Our 11-night Quilters of the Caribbean quilting cruise has come to an end and what a blast we had! This cruise was designed some 18 months ago and departed Cape Liberty, NJ on January 16. Dana and I headed east 2 days before the cruise as we were anxious about the weather conditions in NJ this time of year but we were pleasantly surprised with the mild temperatures. The day prior to the cruise we spent resting and we went to the movie to see "Knives Out". Cute movie for sure!
Day 1: We boarded Anthem of the Seas with no difficulty and we safely passed under the George Washington bridge. We were please to find the conference center was ready for us and our supplies had already begun to be delivered. We were pretty well set up by our Welcome Meeting at 4:30. At the meeting we were met with smiling faces from many repeat guests as well as new friends. Our conference center/sewing room is on the 13th floor at the back of the ship with floor to ceiling windows. Simply an amazing sewing space!
Day 2: Classes began at 8:30 with Bernina familiarization lessons by Dana and myself. At the beginning of each Stitchin' Heaven cruise we do this so anyone not familiar with the Bernina machine can have an overview of how the buttons work, how to thread, and tips/tricks for successful sewing on the machine. Classes began at 9:00 with Nancy Mahoney teaching Wild Waves, Doris Rice teaching Penelope, and Jennifer Crawford teaching a Stitchin' Heaven original pattern called Flying Fish
Day 3: Was pretty much a repeat of Day 2 with teachers rotating to a new group of students. On our cruises, each quilter is assigned a machine and they get to stay at that machine the entire cruise. Our teachers rotate from class to class. We did get a great group photo on the SeaPlex.
Day 4: Our first stop was San Juan. We didn't dock until 3:00 and it was raining and a parade was going on so most everyone opted to stay onboard...and sew! Since there had been two classes everyone had plenty to do and appreciated the extra sewing time!
Day 5: St. Maarten is one of our favorite stops in the islands. It was pleasantly cool on this day so we made the 1 mile walk into town to maybe work off some of the food we had been eating and get some fresh air. We walked the shopping streets for awhile and ended up at the Lazy Lizard restaurant where we had the signature drink “In the Nick of Thyme” and some tasty fish ‘n chips island style.
Day 6: Antigua is a fun little port with great shopping right off the pier. Dana and I decided to go on an off-road adventure. It had been raining there so yes we got muddy but it was great fun and lots of laughs! The day was perfect when we returned to the ship and found chocolate covered strawberries had been delivered to our stateroom!
Day 7: St. Lucia is home of the famous Piton mountains and Dana wanted to see them so we booked a 6-hour excursion on a pirate ship. It was raining when we left the ship. It rained while we were on our way. It rained when we got to the plantation where we had lunch. It rained all the way back. We did not see the Pitons we thought we would see. The first picture below is what we expected. The middle picture is what we got. Another day?
Day 8: The stop we have all been waiting for: St. Kits! This is the island with the Caribelle Batik Factory. When we are fortunate enough to have an itinerary that includes this stop, we organize an exclusive excursion for our guests out to the factory where they have a guided tour followed by actually making their own piece of batik. The weather finally cooperated and it was sunny and gorgeous. Everyone returned to the ship with smiles and their own creation of batik:
Day 9: It was back to the conference center to finish our last day of class instruction. Each of the teachers taught once more one of the three projects. In the evening, we went to the on-board Broadway-style musical “We Will Rock You”. It is AMAZING - by far the best show on the RCCL fleet.
Day 10 and 11: FREE SEW DAYS! Everyone was free to sew on whatever they wanted, to finish up some of the class projects, or work on something they brought from home. Here are just a few of the finished projects:
Day 12: Back in Bayonne, NJ with temps in the lower 40’s and COLD! We all would much prefer to be back in sunny St. Kitts sipping a fruity drink with a little umbrella in it. We had such a great time on our quilt cruise adventure. Seeing our friends and making new ones is what makes this worthwhile to all of us at Stitchin’ Heaven.
Want to join us on a future adventure? See the entire line up of available quilting cruises here
Deb ‘n Dana