Caribbean Cruise Part 6: Antigua

Read previous instalment (St Kitts): click here

Saint John Antigua, originally uploaded on flickr by garybembridge.

2:00pm Wednesday 28 March (Antigua)

Yesterday was a stop in Antigua. Antigua is supposed to one of the most beautiful of the Caribbean islands, boasting that they have a beach for every one of the 365 days of the year. Some say you can think of Antigua as a series of beautiful beaches with some land attached!

The port area of the capital (St Johns) looks recently developed, I assume again the result of hurricanes that churned through the islands over the past few years.

Antigua is one of the most historically significant of the islands, being the home of Nelson’s fleet and dockyard from where he eventually chased the French Fleet all the way back to England and defeated them at the Battle of Trafalgar. In addition, therefore, as well as the capital of St Johns, tourists very frequently visit the Nelson’s Dockyard area.

Saint John Antigua (Dock Gates), originally uploaded on flickr by garybembridge.

The island again has a familiar and violent history with Columbus originally “discovering it” but the French and the English then kept fighting over it and then eventually ganging up to slaughter the native Carib Indians who were local to the island.

Of all of the islands we have visited, this was the one I found to be the most aggressive and least welcoming. The minute you step off the ship and through the cruise center gates you are constantly harassed non-stop by taxi driver after taxi driver offering you trips and rides. Although not nasty, you do feel bombarded and a little uncomfortable and it is impossible to walk any distance or even a few steps without being stopped. We actually gave up trying to walk around the town as it was so annoying and got a map of the island and went to the official taxi dispatch near the dock gate and asked for a taxi to Dickinson Beach which I had read reviews online before this trip.

It cost US$12 for about the 2-mile trip. The beach is amazing and very lovely. A nice natural bay that also has a huge Sandals Resort on that looks very tatty but seems to be rebuilt and extended. But there was lots of space on the beach, but it was cloudy and looked like rain and a big Cricket World Cup match was on the island as well.

Dickinson Beach Antigua, originally uploaded on flickr by garybembridge.

We hired 2 chairs and an umbrella, which were ok but not in great condition for US$12. There were a few beach bars for drinks and food, and guys offering jet skis etc.

We really liked the beach. The sea was a glorious color like nothing I have seen before, but not as clear as it is in Barbados or Grenada further south.

The weather was cloudy but the temperature in the Caribbean seems to be the same all the time and so was a nice 26 degrees Celsius. It started to rain and so we did eventually return to the ship for lunch and lying around generally.

Video of Antigua from the front of P&O Arcadia

See my photos from Antigua on FLickr: click here

CLICK HERE TO READ NEXT INSTALMENT (Crossing the Atlantic): click here

Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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