Windstar's Caribbean Legend itinerary is fantastic, but Montserrat was the main attraction for us choosing it. A little bit off the beaten path for some, and definitely not a high end glam port for others - but fascinating for us.
Let's start with the Buried City. Referred to "Pompeii of the Caribbean", Montserrat the island is half green and lush, and half gray and covered in ash by the volcano of 1995. The fact that you can visit the Buried City - homes, stores, buildings and even a former luxury hotel - all abandoned and left exactly as they were in 1995 is too captivating to pass up. Sign me up.
But "before the volcano blew" as Jimmy Buffett refers to in Volcano, Montserrat had plenty offer, especially for music aficionados like us. More on that below as part of the tour.
So here goes. We signed up for the Buried City tour in advance with Daly's Tours. First stop, the National Museum of Montserrat. Interesting display of national history and hand prints of George Martin, Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Sting and others.
Next stop - Hilltop Coffee House. Oh, this is so much more than a coffee house. Some of rock & roll's greatest albums were recorded at Air Studios, founded by Sir George Martin (famed Beatles producer). Not to digress but the studio was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo before the volcano. However many photos, autographed album covers and artifacts are on display here a Hilltop coffee House.
So along with coffee's, teas, pastries, fresh fruits, etc. you can see photos taken and albums recorded at Air Studios. Just to mention a few: Jimmy Buffett, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Simply Red, Sting and other notables. If you are a music fan, this is a must. Lovely place, fabulous history on display.
Next up - the main event., Montserrat Buried City. We drove through and stopped for photo opp's of abandoned villages and towns, including churches, schools, homes, businesses and government buildings. It is an eerie, surreal experience to see the buildings and especially homes abandoned, just as they were. We walked around the beach which formerly was the deep water harbor.
The experience grew eerier when we walked through Montserrat Springs Hotel, the lobby, rooms (still partially furnished), and the former pool which has been nearly filled in. The view from atop Richmond Hill tells the story of why this was an in-demand hotel. I highly, highly recommend visiting Montserrat and this tour.
A Look at Today's Events of Interest:
5 - 7 PM - Island Music. Reggae and island music on the pool deck.
6:30 PM - Destination Manager Steve prepared us for Antigua, tomorrow's port of call. There is a lot to see and do on this island of breathtaking beauty, and we plan to take a very inclusive tour.
7:00 - 8:30 PM - Dinner: tonight is the once-a-week Windstar Breeze Signature Deck BBQ. This is the only dining option available tonight. It is always well worth it. Dining on deck in the Caribbean, views of Montserrat, listening to live music and feasting on unlimited lobster tails, carved suckling pig, paella, pasta's, salads, deserts and much more in this all-you-can-eat buffet.
8:45 PM - Line Dancing: This is your chance to join the crew and fellow guests in an enormous line dancing ritual to live music.
10:00 PM - ??? - Live Music & Sail Away Celebration: The party cranks up with live music and dancing on deck as we pull out from Montserrat and head toward Antigua.
DRINK OF THE DAY: Shark Bite
Vodka, Coconut, Pineapple, Cranberry Syrup. $8.25.