Southern Caribbean Cruise – Part 1

An 11-day Caribbean cruise is an experience I’ll never forget.

Mike and I had the honeymoon of a lifetime and not only did I accomplish my first cruise, but we managed to tour 6 remote Caribbean islands, even bringing us in sight of South America.

The cruise ship itself was small, but mighty.  The #Serenade of the Seas provided everything we could possibly need for two weeks including decadent meals, exceptional service, pools, hot tubs, movie theaters, bars and pubs, fitness center, shops, basketball courts, mini golf, spa, and endless live entertainment.

After two days at sea, Captain Kristoff navigated our ship to our first port: St. John’s/Antigua.  Mike and I had previously booked a catamaran tour for the island visit and once we embarked on the mini boat, we were greeted with friendly locals and their signature rum punch.

20 minutes into our boat tour, a giant manta ray floated delicately near our boat and we watched in awe at our first true ocean wildlife sighting.

Our guides took us to a public beach full of tourists and locals alike.  We were immediately met by local teens selling their handmade beach shawls and palm leaf figurines.  After having travelled at sea for the prior 3 days, I dug my toes in the sand and could not get over the happy sensation of being back on dry land.

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Catamaran Tour – St. John’s

After a delicious lunch of grilled lobster, Jamaican rice, roasted saffron potatos, and ice cold local #Carib beer, we ventured to another beach located in a national park.  We had this beach to ourselves and were completely dazzled by the crisp white sand and aqua green water.

 

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Beach stop 1  – St. John’s
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Beach stop 2 – St. John’s

The next day we found ourselves embarked at the neighboring majestic island of St. Lucia.  This island is known for its cascading waterfalls and lush green forests.  We decided to forgo a day at the beach in favor of a tropical hike.

Once departing the cruise ship, we found a waiting taxi driver who took us to the nearby Pigeon Island which featured Fort Rodney.  The fort was one of many littered through out the islands – each built during the late 1770s!  Mike and I hiked up to the fort and then proceeded to climb the rocky Signal Hill which overlooked both the Atlantic and Caribbean Seas, as well as the distant hills of St. Martin.

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Fort Rodney – Pidgeon Island – St. Lucia (Atlantic Sea to the left, Caribbean Sea to the right)
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Enjoying the breeze while looking down at Fort Rodney

After a day of challenging hiking activities, we were ready to unwind on a friendly beach, and we chose to do just that at our next port.

On our third day, we arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados.  We had heard that this was the place for incredible beaches and this happy Caribbean island did not disappoint.

We departed the confines of our cruise ship and decided to walk 25 minutes to Carlisle Bay beach.  It was an early Saturday morning and the little city of Bridgetown was just waking up.  We passed many coral pink pastel office buildings, a shabby pier littered with pirate ships, and an empty, tiny stone white chapel on our way.  While there didn’t seem much to do in town, we soon found that the beach was the place to be.

We selected a set of lounge chairs with umbrellas and spread out our towels.  Behind us were rows of small restaurants and bars, just starting to open.  After a few minutes we were greeted by a young local in board shorts and a bright orange shirt reading “Staff”.  We paid him the $10 per person daily fee for the chair rental and he offered to bring us whatever food and drinks we desired throughout the day.

The beach stretched out for miles and we could see several large resorts to our left and a pier with yachts and speed boats docked to our right.  Local vendors were selling everything from hand-made jewelry, to jet ski rentals, to glass-bottom boat tours to view the many sea turtles surrounding the bay.

Mike was easily persuaded to rent a jet ski while I was content sipping my #Piton beer and watching the beach activity from my lounge chair.  It was easily the most beautiful ocean water we had ever seen – more clear than a swimming pool with pearl white sand stretching out before us.

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Carlisle Bay, Barbados
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Carlisle Bay

 

We ended our lovely day at the beach with a stop in at a restaurant before returning to our ship.  We dined on brick-oven pizza and Cajun chicken wraps while a Rihanna look-alike in tight light denim and a hot pink crop top performed cover songs from a nearby stage.  We truly did not want to leave this delightful little island.

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