Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 22, 2016 - Antigua

We wake to the arrival in St. John’s.  The dock is on the starboard side of the ship and we are docked at the Nevis Street Pier.  The pier is not longer than the ship so the only gangways are forward and midship.  However this did not stop people complaining that they should have a gangway at the aft too - I said to them if they did you would be stepping off the ship into deep water.  That stopped them.

A lovely breakfast was enjoyed and we are not in a big rush to get off, in fact we are being rather lazy and don’t even head ashore about around 9:30 ish.  

You know for the longest time Antiqua was not an island we really cared for.  We seem to have nothing but issues every time we came here.  Issues with tour companies.  One time a friend of ours on a tour had a medical emergency that ended up being a heart attack and we felt the provider of the tour did not take it seriously enough and get us back to the ship.  Other times we have found the taxi drivers to be so aggressive that we have just turned around and walked right back on the ship.  So anyways I will say the island is beautiful and the people are lovely and it is worth pushing forward and exploring.

Thankfully this happened for us a few years ago when we did the Segway tour, which is a blast by the way.  We found a lovely beach, well actually a few lovely beaches.  So for us we like to go to Runway Beach or Fort James Beach, but one time we need to head to Dickerson Beach.  

Today we get off and force our way thru the throngs of taxi drivers aggressively trying to get business.  We have learned that for us we prefer to walk two blocks up Nevis Street to Valley Road and find a taxi driver there.  This is what we did today and found Johnson who took us to Fort James Beach.  Taxis are regulated here and you need to confirm the price beforehand - for us it was $6 each and we had him drop us off in front of Candyland or Limez Beach Bar.

Right away we noticed that the water was rough.  Seems to be happening a lot this voyage.  Aruba the beach at De Palm was rough, Grand Turk it was rough and again today it is rough.  The woman at the bar said that it has been like this for two weeks now.  We find a quiet spot down the beach and lay out on our blanket and head into the water but it is rough and the undertow is strong so be careful.  

A few hours later Bernie heads down to Limez Beach Bar to get two rum punches and when he comes back he tells me Louise and Brian are down there.  So we pack up and join them.  They came here by taxi too but they hired a guy right near the pier who charged them $7 each.  More on this taxi driver later.

We spend the next few hours laying in the sun, wading in the water and getting a great meal at the bar.  Louise and Brian head up to the fort that is right there to check it out.

this is the beach we went to as we sail out of the harbour

Around 2:30 their taxi driver comes back for them.  They had arranged for their driver to come back for 3.  We decide then to join them in the ride back but this driver is wanting to charge us a lot more than what we paid to get here.  We decide to just get the bar to call a taxi (which we have always done) but their driver is arguing with them that they wanted him to come back and when we inform him that he charged them too much and now you want us four to pay the same price - no way.  We all go into the bar to wait for our driver and one of the workers at the bar tells this taxi driver to just leave, and after a while he does.

Our called taxi driver arrives and we all get in and I guess the worker at the bar explained what had happened with the other taxi and our current driver explains that the other driver was an airport taxi driver and he isn’t even allowed to pick up cruise passengers and he should charge the fixed rate.  That we should of taken a pic of his license plate and reported him.  That unfortunately they give the taxi association a bad name.  Anyways the ride back with this nice driver was so great that we tipped him very well.

It isn’t so much that we don’t want to pay we just don’t want to be taken advantage of.

Back on board we need to wash… and this is when I really enjoy my bathtub.  I soak the sand away and when the water drains I can almost build a small sandcastle - sorry Sonny our cabin steward for the mess.

There is a MSC ship and a Disney ship in and we sail first so we are up on deck and getting drinks at the Sea View Bar - definitely try a strawberry margarita! 

The battle of the horns starts and the waving begins as we say goodbye to Antigua.  It is sort of sad as we don’t know when or if we will be back here.  Other years we usually know we will be back but as it stands now I don’t anticipate and cruises to the Caribbean with our low Canadian Dollar.

After a short 45 minute nap we dress in shorts and t shirts and decide to dine up in Horizon Court tonight.  The theme is a Brazilian Buffet - and it certainly did not disappoint.  

Tons of roasted meats and seafood.  My favorite was the chicken wrapped in bacon.  They also had some great salads and soups too.  They also served lamb, beef, sausage, fish well you name it.  A meal like this at home would cost at minimum $30.

We head down to Promenade deck but it is a zoo!  The show Hawley Magic has just let out and it is hard to move.  The demographics for this second leg have gotten much older and it is impacting things like the elevators and everything early.  By 9:30 it is quiet on board.  There are still some younger people but I am guessing less than a 100 people are under 30.  With most being between 65 - 80 but they still seem to be having a great time and heck I can’t keep up with some of them.

There is quite a bit going on tonight.  We catch the Variety Entertainers Duo Ronin again (they were on the last few days of the last leg) and tonight it is a different show than what we saw last leg.  It is also Country Western Night so there is Music Quiz, and line dancing.  

The brand new Hollywood Screen Test is happening too which is new and uses the technology of the green screen in Princess Live.  We did not go so I can’t report too much about it but maybe I can find out more thru the tv on demand.

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