Last week we returned from an 11 day trip to the Caribbean, which included a 7 night cruise on the Carnival Liberty. We were pretty quiet about going on this trip – partially because I was slightly embarrassed to be going on a cruise (“you’re not the cruising type”), partially because we only booked it about a month ago, and because we’ve been on a social media diet.
People we did tell were surprised, since it’s not our usual style of travel. We’re more ” go ride elephants people” than “lay on a ship lounger with a tropical drink people”. We don’t sit still much and we don’t like to do what everyone else is doing. “You’re going to be bored” we were told.
We’re back, we weren’t bored, and we had a ton of fun! This blog entry is going to be a recap of the trip with fun pictures and videos. The next blog entry is going to be more about advice for going on a cruise and our experience “as non-cruise people”.
Like I said, we weren’t bored. On the ship we:
- played mini-golf
- went on the water slide (a lot. see video.)
- went in the hot tubs (all of them)
- went in the pools (all of them)
- ran the track
- went to the gym (almost every day)
- played ping-pong
- played shuffleboard
- went to several comedy shows
- went dancing (80s night!)
- stopped into the piano bar, casino, karoake, an art auction, and booze sampling
- watched a movie (The Martian) on the top deck at 10p in the middle of the sea
- went out to dinner
- napped daily
- watched the sun rise and set (almost daily)
- played cards
- studied the constellations
- went to a few shows
- listed/danced to the Latin house band
If anything, we were too busy! I didn’t sunbathe at all, or take the time to do any shopping.
The ship arrived in a new port each day, around 7-8am and we had to be back on the boat by 4:30p, so we tried to make the most of each day. You bet we were running down the dock at 4:28 on a few of the days!
Our itinerary was:
- Puerto Rico
- St Thomas
- Day at Sea
- St Lucia
- St Kitts
- St Maarten
- France (see below)
Having basically a half day in a place doesn’t give you much time to really get to know the place, but we managed to:
- go river kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking in St Thomas on an organized tour
- explore Barbados on our own, visiting the Parliament, the national museum, and a beach, and successfully taking a taxi and the local public bus
- take a driving tour of St Lucia that ended at a type of state park (Pigeon Island). We hiked to the top of an old fort for excellent views, then enjoyed some time on the beach. While on the beach, some local fisherman did net dragging fishing, which was interesting to see (see below video).
- read for a long time under a tree on a very quiet beach (Frigate Beach), as well as enjoy a show put on by diving pelicans in St Kitts. We also adventured to do a 1 hour ocean kayaking rental at about 2:45p…into a bad head wind. It was a bit too stressful to make sure we made it back on the boat.
- ride bikes in (very) hilly St Maarten. Jenny managed to ride the longest, hardest, sweatiest hill she’s ever ridden. Luckily, we enjoyed an almond croissant in France before that specific climb. That’s right, I said France. The island is divided into 2 separate countries – half being part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and half being part of France. Not a possession, but actually France. When they declare a national snow day holiday in France, the tropical island of St Martin also has a snow day (and boy do those on the Dutch side hate that!).
In a few places, we managed to grab a few cold beers (“Carib Beer” and “Piton Beer”) in the little villages that surround the cruise ship terminal. 2/$5 beers and $6 mojitos were a far better deal than the $6 beers and $9 mixed drinks on the ship!
We also tacked on a few days on each end in Puerto Rico, where we enjoyed going on a food/walking tour, visiting old forts, speaking Spanish, eating mofongo, and visiting 2 different caves.
We even found our own natural seaside swimming pool that we enjoyed for a good long time before heading to our isolated, treehouse-esque mountain retreat.
That’s the short version of a recap on our trip. Were we bored? No, I don’t think so. If anything, we were too busy (enjoying ourselves). Look for the next blog entry, which will be more about advice for others, and our experience of being “not really cruise people”.