St. George’s, Grenada — the Spice Island

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY EIGHT — Our island hopping continues. This morning we have hopped over to St. George’s, Grenada — the Spice Island. We also have reached the southern-most point in our cruise, 90 miles from the South American coast.

Docked beside us and looming large is MSC Poesia, with a passenger capacity almost three times ours. But unlike Barbados, we appear to be the only two cruise ships here today.

The Polo Grill, Riviera’s specialty steakhouse.

Since we have stopped at Granada on previous cruises, we elect to forego the shore excursions to the banana plantations and nutmeg farms to enjoy a restful day aboard the ship, which begins by not having to set the alarm to make a tour departure.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t go ashore. There’s a shopping mall conveniently located inside he terminal and you know what that means: Ka-ching. But I have to confess it’s not all Pam. While she is on a personal jewelry mission, I am the lookout for some cologne. We both score.

Back on the ship, we continue to be impressed by how friendly and accommodating the staff aboard Riviera is. Over a week into the cruise and the service and food are second to none.

The Canyon Ranch Spa on Deck 14.
Retreat and relax at the Spa Terrace.

After lunch in the Grand Dining Room, Pam is off to find a quiet spot to read and relax while I checkout more areas of the ship for my daily All Things Cruise report. It’s not all play for us bloggers, you know.

If you enjoy sports and physical activity, there’s a putting green and miniature golf course up on Deck 16, as well as a paddle tennis court. For joggers and walkers, Deck 15 features a fitness track (10 laps equals one mile), and there’s a gym for your workout regimen adjacent to the Canyon Ranch Spa on Deck 14.

With the midday sun hitting the broiling point, it’s pretty deserted at the moment.

In the same vein, the ship schedules a daily Shuffleboard Tournament as well as a Croquet Competition. I’m ready to cheer on the participants with a cool beverage at a nearby shady table.

Speaking of the spa, while we don’t indulge in that particular whim, the ship offers an excdellent setting for those who do, along with a number of free seminars, such as “Secrets to Flawless Skin.” Concierge-level guests also have free use of the Spa Terrace, featuring a large hot tub, sauna and steam baths and a private area with deluxe loungers.

I catch up with Pam and find out her relaxation has been interrupted by a man talking loudly on  his cell phone. While Oceania asks guests to not use cell phones in the dining areas, they can be used in public places. You just wish the users would be a little more considerate of the guests around them.

Play a round of minature golf on the Sports Deck.

Before dinner we head for Horizons and a Happy Hour drink prior to the sailaway. We watch as MSC Poesia heads out just as the sun begins to set in the Atlantic. Hard to beat one of those gorgeous sunsets at sea. The Riviera Orchestra is playing some classic standards, and they are quite good. In fact, we wish they could be scheduled more often.

Dinner tonight is in the Polo Grill, our third specialty restaurant to try on this voyage. Styled in the dark wood tones of a classic steakhouse, we have something of a challenge this evening: We don’t eat beef. Not to worry — there are a number of fish selections, along with chicken, to consider.

One of the best things we tried was the hearts of palm salad, served in a petite rectangle with a thin slice of tomato on top. The “Blackfoot Chicken” was delicious, as was the New York Cheesecake that follolwed. Again, kudos to the wait staff, who make every dining experience special, whether in Polo Grill or the Waves Grill.

Tomorrow: A day in St. Lucia. Stay tuned.

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