Southern Caribbean: Bridgetown, Barbados

Monday, December 6, 2021

Our port today is Barbados (8:00 – 4:30). The only other time we have visited Barbados we went snorkeling because the water around the island is known for an abundance of sea turtles. We were not disappointed. We were surrounded by sea turtles. Today, we were going to see the other animal that the island is known for – “the green monkey.” The Holland America (HAL) tour is called “Green Monkey Eco Discovery.” The website description is

About the Excursion

Leave the port and travel inland through the center of the island, alongside sugar cane fields and peaceful villages. As you skirt the east coast, enjoy the rugged beauty of the landscape and the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean. This area is a National Park.

Turn inland and gradually ascend until you arrive at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, situated in a lush natural setting. Stroll freely through a primary monkey sanctuary, viewing the Barbados green monkey at close range. There are also deer, wallabies, otters, and tortoises living here. Don’t miss the large walk-in aviary where many exotic birds are housed.

Return to the harbor via the west coast, often referred to as the Gold Coast because it is home to a number of famous and wealthy residents, as well as the island’s finest hotels and restaurants.

Pass through Speightstown in the parish of St Peter, as well as Holetown — the landing site of the first British settlers in 1627. Speightstown is the second-largest town on Barbados and was once known as Little Bristol. It was eventually named after William Speight — the Member of Parliament on whose land it was built.


Wildlife sightings are likely but are not guaranteed. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Participants must be able to navigate uneven ground comfortably.

Our day started with coffee and bad news. We got our disembarkation papers in the mailbox. So soon? I feel like the cruise is just getting started and they are telling us how we are going to leave. Our flight is not until 2:00 on that Sunday so at least we can be in the last group to leave the ship.

This excursion is one of ours that got a time change. We were supposed to leave at 9:30 but now it is not leaving until noon. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the later time. We have reservations at the Pinnacle Grill tonight – the ship’s steak house – at 6:00. We won’t be getting back until about 4:00 so I will be hurrying to get cleaned up and ready for the reservation.

However, it was nice to have a dining room breakfast without hurrying. We then relaxed on the balcony and watched what was happening at this port. It is an industrial port so there were a lot of cargo ships in port with us. Holland America provided free shuttles from the port to the terminal to help ensure people wouldn’t get hurt walking through this busy port.

The cruise director made the same announcement that she made yesterday – the government would allow government-sponsored excursions as well as HAL excursions but no independent wandering. Also, do not wear any clothing that has a camouflage design. Only Barbados military can wear camouflage clothing. I remembered this rule from the last time we visited.

Once we arrived at the terminal, we found our tour director and were soon packed into another cramped van. I guess they bought from the same dealer who sold the ones in Saint Lucia. We also had the same type of driving experience – winding, narrow roads with left-side driving. Ugh.

Our tour guide was very informative as we drove through different towns.

Thought it was interesting that this local chain restaurant ran McDonalds out of town. Our tour guide said that it was a chicken restaurant and chicken is much more popular than beef in Barbados.

Our first stop was a place named Bathsheba because all the wave foam supposedly reminded people of the milk bath that Bathsheba was said to have been taking when King David saw her.

Our next stop was the wildlife preserve. They timed it just right so we would be there at the 2:00 feeding time.

According to the literature we received, “The Barbados Wildlife Reserve, established in 1985, is focused on the conservation of the Barbados Green Monkey. It is situated on four acres of natural mahogany forest. In addition to the Green Monkey, there are also tortoises, peacocks, reptiles, and Brocket deer. Except for the reptiles and some of the birds, the animals are free to leave the Reserve at any time. The animals are wild so do not touch or feed any of them.”

There were many meandering wooden and uneven brick paths in the Reserve but they all converged on the feeding area in the middle of the Reserve. We certainly didn’t have any problem spotting and photographing the animals. What you really had to be careful of was not tripping over them as they had no problem getting around your feet.

We were scheduled to leave at 3:00 but we didn’t leave until 3:15 as one person in our group got on the wrong van and the tour director had to check all the other vans to locate her. She didn’t even realize that all the other people on the van were not in her group. I think the tour guides are going to have to carry flags or banners to wave. Apparently, we can’t follow directions.

As the tour description mentioned, we headed back to the ship through the high-end district of Barbados. Lots of upscale restaurants and high rises. Our tour director pointed out the Villa that the singer Rihanna purchased for $22 million. She grew up in Barbados. I was more interested in the congested traffic that was making the drive back to the ship very, very, very slow.

The ship had the shuttles waiting for us at the terminal to get us back through the port to the ship. The ship pulled away from the dock promptly at 4:30 and I started getting ready for our dinner.

The Pinnacle Grill is one of HAL’s upcharge restaurants. As part of our booking promotion, we each received one free meal at the Pinnacle for this cruise. Chuck had the crab cake appetizer, Lobster Bisque, and 16 oz ribeye.

I had the Clothesline Candied Bacon appetizer, Lobster Bisque, and King Crab legs. I had to pay a little extra for the crab legs but since we were getting the rest of it complimentary, I splurged (and ate them all before I thought to take a photo – they were that good!). We split a serving of asparagus. We passed on dessert even though the cheesecake did look amazing.

Once we finished dinner, we had several activities to choose from – Rum Cake Tasting, a set from the Rolling Stone Rock band, NFL game on the Lido pool big screen, or the show on the main stage.

We chose the main stage show. It was called Off the Charts and featured the two piano players from the Billboard Onboard dueling piano bar, the dancers from Step One, and the lead female singer from the BB King band. The show centered around famous singers from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I thought the best two singers were the lead from the BB King band and the male piano bar performer. They both had powerful voices and great stage presence. I didn’t think the dancers added much to this performance.

The ship had a lot of wave action tonight. I’ve been taking my Bonine so it didn’t affect me. However, we did make it an early night as we have an early excursion tomorrow.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that our laundry had been returned this evening. We just sent it out this morning. Since we have achieved 4-star mariner status with HAL, we get free unlimited laundry services. We send it out all dirty and wrinkled and we get it all back clean and pressed and wrapped in tissue. So nice.

The towel animal tonight is a dog, I think.

Tomorrow – Dominica

Travel Trivia*

Bridgetown, Barbados

Barbados was first called Los Barbados, which means ‘the bearded ones”. The country owes its previous name to its fig trees and their long hanging, aerial roots. This prompted Pedro Campos, the Portuguese explorer to name the country Los Barbados, because the trees from afar looked like they had beards.

Barbados is known as ‘the land of the flying fish’ because of the abundance of flying fish in its waters.

Wish I would have seen one of these fish.

Barbados has the world’s third-oldest parliament. It has been in operation since 1639.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and information from Holland America.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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