For the first time. In the Caribbean. And it was fabulous.
I have to confess that the torrential rain as we left Fort Lauderdale was not what I was hoping for but it did give me plenty of time to explore the interior of the ship. Which was enormous. I didn’t exactly get lost but I did have to keep reminding myself where fore and aft were.
My stateroom was lovely; plenty big enough for the time I was planning on spending in it (i.e. sleeping), in fact I found it quite spacious with more storage than I needed. And thanks to the rocking motion of the ship (or, as the captain called it, the motion of the ocean), I always slept really well.
Our first day was spent at sea which gave me the opportunity to get to know my new home. Two pools, a spa, numerous restaurants and bars, music, entertainment, as well as a casino. So many organized activities but, most importantly, comfy chairs in the library so that I could curl up with a book or look at the view.
The first port of call was Grand Turk and we moored right next to the beach. I wanted to explore a bit so I got a taxi to Pillory Beach and then walked along the water’s edge to reach Cockburn Town (a very small colonial town with a big maritime and salt industry history). Some of the houses along Duke Street were beautiful and I think I found my future home (with a beautiful deck extending over the beach).
When I got back to Governor’s Beach where the ship was moored it was time for a dip in the warm, blue water. Blissful. I could have stayed there forever but I thought it may be better to get back on the ship. It was only day two of the cruise after all.
Day three saw us arrive in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A beautiful colonial town with historic forts, shady plazas and lots of people (we weren’t the only cruise ship in town that day). I visited the Castillo San Cristobal which was really interesting with lots of tunnels to explore. The rest of the day I just wandered around town, found some decent coffee and took in the sights.
Day four was St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I went snorkeling and I saw turtles! It was so exciting. Unfortunately after snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef last year no other reef seems to compare but still…turtles!
Day five was back at sea and enjoying the entertainment on board. And a cupcake afternoon tea. And a gala dinner in the evening. They really don’t feed you well enough on a cruise!
Day six was a visit to a private island in the Bahamas. Pure paradise. I caught an early tender and walked along the beach till I found a quiet spot, claimed a hammock and relaxed. The white sand was so soft and powdery and provided a great contrast against the clear blue water. I think though that the beach bar was aptly named: I Wish I Could Stay Here Forever.
So that was my first cruise but I suspect that it will not be my last. I met some really interesting people (both on and off ship), ate some delicious food and saw some beautiful islands. I definitely need to go back to the Caribbean.