Cayamo Ashore - St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
This year's Cayamo cruise took place Feb. 3-10 aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pearl, and as usual the music-festival-at-sea kept fans busy with nearly non-stop entertainment from a long list of top artists. But the music pauses for the first half of the day when the ship makes port so that fans who go ashore don't miss anything. Cayamo's first port of call this time out was St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands (USVI).
The USVI are a United States territory and St. Croix is one of the territory's main islands. There are lots of options for what to do ashore in St. Croix, including visiting museums, scenic tour, botanical garden exploration and of course visiting the beach. For those who want to get in the water to a greater extent, there are diving adventures. But keeping with Cayamo's party theme, many Cayamoans chose to visit the Captain Morgan rum facility.
Most rum drinkers are familiar with the Captain Morgan brand. The company used to be based in Jamaica, but for the past ten years St. Croix is the world's exclusive supplier of the distillate that eventually becomes Captain Morgan rum. A tour of the facility begins with a guide giving some basic information about how the rum got its name. Captain Morgan is depicted as a pirate on the company's logo, and that is true, sort of. The man behind the image is Sir Henry Morgan, who was a "privateer," or legal pirate, and also an admiral in the English Royal Navy. He did some nasty stuff while at sea, but ended up as a successful plantation owner and also the Lt. Governor of Jamaica!
With the brief history aside, tour-takers learn about the various ingredients that make up rum, and get to sniff bottles of molasses and rum in various stages. The smell of the liquor heightens the anticipation for the favorite part of the tour; the tasting! Tour-takers get to taste small shots of Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum, White Rum and Private Stock Rum. Each participant also gets a Captain Morgan token that can be exchanged for a rum cocktail or shot of your choice (or soft drink if you prefer.) And finally tour-takers visit the Captain Morgan gift shop where rum, T-shirts, rum-infused chocolate and other goodies may be purchased.
No Captain Morgan rum is finished in St. Croix; the distillate is shipped in huge ISO tanks to the United States where it is aged and bottled. But Cayamoans that took the tour can say they've been to the place where it got started. Most shore excursions take about half a day, and those who took the Captain Morgan tour were back on ship (or still in town shopping on their own) by lunchtime. That meant everybody had plenty of time to get ready for the evening's entertainment, which included shows by Soggy Bottom Boys, Hayes Carll, Buddy Miller, Rodney Crowell, Dar Williams, Shawn Mullins, the Wailing Jennys and more.
For more information about Cayamo go here.
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