And now Week 4 of my 7-week series on my 8-day fun-filled vacation on the Carnival Liberty out of Miami Florida.
Back in 2019 when I was thinking about booking my next Carnival cruise after a fun 7-day cruise on the Carnival Glory I knew that I wanted to return to Aruba and Curaçao on my next cruise. The last time I visited new islands for the first time on a cruise was back in October 2012 on the Carnival Valor when I stepped foot on Dominican Republic, Curaçao, and Aruba on 3 successive days. That was an awesome 8-day cruise – seeing and exploring new lands for the first time ever.
When I saw that the Carnival Horizon (a new ship) was sailing from Miami to Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – I was intrigued. Bonaire was the missing link from that October 2012 cruise. I’d be able to conquer all 3 of the ABC Islands if I booked that cruise. Bonaire is a fairly new port-of-call for Carnival (since January 2015), and it appears that they will be sailing there more often – and perhaps to Curaçao less often.
So I booked that Carnival Horizon cruise to the ABC Islands in February 2020 for January 2021 that was ultimately canceled (due to the pandemic). I then rebooked it for exactly a year (52 weeks) later in January 2022. The older Carnival Liberty replaced the Carnival Horizon for several sailings in January (including mine). Despite the downgrade in the ship – I was still excited about this cruise to the 3 small islands down at the south-end of the Caribbean. I would have loved to sail on that much newer cruise ship, but the bigger reason that I booked this cruise was the unique itinerary to all 3 of the ABC Islands on 3 consecutive days in alphabetical order.
So back to my story. It’s Day 5, and the 2ND-half of my cruise has begun.
Fun Fact: I embarked onto the Carnival Liberty shortly after 11 AM on Saturday January 08TH 2022, and I disembarked shortly after 8 AM on Sunday January 16TH 2022. That’s 189 hours. Half of that is 94½ hours. That would place the exact halfway point of my cruise shortly after 9:30 AM on Wednesday January 12TH 2022 – Bonaire morning !
The Carnival Liberty was the only cruise ship in port that entire day. We had the entire island to ourselves – and the 20,000+ permanent residents of the island.
We arrived in mysterious Bonaire early on that Wednesday morning just after 7 AM ship’s time (Miami Florida) / 8 AM local time. I didn’t have a shore excursion until 12:30 PM, so I had plenty of time to relax on the ship, and to take some nice photos of the island from the top decks.
The port, capital, largest city, and population center is Kralendijk. It’s on the upper-southwest coast of the island that measures about 24 miles from northwest to southeast. It’s about 3 to 5 miles wide at all points. It has a mountain range on its north side with peaks of up to nearly 800 feet above sea level. Bonaire kinda-sorta looks like a distorted Florida geographically that’s been elongated in its panhandle and squished a bit in its peninsula. The mountain range extends from “Pensacola” to “Jacksonville”, and Kralendijk is right along the “Big Bend” area.
I took a nearly 4-hour bus tour of the island (via a Carnival-sponsored shore excursion). I think it was the most popular tour. Our bus driver and tour guide were 2 older Dutch gentlemen with a weird and wacky sense of humor who often derided each other in a somewhat loving way. They were very protective of their somewhat primitive island, and they want it to stay that way and not become another congested Aruba or Curaçao. They did appreciate us (as tourists). They seemed very bitter that (in their general words) the Netherlands gives all of the money to Curaçao to distribute evenly between themselves, Aruba, and Bonaire; yet, Bonaire gets very little of that allocated funding – just a tiny percentage of it. Perhaps some of their comments out loud should not have been so, as they did a bit of political commentating rather than presenting their beautiful island to us.
Nevertheless I enjoyed the tour of the island from the salt flats of the southeast to the mountains of the northwest. I hope to see it again in the future !
I took almost 50 photos of the island. I’ve selected six of the best to present here:
Next #TravelThursday – it’s on to Curaçao.
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