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Bridgetown, Barbados

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

11th February, 2013

Situated about 90 nautical miles east of the Caribbean Sea, Barbados is the only Caribbean Island that didn’t change hands during the colonial times. The first English settlers arrived early in the 17th century and although visited by both Spain and Portugal before, neither kingdom claimed the island.

When the first settlers arrived, the island was covered in dense jungle with a very large population of pigs, which had been left there by the Portuguese as a source of meat for their passing ships. There were no native Arawak or Carib people on the island. They had likely fled or been captured for use as slaves with the arrival of the early Portuguese and Spanish sailors.

We arrived at the pilot station before 7am, just ahead of another larger cruise ship. Much to the consternation of the other vessels Captain we were taken into port first and came alongside our designated berth using the strong winds to push us sideways into position. The berth, also used for sugar, was on the outer sea wall and presented a little difficulty for the coaches whom, after a couple of attempts reversed along its length to save our passengers a long walk.

As soon as the ropes were ‘all fast’ the passengers quickly disembarked to explore Barbados and its surroundings. Bridgetown, the countries capital and port location, is a prime spot for exploring and is deeply rooted in history.

St Ann’s Garrison, which is 308 years old, features many British colonial buildings such as the national cannon collection, a horse racing circuit called Garrison Savanah and a clock tower. Also not far away is The Lord Nelson Statue erected on Bridgetown’s Trafalgar Square in 1813. It is older than the statue and square of the same name in London but was re-named in 1999 to the National Heroes Square in honour of the national heroes of Barbados.

If that wasn’t enough to keep our passengers busy they could also visit Mount Gay rum distilleries, home to the oldest rum in the world. It was first produced in 1703 and is now sold in over 66 countries worldwide! Here the passengers could see the rum making process from when molasses is obtained from sugar cane, to the distilling process with a few samples thrown in along the way.

For those wanting a relaxed day on the beach there was a lot of choice, as you can imagine, including the nearby Boatyard, where a number of the ship’s crew could be found, spending their off duty time jet skiing, swimming or just ‘chilling’ on the sand.

With the strong wing still blowing for our departure we had to take a line from the ports tug to assist us off of the berth, before turning inside the harbour and proceeding out to sea.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.