Sunday, January 16, 2011

Cruise Round Up: January 6: Tortola

My apologies for the delay. I've been putting this entry off, not because we didn't enjoy the day (it was one of my favorites) but because I only typed one-word, list style notes and because I don't have many good pictures. So it won't be the best entry. But it should be shorter- that's a plus. As always, click the picture for a larger one.

We docked in Tortola and walked out to find a taxi. At this port, there was a long line of taxi's, like all the others, but it seemed like there was one person who was responsible for the whole line and every driver more or less waited his turn to be assigned passengers. The man in front of us asked for a fare to Cane Garden Bay and was quoted $8, which he refused, and the man laughed at him and said that's fine but you won't find any cheaper!

As such, we waited our turn and Gene would be driving us for $8pp to Cane Garden Bay. Unlike many of the cars in the line, Gene had a van, not a safari style truck. I was pleased with this, as the drive was even scarier than St. Thomas, and having sides and air conditioning was a plus.

The drive to Cane Garden Bay is adventurous to say the least. Like driving through the Rocky Mountains, but with even more gorgeous scenary due to the views of the ocean. In Tortola, they drive on the opposite side of the road from the US, but really, they just drive in the middle until someone is coming, which made most every encounter seem like a game of chicken. But the sides of the roads weren't really in good shape, so driving in the middle is probably essential to keeping your tires intact. The roads were winding and steep, but the drive wasn't too long- maybe just half an hour. Gene would slow down, and occasionally pause so that anyone who wanted to could take views looking down from the tops of the mountains.

So we arrived at Cane Garden Bay and were immediately greeted by women selling chairs. I hadn't planned on getting a chair, preferring to lay in the sand, but upon seeing the set up of the beach realized this wasn't possible. A chair is essential- not only is the beach so packed with them that you can't lay in the sand, every 10th or so wave crashed onto the beach and would run towards the back of the beach- laying in the sand, you'd just be soaked! We had water pool under our chairs quite a few times, and we were quite a few rows back from the beach. (Can you find Kevin in this picture? Crowded beach... but really, it never felt like people were in our way, at least I didn't ever feel that way- more just a people watching opportunity.)

So the 4 of us got chairs ($5) each, and set off to enjoy the day. The water here wasn't clear, so we didn't try to snorkel, but many other people did. Still, this was my preferred beach to St. Thomas (i'm not the snorkeler!) because the waves were a bit more active, but still calm enough to stand in, the water was warmer, and the view looking back at the beach was AMAZING. It's a fairly narrow beach, with mountains on 3 sides. WOW. Unfortunately, none of our pictures truly captured it.

We had a fun day of people watching (lots to watch- the beach was crowded), swimming, and lounging. Michael and Rachel grabbed some lunch (lots of choices, but they went for the one right behind us- they said it was good, but service was SLOW. "Island Time" for sure.) Painkillers were super cheap (2 for $6?), so Kevin grabbed 2, thinking I might enjoy one, but they were poured so heavy it was like drinking straight rum, I sure couldn't do it (the picture- that's before I took a sip!). I think Kevin actually only drank 1.5, and Michael got 2.5 (Rachel turned hers down too, after loving a painkiller in St. Thomas).

After maybe 3 hours of beach time, we headed back to the ship. Wonderful day. I am sad I didn't get to go to the Baths, but I worried with a short port time it would have been a tight timeline, and I get anxious very easily, so it didn't seem like a good idea. Carnival said it was their 2nd most popular excursion of the week, so being hustled through quickly with a crowded cruise group also didn't sound fun to me. I think if we were back in Tortola again on a cruise, I'd go back to Cane Garden Bay again, unless it was a longer port.

Oddly specific sign:(But I wasn't sitting on a bollard, I don't even know what a bollard is...)

We got back to the ship quite early, so we headed to the Lido for lunch. I decided to try Mongolian, and was disappointed. First- even with a quite short line (the shortest I'd seen), the wait was huge. After waiting with me for quite awhile, Kevin went back and got a Calzone, ate a calzone and came back and met me- just as I was getting my food. Then, it didn't really taste very good- very soupy and not much flavor. I'll save my Mongolian for places like HuHot, I guess. I asked Kevin to get me some Naan and he did, but only after waiting for the woman in front of him to take 8 (they come out 2 at a time, so it's a LONG wait when someone does this...) Then of course, we had frozen yogurt- yum!

We were told the view pulling out from Tortola is one of the best, so we planned to meet Michael and Rachel on the top Serenity deck so Kevin could take pictures (but oddly, he didn't take many....) They weren't up there, but we did find the holy grail- a free Hammock! We laid down and waited for sail away. The views were gorgeous as you back away from the island but the downside to the hammock- right by the horn. It was the first time we had heard it, and it was LOUD. We also found out why we didn't meet up with Michael and Rachel- they had scored Rachel's holy grail- a clamshell one deck down (though not one with a top...the quest would continue). They stayed in it almost till dinner I think, but Kevin and I only hung out in the hammock for a little bit (the deck is just too windy for me) and headed back into the ship.

Once inside, we played funship trivia, went and looked at the shops (no purchases) and listened to the tail end of the match game. (We didn't play though.) Then we went to our room and watched Rocky and Bullwinkle on the computer (odd, but I need some down time).

Then, we got ready for the past guest party. The party was held in the Victoriana Lounge and wasn't nearly as crowded as I expected. They held two, one for each dinner seating. Waiters came around with canapes (there were maybe 5 types?- the BEST was a crostini with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and pesto- I ate a TON) and a variety of drinks. Kevin had a blue curacao margarita and I asked for a Shirley Temple, but took a punch. After food and drinks were passed for awhile (the woman next to me seemed to be collecting drinks- she had at least 6, white wine, red wine, a few different colored things...) they started a video about the history of the fleet, and had everyone cheer for the ships they had been on. (With a cute joke about how they'd be watching, and if you didn't cheer they'd know you snuck into the party uninvited!) The waiter came back with a Shirley Temple for me (aww!) and gave Kevin another Margarita (he actually said he wanted something different the second time around, but it was just handed to him- no big complaint, that's good service, kind of...)

After the party we had just a short amount of time until dinner. Tonight my appetizer was Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato- basically the canape I LOVED, but no bread. LOL- but mmmm...more mozzarella and Tomato, I can't have enough. I had the Penne Vodka for my meal, and it was excellent. Tonight I didn't have dessert, nothing on the menu appealed to me, and while I could have gotten ice cream just to have something, I didn't feel the need to add extra calories just for the sake of eating!

After dinner, I just went straight to bed, it had been a long day. (I turned quite tan after this day, so I think the sun must have tired me out. I managed to ward it off the past two daytime ports!) The rest of the group went to the Talent Show, which they said was an interesting mix, and provided some fodder to talk about for the rest of the cruise...enough so that I'm almost sad I missed it!

1 comment:

Kevin said...

2 Things:

1) I didn't have the calzone until Nassau. I went to the Taste of Nations line that was right behind you. It was Southwestern that day. I don't really remember what I had, but it was all good.

B) You aren't almost sad you missed the talent show, you are sad. Because you won't ever really be in on this joke: [karate chops the air].