Hopping on a really big boat, part 2


I’m definitely a bit late in posting my cruise stories, but I suppose there’s really no need to hurry up and tell them.

Continuing on our southern caribbean cruise experience, our next port of call was St. Kitts.  As with our first three island stops, high clouds and rain were mostly in the forecast.  But the temperatures were oh-so-nice as much of the rest of the nation was freezing.  As we approached, clouds were gathering around the top of the highest mountain on the island, Mt, Liamuiga which stands at 3,792 ft.

St Kitts
Some serious clouds gathering on our approach to St. Kitts

Since many caribbean islands are cruise destinations, it’s not unusual to see several monster ships docked at any given port.  St. Kitts was no different, and it was cool to see, up close, two huge RCL ships docked side by side – with the newer Explorer of the Seas obviously much larger than our “little boat”, the Jewel of the Seas.

Explorer of the Seas

At St. Kitts we chose an excursion that was something a bit different.  Instead of going to the beach, we headed up into the mountains to participate in a “Cooking Caribbean” class.  It was held at the Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens, some 20 minutes from the harbor.  We enjoyed the beautiful scenery on our way to this 300-year-old estate property, which has undergone a restoration to its grand great house, courtyard and surrounding tropical botanical gardens and outer buildings.

Fairview Great House
Fairview Great House

Built as a plantation great house in the late 1600s, Fairview is now a historical landmark available to tourists, foodies and history buffs.  Before the cooking demonstration began we were given a tour of the house, where we learned about previous owners of the property, life on the island in colonial times and the process undertaken to fully restore this historic gem.

Later, during a break in the cooking, we were led to the botanical gardens where these blooming flowers caught my eye:

We had thought we would actually be cooking our food, but it turned out to be just a demonstration.  The cook was english-born Janice Ryan, who has been living (and cooking) in the caribbean for decades.  We were given the menu and recipes that she would be preparing, and she talked about the various island ingredients she would be using as she prepared our lunch.

Cooking Caribbean
Chef Janice

For those of you who may not know, Steve loves to cook and experiment (on me) – so he was excited to learn some caribbean cooking techniques on this trip.

Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden
A smiling student

Our menu for the day consisted of jerk pork loin, creole fish in a tomato broth, island rice and peas and green banana escovitch.

Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden
Several mirrors on the ceiling allowed everyone a birds-eye view of the action from anywhere in the room

We watched and listened as she cooked and talked effortlessly while answering our questions.  Then once it was plated we savored every morsel of the dishes she prepared. They were all very yummy, especially the creole fish in the spice-laden tomato broth. The perfectly cooked and crusted pork loin with a mild jerk seasoning was tender and oh-so-good.  These were simple dishes, straightforward and very tasty!  The dessert, coconut bread pudding with rum and brown sugar glaze, was divine.  We are hoping to try some of these at home, if we’re able to gather all of the ingredients.

Back at the ship, we had plenty of time before dinner to look for our pictures that the cruise photographers had taken.  You see, they ask all passengers to pose at every port and several times on the ship, hoping to sell the photos for around $20.00 a pop.  We never buy them, but it’s fun to just check them out.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships
Hard to believe that in a couple of hours these two behemoths will be gone and only an empty dock will remain
Jewel of the Seas- Picture Gallery
Picture gallery – it takes a while to find your photos among all the others

Roseau, DominicaAt our next port of call, Roseau, Dominica, we chose the River Tubing and Rainforest Drive excursion.  I picked this one, since I had not yet experienced floating down a river on a tube.  I thought whirling and spinning down some of Dominica’s rivers would be a great place to give it a try.  And it was!  Driving to the river, we learned from our tour guide that Dominica was the backdrop for two sequels of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies – where my favorite man Johnny Depp was the bomb.  We enjoyed the island’s beauty as our crazy driver raced down the coastline on roads hacked out of the mountainside.

Roseau, Dominica
The city of Roseau as seen from the ship

Exotic scenery awaited us at the river, and we were ready for some adventure.  Our tubing guides were there to help us avoid hitting rocks and to keep us moving smoothly down the river.  It was a mostly peaceful ride, interspersed with some mini-rapids and antics from the tubing guides to make it more exciting.  We had a great time but didn’t get any pictures, as we got soaked and didn’t want to risk destroying our camera.

After arriving downriver in one piece, we watched a cultural presentation by the Carib natives that was in progress.  Then off we went again with our maniac driver to the lovely Hibiscus Falls, which was hidden in the lush rainforest greenery.

Carib Native
Traditional dance performed by a Carib native cultural group
Hibiscus Water Falls
One of the many falls here – Hibiscus Falls – not exactly Niagara but very beautiful
Hibiscus Waterfalls

More unusual and beautiful flowers:

Before heading back to the ship, we stopped once again at a local stand to beat the heat by enjoying a rum punch featuring the island’s unique rum.


Jewel of the Seas
Heading back to the big boat after another tough day

At this port, the ship was positioned at just the right spot for a beautiful caribbean sunset.  Oh yeah!


As usual at dinner time, we devoured our delicious three-course meal.  Except for the comedy shows, we usually hit the sack fairly early so we could rise in time to witness the approach to our next port.

Jewel of the Seas, Main Dining room
Table for two in the gorgeous dining room


  1. We were surprised by all the cloudy weather. I guess I figured it was always sunny. The storm clouds over the peaks made for some great views. We never did have a good sunset.

    Yes, they definitely have some good rum punch:)

  2. Hi Mona Liza, oh my gosh (again!). I am blown away by your beautiful photography and your interesting excursions. How neat to have a Caribbean cooking demonstration at that magnificent plantation! And a tube ride down the river and, yes, Hibiscus Falls is quite scenic!

    Can’t wait for part 3!

  3. Trois visages of Steve – A-1 chef, macho man ordering rum punch, debonnair gentleman waiting for his date to join him for dinner. You’re a lucky girl MonaLiza!

  4. Sounds like a couple of fun and diverse excursions! Gosh I love those tropical islands…wouldn’t want to live there, but sure do enjoy a visit! That sign was hilarious!

  5. Love the shot of the clouds over the mountain. Winter is not usually as stormy as summer in the Caribbean. Dominica is mostly a rain forest though, that’s the reason it’s so lush and beautiful, one of my favorite islands.

  6. Sounds like you need a Panasonic waterproof camera….love mine but haven’t had a need to use it in a while. The cooking demo sounds like something I’d be interested in. Wonderful shots!

  7. Hmmm … new ideas for us to consider next time we find ourselves on these islands. Mui would love that cooking demonstration.

  8. What a great trip you are on!!! Cooking demos, botanical gardens, tubing! My mouth is watering after your description of your deliriously delicious sounding dinner. So not fair. And what’s this about you and Johnny Depp? I’m telling! Looking forward to you next installment. BTW, love your header photo (and all the other photos). :D)

  9. That shot of the clouds hanging over Mt. Liamuiga is spectacular! I think I would have enjoyed the cooking demonstration best of all! With your descriptions and photos we might have to consider a cruise at some point.

  10. Even with the cloud forecast, the view still look mighty awesome! So much sights, sounds and tastes for a cruise, eh. Too bad no picture for the tubing thing. But scrolling down more to see cultural dance and a waterfall makes up for it. 😀 And dame, that sun is perfetto!

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