Last year, we agreed to spend time with our family on a Caribbean cruise this year during our year of travel. Meeting everyone for the cruise was one of the few times and places we pre-set before we started the trip. Along for the ride were three uncles (plus their significant others), one cousin, my mom and stepdad, and KC’s parents. You can read about our time together as a family and on the ship on my Family Cruising post. Below are a few pictures and stories of our time off the ship on the islands. We stopped on the Islands of Puerto Rico, St Martin, and St Kitts on the cruise.
We arrived in Puerto Rico in the afternoon, not leaving much time for daytime city exploration. As a family, we had dinner in the city of San Juan and afterwards, KC and I explored the city on our own.
KC and I caught sunset near the dock, snuck around the old fort after dark, saw the capitol building, and generally wandered the streets. San Juan has an old town feel to it, with the narrow cobble streets and old forts around the city. The old town feel took on a enchanted feel at night time as we wandered around at dark, not knowing where we were going or what was around the corner. Some streets were deserted and others filled with people.
KC was disappointed that the fort was closed by the time we walked up to it, so we tried to sneak into the fort. Sneaking around a 300-yr old fort at night was slightly creepy. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into the fort.
No matter where we wandered in Old San Juan, we could see the ship because it was the tallest structure around. We made it back to the ship with little trouble.
The next day we stopped at the island of St Martin, which I’m pretty sure is my uncle Henry’s favorite island. It’s the only one he talks about when he visits the Caribbean. If St Martin is his favorite island, then Oriental Beach, on the French side of the island, is his favorite beach. He invited the whole family to join him for lunch on the beach, so KC and I spent the majority of our time with him, his girlfriend Nikki, her mother, uncle Carlos, my cousin Mark, and his girlfriend Laura on this beach.
When we arrived, I noticed that KC and Mark were wearing matching neon yellow swim shorts.
My uncle had reserved a shaded area for the family to hang out in and rented a jet ski for a couple of hours. We all took turns on the jet ski, swimming in the warm Caribbean water while we waited for out turn. Also, the bar at the beach made the best pina coladas I’ve ever had with fresh coconut milk, pineapple juice, and legitimate Caribbean rum, making the afternoon even better.
In the late afternoon, the older adults headed back to the ship and KC, Mark, Laura, and I wandered around the streets of Philipsburg, trying different types of Caribbean rum.
We caught sunset from the water taxi, heading back to the ship.
The morning after St Martin, KC and I met up with his parents, my uncle Alberto, and tia Carlota at one of the bars before leaving the ship at St Kitts. Since everyone else seemed to have their own plans for St Kitts, the six of us decided to spend the day together and catch a taxi to one of the beaches, where my uncle Henry was supposed to be that day. “Do you want to tour da island?” the taxi driver asked us. Since driving around the whole island took two hours and costed $20 a person, we decided to do it. The first stop on the tour: a historic plantation that now cells artisan cloth designs.
The six of us enjoyed some beers in the jungle near the historic plantation.
And played in the bell tower
The next stop was a beach with lava rocks that reminded me of the coast along Big Sur in California.
The last stop was the tourist beach. Even though uncle Henry wasn’t there, we decided to stay and order a few buckets of beer to enjoy in the water.
We made it back to the ship before the all aboard. From the top deck, we watched the island disappear into the horizon.
St Kitts was the last stop on the cruise before heading back to Ft Lauderdale.