Sunday, January 21, 2024

December 19, 2023 – Road Town, Tortola, BVI – Mostly Sunny – 80s

It’s an absolutely perfect day in the British Virgin Islands. We are up early this morning, early enough that I caught the pre-dawn arrival of Onward.

We both ordered Room Service because the Windows Café opened too late for our early excursion.  I had the same items I get upstairs – pancakes and two eggs over medium.  Since the ship is small, the food comes quickly and is still hot.  The food arrived on time at 6:45 AM and we were in the Cabaret Theater at 8:15 AM to meet our group.  We are both escorting on “Tortola by Land and Sea plus Beach Break”.  We are in Groups 1 and 2 and are supposed to be on separate boats/busses but when we got out to the meeting area for the sea portion of the tour, we were told to get into the same boat (not enough people for two boats). 

The boat headed away from Road Town at maximum warp supplying enough bounce and chop to rival any roller coaster.  This was not due to any crossing of wakes but to the actual swells in the water and the fact that this boat was really moving.  Occasionally, the people in the front of the boat would get hit with water coming over the bow.

On our way out, we passed by the Oceania Sirena, which is essentially the same ship as Onward.  Sirena was headed to Road Town.  I also got a nice picture of Onward from our tour boat.

As the tour boat zoomed across the water, the guide pointed out Beef Island (connected to Tortola via a bridge and home to the International Airport).  The guide on the boat pointed out all sorts of islands in rapid fire mode (even though he repeated everything).  I did catch one island because of its literary significance – Norman Island or Treasure Island is the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island”.  

The boat stopped at the island while one of the crew fed the local fish soup crackers.  

The boat tour served rum punch and you could determine just how much rum you wanted in your punch.  The drink was good and I was convinced by one of the crew to have a second one and I did.  I took that great selfie below - you can see my hair all velocity combed due to the speed of the boat.

Ellen got a comfy seat on the boat.

The boat then headed back to an upscale shopping mall near Road Town, 

where we transferred to open air busses for the land portion of the tour.  We, again, were told to get on the same tram.  The trams were a bit bumpy and it was scary riding in one of these on the mountainous and windy roads of Tortola.  Sites viewed included: 

Apple Bay; 

Cane Garden Bay

Smuggler’s Cove

Dead Man’s Chest (“15 Men on a dead man’s chest…”); 

and Virgin Gorda (does kind of look like a virgin gorda from this angle).


I was expecting a “Beach Break” but none appeared and we headed back to Road Town.  On the ride back, we were treated to some "water art" (not sure what it was but it was interesting)

and a view of both the Sirena and Onward docked at Road Town.

We finally got back to Road Town and got a nice view of the Marina - as I remember Road Town, it was kind of a dumpty town.  Some obvious improvements have been made to the pier area.

The Sirena had scored a berth right next to Onward and they were head to tail just like police cars. 

On our way to the ship, we stopped to take a picture of the island sign, which was not there the last time were in Tortola.

The reason we had such an early excursion was that Onward was due to leave Tortola around 3 PM – there were a lot of nautical miles to cover to get to Fort Lauderdale on time.  We watched the sailaway from loungers on Deck 5.  I heard the guide say there were about 60 islands in the British Virgin Islands and we saw quite a few of them on our way to open water.

Tonight was our lucky night in the Windows Cafe.  It was a “Taste of Britain” and the fish and chips were terrific – the fish was wrapped in fake newspaper and the chips were fresh and good.  I even tried a vegan banger which was an impossible burger squished into a polish sausage shape and grilled.  Not quite there but interesting.  We ate that wonderful dinner on the Sunset Veranda and were also treated to a beautiful sunset.

We passed on Bob Style’s Show in the Theater and it sounded like it might have been a good one.  We’ll know for next time.

A wonderful day in the British Virgin Islands.

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