Category Archives: Caribbean

Barbados Food And Rum Festival 2019

THE BIGGEST CULINARY FESTIVAL IN THE CARRIBEAN

BARBADOS FOOD AND RUM FESTIVAL 2019 CELEBRATES ITS 10TH ANNIVERSARY

This year Barbados celebrates a decade of the Barbados Food & Rum Festival with a new and exciting line-up of culinary greatness. The event kicks off on October 24th with the popular ‘Night out in Oistins’. The schedule of events runs until October 27th 2019.

This year, the theme of the festival is “The Story of Rum…from then to now”. It is sure to entice travellers from around the globe to experience the island’s famous rum and delicious Bajan cuisine.

What Visitors Can Expect at the Festival

Local and international chefs will be doing live food demonstrations. A whole host of food stations will be serving up food from Michelin star delights to street style bites.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Tasting bars will offer delicious cocktails, compliments of the Islands’ award winning mixologists. Soca music will fill the air with its tropical rhythm to create the perfect soundtrack for a week of indulgence.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Over the past 10 years, the festival has evolved. This has cemented its place as the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’. A source of pride for local culinary experts who give their time and knowledge to showcase exquisite cuisine to the festival-goers.

Barbados Food And Rum Festival 2019 – Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 24

The festival begins with the free open-air fish fry – Night Out in Oistins.

Savour the taste of the South as the Festival curtain opens at the historic Oistins fishing village. Be there to witness local chefs preparing fresh, grilled treats under the stars, and relish in one of the island’s most talked about experiences of cultural and culinary fusion.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Friday, October 25

On Friday night, those who look forward to the sit-down dining experiences will be thrilled to hear that the Gourmet Safari dinner series is back.

Following the success of last year, the festival is being opened to some local restaurants across the island. Guests can look out for Barbados Food and Rum menus at their favourite restaurants, which will offer dishes specially created just for the night.

Saturday, October 26

This year, the festival is introducing a new and exciting Food Truck Mash-Up.

Street food is equally as popular as restaurant dining. This event will be held at Pelican Craft Village and you are guaranteed to shock your taste buds as all the best street food will be in one location.

Image Credit: Visit Barbados

Sunday, October 27

The festival will climax on Sunday at the Ilaro Court. This is an elegant event not to be missed as the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) will marry class with refreshing speciality cocktails and food stations.

More information is available at the website www.foodandrum.com

Recommended Reading Barbados – Sustainability for a Greener Future

Corky’s Garage – The Best Bar In Barbados

For those of you who know me, and if you don’t you have probably guessed by the title of my blog, I like to enjoy the finer things in life. I do have an inner beach bum, but nothing beats a classy joint with people who know how to party.

As part of my Caribbean Cruise on Viking Sea in March this year, I had the pleasure of spending some time in Barbados. During my whirlwind trip of the Island I met Anna, a lovely Italian lady from Milan. Over conversation, Anna told me how she had moved to Barbados five years ago and was now running her own bar. I immediately felt a huge sense of admiration (with an equal amount of envy), as she had turned her dream into a reality.

Corky’s Garage is located on the west coast of the island, opposite the beautifully historic St. James Parish Church.  Set within a modernised classic Barbadian chattel house, Corky’s Garage offers a relaxing place to enjoy cocktails, cigars and conversation.

Authentic Italian

Anna has brought her Italian flair to the menu’s of Corky’s Garage. Serving authentic Italian dishes including homemade pizza and pasta.

The menu changes monthly, dishes currently on offer include:

Bruschetta (plain, classic, pesto, formaggi or caprese)

Caprese Salad

Creme Brulee

THIRSTY?

At Corky’s Garage you can enjoy a fine selection of craft beers, gins or whatever takes your fancy.

Mixologist

Fancy a cocktail? Liquid Expressions is a regular event at Corky’s Garage where Mixologist Alexnder Davinci shows off his incredible talent for making delicious cocktails that are works of art.

Cigars

If cigars are your thing, Corky’s Garage have a great selection to satisfy any cigar aficionado.

Live Entertainment

A popular night at Corky’s Garage is Sax and Trax with talented saxophonist Mylon Clarke.

Corky’s Garage is open from five o’clock in the afternoon until late. It’s a great place to party until the early hours and local celebrities such as Arturo Tappin and DJ Timeless are regular visitors. Anna’s outgoing and happy personality is what infuses the great food, cocktails and decor is taking this friendly upmarket Barbadian bar well on it’s way to being an island legend.

Anna with local celebrity DJ Timeless.

I can’t wait to go back to Barbados and get myself a Corky’s Cocktail.

You can find them here:

Eliville House’ Trents Tenantry Road
Folkestone Park, Saint James, Barbados
To book a table or a private function contact:
Email: reservations@corkysgarage.com
Call:  +1 246 538 9595

You can follow Corky’s Garage on Facebook here

You may also be interested in my post Viking Sea Cruise – Last Day – Barbados

Viking Sea Cruise – Last Day – Barbados

The last day of a cruise is always a sad one. However when it’s your first time in Barbados, it’s hard to be anything but completely excited.

During my cruise on Viking Sea I had met many lovely people. On my second day in Puerto Rico, we were gathered in the terminal to depart for our horse riding adventure, and Julia bowled up to our group to join us. Looking the part in her cowboy boots, I immediately took to Julia and her bubbly personality. We chatted non-stop on the drive to the stables. It turned out that Julia was working onboard Viking Sea as HR Manager. When I told her I was looking to get some amazing beach photos, she kindly offered to help and arranged the whole thing!

I met Cassie Wilcox, Senior Writer for Viking Cruises UK, in the check in queue at Heathrow. After a few days on the cruise, Cassie told me she was desperate to get that soft white sand between her toes asked if she could join us.

TAXIS EVERYWHERE

If you’ve never been to Barbados on a cruise, it is worth knowing that as you emerge from the terminal building you are greeted by hundreds of taxis. There seems to be one person managing the operation. They will ask you where you want to go and find the driver for you. They seem to prefer lots of passengers on shorter journeys, so for three of us looking for a two hour trip we were not getting any takers.

Thankfully Julia sorted it all out and a lovely retired gentleman name Marson said he would be our driver. I needed to be back to the ship by midday as we were flying home, so we didn’t have a lot of time and I wanted to see as much as possible.

BROWNES BEACH

Marson was a real charmer and told us some great stories of his ballroom dancing. The first beach he took us to was Brownes Beach just 15 minutes from the cruise terminal.

Pristine white sand and crystal blue water at Brownes Beach.

Dress: M & S Linen Blend Sleevless Tunic Dress

It certainly ticks all the boxes for that dreamy Caribbean beach. We arrived around 9.30am so we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. Apparently it can get extremely busy so my advice is get there super early and head back to the ship when it gets too busy. All of the beaches we visited had sun-loungers and umbrellas for hire.

Julia and Cassie were really good fun to hang out with.

A big smile from Cassie as she gets that powdery sand between her toes.

I love this photo of Julia laughing at me.

That’s why she’s laughing

What a great shot, even if I say so myself.

From there, Marson drove 5 minutes south to Needhams Point. We stopped at the Hilton Barbados Resort to take in the views and have a quick wander around the grounds.

The hotel has several gorgeous pool areas, it’s right on the beach and offers stunning views.

If you fancy staying there, you can check pricing and availability for the Hilton Barbados Resort here.

I love this hotel.

Get the outfit: M & S Woven Vest Dress, Mia Tui Jennie Bag and Sparkly Fit Flops.

Next stop was Worthing Beach just 10 minutes drive away. Since Marson had told us so much about his passion for dancing, I asked if he would show me a few moves. He kindly obliged.

The best taxi driver in Barbados. Marson Craigwell shows off his moves.

We wandered along the beach and found a great place to stop and reflect.

We stayed there for a while, just soaking up the beautiful atmosphere. What an incredible place Barbados is. I want to go back at the first opportunity. Maybe a Christmas cruise?

Dipping my toes in the water for the last time

Outfit: M & S Wide Leg Beach Trousers and Sparkly FitFlops

There is a great restaurant and bar on the beach called Coast. We met the owner, Anna who bought the bar 4 years ago when she moved over from her home town of Milan, Italy. If you are visiting Barbados, make sure this is on your list of places to visit.

As you can see, I was far from ready to leave. What a gorgeous place. Barbados! I’ll be back!

The clothes in this post are my own and purchased by me. I have not been paid or gifted to endorse any of the products listed below. These affiliate links mean I will earn a small amount of commission on any purchases made via these links, at no extra cost to you.

  1. M & S Linen Blend Dress
  2. Black Beach Dress
  3. Sparkly Fit Flops
  4. Beach Trousers
  5. Hilton Barbados Resort

Recommended Reading: Viking Seas Cruise – Day Two – Puerto Rico

Viking Sea Cruise – Day Five – St Lucia

It looked like we were in for another gorgeous day in the Caribbean as I enjoyed breakfast on my balcony. I woke up early again, partly due to jetlag, but also because of my excitement for the day ahead.

I visited St Lucia with my family back in 2009. We had such an amazing time there and we still talk about it now.

Room Service Breakfast in St Lucia

For those of you who regularly read my blog posts, you will already know how much I love being in, on or by the water. When I saw the option for whale and dolphin watching in St Lucia, I didn’t hesitate to book it. Although it is worth mentioning at this point, that the excursion was full and had it not been for the gorgeous Becky Wiggins (English Mum) letting me take her place on the trip, I would be looking at her photos instead of mine. So a HUGE thank you Becky for giving me this amazing opportunity.

Like most cruises, shore excursion groups meet in the theatre at the time specified on the ticket. Once everyone has arrived, they are escorted off the ship to meet their tour guide. The great thing about this trip is that the boat is a five minute walk from the cruise ship. So before we knew it, we were all aboard and sailing out to sea.

We sailed three miles off the coast while the two crew members made us feel welcome. There was plenty of room on the boat for people to move around and a choice of seating downstairs in the open or covered, and upstairs in the open or under cover. The crew frequently offered us refreshments which included Rum Punch and the most incredible bananas. I know you would expect St Lucia to offer great tasting bananas, but they were so delicious I turned to my neighbour and said “you don’t get these in Tesco’s do you?”

There was a fair bit of movement in the boat, so it is not for those of you prone to motion sickness and your safety is really down to your own common sense. This is a trip for the semi adventurous. It’s not exactly mountain climbing (Michael English), but if you are someone who always thinks the worst is going to happen, I’d suggest giving this one a miss.

The Time Of My Life!

I told one of the crew members that I would be videoing the experience for my blog and could he give me an idea of the best place to stand. Well be careful what you ask for, because no sooner had I said that, I was following him along the side of the boat to the front. I sat up on the ledge for a while and took in the breathtaking view. This was an experience that I will never forget. It was one of those moments when you just can’t believe it is really happening. One where you feel truly alive and you want to try and share it with the world.

The trip lasted four hours in total. I moved to the upper deck after a while where I felt better positioned to enjoy a rum punch. During the trip we saw dolphins, pilot whales and a rare spotting of false killer whales. Here is a short video which condenses the sightings and hopefully gives you an idea of the incredible experience it really was.

If you are visiting St Lucia without a cruise, you can book this excursion directly with Captain Mike’s.

Last Day Onboard

Back onboard for what was to be our last afternoon on the Viking Sea. I grabbed some more of the delicious food at the Pool Grill for a late lunch and met with the rest of our group by the pool. A steel band came onboard to entertain the guests. They were very good and did a great rendition of Take On Me by Aha.

I love the fact that the pool area is used in many different ways. All the seats were turned towards the band, similar to the set up for when they have a  movie night.

Final Sunset and Sea View

It was that time that we all dread, that last day of the cruise, but inevitably it had arrived. I took one last wander around the decks while the sun was setting. Desperately trying to capture the feeling of that moment in a photograph, which is impossible. You know what I’m talking about don’t you? All cruisers do.

With bags packed, it was time for dinner. We had chosen to try another alternative dining venue. This time it was Chef’s Table, a five course wine pairing menu.

First Course – Lobster and Chicken Shu Mai

Having tried a variety of dining options during our Viking Sea cruise, I have to say that my two favourites were the main dining room and the seafood and sushi buffet. However, there is no additional charge to eat in alternative restaurants, so you can choose whichever you feel suits your palette.

Woah – It’s Not Over Yet

So the last day had finally come to an end and it was time for bed, but with one consolation – Barbados tomorrow!

Have you read Viking Sea Cruise – Day Four

Thinking of booking your own Viking Cruise? Click My Viking Cruise to visit their website.

Viking Sea Cruise – Day Three – St Croix

Waking Up In St Croix

There’s nothing better than having a balcony when you cruise, and on Viking Sea every room has one. Not only did I get a great view of the coastline, but I also got a partial view of the Bridge.

It was warm and sunny outside with temperatures forecast for the high 80’s. I had booked a snorkelling excursion and was excited to try it for the first time.

Waking up to a beautiful view of St Croix

As my body was still on UK time, I felt really hungry as soon as I woke up. I needed to eat something quickly, so I ordered breakfast in my room and enjoyed a delicious feast before getting dressed.

Simple, Beautiful St Croix

I wanted to have a look at Frederiksted before leaving for the Buck Island trip. Thank goodness I did. St Croix is unlike any other Caribbean Islands visited by cruise ships.

There is no big terminal building, you simply walk along the pier into the quaint town of Frederiksted.

The Viking Sea docked in St Croix

As you reach the Customs and Immigration building, there is a small welcome party where you can taste the local rum while the DJ plays Caribbean music.

A warm welcome in St Croix

And if that doesn’t get you in the Caribbean mood, this lady will.

A vibrant welcome to St Croix

Frederiksted Historic District

There is a lovely area just at the end of the pier with benches facing the sea. The red building is Fort Frederik which was built in the 1750’s to guard the island from pirates. It now houses a museum and art gallery which can be visited for a small entrance fee. A clocktower overlooks Emancipation Park where in 1848, Danish Governor Peter Von Scholten emancipated the slaves.

I thought this was a really pretty place and not busy at all. There are a few tents set up with local sellers offering a range of local products but no big tax-free jewellery stores or designer shops, which I find is a refreshing change. It might be different when one of the larger cruise ships visits. If you have any experience of this please let me know in the comments below.

Driving To Christiansted

We were the second trip of the day for our driver Stephen.

Religion is a very important part of Island culture and it wasn’t long before I had a sign from God.

Thankfully it was just the shadow of a window sticker on my leg. Or was it?

The drive to Christiansted, the largest town on the island, took around 20 minutes. En route I was surprised to see an oil production plant on the island, recently sold and renamed Limetree Bay Terminals LLC. More in keeping with the area was the Captain Morgan Rum Distillery, which has a visitor centre if you fancy a look around.

Arriving in Christiansted we gathered on grass area to meet our Caribbean Sea Adventures Crew. I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of the colourful buildings around us.

Our Buck Island Adventure

The sun-kissed crew from Caribbean Sea Adventures, gathered our group together.

We headed to our boat.

Once onboard the boat, it became apparent that I was the only person on board that had never snorkelled before. Many people had brought their own equipment.

Buck Island is a protected National Monument. Two-thirds of the island are surrounded by a coral barrier reef. This provides the perfect ecosystem for a variety of marine plants and animals including endangered species.

I didn’t go too far from the boat for my first snorkel but what I saw and experienced was something I will never forget. It is hard to put into words the peace and tranquillity I experienced even just putting my face into the water, but it moved me to tears when I emerged from the water.

Here is a 3-minute video that I have put together to give you an idea of what it was like. Have you tried snorkelling? If so I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. If you like the video please visit my YouTube channel and give it a thumbs up and subscribe to help me get famous :-). I hope you like the song as much as I do.

Back On Board

Back onboard the Viking Sea, you are handed a much needed chilled flannel to refresh yourself, and a warm smiley welcomes from the crew who greet you by name.

After our wonderful day trip, I was thirsty and needed to cool off a bit. I ordered myself a Margarita on the rocks, no salt, at the Aquavit Terrace Bar, and headed to the infinity pool.

I watched the beautiful sunset as we sailed away from St Croix.

Then it was time for dinner in Manfredi’s Italian Restaurant.

Manfredi’s starter – Calamari

Followed by melt in the mouth Surf n’ Turf

The meal in Manfredi’s was delicious but I was so exhausted after another action-packed day, I could barely stay awake to eat it. So as soon as I finished dinner I headed back to my room and flopped into the incredibly soft, comfy, cosy bed.

Goodnight.

Have you read my Viking Sea Cruise – Day Two – Puerto Rico?

If so, why not read Viking Sea Cruise – Day Four

Thinking of booking your own Viking Cruise? Click My Viking Cruise to visit their website.

Viking Sea Cruise – Day Two – Puerto Rico

A Room With A View

My Penthouse Veranda stateroom was on the starboard side which gave me the best views of the ocean in Puerto Rico. I sat down on my balcony to enjoy a coffee and the sun rising above San Juan and noticed a cruise ship in the distance. I love watching ships come alongside, so I was thrilled to see three other cruise ships entering the port, all from the comfort of my stateroom.

View of San Juan Port from Viking Sea 5011.

It was time for breakfast and to see the ship in daylight.

Taking in the Viking Sea with the beautiful San Juan backdrop.

 

Walking to breakfast on the Viking Sea

 

The main pool onboard Viking Sea

Time For An Adventure

After a quick tour of the ship, we headed out for our horse riding trip. There was no queuing to disembark the ship and we were offered chilled bottles of water to take with us as we left.

We took a minibus to Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park located in Luquillo. Our driver gave us an entertaining guided tour during the 20-minute journey. However, I had met a lovely lady named Julia, who works onboard the Viking Sea. We didn’t stop talking for the entire journey, so I missed the commentary but made a great friend.

Everyone in the group was matched to a horse depending on their experience. Horse riding is second nature to me, so I was matched with Vulcan for the ride.

Not quite Lady Godiva

It was a blazing hot day, so we took it easy and just walked. We stopped to rest and cool off by the river.

Time to cool off

I could have stayed there all-day

 

With my new friends. Our guide, Jonathan and Julia from Viking.

It was a fantastic experience and the guys that took us out were great fun and looked after us. We rode back to the farm, grabbed a beer and returned to the ship.

Thank goodness we were on a Viking Cruises shore excursion as we arrived back dead on 4.30, which was the all aboard time. That was cutting it fine. Had we been delayed though, the ship would have waited for us, unlike if we were doing the trip on our own.

Sailaway

Five o’clock was time for muster drill, so I had just enough time for a much-needed shower. Being a 930 passenger ship, the drill took no time at all and we were soon sipping cocktails and watching the sunset.

The sun setting on San Juan

The waves crashing against the rocks of Old San Juan Fort – Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The dramatic San Juan coastline

Our group met in the Explorers Lounge for a pre-dinner drink. Viking’s ocean cruise ships all have an Explorers theme encapsulated in their interior design.

The Explorers Lounge with maps of star constellations framing the room

The Explorers Lounge Bar with star constellation mirror

Meeting in the Explorers Lounge for a pre-dinner cocktail

For our first night, we decided to have dinner in the main dining room.

Smoked Sturgeon and Sevruga Caviar

Oriental Style Scallops and Lobster

After dinner, we headed to the theatre for the Captains Welcome Aboard Speech.

Champagne on ice to welcome the guests onboard Viking Sea

There was not a spare seat in the house as Cruise Director Mark and the Viking Band kicked off proceedings with a wonderful rendition of Hello, Young Lovers.

The Captain was introduced to the stage and from the outset, he was very funny. There was a lighthearted approach to introducing the rest of the senior management team as they walked onto the stage to the music of Pirates of the Caribbean.

By this time the travelling, jet lag and horseriding had made me feel extremely tired. So it was time for bed to be ready for more exciting adventures tomorrow.

Read Day Three – St Croix

Thinking of booking your own Viking Cruise? Click My Viking Cruise to visit their website.