On the second leg of my grand adventure, I’ve set another first for gecko-kind – sailing on a cruise ship! A Princess Caribbean cruise ship to be precise. It’s basically like an enormous luxury hotel that floats on water and sails between the most exotic Caribbean islands you’ve ever seen.
How cool is that? And, while you’re sailing around, there are so many things onboard the ship to keep you active!
Life Onboard: Fun and Relaxation
Wow, cruise ships are big! I got completely lost on the first morning, but luckily a nice man in a sailor’s outfit (I think he was the captain) showed me around. Once I had my bearings, I was well away.
Movies Under the Stars
In my everyday life, I don’t get much chance to watch films (hunting down insects takes up a lot of time), so I couldn’t resist coming to a place called “Movies Under the Stars”. It’s a giant 300 square foot outdoor screen showing Hollywood films, music concerts and sports events.
But the best bit? You get free buckets of popcorn and warm cookies and milk while you watch – yum! Also, if you get cold (a constant concern for a gecko), the staff bring you snug blankets to keep you toasty warm – so thoughtful!
Indulgent Spa Treatments
Apart from the occasional mad dash for an insect, life as a gecko is pretty sedate, but I can definitely see the appeal of spending time relaxing at the ship’s Lotus Spa. They’ve got saunas, steam rooms, fancy massage treatments, and they also run something called a “yoga” class – where people do lots of stretching in the shape of different animals.
The downwards dog, the crane, the monkey pose… I did them all!
Then, I finished by showing everyone “the gecko” – you just climb onto the ceiling, spread yourself flat, then hang around for 20 minutes or so – couldn’t resist showing off!
Gambling at Gatsby’s Casino
The second I stepped inside the ship’s casino, I was hooked. Flashing lights, clattering slot machines, spinning wheels – man, this place was fun! The thing I loved most were the card games. Didn’t have a clue how to play any of them at first (I’m a gecko), but you can get free demonstrations to help you learn. And, because us geckos don’t blink, it makes us natural-born “bluffers”, so I got really good at a game called poker… hee, hee, hee.
24-hour Room Service
Heard about 24-hour room service before? I hadn’t. So when I realised I could order a cheese pizza and chocolate fudge cake to my room at 2am, I was like, “I’m never leaving my room again!” You can even have meals served right to your private balcony when you can’t be bothered dressing up for dinner. I tell you, a gecko could get used to this kind of fancy living!
Life on Land: Exotic Island Adventures
Life on the ship was seriously fun, but I loved visiting the Caribbean’s exotic islands. Sandy beaches, deep blue seas, gorgeous green jungles – it’s paradise here. And, there are so many things to do once you’re onshore.
Scuba Diving Lessons
Geckos aren’t famous swimmers, but I heard the warm waters of the Caribbean have some of the best scuba diving in the world. So, I took the plunge and booked some lessons. Wow, there’s like a totally new world down there I never knew existed! There were thousands of exotically coloured fish, beautiful underwater gardens called “coral reefs”, and I got some photos of a few strange looking creatures with googly eyes and puffed out cheeks (man, I thought geckos were weird looking).
Anyway, what an amazing experience – I think I could happily live under the sea, forever!
Swimming with Turtles, Barbados
After my amazing scuba diving lesson, my next big adventure involved swimming with turtles in Barbados (I was feeling confident now).
We all set off on a luxury catamaran and had a delicious lunch before visiting Turtle Beach – which is where the turtles come to lay their eggs. We all jumped in the water to get a closer look, and some of the turtles swam close enough we could actually touch them. There was one turtle that wouldn’t leave me alone. Seriously, had he never seen a gecko before? I mean, we’re everywhere!
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua
Next stop – Antigua! Soft white sands, turquoise waters, swaying palm trees… it’s basically heaven on earth! But away from the beaches, Antigua has loads of historical places worth seeing – including Nelson’s Dockyard.
My guidebook said it was once used by the British Royal Navy – there’s a museum here that tells you all about the history of the island, the Navy and the dock. They also had some valuable artefacts there belonging to someone called Horatio Nelson – apparently he was a famous sailor and they named the dockyard here after him. He must have been some guy!
Diving with Sharks, the Bahamas
After swimming with fish, then turtles, I felt totally at home in the water. And then somebody asked if I wanted to go shark diving in the Bahamas. No cages, just you and the sharks. “Sure, sounds fun,” I said, “no big deal.” I was terrified, but I’m so glad I went through with it.
You start off with a free swim, where the sharks swim nearby. And then comes the scary bit – feeding time! We knelt on the ocean floor and made a semi-circle around the “shark feeder” who put out a bait box. The sharks slowly drifted towards us (yikes), but thankfully they were only interested in eating the bait, so no gecko on the menu that day. Phew!
Pretend to be a Pirate, the Bahamas
I thought “Pirates of the Caribbean” was just a film, but apparently pirates actually existed! And hundreds of them visited Nassau in the Bahamas. Here on the island, you can learn just how scary pirates actually were at a place called Pirates of Nassau Museum. There are lots of interactive exhibits, sounds of exploding cannons, and actors dressed as pirates saying “Yar… A-R-R-R” quite a lot. Weird.
And then, you get to walk around an amazing replica pirate ship. It was great, but I noticed there weren’t any spas or restaurants onboard. Wow, those pirates lived rough!
All in all, my Caribbean cruise has been the adventure of a lifetime, but I’m already looking forward to the next leg of my travel journey – Cyprus, here I come!
Published 12th January 2016