Thank You

You will receive your first email soon.

Close

X

Caribbean Cruise: A Touch of Colonial Spain

Author: Host DebbieH103
Date of Trip: March 2007

We took our first Silversea cruise in April 2006 on Whisper. That was a voyage out of San Juan. We had a wonderful time — saw beautiful places, had a great cabin, wonderful food, met other nice guests and staff and relaxed. We liked it so much that we booked 2 other cruises while onboard. One of those was to be in 2/2007. Something came up at work, and we switched to 3/2007, but we kept all of our booking incentives and still had a wonderful trip. This time we were booked on Silver Wind.

Trip and Time in San Juan
I chose American to bump myself over the points I need for a freebie on the next trip, but I didn’t realize Todd already had enough Continental points to go free this time. When I was pricing the trip, it was under 400 but then 2 hours later, it went to $600 plus for coach on all airlines. So, I booked the first/business class combo for about $660 each. This turned out to be wise. We had a nice omelet and fruit and biscuit on the first segment, and on the second segment we had edible pizza and salad. They had chicken tenders/pasta, but they gave that to all the kids (many) in business who ate not a bite. Either their parents ate it or it was tossed untouched. They also had hot nuts and hot chocolate chip cookies.

We took a cab to Sheraton. The standard government fare is $19 plus $1.50 for each bag. We had 3 bags. Todd handled most of that since they were heavy. There were about 3 people in front of us to check in. We got to our room at 5:55 p.m. We were given 2 card keys. The room had an electronic safe, a nice armoire with hangers, iron and ironing board, a chest of 6 large drawers, a comfortable king bed with so so pillows, a large TV, 2 sitting chairs, free wi-fi in the room or an ethernet for $9.95 a day, coffee/tea, and also they have a decent sized tub and decent shower. Waffle robes would be nice. This is not the Ritz, but for a night before or after a cruise, it met our needs, and we had a lovely time. The SS terminal is almost across the street.

Todd checked out his March Madness scores while I explored. I found the same trendy restaurants as before – Asian, seafood, steak houses, all infused w/ Latino. I also found an interesting seafood place I hadn’t seen with great selections by the item or pound. Lots of places in the section I hadn’t discovered before had tables outside. One had great looking spiny lobster.

Next I saw a girl eating cotton candy, so I went in pursuit. I wandered into a street fair where there were candy apples, cotton candy, ice cream and lots of local treats including oranges where they were coring off the peeling and using the inner white peeling like a cup. These were wildly popular. There was a band playing and people sitting everywhere and then a local bar/restaurant at the end. Further up the hill, there were a lot of souvenir stands mixed with pina colada stands and then what else, a Starbucks.

Near the hotel there is a homemade hamburger joint that sells breaded shrimp for $3.50. Also across the street now there is Senor Frogs.

I went to check out the casino and the pool before my walk and then came back for Todd after spending $1.30 on cotton candy.

We got in the hot tub. It was dark, and by then nobody was up there. You walk through a decent fitness center to get there, and they have nice towels up there that you just pick up with no hassle. We sat in there for a long time.

Next, we took $100 each to the casino. We aren’t big on slots, but the roulette tables were full. We shared $40 of my allotment, and gave that all to the casino. Next, we played roulette. They have a $2 minimum and $20 max per bet. I turned my $60 into $150, and Todd turned his $100 into zero. So, I made $50 total, and he lost $100. We played for several hours, and they do bring drinks if you want them. It was a great time, I just love roulette and enjoy turning 60 bucks into 150.

Then it was time for a shared burger from Senor Frogs. Don’t go there for the prices. A cheeseburger and fries is $11, but one was all we needed. We had that in the room after watching all the games. They were playing Name that Tune and then a game we saw at Beaches Turks where people have to sing a song when they are called until they can’t think of anything.

The pool and hot tub are open from 9 am to 11 pm. Checkout is at noon, but they will keep your bags until you can get on the ship. We enjoyed the room and the pool/hot tub until checkout and then focused on getting over to the ship asap.

The Sheraton’s $270 internet rate ended up being $340 with the 3 different types of taxes added in. Others might consider El Convento. It is cheaper and quainter but not nearly as convenient.

Monserrat

This was not a port, but we got to spend a few hours seeing it in the day and at night, and some guests even did the helicopter over it (on a separate day). Only about 1/3 of this island is now inhabited. We saw a lot of ash. At night, Todd was fascinated to watch the tiny eruptions and splashes of red.

Sailing on Sea Day
We saw St. Kitts and most of the Virgin Islands one by one as we sailed along. This is the time that it is nice to have a balcony so that you see the postcard before you. Of course, the picture windows are nice, too.

Il de Saintes, Guadaloupe (Les Saintes)

Well, some of my fears about Les Saintes were true. We went to the breakfast buffet and had some hot items and fruits and then ventured on the tender over to Les Saintes. There was one scooter shop that ignored us when they heard the American accent and rented to all the Europeans behind us until they ran out. Next we went to another place, and the woman was cooking in her kitchen and told us she didn’t speak English. Finally we found a place that rented us one scooter for 38 Euros for the day. You need your driver’s license, and that is it. We shared one scooter. You cannot rent by the hour, only by the day or week. We were told to go to “the garage”. This was no small feat since we didn’t know and all along the way did not like Americans.

Well, we did get on our way and made our way up and down every travelable road on the island!! We had such a blast and saw every beach accessible. If you are adventurous, this is a DON’T MISS!!!!!!!!!! One of these had a number of topless women, and when we looked it up later, we read it can be a nudist beach. We also traveled up to the fort for great views of the ship. The beaches were free, and some were pretty secluded. At any of them, you could easily bring a romantic picnic and not be bothered by anyone else.

If you did not want to do all of this, you could set out on foot until getting tired and see the fort or the closest beaches. Be aware, some of the island siestas from noon to 2:30. Plan accordingly.

Barbados/Sandy Lane

We only saw the west side of the island because we planned to spend much of our day at Sandy Lane in Barbados. I wrote golf@sandylane.com and spa@sandylane.com after viewing their website.

We went out to the terminal in Barbados and asked for a cab to Sandy Lane hotel. We paid $20 US plus tip. The spa and hotel are on one side of the road, and the 45 holes of golf are on the other side and down the road.

I was brought curbside to the spa. For a hotel with 112 rooms, I was not expecting it to be so large. I’d seen pics of certain things but not the whole overall picture.

Todd played the country club course alone. He brought his own shoes and rented clubs. They have mandatory caddies, and he had a cart, etc. He shot a 78. The course is very scenic, and he saw monkeys. He finished in under 3 hours. During that time, I had a 90 minute facial and then toured the hotel.

I was impressed with the spa at Sandy Lane. I wish I had booked like a half day there. Normally, I like to spread my spa treatments throughout a trip, but I loved the facial so much that I would have loved to have more done here.

The dressing rooms are very nice and well appointed. The treatment rooms are even nicer. My room had two lounge chairs, and my view was a beautiful fountain. The treatment started out with choice of water or tea in my lounger in my treatment room. Then the facial started, and Judy adjusted a bed that molds itself in all directions to your body shape.

I had a rose anti-aging facial because it was 90 minutes and seemed different than anything I’d done. There were a number of phases, including some ice cold stones that were massaged on my face. The therapist was honest about any questions I asked, and she never tried to sell me a thing.

I toured the facilities, and they have a nice gym, fitness center, etc, and a great water area back there. I was very impressed with the hotel. It opened in 1961, but they tore it down in 2001 and rebuilt, preserving most of the look. Added were modern things, such as a panel that controls everything in your room, even the drapes. I toured a dolphin luxury suite. It had 42 in. plasma in the bedroom and living room, a stereo system, a fax machine, desk, etc. The bathroom had a large tub in the middle, but it was not a jet tub. There was a kitchenette where the mini-bar is customized, as are the snacks.

On the beach, beautiful loungers are set out for each guest daily, whether they show up or not. They have an assigned spot. The beach was nice, and a few waves came up. The beaches are public in Barbados, but it was pretty secluded.

There are a number of pools running around the property, and there are many places to find serenity. The hotel has some meal plans, but they don’t have an all-inclusive plan. They are 5 diamond AAA for 2007, no easy feat, and their Conde Naste rating was 91.6 in the last book, though the dining got 77.

Bequia

Here, you could take the Mustique tour with the ship or some other St. Vincent tours, etc. We chose just to see Bequia. We took the tender over and hired a cab driver for an island tour. He said $25 per hour. We were gone an hour and gave him $32. We saw some scenic points and went to the turtle sanctuary. He did not try to sell us anything extra or anything. It was very nice, and we were able to spend a lot of time on the ship and still got to see some breathtaking sites.

Antigua
Here they offer nice sightseeing tours. Last trip, Todd had a great golf outing here. You can also get off the ship and go to King’s Casino right near the pier or look at the shops. We had day passes for Sandals. We took a cab – $13 going and $11 returning. We walked the beach, had ribs for lunch, sailed a hobie cat and laid in a garden pool on floaties and used the hot tub there. We also observed the Mediterannean Village that is set to open late this summer.

Virgin Gorda
If you haven’t been here, don’t miss seeing the Baths. We did that last time. This time, they stopped the ship to tender some guests for that and then went on to North Sound and anchored there. We had some more spectacular views. They started tenders at 11.

Lunch was from 12 to 2. They had a bar and service in the chairs for everything from water to whatever. You could stay totally under cover, also. They had burgers, dogs, grilled steak and swordfish, along with a variety of salads, fruit carved onsite and cookies and cakes. They had a vocal group singing Caribbean and adult contemporary tunes. Todd joined the volleyball game. There was swimming and snorkeling if you had your own gear.

Debarkation and Trip Home

We had to have our bags out by 11 the night before departure, whereas on Whisper, it was 11:30 p.m. We were ready at 10 p.m. and then enjoyed a little time on our last night with the ship activities.

The ship got into San Juan before 7:30. They started the immigration before 8. We had put our two large bags out at 10 pm. That left only our small bag to pack. Unfortunately, we did not bring a ziplock baggie and had lots of toiletries.

Our color was orange, and we went for our passports when called at 8:25. At that point, we did not return to our cabin.

We went to the buffet and had a champagne breakfast. Next we went to the panorama lounge where juice, coffee, tea and Danishes were available if desired (or you could ask for something else), and guests could also go to the sit-down breakfast at the main restaurant. Our color was called about 9:45. The last call was at 9:50. By then, we’d said a sad goodbye to Maria, Allesandra, and Chris (the social bunch), and Hermann, the hotel director.

We took a cab back to the airport, which cost $23 including tip. We had an 11:52 flight on American. This went off without a hitch. In business class, they served a choice of enchiladas or hot roast beef sandwich. I had enchiladas, and Todd had the sandwich. We enjoyed them, along with the salad. They did not even have the TV shows for entertainment. Oh, in Puerto Rico, they SOLD us a zip lock baggie for $1. They threw out my dry suntan oil and 4 oz toothpaste gel and did not throw out Todd’s 6 oz one. Everything else, they watched us stuff in the baggie that they sold us. Lame.

In Miami, we walked the trek to our C3 gate where it was VERY crowded. We had to sit in a seat far away. We did board on time. On all 4 of our American flights, they served hot nuts, then gave hot towels, served a meal and then hot chocolate chip cookies. This flight they showed the same CBS shows we saw coming down and then followed with some more sitcoms. This flight was delayed 45 minutes due to a tire needing changed!

We arrived at home at 8 p.m. It was back to the grind in one day, but we had a wonderful, wonderful trip without one single complaint.

Top Fares From

Comments