I have wanted to visit the island of Barbados for a very long time, and now finally, was my chance.
Our morning dawned overcast once again, and the clouds stayed all day until we returned to the ship.
The first thing we noticed at the pier was a ship docked near us, called the Ocean Dream. I'd never seen that one before.
We also saw the Serenade of the Seas anchored offshore, and they were tendering passengers over to Barbados.
For the first time on this cruise, we found the port area extremely crowded and unorganized; there didn't seem to be any order to group tours, and everyone seemed to be trying to find a taxi.
We had not booked a ship excursion this time, but James had done some online research for our own excursion in Barbados, and had found a place called The Boatyard. All we needed was a taxi to get there.
There was a long line-up for taxis, and we got in line with hundreds of others. After about 15 minutes in all the noise and confusion, we realized that our line-up was only for island tours or shopping tours, and only for taxi-vans.
Someone finally sent us in the direction of single taxis, and for $10, we had our ride to the Boatyard.
For a $15 admission fee, we were entitled to the use of a beautiful beach for the day, a chair, an umbrella, use of all the facilities, and a free drink.
The very first thing I noticed as we walked on to the beach, was a man lying in the sand, who looked like he had washed up on the shore, and was dead. He wore only black bathing trunks, he was completely prone, and covered in sand which had dried on his face, his hair and his body.
I looked towards the "staff" guys hanging about, wondering if they were lifeguards, why they hadn't noticed this body on the beach, but they were doing a good job of ignoring him. I kept watching the "body" and could see no signs of breathing, in fact, his chest and abdomen were completely concave, as if all the air had been sucked out of him.
I was getting a little freaked out by this body on the beach. It had been at least 10 minutes since I had first spotted him, and there was no sign of life.
All of a sudden, the "body" just sucked in some air, stood up, and walked calmly into the water, washing off all the sand as he went. He went far out, then removed his trunks and washed the rest of the sand off before putting them back on, then left the water and I never saw him again.
I could have sworn I saw the "lifeguards" giggling under the wharf; I guessed that I'd been just another tourist sucked in to believing there was a dead body on the beach. At least I didn't scream!
The Boatyard was a beautiful beach, with a long pier, from which people could swing on a rope Tarzan-style and drop into the water.
There were also water trampolines to jump on and dive off, and an inflatable "iceberg" climbing wall in the water.
Various water sports were available for rental, such as power boats pulling groups of 4 on a sort of inflatable easy chair. Boy, they were being whipped around at an alarming speed!
We enjoyed our day on the beach, clouds and all.
We had lunch and our free drink at the little restaurant/bar which later
became the scene of a wild party, with a bevy of college girls from the Ocean Dream, dancing on the bar and downing shots. The loud music and DJ shouting encouragement soon got annoying, so we hopped on our complimentary shuttle bus back to the port area.
Of course, as soon as we got back, the sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon for souvenir shopping.
The shops were too crowded even for me, so we returned to the ship in time for my afternoon Trivia game.
Our CruiseMates team gave it our best effort, but this time we came in 2nd.
Dinner in the dining room this evening was shared with 3 other couples, and it was fun, the food was excellent, and the dessert was scrumptious! I had this marvelous meringue creation, involving layers of meringue stacked with whipped cream, it was simply decadent!
As soon as dinner was finished, we scampered off to try Princess' special feature, Movies Under The Stars, as this evening's movie interested us - Mamma Mia. We had seen the movie before in the theatre at home and loved it, but something about seeing it on a giant screen, under the stars, on a ship at sea was just magical!
The daytime deck chairs were covered with red upholstered cushions and plaid blankets, and waiters circulated offering popcorn and hot chocolate. It was so crowded this particular night we had a hard time finding a seat, even up on the 3rd level.
We had a great time, singing ABBA songs at the top of our lungs. I'm surprised people weren't dancing on the deck!
When the movie was over, we headed for the Island Night Deck Party at the Neptune Reef and Pool.
"Island wear", ie: bright gaudy colours and lots of palm trees, was the pre-requisite for this party.
We met up with our cabin neighbours Sharon and Andy, and the 4 of us made a very colourful fashion statement!
There was even a contest for the best "Island Outfit", and these two guys won:
The party unfortunately nearly got rained out before it had even started, when a cloudburst sent everyone running for cover. But a few hardy souls stayed on the dance floor, dancing to the live band Voltz, even in the rain.
Soon, the rain died down, and the party continued with audience participation dances like the Macarena and the Electric Slide.
Once again, we felt the CD's assistant and his staff did not do a great job of motivating the passengers and giving everyone a good time, but I enjoyed it just the same.
And that was the end of my first visit to Barbados, and I do hope to go back there someday and see more beaches and some sunshine!