Day 4 – St Barts
We wake feeling rather fragile….I cant think why! Probably all the cocktails last night… Oh joy, the note beside my bed reminds me that we have jet skiing at 11.00am!
Well you know what they say – no rest for the wicked! After a hearty breakfast and numerous cups of coffee, we make it for our introduction to jet skiing. I’m starting to question if this is the wisest idea based on my thumping headache, but the sports marina guys just laughs at us and tells us we will be fine! Who knew they were totally right, what a way to blow the cobwebs away! SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!! Once I got used to it I couldn’t resist pushing it to go as fast as I dared, which was quite fast I’ll have you know….I was full of adrenaline by the time we finished, just 30 mins but oh my what fun!
There is also paddle boarding to enjoy, but we felt that we had exerted ourselves enough for one day. In fact, we didn’t even head back into St Barts, we had a lazy afternoon up on the pool deck with the lovely Milly looking after us, what bliss.
I woke up to an ever so slightly “not” virgin cocktail that Milly had made me full of ice and I have to say totally refreshing. She then brought me my favourite snacks and I sat on my sun lounger watching the birds dive into the sea to feed in the wake of the ship, amazing!
Tonight we have dinner with new found friends and again all rave about the food – really the dining is an entertainment in itself. So much enjoyment and we are only on day three. We have more drinks in The Cove, getting to know the fantastic Craig who seems to have no ends to his talents on which instruments he can play simultaneously, and also which songs he knows as the guests repeatedly request their favourites.
Day 5 – Antigua
I think Antigua has to be my favourite island…I’m not sure why as all the islands are lovely, it just has that Caribbean charm and also ancestral history that make a great combination. After a day off and not doing any tours, or indeed anything really, we are full of beans! The ship is bustling this morning as everyone seems to have the same idea and is booked onto the various tours.
We chose the complimentary Island Discovery and Nelson Dockyard Tour. Once again we are in just small groups, there was no more than 8 of us, and we headed off in our transfer off to explore with our guide and driver, whom in themselves were entertaining in their Caribbean banter – our driver was Mr P and I loved the way our lovely tour guide lady said his name in her Caribbean accent!
We headed first across the island to the main port called St Johns, where all the big cruise liners dock; such a contrast to our lovely bay where we are nestled in a cove just off Falmouth Bay…if we wanted to we could have walked to Nelson Dock yard. We bumped into Craig whilst shopping in the busy markets of St John’s and he mentioned that tonight was the PARTY up on deck. He joked with me and asked if I have my maracas ready… he should know not to joke with me… feeling inspired I found a perfect pair!
Back to the tour… we are both pleased to be leaving St Johns, far too hectic, though we did manage to get some bargain shopping! We headed up to the very top of Falmouth Bay where the battle was constantly fought against the pirates, and then down into Nelson Dock Yard. I really liked it here, they have managed to keep the colonial charm whilst giving it a great touristy vibe of lots of nice bars, restaurants and shops. We were in two minds to stay for lunch, but as the ship was docked so close it made sense to head back to our lovely yacht for lunch and a freshen up and then head back out again. We walked to Parrott beach from the ship, it wasn’t too far and it was nice to get a brief bit of exercise. The beach was lovely and the sea was warm, and as I say Antigua has a great vibe about it. We stayed and had sun downer cocktails in one of the many bars in the harbour, but we decided the cocktails were not as nice as Millie’s, and the view wasn’t as good of the sunset as you get on the back of Crystal Esprit….so we headed back on the tender!
We had dinner outside tonight, and it was great looking out to the view of Antigua’s twinkling lights. You can have dinner outside every night if you wish, if weather permits, and again as we were in Antigua until late in the evening, we thought it made sense to eat outside and enjoy the view! I’m not sure if it was the atmosphere of eating alfresco or if Adam had indeed excelled himself, but tonight’s meal was magical; smoked wagu beef to start and lobster as our main, all accompanied by the finest wines and followed by a cheese board and dessert wine!
Feeling suitably full, relaxed and happy, we head upstairs to join the party – which I’m pleased to say is in full swing! It’s not long before, yep you guessed it…. the maracas came out!! Jen looked at me in despair, but what did she know, within 10 mins they were being handed around the group and everyone wanted a go!! We had such a great night, it felt like the whole ship was in the mood to party. Craig was on great form, as were the bar crew, whizzing up all the cocktails. It was one of the guests birthday and he was travelling with all his family, we all had a great time!
Day 6 – St Kitts
I can’t believe it’s our last day how did that happen ?!
We are finishing with a bang though, as today we have chosen to go zip lining through the jungle. I didn’t realise how big St Kitts is – as ever our driver for our party of 4 is chatty and informative and he explains all about the history of the island. The zip wiring is held in an old sugar plantation which in itself is fascinating to visit. However we have a zip line to contend with, so after a safety briefing we get on the back of a truck and head up up up and up some more!
I LOVED it!! What’s not to love….amazing scenery, monkeys and adrenaline a plenty! I didn’t want this morning to end, I think you can still hear the echoes of my screaming now!
Ray, whom is one of the fabulous waiters, joined us today – there is always a member of Crystal team on the shore excursions to make sure everything runs smoothly. He advised us that we weren’t going to make it back in time for this ships departure to the Four Seasons resort but that’s ok as he had arranged for the transfer to detour to the beach to meet the ship! It’s his last day, as he is off back home to South Africa and we enjoy chatting to him about his time on Esprit. It is obvious that the team onboard are like a small family or maybe that should be large family. This really relays over to guests in the manner that they look after you and make you feel part of that family too.
After enjoying our last lunch on the ship (it’s an emotional day of lasts!), we change into our beach gear and head on the zodiacs to the jetty of the Four Seasons resort where we are greeted with a complimentary cocktail. What a fab way to spend our last afternoon relaxing and sipping cocktails. After our little adventure we are a few paces behind our fellow travellers whom all seem to be in fine form enjoying their last day and forging firm friendships. It’s been such as great trip, everyone has been delightful and it’s really great fun travelling with like-minded travellers, and if you do fancy a day of escapism there are plenty of places to chill out and be alone. It really is the perfect combination and I would highly recommend this experience.
At dinner tonight we sit with our friends Anthony and Crystal; as usual we can’t decide on what to eat so Milly serves us an array of amazing food. Anthony wanted steak tonight which wasn’t on the menu but in true Crystal style this was not a problem. The wine is flowing… though not too much as we have to pack; nobody wants to leave and I’m over the moon at how many guests have spoken to the Crystal Hostess about re-booking for the Adriatic and beyond. It is testament to how great this little ship and her crew are. Many guests couldn’t believe that the Adriatic was already full for this summer. The great news for us Brits is that Crystal Esprit is returning to the Seychelles next winter which is also turning out to be very popular.
Day 7 – Debark St Martin.
I’m wondering if I tie myself up and refuse to leave they will let me stay on…I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE
This is has been the best cruise experience I have ever been on. Even on the last day as we say our goodbyes they have arranged every little last detail – a day at the beach in St Martin…but first to bounce us out of the feeling sorry for ourselves mood, we go 4 X 4 buggy driving around the island. There were lots of activities you could choose to do on the last day to keep you busy but this seemed more up our street and it didn’t disappoint.
We then transferred to the beach resort and hotel which was lovely and I only wish we had all day to hang out here but alas we have a flight to catch back to a very cold LHR. There was an adequate washroom area to shower and change into our flight clothes; it felt strange pulling out my jumper and coat.
And all too quickly we are at the airport, Crystal again making it all so easy for us – it’s going to be a shock at the other end!
Who would like Crystal Esprit? Anyone who appreciates excellent service and amazing food that easily compare to any top end Michelin restaurants. And from couples looking for relaxation to small groups of friends and families with older / grown up children as it has a young at heart feel.. and if you’re travelling solo, what a great way to travel and meet new people.
On our trip we had just that mixture. It’s also just worth noting that we had a number of guests on a plant based diet and Adam and the team were amazing at catering for their needs, so good to know if you have dietary requests. There was always plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.
If you want to chat to me about my experience then I’d happily share any information, I could seriously go on and on and on about how great this experience is.