Day Trip Off the Cruise Ship – Great Times on the Cheap!
The video that goes along with this article was made the last week of Feb 2020. We were on the Celebrity Summit for a week cruise out of San Juan Puerto Rico, and Barbados was our first stop.
Heading to Mount Gay Distillery
I planned this day to be a simple, low key, and low-cost excursion with my wife, Heather, and our friends Dave and Laura. We had all talked beforehand and the one thing we all agreed on was visiting the Mount Gay Rum Distillery on the island of Barbados. Using Google maps, I found that the distillery was but a short cab ride from where are ship was going to dock. Hovering over the nearby area, there seemed to be a beach right across the street and, on closer examination, a place to rent beach chairs and umbrellas – also a fairly short walk to a restaurant right on the beach.
Oops, Not Yet…
Getting off the ship, and making our way to where the cars/vans/buses were located, we got corralled onto a minivan filled to capacity with other ship passengers who were going various places. Ours was the first stop and only cost $5 each, dropping us at the entrance to Mount Gay Distillery. That morning, the distillery was closed for tours till 11 am, there was some kind of meeting going on, so we made our way back out to the main road and across the road to the beach.
Pit Stop at Brandons Beach
This beach is called Brandons Beach, which Google had shown as Black Irish Beach Chairs and Umbrellas, so we made our way there. A very nice young man was camped out overseeing the dozen or so beach chair/umbrella set ups and for $20 we got 2 beach chairs with an umbrella for the day. It was a nice little spot and not a far walk from Mount Gay Distillery at all.
We dropped our belongings and Dave donned a mask and fins to took a swim. Sadly, there was not much to see as the water was rather turbid, but it sure looked great from the beach. Not complaining at all, as I was swimming in the Caribbean while temps were way cold back at home!
We killed time hanging out till 11 am, waiting for the distillery to open, and headed back over to Mount Gay. The young man who handled the chair rentals told us we had the chairs for the day! Our plan was now to hit Mount Gay Distillery, then lunch, and then hang on the beach until it was time to head back to the ship.
Rum Tastings at Mt. Gay
The cost for tastings was $20 each – and was probably the best $20 I spent the entire trip! The tour was informative, the guide/host, was very nice and knowledgeable, and the amount of different rums you got to try was impressive. The tour took a little over an hour and we all left with smiles on our faces. Now, it was time to take a walk and get some food in our bellies.
We made our way up the road, parallel to Brandon’s Beach, to a place called Rascals of the Caribbean. This beach side bar/restaurant seems to also have beach chairs/umbrellas, but I did not inquire while we were there. For lunch, I was trying their Flying Fish sandwich served club sandwich style. Good, but I was hoping for something that really accented the Flying Fish. Others had burgers and we all had the local beer and a fancy cocktail. We then took the stroll back down the beach where are beach chairs were waiting and spent an enjoyable afternoon hanging in and around the water.
Getting a Ride Back
Heading back to the ship, things got a little tricky as we couldn’t find a cab and no Uber on the islands, so we walked back over the Mount Gay. But, there were no taxis hanging around there either, so we resigned ourselves to the long walk back to the ship. After we’d walked to the end of the road, a cab driver happened by and we all piled in and away we went back to the ship. Only $5 each and the cabbie dropped us at the entrance to the port shops.