Day 58, Tuesday, April 22, At Sea, MS Amsterdam Bridgetown, Barbados

The Crystal Symphony is in Shanghai, China. The Crystal Serenity is at sea from LeVerdon, France to Lisbon, Portugal.

It was the clearest morning we have seen for some time, and although the day was starting to brighten as I went up to the Lido for coffee about 5:20, the moon was quite prominent overhead. By the end of my 1 ½ miles (6 laps) walk we the south end of Barbados was looming on our port side. We picked up our pilot about 7 and lines went out 35 minutes later. The winter season is winding down and it appears we will be the only ship in port for all of our Caribbean calls.

Although my tour didn’t leave until 9:45 I headed ashore as soon as the ship was cleared, about 8:10. Barbados claims free wifi, my experience was a bit mixed. I took a bench soon after entering the terminal and found the service very slow (1/4 as fast as on the ship) and the signal dropped about once a minute. Giving up I enquired at the information desk about wifi in town and he suggested going to the outside benches where the tours left. I found the signal there reliable and pretty quick, but found the reliability seriously degraded in the afternoon with more people on it.

Barbados is unusual among Caribbean islands as the product of shifting continental plates rather than volcanic activity. The rocks are mostly sedimentary with a lot of limestone, and my tour was to Harrison Caves. Named for Thomas Harrison, who owned the land on which they sit in the 18th century, the caves were opened for tours in 1981 and modernized in 2007. They are accessed by a tram system through mostly artificial tunnels dug for easy access. The caves are near the center of the island and about a 40-minute ride from the port.

After viewing a video we boarded the trams for a 40-minute tour of the caves. We mostly stayed in the trams but had a couple of stops where we could get out and move closer for pictures. The caves were interesting but not a lot different from other similar caves. On the way back we got some views of the east side of the island and some of the areas where sugar, bananas, and flowers are grown along with livestock. Barbados has a special species of sheep with no wool, an adaption to the warm climate. We returned to the ship about 1.

The heart of Bridgetown is about a mile east of the port along a seaside walkway. I took a walk in and looked around a bit, viewing markets, a small waterway that appeared to be a river (our guide said there were no rivers), and an arch celebrating Barbados’ independence. I returned to the port about 3:30, spending some time online before returning to the Amsterdam.

All aboard was 5:30 but Captain Jonathan came on a little before that indicating we were ready to leave. He said we would pass the Pitons in St. Lucia around sunrise tomorrow morning. We actually pulled away from the pier about 5:50.

With sailaway later than our 5:30 dinner time I opted for the Canaletto Italian Restaurant. I enjoyed the food although I don’t think the new menu setup with a number of “plates” works well for solos. A bigger concern was there was a table of about 6 right behind me and they were quite loud. I think they would have drowned out the HALcats, and the other section with the 3-year-old girl would have been more peaceful. I was quite happy to leave Canaletto.

The evening entertainment was the finals of this segment’s “Dancing With the Stars” competition:

1: Heidi:Fox Trot:29+15
2: Ellen:Tango:30+10
3: Annie:ChaCha:29+5
4: Tiana:Fox Trot:27
5: Norm:ChaCha:25
6: Asheel:Tango:24

Unfortunately, I thought Gene was entirely too long winded and what should have been a 45-minute action packed celebration of the contestants became a 65-minute marathon I almost walked out on several times.

Today’s parting shot: Congratulations to Heidi, and to all the contestants.


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