St Lucia is not a very large island so to make the most of seeing it we decided to take a day trip on a catamaran and we chose Carnival sailings as that was the one that was easiest to book through our tour operator.
We were collected from our hotel and taken to Castries where we boarded the catamaran. We were all given T-shirts as a souvenir when we arrived. The boat was a lot bigger than I expected and probably had a capacity of about 45 people; there were about 30 of us on our trip. We started at about 9o’clock and we were expected to be back at Castries at about 4.
We sailed south along the coastline heading towards Soufriere. The Caribbean Sea was beautiful and the sailing was very calm at that point. The scenery inland was lovely and you could appreciate the tropical greenery from a distance. We then rounded a bay and saw the Hess Oil storage facility, this was pointed out to us by our guide but to be hones you really couldn’t miss it, it was huge and ugly but obviously serves a purpose!
The rest of the journey was very picturesque. You could sit out on deck and admire the scenery or sit inside in the shade if the Caribbean sun was too strong. You certainly need a high factor sun cream and if you opt for a hat make sure it is a tight-fitting one. My husband’s favourite is now floating around the world somewhere after a gust of wind whipped it from his head!
After about two hours we arrived at Soufriere. The magnificent Pitons could be seen from quite a distance away and were certainly very impressive, previously when I had visited St Lucia I had only seen one as the other had been covered in mist so it was nice to see the pair. We were taken onto minibuses and we went on tours of the volcano and the botanical gardens.
On returning to the boat we were greeted with a delicious home-cooked lunch, buffet-style. There was meat, chicken and lots of fish along with a lovely selection of local vegetables. You were allowed to return to the buffet as often as you wanted and there was certainly plenty to go round. There were also lots to drink whatever you preferred. There was plenty of water and fruit juices and rum punch. I am not usually a drinker of Rum Punch but this was lovely and is certainly worth sampling.
We then set sail north and pulled into a bay by Anse Le raye where we were able to get out and swim. If you have snorkel gear then this is an ideal time to use it as the bay was shallow with lots of fish to see. After about 45 minutes we were on our way again.
The catamaran sailed into Marigot Bay, the famous site of the filming of Dr Doolittle. It is a beautiful spot and it is a shame that we were not able to stop there for a little while to admire the view.
We were then heading back to Castries, the music was on and there were lots of people dancing, obviously loosened by the Rum Punch. My son was strutting his stuff, doing his Michael Jackson dancing and everyone was having a good time. The guides were working really hard to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves but if you just wanted to lie on the deck and enjoy the sunshine then that was ok, no-one harassed you.
Overall this is a great trip and one that I would recommend to anyone. There were not many children on board as they seem to prefer the Pirate Ship tours so our children were treated especially well and loved every minute of it.