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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 went out to the terminal in Barbados and asked for a cab to Sandy Lane hotel. We paid $20 US plus tip. The spa and hotel are on one side of the road, and the 45 holes of golf are on the other side and down the road.

I was brought curbside to the spa. For a hotel with 112 rooms, I was not expecting it to be so large. I'd seen pics of certain things but not the whole overall picture.

Todd played the country club course alone. He brought his own shoes and rented clubs. They have mandatory caddies, and he had a cart, etc. He shot a 78. The course is very scenic, and he saw monkeys. He finished in under 3 hours. During that time, I had a 90 minute facial and then toured the hotel.

I was impressed with the spa at Sandy Lane. I wish I had booked like a half day there. Normally, I like to spread my spa treatments throughout a trip, but I loved the facial so much that I would have loved to have more done here.

The dressing rooms are very nice and well appointed. The treatment rooms are even nicer. My room had two lounge chairs, and my view was a beautiful fountain. The treatment started out with choice of water or tea in my lounger in my treatment room. Then the facial started, and Judy adjusted a bed that molds itself in all directions to your body shape.

I had a rose anti-aging facial because it was 90 minutes and seemed different than anything I'd done. There were a number of phases, including some ice cold stones that were massaged on my face. The therapist was honest about any questions I asked, and she never tried to sell me a thing.

I toured the facilities, and they have a nice gym, fitness center, etc, and a great water area back there. I was very impressed with the hotel. It opened in 1961, but they tore it down in 2001 and rebuilt, preserving most of the look. Added were modern things, such as a panel that controls everything in your room, even the drapes. I toured a dolphin luxury suite. It had 42 in. plasma in the bedroom and living room, a stereo system, a fax machine, desk, etc. The bathroom had a large tub in the middle, but it was not a jet tub. There was a kitchenette where the mini-bar is customized, as are the snacks.

On the beach, beautiful loungers are set out for each guest daily, whether they show up or not. They have an assigned spot. The beach was nice, and a few waves came up. The beaches are public in Barbados, but it was pretty secluded.

There are a number of pools running around the property, and there are many places to find serenity. The hotel has some meal plans, but they don't have an all-inclusive plan. They are 5 diamond AAA for 2007, no easy feat, and their Conde Naste rating was 91.6 in the last book, though the dining got 77.

Here, you could take the Mustique tour with the ship or some other St. Vincent tours, etc. We chose just to see Bequia. We took the tender over and hired a cab driver for an island tour. He said $25 per hour. We were gone an hour and gave him $32. We saw some scenic points and went to the turtle sanctuary. He did not try to sell us anything extra or anything. It was very nice, and we were able to spend a lot of time on the ship and still got to see some breathtaking sites.

Here they offer nice sightseeing tours. Last trip, Todd had a great golf outing here. You can also get off the ship and go to King's Casino right near the pier or look at the shops. We had day passes for Sandals. We took a cab - $13 going and $11 returning. We walked the beach, had ribs for lunch, sailed a hobie cat and laid in a garden pool on floaties and used the hot tub there. We also observed the Mediterannean Village that is set to open late this summer.

Virgin Gorda
If you haven't been here, don't miss seeing the Baths. We did that last time. This time, they stopped the ship to tender some guests for that and then went on to North Sound and anchored there. We had some more spectacular views. They started tenders at 11.

Lunch was from 12 to 2. They had a bar and service in the chairs for everything from water to whatever. You could stay totally under cover, also. They had burgers, dogs, grilled steak and swordfish, along with a variety of salads, fruit carved onsite and cookies and cakes. They had a vocal group singing Caribbean and adult contemporary tunes. Todd joined the volleyball game. There was swimming and snorkeling if you had your own gear.

Debarkation and Trip Home
We had to have our bags out by 11 the night before departure, whereas on Whisper, it was 11:30 p.m. We were ready at 10 p.m. and then enjoyed a little time on our last night with the ship activities.

The ship got into San Juan before 7:30. They started the immigration before 8. We had put our two large bags out at 10 pm. That left only our small bag to pack. Unfortunately, we did not bring a ziplock baggie and had lots of toiletries.

Our color was orange, and we went for our passports when called at 8:25. At that point, we did not return to our cabin.

We went to the buffet and had a champagne breakfast. Next we went to the panorama lounge where juice, coffee, tea and Danishes were available if desired (or you could ask for something else), and guests could also go to the sit-down breakfast at the main restaurant. Our color was called about 9:45. The last call was at 9:50. By then, we'd said a sad goodbye to Maria, Allesandra, and Chris (the social bunch), and Hermann, the hotel director.

We took a cab back to the airport, which cost $23 including tip. We had an 11:52 flight on American. This went off without a hitch. In business class, they served a choice of enchiladas or hot roast beef sandwich. I had enchiladas, and Todd had the sandwich. We enjoyed them, along with the salad. They did not even have the TV shows for entertainment. Oh, in Puerto Rico, they SOLD us a zip lock baggie for $1. They threw out my dry suntan oil and 4 oz toothpaste gel and did not throw out Todd's 6 oz one. Everything else, they watched us stuff in the baggie that they sold us. Lame.

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