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8th February, 2014

Castries, St Lucia.

The island of St Lucia is just 27 miles long by 14 miles wide and is rich in natural splendour. Its dense emerald rainforest, banana plantations, and orchards of coconut, mango and papaya trees, create the typical image of a lush tropical paradise. The twin peaks of Les Pitons, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rise 2,000 feet high and dominate the island.

We were alongside by 8:00am this morning and once he ship had received clearance from local officials, passengers were able to go ashore. The first tour on offer today was ‘Calypso Island Delight’, a full day tour which took passengers to the village of Soufriere to see the famous sulphur springs with its bubbling mud pools and hot springs. Next they visited the Botanical Gardens with their colourful and unique tropical flora and the impressive Diamond Falls. After a Caribbean buffet lunch, passengers boarded a catamaran for cruise along the spectacular bays before reaching the beach at Anse Cochon. From here passengers had some free time to swim in the clear blue waters, relax or sunbathe whilst enjoying some rum punch.

The ‘Morne Coubaril and La Soufriere’ tour gave passengers a glimpse of the everyday life at a working cocoa plantation at Morne Coubaril Estate. Passengers learnt how cocoa is extracted from the pods, dried, ground and the watched coconut husks being shredded and baked for use in perfume, sops and butter. Passengers also saw the 19-Century mule operated mill that is still used to extract juice from the sugar cane.

The third and final tour on offer today was ‘Rainforest Aerial Tram’ which gave passengers the chance to experience the magic of the rainforest from the best vantage point possible, gliding amidst the canopy of trees and enjoying the cool tropical breeze. An experienced Nature Interpreter will be on hand to point out flora, fauna and identify bird calls.

As well as these shore excursions, we also offered our passengers the chance to visit the hotel ‘Bel Jou’. Those who were interested were able to visit the Bel Jou to have a guided tour and enjoy lunch in the hotel. We also welcomed residents from the hotel on board to have a look at the ship.

At 4:30pm, children from the Dunnottar School Band came on board to give a special performance during Afternoon Tea. The band has been playing publicly since 2009 and performs fortnightly at the ‘Bel Jou’ hotel. They play a variety of music from local Calypso to Reggae and Jazz and several of the students play multiple instruments. The children in this group all have developmental disabilities and playing in the band is an invaluable way to enhance their expression and creativity. The children were very well received and it is always a pleasure to welcome local talent on board for our passengers to enjoy. Even myself and Jo Boase were asked to play along in the band. I was given the marrachas which I must admit after a while, I got into the rythmn!!

The rain held off for this evening and so we showed our evening movie (Cocktail, Starring Tom Cruise) out on the open deck for passengers to enjoy a movie under the stars. In the Britannia Lounge, this evening’s Cabaret Showtime featured the second and final performance by West End Vocalist, Jacqui Scott.

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.