We dock in the colonial town of St Johns, Antigua just before 7am. Adventure of the Seas follows us in and moors alongside us and P&O Britannia which was already here before either of us. We breakfast in the main dining room with a view out over the town. We have been here once before back in 2005 when we spent a week in Antigua. Our hotel was situated in the south east corner of the island but we took a day trip to St Johns one day. Ironically there were cruise ships in port that day and Serenade was one of them. Having seen most of the island on our previous visit we decide to just venture into St Johns today to do some sightseeing and shopping.
As we don't have a tour to meet we take our time getting ready before heading ashore. We are docked at Heritage Quay and there is an array of souvenir and gifts shops as soon as you step ashore. Plenty of jewellery and watch shops as well. We look for some souvenirs to take home and in one shop spot these colourful, lacquered wall decorations in the shape of fish and other marine animals. We bought a similar one in Curaçao last year and had been on the look out throughout this trip for these but had seen none until today. Thinking we might see them cheaper elsewhere in town we explore the rest of St John.
As we move about we are constantly harangued by taxi drivers and tour reps asking if we want a taxi here, there and everywhere. Cafe owners shout and try to entice us in with the promise of free wifi. We ignore and continue on our walkabout. We venture into the Redcliffe shopping village which is full of more quality boutique shops that sell some gorgeous arts and crafts, their air conditioned coolness a welcome escape from the high humidity in Antigua today.
Having found no other shop selling the fish we want we head back to the shop we saw them in and purchase a little turtle called Joe along with another plaque that says 'drama queen lives here', we may need to move the s from the end of lives to the end of queen I think.
Having seem most of the town we find a small bar with an elevated veranda for some local beers and a good view of the ships in port. From there we head back onboard. In retrospect we should have planned on venturing out a bit further to see some more of Antigua. We had forgotten how small St Johns was and how quickly we would get around it. Still we had plenty of space in Windjammer for lunch and a whole afternoon to relax onboard before we set sail at 4pm
We leave on time and before the other 2 ships. We sail out past some beautiful beaches, again reinforcing my thought that we should have visited one of them. We are soon back on the open seas with Antigua fading in our wake. The deserted island of Montserrat is visible to our south, destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 92 I think. We are then passing by St Kitts and Nevis on our port side as we turn and head northwards. We have two days at sea now before we dock back in Fort Lauderdale on Friday morning.
We dine in Chops Grille tonight. The meal as always is very good. My steak was a little more medium than the medium/rare I ordered but still delicious. At the end we order dessert. I simply order ice cream and Peter some cheesecake. His is delivered by three people. As they approach I can see that a candle is in the cheesecake and they have piped happy birthday in chocolate on the plate. We politely inform them that it is not his birthday, or mine for that matter. A few days ago I had a letter in the cabin wishing me a happy birthday cruise??? Some administrative error there I think.
We leave and head to vintages for a glass of wine. The aerial show is taking place in the centrum called Aquatronic and so it is very busy. As soon as it ends the crowds disperse but they start playing 70's music on the lower deck and so we head down. Peter gets involved in the conga led by one of the village people. YMCA is a Royal Caribbean mainstay when it comes to entertainment. In a party mood we head to the Vortex nightclub...which is dead. So we just enjoy a glass of wine there before heading back to the cabin.
I venture out into the balcony. Orion's belt sits high above us, Rigel and Betelgeuse, pinpricks of white and orange by turn are surrounded by a myriad of other stars. The full moon casts its milky light out over the sea, the wave tops glinting in its lunar glow. There is a soft cooling breeze as I sit on the balcony for 20 minutes or so just absorbing this unique perspective. It's beautiful and serene.