Windward Paradise: a day in Castries, St. Lucia

St. Lucia sail-in aboard Silversea's Silver Spirit. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

This morning, dawn broke over Silversea’s elegant Silver Spirit in much the way you’d expect it to, with the warmth of the Caribbean sun bouncing off the spotless decks and white superstructure as we slowly sailed into the port of Castries on the island of St. Lucia.

Our Pilot Boat guides the Silver Spirit in. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Like many Caribbean islands, St. Lucia’s distinctive look and feel have been shaped by centuries of war, sun and hurricanes to become the lush and oddly wind-swept island it is today. Outside the cities of Castries and Soufiere, the island’s most iconic symbol may very well be The Pitons, two massive twin peaks located on the southwest coast of the Island that rise to nearly 1 kilometer above the ocean floor.

After a relaxing breakfast on the patio of La Terrazza onboard the Silver Spirit, we took part in one of the shore excursions offered on Voyage 5210: a 3-hour Segway Tour that travelled up to beautiful Mt. Pimard.

On the roll: Kim tests out the Segway in Castries, St. Lucia. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I’ve always admired Silversea’s shore excursions for two reason: I like and appreciate that a member of the ship’s crew comes along on every excursion, and I’ve also admired the quality of the tour operators that the line chooses in each port.  Today was no exception, as we were whisked from the sweltering pier in air-conditioned comfort to the Segway Centre operated by Lucian Style Experiences.

Along the way, our Segway tour stopped at a variety of picturesque points. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Now, I’ve never set foot onboard the two-wheeled Segway X2 before. In fact, only one person in our group had, but this wasn’t a problem as ample time was spent learning how to safely mount and dismount the Segway before taking them out for a spin on the centre’s training track. By the time we finished training 30 minutes later, my fiancée Kim had the hang of it, though my long legs were going knock-kneed on me and resulting in some decidedly ungraceful maneuvres!

Beautiful Rodney Bay as seen from the Segway. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

From the practice track, we set off on a thrilling tour around St. Lucia, stopping for photos and snacks in and around Rodney Bay. Fresh local fruit was served near a spot that is notable for its breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea and its historical significance.  Here, abandoned bunkers built for the American Military during World War II still sit recessed into the cliff face.

Oops! Getting all fixed up after a small fall. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

But this tour was notable for the amazing service given to each and every one of us by our two local guides. Kim was trying to get her Segway up an incline when her left tire caught on an oversized rock. She wasn’t able to correct it, and did an amazing tuck-and-roll move in an attempt to fall off and get away from the still-moving machine.  It was a minor fall that only saw her elbow cut, but our guides treated it with peroxide and got it looked after.

Real aloe oozes out of an aloe leaf - amazing and thoughtful, too. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Once we returned to the centre, they noticed Kim was suffering from a rather severe sunburn she received yesterday morning. Disappearing for a moment, they returned with a giant leaf from an aloe plant and proceeded to cut the leaf and drain the aloe from it and apply it to her skin.  I even tried some on my own sunburn, and was amazed at how soothing it was – far better than anything bought in-store.

It’s that kind of dedication and service that made Lucian Style Segway such a fantastic experience, and it’s easy to see why Silversea chose to offer this great excursion!

After returning to the Silver Spirit, we enjoyed a late lunch outdoors (but in the shade!) on the La Terrazza Veranda before relaxing in our amazing Silver Suite. Guest Relations even phoned to see if it was alright to send someone up to fix the Jacuzzi tub, when we didn’t even know there was a problem!  Our expert butler, Roland, caught the issue this morning and within ten minutes, the tub was operational again.

Setting out on our great adventure: Silver Spirit departs St. Lucia at sunset. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

If going ashore isn’t your thing, here’s just a peek at what’s happening this morning and afternoon aboard the elegant and beautiful Silver Spirit:

  • 7:00AM: Morning Walk with Personal Trainer Rikus – Jogging Track (10)
  • 8:30AM: Silversea Quiz – Library (7)
  • 10:30AM: Coffee Chat with an “Artist of Silversea” – Panorama Lounge (9)
  • 4:00PM: Afternoon Tea is served – La Terrazza (7)
  • 4:45PM: Team Trivia for fun and prize points with Cruise Director Don – Panorama Lounge (9)
  • 5:30PM: Boot Camp (high-intensity training) with Personal Trainer Rikus – Jogging Track (10)
  • 5:30PM: Sundowner Cocktails with DJ Oskar – Pool Deck (9)
  • 5:45PM: Golf Putting Competition – Deck 10 Midship

This evening, the Silver Spirit departed St. Lucia with a purpose: she turned away from the island and set a course due east, bound for our next port of call: Porto Novo in the Cape Verde Islands.  Even now, as the Silver Spirit races into her first few hours of Atlantic cruising, there’s a sense of energy in the air, as if this very moment has been anticipated by both passengers and crew alike.

Setting a course for the Atlantic Ocean, Silver Spirit increases her speed and begins a voyage with a purpose. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

This is my very first crossing, and the first thing I noticed was how brilliant the stars are at night. This evening is different from your normal evening at sea; there are absolutely no man-made lights to be seen. The other difference is in our speed itself: gone is the leisurely 10 knots with which we sailed between Bridgetown and St. Lucia, replaced with a speed closer to 20 knots.

Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

I’ve always wanted to do a trans-oceanic crossing, but I think it’s worth mentioning that Kim doesn’t exactly share my enthusiasm. The thought of being in the open ocean scares her, and frankly Silver Spirit is filled with a mixture of guests who have crossed before and go on about the joys of long days at sea, and with those who are apprehensive about their first crossing.

But in typical Silversea fashion, Kim’s fears have been allayed through the gracious actions of Paolo Percivale, Silver Spirit’s friendly Italian Hotel Director. He invited us both into his office throughout the day, and inquired on us when we came back onboard, genuinely concerned for Kim and wanting to ensure she had an enjoyable day.  Other crew members have also offered their support for my fiancée and her concerns, which has been a great comfort to her and has meant the world to me. In fact, calling these great people “crew members” seems hardly appropriate, as they go above and beyond constantly for each and every guest. They are the heart and soul of this ship and indeed the line itself.

For me, Silversea is the only line I’d ever consider taking Kim on for such an adventurous voyage.

Enjoying an evening show aboard the Silver Spirit; there is no shortage of activities to enjoy on this excellent ship. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

So if you’ve always been curious about a transatlantic crossing, I’m here to present both my view and Kim’s view as we sail across the Atlantic Ocean.  Will five days at sea be too much?  Will the transoceanic experience transfix her as much as it has held me captive? Only time will tell.

But between now and our landfall next Thursday, I do know this: we’re all in exceptionally capable hands, bound for the adventure of a lifetime.

The beautiful Silver Spirit, docked in Castries, St. Lucia. Photo © 2012 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report from aboard Silversea’s elegant Silver Spirit continues tomorrow, as we sail the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Porto Novo, Cape Verde. Our days at sea will give us more time to report on Silver Spirit’s public spaces, with new rooms and decks highlighted each day!


 

3 Responses to Silver Spirit Live Voyage Report – Day 3

  1. Vanny says:

    wow… aloe straight from the source… very impressed! What a great post!

  2. Anita63 says:

    Segway looked like a blast!

  3. Kim says:

    The aloe was wonderful and I have fully recovered from my Segway mishap

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