Cruising the Eastern Caribbean

 

 

Our cruise aboard the Celebrity Mercury departed Baltimore Harbor traveling Chesapeake Bay and entering the Atlantic Ocean at Norfolk, Virginia.   Sailing time to the Eastern Caribbean was three days each way and we visited five island ports.   The islands are in the Eastern part of the Caribbean Sea at the edge of the Puerto Rico Trench adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, located east of Puerto Rico, and are situated among the island nations that thread south toward Venezuela, South America.   

 

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  

Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  St. Thomas has a population of 51,700 and is located forty miles east of Puerto Rico. With the Caribbean Sea washing one shore, it has the Atlantic Ocean to the north.  

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Our ship arrived in Frederikstead and we also visited the other town of  Christiansted.   The island is  the southernmost of the Virgin Islands with a population of 55,000 and an area 83 sq mi.    Inhabitants are known as Crucians and English is the most common language.  We toured the Cruzan Rum factory and sampled the rum.   Once a part of the Danish West Indies, the United States gained control of the islands in 1917.

Basseterre, St. Kitts

Our ship arrived in Basseterre, St. Kitts which has a population of 41,000.   The island of Nevis is two miles across the channel and make up the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.

As the other islands that depend on tourism for its major source of income, St.Kitts is also known for its design and manufacture of beautiful fabrics at the batik factory.   I had a great time Zip Lining through the heavily forested areas on the island.

St. Johns, Antigua    

Antigua is an island in the West Indies, in the Caribbean, the main island of the country of Antigua and Barbuda.   Antigua means "ancient" in Spanish and was named by Christopher Columbus. The island's circumference is roughly 54 mi and its area is 108 sq mi.  Its population is estimated to be 86,000.   It boasts its beautiful sandy beaches claiming one for each day of the year.    We visited Long Bay beach and English Harbor where Lord Nelson dropped Anchor.   Today Nelson's Dockyard has been restored and is an excellent tourist destination.    We also visited Devils Bridge, a natural wonder.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Philipsburg, St. Maarten is on the Dutch side of the Netherlands Antilles located on a narrow stretch of land at the Great Salt Pond.   A short drive to the French side is St. Martin, took us to the city of Marigot, which has a beautiful marina and boardwalk.    Tourist shopping and beautiful beaches are  everywhere.

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Mercury

 
Sunset as the Celebrity Mercury  sails from Baltimore Harbor into the Chesapeake Bay under Key Bridge

 

Celebrity Mercury in port

 

Celebrity Mercury (on the left below) is small compared to these ships

The ships in the two pictures above include the Celebrity Mercury to the far left, the Disney Magic next and then two huge ships the Norwegian Epic and the Celebrity Eclipse.  The latter three ships are truly mega ships holding about 4500 passengers each.   With Celebrity Mercury leaving the fleet, newer ships are large capacity floating hotels.   The future of cruising being larger ships, smaller trips.   

 

 

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

 

The harbor at Charlotte Amalie and our ship, the Celebrity Mercury.

Local fauna at the mountain top.

 

Sky lift to the top of the mountain
Cactus plants on the mountain top

 

  St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands  

Rum vats and barrels and the cooling process...our visit ended in the tasting room where could taste as much rum as we wished; and the remains of sugar processing plants on the island that were used to make the rum....

Magnificent shoreline and bays are home to the many marinas and boats; the towns are quaint dating back centuries to the earliest settlers.

 

  Basseterre, St. Kitts  

Clockwise from above left: Zip Lining through the forest;

two views of the rum factory that remains and is today the site of the Zip line runs;

Alan's final Zip Line run;

the fauna we experienced hiking through the forest;

a downtown street in Basseterre

and the first settlement site on the island of St. Kitts.

 

  St. Johns, Antigua   

Devils Bridge...a natural bridge where the ocean breaks under the bridge;

Long Bay beach ..one of many beautiful beaches...that surround the island

Scenes of Nelson's Boatyard at English Harbor...a beautifully restored settlement first established by Lord Nelson and which now has an inn, restaurants and gift shops;

and a local street in St. Johns close to the pier where our ship was berthed....shopping is always available.

 

  Philipsburg, St. Maarten  

The Celebrity Mercury docked in Phillipsburg, St Maarten...the Dutch portion of the island  However, we spent most all of our time in the town of Marigot, St. Martin...in the French part of the island.    Together they share a small island but life is very different and separate, except for the tourist shopping.  All the scenes above are from the French section of St. Martin.