The Fantastic Voyage 2005 cruise left from San Juan (my San Juan Trip Report), Puerto Rico and stopped at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, and Barbados before returning to San Juan. We normally docked around 8 a.m. and had to be back on the ship by 5 p.m.. Unfortunately, every evening we were in port we would always hear passengers being paged around dinner time because the ship was about to leave and they were not on it. I hope they made it back in time.
In St. Maarten and St. Lucia, Traci and I got together with others from the cruise and hired one of the taxi vans at the pier to take us on a 2 - 3 hour tour of the island. We were charged $25 per person in St. Maarten and $15 per person in St. Lucia. Both tours consisted of stops at scenic overlooks, a beach, and a craft market or shopping area. We could have signed up for similar tours and excursions through Royal Caribbean but they were more expensive.
scenic overlook in St. Lucia
Banana plants in St. Lucia
Orient Beach in St. Maarten
craft market in St. Maarten
We didn't tour the Barbados because this was the site of the cruise beach party. The party lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. There was food, music, games, and contests. The party was emceed by members of the Tom Joyner Morning Show and others - including rapper, Doug E. Fresh. The scene kind of reminded me of the MTV Spring Break TV shows but with older people.
The main event of the beach party was the annual water gun battle of the light-skinned people versus the dark-skinned people. There was a supply of water guns for everyone. At the height of the battle, there were about 200 people running around the beach squirting water at each other. I'm not sure which side won. Traci joined the battle but I didn't because I was trying to capture the action with my camcorder. I couldn't take a chance on getting my camera wet. However, I did get hit a few times followed by a "Oops! Sorry! I thought you were holding a gun.". As the battle winded down, it began to rain heavily; thus, everyone ran for the shuttles back to the ship.
water gun battle
St. Thomas was a special port of call for Traci and me. Mariel, Traci's college roommate from her freshman and sophomore years at Hampton University, lives in St. Thomas. She picked us up at the pier and took us on a tour of the island. Mariel is actually from Georgia but she and her husband, a native of St. Thomas and a Hampton alum, moved to the island after they finished their graduate degrees in the States. We also met their 6-month old son, Obi.
roommates reunited - Mariel, Traci, and Little Obi
Ahh, St. Thomas. I could get used to this.
Mariel told us it took a few months to get adjusted to island living. She said they have to take a twenty minute flight to Puerto Rico and go to Las Americas Mall when they need to do serious shopping. She took us by her house and by the school where she used to teach. She now owns a store that sells African goods and art. After a nice lunch at a local restaurant (Friends Of Little Bo Peep) and a little more sightseeing, she drove us back to the ship. We really enjoyed spending our day with Mariel. She encouraged us to come back and visit. Believe me, no one will have to twist our arms to do that. continue...