After nine days at sea, we’re back on dry land today. We wake early, just in time to watch Sky Princess pulling into the port of St John’s (yes another one), this time in Antigua.
We sail past a collection of very expensive homes and exclusive beach resorts before pulling into dock, right in the centre of the city. Alongside a large Aida ship and another from Oceania Cruises. It’s the first day we have had sunshine on our giant balcony but we can’t sit and enjoy breakfast out there because 2000 German tourists are staring into our stateroom.
Top tip: Use your net curtains – people in other ships really are looking in. Probably judging your
One of the local beachfront bars is blasting loud music and there are thousands of tourists everywhere. The sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze and sporadic clouds crossing the horizon.
Eventually we head down to Deck 4 which is almost level with the dock – perfect for the mobility scooter. Then it’s just a short walk to the town.
Past security, there is a small shopping village, reminiscent of Braintree Freeport (but with more sunshine). We have no idea if the duty free shops are stocking genuine Nike/Longines/Jimmy Choo etc etc – or if they are knock-offs aimed at the cruise market. There is also an army of locals offering taxis and hair braids – and some are more aggressive than others.
The town is heaving – there must be 6000 or 7000 cruisers in port today – and there are only 22,000 locals on the entire island.
We travel a few blocks past the cruise terminal and are forced to give up. The poorly maintained pavements and roads are too much for the mobility scooter. We’ve also got no specific destination in mind, we’re just wandering. Given that neither of us are particular fans of hot weather – or persistent, insistent street traders – we turn back to the ship.
Top tip: Why is camouflaged clothing illegal in Antigua? Two reasons. First, to ensure you are not mistaken for military. Second, camouflage is often associated with criminal gangs.
Is this for real? Absolutely. You could face a $2000 fine and up to one year in prison. And the ban applies to children too. So when your cruise line tells you not to wear camouflage clothing, don’t.
We’ve been back on dry land – but not for long. Linda is pleased to see a real Caribbean palm tree though.
Back on board, we take advantage of everyone else being ashore to snag some sunbeds on the main deck – which is nice.
Later in the evening I stumble across a cruise duck at the Elite Lounge event in the Vista Lounge. I used to think the ducks were an urban legend, but Linda was a true believer. As usual, she was right.
Thanks to P&P Geib of the Cruising Ducks Facebook group for proving me wrong. Again.