We had a great time on our cruise, and while we didn’t spend as much time in the ports as we may have done in the past, we still made some time to get off the ship.
This will be pretty photo heavy because I have pies in the oven, laundry in the dryer and a nine month old trying desperately to test out the esc key.
Coco Cay, Bahamas
I had been here once before and was really looking forward to a massage in the beachside cabanas. Unfortunately the spa was closed due to damage from Sandy which had passed through the week before. The effect of the storm also included cooler water temperatures so Evie’s first dip in the ocean did not go very well. We still had a nice afternoon. The sun was out, the temps were in the 80’s and we managed to score a grove of hammocks perfect for napping, reading and sipping coco locos (be careful, they are not for the faint of heart!). The bbq lunch was delicious and even Evie got in on the action sucking on a rib bone my dad gave her. Thomas and I took a walk along the beach which was nice, but it was really hot out and it was nice to be back on the cool ship. By the way, if you ever cruise with my dad, don’t fall asleep in a hammock reading a book, you may wake to find yourself 25 pages ahead in the story!
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
We did not have a car seat with us so we had high ambitions to walk downtown instead of taking a taxi. Blazing sun and temps in the 90’s killed that plan pretty quickly. Instead we walked around a bit, there are a few shopping areas close to the port including a great pet shop called, “How ‘Bout Your Pet?”. We picked up some of their special liver treats for our westie Oz. We took advantage of being in the US Virgin Islands by grabbing a few beers and some free wi-fi at an outdoor cafe. It was nice to be iPhone free for the week, but also nice to have a chance to catch up on email and Facebook at least once. We ended up checking out the butterfly farm right by where the ship was docked. At $12 per person (Evie was free) it was a little pricy, especially given that we only spotted three different types of butterfly. They were very pretty though and admission included a bird show which was very cool. And truthfully it was worth the price of admission just to see Evie’s thrilled expression of wonder at each new sight she took in. However, if you want to save some money (and who doesn’t?) you can walk through the garden in front for free and still see some butterflies.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
It’s a mile walk into town at this port or you can take a taxi. We had planned to walk but it was sooooo hot. Luckily my dad and I had ventured out earlier for a quick run and picked up an informational booklet which mentioned the water taxi. Perfect! I highly recommend it. It’s $7 for an all day pass and it has three stops you can choose from. I’m not sure what they all are since we got off at the first one.
The last time we were here Thomas and my dad were outside a shop waiting for my sister and I when my dad walked off and returned with a pink frozen drink, handed it to Thomas and said, “Drink this” This turned out to be St Maarten’s specialty, a Guavaberry Liquer Colada. It is DELICIOUS! Magic in a cup. Seriously. You can walk around downtown, do a little shopping, have a colada and then have another one at the little outpost right off the port before getting back on the ship. That was basically our whole goal for the day. Find the Guavaberry drink place. My secondary mission was to buy a Michael Kors watch and I was pleased that I hit both my objectives. I highly recommend Little Switzerland, good prices, great service and a guarantee. It was a beautiful day and a great end to the port days.
Evie did really great in all the ports. We made sure to keep her as shaded as possible and had plenty of sunscreen on hand along with a stocked diaper bag. It may have been easier in port than on the ship actually because we did a fair amount of walking leaving plenty of time for her to fall asleep in her stroller and get a decent nap in.
I think in the future we may look into more excursions or have a plan/destination in mind beforehand otherwise we just end up drinking and shopping which is fun, but you can only do so much of it. Of course it will be much easier once Evie is older and car seat free, however we hopefully will be cruising again before that day comes. We can already hear the sea calling again 🙂