We started off the month of December with a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the RCCL ship Serenade of the Seas. This was our third trip with a group of fellow RVer's. This voyage had the advantage of visiting five ports we have not been to before. Since we boarded just before lunchtime, first order of business was to get some lunch. This ship was smaller and older than the last one, but the basic amenities remained the same. With most of three days at sea before our first port, we had a chance to completely explore the ship.
Our first port of call was Tortola, B.V.I. The island was first spotted by Columbus on his second voyage. The Spanish attempted to possess the island but the presence of pirates including Blackbeard prevented a successful occupation. Eventually, the British took control from the Dutch and developed sugar cane plantations across the island using slave labor from Africa. In 1834, the British abolished slavery and the plantation system collapsed due to competition from other areas where slavery still flourished. Most of the white landowners left the island over time.
Arriving in Tortola
Today, with a population of under 25,000, one of the main sources of income is tourism. It remains a haven for sail boaters, but today resorts and cruise ships provide most of the tourist dollars. Still under British rule, it remains a low income area for most of the residents. The climate, beaches and beautiful scenery are the main attractions. We opted for an island tour to see most of the island and get a feeling for how people live away from the attractions. It is hard to find a tour that does not include at least an hour plus beach break. So we did visit a beach and it was raining. We did find some shelter in the outside area of a closed bar. I doubt that there is a compelling reason to return unless we arrive by sailboat.
Bus tour of island
View from highest point on the island
Beach break and return to ship