Day 3 – Roatan
Today we visited Little French Key. We made reservations online, but they don’t require a deposit so we could ‘bail out’ at the last minute if so desired. The designated meeting place according to their email is just outside the port area and to the right; it was actually more like two city blocks away. The email said to look for Larry or David – it appears everyone knows them and the local folks gladly pointed the way to them. Once there our group of 4 were whisked away in a private car driven by David to the island, about 25 minutes away (including stopping at a gas station for a refill). David pointed out the sites along the way, including all three Bojangle’s Fried Chicken joints which he had an apparent fondness for.
Once you get to the pier near the key, you pay for your visit and additional options. The trip to the key and use of the facilities there was $55/person and half that for children. For $88 you can get a package with a meal plate and two drinks. We did the $55 option.
The island itself was fantastic; there was a zoo with 3 lions, monkeys, peacocks, etc that are all rescue animals from Roatan. There are horses that can be taken for a ride along the beach and into the water. There is a tall building with a rope swing that you can take and fall into the water, and another similar option at the other side of the island. My wife and kids did this, but I could not work up the courage to do so.
The beaches were nice, our first one that we stopped at was a little rocky from the coral, but the second one had sand that was like fine velvet. The island itself was very clean, with lots of trails and wooden paths/decks, a freshwater shower to clean up in after swimming, and bathrooms/changing rooms. Lots of shady spots, and several umbrella-type things in the water where you can set your drink while you swim.
Several bars were available, but one restaurant was open. There were other restaurant buildings there, but they were not open as we were the only ship in port that day and the number of people there did not justify having them open.
For lunch we purchased the “Mixed Plate” which consisted of a small lobster tail, 3 shrimp, a slice of beef that was marinated in a fantastic tasting sauce, chicken, yucca chips, pico de gallo, a small spoonful of corn that seemed a little out of place, and some really good tasting rice and beans. The plate was $22; we ordered two for the four of us, and there was plenty to go around, we thought it was an excellent value. Beer was $5 a bottle, and mixed drinks were $7.
The island’s local concoction is a “Monkey La La” which is kind of like a mudslide with a little banana flavor.
At the end of the day we took the pontoon back to the main island, and David met us there to drive us back to the ship. All in all I’d say this was a great place for an excursion. It was so large it seemed empty since we were the only ship in port, so even with large crowds I think it can handle the capacity.
Roatan is 2 hours behind Eastern Time at this part of the year, so each night the captain had us turn back the clock one hour. I mistakenly did this to my watch one extra time so I was off by an additional hour, so our time on Roatan was cut short, which I greatly regret. Lesson there that I’ll never forget – check the time on the ship’s TV system before I leave, just in case.
For dinner I had the escargot, chilled mango soup, and Pad Thai. The Pad Thai was a little oily; I would have preferred it has used sesame oil instead of veggie oil to keep it more Oriental flavored, but that was the only thing I noted about dinner. I opted for the after dinner shot as well.
After dinner the kids bought their first “big people” watches at the $10 Sale in the shops onboard, then we watched a trivia type show where the person that answered the questions last had to do a public dance with the host. It was very funny.
After the kids went to bed I went to the Viking Crown lounge and met two of this sailing’s Pinnacle members. They have over 800 points under their belts. Had a nice chat with them; they are onboard for this and next week’s sailings, then on the 14 day transatlantic when the ship moves for Europe for the summer. Gail noted that they usually don’t board until after 2pm so that when they arrive they’ll room will be available to drop off carry-on luggage. I’ll have to consider that in the future, as I usually like to get on early.