Last week my cruise peeps and I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and sailed off into the warmth and sunshine! “Cruise week” has always been my favorite week of the year (at least for as long as we have been cruising) and this year was no different!
Our first day on board was a sailing day. It is always nice to start out with a sailing day so that we can get our bearings of the ship and also relax from the travel (and luggage schlepping) of the previous days.
Our first stop was Grand Cayman.
My peeps all went off in different directions while I opted to stay on board. I am not comfortable wandering in the ports alone, especially a port I have never been to before. Once a wimp always a wimp! I found it remarkable that we never dropped anchor. There is a coral reef in Grand Cayman that could easily be damaged by an anchor. Captain Martinsen explained that while he has dropped anchor there in the past it is such a precise and time consuming task that in the end it is easier to work the engines. All of these ships are just “hovering” on the surface…..amazing!
Honestly, having almost the entire pool deck and hot tub to myself for most of the morning is one of my favorite things.
The second stop this year was Jamaica. We have all been to Jamaica a bunch and I think we were all a bit, well, tired of it. Been there, done that, bought the Tee shirt….literally! Even so, Jamaica was beautiful! While the rest of the peeps travelled to “Red Stripe Beach”, Dana, Peter and I wandered through the port village and got our shopping on. Yup…bought another Tee shirt!
Finally we reached Haiti! I love Haiti, it is by far one of my favorite ports!
We were greeted by a parade of Wave Runners and recreational water craft.
Royal Caribbean just signed a 99 year lease with the town (city?) of Labadee, Haiti. There is so much to see and do in Labadee. Three years ago Christine and I took a boat tour up the coast and we both enjoyed it so much we repeated it this year. Bill, Marilyn and Al joined us this time as well. Here is just a small glimpse of that tour.
Did you know that “Haiti” means ‘many mountains’? The highest mountain in Haiti is 10,000 feet while the highest in Labadee is about 3,000 feet.
The Haitians speak both French and Creole.
As we motored along we encountered a number of fishermen. They were excited to show us what they had caught that morning, including this “white crab”.
Because there is no refrigeration the fishermen have to hustle their catch to town to sell. This is after spending the day in the blazing sun and catching MAYBE two or three fish.
Our captain was quick to point out this boat full of women. Apparently it is rare to see ONE woman in a boat never mind ALL women!
This Island is available for anyone to rent….you just have to get there and bring ALL of your supplies!
Voodoo is still practiced, the last time Christine and I took this tour we learned that this is “voodoo rock” where the locals come to practice.
There are currently over 450 shipwrecks off the coast of Haiti…the coral reef and sand bars are responsible. While pointing to a twelve year old shipwreck Captain John told us that the wrecks don’t last long. Folks from China etc, will pay the Haitian’s to retrieve the metal and other sunken materials from the ships. The sunken vessel in question was a large cargo ship that had been reduced to a skeleton. (Too far to photograph) Captain John told us that it would probably only last a few more years before the last pieces were carted away.
We then pulled into the cove which leads to Labadee Village.
Captain John told us that you can catch a water taxi at any time. One of our passengers asked how you got a hold of the taxi, did they carry cell phones?…..really guy? Captain John replied, “you wave”.
We then returned to our port and enjoyed a yummy bar-b-que.
Our final day was another sailing day, which like the first is a great way to unwind. As always the shows and the food and the overall experience were phenominal!
I cannot wait for next year!
- Have you ever cruised?
- What was your favorite port?