Cruising in the Caribbean can seem somewhat anti-climactic after having visited so many exotic ports around the world. But we were pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable we found all these tropical islands this time. I think that one of the biggest reasons was because the Whisper was the only ship in each port. The cruising season is over in the Caribbean by mid-April as most of the ships head to Europe or Alaska. Many of the merchants and locals seemed genuinely pleased to see the Silver Whisper arrive…potential customers!
Our first port was in Bridgetown, Barbados which is considered the most British of the Caribbean Islands. It reminds me a lot of Bermuda with neat streets, a stable government and happy residents. We headed out on a sailing catamaran to follow the “turtle trail” along the villa lined coast. We encountered three whales breaching and spy hopping right next to our boat. We anchored in a sheltered bay and went swimming with Green Turtles. These large reptiles are not at all shy and one swam right up to my snorkeling mask. Their bright green shells make them easy to spot in the ocean. The Hawksbill turtles are smaller but equally
"THAR SHE BLOWS!"
We were treated to a great whale show in Barbados
as friendly. The boat’s crew served us a nice Barbadian-style buffet lunch on board before we headed back to the ship.
Next up was Grenada, a new port for us. Since it was Saturday, St George's was alive with a market that stretched out over the whole city center. Grenada is renowned for its spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and cocoa whose aromas fill the air as does the sound of reggae music. There are even sound trucks equipped with gigantic speakers that cruise around downtown.
Cricket is the national pastime, and as luck would have it, there was a big cricket match going on in St George’s the day we arrived. It was England versus the West Indies in a test match. We decided to go to the match and were able to get very good seats for $7 each. We lived in England for a year and attempted to grasp the fundamentals of cricket, yet still many of the details elude us. But we certainly enjoyed all the hoopla surrounding the games and watching the ardent devotees in attendance. We talked with several excited British fans who had flown to the Caribbean just for this event.
St Lucia was next up. As we pulled into this religious country port church bells were chiming to call the faithful to services. For a moment I thought we were in the Bavarian Alps. But there are no palm trees in the Alps. Since it was Sunday we noticed that almost everything was closed as we strolled through town. St Lucia is quite a poor place with high unemployment. We were in port for just half a day, so we soon walked back to the ship to start packing up.
St Barts is the opposite of St Lucia in that it is a prosperous French enclave populated by jet-setters and yachties. Most of the shops are chic designer stores with designer prices. I was trying to buy some print cartridges but had no luck finding such mundane items. We were going to have lunch in town but the Vietnamese restaurant was closed and the prices at the others were quite high as we discovered we were back in the land of $25 burgers. It was very windy, so we were quite fortunate to be able to tender back and forth to the ship.
The last of our
SARGASSUM SEA WEED
We encountered mile after mile of this seaweed up the coast of South and Central America
50 ports on this cruise was Puerto Rico and what a fine last stop. We haven’t been there in years and were pleasantly surprised by Old San Juan. Kevin came here in 1965 on his first midshipman Navy cruise. What was once a crime-ridden, blighted area is now a beautifully preserved town filled with colonial buildings, museums, fountains and green plazas. It was fun wandering the cobblestone streets and feeling like we were in some ancient port city in Spain. We sailed past the fortified city walls and the fortress of El Morro as we departed San Juan at sunset. Next stop: U.S.A.!
After 115 days, over five continents, 35 countries and 50 ports it’s time to close the book on this world cruise. One of the most remarkable aspects of this cruise was the weather. We were fortunate to have just about perfect weather for the whole four months aboard the Silver Whisper. This cruise was marked by calm seas and fair winds. That alone can have a significant impact on the overall enjoyment of a cruise.
We were pleased to explore a number of new ports on this cruise as well as meet up with friends
BILL THE DIVER
Bill prefers this to a winter in Toronto
along the way. The staff and crew on the Silver Whisper performed impeccably for 115 days. We enjoyed so many memorable moments both ashore and aboard. World cruising can spoil you for normal life. The sense of excitement and anticipation of what each new day will bring is intoxicating and addictive.
On the last evening of the cruise, we had a farewell party for our Cruise Specialists guests. What a great group of travelers they are. Christian Sauleau, Vice President of Silversea, and his wife Jean, joined the festivities and Christian thanked Cruise Specialists for their loyal support. At the end of the party we passed out the lyrics to “We’ll Meet Again” and all of us joined in singing our farewell to one another. A few tears were shed and many hugs shared as we realized the world cruise was coming to an end.
Mark Twain has a wonderful quote about traveling. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
K & S
We always snorkel whenever possible
Thanks for coming along on this voyage. We hope you will join us again next year.
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