"" Writer's Wanderings: World Cruise - The Caribbean

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

World Cruise - The Caribbean

A day and a half sail from Devil’s Island found us once again in the Caribbean visiting Barbados. We were a little concerned we might not get to go ashore as there was some talk that Barbados would not let those who had visited Brazil within a certain time period into Barbados unless they had proof of a yellow fever shot. We’d not gotten one since we didn’t think we would be out in the Amazon during the peak hours for mosquitoes and we were concerned over the possible side effects of the shot.

Nothing was ever mentioned about it and once the ship cleared, we went ashore. We’ve been to Barbados several times and have watched it change over the years. The first visit was the usual Caribbean Island hassle but by the second visit we had learned that the government, in an effort to make the island more tourist-friendly, had instituted programs to educate the residents on how to make tourists feel less threatened and more welcome. It worked!

Barbados is an island that you can visit and not be jostled every minute by hawkers of jewelry, hats, and coconut carvings. You will be approached and asked if you want a tour or taxi or would like to take a look around a store but they are not as aggressive as they once were or many of their other Caribbean counterparts are. It makes for a nice visit.

A warm sun and a cool breeze gave us a pleasant walk into town. We took a few pictures, turned down a few offers for tours (been there, done that) and walked back to the ship so Bob could get in some more paddle tennis before the cruise ended in less than a week. I’m afraid he’s addicted to paddle tennis. It would be nice to find a place to play at home.

It was almost the same routine when we arrived at St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands except that here we went through a face-to-face immigration. It was preferable to going through immigration in Miami since there always seems to be a major backup at the cruise terminal there in immigration. That just left us with a customs slip to fill out and hand in as we passed through the customs area.

Our arrival just after noon was earlier than expected and we were the only ship at the pier at 
Havenport, the older of the two cruise areas. Before long, immigration was on board and processing quite quickly—soon enough that even some of the crew were able to go ashore for a short time.

Alternate route to town starts here.
Many world cruisers headed for the local Kmart that was a short walk from the ship. There was a steady stream of people pulling new suitcases behind them returning to the ship. A little too much souvenir shopping perhaps? We’d also received a souvenir from the cruise line on each segment. Some were large like a beach blanket and wooden statue and other were heavy like a set of onyx coasters and a six inch cube of crystal with a globe suspended in the middle. That’s going to make a lot of suitcases overweight. It must weigh at least five pounds.

Route to downtown from Havenport, St. Thomas

We didn’t get to Kmart but we did wander the pier and peek in the shops and discovered a whole new area that you can walk through to get to town. Of course it includes a lot of upscale shops but it’s a nice area and beats walking along the usually busy road.

It was carnival time for some reason and many of the shops in town, we were told, might be closed. That explained why there wasn’t as much traffic as usual. If it was like that all the time, I wouldn’t mind stopping in Charlotte Amalie. We usually plan to go to Water Island or St. John’s for the day when we stop. Our late arrival didn’t allow for that but our late departure did allow for time to see the lights of Charlotte Amalie and a beautiful full moon shining over the Caribbean waters.

Bob and I had dinner in the specialty restaurant, Prego, and then saw the evening entertainment which turned out to be a good comedian.

Afterwards, we wandered around the Promenade Deck until it was time to depart. We wanted to hear Louie sing What A Wonderful World one more time.

Oh Yeeaahh.

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