PHOTO intense blog!!!
You might remember my post a couple of months ago about cruising and the CDC. I did cruise in January of 2022 and had a fantastic time. We followed all the “CDC” protocols and felt perfectly safe the entire trip. As I said in that previous post, cruising felt safer than shopping at the big box store. Three of the ports we were going to had strict restrictions for cruise passengers, allowing us to only disembark on a ship tour, and maintain a “cruise bubble”. This was for our safety as well as the safety of the island residents. Everyone on the cruise was vaxed, tested, and some were boosted, so I doubt we were going to cause any problems on shore.
Side note – in January,2022, many cruise ships had to cancel various ports as their C-19 count on board was too high. While America was have 25-35% positivity rates, the cruise industry had less than 3%. Our ship got into EVERY port. That meant we had less that the number local governments were concerned with. As I write this, protocols are continuing to change, both in our state, and in cruising. Yes, I will cruise again, soon.
I flew to Fort Lauderdale and spent the night prior to the cruise in a hotel and shuttled over to the cruise port. Boarding the Enchanted Princess was fast & easy using the Medallion app. A quick document check and we were onboard before noon. My sister had reserved a handicap accessible cabin and I did a “video tour” if you are interested. Ours was a balcony cabin and I was surprised at how large it was, compared to a standard balcony. Plenty of storage and lots of room for a disabled person to move around in the cabin and on the balcony.
Next stop was a drink on the Lido deck!
Before I sailed, I booked excursion in many of the ports. This was a 10 day cruise, and I was ready for fun, adventure, and sun! (It had been snowing at home and I was already sick to death of winter).
Whenever I go to the Caribbean I make a point to “get in the water” if possible. January is best if you go to more southern ports for warmer water. With the exception of Antigua and St Lucia, I got into the water in each port. In St Lucia, I went ZIP LINING and that was the most fun I ever had….ever!
Our first stop was Princess Cays in the Bahamas and I made a beach day out of it. The water did take some getting used to, and the air temp was in the low 80’s. I played around with my little action sport camera there. It was fun to use, taking it under water while I snorkeled. There is a HUGE learning curve with these little action cameras, and between fins, masks, life jacket, goggles, snorkel AND camera, I was overwhelmed slightly trying to manage all the stuff and use the camera. I dumped my fins back in my lounge chair, adjusted the camera slightly, and kept at it. The water at Princess Cays is so darn clear. I chose to head to the quieter end of the beach where I had been in previous trips for my adventures.
I spent several hours on the beach and then had a break for an adult beverage and some people watching.
I snorkeled in St Thomas and we swam at Honeymoon beach. The current was a challenge for me at Buck Island where we snorkeled, but in the cove at Honeymoon beach it was fantastic. I have a waterproof bag for my phone and the video below is from my cell phone. We were enjoying just floating around with a plastic cup of rum punch in our hands.
In Dominica I did an excursion with a city tour, then to a waterfall and then to the beach.
The road to the waterfall is honestly the worst ride I ever took on a tour bus in my life. The ride took way more time than the time allotted at the waterfall, so I was disappointed. The hike was easy, and really, we didn’t have “enough time” to see the waterfall, or swim at the base.
The lush vegetation made the trip up the mountain worth the trip.
And knowing we had to go back down the mountain on the same road left me wondering why I ever booked this adventure. The description should tell potential customers that the roads are terrible, and it is an easy hike, instead of warning us of the “difficult hiking terrain”.
The views were great, the time at the beach was nice, but the food opportunities were seriously lacking. The beach was black sand, and you need your beach shoes/water shoes.
The water of course was fantastic. It was a relaxing end to the day after that crazy long bumpy bus ride.
Barbados is my FAVORITE beach island. The sand is like fine sugar. Because it is (was) one of islands where the local government required you to stay in a “cruise ship bubble” we had to take an excursion. We went to a place called Harbor Lights. The beach was great, the service good and nice facilities. I would recommend a beach day at Carlisle Bay. My friends on board wanted to go to “The Boatyard Club”, which we passed on the way to Harbor Lights, but it wasn’t available for the “bubble”. NEXT time I will give it a try. Harbor Lights had a cute bar area, shower area and food available for purchase. We had lounge chairs and umbrellas, but were directed as a group on where to “sit”, for bubble purposes. The water was warm and relaxing. It was a great place to swim, and to chill out. Not a spot for snorkeling but great for easy entry and relaxing.
In St Lucia, I went ZIP LINING and that was the most fun I ever had….ever! This was a bucket list item, and my daughters reminded me, none to gently, that I wasn’t getting any younger! I’m so glad I went for it!
No, I didn’t get “in the water” but the water got in me! It absolutely poured all day long. I donned my poncho and made the best of it.
We rode a gondola up the mountain and got rained on the whole time.
We hiked down the mountain to the first of 10 platforms for the ziplining. In small groups, with 2 guides, we had a ton of personal attention. This was a first experience for me and it was absolutely thrilling.
I was “partnered” to a fellow from Connecticut, and you can see in the photo below that he was making the best of all the rain. Yes, we had to wear our masks, outside in the rain, the entire time. (Glad I left a dry one in my bag in the locker down below).
The guides did all the work, hooking your harness to safety lines, and to both zip lines, and gave you a little shoulder push when you said you were ready. The guide at the other end slowed your speed down and brought you in to the next platform carefully, with no hard landings. I was a little nervous at the start but so excited and after the first run, it was obvious to me that it was extremely safe and I just smiled (behind my mask) the whole darn time.
If you can stand watching, this video is my “first line”. I had a wrist mount on my camera, and of course, was using my hands a lot, so there are lots of views that are of my shoes, and sideways etc. What you are watching is me on the first platform getting “hooked on” the line, zipping, then being stopped at the next platform. The guide on that platform sends a stop block out on the line to stop your descent and then bring you slowly into the platform. The first thing he did was hook a safety line to my harness, then disconnect me from both of the lines.
This next one is much easier to watch, and shorter. 🙂
All the platforms had a sign that gave you information, height from the base of the forest, weight restrictions and distance of the next line. I didn’t think to take pictures of all of them, but did capture a couple.
Soaking wet and laughing was the tone for the day! The only “not fun” part of the day was hiking back uphill in the rain and mud to the gondola platform for the ride back down to the base. That part was tough, and hard work, climbing up hill. Overall, if you ever get to St Lucia, or any other place that “Rainforest Adventures” has ziplining, go do it! The employees are awesome, and the safety measures top notch!
The only island I did not disembark and take a tour on was Antigua, and I have to say, now I wish I had.
I’ve been there before, and because it was such a port intense cruise, I felt I needed a break. I knew I would be a little tired after all the adventures, and I spent my day in the hot tub, on the back deck of the ship! The mountain hike with my zip lining trip was a serious workout.
Now, about the cruise – we were on the Enchanted Princess, a very lovely new ship with lots of technology. The best of that being we could use our Medallion App or our TV to order food and drinks for delivery wherever we were located. I spent my time onboard the ship going to performances in the Princess Theater and the various lounges, as well as going to see some of the fun game shows they have on the nightly schedule. The food, as always, was delicious and I made an effort to eat more fish this trip. Of course, I spend a lot of time walking the deck after dinner to work off the calories. During “sea days” it was nice to find a pool lounger and soak up some sun, or retreat into the shade after an hour or two. There were plenty of pools (4) and lots of hot tubs. The ship was about 50% capacity, and NOTHING was crowded. I won’t bore you with a lot of onboard photos, but will share one or two of my favorite views.
And, naturally, cruising in January means coming home to this —
With the snow in the forecast I reserved a hotel in Ft Lauderdale for disembarkation day, and knew well ahead that my flights were going to be impacted. I stayed an extra day and got home with no interruptions. It was a shock to my system coming home to the cold!
My next cruise is with my husband later in the spring, back to the Caribbean. I’ve already started planning our adventures for that trip! Fingers crossed most of the craziness in travelling with C-19 will be gone by the time we go.
What kind of fun is ahead on your radar? Would you go ziplining?