Monday, January 16, 2012

Adventure of the Seas Christmas Cruise [Day 7] - Saint Lucia

This was our first visit to Saint Lucia, and being make-plans-as-we-go people, we had done very little advance research.

St. Lucia



Saint Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

Adventure

Port of St. Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

Saint Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

Port of St. Lucia

A few days earlier, we had talked to Jennifer and Derrick, who went ziplining in Saint Lucia on their honeymoon cruise. They recommended the company Treetop Adventure Park.... and said we didn't need to book the excursion, we could just take a cab there.

So we headed out with that in mind (except for Mom, who put on a swimsuit despite the ziplining plan, and returned to the ship when she found out that there was no pool at the ziplining place... she ziplined once in Honduras, and I think once was enough for her). Well.... all of the cab drivers drove big 15-passenger vans and wanted $120 for a roundtrip to Treetop Adventure Park. We only had three people and tried very hard to convince people to share the cab with us, but no one else wanted to go ziplining... everyone was beach-bound. Rachel's a smart girl and talked a guy down to $90 for the three of us. It was really confusing and kind of amazing how she did it - just started quizzing the guy for info on gas prices, time, mileage, then started dividing numbers at a rapid pace. I think the guy only agreed because she went way over his (and my) head. And she could have been completely bluffing the numbers - I don't know. Remember that I'm the architect, and Rachel is the civil engineer. Despite the common misconception, architects aren't really great at math.

Well, we turned down the $90 guy because that was just our fare there - we'd still have to pay to go ziplining. We were going to give up, return to the ship and get Mom, and go to the beach. Then we walked by these guys in Treetop Adventure Park polos. They were waiting for their bus because they were taking a mountain biking excursion there. Well, Dad started talking to the tour guide, and the tour guide called their office and agreed to put us on his bus, and we could pay the excursion fare, then just break off and go ziplining once we got there. Finally... after over an hour of negotiations... SUCCESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a long ride there. No wonder the drivers wanted to fill a 15-passenger van to go there. I don't hate long car rides in foreign countries because I enjoy the scenery.

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

Treetop Adventure Park was a little chaotic. We realized that because of the way we got there (by hitch-hiking with a pre-paid tour group), we could have easily left without paying. The ziplines were fun, and it was different than when we had ziplined in Honduras because we were unhooked from the line and walked to the next station, while in Honduras we went from one line to the next, waiting on high platforms. The staff was friendly, but they were really trying to get people through the course quickly. I think it would have been better to go first thing in the morning. In the future, we would either book an excursion or try to get a group of people together from our roll call (err... I would do that, lol!) to share a cab.

The actual ziplining part was run very well once we got started. The initial wait time to zipline was a bit long because we were at the end of a 30-person group. However, once everyone got going, there was hardly a wait. The course had a mixture of long and short ziplines. I'm no good at length estimation, but I'd say the longest was 100+ yards. There were 17 total ziplines. The views were great - some lines were over trees, and others were over water. It's really not scary because you control the pace that you zip and when you stop.

Note that the biking tour is STRENUOUS!!! Everyone left on bikes, and many people came back walking. Our friends, Derrick and Jennifer, had done the mountain biking tour on their honeymoon and said it was super intense - there were many parts during which people got off their bikes and walked, and some people gave up entirely and took the bus back (it sounded like they were followed the entire time by a van which could carry tired bikers).

Ziplining

Ziplining

Ziplining

Ziplining

Ziplining

Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia

Adventure of the Seas

Bank of Saint Lucia

Adventure of the Seas

St. Lucia

We did a little souvenir shopping at the port. Rachel collects shot glasses from every place we visit, so she had to find a shot glass. I found a plate with a map of the Caribbean for mom. We have a Caribbean/Jimmy Buffett/Disney basement. It sounds all over the place, but it actually all goes together nicely.

Adventure of the Seas

We spotted Mom on the balcony! It was also the first time we could see our flag from port. Our rooms were on the starboard side of the ship.

Adventure of the Seas

After reboarding the ship and having a "Jam Session," Rachel and I decided to go inline skating... but they were closed. However, we saw our tablemate, Kale, on the basketball court playing volleyball, so Rachel decided to go embarass him. "GOOOOO KALEEE!!! YOU SERVE THAT BALL!!!!" He surprisingly wasn't very embarrassed. (Rachel had been teasing him about girls all week.) So we hung out with him on the sports deck, then we went to watch the parade in the Promenade because I like parades.

Sports Deck

I didn't have my camera with me, but this parade hardly counted as a parade. It was more like a show with a very long, narrow stage and funky dressed crew members. It really bothered me that their shoes didn't all match and that some of them were wearing watches. The costumes were pretty good, but they didn't have a uniform look. Just a reminder that it wasn't Disney!

Goodbye, St. Lucia...

Sunset

Sunset

That night was our second formal night... and second Captain's Party. We spent it with Derrick and Jennifer's family.

Formal Night

We had watched these men walk through the dining room several times. The first night we noticed them, they had capes on. Turns out, they were spending six months on the ship. They were always escorted into the dining room by a crew member. They were dressed up very festive for Christmas Eve, so Rachel asked for a photo with them, and they gladly agreed.

I learned later from sbtagent from Drammen, Norway...

The one to the right is a Danish hotel owner living in Malaga, Spain, and the other is his partner, Indian-Spanish. They do not fly, so they started their cruise on November 7 in Malaga, Transatlantic, and they will be back in Malaga in the spring, when Adventure of the Seas returns after the Eastbound Transatlantic cruise. I think they said they would visit St. Thomas 18 times. I spoke to them on the transatlantic. They must have had tons of clothes with them because every night they came down to the lower level in the main dining room, dressed up in new costumes every night, with wigs most of the times. One of the last nights, all the guests applauded them. It was a kind of entertainment to see these to guys arrive after all others were seated, and we waited to see them come down escorted by a female officer.

Christmas

Our tablemates!

Tablemates

NEXT: Day 8 - At Sea