ST. KITTS AND NEVIS_We are rapidly moving toward the mid-point of our 10-day cruise, and as is customary, the time is flying by. For the next two days, we will visit the islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, and as is the case with our earlier ports, we will be among the first cruise ships to call here since the pandemic started.
Both islands have strict COVID protocols, including masking and temperature checks, and tours are only permitted if all double-vaccinated guests stay together in a “bubble” throughout their time there — guests aren’t allowed to roam freely on their own.
There is a morning bus tour of St. Kitts, but we skip that in favor of another activity the ship is offering: Soaking up some sun at the Carambola Beach Resort. For that, several of the Zodiacs on board are lowered to ferry us over. This was our first experience in these powerboat inflatables, and we got an exhilarating ride on the waves right up on the sand.
Once ashore, we traded our life jackets for drink tickets, snorkel gear and beach towels, then set out for a lounger under an umbrella, affording us a perfect view of glistening aqua waters against a white sand beach, with a backdrop of island tops, palm trees and puffy clouds all around.
Suddenly, sipping a cocktail with new friends Jan and Deb, COVID seemed like a bad dream.
It was hard to leave, but it was past time for lunch, so we donned life jackets and zipped back to World Navigator, where we headed for 7 Aft, the outdoor eatery on deck 7 that transforms into a chophouse at night. We both had the plant-based “Impossible Burger,” made famous at Burger King, which was cooked on the only true, charcoal-fired grill at sea. It was a lot of smoky goodness.
Later, instead of dinner at Porto, we got some extra rest and decided to try room service. Keep in mind unlike the bigger ships, World Navigator has limited dining options: Porto, the main dining room, has set hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 7:30 am to 9 pm; 7 Aft is open for lunch and dinner (dinner by reservation only), and Paula’s Pantry is a grab and go option that offers assorted soups, sandwiches, pastries and beverages, and closes at 6:30 pm. We learned room service is whatever Paula’s Pantry has leftover that day.
Next up was Nevis (KNEE-vus), famous as the birthplace of one of America’s greatest statesmen, Alexander Hamilton. In fact, our tour started at his birth home, filled with interesting facts about his life.
Our next stop was the Botanical Gardens. Our garden guide told us we were the first persons to arrive from a cruise ship since the lockdown started some 18 months ago. On hand were government representatives from the Department of Health, as well as someone from the military who had the task of filming us, all presumably to make sure we all conformed to the rules.
Of course, you have to applaud the safety measures, but this new world order will take some getting used to. Regardless, it was evident they were thrilled to have us, and we were just as happy to be there.
The garden was a beautiful collection of exotic plants, orchids, bromeliads and sculptures with Far East and Mayan themes. After our tour, where we had to strictly stay together, we were treated to a delicious local drink made from flowers, along with some much-needed bottled water.
We got back to the ship just in time for a late lunch before Porto closed, then made ready for another outing to Pinney’s Beach via the Zodiacs. One of our friends told us not to miss “the best rum punch in the world,” sold at Sunshine’s Bar and Grill on that very beach. We were excited to give it a try.
Alas, it was not to be. Once we arrived, we were restricted to a cordoned-off area and told not to go outside unless we wanted to experience Nevis jails. And by the looks of the police presence, they meant it. Sadly, Sunshine’s was not in the “bubble” zone.
So we had another version of rum punch, which was both good and potent, and we played in the surf for several hours. Everyone in our group had a blast.
That evening, we dined with our new friends at Porto’s, trading stories of the day’s events and enjoying ourselves until past closing time. Pam and I finished the day with cocktails in The Dome, while others went to the latest offering in the onboard film festival.
A few other notables:
— Everyone got an invitation for a complimentary bag of laundry, which was much appreciated considering this is a longer cruise.
— Before leaving Nevis, all guests who boarded in St. Maarten had to have an COVID antigen test, which was performed by the ship’s medical personnel in the health center. We understand all crew are tested weekly as well.
Coming up next: Antigua.
PHOTOS courtesy Gerry and Pam Barker
Riding the Zodiac over to St. Kitts.
The view at the Carambola Beach Resort on St. Kitts.
Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace on Nevis.
Cover photo: The Nevis Botanical Gardens.
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