What I was most excited about on this cruise was that it had a lot of stops. The downside of that, though, is that you have to find things to do in all the ports. I do a lot of research before a trip to try to find quality things to do, and I struggled to find out what to do in St. Kitts. My husband, growing up, was a huge fan of Sid Meiers’ Civilization, and had spent a lot of time “attacking the fortress” so his one request was that we visit the Fortress.
I checked out the forums on Cruise Critic, and what I found was a highly recommended tour from Thenford Grey, so I booked that one. It’s a bus tour of the island, so you get an in-depth tour of the city, a stop in the Romney Manor and the Caribelle Batik Shop, a stop at the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, and then a few hours at a beach resort.
Overall, this was a nice tour. It starts by zigging and zagging through the city of Basseterre, where you see everything from the post office, their local KFC franchise, churches, and the tour guide even points out local people and what they do. It was nice, but it did get a little boring (both my kids fell asleep.) You also get a lot of the history of the island.
While this isn’t the poorest island in the Caribbean, it’s definitely got some poverty issues which you see as you tour the city. It’s not as nice as the St. Maarten port, but I find a lot of value in taking my kids to these areas. It’s important for them to see how people live in other countries, and that the Caribbean, while awesome, isn’t all sunshine and beaches.
After the city tour, we headed out but pulled over to see some views where the guide pulled something off a tree and asked us if we knew what it was. My daughter guessed it was a tree nut, and she was right. He broke open the nut and pulled out a fresh almond for her.
The next stop was Romney Manor, which is the home of Samuel Jefferson, great-great-great grandfather of President Thomas Jefferson. It now houses a Batik studio, where artists produce fabrics using the batik print method. We got to see a demonstration of how Batik is done, then walk around the manor, an we enjoyed a Carib beer there.
From here, on to the Fortress. You go back up and through some switchbacks, through some very tight turns, to get into the fortress. From here, you can walk around, see the fort, and explore. This fortress was built on Brimstone Hill, a high point on the island, so they could see intruders coming to attack. Most of the work was done by slaves. It was a neat fortress with great views.
From here, we drove on to a beach club, where we could get food/drinks and play on the beach. The day was mostly overcast but the sun did come out for our beach time. After a few hours at the beach, we rode back to the port area where I spent $20 to take a photo with a monkey.
At the pier, there are a lot of men walking around with little monkeys on their shoulders, looking to hustle the tourists. And I probably shouldn’t engage with this kind of predatory tactics, but man, I really wanted to hold a monkey! And on the flip side, the money I spent ended up going back into the local economy, and that’s something that I think has value. (Or at least, that’s what I’ll tell myself.)
It was a nice day. Not my favorite island of the ones on this trip, but we enjoyed the day.