Unlike the first stop on our cruise, St. Kitts is a very hilly island. Also when you are visiting St. Kitts you also have the opportunity to cross another island off of your travel list, by visiting it’s sister island, Nevis.
Unique to St. Kitts:
- Nevis, the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton
- Ride the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, originally built to haul sugar cane but converted into a tourist attraction
Ride the St. Kitts Scenic Railway – For our cruise in 2017, we made sure that we booked the Scenic Railway tour. We actually booked the Rail and Sail tour that included a catamaran in hopes of seeing dolphins. Sadly there were no dolphins. But we had a nice hour and a half long catamaran ride to the southwest corner of the island where we had a great view of the Brimstone Hill Fort. Then we took a short bus ride to the train boarding area. It’s not a train station. It’s just a circle of track where the train pulls up and passengers board. The train ride covers 12 miles and the train moves pretty slowly, so the whole ride took a couple of hours. We traveled within sight of the coast for most of the trip and saw lots of countryside and countless sugar plantation smokestacks. I was also really hoping to see a monkey, but they said the train noise scares them away. Rum punch and daiquiris are served on the train and a group of singers sing to passengers. All in all, I’m glad that I got to ride the train, but it was a bit slow at times. I’d recommend it for people who are interested in the history of St. Kitts or who want a relaxing excursion.
Catamaran Fan-ta-Sea & Nevis Beach Break – For our stop in St. Kitts, we decided to do a Carnival cruise excursion on the catamaran Fan-Ta-Sea. It was my parents first cruise and I really wanted them to get to experience the Caribbean with a catamaran and snorkel trip. And I thought St. Kitts would be a good island for it because I thought the scenic hilly terrain would be best seen from a boat offshore. This trip also allowed us to visit the beach in Nevis, so we crossed two islands off of our trip.
Overall, the catamaran ride was nice. The boat was large and clean. The first place where we stopped to snorkel was nice. The water was clear and there were lots of fish. But the highlight was definitely seeing the little monkeys on the hillside when our boat pulled up and parked. Unfortunately, they were pretty far away and I didn’t get a good picture.
After eating lunch on board, our boat traveled across the Narrows to the beach in Nevis. The lunch was fine. Nothing fancy, basically chicken, hotdogs and a few sides, but in line with what you would expect on a catamaran where they have to rely on coolers. At Nevis the boat pulled right up to the shore to let passengers off on the beach. We had probably an hour to swim around and hunt for shells before we had to get back on the boat. The beach at Nevis was fine, but not beautiful like some of the other beaches in the Caribbean. The sand was a normal tan color and the water was warm and clean but not especially clear either.
After getting back on the boat, the catamaran made the journey back to the port. This is where I started to get a little bit bored, although the rum punch was flowing so if you’re the drinking type, then you’d probably enjoy it. My main complaint is that the journey from Nevis back to St. Kitts is a pretty straight path and I felt like the scenery didn’t really change. Not the Fan-ta-sea’s fault, and I will say it was a nice, calm boat ride.
Overall impression – No regrets since we wanted to catamaran at some point on our cruise. But my opinion is that all catamaran trips are relatively similar throughout the Caribbean, meaning you snorkel, beach, and drink rum punch. I personally would wait and take a catamaran ride on another island as the one from St. Kitts is overpriced and nothing special.
Additional Note – it’s really normal for excursion operators to ask for tips. They generally stand up towards the end of the journey and make a small pitch for tips and look extremely uncomfortable doing so. I completely get it. These people live in very poor conditions and I think all cruise ship passengers should tip for the service they offer, especially when the crew goes out of their way to provide good customer service. That being said, the Fan-ta-Sea crew takes it to a whole other level. We witnessed some of the crew calling out customers and telling them that they can afford to tip more than they did. It was off-putting and did not compel me to leave them a very big tip.
Next time I visit St. Kitts:
- Wake up early & try to see the dolphins as the cruise ship arrives
- Climb to the top of Brimstone Hill Fort
- Visit Cockleshell Beach
Some fellow cruisers took taxis from port to the beaches. I would recommend trying that or doing a different excursion for our next trip.
None seen. Recommend visiting by cruise ship.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks:
We ate a snack at an unimpressive restaurant in the cruise ship terminal and also didn’t see any others that appealed to me. I would not recommend it and instead suggest shopping quickly and just getting back on the boat.
Tips/ Things to Know:
- Dolphins can be seen in St. Kitts if you approach the cruise port from the West. If you’re the early morning type, I recommend getting up early to see them. My parents were up and thought they were pretty awesome. The catamaran from Nevis approaches from the East, so no dolphins were seen.
My Time Spent on the Island:
- 1 day cruise port in February 2016, on the Carnival Breeze
- 1 day cruise port in January 2017, on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas