December 08, 2018

That Time I Went to St. Lucia...

I recently visited St. Lucia on an NCL Gem cruise. St. Lucia was the third port stop and we actually went on an excursion!
 

As a promo when booking the cruise, I had $50 credit for excursions which made me more inclined to go on one. I still didn't want to spend a lot of money as it's $50 total for me and Husband, not each, so I looked at the least expensive options in each port...

In St. Lucia, there was an excursion that was only $45pp that sounded like a fun little tour and, bonus, the transportation was on a trolley train!
Pro tip: Don't wait till the last minute to get in line for the excursion or you might get a crappy seat.

We met with everyone on the excursion outside the ship on the dock and then walked as a group through half the duty free shopping area to board the train.


The tour guide was great. The train first headed to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  He told us about St. Lucia and pointed out points of interest as we passed such as a market where we could do some local shopping.

And we passed a weird store that Ron Swanson would love.

We got to the church and were given 8 minutes to go inside and look around.
The entire church was beautifylly painted.
Even the ceiling.

Across the street was a park, Derek Walcott Square, with a fountain and the 400 year-old Samaan tree.
We spent the remainder of our 8 minutes in the park before boarding the trolley again.
The fountain was not currently running.
Back on the trolley we headed for Vigie Beach.

Along the way we passed alongside the airport runway.

I later was able to see the runway from the other end when the ship passed it, leaving the island.

The airport itself was right alongside the beach.

The trolley came to a stop and we all got off and lined up for a small cup of rum punch.

We were then given 30 minutes to relax and put our feet in the water.
I'd completely forgotten that this was part of the excursion, so this was a treat for us.
 
After our time was up we were taken back to the dock. Husband and I were hungry so we decided to check out the Pink Papaya restaurant that was inside of the duty free area (though I believe we paid tax on our food).

The restaurant had a small bar and outside seating.
The menu was a bit pricey but the food was delicious and worth the convenience of not having to walk into town. 

We started with a mango daiquiri and the local fruit juice of the day which was some-kind-of apple. 
Both were really good - the apple wasn't like apple juice we all know and don't love. It was earthy and fresh.

I ordered a jerk chicken wrap and Husband ordered a pizza. Pizza is usually really bad when you get too far from Italy or New York, but the menu was half pizza and the pizza oven was actually pretty legit. 


The chicken wrap was really good. The outside was grilled so the tortilla was nice and crispy.

We were also given a hot sauce to eat with the wrap. It was very spicy but it was quite tasty.

The pizza was surprisingly good.
So much better than the pizza on board the Gem, which is basically not worth eating. 

The guy at the table next to us asked if he could try a piece. At first I thought he was joking... then realized he was serious. I felt so awkward having to actually say "no," but it was OUR pizza! 

He said that he would give us a slice of his when his came but there were some problems with this: a) he had just sat down when our pizza came. So this replacement pizza would be like 20 minutes away. and 2) what if he didn't like it and then didn't want to order one? Then we're just out a slice of pizza. 

He seemed really surprised we didn't just say "yes." I guess generally when you make ridiculous requests like that, people just say yes because its uncomfortable to say "no." 

Unfortunately for him, I'm unable to be bullied. 

Husband had already looked up that there was a place that serves local beer on the other side of the duty free market. 

We walked to the end of the buildings and started to think it wasn't there, but it was just a little way away from the rest of the buildings. 

The bar had wine, liquor and served 5 craft-beers: a stout, pale ale, golden wheat, IPA and a seasonal beer which that day was passion fruit. 

Husband started with the passion fruit beer which ended up being his favorite.

We relaxed by the ocean, working through the rest of the 5 beers (he just sampled two of them) until we had to be back on board. The pale ale was his 2nd favorite.

We made one stop on the way to the ship. There was a penny crushing machine that was different than I'd seen before. 



It worked the same way except that there was a guy doing the crushing, and it wasn't encased as usual. So we paid the man a dollar, and he supplied the penny and with about one crank the penny was crushed and we were on our way.

St. Lucia was probably our favorite port stop on this trip. The beer was excellent, the trolley train was fun and the tour guide was great and we didn't have to walk that far. And I got a crushed penny for my collection! 

We got back on board and sailed away into the sunset.


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