We’re desperately seeking sun and Arvia is set to light up our lives for a week or two with her Caribbean sailings.
The new P&O Cruises ship will debut in 2022 and St Kitts is amongst the places she’ll be spreading a little sunshine. But how should her guests spend a day surrounded by the beauty and intrigue of a Caribbean cruise port favourite? In the latest of our Arvia shore guides, Justin Johnson shares his best-kept secrets…
Q. What are your must-visit attractions on St Kitts?
A. Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is our most impressive and imposing fortification and it has a significant history. Known as the Gibraltar of the West Indies, it protected British interests in this part of the Caribbean
during the 18th and 19th centuries. This architectural marvel is a tribute to the skills of British military engineering and African slave labour and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stunning views of the national park and the neighbouring islands can be had from atop the citadel or anywhere on the parade ground.
As we commonly say, no visit to St Kitts is complete without a visit to the gardens at Romney Manor. This 8-acre garden setting is quite simply stunning – a photographer’s dream. At this glorious location, local artists produce traditional batik fabric and apparel for the island’s Caribelle Batik brand, which has become widely acclaimed.
Q. Where can you learn about the island’s colonial past?
A. At Fairview Great House and Botanical Garden, you can learn about life on the island in colonial times, and about the restoration process of this historic gem. Visit the beautiful 18th century Greathouse, the original baths, kitchen and chapel. A tour of this historic property would not be complete without a stop at the only slavery exhibit on the island. This self-guided exhibit provides glimpse of the African-Caribbean slavery story. The experience includes details of the journey through the Middle Passage to the Caribbean. Learn about the life of the slaves on the plantation during the pre- and post-emancipation period
Q. Where’s your favourite beach and why do you love it?
A. Cockleshell Beach. Apart from the beautiful waters, powder white sand and wide variety of water sports to choose from, this beach is home to the world famous Reggae Beach Bar and Spice Mill Restaurant. And it doesn’t stop there. On any given day you can see St Kitts’ sister island Nevis from Cockleshell Beach – it’s just six minutes away by water taxi if you’re feeling adventurous.
Q. What’s your favourite place to get a taste of authentic St Kitts?
A. If you’re looking to get off the beaten track, Belle Mont Farm would be the perfect place to visit. Located at Kittitian Hill, a sustainably-minded community set in 400 acres of organic tropical farmland, this unique boutique hotel is awe-inspiring for many reasons. It’s quite far from the capital Basseterre, which creates a bit of a challenge for cruise visitors, but the breathtaking views, ambience and unique farm-to-table dining experience should not be overlooked
Q. Can you recommend souvenirs that support local communities?
A. Our local artisans range from jewellers and potters to wood and leather workers. Visit The Potter’s House, Caribelle Batik or Crafthouse to see these skilled craftspeople in action.
Q. What are you most proud of about your island?
A. I’ve always been a proud ambassador of my island and all its wonders but the thing I’m most proud of is the fact that, despite being little, we’ve always led the crowd. Our economic political stability and our resilience has enabled us to be a strong, progressive and successful twin-island Federation.
Q. Tell us something that not many people know about St Kitts…
A. The Green Vervet Monkey was brought to St Kitts by the French in the mid-1600s as a pet and is considered one of our greatest attractions. Despite their pesky ways, the Green Vervet Monkey remains a must-see when visiting our island.
Excited? Us too! Find out more about Arvia and her sunny sailings here.