Thursday, March 18, 2010

Azamara Cruise - Day 10 - Virgin Gorda

This was our first port call in the British Virgin Islands at Virgin Gorda. We started our port call itinerary at St. John which is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. With only 4,000 inhabitants, Virgin Gorda is a small island which is very green with tropical desert vegetation, including many cacti and bougainvillea flowers.
We opted for the Journey’s Baths and Spring Bay shore excursion. Which departed as 8:30 AM—a very smart decision with the hot and humid day reaching about 86 degrees and the same humidity. Unfortunately the Caribbean was a little rough and the surf was quite heavy. This meant that snorkeling was impossible due to the waves and sand which was stirred up in the water.
The Baths are one of the unique features of the Caribbean. Enormous granite boulders are the remainders of ancient volcanic activity and they are everywhere on around this unique area. Linda and I took the Devils trail and headed through the narrow trail through, and sometimes under and between the big rocks to get to Devils Bay. Sometimes it was required to crawl on and hands and knees but we made the trek in good order. Several beautiful sailboats had anchored off the bay and their owners came ashore in zodiacs, taking the easy way into the bay. The surf was high, but the water was clear and warm and most everyone took a dip in the bobbing seas.
The Reinagals joined us, but they took a Shore Trips shore excursion which was much better than ours. They got an entire island tour and lunch for only a little more cost than our ship shore ex. This reinforced our opinion that Shore Trips offers good value and a nice option apart from what the cruise lines offer. They also advised the Reinagals about the alternate trail back to the parking lot, while Linda and I had to be salmon going upstream when we retraced the boulder trail while dozens and dozens of big ship tours were coming in while we were going out.
Not much in the way of shopping in Virgin Gorda, but that’s really no big deal.
Back on the ship we opted to eat at the alternative restaurant Aquilina’s for the second time. It’s definitely one of the best alternative restaurants at sea, which is a highlight for Azamara cruises.
For the entire voyage we have yet to see clear Caribbean skies full of stars, but there’s still a couple of days left. Tomorrow is one of the last two sea days left before we arrive in Miami.

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