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Norwegian Epic – Antigua

by Patrick O'Halloran
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Epic arrives in Antigua as dawn breaks. We didn’t know it at the time but this is her very first visit to this port. We later learn that the event even made the local news. The tail end of the tropical storm that caused our diversion here is lashing the small island with heavy rain as we arrive. It’s doesn’t bode well for our excursion this morning. A Taste of Antigua.

We breakfast in the Garden Cafe before returning to the cabin. We watch as the first few people head ashore. The rain has eased somewhat but there is still a light drizzle. Marella Explorer docks alongside us and before long her passengers are disembarking.

We head down to deck 4 and head out onto the pier. It’s dry. We pick up our tour group and are escorted from the pier to our bus. It’s only a small bus as our tour only numbers 13 people. Marlon our driver introduces himself and tells us what we can expect on this 4 hour tour.

Our tour guide, Jacqui, joins us shortly afterwards. From the moment she steps aboard we gets a taste of what’s to come. She is bonkers. Funny too. She has us all laughing in no time, Marlon often being the brunt of her jokes.

Our first stop is the home of one of the descendants of the original settlers on the island whose surname is McMIllan. They have a lovely home perched upon a hillside that overlooks the central part of the island. The place is surrounded by land occupied by sheep, goats and chickens. The house itself, that we are allowed to wander freely though (unless there is a closed door) is full of antiques, artifacts and other curiosities. They own probably the friendliest cat ever who seems to enjoy the visiting guests. There are also several cages with parrots in that talk quite openly. Jacqui even has a sing song with one of them.

From the house we visit a pineapple plantation but due to the recent heavy rainfall they have experienced it’s too wet to visit properly. Jacqui does wander off and return with seed pods from what she calls the tree of life. She offers them around to try and I take one (Peter wisely declines). My god it was bitter. Luckily I had some water to wash it down. Jacqui bigged up its healing properties but to be honest I’d rather suffer than eat another of those.

From the plantation we head to Ffryes Beach which is located on the islands south east coast. It’s beautiful with golden sands and blue waters. There is a small shack located near the beach where we each lunch which consists of rice and beans with barbecue chicken and salad. Rum punch was enjoyed along with the local Wadadli Beer. There was time to swim in the sea if you wanted but I just waded and collected some seashells. After our drizzly arrival the weather was gorgeous

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Jacqui our multi talented tour guide serenaded us with some songs, she’s musical director at her local church, before trying to sell us some of her artwork (did I say she was multi-talented)?

We headed back to the port after this and we attempted to find some decent WiFi in the local shopping area without much success. We did some souvenir hunting but most shops seemed to be selling a variety of the same thing and as we are not into jewellery or watches we headed back to the ship.

Back onboard we do grab something light to eat at the beach meal was not large. The ship is quieter as you would expect and we spend sometime in Spice H2O before heading back to the cabin. We depart Antigua as we arrived in the pouring rain. We were so lucky that it was glorious weather whilst we were on the island.

Dinner tonight was in Le Bistro. I guess you could class this as Epics premium dining venue. It’s French/Mediterranean style cuisine and we found it very similar in style to Celebrity’s Murano Resturant. It’s a very elegant looking restaurant and from being greeted to being seated the service is exemplary.

I order a Lump Crab Salad to begin with Dover Sole for main. Peter orders a Goats Cheese Salad and Veal Medallions for his main. We are very happy with our orders. My Dover Sole was absolutely delicious. Our waiter was very attentive, always ensuring our wine glasses were full.

After dinner we head to the Bliss Lounge for some music. It gets very lively but I feel tired. Peter is feeling more energetic so I leave him to it and head back to the cabin just before midnight. I hear Peter arrive back a little after 1am.

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Patrick O'Halloran

Cruisers, Bloggers, Cocktail Drinkers.

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