Sunday was a great day for a sail/beach day since nothing was open in Barbados. We docked in Bridgetown, Barbados at 8AM, but there was an issue that Celebrity didn’t disclose, and we were only allowed out at 830AM. This was making it a little tight for us to meet our outside tour operator, Tiami, at 845AM, especially because there was an unanticipated 15 minute walk from the ship to the cruise port. Upon getting to the terminal, we saw no one waiting there for us. We started to ask around about Tiami, and where we might find them. Other tour operators were very helpful, but nobody was sure where we should go. We ran in to someone who previously worked for Tiami, and he went out of his way to call the Tiami office, where they said to look for a person named Kayann. We looked, to no avail. 845AM came and went, and pretty soon we decided to latch on to a recommendation to try walking all the way to the entry of the Bridgetown, Barbados cruise port where there was a security check point for vehicles, another 5 minutes away.
Once on the other side of that gate, we still saw no sign of Kayann, or anyone representing Tiami, so we continued to ask around. Again, everyone was really helpful, but knew nothing. We decided to check with one of the taxi stand attendants and I called the Tiami office again through Google Voice using the TEP cellular service, and put the guy on the phone with the Tiami representative. In the end, Tiami asked us to take a taxi to the main office, which was apparently just around the corner. The guy who had helped us out was able to take us, and made a few bucks for his trouble (and also got paid by the Tiami office for his trouble). Kayann was apparently a no show. This was the only time we booked an off cruise-ship tour where it didn’t go perfectly.
Tiami made up for it though, and it was literally smooth sailing (pun intended) from there. We apparently had plenty of time, because the catamaran didn’t leave until 930AM. Check in was smooth and fast, with minimal waivers and paperwork needed. We found ourselves relaxing on the boat by 915AM and found a good spot inside, and watched others board until we took off. At first we thought that maybe the catamaran was too crowded (there were probably 40 total passengers and crew on the catamaran), but it turned out to be just fine – with plenty of places indoors and outdoors for people to be. And once we anchored and the swimming and snorkeling began, it became even more spacious.
Pulling away from shore, we saw another good shot of our ship.
On our sail towards our initial snorkel spot, we saw some fancy beach villas and they mentioned Rihanna stays nearby when she comes (she’s from Barbados apparently). The country was nice, the people were friendly, but the landscape was pretty flat and boring. We liked St. Lucia (and soon to be Dominica) better for the more interesting topography, but Barbados was the most laid back and friendly. We got some nice pictures along the sail.
At our first stop, we snorkeled with a green sea turtle. Unfortunately, there was only one, so you can kind of imagine a group of 20 snorkelers trying to follow one turtle. I felt a little bad for the turtle. But, our highly professional guides brought little snacks to entice the turtle to follow him so we could easily stay on his trail (and he got something out of it too). We had to wear life vests is we decided to snorkel, but didn’t have to if we just wanted to swim – another one of those illogical island safety conundrums. The vests made the snorkel a little clunky, but it was probably the best snorkel experience I ever had because I had a very functional mask (for once) and the water was calm. Brendan gave me a lot of shit in the beginning when I was complaining about my first mask – turns out it was broken, and one of the guides was able to replace it. Luckily I was able to short-circuit that before hitting the water. Ingesting too much water and becoming nauseous was usually the spoiler to previous snorkel experiences.
Our next stop was another snorkeling stop to check out a coral reef. I decided to stay on the catamaran net and lounge, tan, and read, while of course Brendan jumped in to cool off.
On our way to the final stop, Tiami also served lunch and continued to lavish us with cold beverages, like rum punch and mimosas. The crew was wonderful and the drinks and food were actually quite good. Lunch consisted of breaded flying fish, chicken thighs, rice and beans, cheesy pasta, vegetables, coleslaw, salad, and chocolate cake.
We continued on to our final stop, which was near a beach. We could swim, or even go to the beach. Brendan jumped back in and I stayed on the boat again.
It was really a lovely day – our routine alternated between swimming, snorkeling, eating, drinking, reading, sunning, and occasionally checking the internet through our TEP – and there was something for everyone.
We made it back to shore around 230PM. A taxi arranged by Tiami took us from the tour center to the cruise port (since the transfer was included), and pretended that he wasn’t paid. We told him to work it out with them, as they were taking care of it. Ultimately, we just left. He was obviously trying to get paid twice.
We spent a little time in the cruise port mall looking at souvenir, and ultimately bought a sea turtle wine stopper and a turtle magnet. Later, we discovered that the wine stopper was too small for a wine bottle. Oh well, at least it was pretty.
Back on the ship, we sucked down some internet, very slowly, before the ship departed at 6PM. We did a lot of gymnastics at different locations on the ship to figure out the best place to get signal for the TEP. Oddly enough, the best place was on the interior of the ship on deck 10, in the library, near our room. It also worked passably well in the Aqua Spa Café area. There wasn’t any rhyme or reason to it, and the only thing we could guess was that there might have been signal blockers around the port, and potentially signal amplifiers by the ship’s own equipment which was funneled in the center.
We also had some fun with the lawn chairs on Deck 14 at The Lawn Club.
We skipped the show that night, since it was yet another singer of throwback music. For dinner, we tried out the Sushi on Five, a specialty restaurant on the ship. It was a for-fee and a la carte restaurant, but it was a great change of pace and really good. The service was some of the best we’d had. I ordered sake, but only paid for two glasses. The waiter was again confused about the fact that we didn’t have a beverage package, and kept pouring me more sake unprompted. I was not quite sure what I was going to get billed for in the end, but as usual it worked out in my favor. Brendan tried a few of the house cocktails, which were unique and tasty. We would definitely eat at Sushi on Five again, and it was a nice ethnic break from American and European continental cuisine offered everywhere else.
We closed off the night with some gelato and cookies, per “the uzh”. The next day would be an adventure tour we booked last minute through the cruise ship in Dominica, and fortunately wasn’t too early.