We’ve spent most of the last two days off the ship, but without going too far from it.
Yesterday we were at the Carnival Cruises-owned resort in Grand Turk. It’s basically a shopping mall and a beach.
So it caters equally for those who want to soak up the sun, or those for whom no port of call is complete without an opportunity to browse for bargains among the jewellery stores, T-shirt boutiques, and a duty-free shop which would not have been out of place at Heathrow airport.
Alongside Ventura at the jetty was Carnival Splendor, so the place was over-run with more than 5,000 cruise passengers. Still, that’s exactly what it’s designed for.
The place is still showing the scars of the battering it received from Hurricane Ike in September, which closed it for several weeks.
The on-shore highlight for many was Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, where those who can’t get enough to eat on board ship could stoke up with steaks and burgers around the pool.
Today was a rather more rustic experience, at Catalina Island, just off the south coast of the Dominican Republic.
Here we went ashore by ship’s tender, and members of the crew were on hand to run a barbecue and the beachside bars.
There were a few stalls run by locals selling seashells, fresh coconuts and, you’ve guessed it, more sarongs and T-shirts, but that was about it. Apart from a single speedboat offering banana boat rides.
A lazy day on the sunbeds then, with sand between our toes instead of Ventura’s Astroturf, and the warm Caribbean to swim in rather than the ship’s pools.
It’s a hard life, this cruising lark.