Castries, Saint Lucia was the fourth stop of this cruise. Saint Lucia is very lush, with a lot of rainforests. The soil is volcanic and, in fact, there is an active volcano that you can actually drive to. Not only is Saint Lucia a popular cruise ship port, but resorts are numerous, offering relaxation, romance, and adventure. All in all, Saint Lucia is a great place for a vacation, no matter what you are looking for!
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Coastal Cruise Excursion in Saint Lucia
In choosing our excursions, we tried to keep everything balanced in terms of different types of activities. Exploring on our own, an ATV adventure, a rainforest hike, a green monkey encounter and a coastal cruise.
This coastal cruise excursion visited the Pitons, two volcanic mountain spires rising from the ocean right at the coast. Hiking and mountain climbing are popular activities for land visitors. Viewing the Pitons by boat is also popular due to the dramatic rise out of the water. The excursion departed from the same port as the cruise ship, with the walk between the ship and the catamaran being only about two minutes.
The cruise took us from the port in Castries, in the northwest to the Pitons, near Soufriere in the southwest. We cruised past several fishing villages along the coast and into Marigot Bay, one of the most popular vacation areas on the island.
Marigot Bay is absolutely beautiful. I could definitely spend more time in that area!
Black Sand Beach and Swimming in Saint Lucia
We stopped for about 30 minutes for a swim break at an inlet with a black sand beach. The black sand is a result of the volcanic activity on the island, thus most of the beaches are black sand. While the swimming was nice, the amount of peddling by the locals was somewhat annoying.
I generally am not a fan of swimming in the ocean (or lakes, rivers or any kind of “open water”). I just don’t like anything brushing up against me. It also tends to make me feel very small compared to the vastness of the ocean, which is anxiety-inducing!
The drop-off of the ocean floor where we went swimming was gradual. This allowed me to get to a good depth where I could stand, and thus feel mostly “safe,” yet still be able to actually swim! AND it was overcast, so I was able to stay out in the sun with only a normal amount of sunscreen, opposed to the gallons it would take on a bright and sunny day. Grant and I both consider that a victory since I rarely ever get in the ocean water or stay out in the sun, especially not for nearly half an hour!
After swimming, the crew served rum punch, along with small sandwiches. For good reason, the crew would not serve alcohol until after the swimming excursion. The crew was also selling additional options for food and drink, as well as handmade trinkets. While the snacks were nice, it definitely was not enough for a full lunch.
The Pitons of Saint Lucia
Views of the Pitons were great if a little underwhelming due to the weather (overcast and gray). While we certainly got a great view of the mountains, we did not get as close as I thought we might.
The two spires appear to be right next to each other, when viewed from a distance. In reality, they are on opposite sides of the bay. We did not actually go into the bay, so it is difficult for us to comprehend. We would have really enjoyed getting into the bay to see the mountains close up.
As we sailed past, everyone took turns taking pictures. The friendly staff was happy to take pictures of us, and even joined in on a few of them! While everyone was respectful and patient, it was still frustrating to have to contend with 60-70 other folks trying to take the same pictures we were!
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
We sailed straight back to the cruise ship, along the same route, after viewing the Pitons. The return trip felt a lot longer since we did not make any stops.
While we had some off and on sprinkles on the way to the Pitons, it started really raining on the return trip. This forced everyone under the covered part of the boat. Space was a little tight at that point, but we made the best of it.
The crew kept us entertained with music and dancing. They were definitely having fun, which was great to see.
After returning to the dock, we went back to the ship for lunch, hoping the rain would stop and we could go into town after lunch. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
Since we did not get into town, we can’t give you any specifics about things to do or how to get around. I think that there is some shopping available right at the cruise dock. The walk into town is about 20-30 minutes, according to my research, and taxis are readily available at the dock.
The rain cut our day short, which is never ideal. We did get to enjoy the full excursion, though, so we can’t complain too much! Rain can potentially disrupt any vacation. We only had one day disrupted out of the entire week, so we consider ourselves lucky!
While we enjoyed our excursion and enjoyed seeing the Pitons from the water, in hindsight we may have enjoyed a tour with a land component more. We really do like to get out and be active, so just riding on a boat left us feeling that we missed something. Since the Pitons are a great place for hiking, I think we really would have enjoyed that.
While this may not have been the best fit for us, it certainly was an enjoyable excursion and worth the price. Anyone who is just looking for a relaxing morning or afternoon would certainly like this tour. It is a great excursion for anyone with limited mobility, as there was almost no walking involved. It also is a great option for a big group.
We definitely would like to go back to Saint Lucia. We read about many interesting things to do, such as hiking, visiting Soufriere’s “drive-in volcano,” botanical gardens and mineral baths. And there is no shortage of resorts in Saint Lucia. With all the amazing things to see and do, I could definitely see us spending several days or a week soaking up the sun and enjoying the sights.
And since I didn’t even get my souvenir shot glass, I simply have to return!
For more from our 2016 southern Caribbean cruise, be sure to read our overview, tips on staying healthy on a cruise, pros and cons of staying in an aft cabin and our port reports from Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Saint Kitts, and Antigua.