Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Charlotte Amalie, ST Thomas

5 Dec 2018

Our next port was Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. We decided on an historic tour of the city and surrounding area.  Its history is steeped in the lore of the age of Caribbean pirates with Black Beard having a castle on the heights above the city.  Today it is primarily a tourist destination known for its Danish Colonial architecture.  Because of hurricane damage some of the sites were closed for repair but we did get to see the view from Blackbeard’s castle.  

Our last stop on the tour proved to be the most interesting, the Pirates Treasure Museum, near the waterfront.  It has a fantastic collection of pirate treasure and history. The staff of the museum are the folks who found the ships and the treasure and have a vast knowledge of the exhibits.  One member was dressed in a pirate costume I am sure everyone will recognize. We spent as long as we could looking at the exhibits and talking with the staff, until we had to leave to board the ship for departure.  This is a must see in Charlotte Amalie.

Our last port was Philipsburg, St Marten.  It also has seen heavy damage from the hurricane season, but the waterfront was open for business with some repairs still underway.  We just walked some of the shopping streets and enjoyed the scenery for a couple of hours before heading back to the ship.

Friday, March 01, 2019

A December cruise

Before Christmas, we took a seven-day Caribbean cruise on the Oasis of the Seas.  We have sailed aboard her before and there is always lots to see and do onboard.  This time we had our worse experience in boarding any cruise ship with large crowds in the holding area for way to long.  We were lucky enough to find seats, as many folks had to stand.

Our first port was Nassau, Bahamas.  This was our first time here and we did a water and bus tour to see as much of the town as possible.

 The history of the island chain is similar to many of the Caribbean islands and today its main industry is tourism with many well-known celebrities and other wealthy folks having homes here.  Nassau is the capital and the largest of its many islands and has 70% of the population of the country.

There were three cruise ships in port and the crowd looking to have fun ashore was large and at first, we thought it was going to be really ugly to do anything.  After the first rush to enter the small tour boat area, the crowds spread out and we boarded our boat without too much delay. The waters are crystal clear with no pollution and a large variety of sea life.  Turtles are a big attraction for the many scuba divers and others who enjoy playing in the water.  We kept our feet dry but enjoyed the scenery and narration by our very funny local guide.  It did not hurt that we had free rum punches during the ride.

The bus ride was a narrator tour of the town center, where driving on the narrow streets is not for the faint of heart.  Once we had an overview of town, we drove out to the world famous Atlantis complex for a short stop to look around before being dropped off downtown to shop or just wander.  There is no manufacturing in the Bahamas and all goods including most of their food is imported.  The main source of income here is tourism. So, when there is serious damage caused by hurricanes, the Bahamas has a serious problem.  Both guides mentioned several times how glad they were that we had visited here.