Sugar & Spice – Saga Sapphire Cruise
Not that I’m up for sampling them, as my tour finishes just in time for afternoon tea – and as tea on board Saga Sapphire is always piping hot and plentiful, I am unable to resist. I don’t normally indulge in afternoon tea on a ship, but Saga makes a real occasion of it with stylish service and an impressive buffet. The resident pianist provides the perfect musical background, with cake and Cole Porter proving a winning combination.
Being a Saga cruise, all passengers are 50 plus, and with a significant birthday approaching I am enjoying being with travellers of my generation who share similar interests.
The next day sees us docking in Bridgetown, Barbados, scene of one of the most magical excursions I have experienced. The Tiami catamaran trip is very professional and the guides are knowledgeable and witty, but it’s fulfilling an ambition of swimming with turtles that means so much to me.
We all know the hoped-for Hawksbills are by no means guaranteed to come out to play, so our party shares a euphoric moment when a large teenage turtle joins us in the water as we swim from the boat.
She nudges me on my leg at one point and then bobs up out of the water right by my side, and I’m even able to gently stroke her (very slimy) shell – a moment I will never forget.
Castries in St Lucia, 100 miles due west of Barbados and our port of call the following day, is pretty special too. Again, I don’t usually enjoy the coach trips that are often a necessary part of an excursion, as the guide’s onboard commentary (however good) can have a slightly sedative effect on me, especially after an early start. I didn’t snooze on this trip though as there were so many diversions.
Eudovic’s Art Studio is famed for its intricate woodwork and local carvings and we witness the man himself in action.
Our journey then takes us to Fond Latisab Creole Park where we are shown extraordinary tropical plants and more spices, followed by cassava bread making – in a huge cast-iron pan originating, bizarrely, from Liverpool. We then enjoy a display of Creole folk dancing, after which we devour the cassava bread laced with nutmeg jam and I wonder how I can create my new tropical breakfast back in the UK.