A couple days ago, we arrived home from our first trip of the year. We went on a cruise to the southeastern Caribbean that stopped at some lesser visited islands. I had my eye on this itinerary for a while since it went to a lot of places we hadn't been to. In fact, after our second trip later this year, we will only be 3 countries away from visiting all the countries in North America & the Caribbean. Here is where all we went:
- 03/29 - Flight to Miami: The cruise started and ended in Martinique. Because there is only one flight per week from Miami to Martinique, we decided to arrive in Miami the night before to limit the chance of missing that flight.
- 03/30 - Flight to & Embark in Fort-de-France, Martinique: We flew from Miami to Fort-de-France, Martinique. After a short taxi ride to the port, we boarded the MSC Preziosa. This was our first time cruising with MSC. We explored the ship and relaxed before the ship departed around 11pm.
- 03/31 - Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe: For our stop in Guadeloupe, we booked an excursion to an all inclusive beach resort through MSC. We were bused from the port in Pointe-à-Pitre to the resort, which happened to be the Club Med Caravelle in Sainte-Anne. The beach was spectacular and while the resort wasn't quite as nice as a Sandals, it was still very good.
- 04/01 - Castries, St. Lucia: Since this cruise visited places that were all fairly close to each other, there were no sea days in the itinerary. We had previously visited St. Lucia, so we chose not to do much here and in a sense it served as a sea day even though we were docked. In the morning, I took a helicopter tour of the island, which was awesome. After some brief shopping at the port, we got back on the ship and enjoyed the ship for most of the day. I particularly enjoyed the Vertigo water slide, which MSC calls "the longest single-rider water slide on the seas." It is completely enclosed and has a section that runs out over the edge of the ship.
- 04/02 - Bridgetown, Barbados: We took a shuttle from the port into Bridgetown. We explored the downtown area briefly before walking over to the Boatyard Beach Club on Carlisle Bay. The beach was outstanding and not that crowded given that two ships were in port. We would definitely go back there in the future.
- 04/03 - Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago We saw some off-shore oil rigs as we approached Port of Spain. That shouldn't be surprising given that, at the closest point, that Trinidad is only about 7 miles from the oil producing country of Venezuela. After arriving we went to Maracas Bay Beach. Getting there required an adventurous drive through a mountain rain forest. The beach was pretty good, but unfortunately much of the time we were there it was pouring rain. It's funny that we were down off the coast of South America, yet the soaking rain actually made us cold!
- 04/04 - Saint George's, Grenada: I think Saint George's, Grenada was probably my favorite stop on this cruise. The harbor area almost feels like a Caribbean version of an Amalfi coast town. We visited both Fort George, which had nice views close to town, and Fort Frederick, which offered a more sweeping viewpoint of the island. After the forts, we spent time at Morne Rouge Beach (also known as BBC Beach). It was a small beach but nonetheless exceptional.
- 04/05 - Kingstown, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: The final stop before ending the cruise was Kingstown on Saint Vincent. Our tour started with a drive through the downtown area on the way to Fort Charlotte. The fort had a great view of Kingstown. After the fort, we visited the nearby Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the western hemisphere. Our final stop was Villa Beach. It is a tiny dark sand beach that seems to be popular.
- 04/06 - Disembark in Martinique & Travel Shenanigans: Originally, we had booked an excursion to see some sights in Fort-de-France after disembarkation. MSC's site stated that the tour was for those with flights after 3pm, which our's was barely. However, when we asked the excursion desk about this they clarified that the excursion actually drops people off at the airport at 3pm. So, we had to cancel that tour and just spend the day at the airport. Unfortunately, the inbound flight kept getting delayed while we were waiting for our scheduled departure. In the end, our flight departed around 4 hours late. This caused us to miss our connection in Miami, which was the last flight of the day to Nashville. So, for our second trip in a row, the airline had to provide a hotel room for us.
- 04/07 - Unexpected Travel Day: Apparently, at the time our itinerary was re-booked, there were no direct flights home with any seats remaining. So, not only did we have to fly through New York to get home, but we didn't get home until about 24 hours after our originally expected arrival in Nashville.
The travel disruption notwithstanding, we really enjoyed this trip. Now, I just have to finish with the pictures before the next trip.