The Carnival Cruise
Joining me for this cruise are my friends Pete, Kinga, Liz, her husband Dossi and my Mom! You may remember Liz from other Great Weekends episodes such as Miami. And she’ll be in an upcoming New York City episode! This being Liz’s third time should officially gives her “recurring role” status.
All of my friends met when we all moved into the same building. We were all new to the big city, scared, overwhelmed and poor. The best of friendships are made in those times.
Is there anything better than spending the night dancing? The whole crew gathers in the 70′s Dance club and after a round of margaritas and mojitos we all hit the dance floor with our best interpretive dance moves. We also have dinner with the Captain and his crew. All my friends were hoping we would get to sit at the Captains table. We are all from the Love Boat generation and there are just some things you can’t let go of.
We begin our day in St. Thomas with a Gondola ride to the top of Paradise point for a great view. Of course there’s an outdoor bar selling a nice selection of frozen drinks. A sign says they serve the famous Baileys Bushwacker. Its only 10AM, but when the group sees that it is served in a cup in the shape of a gondola we have to have it. And by group I mean my friends, mom and crew. So I ordered one drink with 12 straws. It was very good.
Beans, Bytes and Websites. Great place for an espresso and a respite from the mall-at-Christmas like atmosphere that is St. Thomas. We all really enjoyed the warren of passages called Royal Dane Mall with its old stone warehouses and oversized Dutch doors. At the Royal Dane Mall we visited Dave Hill’s gallery (a very talented home grown artist with a surprising artistic range) as well as the Belgian chocolate factory which has incredible homemade organic chocolate. The unanimous favorite: dark chocolate filled with a walnut ganache in the shape of a walnut.
We all agreed the Butterfly Farm right at the port of St. Thomas was a perfect way to end the day on the island. Shopping can wear everyone out and simply following butterflies for a half an hour does wonders for your mindset.
Our next stop is Antigua. My friend Pete and I are going ATV’ing. The fact that there is more goats on the island than people makes me like this place already. Pete didn’t put any sunscreen on his hands, (neither did I for that matter) but his blew up like two red balloons.
Our next stop is the one I have been looking forward to all week. We are headed to Virgin Gorda, known for its dramatically rocky coast. What makes it so stunning is that the rocks are larger-than-a-house boulders that the earth blew up billions of years ago.
It’s raining! Actually it’s pouring. What a bummer to be in the Caribbean and have the weather be all gloomy. Both my director Richard and AP Ben are British. They comment that it figures it would be raining and overcast once we made it to the BRITISH Virgin Islands. Welcome home boys.
To get to Virgin Gordo we take a 40-minute ferry from Tortola and by the time we get there the rain has stopped. Hundreds of people have decided to do the same thing we have and the atmosphere feels less paradise more airport terminal.
We walk down a gorgeous nature path to get to the famous beach. Best thing yet is that there are no crowds. We find out later that there are two ways down to the beaches and we took the much harder route. Worth it, in my opinion.
Close to the last day, I discover the best food on the cruise. There was a Tandoori buffet on the side of the ship that I missed five days straight. Fresh steamed fish, perfectly roasted vegetables in aromatic spices. Best yet there was no line while next door the hamburger, French fries and fried chicken nugget buffet was always packed. I love great food!
We had a great time learning how to be in the Junkano, a 200 year old tradition from Africa that involves elaborate costumes that take over a year to make. Arlene was our passionate guide and owner of Educulture. We are all somewhat toasted from the sun and a weeks worth of shooting. My need to just lie and stare at a beautiful beach is, I admit, squelching my excitement to learn anything cultural at this point. But Arlene’s passion and excitement for her Bahamas fills us with a vitality we all haven’t felt in a few days.
Our trip is winding down we are all sad that the cruise is over and our re-entry into reality is about to begin.