I wanted to visit Dominica. I was not not told that if I didn't purchase a shore excursion from the ship, I would see none of it. Once again, the ship tendered excursion passengers to Rousseau, the main port, then repositioned to a dirty, isolated and remote beach with no facilities, no chairs, no security and accompanied by two disinterested "water sports" attendees who had eyes only for each other. No chance to see Dominica. No feeling that the ship cared about any body's security or enjoyment.
Here is where it hit the fan. The ship planned a barbecue on the beach. Once again, a beach with no tables or chairs, no security, no facilities for bathrooms or changing. Behind the beach a wooded area with a path which ship's personnel told us led to a marina, the other tender drop spot. They suggested that passengers use the path. I did not like the idea of taking the path, so after standing up to eat my lousy hot dog and frozen corn, my wife and I tendered back to the ship for a nap before going to the marina. The ship was anchored until midnight, so I thought perhaps we would go ashore for dinner. One look at this remote but unsavory area convinced me that this was no place to be. We walked around for a few minutes, then tendered back.
On board was a wedding party of about 30. They had held a lovely ceremony on deck on Sunday. They were from the San Francisco area. The morning aftet the Antigua stop, rumors were flying around the ship. A passenger had been murdred ashore. It was the sister of the bride. A boite from the Antigua police was in our cabins, talking about the investigation of a homicide, describing a suspect and asking all passengers to review their photos of the baqrbecue to see if the suspect was in them.
The ship adressed none of this until about 7pm. Then a brief announcement was read by the Cruise Director: "An unfortunate disembarkation has occurred by a family who had a missing family member." Other than repeating the call for photos, that was the entire response of the ship to the murder. I cornered the Hotel Director and asked him about it. He insisted that the ship had no culpablility, that the murder had occurred far from the beach. It had occurred, and the girl was found with her throat slit, right near the path that they had suggested passengers use.
We took a shore excursion around the island. It was interesting and fun. However, again the ship dropped off excusion passengers at Basse-Terre (where a Princess ship was docked. If they could get in, we certainly could have gotten in.) The xcursion returned us to, you guessed it, another dirty little beach. This one had a shed where beer was served about a 100 yard dwon the beach from where the tender beached. No water or juice, no changing facilites. The bar probably would have ledt you use the bathroom. Since we did not learn officially of the murder until after we left this port, I think the curise line was particularly negligent in not providing even a warning to passengers.
Another couple, at dinner, told us they had taken a Jeep excursion o the iosland, and that the drivers had been drinking rum and coke. Could the cruise line have had a little more diligence in their selection of excursion suppliers.
We visited Isle des Saintes, a part of the French department of Guadeloupe. It was a lovely little village, with quite a few shops and lovely restaurants. No shore excursions available. Not accessible to a larger cruise ship, it was the gem of the cruise