Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, St Kitts

Top Things To Do In St Kitts The New Caribbean Cruise Hotspot

September 20th, 2017, Posted by travelwith2ofus



Hurricane's Irma and Harvey have passed through the Caribbean and devastated some of the most beautiful islands including cruise hots-pots St Maarten and the US Virgin Islands. St Maarten and St Thomas of the US Virgin Islands are the two most visited cruise ports of call in the Caribbean.

Other islands seriously impacted include Barbuda, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands. Anguilla, Cuba, St Barts, Saba, St Eustatius, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic also incurred damages.

Before finishing this story on September 19th, Maria, yet another hurricane, swept through the Caribbean and severely damaged Dominica.

View of the AC Wathey Cruise Pier, St Maarten when we visited in 2016.
Cruise ship docked at St Maarten port


Major cruise lines switch to Western Caribbean Islands

With the passage of Irma and Harvey and the destruction of some of the Caribbean's most visited cruise ports, major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Disney, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line have made changes to their itineraries, moving from the eastern Caribbean islands to those in the western Caribbean.

Disney for instance has modified its eastern Caribbean sailings and now includes ports of call in the western Caribbean with visits to George Town, Grand Cayman and Falmouth, Jamaica.

Royal Caribbean has replaced its stopover to St Thomas, US Virgin Island and St Martin with stops in St Kitts and St Croix.

It was only recently, August to be exact, that Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas made its fifth stopover at Port Zante in Basseterre for 2017. Basseterre is the capital of St Kitts and Nevis. Royal's other large ship Allure of the Seas also visited the islands.

USA Today has also reported that Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all of its St Thomas visits for the next couple of months and switched from islands in the eastern Caribbean to those in western Caribbean.

So with major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean adding St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua to their itineraries, what do these two islands offer cruise passengers?

We recently visited Antigua on our last cruise so you can check out what we did during our visit there.

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What Does St Kitts offer Cruise Passengers

Once you have docked in Port Zante, Basseterre there are many options available to you, including spending a couple hours in the shopping complex at Port Zante.

The shops offer everything from locally made souvenir items, t-shirts, perfumes and even locally made sweet treat like ice cream and cakes. You can catch up with loved ones at home with the free Wi Fi available at the popular Rum Barrel bar.

After a couple drink you can take a walk downtown Basseterre, which is about a ten-minute leisurely walk from the port. Downtown is divided into two main areas, The Circus, which is a tourist hotspot and Independence Square, which was renamed from Pall Mall Square in September 1983.

Port Zante, the passenger cruise ship complex in Basseterre, St Kitts.

Port Zante, St Kitts

Historical landmarks and monuments

Independence Square
Independence Square is basically an open green space lined with trees and benches where both visitors and locals gather and enjoy the surroundings. The space is used as a venue for cultural events as well.

In the past the square was surrounded by a lot of interesting homes influenced by its French and British heritage. Unfortunately, commercial buildings have since replaced most of these privately owned residences. However, the square still remains a popular gathering spot.

Church of the Immaculate Conception
Just across the road from the square you can check out the Church of the Immaculate Conception. It was originally built in 1856, but was rebuild in 1927.

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St. George's Anglican Church
Another beautiful church you should check out is the St. George's Anglican Church. The history of this church is a really colorful one. Named Notre Dame, it was first destroyed by fire in 1706, rebuilt in 1710, burnt again in 1763, but was fully restored, again. However, an earthquake in 1842 and hurricane in 1843 totally destroyed it.

A new church was rebuilt, but the run of bad luck did not end there because it was destroyed by fire in 1867 and restored again in 1869.

Despite damages from hurricanes from since 1989 it is still standing today and definitely worth a visit. It is about a seven minutes walk from the Church of the Immaculate Conception along Cayon Street.

St Kitts National Museum
If you want to know a little more about St Kitts you can check out the St Kitts National Museum, which is located five minutes away from Independence Square on Bay Street.

The museum was opened in 2002 in the historic building, which is up to this day referred to as the Old Treasury Building. It was built in 1894, but it had to be totally restored because of its dilapidated condition as far back as 1999.

The St Christopher Heritage Society was the main driver in the restoration of the building. You can donate to the St Christopher Heritage Society to help maintain the museum and other important heritage site.

Church of the Immaculate Conception, Basseterre, St Kitts.
Church of the Immaculate Conception, St Kitts

The Circus
It takes just about four minutes, if you are really walking slowly to reach the Circus from the National Museum. You can't miss it because you can see the green Berkeley Memorial clock tower from the square. The roundabout, it is said, was fashioned in Victorian style using Piccadilly Circus, London as motivation.

The Circus is a vibrant place with lots of commercial activities. You can find shops, restaurants, bars and banks. You will also find both locals and tourist either relaxing around the memorial or just going about their daily business.

The Courthouse
You can continue checking out historical buildings in Basseterre by visiting the Courthouse. It will take about three minutes from Independence Square to get there. It is located at East Independence Square Street.

The original building was totally destroyed by fire in 1982. The current structure was finished in 1995. The building was renamed the Sir Lee L Moore Legal and Judicial Complex in 2004. The original building, it is believed was built some time in the 1700s.

Warner Park
If you are a lover of Cricket, no, not the insect, the game, then you would definitely want to visit Warner Park. It will take about a ten-minute leisurely stroll to get to the Stadium from Independence Square.

The facilities at Warner Park Sporting Complex includes the Warner Park Stadium, which was one of the venues for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. A football stadium, three tennis courts, three netball/volleyball courts, a Cricket academy, and Carnival City, which is a small open savannah where Carnival events are held.


What else is there to see?

Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park
Further away on the north western side of the island you will find Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, which is located at Taylor's Range, Sandy Point Town. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered the largest fortress built by the British in the eastern Caribbean.

It took over a decade, starting in the 1690s and ending in 1790s to complete the complex. The architecture and works of engineering is remarkable, but if you are not into architecture or military history you should visit just for the breathtaking view.

You will get amazing views of Sandy Point and the neighboring islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba and Montserrat, depending on where you are in the national park.



Charles Fort
Also located at Sandy Point is Charles Fort. It is not as stunning or large as Brimstone, but if you are a history buff, then you wouldn't want to miss out on the opportunity to visiting it as well.

The fort was used by the military from 1670 to 1854. In 1890 it was used as a leper asylum named Hansen Home, but was eventually closed in 1996.



Romney Manor
You can kill two birds with one stone if you visit the historic Romney Manor. The manor is of great significance because it is thought to be the first estate in St Kitts to have emancipated their slaves.

The ten-acre property was established in the seventeenth century and have only had six family owners. Its surrounding gardens and famed 350-year-old Saman tree add to the aura of the estate.

The added bonus is that you can experience how Batik is created from clothing and accessories manufacturer Caribelle Batik, whose facilities are located on the compound of Romney Manor estate.

Batik, simply put is a technique of producing colored designs on textiles by dyeing them, but first applying wax to the parts to be left undyed. The dyed cloth can be used to make clothes, bags, drapes and many other items.


Need more excitement?

St Kitts Scenic Railway Tour
If you are looking for more exciting things to do, you could book a trip on the St Kitts Scenic Train. It is one of the best ways to enjoy a scenic view of the islands.

The three-hour tour takes passengers around the islands in a train, which was used between 1912 and 1926 to transport sugar cane from plantations on the island.

The train takes you along the northeastern coastline where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean, cliffs and lush valleys of the island. You can book your St Kitts Scenic Railway Tour here.


Water Sports
So let's step it up a little. If you want to get into some serious water activities, then you can check out the folks at St Kitts Water Sports. Their activities include fly boarding, kite boarding, hover boarding, wake boarding, jet skiing and glass bottom kayaking. Fly boarding is an activity where you fly through the air using a jet-powered board.

Beach Addiction St Kitts & Nevis also provide adrenaline-pumping activities as well. Kite surfing, paragliding, sailing and stand-up-paddle boarding are among some of the activities you can take part in with them.

Swim with Dolphins
What about Dolphins? These cuddly mammals, who doesn't like them?
If that is your cup of tea, then check out the Dolphin Discovery St Kitts and swim, kiss and hug those cuties. According to their website, these Dolphins are not kept in a pool or aquarium, but in a natural habitat that is located at sea.

Zip-lining of course
Ok! So, you're not into water sports. How about flying through the air with the lush green island below you. What am I taking about? Zip-lining of course.

You can check out the guys at SKY Safari Tours. Royal Caribbean Cruises nominated their zip-line tour in 2013 as one of its top five tours in the world in the category of Best Rated Tour. The tours range from one hour to two and a half hours. Do you have the belly for it?

A post shared by Sky Safari (@skysafariskn) on


Beaches

St Kitts, like many of the other Caribbean islands has a lot of beautiful beaches. You can't visit the island and not check out at least one of the beautiful beaches.

Friars Bay, Cockleshell Beach and South Friars Bay are three of the popular beaches for cruise visitors. They all have facilities as well as beach bars and restaurants and are not too far away from the cruise complex.

It takes less than forty-five minutes by taxi to get to any of these three beaches. There are many other beautiful beaches, but like I said they don't have facilities and are further away from Port Zante than the three others mentioned. Banana Bay, Conaree Beach, Half Moon Bay, Pump Bay, Turtle Bay and White House Bay are some of the other beaches you can check out if you want to get away from the cruise ship crowd.


Have you ever visited St Kitts on a cruise? Let us know your thoughts?

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