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Caribbean Cruise: A Touch of Colonial Spain

Author: Host DebbieH103 (More Trip Reviews by Host DebbieH103)
Date of Trip: March 2007

We took our first Silversea cruise in April 2006 on Whisper. That was a voyage out of San Juan. We had a wonderful time -- saw beautiful places, had a great cabin, wonderful food, met other nice guests and staff and relaxed. We liked it so much that we booked 2 other cruises while onboard. One of those was to be in 2/2007. Something came up at work, and we switched to 3/2007, but we kept all of our booking incentives and still had a wonderful trip. This time we were booked on Silver Wind.

Trip and Time in San Juan
I chose American to bump myself over the points I need for a freebie on the next trip, but I didn't realize Todd already had enough Continental points to go free this time. When I was pricing the trip, it was under 400 but then 2 hours later, it went to $600 plus for coach on all airlines. So, I booked the first/business class combo for about $660 each. This turned out to be wise. We had a nice omelet and fruit and biscuit on the first segment, and on the second segment we had edible pizza and salad. They had chicken tenders/pasta, but they gave that to all the kids (many) in business who ate not a bite. Either their parents ate it or it was tossed untouched. They also had hot nuts and hot chocolate chip cookies.

We took a cab to Sheraton. The standard government fare is $19 plus $1.50 for each bag. We had 3 bags. Todd handled most of that since they were heavy. There were about 3 people in front of us to check in. We got to our room at 5:55 p.m. We were given 2 card keys. The room had an electronic safe, a nice armoire with hangers, iron and ironing board, a chest of 6 large drawers, a comfortable king bed with so so pillows, a large TV, 2 sitting chairs, free wi-fi in the room or an ethernet for $9.95 a day, coffee/tea, and also they have a decent sized tub and decent shower. Waffle robes would be nice. This is not the Ritz, but for a night before or after a cruise, it met our needs, and we had a lovely time. The SS terminal is almost across the street.

Todd checked out his March Madness scores while I explored. I found the same trendy restaurants as before - Asian, seafood, steak houses, all infused w/ Latino. I also found an interesting seafood place I hadn't seen with great selections by the item or pound. Lots of places in the section I hadn't discovered before had tables outside. One had great looking spiny lobster.

Next I saw a girl eating cotton candy, so I went in pursuit. I wandered into a street fair where there were candy apples, cotton candy, ice cream and lots of local treats including oranges where they were coring off the peeling and using the inner white peeling like a cup. These were wildly popular. There was a band playing and people sitting everywhere and then a local bar/restaurant at the end. Further up the hill, there were a lot of souvenir stands mixed with pina colada stands and then what else, a Starbucks.

Near the hotel there is a homemade hamburger joint that sells breaded shrimp for $3.50. Also across the street now there is Senor Frogs.

I went to check out the casino and the pool before my walk and then came back for Todd after spending $1.30 on cotton candy.

We got in the hot tub. It was dark, and by then nobody was up there. You walk through a decent fitness center to get there, and they have nice towels up there that you just pick up with no hassle. We sat in there for a long time.

Next, we took $100 each to the casino. We aren't big on slots, but the roulette tables were full. We shared $40 of my allotment, and gave that all to the casino. Next, we played roulette. They have a $2 minimum and $20 max per bet. I turned my $60 into $150, and Todd turned his $100 into zero. So, I made $50 total, and he lost $100. We played for several hours, and they do bring drinks if you want them. It was a great time, I just love roulette and enjoy turning 60 bucks into 150.

Then it was time for a shared burger from Senor Frogs. Don't go there for the prices. A cheeseburger and fries is $11, but one was all we needed. We had that in the room after watching all the games. They were playing Name that Tune and then a game we saw at Beaches Turks where people have to sing a song when they are called until they can't think of anything.

The pool and hot tub are open from 9 am to 11 pm. Checkout is at noon, but they will keep your bags until you can get on the ship. We enjoyed the room and the pool/hot tub until checkout and then focused on getting over to the ship asap.

The Sheraton's $270 internet rate ended up being $340 with the 3 different types of taxes added in. Others might consider El Convento. It is cheaper and quainter but not nearly as convenient.

This was not a port, but we got to spend a few hours seeing it in the day and at night, and some guests even did the helicopter over it (on a separate day). Only about 1/3 of this island is now inhabited. We saw a lot of ash. At night, Todd was fascinated to watch the tiny eruptions and splashes of red.

Sailing on Sea Day
We saw St. Kitts and most of the Virgin Islands one by one as we sailed along. This is the time that it is nice to have a balcony so that you see the postcard before you. Of course, the picture windows are nice, too.

Il de Saintes, Guadaloupe (Les Saintes)
Well, some of my fears about Les Saintes were true. We went to the breakfast buffet and had some hot items and fruits and then ventured on the tender over to Les Saintes. There was one scooter shop that ignored us when they heard the American accent and rented to all the Europeans behind us until they ran out. Next we went to another place, and the woman was cooking in her kitchen and told us she didn't speak English. Finally we found a place that rented us one scooter for 38 Euros for the day. You need your driver's license, and that is it. We shared one scooter. You cannot rent by the hour, only by the day or week. We were told to go to "the garage". This was no small feat since we didn't know and all along the way did not like Americans.

Well, we did get on our way and made our way up and down every travelable road on the island!! We had such a blast and saw every beach accessible. If you are adventurous, this is a DON'T MISS!!!!!!!!!! One of these had a number of topless women, and when we looked it up later, we read it can be a nudist beach. We also traveled up to the fort for great views of the ship. The beaches were free, and some were pretty secluded. At any of them, you could easily bring a romantic picnic and not be bothered by anyone else.

If you did not want to do all of this, you could set out on foot until getting tired and see the fort or the closest beaches. Be aware, some of the island siestas from noon to 2:30. Plan accordingly.

Barbados/Sandy Lane
We only saw the west side of the island because we planned to spend much of our day at Sandy Lane in Barbados. I wrote golf@sandylane.com and spa@sandylane.com after viewing their website.

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