We had a glorious day in St. Thomas, but came away empty-handed from our shopping foray

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY TEN – While we still feel the disappointment of missing Virgin Gorda, it is a glorious (and calm) day dockside in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. High swells forced a change in our final port of call, and we had evidence of those on the way over last night with some major rocking (not coming from the disco dance floor, either). If we needed further evidence of the unruly seas, while …

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St. Barts is your destination for high end shopping; however, we pull out early to head to St.Maarten

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY EIGHT – You don’t have to be rich and famous to come to St. Barts (or St. Barths, or Saint Barthelemy – you’ll see all variations of the name), but definitely being the former will help. This way station for the jet set features the highest of high end shopping (in the market for a Louis Vuitton hammock?) set amid its charming Swedish and French roots. We were originally scheduled …

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It’s smart to take a tour or have a game plan if you want to explore the small island of Nevis

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY SEVEN – It’s early Friday morning and we are anchored off the small island of Nevis (pronounced KNEE-vis). Nearby is its larger counterpart, St. Kitts. The waters here are very still and quiet, and of course, deeply blue. The forecast is hot and sunny; with more hot and sunny into the foreseeable future. One note from yesterday: As we departed Dominica, one of those beautiful Caribbean sunsets was in the …

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We enjoyed the botanical garden and waterfalls on the ‘nature island of’ Dominica

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY SIX – We awakened this morning dockside at Roseau on the island of Dominica, “the nature island of the Caribbean.” Sandwiched between Guadeloupe and Martinique, this former British colony, independent since 1978, is almost 300 square miles in size, much of it dense rainforest. We are here just for the day, so we opted for a three-hour tour to take a look at the place where just over 70,000 people …

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Finally, the sun breaks on during our visit to Iles des Saintes in Guadaloupe

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY FIVE – Yesterday we were drenched with rain; today, drenched with sunshine! Yes, at long last the sun has made its appearance, just in time for our stop at Iles des Saintes in Guadeloupe. A grouping of eight tiny islands, with the emphasis on “tiny,” many travel guides call them the Caribbean’s hidden gem. We will anchor off the largest of them, Terre-de-Haut. Another great example of places the Azamara …

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It was cloudy and rainy on St. John, but we toured anyway…after all, it was the site of our honeymoon

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY FOUR – Day four in our quest for sunshine, and still hardly a ray in sight. In fact, anchored just outside Cruz Bay on the picturesque island of St. John, we awoke to rain showers, which have continued on and off throughout the day. Still, it is the tropics, and rain is a daily occurrence most of the year. Plus, a little rain wasn’t going to keep us from revisiting …

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Azamara Quest: This poolside BBQ was missing the Texas fixins’ but good nonetheless

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY THREE – We are now 700 miles from Miami. As we continue on toward St. John, we can’t seem to escape the clouds. A gray overcast with temps in the 60s has been the order of the day so far. Hopefully we’ll encounter sunnier conditions once we arrive in the islands. On board, the disposition of the ship’s crew seems to always be sunny. Everyone we’ve encountered greets you with …

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Day two on the Azamara Quest: A quiet day at sea

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY TWO – This is the first of two “at sea” days as we head to our first port of call, St. John in the Virgin Islands. Last night we experienced a lot of motion as the ship navigated stout waves and wind. By daylight it had moderated somewhat, but best to keep the Dramamine close by. As we get acquainted with our new home for the next 12 days, one …

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A new guest writer, Gerry Barker, begins his Caribbean cruise on the Azamara Quest

By Gerry Barker ABOARD AZAMARA QUEST, DAY ONE – It’s the first day of our 12-night “Virgin Islands and Frenchmen Voyage” to the West Indies on Azamara Quest, departing from the Port of Miami. This voyage is our first on Azamara, and my wife and I have been eagerly anticipating cruising on a scale that is both smaller and “up.” The Quest and her sister ship, Journey, comprise the whole Azamara fleet, part of the Royal Caribbean …

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Gerry Barker’s Bio

Gerry — spelled like “Jerry” but pronounced “Gary” — is a lifelong journalist, with stops at The Austin American-Statesman, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Dallas Morning News, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, the Tampa Tribune and The Palm Beach Post. For more than a decade, he’s been writing about travel and cruising, and was a recent recipient of All Things Cruise 10 Year Writing Award. He and his wife Pam have taken over 40 cruises. His work has …

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