Friday, March 12, 2010

Azamara Cruise - Day 4 St. Johns

We awoke to the Journey edging its way into Cruz Bay, a part of St. John one of the three major islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas and St. Croix the other two). St John’s is blessed with some of the world’s best beaches and a great deal of natural jungle-like flora and fauna. Another nice thing about being aboard a smaller vessel is that we had no wait in boarding a ship’s tender to go ashore.
Cruz Bay is a small town with shops mostly for the tourist trade. Ferries bring cruise passengers from the larger ships which dock in St. Thomas. We rode with guests from Princess’s Emerald Princess on a taxi ride from Trunk Bay.
After visiting the Virgin Island National Park headquarters for some guidance on trails and beaches, we decided to take a taxi—make that a large pick-up truck with seats in the converted cargo bed—to visit Trunk Bay. We also stopped in Caneel Bay because a couple of our taxi passengers were undecided where they wanted to go. The parking lot for Caneel Bay is next to the ruins of an old sugar mill which is now part of the grounds for a large Westin resort hotel.
After traversing a narrow and winding road along the coast we arrived at Trunk Bay, passing Hawks Nest Beach along the way. Each setting for the various beaches included beautiful turquoise water and white sand beaches. A major attraction for Trunk Bay is the underwater snorkel trail which is part of the park at the beach. Linda and I “snorkeled up” and hit the water. Lots of swimmers were in the water and a lifeguard telling people to stay off the reef and not stand on the rocks. The snorkeling was excellent with lots of colorful fish, coral, sea anemones and a fishing pelican. The underwater signs explained the various types of fish and the coral.
After a little shopping, and a t-shirt purchase-we headed back to the Journey. The ship had announced that we would have a pool-side barbecue that evening. Unlike most other on-deck barbecues this one was something very different. Around 5 o’clock serving tables were set up and a big surprise was readied. The Executive Chef had gone ashore and had purchased fresh fish from local fishermen. The star of the show was a 15 pound Mahi Mahi. Kind of a homely fish, but boy was it tasty when barbecued and pan fried.
Linda, who is a salad lover by nature, was blown away with the salad selections on the barbecue. She had heart of palm with avocado, quinoa with artichoke hearts and melon ceviche which had fresh shrimp, lobster and scallops along with watermelon. Jerked Chicken, lamb chops, squid steaks, and fresh red snapper filets were also served. A display of local fish was included along the buffet table, complete with signs to identify them. Bottom line was this was the best shipboard barbecue we’re ever experienced—including a couple of six-star cruise lines!
I can honestly say that the Journey and Azamara continue to surpass our expectations for quality and service. So far our Journey on the Journey has been exciting. Tomorrow is St. Martin and Marigot.
Note to future travelers: It is well worth purchasing snorkel and fins at home and bringing them with you. The price and inconvenience of renting those items makes carrying your own well worth the effort if you like to snorkel. (not to mention the sanitation issues.)

1 comment:

  1. So glad you are having a good cruise. So jealous that you are where it is WARM! It's my turn soon... California for work next week and Honduras the week after.