Xmas Eve was spent cruising in the seas, en-route to the next port of call, St. Lucia. It was sort of like a short break within our holiday to just chill and do nothing. We had gotten ourselves some books from the mini library and it was just the best time to read them in our room. Sitting out in the balcony with a book in hand while enjoying the gentle sea breeze felt awesome. There were of course a couple of activities on board that the cruise had organised, such as cooking classes and a basketball match but we weren’t interested. The time was also spent on looking at the available tours for the rest of the days and find decide which were the ones we would be most interested. We decided on the next day’s drive-in volcano tour which included a view point to admire the Pitons and made the booking thru the TV.
After watching the sun go down over the balcony, we got ready for the Captain’s reception where by the guests were expected to dress up for the occasion. Because of this, we had purposely bought dress and suit so that we could dress up a little more formal. But we were impressed when we saw people coming in with tuxes and gowns and there were various locations where cameras were set up with a fanciful background to capture the moment – felt like I was attending the Grammys.
There was a special menu – lobster, for Xmas eve dinner and also a little performance put up by the service crew of the restaurant, singing Xmas songs and merry making. We had a wonderful time, together with our well dressed dinner companions in the heartwarming company of the cruise staff.
When we returned to the room, another surprise animal awaits on the bed.
As we awoke the next morning, the ship was just about cruising into the port of St. Lucia. This day was one of those days that we chose to follow a tour instead of roaming by ourselves. We had to meet the tour guide at port at the stated 915am for the La Soufriere Volcano tour that we booked previously. The tour tickets were delivered to the room so we just had to bring these along while we tried to find the right tour guide amongst the a few number of them there, some with signs and some without. There were plenty of cruise passengers everywhere and some joined the same tour as ours and many others joined others. When everyone had arrived, we all boarded a bus and were on our way.
The island was mostly rural and had lots of green covering wide spaces. The town was not as much more developed either, with small buildings lining the street. I suppose many people here worked on agriculture for livelihood, especially the many banana plantations that could be seen all around, and also tourism, being part of the Caribbean.
After passing through a town, we arrived at a location with a good viewpoint of the port where our cruise ship was anchored. The coach stopped for a short photo taking session. There was a view deck built there but was under maintenance and thus we had to take photos anywhere on the side of the road.
Our coach continued onwards till we reached another viewpoint, this time of the Marigot Bay, a gorgeous looking hideaway for many private yachts. From where we were standing, there was a local business selling the famous banana ketchup. There was a table that had all the sauces that were made from banana and samples were available for us to try. It really tasted like ketchup but we didn’t get any in the end.
As we headed towards the volcano, we passed through towns with rustic buildings. No signs of any towering skyscapers and crowds, just a quiet small town.
The Pitons came into view from out of nowhere as the coach moved on higher grounds. Managed to get some shots before going out of sight again.
When we arrived, the skies was getting dark and a slight drizzle was going about. There was a building where we all sat in for some introduction on the La Soufriere volcano. After that, we were all brought to a place where we could see steam and smell sulphur, signs of life of this dormant volcano. It was called a drive-in volcano because the road actually bring passengers all the way through and into the crater, so we were actually standing in the crater of the volcano itself.
The next stop on the itinerary was the Maranatha gardens. The drizzle came back just as we disembark and that affected the walk around the garden. We had to walk single-lined quickly through the plants and not able to see anything much, though there weren’t much to see in the first place. It was a quick walk-about and after that we walked over to the nearby Beacon restaurant for some local bites. At this time, the weather was gloomy and thus impeded the beauty of the Pitons, with the peaks mostly hidden by the clouds. The restaurant was extremely crowded due to many people choosing to take shelter from the rain and many buses actually bring passengers to the same location. Took some BBQ food and bought a drink. It wasn’t great and there was also a rush to finish the food and get onto the bus in addition to the lousy weather, it didn’t turn out like we expected – disappointment.
It was a long ride back to the harbour, without any stopping. Went around the shops near the cruise ship for window shopping and sat at one of the bars to get some drinks, such as the tasty Pitons beer. There were also stalls selling the banana ketchup and neither did we get those there. The views of the calm pier was nice and so we just enjoyed the moment, shooting some photos before we returned to the cruise.
We went up to the top deck of the cruise to look at St Lucia as the cruise ship pulled out from the pier and back into the open seas. The drizzle inland could be seen and a rainbow appeared faintly in the background.
Night time was more or less same as previous, and this time there was an elephant in the room when we returned. It was amazing how they managed to keep the towel origami different each time.