After three Covid-19 related cancellations, this was hopefully going to be my desired cruise.
I intended to do a European cruise in September 2020 with my mother, but unfortunately this cruise and all follow ups got cancelled due to Covid-19. My mom passed away in 2020 and therefore this cruise had become very important to me. On 13 January 2022 it would have been my mom's 82nd birthday and with the help of HAL's event manager Jonah, I was able to scatter my mother's ashes on this day. She really made a wonderful moment out of this event and I am very grateful for all her help with this.
Due to Covid-19 and weather conditions, we were not able to make two stops (Saint Thomas and the second stop at Half Moon Cay), but that could have been expected during times like this.
The cabin was a bit smaller than expected, but everything necessary was there. I loved the balcony. Kudos to Yanti an
Compared to what the island was in 2006, it has gone down hill and I feel sorry for the people who try to make a living there.
I did the Northern Highlights and Beach tour. The first part was going to a batik/cacao/chocolate presentation which was quite interesting, unfortunately the greatest deal of the time spent there was at the gift shop. Next stop was at Pigeon Point Beach, which was nice.
Barbados Coast to Coast. It was a nice tour with a stop at the gift shop where we got rum punch, unfortunately I also received there the sad news that a very dear friend had passed away. Furthermore we went to St John Parish Church and from there to Bathsheba.
Grenada was one of the highlights of this cruise. We were supposed to go to Martinique, then Dominica, next stop would be St Vincent but eventually we went to Grenada. I have spent a lot of time in Trinidad & Tobago and I must say that Grenada comes second. It is a wonderful and beautiful island. I did the Grenada Island Drive where you first go to Laura's Herb and Spice Garden and learn all about Grenada's plants. From there it was to Grand Etang and driving through the country. Very impressive.
A bit disappointing... A flat island, mainly known for the rich and famous that have their houses here. I did the Carambole Beach Day and felt ripped off for the price of $65 that included a 10 minutes bus drive with a stop at some look out point where somebody tried to force you to take a photo with a monkey (which I did not do), the excursion included a beach chair and a drink; well, the drink was a luke warm bottle of water, the ride back was 5 minutes... I spoke with people on the ship who went to the same beach with a private taxi that was a lot cheaper.
Okay beach... It is the property of HAL and Carnival, so nothing can go wrong.
Nice island where I did the Rainbow Calypso Tram. Saw some interesting places like Cockburn Town, the light house and afterwards spent some time at Margaritaville. The latter gets two points for me: selling far too expensive drinks, with a lot of ice, a drop of rum and I am still looking for the coconut that should have been in my coconut margarita...
Beautiful island and I very much enjoyed my tour Panoramic Puerto Plata that drove you around the city and made a stop at Plaza Indepension where we visited San Felipe Cathedral and a local souvenir shop (yes, the guide has to make some money). We went to the small streets with the hanging umbrellas (yes, I guess that a lot of cities claim to be the first to have this phenomen) and from there we drove to the coast to see the statue of Neptune in the sea as well as the fortress. The cruise ship complex is very nice with lovely shops and a wonderful restaurant. Try a margarita and a salpicon de mariscos at the local restaurant!
Bonaire was new for me and I did the Bonaire Highlights and Beach. The highlights were driving through several areas of Bonaire, see the salt fields and slave huts and from there it is a couple of hours at Sorabon Beach. I cannot be enthused about the latter. If you comet through an excursion they place you in an area that is diverted with ribbon (I felt like being a victim on Crime Scene Investigation), the staff refuses to give you the WIFI password, but will give it (on paper or being wishered) to their other "paying" guests... More over the water was very shallow and full of sea weeds. The city of Kralendijk is nice with plenty to see and do.