Viking Ocean Cruises - From the Caribbean to the Amazon
January 6 - Antigua and Barbuda
Weather high 82, low 71 with some light showers. Map of St John's, Antigua and Barbuda.
The six of us went on the included excursion, Amazing Antigua, which began at 1:15. We walked down the gangplank and along the pier where we met Viking's red-shirted coordinator who led us to our bus. After offloading a couple who thought that our bus was going to an off-road buggy tour, we began our Antigua sightseeing ride. Being a former British colony, vehicles drove on the left side of the road. Our guide was a happy, friendly local woman with a wonderful accent.
Our first stop was at The Blockhouse which is defined as a place of last refuge. We had a wonderful view of the southeast section of Antigua including Eric Clapton's rambling house sitting on point of land over the harbor at Indian Creek. There were interesting remains of an Officer’s Quarters and a Powder Magazine.
Our second stop was at the Shirley Heights Lookout where there was a bar, a restaurant, local craft vendors, a gift shop and an amazing view of English Harbor and beyond. This is a very popular spot where there is a party atmosphere in the evening at sunset. We were there in the middle of the day. Our excitement was demonstration of a reversible doll. To be historically sensitive, this was a site of a British fortification.
Driving slowly down the hill from the heights we entered English Harbor, unloaded and began a walking tour of Nelson's Dockyard. It is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who lived in the Royal Navy Dockyard from 1784 through 1787. There were several restored buildings including two hotels, a museum, craft and food shops, restaurants, and a large marina. There also was a boat that someone used to row across the Atlantic Ocean. We admired the luxury boats tied up at the marina and we appreciated the rum-laced drink that was served as part of the tour. We laughed as a local boy accidentally fell in to the water as his sister giggled. That is when we noticed several small sharks swimming close to the pier in murky water.
Back at the ship, we had our last meal celebration at Manfredi's. Afterwards we went to the Star Theater for our captain's farewell reception and the Viking entertainers' performing their rendition of The Beatles Songbook.