This was the last port of call on our trip around the world. The red line remaining on the map is the two days to Ft. Lauderdale followed by the three days to New York City for those getting off in the Big Apple.Saint Barthélemy is an overseas collectivity of France; one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean that comprise the French West Indies. Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the island in 1493 and named it after his brother Bartholomeo. Settlers came in 1659 and began to grow tobacco and indigo, but the islands main income came from smugglers and priates en route from South America to the Bahamas, who took advantage of the islands strategic location and well-protected harour to repair their ships and stock up on provisions. In 1784 the King of France traded the island to Sweden for trading rights in the Baltic without even consulting the people of St. Bart’s. In 1878 Swedish King Oscar II put sovereignty to a referendum and St. Barts was handed back to France.
Tourism has steadily grown over the last 30-40 years but St. Barts is still an exclusive and luxurious playground for the wealthy and famous.
We had selected an ATV ride around the island but the tour provider went out of business. The same company also offered our second choice so that, too, was a no go. Consequently we took the tender to shore and walked up to the lighthouse, all through town, around the marina and to a lookout hill on the other side. It turned out to be a lovely, restful day with warm sunshine and soft breezes. The last tender back to the ship was at 4 and we set sail for Fort Lauderdale at 4:30. May 10 was Mother’s Day. We do not usually have formal nights on port days but that night was our final fancy-dress event of the cruise.
The Wait Staff farewell was a big parade around the two levels of the diningroom with everyone singing and twirling napkins. As happens at the end of this type of holiday, for the next two days everyone took photos of new friends, exchanged addresses and emails, expressed thanks to crew staff and finished packing their luggage.
Our Dining rooms servers André and Agus. These guys took very good care of us for four months. Absolute sweethearts.
Our Wine Steward Cesar who often managed to find John a Guiness, and our Cabin Stewards Totok and Taufik, who gave us fresh fruit every day, created wonderful creatures with towels on our bed every night and never forgot anything we asked of them. Terima Kasi (‘Thank you’ in Indonesian)
Although this wonderful voyage was coming to an end we were already planning our next adventure. We picked up brochures on the 2010 Grand South America and Antarctica cruise (now booked for 2018) and also the 2011 Grand World Voyage that we were considering booking the first leg of to get us as far as Sydney Australia with the intention of getting off and touring around for a few months before finding another ship to take us back to Vancouver.
As it happened, we did not sail in 2010; instead we spent two months in Hawai’i – 30 days on the Big Island and 30 days on Kauai’i. The 2011 cruise to Australia we did do and, when the mood strikes I plan to write a blog about that trip. We took 45 days to get to Australia, via the west coast of South America, the South Pacific and New Zealand. We then spent two months going around the eastern half of the continent before sailing 30 days home again via the South Pacific and Hawai’i. It was another great adventure!