Typical of most ports you enter, you are greeted with the sounds of local musicians/entertainers. At the same time (and a VERY important thing to remember) – this is more common than not, the ONLY place you’ll find restrooms. And an even more important thing to remember, is the number of people getting off a cruise ship trying to ALL get in that restroom AT THE SAME TIME. Think ahead!
At first glance, the St Kitts welcome plaza is an amazing arrangement of shops and services all laid out in a “village” design. Take a second glance and you see many of the same shops you saw at the last port-of-call. SAME jewellery stores with the SAME prices. SAME souvenir shops with the SAME items, just with a new name printed on them (I think if I look at my collection of t-shirts, I have the same shirt from San Juan and St Kitts, right down tot he dark grey colour – just a different city on the design). I’m not saying one port looks like the other, because when you DO start looking around and avoiding the “barkers” urging you to “just come in and look” (these people are professionals … do not give in to temptation because you WILL end up buying something) — there are some good bargains/items to grab to make your visit memorable.
For those who give up early, St Kitts offers a small food/beverage court where you can kill time while the rest in your party do their scavenging. They also have an AIR-CONDITIONED casino as an alternative to kick back, and chill.
Away from the pier …
At the end of the pier welcome plaza you’ll find the National Museum housing the history of the island. This is just the beginning of the “local experience”. If you’re the adventurous kind, take off beyond the tourist zone and check out the many wonders St. Kitts city has to offer.
Over time, google maps have been targeting major cities and tourist locations providing visitors a pretty spot-on guide. Of course, there are maps of the city throughout the pier entry, but maps are often confusing because you never really know where YOU are. Allow google maps to use your location when travelling and distances can be mapped accurately to help you judge time and locations.
The beach life …
St. Kitts is known for its beaches .. the whitest sands, the aqua-turquoise waters, and the shallow grade allowing visitors to walk out quite a way before reaching their hips.
They say you can got to the beach, every day of the year — yet not go to the same one. If you’re looking for private coves, open expanses, or totally secluded places to lay your towel, there’s a place in the sun and sand waiting for you anywhere around the island.
Tour guides (third party) are abundant from many points in the city with the majority of them found at the pier welcome plaza.
Back on ship …
For the first time cruiser, whenever a ship is in port, the majority of all guest services are closed. ALL RETAIL MUST CLOSE. MOST BARS MUST CLOSE with the exception of the ones around the pools. This is part of the cruise line agreement with the ports to allow each entry point to make money. And while shopping on land, make sure to always show your “sea-pass” (proof of being on-board) to take advantage of tax-free shopping!
BUT BACK ON SHIP … While everyone is on-shore taking advantage of shopping, touring and shore excursions, NOW is the time to grab that perfect spot by the pool. Check around, not for the “now” perfect spot, but for the “later” (when everyone returns) perfect spot. Keep in mind, what may start out as bright and sunny could, within a few hours time leave you in the shade.
If you are the type who loves to pamper yourself with spa-treatments, shore-time is typically one of the better times to indulge. With everyone on shore, times are usually more available, and more times than not — they will give you more than what you paid for. While in port, I opted to get an “EXPRESS-SHAVE” (just to freshen up the look a little), and while there I was “given” an upgrade to include a complete facial with mask, massage, and exfoliation — all for the price I had originally set up. That was a BONUS of $80 in services!