Sunday, March 14, 2010

Azamara Cruise Day 6 - St. Kitts

Today we docked on the front of St. Kitts’s main town, Basseterre. It was nice having a substantial pier for the Journey so we could easily walk into town. Linda and I had opted for a ship shore excursion called “Pandora’s Box.” Kind of an ominous sounding name, but in reality, more of a sightseeing tour featuring the island of St. Kitts and some of it unique culture. St Kitts has a population of about 40,000 people and 43,000 green monkeys which once arrived on the island as pets a couple of hundred years ago.
Our shore excursion was nice because again we were blessed with 80 degree weather under partly cloudy skies. I occasionally take a peek at Seattle’s weather and I should just not mention our sunny skies and warm temperatures ever again for the remainder of the cruise.
Our island tour had Linda and I in the back seat of the van—because, believe it or not, we were the youngsters on the tour. One gentleman from Scotland had even visited St. Kitts during World War II on a Royal Navy Vessel.
After seeing the downtown area of Basseterre, complete with its bustling Saturday farmers market, we headed up the coast road and saw a large nursing school and veterinarian school which are part of the island’s plan to diversify its economy. They stopped growing sugar cane in 2005 because they were losing too much money exporting it to the rest of the world. Like much of the Caribbean, St Kitts has a major unemployment problem and are relying on tourism.
We visited the Clay House, a great-house built in 1763, which had previously been part of a major sugar plantation. This was a lot of fun because this attraction had a large botanical garden, aquariums, a zoo with monkeys, rabbits, love birds and parrots and many turtles. The great house had a large collection of treasures from all around the world which had been stored in the houses basement until it became a tourist attraction three years ago.
The tour also included a beach stop in Frigate Bay—unfortunately, not one of the world’s top 1000 beaches. Linda was determined to get in the Caribbean Sea so despite the sea weed and sharp sand she plunged in for a short swim while I watched from the beach chair. We came back to town and finished the day with a little shopping in downtown Basseterre, picking up a couple of mandatory t-shirts.
Around 7:30 we decided to have dinner on the aft deck behind the buffet. With the warm breeze, and candlelit tables, it was very romantic. This ship has a fantastic sushi bar and it was available for us at dinner. They were carving a nice loin of beef and the carver gave me a small three pound cut (large enough to feed our entire deck). After dinner we dallied in the Cova Milano Café for the piano player. During the daily drawing, Linda was only two numbers away from winning some kind of topaz ear rings—oh well!
Tomorrow we dock in St. Lucia.

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