Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Today’s port is Roseau, Dominica (8:00 – 3:30) and we were greeted this morning with a rainbow!
Today’s port was supposed to be Martinique, but the government decided it did not want cruise ships to dock. We had a snorkeling trip planned for Martinique and I tried to get a snorkeling trip for Dominica when it was announced that it would be a substitute port. However, I was not quick enough, and the snorkeling trip sold out. There were not many excursions to choose from today, but I was able to get “Best of Dominica and Scenic Drive. I wasn’t able to copy the excursion description, but it is basically a short tour of the island.
Unlike the last two stops, the government of Dominica said only people on HAL sponsored tours could leave the port area. No independent tour operators were allowed to sell their tours. The only wandering you could do is in the small port area where a few souvenir tents were set up. Why so strict? We were told that Dominica has very limited healthcare facilities and a very low vaccination rate of the residents. However, any tour operator associated with the HAL sponsored tours supposedly were fully vaccinated and had a booster.
We had room service again for breakfast and then went to the pier for our tour. The tour guide said there were 99 people for this tour so we were divided into five 20 passenger vans. At least these vans had little wider seats than the other vans did.
It was déjà vu all over again – winding roads up and down mountains, left side driving, passing each other with a “beep and go!” I don’t know how much more my heart can take. Our tour guide was very good. She gave us a lot of information as we watched the scenery and didn’t mind answering any questions that we had. We were a curious group. She was able to answer the big debate – Duh-mi-ni-kah or Dom-i-nee-kah (answer at the bottom).
We drove through Roseau and part of the Botanical Gardens.
The first actual stop was Morne Bruce. This large mountain with its panoramic view used to be the spot for the garrison that was built by the British to protect the island from the French. The garrison was closed in 1854 and the cannons were removed. Most of the buildings were torn down. I was glad the day was clear so we could see so much.
The next stop was a small restaurant/gift shop. Since all 5 vans stopped at the same time, it was good that they had two bathrooms for women and one for the men. Still had very long lines. We were also served a passion fruit punch. It was okay. I still preferred the guava one from the other day.
I really enjoyed photographing the little bird that was having a nice time picking at the papaya. He had no fear of me. He was happy that he had that big piece of fruit all to himself.
We were back on the ship by 12:30. It was a short tour but a nice introduction to the island. Maybe we will get to go back some day and snorkel.
We decided to try the Grand Dutch Café for lunch. It serves Dutch-themed food and desserts. The food is complimentary. If you want coffee or alcohol, you pay extra. We both ordered the Dutch Pea Soup and a Ham & Gouda cheese sandwich. We ordered a cream-filled chocolate pastry to share.
My food came out quickly. Unfortunately, Chuck had to ask twice for his food, and I had eaten all of mine before he was finally served his food. I thought the food was very tasty but not sure what happened with the order. HAL usually doesn’t have this type of snafu.
Chuck decided a long nap would be perfect this afternoon. I used the time for downloading and reviewing photos on the laptop. Since we will be snorkeling at the next two ports, I will trade my DSLR camera for my waterproof camera.
We decided to eat at one of the other upcharge restaurants tonight – the Tamarind. The Tamarind is an Asian-inspired restaurant on some of the HAL ships. We have never eaten there before but we love Asian food. A bonus is that as four-star mariners, we get a 50% discount on the meals at the upcharge restaurants.
Our reservation was for 7:00. We arrived a little early so we were seated at the bar. Their drink special was the Cucumber Mojito. It was refreshing but a little on the sweet side. I think I like the Cucumber Sunrise served at the Alchemy Bar on some Carnival ships better though.
The Tamarind is located on the 10th deck (Panorama deck) overlooking the aft pool on the Lido deck. We were seated near a window so the view of the pool and the stars was nice.
Chuck had the Satay Sampler and the Wasabi Beef Tenderloin. I had the Lobster and Shrimp Potstickers and the Crispy Duck. We both had the Jewel of the Seas soup.
The food and its presentation were very good. But the length of time between each of the three courses, I thought was excessive. At times, I felt forgotten and was getting antsy. It didn’t help that the restaurant was crowded and then a group of ship’s officers came in so a lot of waitstaff attention was diverted to them. I hope this service was just a fluke because I would like to try the Tamarind again someday. I just don’t like spending two hours eating a meal.
Because we didn’t get out of there until 9:00, we were late to the comedy show and had to watch the comedians by leaning on the balcony from the upper floor. There were absolutely no seats to be found. I guess everyone who had floor seats must have gotten there at 8:00. There was a new comedian tonight for the first show: Bud Andersen and then he was followed by Flip Schultz who had new material in case you saw him earlier in the cruise. I thought Bud’s routine was funnier.
Still think they should have had the comedians perform on the main stage. They were showing two movies in there tonight: Downhill and then The Misfits. Never heard of either one of those movies. I would be surprised if they had better attendance than the two comedians had.
I went back to the room to get our snorkel gear ready for tomorrow. Chuck went to do battle with the slots again.
Tonight’s towel animal is an elephant.
The answer is: Dom-i-nee-kah
Tomorrow – St. Thomas, USVI
Dominica is its own island in the Caribbean, technically a part of the Lesser Antilles. It is not the Dominican Republic.
The Commonwealth of Dominica has been an independent country since 1978; the currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar and the official language is English.
Dominica has the second-largest boiling lake in the world. Boiling Lake is one the most famous places on the island. It was discovered in 1870, and it’s technically a flooded fumarole in a volcanic crater.
Dominica only has four amphibians —and one of them is the giant ditch frog, or “mountain chicken.” It’s one of the largest in the world, is only found in Dominica and Montserrat, and it’s so iconic, it made it onto Dominica’s official seal. Also…it tastes like chicken but is no longer eaten as it is endangered.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006) and some scenes from the third film in the series, At World’s End (2007) were filmed here.
Dominica was named by explorer Christopher Columbus after the day of the week he sighted the island in 1493: Sunday – or Domingo in Latin.
Dominica is home to the largest indigenous population in the East Caribbean. Around 3,000 Kalinago (once referred to as “Caribs”) still live in Dominica.
Dominica’s national symbol is the Sisserou parrot, a rare bird indigenous to the island.
Dominica is home to nine active volcanoes, although there hasn’t been a major eruption since 1997 and before that in 1880.
In Dominica, there’s a river for every day of the year – 365 in total.
Roseau is the capital and largest city of Dominica. It is a small and compact urban settlement, in the Saint George parish and surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, the Roseau River and Morne Bruce (mountain).
There are six secondary schools in the city as well as eight primary schools. A community college, the Dominica State College, is in Roseau. There are two private medical schools, All Saints School of Medicine and Ross University School of Medicine, and two private universities, Ballsbridge University.
NBA basketball player Garth Joseph was born in the town on August 8, 1973.
*Trivia provided by Wikipedia, Holland America literature, and the Dominica tour guide.