2 On The Road Blog

After 12 years of full-time rving, we've sold our truck and trailer but we're still traveling. Email us at wowpegasus@hotmail.com if you would like to contact us.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Southern Caribbean Cruise

My sister and I took a Southern Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean.  I started flying from Arizona and she from Iowa.  We met up at the airport in Fort Lauderdale for our bus ride to the Rodeway Inn.

January 31st
As we entered the ship, we looked out over the atrium.

The atrium bottom was on the fourth deck and went to at least the 12th deck.   

The interior elevators could get you to deck 12 but you needed to get on the exterior elevators to get to deck 13. 

There was a display like this on most decks so you could figure out how to get to a particular venue.  There were at least seven bars for those that wanted an adult beverage.
We spent two days at sea exploring the ship, during which I watched Gemini Man movie, and watched at least one headliner show in the Tropical Theater.   I made an origami swan and went to Pub Trivia. 

Funny signs on deck.  Read the last line of each.

Windows like what the child fell out of.  We were still docked at Fort Lauderdale when this photo was taken. 

We had the same dinner companions each night.  Here are Albert and Judy.

Wayne and Jan Kissick with Ernie peering over the drink menu.

Jan with Ernie and Dorothy

Everything tasted wonderful, especially the carrot cake. 

One of the cool things when cruising are the towel animals.  This elephant was adorable. 

February 3rd
Our first port of call is Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.  We are sharing this dock with another cruise ship.

Time to head to shore.  Excursion vendors greet cruisers at the gate. 

I signed up for the BOSS Underwater Adventure.  This means I got on a small boat and headed off to Buck Island.

Once on location, we donned inflatable life vests and 1/2 the people jumped in the water to start our adventure. 

Eventually they got us all on scooters and off we went.  We followed a diver on an underwater tour of the cove. 

I have a GoPro so they took a few photos of me.   Dang, I think my head shrunk!

One of the divers was feeding the fish so he was constantly surround by a shoal.
The diver feeding the fish swam by so the diver taking my photo could get one with a bunch of fish around me. 

I snorkeled for the first time while the 2nd half of the customers were on the scooters.

My sister and I met this couple at lunch the first day on the ship.  We saw them about every day. 

As we came back in to port, we could see the back of our ship (one on the left) 

Of the four towel animals we got, this is the only one that was difficult to identify.  Our best guess was bear. 
February 4th
We docked at St. John's Antiqua.

I selected the Stingray Swim and Snorkel excursion so I headed off the ship and boarded the bus for the drive to Stingray City. 

The driver stopped the bus where the road overlooked Stingray City.  Once there we boarded boats and headed out to Barge Reef.  So we took off from where the white boats are docked in the above photo and headed to the right of the first island.  We continued around the second island to a floating dock. 

As you can see, the water wasn't very deep.  This stingray felt soft on the underside.  It is a female.  They are larger than the males. 

I had brought along my swim shoes but we weren't allowed to wear them.  Didn't want to step on a stingray and make it mad. 

I snorkeled around the surrounding small reef.

This fish almost blended in with the water. 

These were the size of the buses that we rode in to Stingray City. 
February 5th
We arrived at Roseau, Dominica.  Pronounced Da-ma-neeca.   I did the Dominica's Favorites Excursion.  This is the view from our first stop, Morne Bruce 

This sign gave us some information about the hill and who it was named after.

Next we drove through the Dominica Botanic Gardens.  I couldn't remember the names of all the plants the tour guide pointed out but I think this is an Elephant Apple.

These people were getting a close up view of the Tamarind fruit.  This tree is a leguminous tree bearing edible fruit that is indigenous to India.  The fruit looked like huge bean pods. 

This is a Banyan tree. 

This Baobab tree fell on the school bus during Hurricane David in 1979.  That's one flat bus. 

After the Botanic Gardens we headed towards Trafalgar Falls.  Since I was by myself, I was offered the passenger seat.  As the day progressed, I became very impressed with the driving skills of the bus driver.  Notice the drainage ditch.

A beautiful bush.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this is a very lush island.

So glad we didn't meet anyone on most of this road.

Approaching Trafalgar Falls.
Once we got to the parking lot, we started walking to the Falls.  Saw some beautiful heliconia along the way. 
Fan Palm 

This heliconia was yellow

Wished I knew the name of this flower.

There were crotons all over the place.

Trafalgar Falls

The tree with the red flowers is called Flame of the Forest.

Mudslide covers half the road - no problem... just put up some barrels.  Dominica is a poor island.

This ship washed up to shore during Hurricane Maria in 2017.  Dominica was hard hit by the hurricane and is still recovering.

View as we headed into the Morne Trois Piton National Park to see the Emerald Pool. 

The Emerald Pool as glimpsed from the trail leading to it.

40' waterfall into the Emerald Pool.

The tour guide said swimming in the pool took 20 years off your age so, of course, I had to get in the pool.

Arriving at our cabin after dinner, we were greeted by a towel mouse.

February 6th. Basseterre, St. Kitts
I took the Brimstone Hill and Fairview Great House excursion.

Colonial era West Indies plantation house.

Cook House out back of the main house.

The gardens were nice but not extensive.  This is an Areca Palm

Crown of Thorns
Alexander Palms

Bismarckia Palm

The bath was located in the basement.

It was huge!  Don't know how many buckets of water it took to fill it.

Map of St. Kitts

I waited to go in the house until most of the people had wandered outside.  This is the office.

Beautiful stairway going up to bedrooms.

Master bedroom

What a beautiful toilet!  Ok, it's just a seat to use the chamber pot.

View from the master bedroom.
Front gardens

Ladies area

Dining room with living room beyond

Caribbean Royal Palm

Bottle Palm

Silverbutton Wood

This bus had the dirtiest windows of any of the tour buses I was on during the cruise.  This is Bloody River.
Folklore holds that this dried river bed once flowed blood for three days following a slaughter of Carib Indians by British and French colonial forces.

Brimstone Hill towers over the surrounding landscape.

Creating a new breakwater.  Those are some huge rocks.

St Thomas Anglican Church was damaged during Hurricane Maria.

On our way up to the fort, we saw a Green Vervet Monkey cross the road. 

Looking from the parking lot up to the Citadel.  The first cannon were mounted on Brimstone Hill in 1690 by the British in an effort to recapture Fort Charles on the coast below from French occupation.  The British realized the potential of the hill as a place of defense and proceeded to fortify it.  The Fortress was designed by British Army Engineers and built by African slave workers.  

The stairs going up to the Citadel were very interesting and fairly steep.  In January 1782, during the great struggle among the Europeans colonial powers and the American republic for control of the rich Caribbean sugar islands and the North American mainland, 8000 French soldiers attacked the island and besieged the Fortress.  About 1000 defenders drawn from the Royal Scots and East Yorkshire Regiments, local militia and escaped slaves, fought valiantly for a month before finally surrendering on February 12th.

The French allowed the defenders to march out with all the honors of war.  A year later the articles of the Treaty of Versailles returned the island to the British and fortifications were continued until 1794.  In 1852 British troops were reassigned and the Fortress was abandoned.

The Society for the Restoration of Brimstone Hill was founded in 1963 and, in 1973, HRH Prince Charles, with suitable ceremony, reopened the first complete restoration, the Prince of Wales Bastion.

Stairs to the gun deck. St. Christopher and Nevis became an independent country in 1983.  Yes, it is commonly abbreviated to St Kitts.

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

View of Oranjested in the distance.

I believe these are ruins of the barracks.

Parking area backed by Monkey Hill

Some of the rooms in the Citadel have history and local information in them .

Sign I saw on the way back to the ship.  I'm sure the Covid-19 virus pandemic had a big impact on all the islands the ship visited.
February 7th we docked at Philipsburg, St Maarten.  My excursion for the day was Adventure SNUBA.  That's SCUBA except the air tank is in a raft floating on top of the water with a 20' hose down to my mask. It was a really rough day on the water.

We sailed across to Little Bay where this floating dock positioned us for our adventure.
One of the two divers who would lead us on our underwater adventure.

After fitting us with weight belts, masks, flippers and a hose, we jumped in the water.

All the flippers had their size written on the bottom.

Due to all the wave action, the water was cloudy

A sunken helicopter!

The diver used my camera to take a photo of me.

They had us surface quite a distance from the boat so we swam and snorkeled.

The 2nd group getting ready to dive.

This is the raft that contained the air tanks.
Cruise dock

Boat used for the SNUBA Adventure tour.

This large lizard was waiting just below the bridge just in case someone would throw him a snack.
People were throwing snacks in the water and this huge fish would come for them.

Headed back to the ship. 

Our home for 10 days

Our final towel animal. Looks like a goat to me.

February 8th was a day at sea so I did trivia and ate.

February 9th we did the All Access behind-the-scenes ship tour.

The tour started from the main dining room.  These are the stairs to the second level.  Although not visible from my place at the table, the wait staff often did some little skits from here during our dinners. 

Looking back the other way, our table would have been behind the last pillar on the right.

The Executive Chef was our guide for the kitchen part of the tour.

As you can imagine, everything is super-sized.

The Chef explained what the different colors of the scarves signified but I don't remember.  Mainly based on seniority.

Can't imagine how much chopping it would take to fill that huge pot to his left.  It was tipped toward him so you can see the contents.

Of course all the dishes had to be put in racks to run through the industrial sized dishwasher.

The table layout for one floor of the Reflections dining room.

From the dining room, we change tour guides and head off for more behind-the-scenes locations.

The crew stairs are much steeper and far more utilitarian than the guest stairs.
Here's where all the supplies comes into the ship to be hauled off to whichever department it was purchased for.

The man in charge of supplies gave us a peek into the freezer.  I think he said the temperature was -18°. 

This was our last day at sea there was still plenty of food in the freezer.

The next stop was the engine control room.

They had named the long corridors.  This one was Route 66.

We headed up to Deck 10 to the Bridge.

The view out the front included the helicopter pad.  My sister and I usually walked the deck at night and our walks often took us across the pad.

This is one of the two wings that hang out on each side of the ship.

Each side has controls and floor view ports for docking.

They also had a nice view down the length of the ship.

This was the Bridge mascot watching out for everyone.

I was surprised they still had semaphore flags.

Next we headed below water to the lowest floor.

Most crew had to change clothes several times a day.  This is where the uniforms were laundered and pressed.

Next stop was the laundry where all the linens were laundered.

Behind our tour guides are the presses for the sheets.  The yellow and black checked door in the back is a bulkhead door.  These are what get closed in the case of flooding to contain the water in different compartments.  This was the end of our tour.... well they got us all back to the 4th floor before letting us go.

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