The best perk I ever had as a Travel Agent was a two week Caribbean Cruise that I took with my (then) finance, for only $200 each; I think we were just paying the taxes. If only for that one trip, the job was worth it.
I’m not fond of large bodies of water; I can’t swim. But, I figured I could handle a luxurious, all-inclusive, floating hotel and sink my feet into the soil of eight different ports. I only felt queasy for one day.
We boarded Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Lines’ Nordic Prince in Miami. Our B-deck quarters were cramped with two single beds and a tiny bathroom. At least, with an outside cabin, we had a small round window. Dinner times, tables and mates were set for the duration and we enjoyed the company of our new friends from British Columbia. What they say is true: food is more than plentiful – with outstanding variety and presentation.
Our first stop was in Nassau, Bahamas.
Next, we played in the Dunn’s River Falls after docking in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. And quenched our thirst with a “hice col’ Coca Cola” from a peddler on the beach.
In Curacao, the ‘C’ of the ABCs, or lesser Antilles Islands, was charming with its Dutch influenced architecture. I purchased a crocheted table cloth for my dining room table – and used it, and mended it, for many years until it virtually disintegrated.
My first foray onto S. American soil was less than enticing. Caracas, Venezuela was busy and dirty; garbage was strewn in large amounts everywhere. The country somewhat redeemed itself in my eyes with a spectacular view of Angel Falls.
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands is the place to shop – jewelry stores everywhere. I still favor the pearl and diamond ring that I bought there but the so-called ‘ancient’ Greek coins that my fiancé purchased were later found to be fake. You take your chances …
We docked in Santo Domingo at night and had no interest in roaming the streets in the dark. Daylight would have provided us a more cultural experience in one of the Caribbean’s oldest cities. This was long before the Dominican Republic’s beaches became a popular tourist destination.
A quick cruise to the other side of this shared island, we spent time in the dock at Port au Prince watching young Haitian boys dive into the water for coins. We were told that Haiti was on of the poorest countries in the world.
In Fort de France, Martinique, it was raining and I remember nothing – not sure we even ventured out.
The Nordic Prince was sold for scrap in 2014. I’ve never been on a cruise since. I prefer my all-inclusives to be on the ground. But, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to scoot around the islands in style: an unforgettable adventure for a remarkable price.