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rjack22

St. Kitts Scenic Railroad tour

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I was on this train excursion last Saturday (booked through RCL). It was very nice to see the beautiful scenery, where residents of the island actually lived (the kids love to come out and waive), and to just relax. If you are the type of person that would rather party or move around a lot and not relax this excursion is not for you. It is also rather expensive. I sat on the open top deck - I was glad it was breezy that day as otherwise it would probably be very hot and perhaps buggy. Even with the breeze little gnats would occasionally land on me. The train is not the normal train you picture - riding on top it reminded me more like a kids ride. I did enjoy it though.

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Alysa - thank you very much for the input. My husband and I took the narrow gauge in Skagway, Alaska a couple of years ago and really liked it so we were interested in taking this tour during our Constellation cruise in 2 weeks. However, we have a booked a lot of "long" tours for some of our other ports so I thought we would need a Beach Break day in St. Kitts. After reading what you wrote, I am 100% sure to take the break. I could just see myself really enjoying the scenery but being bugged by "gnats" and humdity.

 

I think if we had shorter tours the other days I would take this tour and similar tours have been awesome, but in this case I will convince my husband to go to the beach.

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We took this tour and would agree that it is a bit pricey ($99) however, it is a nice way to see a good portion of the island. The people operating the tour do a nice job of making it fun and informative. Soda, water, rum punch and pina coladas are served, no charge. Islanders along the way all wave and seem welcoming. We rode in the upper level and had no problems with bugs--actually, I cannot recall even seeing a single bug/insect.

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We just did this tour this past week and would say it was worth it. It was a little pricey, but just not having to drive or find your way around made it a great way to see the country and many places that you couldnt or wouldnt probably see otherwise.

The staff on the train were very friendly, our bus driver gave us a great narrative of the island during the drive and the narrative on the train was very informative as well.

All eight of our group agreed it was a fun afternoon.

(Watch out for the rum punch, but the pina coladas were good).

 

It was fun watching the little kids come running out of school to wave as the train passed by. Even the adults got into the spirit and everyone we met on the island as a whole was very friendly, not pushy on the selling and just seemed thrilled to have you there. This was one island of our trip that I would definitely love to go back to.

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We Have Booked The Train In St.kits We Leave On Our Cruise January 14 From San Juan On The Golden Princess We Will Be In St Kits On Monday

 

Thanks Again For Your Review Stur Dayton,ohio

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Quick question... you mentioned the train ride was 2 1/2 hrs. I'm wondering if that's a bit too long. Didn't it get boring?

 

We both hated this longggggg slow ride thru sugar cane fields, delapidated houses, grassy fields, and along the sea/ocean, ad nauseum. Everyone slept on our tour. They tried selling hokey souvenirs, and had terrible local singers "entertain" us. A complete waste of time, money, and a day in the sun. Stay on board.

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Are there bathrooms on board?

Hey Dawn - No bathrooms - You have to jump off - then run to catch up to the train - then jump back on.:D:D

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We both hated this longggggg slow ride thru sugar cane fields, delapidated houses, grassy fields, and along the sea/ocean, ad nauseum. Everyone slept on our tour. They tried selling hokey souvenirs, and had terrible local singers "entertain" us. A complete waste of time, money, and a day in the sun. Stay on board.

To each his own. :D:D

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I agree - to each his own.

 

We took the Scenic RR tour through Princess and enjoyed it very much. We left at 8:00 a.m. and everything went smooth. We enjoyed seeing the island in a unique way. We loved seeing all the people waving to us and the school children out to wave and greet us. There are washrooms on each of the cars - YOU DO NOT have to jump off. Our experience was that the service was great -the Pina Coladas were the best with that nutmeg sprinkled on top.

 

My advise is if you want to see this island in this way to book early. Princess needs to improve their scheduling. CC friends of ours were scheduled for the 9:00 a.m. departure and had to drive around for an hour and then wait for another half hour 'til the train got to the turn around point. It is a 2 1/2 hour ride. They were not 'happy campers'. The train derailed on the second trip and they had to be picked up by bus.

 

That evening we ran into our friends and actually we were all laughing about their experience. Sometimes the inconvience becomes something funny that you will never forget.

 

We were never bored (but we never are - it's an attitude thing with us) - we stayed in the open upper level of the train with great views of cows, goats, pigs and sugarcane. We watched about 10 goats leading the train for a while with a few guys leaning out of the front watching for any trouble on the tracks (it had rained hard the night before - thus, the derailment). The sound system was very audible and clear (we learned a lot about the history of the island).

 

The entertainment was fair at best.

 

We were happy we took this tour (as stated before - to each their own).

I tried to be as specific as possible, but if you have any specific questions you can e-mail me at larrykaysim@aol.com.

 

Enjoy,

Kaye

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Rich, I'll make you a tuna sandwich with some chips and a cookie to take with you:D

Missing you and Loretta on the roll-call.:)

 

Adele

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Thanks Adele..

 

Brown bagging it always works for us...:D

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Thanks Kaye...I just hope Adele throws in a pickle...

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We have booked this trip with OV and I cant wait, heard so many good reviews so far!

 

Do you get good photo oppurtunities, or is the train moving at a decent speed to take pictures?

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Hi Everyone

 

Just got back this evening from the Golden--We were on the train at the time the engine derailed--we probably spent an hour and 1/2 waiting to be rescued--at the time this happened--there was only sugar cane and other growth around us--had no idea where we were--no ocean, no houses, no roads

 

When this happened the narrator was in the first car--we were in the 5th car--the narrator had the singers sing and she read us a poem (I guess to keep our mind off our problem) After the singing, etc. she told us that our tour was over

 

It all worked out, they got us back, just before time for the ship to leave for its next stop.

 

We were given approximately 65% of our money back--after a couple days .

 

It was interesting to see all the people in the more populated areas waving to us--lots of goats

 

All in all--not the worst excursion--it's funny NOW

 

Nancy

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I agree: the Scenic Railway tour on St. Kitts is unique. I've taken trains all over the world, and this one is the only one with an air-conditioned downstairs sitting area (it's carpeted, and they have tables and cushioned chairs) as well as an upper observation deck where you can sit to see the sights. In this way you get two seats, one up, one down, and you can switch back and forth whenever you want.

 

It's the only train I've ever ridden on that has a three-part local a cappella choir (they sing old Caribbean hymns and folk songs as you roll along: they are fun, it's a little rough, and that makes it "real" ).

 

There are complimentary drinks (the rum punch and daquaris are both good), and a snack called a "sugar cake" made from the sugar cane that grows beside the track. The woman who narrated our tour was clear-spoken, interesting, and recited a poem about the end of the country's sugar industry (it closed down in 2005).

 

Children stood outside their schools in their uniforms and waved at us as we went past, and the narrator told us to "wave first", because if we did the island people would always wave back, and that this way there would be people waving at the train for generations to come. She also told us not to throw anything off the train to the children (money or candy) because the children could be hurt running toward the train if they slipped, and because she said they wanted the kids to grow up with a good work ethic, get a job, and not learn to beg. I liked that.

 

St. Kitts is not a poor country, and it does not "look" poor if you have traveled. I have seen what crushing poverty looks like in Central and South America, and St. Kitts is nothing like that. These people may not be wealthy, but they have prospects. There are fruit trees right outside their doors. Their houses have paint and there are little shops with new signs. There is new construction (roofs, sheds, houses) everywhere. No one lives in cardboard shacks under bridges. And there is a minimum of garbage along the railroad and highways (again, compare this with Kingston, Jamaica, or down by the old rail station today in Montego Bay...if you dare!).

 

The train crew and all the employees were all black Kittitians, and they told us that the train had been started by a group of American investors who had believed in the future of the cruise industry in their country. They said that even though the sugar industry had closed, the railroad now employed 68 people, many of them from the old sugar train railroad, who now had these new jobs and hoped that the train would survive and grow.

 

All of this, added to tall bridges, views of the ocean and the surf, scenes of secluded beachs, and the abandoned ruins of the British Empire (the overgrown remains of the sugar cane estate chinmeys and windmills) was a refreshing break from the package tour mediocrity (one gift shop to fake attraction to another) that one often finds around the world today.

 

The St. Kitts train was "real". It was two relaxing hours on a very pretty little narrow gauge train (the last one in the West Indies), and an hour on one of the railroad's buses that takes you for the final section of the complete circle around the country and back to the ship. I plan on doing it again on my next trip, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys rail travel as a way to really see a new country in a short amount of time.

 

Rail Traveler

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I just was on the St. Kitts scenic railway on December 6 as part of a shore excursion with the Queen Mary 2. Instead of writing a lengthy review I just want to say I 100% agree with Rail Traveler's comments. Being a rail fan I probably decided on this trip just because it was a train but it turned out to be more than just that. It was a delightful way to explore the real countryside of St. Kitts and I'll add that St. Kitts was my favourite of our island visits on this particular Caribbean sailing. I too would recommend the scenic railway. The high price is well worth it.

 

David

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I took the scenic railway excursion from the Queen Mary 2 last week and totally agree with both Rail Traveler and Bramcruiser. It was one of the best shore excursions, if not the best, that I've taken in the Caribbean. They seem to have thought of everything, and the views are incredible. So pleasant to see not only children but also many adults wave to us. The singing, the drinks, the sugar cakes are nice additions to the narration and the ride. And, although the ride is very popular, they keep the trains uncrowded, so there's plenty of space and room to move around and see everything. We were even given a free DVD of the railway when we arrived back at the terminal, which turns out to be extremely well done and is not just marketing hype.

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I was so looking forward to taking this train on our stop at St Kitts. It was on the Carnival view excursions with one $ sign. I thought that was funny since I read it was $99 on this thread. When I tried to do a book excursion this was not one of the offerings. I thought I was a bit too early. When I went to the Carnival excursion site today this was not listed at all.

 

Is it possible to do this on our own. I am slightly worried about the derail situation and the ship leaving. But if I can get on first thing I'm willing to take a chance.

 

Has anyone done this tour without going through their ship. thanks for any input.

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The pamphlet that the railway handed out doesn't include any information about direct reservations; it just says to contact your onboard shore excursion office. I also am quite sure that I heard somewhere while we were there that it's available only as a ship's excursion, but I really can't say for sure. It would really be a shame if you miss it. Maybe Carnival's excursion filled up and, if so, maybe they'll add another at a different time -- that's what happened with the Queen Mary 2.

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I was so looking forward to taking this train on our stop at St Kitts. It was on the Carnival view excursions with one $ sign. I thought that was funny since I read it was $99 on this thread. When I tried to do a book excursion this was not one of the offerings. I thought I was a bit too early. When I went to the Carnival excursion site today this was not listed at all.

 

Is it possible to do this on our own. I am slightly worried about the derail situation and the ship leaving. But if I can get on first thing I'm willing to take a chance.

 

Has anyone done this tour without going through their ship. thanks for any input.

I would imagine Carnival is still working out the contracts with tour operators in St Kitts. I know last year when Antigua was added they had excursions listed on the website that we werent able to book for several months.

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I was so looking forward to taking this train on our stop at St Kitts. It was on the Carnival view excursions with one $ sign. I thought that was funny since I read it was $99 on this thread. When I tried to do a book excursion this was not one of the offerings. I thought I was a bit too early. When I went to the Carnival excursion site today this was not listed at all.

 

Is it possible to do this on our own. I am slightly worried about the derail situation and the ship leaving. But if I can get on first thing I'm willing to take a chance.

 

Has anyone done this tour without going through their ship. thanks for any input.

 

http://www.stkittsscenicrailway.com/

There is a phone number and an email address to contact for more information and for reservations.

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thanks, I also emailed Carnival about the excursion no longer appearing on their list. My return email said to contact their customer service. I'll give that a shot today... thanks again

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Carnival Cruise Line begins calling into St. Kitts with the "Carnival Legend" on February 1st, 2007. The "Legend" will come in five times: Feb. 1, Feb. 17, March 5, March 21, and April 4. This is the first time Carnival has included St. Kitts in one of their regular itineraries for six or seven years.

 

It is my understanding that Carnival is selling the St. Kitts Scenic Railway Tour as one of their Shore Excursions. I will call to double-check this. I know that the train was sold as a Shore Excursion on several "one off" visits of Carnival ships to the island over the last several years ("Carnival Victory" in November 2004, and on a charter of the " Carnival Destiny" in August 2005).

 

Purchasing the train tour from the ship is less expensive than trying to buy it on your own. The rail station is out by the airport at the edge of Basseterre (the main town), and you have to hire a local taxi to take you from the dock out to the station. After the train trip ends, you have to get a taxi back to the ship. The cost of this, added to the cost of the train ticket, ends up being far more than the cost of buying from the ship. When you buy the Scenic Railway tour from the ship, these transfers to and from the train are included in the tour price. The railway has their own bus fleet for doing this.

 

Finally, there is NEVER any chance that your ship will leave you behind if you have purchased your tour from the Shore Excursion Office on the ship. The Shore Excursion Managers are in constant contact with tour operators and make sure all guests are accounted for before the ship sails. If you purchase tours independently, or go out on your own, this is not necessarily the case.

 

Rail Traveler

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