Jan. 16-17: Our Royal Clipper adventure begins
On Saturday, we headed to the cruise terminal at 1:30 p.m. because we had to be out of our condos by then. Thus, we were at the pier two hours before boarding at 4 p.m.
However, Barbados has a lively cruise port with an array of shops that pretty much kept us busy in the interim. We even managed to get a quick lunch at a snack bar.
Boarding went very smoothly and most of us boarded in the first group at 4 p.m. We were very please to discover that our cabin, C-241, was a tad larger than others because it is situated around a stairwell…thus, we had two closets. The cabins on board the Royal Clipper in general are tight but serviceable. There are two twin beds which can be pushed together to make a queen, a vanity with stool, small TV and good-sized bathroom.
The Royal Clipper is quite lovely in its furnishings. There is dark wood in most places set off with brass that they keep bright. The decks are teak. There are many paintings around, most of a seafaring theme.
Our first evening is quiet as most passengers are tired from traveling. So there is a short briefing, dinner and most head off to bed.
Our first day we sailed to St. Lucia, where we anchored at noon in Rodney Bay. Most in our group reported that they slept restlessly, not used to the rocking of a sailboat. This morning we had the required fire drill and then the captain and officers introduced themselves. This process was more fun than usual, because each of them made some personal comments…including Mariano, the marine biologist, introducing himself as the “token Italian” in the crew.
Our cruise director Ximena gives a short briefing about St. Lucia, explaining the history of the island and that our passengers have three options: They can go on a shore excursion (sign up in advance, of course), or take a tender to the marina or take a tender to the beach for water activities.
Our group splits up. Beth and Tim are the most resourceful. They go into the marina on the first tender and hire a cab for a short tour of the island. Paula, Chet and I go into the marina a bit later, but discover the few shops there are closed (except for an art gallery which featured some excellent, and very expensive, work). So we have a round of Piton beers and head back to the ship. The Rodney Bay marina is very modern and full of very expensive boats and so we have a chance to take a look at these.
Sam and Vicki opt to stay aboard and she does a set of very clever watercolor sketches. Carl goes to the beach for a snorkeling trip led by Mariano which turned out to be quite arduous and “not worth it.” The water was murky and the surf was rough. Visibility was poor and it was a long walk back to where they started.
Later in the afternoon, we gals are thrilled to discover that there is going to be a wedding…and a 5 o’clock sharp the captain married Luke Miller and Liv Nilssen from San Francisco on the bridge. Although we couldn’t see the brief sunset ceremony from where we were, we were able to applaud the glowing couple after. Their wedding was followed by a private reception in the library. At dinner, their group was seated at a long table in the middle of the room under a canopy that included her wedding bouquet. They were serenaded by a crew member and their wedding cake was in the center of the table, so it seemed like we were all at the party. It was lovely to behold.
Tired from a full day of sea and sun, our eightsome retired after dinner…not opting to stay up for a fashion show from the ship’s shop and dancing on deck.