S: Caribbean Cruise - April 2011
FC: CARIBBEAN CRUISE on the ECLIPSE April 2011
1: MIAMI BON-VOYAGE Party
2: We met in Miami to start our cruise. We are off to San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Kitts.
4: Island Maps
5: Dick & Jane book a trip.... Conny & Craig follow them. | "We are going to have some fun"!
6: Drinks at the Captain's Club
10: Our first stop, San Juan, we pull right into Old Town with the Eclipse!! | OLD SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
11: We take a stroll around the town- It is very hot!
12: Castillo de San Felipe - Named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the fort, also referred to as El Morro, was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the city of Old San Juan from seaborne enemies.
13: San Juan Cemetery is noted for elaborate tombstones and a circular, red-domed chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.
14: The main central part of the city is characterized by narrow streets made of blue cobblestone and picturesque colonial buildings, some of which date back to the 16th and 17th century. | La Capilla del Cristo ("Christ's Chapel") | At the end of Cristo Street in Old San Juan there is a small chapel called La Capilla del Cristo ("Christ's Chapel") that was built on this spot to commemorate a miracle. Legend has it that a young man lost control of his horse as he galloped down Cristo Street, and both raced over the edge of the cliff at the end of the road. As they plummeted to their deaths, the man prayed to a Catholic saint to save him, and the saint granted his wish. | Chris & Julia Davey Ferndown, UK | Old Town -San Juan
15: Blue Brick Road The streets of Old San Juan are paved with small blue-gray glazed bricks cast from the residue of iron furnaces in Spain, and brought to the Americas as ballast in the Spanish galleons. The Spanish used gold and silver from the Americas as ballast on the trip home.
16: Caleta de las Monjas, is a little plaza with a statue of a bishop and three women, commemorating one of Puerto Rico's most famous legends. In 1797, from across San Juan Bay, the British held Old Town under siege. That same year they mysteriously sailed away. Later, the commander claimed he feared that the enemy was well prepared behind those walls; he apparently saw many lights and believed them to be reinforcements. Some people believe that those lights were torches carried by women in a religious procession, as they followed their bishop.
17: We cruise out of San Juan at 10:00 pm. We have a full day at sea tomorrow, before we hit St. Maarten. | San Juan is HOT, time for a beer!
18: CELEBRITY ECLIPSE Facts Occupancy: 2,850 Tonnage: 122,000 Length: 1041 FT Beam: 121 FT Draught: 27 FT Cruise Speed: 24 KTS Inaugural Date: Apr 29, 2010 | Game Room | Running track, pools, and sundecks on the bow of Eclipse | We have a good time exploring the ship. Lots to see and do.
19: Deck 16 - Lawn Club (Aft) | Conny get's a trip to the bridge! | 14 story Eclipse Foyer | The eclipse is operated by computer, but still has a manual steering wheel for emergencies.
20: Celebrity "Constellation" joins us in St. Maarten. | Great view from the glass elevators!
21: Ships' waterfall and light show | Library
22: ST. MAARTEN | It's cloudy and a little rainy when we get to St. Maarten. We hire a car for the day and head to the north top of the island. We desperately try to find the "Butterfly Farm" - no luck! We drive through Oyster Pond and stop at Orient bay to see some sea creatures. Then we find the town of Cul-Du-Sac where we take a boat over to Yellow Beach on Pinel Island. (but not until a speedboat full of "old" nudies cross our boat path - Yikes, it hurt our eyes!) | ST. MAARTEN
23: Tropical drinks and lunch at "Up on the Key Bar” at Yellow Beach. | These guys are running all over Pinel Island. The cook at the bar feeds them so they line up for their lunch! | The owner find Dick some bourbon.
24: St. Maarten is half French and half Dutch. The Dutch port of St. Philipsburg is the capital. Local legend claims that a Dutchman and Frenchman stood back to back and walked in opposite directions around the shoreline, drawing the boundary from the spot where they met. As for why the French ended up with more land, the story notes the Dutchman's progress was slowed by the large quantity of beer that he required for the walk. As we leave St. Maarten at dusk, we enjoy cocktails at the Captain's Club and watch the beautiful sunset!
26: "SHIRTS" vs. "SKINS" ECLIPSE CROQUET TOURNAMENT
27: Craig gets a Croquet game going with some "shirtless" Canadians at the Lawn Club. Conny's the only one who remembers how to play, so she officiates the game. The Eclipse cruises along as spectators on the sidelines sip their tropical drinks and enjoy the show!
28: The Technique and Skill of Croquet | the "tuck'n'roll" shot | Illegal "toe-talk" between teammates | the "stare-down" strategy | Bare-back "buggy-ride"
29: the "limp wrist line-up" | Side mallet "whack" | "Bare belly antics" | "Cross-ankle mallet lean" | ??? WHO KNOWS ??? | "Side-pocket hoop shot" | "CROQUET as we CRUISE"
30: Craig and Jane enjoy dinner at the Captain's table
32: ST. KITTS We arrive at the port capital city of Basseterre on April 13th. Located in the Eastern Caribbean about 1200 miles from Miami, the island is 69 square miles with a population of 31,880. For hundreds of years, St. Kitts operated as a one-crop island producing only sugar. In 1912 a group of investors built a modern central sugar factory near Basseterre and began construction of a narrow gauge railway around the island to bring in cane from the outlying estates for processing. Completed in 1926, the railway ran seasonally from February to June for the annual sugar harvest. Due to decreasing profitability, and the introduction of the sugar beet, competition drove prices steadily downward; the government closed the industry in 2005. Today, the sugar carriage cars and antique engine are the main tourist attraction on the island. We board the Sugar Train a few miles away from the ship and ride the train to the north part of the island. We were served pina colodas and rum punch, also some nice sugar cake. We see the sights of the west side of the island by motor coach on our way back to the ship.
33: St. Eustatius | “Last Railway in the West Indies”
34: The railway winds around the slopes of Mt. Liamuiga and along the Atlantic Ocean. There are hidden black sand beaches, and hundreds of crumbling and overgrown plantation estates. The train crosses numerous tall steel girder bridges, with one stretching 300 feet across a deep ravine, or “ghut”. Sweeping vistas offer up the nearby islands of Nevis, St. Barts, St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius.
35: We are entertained by the St. Kitts Railway Choir singing Caribbean folk songs
36: The People of St. Kitt's | St. Kitts Railway Choir
38: We enjoy the train ride, and then head off in a taxi to the south end of the island to Turtle Beach where we find the Reggae Bar. We kick back, have a few cocktails and Dick loses his hat! | Frigate Bay
41: We sail into the sunset to cruise another day!