We arrived at the airport in Barbados at about 16:20 yesterday. Once inside the terminal we had to wind our way through a massive line at immigration.
Once we exited the building we were paired up with our taxi driver, Emmerson. The ride to the hotel was 51B$, about $25. He was a very nice young man. He said he would be happy to pick us up the next day to take us to the cruise port.
Emmerson dropped us off at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa. The hotel is right on the beach as its name indicates. We were told by several locals that this is one of the favorite beaches on the island for the locals. The hotel itself is very nicely kept. All of the staff we came into contact with were very nice and eager to serve. The desk clerk welcomed us and gave us coupons for four free drinks. We took those and headed up to our room to settle in. The room was very generously sized. It overlooked the swimming pool and courtyard as well as the Caribbean Sea.
We headed down to the swim-up bar (dry side), and ordered our free drinks. They were rum punch. They were so strong I believe they would burst into flames if they got anywhere near an open flame. As we were drinking the napalm I made a comment to Hillary about her drinking with us. She replied very matter-of-factly with the best line so far on this trip. “I’m 21 dad! All around the world!”
None of us could handle the rum punch. We fairly quickly switched to wine and beer. We sat around a table and talked with each other for quite a while. After some time, the kids got up and mingled with some of the other guests. Tyler ended up playing pool with a young man from Finland. A little while later both kids were talking at the bar with a young man from Great Britain. When the kids returned to our table we all hit the eject button and went to the restaurant for dinner.
The restaurant was open-air. For an appetizer, Leslie and I split a shrimp tortellini with ginger, soft herbs, sun dried tomato vierge, deep fried capers, and cauliflower puree (30 B$ – $15). It was to die for! For the main course I had olive oil confit barracuda with garlic spinach, creamed potato, and lemon demi-glace ($45 B$ – $22.50). I think it was the most amazing white fish I have ever had! We finished with dessert and went back to our room.
After finishing breakfast the following morning I tried to call Emmerson. I could not get through to him so I just had the front desk call a taxi. We hopped in and got to the dock by about 10:30. Since Bridgetown was not the beginning point of the cruise, there were very few people trying to board the vessel when we arrived.
The ship we had selected was the Carnival Victory. We were all amazed at the size of the ship. It towered over the dock some 14 stories. We got on board and checked in during which time we were all given a Carnival cruise card. We were to use that card for all of our purchases on the ship and to get off and on the ship in the various ports.
We made our way to our cabins. They were inside cabins. They were certainly not as generously sized as our hotel room, but they were comfortable for our needs. After all, we were either going to be on deck or on shore. The cabin was simply for sleeping.
Once we were unpacked we began exploring the ship. We ended up at the aft portion of the lido deck. That is where we chose to have lunch. After lunch and some soft-serve ice cream, we continued our exploration.
Our mandatory safety briefing was at 16:00 in the ship’s theater. After the briefing, they took Leslie and the kids to our muster station. I stopped at the shore excursion desk to buy tickets for the behind the scenes tour of the ship scheduled for our sea day. I skipped the muster station tour because there were only 16 tickets available for the tour. I wanted to make sure we got ours.
We went to the aft of deck 10, one deck above the lido deck. We stood there waiting to see the ship pull away from the dock. As I looked down I noticed our dock ropes were tied up with the deck ropes of the cruise ship that was docked behind us. Getting ropes untangled and getting away from the dock took an extra 30 minutes. We were to have departed at 17:00, but we did not actually get underway until about 17:30. Regardless, it was amazing watching the huge cruise ship maneuver away from the dock and out to open waters.
We were all surprised how hard it was to walk on the decks once we were underway, especially Leslie with her cane. However, I found sleeping on board while we were at sea was very relaxing with the gentle rocking motion of the ship.
Before we went to bed, Leslie and I sat on the lido deck at the stern. Since we were well away from port there were no city lights to interfere with stargazing. We both immediately picked out Orion’s Belt.
I found myself wondering what it must have been like some 500 years ago to sail on these same seas. It would have been much darker as there were probably just a few lanterns. It would surely have been much more quiet. Just the wind in the sails and the hull cutting through the sea. And probably most disturbing would have been the navigation devices. I feel much more “sure-footed” with all of the modern navigation devices.
First stop, St. Lucia tomorrow!!