David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Flavours of Miami and the eastern Caribbean

Christmas lights on a church in the centre of old San Juan,
Puerto Rico.

The Bacardi Distillery, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The free samples were out of this world!

David, June and Bob enjoying yet another glass of cabernet sauvignon following a formal dinner.

Many thanks to Dean & Arlene for this fantastic picture of a typical Caribbean sunset.

Once a plod, always a plod! Miami Beach patrol.

A panoramic view of St. Thomas from a cable car at Paradise Point. M/S Carnival Triumph in the foreground.

School children forming an orderly queue; to use the public restrooms! St. Maartens Island.

A calypso steel youth band playing at the entrance to the port. St. Maartens Island.

Our wonderful fun ship the Carnival Triumph

Our attentive and highly efficient waiters from India on duty in the Paris Restaurant. Special thanks to Mario and his team.

Enjoying a Caribbean cocktail on a white sandy beach on St. Maartens with the turquoise sea and a light breeze to keep me cool!

Caribbean Cruise January 2007

Having just returned from a fabulous holiday in Miami and a cruise of the eastern Caribbean it is time to get back to normal and start posting on my blog once more. The cruise ship was the Carnival Triumph. She is 101,100 tonnes with 2, 750 passengers and 1100 crew. There are numerous bars, restaurants and swimming pools aboard with something for everyone, including Las Vegas style shows and a huge casino. We set sail from Miami and spent the following day at sea. Our first port of call was San Juan on Puerto Rico and I was thrilled to visit the distillery and home of one of my favourite drinks; Bacardi. Needless to say I enjoyed the free samples!

The next day we awakened in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands and could not resist some fantastic duty free shopping in the top branded jewellery stores. We also took a cable car ride to Paradise Point for superb views of St. Thomas. Our American shipmates found it strange that they drive on the wrong (lefthand) side of the road on St. Thomas. However, for us it was the right side of the road because we drive on the left in the United Kingdom and St. Thomas was originally a British island until we sold it to USA, hence the driving on the left. It would have proved far too expensive to change all the junctions and markings to suit right hand driving and so it remains to this day!

We then sailed overnight to St. Maartens and enjoyed an air-conditioned coach tour of the Island. It is a unique place in that it is divided into two halves. One half is Dutch and the other half is French ! The islanders need two cell phones each, one registered in each half of the island, in order to avoid paying international charges when calling someone on the other side of the island! How quaint! We spent time on the beach and marvelled at the turquoise coloured sea whilst enjoying a few Caribbean cocktails before rejoining the ship a little light headed to say the least. There followed two wonderful days at sea as we sailed back to Miami. Sunbathing on our private veranda we did not want it to end, but end it must. Back in Miami the weather was still perfect and we enjoyed more hospitality on Ocean Drive and watched the annual Dachshunds Festival which was delightful. The art deco of South Beach was also a sight to behold.

Upon return to London Heathrow the weather was typically English winter and freezing cold! From sunbathing in Miami on Saturday to switching on the central heating at home on Sunday! All good things come to an end but planning starts immediately for another escape to warmer climes in the not too distant future.

Many sincere thanks to all the officers and crew on board the Carnival Triumph for such wonderful service delivered with courtesy and constant smiles despite all the pressures. Well done!

NB. For those of you concerned about green issues and CO2 emissions in particular, may I say I share your concerns too! In order to make recompense for my frequent use of air travel I donate 10% of my air fare to The Woodland Trust, a charitable organisation which works tirelessly to create, maintain and sustain our woodlands. This in turn absorbs much of the CO2 emissions caused by my frequent flying habits and thus compensates or offsets, to some extent, my personal carbon footprint. I invite you to follow my example. Please visit their website at: http://www.woodland-trust.org.uk but please return here afterwards for my latest postings. As a matter of additional interest all the waste on a Carnival cruise ship is recycled or incinerated. Nothing is discarded into the sea.