Colors of the Caribbean and a recipe for Arroz con Gandules

The next port of call was Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas.  We did take a brief guided tour of the island by bus so that we could get to Mountain Top, which is the highest point of the island.  It is from here that you get stunning views of Magens Bay, one of the world’s 10 most beautiful beaches (as voted by both National Geographic and Condé Nast Traveler).

Magens Bay is stunning

The Celebrity Eclipse docked in the distance

We were interested in finding foods that St. Thomas is known for.  Fresh fish is certainly one of them and our lunch at a local spot was quite good with chicken and fish dishes served with a bit of a Caribbean flair.

Overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor

St. John, St. Croix and Water Island are very close to St. Thomas

Our last port of call was Philipsburg, Saint-Martin (the French spelling) or Sint Maarten (the Dutch spelling).  This beautiful island, approximately 190 miles east of Puerto Rice, is owned and divided approximately 60/40 percent between the French and the Dutch.  Each half of the country has its own government, utilities, schools, etc.  It has been governed this way since 1648.

The beach in Philipsburg

The town of Marigot on the French side

Agriculture was at one time a very important part of the island’s economy.  They grew tobacco, sugar cane and other crops and most of their own food.  However, once slavery was abolished, the islanders associated these crops with slavery and refused to plant and harvest anything afterward.  To this day, Saint-Martin does not grow anything and they must import everything they eat and consume.  Their only industry is tourism.

Church in Philipsburg

The sail away from the last port of call is always a day filled with mixed emotions as you know that your cruise is coming to an end.  The Caribbean is a beautiful and enchanting place to visit and you can almost always count on that warm, tropical sun and calypso music to brighten your spirits and your day.

Looks like Dr. No’s island of Crab Key!

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