Eastern Caribbean Journals

Five Caribbean Cruise Ports

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A May 2012 trip to Eastern Caribbean by two cruisers

Port welcoming committee. Photo, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda More Photos
Quote: Eight day cruise out of Port Everglades to four ports (Charlotte Amelia, St. Thomas, USVI; St. John, Antigua, Antigua-Barbados; Roadtown, Tortola, BVI; and Nassau, The Bahamas). The ports are similiar but at times strikingly diverse.

Nassau, the Bahamas...the flat one.

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Glass Bottom Boat at Nassau Photo, Nassau, Bahamas
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Nassau is the most unique of the four Caribbean ports we visited. It is flat like Fort Lauderdale, being made of layers of limestone deposits with out the benefit of volcanoes and earthquakes. Kinda blah, but the Bahamans have made up for that by building beautiful resorts and private homes often using that limestone.We bought a shore excursion for this port. It was listed as an easy walk and that fit our needs and those of another couple on crutches. That easy walk was a very looooong walk and the guide set off at a very fast clip. We were led through the Festival Place where a very clever vendor had tubs of iced bottled water for sale. Thinking we were boarding our excursion boat on the ...Read More

Roadtown, Tortola, BVI

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Small Container ship leaving Roadtown Photo, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
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Of the five ports we visited, this was our favorite. The shopping lady on board the ship, warned passengers that there wasn't very good shopping here. That was my first clue that this place would be more to our liking. Today the welcoming at the dock was a two man steel drum band. They weren't overamplified so it was a pleasant background sound. It set the mood for a Caribbean adventure. The walk into town was pleasant, we saw fences covered with sea grapes, then tents selling t-shirts, hats and novelties. The proprietors were polite and didn't badger us. We spent some time in the Crafts Alive Village at Wickam Cay. I loved the setting. Small colorfully painted plantation styl...Read More

St John's on Antigua, Antigua-Barbados

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Approaching Antigua Photo, Antigua, Antigua and Barbuda
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A Carmen Miranda look-alike welcomed us to Antigua as we left the Carnival Freedom. Her male counterpart was playing the drums at the end of the dock. Put us in a very good Caribbean mood. However once we entered Heritage Quay (pronounced key) we were beset on by men offering to give us a $20 taxi tour of the island. The cruise director had warned us about taking a tour from one of these guys. Cruise passengers in the past have missed the boat departure, because of a taxi breakdown, or poor sense of time on the part of these tour guides. So, we side stepped each one who approached us. Finally I did tell one that we didn't want a ride, just directions to the museum. He was so startled he graciously tol...Read More

Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, USVI

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Returning to the Carnival Freedom Photo, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
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Our cruise director told us that by stopping at the United States Virgin Islands first we would be introducing ourselves gradually into the Caribbean. He was right. This island had the worst traffic, very American high speeds and lots of honking. This island also had US Postal Boxes just like at home, they use US dollar, and speak English (with a charming accent). All of our port visits are similiar on this trip. We debark, acknowledge the colorful greeters, and walk or ride to the main shopping district. There we look for museums, art galleries, local flavor restaurants and souvenirs hopefully of local origin. Many of the other people from our ship bought shore tours ranging from snorklin...Read More

Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

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Window display at Jay's Cafe Photo, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Our cruise of the Caribbean was the middle 8 days of a 28 day vacation. We drove into Fort Lauderdale and needed to find a place to leave our car where it would be safe. The parking stalls at Port Everglades would have cost a minimum of $150. Online I found a company that caters to people that have that same problem. It is called Stay123. By booking through them we chose a lovely Hampton Inn hotel room in Plantation, Florida (7801 SW 6th St). Besides the usual amenities of comfortable room, guest laundry and good continental breakfast; we were allowed to park our car at the back of their parking lot until we returned from the cruise. In addition to that they had airport or cruiseport FREE transportati...Read More