They say life is a journey, not a destination. However, during our recent vacation it was all about the destination: a 12-night Caribbean Motorcycle Cruise aboard the Celebrity Silhouette. Our group consisted of 24 Harley bikes, one Indian bike and one Honda trike (that would be us). Riders came from far and near: Canada, California, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Florida. Most trailered their bikes. A few had them shipped and others (including us) rode to Fort Lauderdale, our starting point.
We visited seven islands, riding on five of them. All island rides were on the left side of the road with breathtaking views of the surrounding blue-green ocean waters. We traveled the length of each island starting at the center of town and then making our way to the outer points. We rode through industrial sections, by rural farms, up mountain roads and then back down to the scenic beaches. We also stopped for a two-hour lunch break each day.
Weather conditions were perfect, around 80 degrees (plus or minus 2 degrees), scattered clouds, light breeze and always a chance of showers. All rides were escorted by the police and/or a local motorcycle group. They stopped traffic in busy intersections and pointed to areas to use caution due to potholes and rough service areas. As we traveled throughout the islands, locals gathered to greet us like we were celebrities: waving, screaming, taking videos — a surreal experience.
Stop 1: St. Croix
First time bike ride on this island and it was big news. Local press, mayor, presentations — what a way to start a road trip! The week before we arrived, the local motorcycle group, 340 Misfits, outlined all the potholes along our route with orange reflective paint and put out caution signs at the beginning of gravel roads. It is a beautiful island with wonderful people. Click on this link to read the article from the St. Croix Source for more details. https://stcroixsource.com/2020/02/29/motorcycle-cruisers-cruise-st-croix/
Stop 2: Antigua
Our journey started through the busy streets of St. Johns, then traveling past beautiful sandy beaches on our way to the most southerly tip of the island. Even though the roads were extremely rough (potholes, dips, swellings), the scenery was stunning. Our destination was Shirley Heights, a former military complex, that provided spectacular views of the English Harbour. On the other side of the bay was Eric Clapton’s 45-acre vacation villa — the shades were up so we suspect he was home. Unfortunately, we had two minor incidents on this island: a bike would not start and had to be
towed back to the ship (rider was out of luck for the remaining islands); and a rider suffered from heat exhaustion but recovered quickly when given an electrolyte drink.
Stop 3: St. Lucia
This was our challenge course, the most rugged of all the Caribbean islands and home to the famous Pitons, a pair of dramatically tapered mountains. The island is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast and the Caribbean Sea on the west coast. Similar to the Dragon Tail in North Carolina, this island is known for its switchback roads (over 300 curves) and did not disappoint. Roads going up the mountain formed into hairpin turns followed by a steep incline and magnificent ocean views. Great riding, just not long enough.
Stop 4: Barbados
Our first stop was to the Animal Flower Cave located under the cliffs at the most northernly point of the island. Coral steps lead down through an opening of the roof into the cave that is home to sea anemones and natural rock pools, not to mention stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean through the cave openings. This was followed by island riding through sloping hill sides, past cow farms and the Morgan Lewis Windmill, the last sugar windmill to operate in Barbados.
Stop 5: St. Kitts
Formally known as St. Christopher Island, the west side borders the Caribbean Sea, and the eastern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean. We started at Basseterre and traveled the length and width of the island. Scenery was fantastic with various turns and hills. We stopped at beautiful Frigate Bay Beach before heading back to the ship.
In addition to the cost of the cruise, we paid an island fee for police escort, temporary driver’s license, fuel, etc. and a ship fee for bike clearance and storage. We were the first to leave the ship each day and almost the last to return. For each port-of-call, we gathered at the staging area and began the clearance process with Customs Border Protection. Our first stop was a local gas station and then only received enough gas for that day’s ride. Bikes may not have more than a quarter tank fuel upon returning to the ship. Helmets are mandatory for operators as well as passengers. At the end of each ride, Celebrity Cruise inspections were conducted, nitrogen added to the fuel tank (to push out the fumes), and bike chocks were used to support the motorcycles in the hull.
Other activities for our group on the ship included a welcome and farewell party, special dining section for our group, tour of the bridge, Silent Disco event (hilarious!), a marriage proposal, and pictures on the grand foyer staircase with Captain Peppas. We met wonderful people, had exciting rides and have memories that will last a lifetime. For us, it was an
opportunity that we would certainly do again!
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