Please welcome guest blogger Don & Heidi! DB and the Princess are a husband and wife duo with 10+ years of cruising history. Their blog, EatSleepCruise.com, provides valuable cruise planning tips and strategies. With reviews on cruise ships and shore excursions, along with a complete photo gallery, they help you “sea the world one port at a time.
During our visit to St. Kitts on our 8 night Independence of the Seas cruise, we wanted to make the most of our time on the island as this would be our first visit to this port. Comparing the tours offered through various companies, The Essentials of St. Kitts Tour, which we booked through Royal Caribbean pre-cruise, seemed like the perfect way to see all of the major highlights of the island.
If you have never been to St. Kitts and you are looking to take in the island’s most recognized attractions, including Romney Manor and Brimstone Hill National Park, then this tour is perfect for you. You are allotted plenty of time at both landmarks to tour the grounds, learn the history, and of course grab plenty of memorable photographs. Our bus driver and tour guide was excellent- very informative and answered everyone’s questions about the history of the island and modern life. After seeing all St. Kitts has to offer, we can’t wait to go back to experience more of this untapped Caribbean gem.
Heading Through Downtown Basseterre
Like most organized tours booked through the cruise line, we met our tour operator at the pier immediately after disembarking the ship. The small pier made it easy to find our guide; we were quickly grouped together and put on a small bus to begin the journey around the island. Not even a minute into the tour, a great narration began as the main downtown section of Basseterre is within walking distance of the port.
This city center includes the famous Independence Square, which was once home to the slave trade in St. Kitts. Other governmental buildings and historic landmarks can also be seen early in this tour, including the Berkley Memorial clock, still a hub activity for locals who congregate there to talk business and socialize during the day.
A few more twist and turns through other noteworthy areas of the town and we were on our way to one of our first two stops, Romney Manor.
Romney Manor and Caribelle Batik
The tour allows you thirty minutes to discover Romney Manor and learn more about the unique process of making fabrics at Caribelle Batiks. This 10 acre resort offers plenty of great picture ops, including the gigantic Saman Tree. This 350 year old beauty will make you feel very small when you are posing in front of it.
Inside the Caribelle Batik, you can learn how artisans craft these beautiful pieces of clothing through an intricate process involving dye and wax.
The stop seemed just long enough as we felt like we had seen everything within the thirty minute time frame. Waiting a few extra minutes to get everyone back on the bus, we set off a bit further west on the island to our second stop.
Explorations of Brimstone Hill National Park
While the roads to the Fortress seem manageable, once you get to the base of the Brimstone Hill, the ascent up the windy, and very skinny, road begins. It was quite a driving feat to make it up this curvy road in one piece. Along the way, we were able to capture a few photos of the island’s famous inhabitants, the vervet monkeys.
Once at the top of the fortress, we had about 45 minutes to see the remains of this over 200 year old UNESCO World Heritage site. This gave us enough time to view the remains of Fort Charlotte and the Prince of Wales Bastion in addition to the main attraction, Fort George Citadel. The seemingly endless staircase to the top of Fort George was well worth it. Once atop of the fort, there are many great photo opportunities to be had, including a must-have pose of me pretending to fire some cannons into the Caribbean Sea.
This fort also contains some museum exhibits that depict what life was like during the late 17th and early 18th century during the heyday of the fort. A quick stop into these exhibits was plenty for us. After a few more scenic pictures, we started our descent back to the bus, and before we knew it, we were heading back to the port.
During the return ride to Port Zante, the bus driver took us through some other areas of the island, to see some additional sites, including the Carib Brewery. The island surroundings really were picture perfect--too bad we were on a bus. Once we were back to the port, we had plenty of time to sightsee on foot, do a little souvenir shopping, and get back on the ship to enjoy the sun and relax before sail away.
The Essentials of St. Kitts tour was a great introduction to a beautiful island which we will be sure to visit again soon!
You can book the Essentials of St. Kitts tour though Royal Caribbean’s website: The three hour tour currently costs $49.75 per person.