Have I ever mentioned that I wake up at 5:30 am every morning? I usher my husband out the door by 6 am, then my son is out the door for school, and my own day begins. So despite the fact that we are not observing Daylight Savings Time, my natural time clock is waking me every morning as if I were back home. This morning I was up at 6:45 am, which would be 5:45 am back home, so technically I got to sleep in an extra 15 minutes. The view from our huge balcony in our Royal Suite onboard the Celebrity Summit was one of the most breathtaking sites I have ever seen. Clearly this image is the volcano with lush green landscape set below beautiful low lying clouds. Although slightly cloudy, the sky and water are so blue today that I will just ignore the clouds or thank them for whatever cover they bring me today from the sun.
|Breakfast in our cabin|
Once again this morning we are having our room service breakfast delivered to us and having it set up by our amazing butler, Santoso. From the linen napkins to the floral centerpiece, this is a great step up from the tray that is usually left on the coffee table in our room.
|Beulah from Welcome Tours|
After the ship cleared customs and passengers were allowed off the ship. We made our way into the port area in St. Kitts were we easily spotted the beautiful Beulah from Welcome Tours waiting for us. When paying cash for a tour, try to have exact change as it we found it impossible to get change so early in the morning. Our tour today is the historical trail and rainforest hike in Nevis. We made our payment to Beulah and she arranged every facet of our trip to make it nothing short of effortless.
We said goodbye to Beulah and we were whisked off by our cab driver to the ferry. The line was long and wasn’t moving and after a few minutes we discovered why: No one was at the window! The strange thing was that people were completely accepting of no one working the window and yet, no one was complaining. Life in the Caribbean is so oddly different than my own life, but I love it.
Our cab driver gave us the money we needed to board the ferry in Eastern Caribbean dollars. The fare was $25ECD or $21 USD one way per person. You buy one-way tickets each time you board so don’t worry if you ask for a return ticket and can’t get one. You’ll also need to pay a “foot tax,” which was $1ECD and you’ll receive two separate tickets. The smaller ticket you provide before you board the ferry and the larger you hand over when you board the ferry.
The ferry was a typical ferry boat and we decided to go upstairs to have the best view possible. It was an amazing 45-minute ride over to Nevis with beautiful views and great weather that absolutely requires sunscreen. I videotaped the entire ride and hope to be able to have it up soon, but as a time lapse short video.
|Alexander Hamilton’s birthplace|
Upon arrival in Nevis, we were met by Al Forbes who then drove us through Charlestown. He drove us past the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton, as seen here in this picture. Did you know that this first United States Secretary of the Treasury was born in Nevis? Neither did I.
Our ride took us up to our final destination, Peak Heaven. We were greeted by the manager, Kathleen Herbert, and her mother and then Evanston took us off into the rainforest to begin our historical hike. The historic village of Rawlins is elevated 1200 ft above sea-level. The 4.9 acres, affectionately called Herbert Heights, were used by two families for agriculture for hundreds of years. From the Peak Heaven website:
We are located on a gentle slope that descends from a cloud-clapped Nevis Peak in the historical village of Rawlins. A leisurely drive of just 25 minutes from our island’s capital of Charlestown leads you up a winding village road. And just as if you have stepped back in time, you will find yourself on Butt-Butt Road named for the grandmother of the founder of Herbert Heights. Here you will see the first evidence of what is to come. A ruins of a 17 century sugar mill points the way and the vegetation suddenly changes to a tropical jungle. Lush tress such as the Bamboo, Mango, and Palm Tress grace the well traveled dirt road.
|Our guide, Evanston, at Peak Heaven|
Pay close attention to your guide as you wander through the same area that was once a sugar plantation and where slaves were kept to do massive amounts of work on this mountainside. Perched up high on the mountain, they would be able to see when pirates were approaching and they could easily grab their things and ascend up the mountain where they wouldn’t be found. We saw the foundation of a home, where they would have brought the sugar cane up the hillside and processed it into sugar and molasses, and climbed, climbed, and climbed some more until we saw where the slaves themselves would have lived high above the plantation area.
The historical significance of this hike cannot be ignored and the people of the plantation, the Maroons, were brave people. When they spotted pirates, would they have thought about escaping their slave owners? No matter what, they were always looking over their shoulder trying to see who was after them. The one thing they probably wanted most, freedom, was never within reach for them.
There are several different paths along the mountain and your guide will take you up at your pace, be it as slow or as fast as you like. Part of our hike was on unmarked, steep, and extremely narrow soil so I would highly recommend that you are aware of this before you start. Evanston showed us a spot where they had wanted to put in a zipline, but the government opposed it and so they couldn’t do it. It would have been an amazing zipline through the lush, green forest. I do hope the government reconsiders it as it would bring more people to this area where they could come for the thrill of the zipline, but stay to learn more about the history of this island.
|Now that’s a view!|
We made our way back down to the center and looked out over the beautiful water and view. In the distance was Antigua and Montserrat with St. Kitts to our right. This view is easily one of the most beautiful I have ever witnessed in my life and I’m not just saying that. The island of Nevis is small and has an untouched, non-commercialized feel to it that makes it one of my new favorite islands of the Caribbean.
Near the lookout point is the Coal Pot Restaurant, where you can dine on freshly prepared food in an open air setting. There were plenty of seats available for lunch and before our hike we had placed our lunch order so we didn’t need to wait too long to eat.
|Delicious fresh salad|
My son ordered a “local organic beef burger” and my husband and I each ordered a salad. The dressings available included a fresh made mango dressing and it was delicious.
|Homemade local ice cream|
For dessert, we had our choice of mango or guava ice cream and it was so good and fresh and absolutely refreshing! With ice cold water, a cool breeze, and stunning views from all around us, I could have stayed here indefinitely.
|Ferry tickets and “foot tax” tickets|
Al Forbes was waiting for us after our lunch and we jumped back into his van to head back to the ferry. He purchased our tickets and foot tax tickets and then we waited only a short while for the 2 o’clock ferry. The ferry price is the same price going back to St. Kitts, which is $25ECD plus $1.00ECD foot tax.
If you are thirsty or hungry, grab something in the ferry waiting area before boarding because there is nothing for sale on the ferry. We were still full from lunch and wanted to sit back and enjoy the ride back to St. Kitts.
This ferry seemed to move substantially faster than the other one, but I’m pretty sure it was still around a 30-45 minute ride back to St. Kitts. There was no upstairs on this boat, so we sat inside on the main level. The ferry ride first started off quite calm and deceptively slow.
Then the ferry started to pick up speed and water started splashing inside through the open windows. The employee on board started shutting the windows and we got up and moved to the left side of the boat. You can see here some of the splashing that was going on, but it was far worse on the right side of the ferry. Be prepared to get soaked unless you close the windows. Just remember I warned you!
If you’re looking to do a little shopping while in Port Zante, there are quite a few souvenir shops, many of which stock the same merchandise so you can’t go wrong with any of them. There are also several jewelry stores, including the ubiquitous Diamonds International. Personally, I like any store that advertises with a larger than life shark’s head over the entrance.
Our day in St. Kitts had come to an end, which meant returning to the Celebrity Summit to begin our evening onboard. Sitting out on our balcony, we watched the heavenly views of St. Kitts and Nevis fade into the distance behind us. Again I am so grateful for the incredible views afforded me while staying in the Royal Suite. Views like this can’t be found in an inside cabin!
A quick shower and we were ready to go out and so we decided to see the comedian onboard, Tony Dary. Hysterically funny, his show was one not to miss and I am so glad I went. I admit that often times the entertainment on board a cruise is not really to my liking, but I was laughing non-stop with Tony. Here is his bio as it appeared in the Celebrity paper: “He has written and performed on many television shows including NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” ABC’s “The View,” “Politically Incorrect” and “Tough Crowd,” to name a few. Tony is also the rare comedian who can be both inoffensive and gut-bustingly funny.”
|Wild Mushroom Napoleon|
For dinner this evening, we decided to dine in Blu, the specialty restaurant for Aqua Class guests, but since we were staying in a suite, they gladly accommodated us. The dining in Blu is considered “clean cuisine” and it was bright, delicious, and fresh. For my starter I had the Wild Mushroom Napoleon with melted buffalo mozzarella cheese and porcini dust and it was outstanding.
|Almond Crusted Baked Brie|
My son enjoyed his Chilled Maine Lobster Salad with shaved hearts of palm and lemon herb aioli and my husband tried the Almond Crusted Baked Brie with organic pepper jelly. He said he could have had several plates of these as they were incredibly tasty!
|Wild Watercress Salad|
For the soup and salad course, my son opted to order the French Onion Soup from the main dining room and it was cheesy as expected. My husband ordered the Wild Watercress Salad with a walnut bread crouton and black pepper cranberry dressing. This is not your typical cruise food and the variety and presentation continues to impress and delight me. I had the Jicama Salad with cucumbers, watermelon and mint Mojito puree and it was light and refreshing, just like a Mojito.
Entrees were ordered and my husband and I both ordered the Daily Vegetarian course, which today was a Vegetable Tart with shaved Parmesan and Herb Pesto. It was filling and delicious and not heavy, which are all things I like when I know I might be eating a lot while on vacation.
|Roasted California Squab|
Our son was feeling adventurous and with only a little coaxing, ordered the Roasted California Squab with sweet potato gnocchi, spicy sausage, and sage pan jus. Would he order it again? Perhaps in several years when he has a more sophisticated palate. I was just pleased that he ordered it and even tried it. Dessert? Why thank you and yes, I would love the Chocolate Lava Cake so I can roll back to my cabin! Other desserts at my table included Crepes Suzette and Chocolate Cake with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate fudge. Served with hot and steamy coffee, it was a delicious end to a wonderful day.