The excursion today was Harrison's cave. we went to Barbados and stayed there on land in 1996, but since then when we've been there the cave has been closed. We went down to the tour about a hour early. Normally there is a shuttle from where the boats dock to the port building where we had to take the excursion. But not this time. Silversea is parked across from us and THEY have a shuttle, but we don't. I guess the Maasdam was too cheap to pay for it. Their excuse was that we were the first boat next to the terminal. Had I known that I could have used the scooter and they would keep it at the terminal for me while I went on the tour, it would have made my life a lot easier. We walked and I had to stop to get my breath about four times - twice while we were next to the ship as they let us off forward and the forward end was the farthermost away from the port building. It also was sprinkling, so when we stopped, we stopped under the old sugar loading silos. I got up to the port
building and one of the guards there suggested that I ask the HAL excursion lady for a wheelchair back to the ship after the excursion. But she said absolutely NOT, that the Maasdam had no wheelchairs for any such thing. She was very dismissive of our concerns.
I asked the girl who was herding the buses (from Barbados) if I could get in first. And she said yes. A man came up with one of those walkers that you can sit on - he was complaining because the front desk had said that there was a shuttle. A guy came with a scooter and they had a scooter-enabled bus there for him. When I got on the bus, it was the second bus and I sat in front
but the seat was right over the wheel and there was no foot room whatever. The man with the walker sat on the other side and he made his wife sit on the short leg room side. When we were all loaded, the driver/guide Peter came on with the walker and put it in front of the door. The bus went very fast so I was glad to take photos out the front. The guide talked very fast too. When
we got to Harrison's Cave, we had to walk in and wait for our tickets. Then we went down in an outside glass elevator and we saw a movie about Barbados. Then we were loaded into a white electric tram. When we were here in 1996, there were none of the buildings that there are now and no outside elevator. We had blue electric train/trams and we had to wear hard hats. No hard hats this time. My camera lens and my glasses immediately fogged up. I had to keep wiping them off. Also the camera had a hard time focusing as the caves were basically dark. I did get some good photos though. The caves themselves were much as I remembered. I asked the driver if he had been there long and he said since 1995. He remembered the hard hats.
When we got back on the bus, Bob took the seat by the side of the bus leaving me the aisle. The man with the walker went to sleep -he had the advantage of an 'arm' on the aisle because there was a jump seat in the aisle. I had a really hard time staying in my seat as the driver swung the bus around curves and I think it would have been better if I had put the jump seat down. But the man was asleep on it and I couldn't put it down without waking him.
We got back to the ship, and I sat in the shop area while Bob went back to the ship and got my scooter. As he was coming to get me with it, the skies opened up and rained. He sheltered under the sugar silos. Inside the building the rain was deafening - almost as loud as gunfire - I think they had a tin roof. One of the shop girls said that she would have gotten me a wheelchair if I needed one. Everyone was helpful except the HAL excursion lady. I looked at the Best of Barbados shop for a shirt for Bob but the only ones they had were flowery.
When he arrived with the scooter, we started back for the ship and suddenly I saw a man's shop with some batik shirts, so I went in and bought one. Then we went back to the ship. The ramp was quite slippery with rain - even for me to walk up. I knew the scooter would not be able to get me up the ramp, so I walked and one of the HAL guys brought the scooter up.
Read grandmaR's full Maasdam cruise review
Holland America Line