I am slow in writing up our New Year’s cruise but I do want to document it so I can refer to it later.
This was our second New Year’s cruise and third overall cruise with TravelPride on the Windstar Cruise line. Each time was just as wonderful if not better than the last. (Cruise 1, cruise 2). Most of the ports of call were different than last year:
* The cruise stated at St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.
* Cruz Bay at St. John, USVI. More than half the island is a national park. Visited and snorkeled at Trunk Bay on north side of island.
* Marigot, St. Martin, FWI. Anchored on the quieter, French side of St. Martin. The Dutch side is where the large cruise ships dock.
* Mosquito Bay at Vieques, Puerto Rico. This small, quaint island is the home of phosphorescent Mosquito Bay. This rare and amazing phenomenon is caused by millions of luminescent dinoflagellates lighting up when disturbed by movement. We did a nighttime kayaking excursion. First time Windstar has visited the island.
* Old town, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Windstar has not visited San Juan in over a dozen years. Walked around the walled city and San Cristobal Fort. Sailed out New Year’s Eve.
* Virgin Gorda, BVI. Last year we visited “The Baths” (a collection of giant boulders which form spectacular pools and grottos) and Bitter End Yacht Club. This year we just hung out at Prickly Pear Island.
* Jost Van Dyke, BVI. Anchored off White Bay Beach. Enjoyed the infamous drink “Painkiller” from the Soggy Dollar Bar on the beach.
* Cruise disembarks back at St. Thomas, USVI.
TravelPride staff threw five theme parties. On the first night was a meet and greet “Tag Tea Dance”. Second night was a “Sailor & Seaman Tea Dance”. It was a nautical theme party with the ship’s captain. New Year’s was a Masquerade Ball. Everyone came with some type of mask: leather, feather, drag, or grand design. A “Castaway” party was held on the beach in Virgin Gorda. The last tea dance was a retro-fabulous flashback 1970’s dance. TravelPride also brought along their own entertainment. The highlight again was the storyteller/monologist Miss Coco Peru. We LOVE Coco!
One of our friends on the cruise that also did it last year said returning for another year was similar to going to summer camp as a kid. You get to see all your friends again from the previous year and catch up on what is new and happening in their lives. You also meet and make great new friends. It will be a hard decision if we decide not to do the New Year’s cruise again next year. It has been great fun to have the kid feeling again of anticipating camp/cruise and enjoying the friendships and the sadness of departure.
Next New Year’s cruise will be the west coast of Costa Rica & Panama (Dec 26-Jan 2, 2010). Sounds like it will be similar to the cruise we did with TravelPride back in February 2006. They also have announced a Black Sea Luxury Cruise on the brand new L'Austral on Ponant Cruises. The dates are August 25 through September 1, 2010.