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St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

November 12, 2010

We woke on Halloween morning to find our ship safely anchored in the harbor of Frederiksted, St. Croix. We quickly dressed, ran up to Deck 10 and the Waterfall Café and ate a quick breakfast—we were eager and excited to explore St. Croix. We called Dave and Darlene to see if they wanted to join us but they had already disembarked.

The night before, our stateroom attendant, Marites, placed an informational packet on our bed describing the excursions that were available on St. Croix, the activities on the ship, and other useful information. There was a “Spooky Bingo” game being held in the game room on Deck 4 and a golf putting tournament on Deck 11. Never mind. We opted to explore St. Croix rather than stay aboard ship and we would do so on our own rather than to buy an excursion. Not taking a ship’s official excursion is a gamble, however. There was a section on our activity sheet that read “All Aboard 5:15 p.m. Important note: If you do not return before departure time, it is your responsibility to make arrangements to rejoin the ship.” I had visions of being stranded on St. Croix and hiring a helicopter to transport us back to the Summit.

We disembarked and walked down the long pier. In the distance we could see groups of people and small sidewalk vendors selling souvenirs. As we approached the Visitor’s Center we noted that Frederiksted seemed to be a bit quiet on the Sunday morning. We wandered around for about a half an hour before we knew we needed to either return to the ship, or go to Christiansted, on the other side of the island. Apparently, Christiansted was the ‘hip-hop-happenin’ place to be’, so we got in line for the shuttle that would take us to the other side of the island.

As we approached the ticket agent, I noticed that she was eating something small and yellow that looked like a ping-pong ball. “What are you eating?” I asked. “Guava” she replied. At the word, by mind drifted to the island of Kauai and the guava we enjoyed there—big guavas more like the size of a softball and ruby red on the inside. “I’ve never seen a guava so small. “ I said, as if I was the guava expert. “Where did you get it?” She told me a friend at work has a guava tree and he brought some for her. “Would you like one?” She asked. Ignoring all of the recommendations of our travel nurse on eating fresh fruits and vegetables on the islands, I chimed, “SURE!” She gave me one and I took a bite. It was not as sweet as the Kauai guavas, but it was delicious.

We rode in the van to Christiansted with a group of 8 others and found that, indeed, this town was much more lively than Frederiksted. We went to Fort Christiansvaern. A Danish fort built in 1749 to protect the small town from pirates, hurricanes and “slave riots”. Apparently the Danes settled some of the Caribbean Islands and the fort where we were walking was one of only 5 remaining Danish forts in the Caribbean. It has been designated as a National Historic Site by the Department of the Interior. The most interesting thing I read was that the former U.S. statesman Alexander Hamilton had lived there.

We then walked through the town and remarked at the covered sidewalks gave an interesting illusion.

We soon found ourselves at the Fort Christian Brew Pub, located near the fort on the boardwalk. The brew pub was in a festive Halloween mood as evidenced by their decorations. Mike ordered a brew pub sampler and for the next hour or so we sipped some of the island’s finest brews.

Fort Christian Brew Pub gets scary

Fort Christian Brew Pub

There were 5 beers in the sampler: Honey wheat, Czech pilsner, American light lager, a stout and an Octoberfest. Mike thought the honey wheat was a little heavy on the honey, but he said it had an “interesting collision of flavors.” The pilsner had a beautiful golden color and nice finish. The Octoberfest was caramel not only in color, but also in flavor. It was my favorite. The stout had a light body and a slightly burnt caramel flavor—similar to Guinness. The American lager was very flavorful with a strong malt presence. We headed back to the van when we finished the beer—I didn’t want to be late and ‘miss the boat.’

When we got back to the ship, we were greeted by crewmembers who offered us a cold washcloth and ice water or punch. We made our way up the gangplank and through security then dashed to Deck 10 for a late lunch.

That evening, in the dining room, many of the passengers were in costume. There was a Halloween party scheduled for 11:45 on Deck 11 but we never made it to the party. We were sound asleep by 10:30.

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