Friday, May 6, 2011

Cruising By Postcards

Well, as many of you readers know , my lovely Teena and I were on a 14 day Caribbean cruise last month. Being the postcard collector that I am , I made an effort to post myself and a few others a postcard from every port of call . Now that all the cards I sent myself have finally arrived , I think it's time to have a look at them in this update. This will be much like what I did after our first cruise through The Panama Canal last year. So without further ado, here is a Caribbean cruise seen through postcards.

We boarded the Grand Princess on 28th March at Port Everglades, Florida. Our first port of call was to be Oranjestad, Aruba , two days and 1088 Nautical Miles (Nm) later. Of course , shortly after departing I managed to pick up a postcard of The Grand Princess, which I would mail in Aruba. Here are the stats on the ship. We arrived in Oranjestad around 0800 on 31st March. So ashore we went to see the sights and of course to find a post office. We picked up a few postcards and later found the post office. My lovely Teena posted one card to me , showing the Natural Bridge, the most popular tourist site in Aruba. This natural bridge is the result of the constant pounding of the ocean waves. Teena used 2 definitives from a set of 14 issued over 3 years beginning in 2007. I posted 2 cards in Aruba including the one of the ship which you can see here. I used the same stamps that Teena used. The final card from Aruba is this one, which when I saw it , I just couldn't resist. The stamp collector in me just had to buy this one. The comment on the front says "ran out of stamps" , perhaps someone was trying to mail her home. My comment on the back said " This is the best stamp alBUM I have ever seen in 45 years of collecting". I used a low value definitive and 1 of 4 stamps issued in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics.

We left Aruba at 1800 and sailed 102 Nm to Willemstad, Curacao, arriving 0700 on 1st April. Curacao, newly independent, after the breakup of The Netherlands Antilles on 10 Oct 2010. We went ashore, walked across the famous floating pontoon bridge and explored Willemstad. I really liked Curacao and wouldn't mind going back for a week or so. Yes, I found the post office and dropped a few cards in the box. The one I sent myself shows the brightly colored and beautifully designed buildings of the city. The stamps I used include , on the left , the first issue from the new Curacao. It was issued on 10 Oct 2010 and celebrates their New Constitution. The stamp on the right was also issued in 2010 and is a Netherlands Antilles definitive stamp from a set of 10 featuring fruits. At least at the time I was there the old stamps of the Antilles were still valid. Luckily at this post office I was able to purchase the first stamp of Sint Maarten and also of Caribisch Nederland, the other 2 parts of the old Netherlands Antilles. A bonus indeed.

So we leave Willemstad, Curacao and head for St. George, Grenada, a distance of 422 Nm. Unfortunately it was Sunday, and most everything was closed, including the Post Office. After walking all around St. George I finally found a few cards and a few stamps in a small shop. On my card you can see nutmeg from Grenada. Nutmeg ( Grenada's Black Gold ) is one of the main spices exported. It is used to make preservatives, medicine, seasoning, jams and drinks. I like it on my porridge. The stamp I used is from 2006 and is 1 of a set of 7 featuring butterflies. Oh yes, I did the cards out , and left them with a young lady at the Grenada Tourist Office, hoping she would mail them for me, which she did.

After Grenada we sailed 149 Nm to Bridgetown, Barbados, arriving 04 April. Barbados is the most easterly island in the Caribbean and home of Harrison's Cave. It is a magnificent crystallized limestone cavern with pure water and flowing streams that help create the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites located throughout the cave. Harrison’s Cave is a massive stream cave system at least 2.3 kilometres long.
The interior temperature is an average 27 degrees Celsius
Its largest cavern, the Great Hall measures 15 metres/ 50 feet high.
It is an active cave as it carries water. The stalagmites in the cave are growing by less than the thickness of a piece of paper each year — but that’s very fast in geological terms!
Very impressive as you can see by my postcard. The stamps I selected for this one are 2 of 5 issued for Sailing in 2010.

We departed Barbados en route to Kingstown, St. Vincent, 125 Nm away, arriving 05 April. Let me tell you, it was hot in Kingstown. Finally finding the post office , it was good to get in out of the heat. Little did I know , I would be in line for about 40 minutes. The post office there was
a very busy place. People dropping off and picking up mail, paying bills, sending money abroad, and having papers certified among other things. My postcard of St. Vincent gives us a look at Trinity Falls, the most beautiful falls in the country. It is about a 2 hour drive from Kingstown and then a 20 minute hike. Sorry but I can't tell you anything about the stamp except it is from a set showing tropical plants.

We sailed from St. Vincent on the evening of the 5th April , covering 260 Nm before reaching Basseterre, St. Kitts on 6th April. The post office in Basseterre was quite nice and mostly empty. No line ups so I was able to do my business quite quickly. My St. Kitts postcard shows The Palms Hotel , an all-suite hotel located in the historic heart of the capital city of Basseterre, St, Kitts-Nevis and is within a short walking distance to all major businesses and government offices. Opened in September of 1993 the Palms hotel is perfect for the business traveler and ideal for the casual visitor. I used a definitive from a set of 6 featuring fruits.

We steamed out of St. Kitts at 1700 and set sail for Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, a distance of 150 Nm away, arriving at 0700 on 07 April. Charlotte Amalie was certainly a nice port. Clean, modern and great weather. There must have been at least a thousand yachts in the harbor. Even Eric Clapton has one there. I posted 2 cards here. The first one shows Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands , a spectacular aerial view of the harbor with cruise ships. The second card is of one of the local residents. Iguanas can be found everywhere in the Virgin Islands. This little guy can be quite friendly , despite his appearance. I won't show the stamps on these as I used just the common Harriet Beecher Stowe U.S. stamp.

My final card from the cruise was posted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 08 April after having sailed 300 Nm from St. Thomas. It was again quite hot getting around Santo Domingo, but we did manage to find a post office in the old part of the city. The card shows The National Palace or Government House . The stamp on the left is from 2009 and is 1 of 2 featuring Plaza Galicia. The other stamp was issued this year.

So ends my cruise through postcards. Or just about. After Santo Domingo it was another 700 Nm to Princess Cays in The Bahamas and then 274 Nm back to Port Everglades. It was a great getaway, and as they say,we escaped completely. I just want to thank my lovely Teena for going with me to all the post offices on such hot days. She could have stayed on board with cool drinks, but she didn't. As she says "I've been to just about every post office in The Caribbean" Not quite but when you add Antigua, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and Cuba to the list, from earlier trips she's getting there.

I've included a cruise Summary here for anyone interested. I highly recommend this cruise.

Take care and visit back again often.


Trevor said...

A great selection of cards from the Caribbean here, Glenn.

I'm glad to hear that you had a wonderful trip!

David Langan said...

The Stamp from St. Vincent is a Definitive . The Post office in St . Vincent is a private business and the stamps issued at the Post office are not the same as the stamps from the Philatelic Bureau. In fact the Stamps from the Bureau are not valid for Postage as far as the Post Office is concerned. These Definitive stamps are not available from the Philatelic Bureau.

Gem from Calgary said...

Thanks for the St Vincent stamp info.I looked just about everywhere for info, to n0 avail. Thanks again.

william charles said...

You've shared the Card Collection. It's really great. Thank you for sharing
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