St. Kitts was next on our itinerary. At this point, it was seriously starting to feel like a swashbuckling pirate or a new model of Christopher Columbos, as I sailed from island to island. The promise of adventure was starting to take hold like a drug and I slowly became addicted.
St. Kitts is the larger island of the twin island state of St. Kitts & Nevis. The most striking feature of the island which I noticed before we arrived, was the fact that it was shaped like a butterfly on the map. With this in mind, I expected a strikingly beautiful island with a peaceful and welcoming population. I was far from disappointed when we dropped anchor. At first sight, St. Kitts captured my heart with its tall swaying coconut trees, colourful buildings, captivating smells and the soft sounds of steel pan floating in the air.
As I stepped off the gang plank, there were friendly locals in costumes pulling me in for a hug and a photo. Laughing, I finally pulled away to see genuine smiles on their faces, and they told me "Welcome to my isle". I thanked them then continued into the port area. The next thing which grabbed my attention was a gentleman with a small family of monkeys. I was automatically drawn towards them, and regardless of the $5 charge, I took a few photos. They were adorable, and the youngest actually had on a pair of diapers with a small hole to accommodate the tail.
The town of Basseterre was rather quiet that day, and we walked around the town, stopping to take photos of points of interest such as the town square. We finally decided to do an island tour, choosing the taxi which quoted the most reasonable price of $25 per person. The tour took us to various locations around the island, such as the batik factory where many fabrics of brilliant designs were manufactured. In this same area, there was a lovely garden with hummingbirds and brightly coloured butterflies. I giggled at the fact that I saw butterflies in the island which was shaped like a butterfly.
Afterwards, we were taken to a point on the island where a peninsular divided the Caribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. It was quite easy to see the difference within the waters, as the Caribbean Sea was peaceful with small gentle waves, while the Atlantic Ocean was a darker blue and had much larger waves. Close to this location was a cliffside which was made of large black rocks, with angry waves crashing down below. I never knew of such geographical formations and I was rather intrigued.
We drove through several towns, and our taxi guide provided the appropriate information and at the right times. He did a really good job. Our last stop on the tour was to Cockleshell beach, where we spent the better half of our afternoon. We bid farewell to our guide, as we would have to take another taxi back to the port when we were ready to leave. We kept a proper check on the time as we relaxed on the shore and swam in the crystal blue waters. All too soon, we had to leave and head back to the ship before it left without us. There were several other cruisers at the beach and we all got together and hired a taxi to drop us back to the town. Before we knew it, our adventure in St. Kitts was over and we were showing our ID at the ship's gate, to be allowed back onboard the Carnival Victory.
Our final destination was St. Maarten, an offshore territory of the Netherlands. This island has the reputation of being a shopper's paradise due to the lack of sales tax. The town of Phillipsburg was located mere feet away from a gorgeous beach, so we donned our swimwear underneath our clothes before heading of the ship. We did a bit of window shopping on Front Street, and bought quite a few souvenir items from several stores. Our main aim however, was to hit one last beach before our vacation came to an end.
It was a beautiful day with clear skies and lots of sun, so we could resist the temptation no longer, and left the shopping area, in search of a perfect spot on the sand to lay our towels. We had lots of fun splashing in the waves, swimming and floating, with a perfect view of our ship docked nearby. We were really surprised at the beach being so clean, considering that it was situated right next to a town. This went to show how much pride the locals had in their island, and the effort which was undertaken to keep themselves known as a wonderful tourist destination.
Before we were ready to leave, the ship's horn sounded, and with heavy hearts my boyfriend and I made our way back to the floating resort. We stayed on the top deck and watched as we sailed out of the harbour, bidding adieu to the last island which we were scheduled to visit on this week long journey.
The experience was everything I'd hoped for, and I would do gladly do it all over again.