The Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Sea cruises the Southern Caribbean. We chose an itinerary on this ship because of the number of ports visited and because it left out of Puerto Rico, one of our favorite places.
We flew into Puerto Rico a day ahead of sailing so we could enjoy a few hours at the gorgeous beaches of Isla Verde. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard, an OK hotel with a great beach close to the airport. (very close to the airport actually, We ducked when planes took of and landed!)
The ship boarded in the late afternoon and we were lucky enough to tag along with Sharon and Steve as they boarded with the suite guests. They had a great room, but more importantly, they had the concierge! We brazenly took advantage of his services throughout the trip, getting dinners booked, trips planned and even a guitar delivered to the room for Dave to play.
Our first port was St. Thomas. We’d all been there before so agreed to head directly to Magens Bay for a beach day. It was as spectacular as we’d remembered, the sand soft as powder and the aqua water warm and inviting. We headed back to town early so Sharon and Steve could get some shopping done. (next time we’ll stay at the beach and let them enjoy their shopping)
Our next stop was St. Kitts. Here Dave and I decided on separate excursions. Dave was excited to tackle the Volcano hike up Mt. Liamuiga. I thought I’d stick to a relaxing catamaran ride. My sail started at 1 so I decided to visit Romney Manor, famous for its gardens and batik, Caribelle Batik. I’d read that they’d be taxis to share at the ship’s dock, but I waited fruitlessly for other takers. Finally I decided to take a cab alone. Less than five minutes later I was regretting this decision as I was led to a rickety car with a questionable driver. But the driver was friendly and the car held up for the ride through the countryside of St. Kitts. Romney Manor was even prettier than described. I walked a bit around the property and then headed back in time for my catamaran ride. It was a little strange being alone on this excursion but the boat’s crew were extremely kind and it was a blissfully relaxing sail.
Meanwhile, poor Dave was having the hike from Hell. The tour group had waited for a few no-shows which cut their time by almost an hour. Thus they decided to turn the strenuous hike into a dangerous charge us the mountain. Nearly half the participants dropped out before the top. Dave persisted but came back bloody, sore and thoroughly exhausted.
We joined Sharon and Steve for dinner and drinks by the piano bar. We’d been a little disappointed by the show the evening before. The pianist was great and happily took requests. We sang and laughed all throughout the evening.
Sea day followed. Relaxing and peaceful…
Aruba was the next Port of Call. Steve had arranged for a hotel room at the Marriott resort. We took a cab over, got beach chairs, floats and colorful drinks. Lunch by the pool where I alternated watching birds and iguanas.
The next day was a Bucket List day. We were in Curacao where we’d signed up for swimming with dolphins. I’d been excited about this and Dave was humoring me, but the experience surprised us both. The dolphin enclosures were huge with the ocean only a small sea wall away. There were 5 of us in a large lagoon with 2 dolphins. We tread water calmly letting the dolphins get used to us, then we began to interact with the magnificent animals. They responded to our commands and took us for rides. It was absolutely amazing.
We were back in time to walk into town and enjoy the beautiful town.
Each evening we met Sharon and Steve for dinner, followed by drinks at our ship hangout, the piano bar. We had a few dinners at the specialty restaurants, where the highlight was the Mississippi Mud pie! I tried to stay on track with my diet but the Mud Pie was too tempting… as was the sherry at the piano bar!
A great trip with Sharon and Steve!