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Review of our 69 day cruise to South America with pics


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So we've got to Day 43, 2/3 of the way through the trip. Quite a few people disembarked here including our 4 table-mates / quiz team, but the same number joined specifically for the Panama Canal transit.

 

We had read quite a lot about the area around the port in Callao being unsafe so we decided to avoid public transport and booked Lima Cabs to pick us up at the port for a city tour. There was the usual problem with getting on the shuttle and we got to the gate a minute before our arranged time of 9:00 a.m. The taxi was a little late due to the traffic but as we waited we chatted to a Police Officer who was very concerned that we might be walking around on our own. He advised us strongly against this, emphasising that the area for too unsafe. We heard it from the horse's mouth!

 

After a few minutes our taxi arrived and we started our tour. The driver spoke very good but obviously strongly accented English but was very amenable to our wishes as we emphasised we did not just want to see the main sites but we wanted to learn about what life was like for locals.

 

We started off driving along the coast to La Punta district which was where affluent locals from Lima spent their weekends so there were lots of lovely houses.

 

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We enjoyed a walk around with views across to the offshore islands. From there we continued along onto the Circuito de Playas. This road is still not finished but is an amazing drive along the Pacific passing beautiful beaches. The area between the road and the coast has also been landscaped with parks, statues and sports areas and on the cliffs above were lots of huge new apartment buildings. With the Pacific as a backdrop the views were stunning and we were really surprised how modern everything was. Lima is clearly a prosperous city on the up. Our drive took us along as far as the Barranco district and from there through Miraflores getting a real taste for the area before heading into the city centre. While he was driving our driver was really chatty and telling us all about life in Lima and also answering our questions.

 

He did a great job getting parked in the city centre and even persuaded a police officer to let us though a street that was closed off for the Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace. We were parked just two minutes walk from the palace so we arrived just as the ceremony was starting. It wasn't as good as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace but still interesting to see. The square where the palace if situated has beautiful buildings all around including the cathedral.

 

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Many of the buildings in the centre had highly ornate balconies including the Palacio / Casa de Osambela . Our guide knew the caretaker and we were allowed into the beautiful interior courtyard with a gallery and apartments. Apparently this was built by one of the richest families in Lima at the end of the 18th / beginning of 19th Century. We also felt privileged to be allowed to look at some of the old medical manuscripts which are centuries old and stored here.

 

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As we walked along our guide pointed out all the buildings as we stopped to take photos. It was great to have such a combination of the old buildings and shops / restaurants too. We also had a stop at the Gold Museum, which the guide very proudly showed us but we're not really museum people so it's interesting but not a highlight for us. What stood out for us was that the city centre is absolutely beautifully maintained and really emphasised our first impression that Lima is a prosperous city on the up.

 

Back in the car we drove out towards the San Isidro area, to see the Olive Park and on the way so much was pointed out to us and we saw lots of different part of Lima. We had a more detailed drive round Barranco and we definitely added it to our list for the next day – loved the boho style. We then drove along to top of the cliffs so we had brilliant views of the whole coastline spread out before us and Eduardo treated us to an ice-lolly from one of the vendors on bicycle we saw all over the city. This was much needed as, as the day had passed, (it was now nearly 3:00 p.m.) the weather had got hotter and sunnier

 

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All too soon our tour was over but we had had excellent value for our $160, including an extra hour, and Eduardo deserved his large tip.

Edited by tartanexile81
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We had decided to make the most of our overnight stay in Lima so booked a tour with Lima Gourmet Company. When Eduardo had dropped us off in Miraflores we were really hungry having only had a light breakfast and as it was now 3:00 p.m. so we decided to have a quick snack. jJst across the way was the Larcomar Shopping Centre so we had a snack in La Lucha sandwich bar, recommended by our guide. The food was good and we were hungry so unfortunately we ate too much - more than we should have done bearing in mind we were about to start our food tour. We also had time for a look around the shops and it is well worth a visit, although I was being very good and resisted the temptation to try on anything.

 

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We met our guide (sorry don't know why, but I've forgotten her name!) and she picked us up in the roomy sedan and drove us along the seafront to Cala on Playa Barranquito in Barranco. We had the best views ever and sat on the terrace right by the Pacific Ocean drinking our Pisco Sours.

 

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The point of the evening is to give you a taste (literally!) of local food and drink so our next stop was at Amaz restaurant where Amazonian food is fused with modern Peruvian. We still felt really full from our very late lunch so I know we didn't do the food justice but they produced their whole menu of starters for us to try. they included things like chicken and pork with a peanut and coconut dip; pork belly; chilli, pork and plantain meatballs - certainly nothing like we'd ever tasted before but we were just upset we couldn't do it justice.

 

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From there it was a short drive to Huaca Puciliana. This restaurant is situated overlooking the ruins of the same name. This site is an adobe and clay pyramid built around 500 A.D. and with excavations continuing. At night the site is illuminated so from our table we had a super view. Our guide ordered the food and drinks for us- but first of all checking whether she should order guinea pig, a local speciality, for us. We have pets and we could not imagine eating one of them - although we had heard that they were a bit different from the domestic animals we keep. Yet again we weren't able to eat as much as we wanted - we both have fairly small appetites- but enjoyed the whole experience so much.

 

 

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Our last stop was in Barranco where we had a smoothie made with speciality lucuma juice and the café we went to had their own tree in the garden. We ended the evening with a walking tour around Barranco. We felt really safe and loved the area as much as we had expected.

 

AT the port the shuttle bus was waiting and after 5 minutes we were in our cabin and looking forward to the next day so we could see more of Lima

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We had a special plan for our second day in Lima. We are both fussy about getting our hair cut well and were pleased that our hairdresser back home has a friend in Lima so it was arranged we'd go there. We set off from the port and had allowed just over an hour to get there. We'd spoken to a driver the day before as well as her English being very good she was very friendly so we thought with all the stories we'd heard about dodgy taxis we'd play safe.

 

The first alarm bell rang when we got to her car and she apologised that this was not her usual car which had been damaged the night before in a collision. This car was a pretty old model which she said belonged to her son. These things can happen so we gave her the benefit of the doubt... but 80 minutes later we were still driving along, looking for the hair dresser and she'd been on the phone several times asking for directions. Thank goodness I'd taken all the details with me or we'd still be driving around :D. It should only have been about 20 minutes to San Isidro and we were very lucky that the hairdresser was still able to fit us in. And of course we told the driver not to bother waiting round for us as we'd planned - and no tip!!

 

The hairdresser kindly called us a reliable taxi after that and gave us the number for use later in the day. We had decided to spend some time browsing the Indian Markets so after lunch in a café near the markets we started our shopping. There is a huge array of goods available from local hand-made crafts to Chinese imports; from tiny little trinkets to huge ornaments to take us your cabin. There are also several markets from which to choose but we spent most of the time in the two largest ones which are opposite each other in Petit Thouars in Miraflores. It had become very hot by the time we'd finished our shopping and despite another couple of ice-lollies we felt tired so after a spot of grocery shopping in a supermarket only a couple of hundred yards from the markets.

 

Laden down with shopping, we decided to take a street taxi, from just outside the supermarket but made sure it was yellow with the stripes along this side and the trip was metered so we were soon back at the ship.

Some of our 'spoils'

 

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There was also a little market by the ship so as we had quite a bit Peruvian Currency left I decided to treat myself to some Peruvian silver jewellery

 

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Now I know many people have enjoyed their visit to manta but for us it was probably the port we enjoyed least.

 

We were first of all taken by shuttle to a bit of rough ground where there were a number of taxis. In the shuttle we'd met another couple who were like us hoping to visit Montechristi so we agreed to share a taxi. Apparently more taxis / guides were waiting at the gates and these were a better option as we later found out. However once we got off the shuttle we were surrounded by drivers and a 'supervisor' took charge allocating people to taxis. We explained to this supervisor that we didn't want a tour but simply for him to take us to a Panama workshop then into Montechristi market and wait to bring us back a couple of hours later. A price was agreed and off we set.

 

It soon became clear that our instructions hadn't got through to the driver who spoke no English at all and didn't understand (perhaps) our sign language. Fortunately we met an English speaking guide with some others from our ship at a museum and he was then able to instruct our guide on what we wanted. Unfortunately much of our time had been used up so after a quick visit to buy a Panama hat and a walk round the market it was time to head back to Manta.

 

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Manta itself had little to offer us. We had a look around the main shopping area and looked in vain for a decent restaurant to eat. We are really quite adventurous in our eating but we couldn't find anywhere to eat without feat of food-poisoning. We could see various places where bottles of water were being used to wash-up and dirty cloths to dry up. Although we hate Subway it was at least clean and cool, the food up to (down to???) its usual standard, and we could use wifi.

 

Our highlight in Manta

 

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So our next port was Colon in Panama but of course there was the Panama Canal to be enjoyed first. I'll be honest we did a part-transit a couple of years ago and there was too much hanging around, so this time we were looking forward to the whole experience.

 

When we first woke up it was still dark but we knew we must be close because of the lights of all the ships around us, so we decided to have another short sleep. Next time we opened the curtains the sun was coming through and we were lining up ready to go. It was a lovely sunny day so that was a plus compared to the last time when the day was uncomfortably humid and overcast. I don't know if most lines do this but we had a local guide who gave us the most amazing commentary throughout the day. Well done to our cruise lien Fred Olsen for organising this. It really made a huge difference to our enjoyment of the day. The guide was great not only about the history and facts and figures but full of interesting anecdotes. Very many photos have been posted and I don't think I can add anything new but here's a couple anyway

 

The guys in this little boat sail in front of the ship to get the lines to attach us to the mule. Not a job I'd like! The workers on deck are Panama Canal workers and they stayed with us all day.

 

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This ship belched out lots of these horrible black fumes and slowed all the traffic down

 

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Work going on to strengthen the sides

 

 

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And to top the day off we had a delicious lunchtime barbecue

 

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There weren't many people on our ship looking forward to our overnight stay in Panama but we were very much looking forward to the tour we had booked for the following day. For safety reasons we had decided to do a ship's tour. When we chatted to some of the entertainment staff in the morning they said they had ashore to a casino after they finished their duties and I don't think they'll do it again!

 

We had seen a Youtube video of a visit to the Embera Indian Village so we decided to do that. Our trip through Colon showed what we had read and although we try not to pre-judge, we thought we'd made the right decision in taking this tour. Others from our ship really enjoyed their visit to the Miraflores Visitors' Centre and the observation gallery for the new canal works.

However to get back to our tour. It was an early start of 6:30 - we didn't know that when we booked but we were leaving Panama in the afternoon so guess we needed to get away promptly and we had been in port overnight. The journey took about 45 minutes by roads which gradually got worse till it became no more than a track. At last we came to the river and as we had not hit the expected traffic we were early and they were still preparing our boats - well I used that term loosely as you will see in the photos.

 

 

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We were equipped with life jackets then headed off down the river. We were lucky enough to be sitting next to the guide from our coach and he was really helpful in pointing out wildlife to us and answering all our questions. This area on the river through the forest is really rich in wildlife and we absolutely loved our journey which took about 45 minutes. There were two teenagers - probably 16-ish- piloting the canoe and most of the time the river was wide and fast flowing but it got narrower and shallower and as we got closer to the village one of the guys had to get out the canoe and help push it along. Our guide told us that as it was the dry season we'd be one of the last groups to be able to do this trip for a while.

 

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As we approached the village the children were running along the bank waving to welcome us and there were musicians playing their welcome too. We immediately knew this would be a good visit. Having made our way up the bank the village was spread in front of us. These people really do live here, and although influences from outside are beginning to show (e.g. little solar panel to allow them to communicate with the outside world such as our guide had to do from the coach to let them know when we'd be arriving etc.).

 

We all gathered in the meeting hall and were treated to a talk by the head of the tribe who changed every year and is elected by the villagers. Apparently they stand in line behind the person they choose and the winner is the person with the longest line. The leader could speak Spanish which our guide translated into English but the other people who spoke used the native language so the leader then translated that into Spanish for our guide to translate into English!! It was really interesting to learn about their way of life and various artefacts were passed around so we could have a close-up view. It was really interesting to hear about their history, the day to day life and where their food came from including the natural dyes they made from the forest. There were also lots of hand-made wares around the room and several of the ladies had their own stalls selling only the things they had made. I could not resist and bought a beautiful basket, a wall-hanging and a beaded necklace for our forthcoming Hint of Yellow evening to celebrate St David's Day.

 

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We were then allowed to wander round where we wanted unless the steps had been removed so we saw the main kitchen where our lunch was being cooked on open fires, the insides of several huts, chickens and dogs running around(and one monkey pet!) - all so interesting.

 

These are the 'steps' leading up to one hut.

 

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Edited by tartanexile81
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Onwards and upwards! When I started doing this I didn't actually think through how long it would take me! It seems endless so if anybody is actually following it, thank you!

 

I'm still here and enjoying your narrative and lovely pictures. Sorry, I've been away for a few days and have only just caught up with your adventures, but I'm up to date now!

 

You had an interesting experience getting a haircut - not something I consider when on a 14 nighter, but even what little hair I have would require some attention before 69 nights had passed! I suppose it's just part of the planning process for a trip of this length!

 

I can't recall if you mentioned your camera. Do you use a "point and shoot" or something more sophisticated? All the photos would suggest the latter!

 

PS - I hope the housework isn't getting out of hand :-)

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Thank you retiring soon and western trader for your comments.

 

Jo- how long till you retire? I took early retirement nearly 4 years ago now and don't regret it for a second. I loved my job but wanted to enjoy life before it got too late. Would we do as long a cruise again? Well we wouldn't but only because we promised ourselves this had to be a one-off. We've got pets at home and elderly relatives and although have lovely house-sitters who cared for them, it was a bit too long for our 'family'. Looking back, 10 weeks seems such a long time but I cannot tell you how quickly it went when we were on the ship. However we'd already done 5 weeks three times and that was just fine.

 

Western trader, yes the hair-cut had to be planned in and we wouldn't have trusted the Spa hairdressers so we had to get it sorted out before we went. Lucky my hairdresser here could help.

Cameras? well nothing fancy. I used a combination of ipad and had basic Nikon point and shoot for the first week but left it on a bus and never saw it again. I also had my Canon Powershot SX270 with me. It's just a bit more sophisticated and takes great photos (I think!) but just before we left I was having trouble with the lens (as you can see in some of the photos) but had to use it after I lost the other one. It's been repaired now I'm home and I'm using it again.

 

Rhona :)

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When we had looked around the village for a while we were called back to the main room for lunch - delicious fish from the river and plantain chips, all beautifully cooked and served in a palm leaf basket, accompanied by drinks provided by our guides. My husband used the toilets and he said it was better than he expected but didn't need a flush handle!

 

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After our food, the entertainment started with dancing from the women and older girls with the little ones, including some real tinies doing a another dance later. it all ended with the children coming and choosing partners and I was lucky enough to be chosen - sure it was something to do with the sweets I gave out when we arrived :D.

 

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The visit was drawing to a close and it ended with a huge group photos and presentation of the garlands which the children had been wearing and again I felt privileged as I received one. We were then bid a musical farewell before we got back in our canoes again for our 45 minute trip back to the coach. The return journey was much easier and with the river behind us we didn't get stuck on the shallow rocks

 

This is me in my lovely garland in our canoe

 

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We have amazing memories of that visit and it was one of the highlights of the cruise, so take the chance to do it if you can.

 

Back at the port we visited the shops just by the cruise terminal. There was a supermarket, electrical store and numerous touristy souvenir shops. All too soon it was time to leave and we were so looking forward to the next part of our cruise. We go to the Caribbean most Winters and we were really looking forward to the next few relaxing days

Edited by tartanexile81
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We had heard great things about this port so we were looking forward to it. The terminal was easily the most luxurious we've ever visited with lots of facilities although the cost of wifi was extortionate and much more expensive than our ship. We're huge animal lovers and we're never keen to see captive birds and animals so I'm afraid we didn't like that part of the terminal although clearly other people did. There were flamingoes, lizards, peacocks and monkeys to name just a few.

 

We had also heard that you can walk into the city, but believe me IT IS TOO FAR. Cartagena has a population of nearly 900, 000 and although the old town is quite compact it is quite a way from the port. We started off walking but it was clear, after walking about 25 minutes we still had a way to go. We stopped a policeman and he helped us call a taxi which took us into town. We were lucky enough to meet a couple of friends from the ship and they told us about a handy walking guide they had found at the tourist information kiosk just by the main gate but outside the city walls. Cartagena has so many beautiful old buildings, many of them brightly coloured and covered in flowers. The guided walk we followed allowed us to see most of the significant buildings. It was however very hot and all the people we saw doing ship's tours looked absolutely exhausted, but because we were on our own we could just stop and start at leisure / whenever there was shade and take advantage of the many water vendors who wander round the city. We also had a great lunch in a pretty little (cool!) courtyard and enjoyed a walk to the Caribbean to feel the cooling breeze. I even popped into a nail bar and got a treatment :).

 

Sadly my husband was feeling unwell so we had to cut our visit shorter than we would have liked. However it's definitely a port we'd love to go back to but next time we'll start with a taxi from the port. There's taxi rank just outside the main gates to the city and we were soon back at the ship, well worth the $12. I will post some photos but apologise in advance that I was having real trouble with my lens that day so there is some blurring to the photos.

 

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When we got back to the ship, my husband felt pretty ill so had to see the doctor where they found he had a really high temperature and chest infection and he was confined to the cabin till his temperature went down :(. No wonder the poor boy had felt unwell yesterday.

I wasn't sure what to do next day in Wilhemstad, but my husband I insisted I go ashore. By the time I had decided to do this, the tours had all gone, which would have been the best option, so I just set off to walk round the town. There are two docks, both very close to town. The one we were in was right opposite the floating market, so from the ship it was a very short stroll to the free ferry which runs across all morning. It didn't seem to be working later in the day so not sure if it just works at peak times. The bridge seems to close regularly to allow boats through and seemed to be closed for abut 10 minutes.

 

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Wilhemstad in Curacao is a very pretty town, clearly Dutch influenced, with tall narrow houses with gables and bright colours. Along the pier at the other side is a lovely row of these houses some of which had cafes and this is where I started my walk before heading along the floating market. I wasn't impressed by the quality of souvenirs but there were also the fruit and vegetable stalls which we were told on board were run by Venezuelan merchants who bring the produce over every day. I got a good view of my husband sitting on the cabin balcony looking a bit fed-up.

 

After a short walk around town, including a stop to admire the really great clock with moving figures which springs into action every hour. I was lucky enough to be there as it struck 11.

 

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I headed over the pontoon bridge which had opened by this time. I turned left towards the other cruise dock where Mein Schiff 2 was docked and here I discovered there was a great area to sit and relax by the Marriott hotel. It was called the Renaissance Rif Fort (or something like that) and it had lots of little shops and cafes / bars all in a great setting with lovely views. I met quite a few people from our ship there enjoying the sunshine. This is a really pretty town and very easy to walk around as it is so flat but I was too worried about my husband to really appreciate it.

 

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Just as we were about to sail away it started to rain and that was not a good sign....

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Our visit to the Caribbean ended with three islands with which we are very familiar having visited them several times before.

 

BARBADOS

The day started really badly with the rain continuing. My husband had however been cleared to go ashore so we decided to take a slow walk into town as planned then take a bus to the North of the island. As we walked through the terminal we stopped at the Tourist Info office and asked if they could phone the restaurant where we hoepd to spend the evening and book a table for us. They were really helpful. We actually spent a lot longer wandering round the centre, and found local shops we'd never seen before, and of course we enjoyed a visit to Woollies, the only one we know now. However it is just like it was when we still had them here.

 

We then headed back towards the port but stopped at the bus station. As you're coming from the port, the bus-station is just after the Craft Village and opposite the fish market. There are also a couple of supermarkets here and the prices are about a third of what they charge in the convenience store in the terminal. After asking for help, we were directed to a bus heading to Speightstown, our destination. There isn't much to see in the town itself apart from the beach but the journey was what it was all about to us. The driver drove at break-neck speeds along roads and we passed the really touristy areas like Sandy Lane , the Royal Westmoreland and Holetown. We did think of getting off at Holetown for a walk but my husband still wasn't feeling 100% so we decided to save that for another year. The fare was 2 Barbadian Dollars / $1US each.

 

In Speightstown we had lunch in the Fisherman's Pub and Grub. It's situated right by the sea so we had good views and chose from the daily specials menu.

 

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The drinks list was fairly limited but you can't go much wrong with a bottle of Carib! It was only then a 5 minute walk back to the bus terminal where there was a bus waiting which whizzed us back to town. We had a much better view of all the fab beaches and lovely homes and dreamt of which one we'd buy one day :D.

 

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However it was also sad to see how many of the local houses were disappearing as more and more land is being bought up by huge developers from overseas. When w got back we read in our newspaper about an old man who was making a stand against the developers and holding on to the property his family had owned for generations.

 

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We spent quite a while in the terminal building when we got back. The facilities are excellent with lots of shops of all kinds, a bar, post box, souvenir shops and stalls, toilets and duty free. There is also free wifi. My favourite shop is Best of Barbados where they sell lots of goods designed by artist Jill Walker and her family. They make great gifts for people back home.

 

After a rest for my husband, we got ready for evening ashore as we weren't leaving port till 11:30. We had no trouble getting taxi at 5:30 but the traffic through the town was HORRENDOUS. It took us close to an hour to get to Tapas Barbados which is situated right by Rockley Beach. We got there just in time but felt sad that the beautiful sunset we had hoped to enjoy was covered by clouds as the rain had started again. We were lucky enough to have a table by the boardwalk and if we stretched a bit we could almost touch the waves.

 

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The food was excellent and the cocktails just as good. Whilst we were there the Captain and his partner arrived so we were in good company and could relax confidently knowing we couldn't miss the ship.

 

It was great to have a late night here. We'd never had this before in Barbados and it just helped us enjoy our day even more.

Edited by tartanexile81
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ST LUCIA

Thankfully the rain had abated and although it still wasn't very sunny first thing in the morning, we walked from our berth at Pointe Seraphine into town. We'd never really spent much time in Castries, mainly because there never seems to be very interesting but we spent some time wandering round the spice and craft markets and saw this sign and this 'house-boat' :confused:

 

 

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Otherwise there is not much so we jumped on a bus heading North towards Reduit Beach. The bus filled up rapidly and we were no sooner seated than it set off. We got off by the shopping mall in Rodney Bay after paying the driver 4.5 EC$ (1US) each and we were on the bus for 45 minutes like yesterday. There is a British supermarket chain called Waitrose and the local supermarket stocked their produce so we couldn't resist having a look.

 

It was then about a 15 minute walk to Reduit which is a beautiful beach overlooking Pigeon Island.

 

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We were there mainly for lunch by the beach because we love Spinakers right by the car park at the beach and we had a view of the beach and the azure sea and sky beyond.

 

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By now it was a beautiful sunny day. The food was lovely as were the cocktails again (I an recommend Sweet Seduction) and would you believe the Captain and his partner were eating there as well. He kindly offered us a lift back to the ship in his taxi so we got back to the ship earlier than expected so we decided to take the ferry over to town to stock up on bottles of water ready for our Transatlantic crossing.

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ANTIGUA

Because prices for duty free had risen by 50% from last year in Barbados we waited till Antigua to buy, and it was a good decision. A litre of Absolut was $14 and I also bought perfume and cosmetics. We took our goodies back to the ship then went back through the shops to the dispatch desk for taxis. We love Antigua as it is so easy to DIY but this time we decided to take a taxi so we teamed up with two Italian couples and a baby, and set off for Church Valley beach. It is really beautiful and a perfect end to our visit to the Caribbean.

 

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It was busier than it has been in the past but what we like about it, apart from the golden sand and the bluest sea in the Caribbean, is firstly that it's easy to get to; although there's a few beach vendors, you're not bothered by them; also the Nest is a great beach bar.

 

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We paid $15 for a parasol and two loungers. He initially asked for $20 but we told him the other guy was only asking $15 so he let us off with 15! The sand is lovely with millions of tiny bits of shell although the water does shelve quite quickly so it might not be suitable for younger children. After a lovely lunch and yes, more cocktails we relaxed aagain on the beach but as our sailaway was earlier than the Italian ship we found a diffeernt driver to take us back but he also only charged $8 per person – although of course that was more expensive than the $1 we normally pay on the bus :D

 

Back on the ship we enjoyed a great sailaway party with our CD and Deputy CD Jackie and Kat who are both great singers and had performed in the cabaret bar several times on the cruise.

 

But then we were homeward bound. Au Revoir till next year Caribbean!

 

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When we spoke to the captain in St Lucia he told us that the weather forecast was really good for our crossing and we were delighted he was right. On our first day at sea, we had Force 7s (although it didn't feel like a 7) but lovely sunshine; day 2 was Force 5 but still sunshine. The winds dropped by Day 3 and we continued to enjoy warm, sunny, calm weather on our sail to Ponta Delgada in The Azores.

 

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The voyage was supposed to take a week and this was much longer than it has ever taken us before. We were pleased therefore when the captain announced in his midday log that we would be docking later in the afternoon so we'd be spending the night there. It was great to get ashore after 6 days at sea, and as great football (soccer) fans we found a bar / restaurant showing Chelsea v. Paris St Germaine which unfortunately Paris won. We also took a late walk around the town and found another local bar for a drink although the town was fairly quiet. As we went round we met others we knew from the ship enjoying this bonus evening ashore.

 

We've been there a number of times before and each time we say that we'll do a tour next time we visit but we're always so glad just to set foot on dry land that we end up just enjoying this quaint little town. It has a really old fashioned feel about it and there are some lovely gardens. We started off with a walk along the new promenade by the sea, as far along as the main square.

 

We then walked through the town to the market first of all. I am always fascinated by markets and enjoy this, particularly the stalls with the locally-grown pineapples and all the cheeses

 

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We then visited the Jardim José do Canto followed by the Jardim Antonio Borges. Both have some amazing trees and plants from al round the world and we absolutely basked in the warm Spring sunshine and admiring the new growth.

 

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We had a couple of stops on the way back to the ship for a coffee and explored some of the town we'd never seen before. It's always a really laid-back in Ponta Delgada and the sunshine was the icing on the cake.

 

As we set sail that afternoon back to Southampton, we looked back over our cruise and couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. We had had so many amazing experiences. We had seen fantastic places. We had met such wonderful people. And now we have unforgettable memories

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Just found this review . We went on the public bus to church valley last year when on Oceana . Hope you are both well . Sue

 

We had a fab time on this cruise Sue, really unforgettable, BUT we wouldn't particularly choose Fred Olsen again. Looking forward to getting back to P&O in three weeks. When did you do the Caribbean on Oceana?

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We had a fab time on this cruise Sue, really unforgettable, BUT we wouldn't particularly choose Fred Olsen again. Looking forward to getting back to P&O in three weeks. When did you do the Caribbean on Oceana?

 

January last year . You followed us on the February departure . Next year we are going to the Amazon from the UK so was on the South American site looking for info on the ports not been on Fred but will be on a cruise and maritime ship .friends are on it so thought we would give it a try. No flying . Love our round Australia and New Zealand cruise this winter. Not so keen on the flight . There was a choir so kept us busy on sea days . Sue

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Hi all!

 

Rhona:) ~ thanks for your quick reply to my query. Actually I have been retired for 8 years, that was just a bad choice of name but what I was thinking about at the time.:o

 

Your review was short but sweet & imparted a lot of info. :D

 

My PC cruise missed Cartagena because of troubles there at the time but it's a place I'd still like to see. Looks like you had a fun day at the Embera village.

 

Have you ever taken a Thomson cruise? They have one I'm interested in,

going to 3 stops in Panama plus Cartagena. They also have cruises to Cuba

which is where we cruised but on a Greek ship in Feb.

 

Our ship docked at the lovely place at Curacao in Nov & they had some Christmas decorations up so that was nice.

 

Our longest time away from home was 1 month when we went to China

6 years ago this month. I don't like being away that long so my ideal cruise is 14 days or less.

 

Thanks again for this lovely review, the photos were beautiful.

 

~ Jo ~ :)

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Hi all!

 

Rhona:) ~ thanks for your quick reply to my query. Actually I have been retired for 8 years, that was just a bad choice of name but what I was thinking about at the time.:o ~ Jo ~ :)

 

I understand completely Jo. I made up my name tartanexile when I lived in England and 81 is the year I moved there but now I'm home in Scotland I'm no longer an exile :D.

Happy cruising

Rhona

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:D

January last year . You followed us on the February departure . Next year we are going to the Amazon from the UK so was on the South American site looking for info on the ports not been on Fred but will be on a cruise and maritime ship .friends are on it so thought we would give it a try. No flying . Love our round Australia and New Zealand cruise this winter. Not so keen on the flight . There was a choir so kept us busy on sea days . Sue

 

We're considering Cruise and Maritime as well. We're keen to get to new ports of call and to do that we have to try out different lines but we haven't been on P&O for over a year now and have tried different lines. Now we're happy to go back. However Oceana isn't our favourite but we've got used to her so it will be like meeting an old friend again. You never know - we might meet again some day. I did get in touch with Sergey when I heard that his son was very ill (leukaemia I think) and things are pretty hard in the Ukraine as you can imagine but he's happy with them. Life is very different for him these days he said - in more ways than one.

 

Have you ever taken a Thomson cruise? They have one I'm interested in,

going to 3 stops in Panama plus Cartagena. They also have cruises to Cuba

which is where we cruised but on a Greek ship in Feb.

 

Our longest time away from home was 1 month when we went to China

6 years ago this month. I don't like being away that long so my ideal cruise is 14 days or less. ~ Jo ~ :)

 

 

No we've never been on Thomson because we only do cruises from the UK and back but most of Thomson's cruises need a pre-cruise flight. I have heard that the entertainment is excellent if that's of interest.

 

Because we live in the UK and I don't fly we always have to cruise for longer. We go to the Caribbean most years and it's 14 days at sea before we even get there :D

Rhona

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