Last Update: 08-JAN-2018

Norfolk - Half Moon Cay, Bahamas - St. Thomas, USVI - Roseau, Dominica - Barbados - St. Kitts - San Juan, PR - Norfolk


Mar 14  TUE  Depart Norfolk, Virginia     Depart  5:00 pm
Mar 15  WED  At sea
Mar 16  THU  Half Moon Cay, Bahamas       Arrive 11:00 am - Depart 6:00 pm
Mar 17  FRI  At sea
Mar 18  SAT  St. Thomas, US V.I.          Arrive 10:00 am - Depart 6:00 pm
Mar 19  SUN  Roseau, Dominica             Arrive  9:30 am - Depart 6:00 pm
Mar 20  MON  Bridgetown, Barbados         Arrive  7:00 am - Depart 5:00 pm
Mar 21  TUE  Basseterre, St. Kitts        Arrive 10:00 am - Depart 6:00 pm
Mar 22  WED  San Juan, Puerto Rico        Arrive  7:00 am - depart 1:00 pm
Mar 23  THU  at sea
Mar 24  FRI  at sea
Mar 25  SAT  Arrive Norfolk, Virginia     Arrive  6:00 am


This was the largest ship that we have gone on, but at 1300 passengers, still on the small side.

The largest room that we have had so far on 5 cruises. This one has 197 sq feet and was very confortable.

Downtown Norfolk

Army Corps of engineers boat going by and the Corps building.

New Cruise terminal being built

Departing

Norfolk coal pier

Passing Navy Base Norfolk on our way to the bay

Sunset over Hampton Roads

Rush hour on the I-64 bridge tunnel

Full moon rising


The first day at sea

Considering we were 370 miles off the coast of South Carolina the temps were in the low 70's with no clouds. As usual not many people were out.

Mary enjoying the sunset... Hard to get a seat....


Half Moon Cay, Bahamas and a at sea day

This is Holland America's award-winning private island. It is located between Cat island and Eleuthera. It has fine white sand and a beautiful swimming beach. The water is clear and there is some snorkeling at the north end, although we didn't try it. They are creating an artificial reef at the south end, but it will need decades to look like a reef. But there were a few fish to be seen. We watched the horses go in for a swim as part of a shore excursion. Riders seem to enjoy it.


Approaching Half Moon Cay. The Zaandam was already anchored. Considering the amount of people that could be on the beach, it was not crowded at all.

Mary enjoying the beach

Along the beach. Our ship is on the left. The Zaandam was on the right.

First time we have seen this on Holland America. The first night of many critters on our bed.


Half Moon Cay to St. Thomas was another full day at sea

Another great sunset.

Thunderstorms over the Dominican Republic appx. 170 miles away

Where is everyone... The mid-pool area

Another towel critter on our bed.


St. Thomas, US. Virgin Island


Looking West towards Puerto Rico

We took a taxi to the Marriot Marning Star resort--$6 per person one way and 10 minutes on a windy road. No shoulders or trails so you have to take a taxi. The beach was pretty and snorkeling was fair, best along the rocks near the harbor entrance. Ken enjoyed a bushwacker frozen drink.

We walked around the town (Havensight) and headed over to the other side of the harbor towards Charlotte Amalie. I was surprised at how run down it was a few blocks away from the water. Definitely someplace you did not want to go at night or alone.

From the other side we could look across to our ship and the other two in the harbor

On the way back to the ship we found an iguana.

Views of Havensight from the ship

Departing.

Marriot Morning Star Resort and the beach where we spent the day.

Another great sunset

Ship exaust with the sunset

Another critter


Roseau, Dominica

"I cannot believe that in terms of grandeur and majesty there can be found anything in the world to rival Dominica's succession of forest-covered mountains.... It is green, all green." Alec Waugh, "Typical Dominica", 1948.

Almost untouched, much of the dense rain forests remain unexplored. "The Nature Island" it's called, with 365 rivers (one for every day), waterfalls, hot springs and boiling lakes, 5000' mountains and black sand beaches. Columbus landed here and it is said that were he to return today he would still recognize it. English is the official language, but a French patois is widely spoken. The Caribs, the indigenous people of the Caribbean, still live here in the mountainous Northeast.

We took an island tour from a local taxi driver named Babyface. He was very good despite being only 22, and it was a good value at $30 per person--3 hour tour.

This was our first trip to this island and one of the reasons that we took this cruise.

NOTE: Camera time is one hour behind the actual time.


After we left we started climbing into the mountains.

Very green

Very impressive gardens. Looks like they can and do grow everything.

Small but very impressive home.

Mountains well over 4,000 feet up in the clouds

Our first stop. Emerald Pool, which is part of the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. This wonderful grotto is a short walk into the rainforest in the centre of the island (on the road to Castle Bruce). Very popular on cruise ship days; take your swimming gear but be warned - it's a little cold in the pool.

Probably the wettest walk in the rain forest that I have even done. The trail was steep and very sippery. The older couple from our cruise ship on our taxi was very cautious. Elevation change was proably 200-300 feet down then back up.

We stopped along the road at a small market. These taxi drivers must have a system as we always get taken to one of these types of places. It was fun to sample some of the local fruits.

Pineapples growing along the road. Probably wild. Blue-headed hummingbirds in abundance.

Small yellow birds with strange beaks eating the fruit. Most of the time they did not seem to care about us.

Back down to the Caribbean Sea. One of the many Black Sand Beaches.

Looking south towards Roseau. You can see a cruise ship docked in town.

Castor bean plant (Ricinus communis) growing everywhere and we saw it on every island.

Although it grows very rapidly with little care or insect pests and produces a mass of lush tropical foliage, its use in cultivation should be discouraged because of the extremely poisonous seeds or "beans." This is particularly true where small children might be attracted to the large, beautifully-mottled seeds which are produced in prodigious numbers.

One of the main toxic proteins is "ricin". Perhaps just one milligram of ricin can kill an adult. The symptoms of human poisoning begin within a few hours of ingestion. If death has not occurred in 3-5 days, the victim usually recovers. If the seed is swallowed without chewing, and there is no damage to the seed coat, it will most likely pass harmlessly through the digestive tract. However, if it is chewed or broken and then swallowed, the ricin toxin will be absorbed by the intestines.

It is said that just one seed can kill a child.

We then made a quick (too quick) stop at the Roseau Botanical Gardens. Considering it was in a developed area, it looked like a nice place. Roseau is lucky to have this to brighten up a run-down city.

Looked at the Sisserou Parrot, Dominica's National Bird, and Red-necked Amazon Parrots

Back to the port. Interesting interlocking concrete structures to dissipate the wave energy.

Could this be the Dominica's entire coast guard ??

View of the port facility and upper end of Roseau.

Our taxi driver was proud to point out that the road was just finished and built by the Chineese

It's 95+ degrees in the sun. Don't have to deal with anyone here...

Heading south past Roseau

Sunset

Southern end of Dominica, Scott's head

Tonight's towel critter... Not sure what it is....


Bridgetown, Barbados

This was our third trip to Barbados and we decided to go on separate trips.

Mary took the ship sponsered shore excursion:

Sail, Snorkel & Beach Safari (5hrs) $99

In the write up it stated: The best catamaran experience in the Caribbean! Snorkel over a beautiful reef. Swim from a lovely beach. A luscious buffet lunch is included.

It was a nice trip and the crew of the Tiami was great, kept pushing drinks including the Blushing Virgin. The reef on the west side near the northern tip was the best I'd seen on Barbados. We saw blue tang, parrotfish, butterflyfish and several coral varieties. The beach we went to was private and empty. We had flying fish, chicken and salads off the beach. Then we motored/sailed south to Turtle Cove and snorkeled with the green sea turtles as the crew fed them strips of fish. The turtle skin is very smooth. It was fun to lie on the catamaran webbing and watch the sea go by.

I took the excursion:

Island Safari Adventure (3hrs) $59.00

In the write up it stated: Travel in a convoy of Land Rover 4X4, open-air safari vehicles as you experience a day of adventure and exploration. Conducted by experienced guides who will show you hidden secrets of Barbados. Not recommended for guests with back or neck problems.


Active Sugar mill

Old stone church

I have been on these "safari's" before. But, was happy to see that we actually went off road on this one.

Here we are in a rain forest area on the East side of the island.

Caribbean raindeer.

Old stone church

View of the Atlantic side of the island. No good beaches over here due to dangerous currents.

Stopped to look at the interesting rock formations.

Another area where we went off road. Drove way up on a hill overlooking the ocean and had rum drinks at 9AM !

Rock formation that was susposed to look like a lizzard or a head ???

Mary survived her trip

Two other ships in port from Europe. The first one was strange... Had a photo of some blond 1950's looking woman on the stack and the ship had "Holiday Kreuzfahrten" on it. Sounds like fun !!

Mega ship similar to the one that caught fire a few days later off of Jamaica

Mary ready for the sunset

Another boring sunset. A number of years ago we saw an incredible sunset from here

Another towel critter-butterfly


Basseterre, St. Kitts

This was our second time to St. Kitts. The last time was in 1997. I was amazed and how much they have improved the port facilities and the downtown area. And no mention of China...

In 1997 we docked at a industrial area but now you come directly into the town.


Since we were coming from the south (Barbados) We pass to the west of Nevis

Looking back at Montserrat (U.K.) Where they are having very active volcanic issues right now.

Approaching St. Kitts

Looking North to the 300 year old Brimstone Fortress located on a volcanic cone along the coast. In the background you can see the island of St. Eustatius (Netherlands)

A room with a view

Welcome to St. Kitts

Around Independence Square downtown Basseterre. The Baobab tree...

I love these little trucks. Only 1,000 cc motors yet we followed one up a hill at 50mph. Never seen them in the states. But, When gas gets to $6 a gallon I bet we will !

Nice town with only a hint of raw sewage flowing down the street. Looking up towards St. George's Anglican Church.

The "Circus" from the web:

Today Basseterre's French heritage is not nearly so prominent as its British colonial past. The centerpiece of the city's evocative Georgian architecture is its Circus, a diminutive roundabout modeled in proper Victorian patriotism after Piccadilly, in London. In the middle of the Circus stands the bright green bronze of the Berkeley Memorial Clock, an ornate, cast iron tower with four clock faces and more than a little architectural decoration.

A frigate bird

The Maasdam

The narrow gauge (30") St. Kitts Scenic Railway

We took the The Rail/Bus Combo Tour which consists of a 18 mile train ride and 12 miles by Bus. This options provides you with opportunity to see the island by Rail and Road. The tour is timed to take 3 hours and 30 minutes total, with 2 hours 30 minutes spent on the rail trip.

We really enjoyed the trip. Was worried that it would be like the Durango, Silverton trip in Colorado where you started to wish it would just end. Not in this case. It was the right amount of time with plenty to see.

The only bad thing is that because of limited time we were not allowed to look at the engine. I would have liked to get some photos of it.

The trip was very 3rd worldish... As we went along various access doors on the engine would open and slam shut. Also, the operators were standing on the side of the locomotive and looked worried about something that was about to break. We saw backyards full of junk, chickens, hogs, goats...Friendly people always waving, or kids asking for money--which the train discourages.

About a mile in front of the train they had a small work truck driving on the tracks that must have been inspecting as we went along. Also, a large utility truck followed us on the roads with extra parts and he would block all of the intersections. None of the crossings were automated.

St. Eustatius and Saba on the left

Old sugar mill from the slave times

Sugar and St. Eustatius. The smokestack is on the left. St. Kitts no longer exports sugar, because they were losing money.

Views along the way

Why not hang off the side of the engine and repair it while we are moving

Door open

Old stone church

Good advice... Too bad that 99.9% of Americans don't understand it at all !

Another high bridge

Very scenic. Now we are on the Atlantic side of the island

Also, had some good cuts along the way

The highest bridge. The informative narrator is a beautiful, tall native artist in batik dress, in 4th photo.

Along the Atlantic. Looking south to Nevis and large cacti. This is the desert side of the island. We had hiked in the rainforest on a previous trip.

Departing for San Juan, PR

Looking at the desert part of St. Kitts and Nevis

Where we docked in 1997

Heading into the setting sun

One last look SE to Nevis

St. Eustatius and Saba on the left.

Brimstone Fortress, a very crowded ship

Sunset time again

Messing with a 20 second exposure at the radar antennas spinning on the mast. The white spots are stars.

Going by St. Eustatius (Netherlands) where they have a large oil storage facility. They also had three oil tankers waiting to dock.

The next island above St. Eustatius is Saba. One of the places that I want to go. The two times we have gone by it was at night.

Some info from the web on Saba:

Saba the smallest and greenest island of the Dutch West Indies is a divers paradise! It is not called "the unspoiled queen" for nothing. Caribbean-pure and natural!

The island of Saba emerges out of the Caribbean sea like a fairytale island from long ago. The volcano "Mount Scenery" is also known as "Hollandís highest mountain" because the island of Saba belongs to the Dutch West Indies. The island of Saba is an oasis for nature lovers along with those who want to spoil themselves with a little rest and relaxation

Points of Interest: Saba belongs to The Netherlands Antilles. It is the smallest of the 5 islands being 5 sq.miles, lying approx. 28 miles south of St. Maarten/St Martin, and has approx. 1500 inhabitants.

Roads: There is only one main road on Saba, which was actually built by hand between 1933 and 1947. The island first had television in 1965, and a 24hr. electrical system was established in 1970.

Tonights critter is a pig ???


San Juan, Puerto Rico

I really wish that they would skip this stop. I know what they say... But, Puerto Rico is NOT the shining star of the Caribbean. Its a dump !! The only good thing is that you can load up on prescription drugs as the pharmacy's will sell you ANYTHING you want... For a price !!

We walked up to the fort and looked around on this 86 degree day... Because my cell phone is Cingular I was able to make some free call's (this works on St. Thomas too) back to the states.

We were just happy to get back to the ship without being shot or run over !!


Around the Fort San Cristobal on the Atlantic coast.

Back to the port. The Noordam next to our ship.

5 hrs north of Puerto Rico and still too close. This was an interesting run. We were making a straight line from Puerto Rico to the outer banks. This is appx. 1400 miles and would place us over 600 miles out in the Atlantic.

The Noordam left for New York the same time that we did. After 24 hrs she was 70nm ahead of us. Because she can run faster she would be in New York the same time we would reach Norfolk. This was a quiet part of the Atlantic as I did not see any other ships around for the next two days. But, we did see many whales, so many in fact that I stopped looking after 30-40.

Beautiful day

It was a warm but very low humidity day. So, even at 80 degrees it felt cool when we were watching the sunset

Sunset time

Our long hallway. Our room was only 8 from the front.

Crappy photo by the front elevators

The 11pm desert fest.

The Last day of sunsets. The captain warned us that this would be the last day we would see the sun. The next day (Friday) we were in the middle of a developing North Easter and it rained all day with temps in the upper 50's. Also, we had a good bit of heavy swells that were moving the ship around a bit. I tried to go up onto the top deck around 11pm on Friday and was almost knocked down by a 70+ mph wind gust. This worked out as we had gotten enough sun anyway and it was nice to have a down day to relax.

It's funny as we went thru a strong northeaster and really did not think much of it. Here in JAN-2018 a cruise ship (much larger than what we were on back in 2006) went thru a similar storm and people were all thinking they were going to die. People really have got soft. Sure we assume that some got sick on our ship and the last dinner was sparse but we had fun and Mary and I had a great meal. We never once were worried about being killed.

I am amazed that they did not drain the pool as it was maiking a big mess.

  • MOVIE - 317 meg The pool in a Northeaster


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