Carnival Splendor photos; Cruise destination Tortola

Carnival Splendor cruise ship


This week I want to cover two topics.

First, we have a new photo feature on Carnival Splendor. It includes both photos and a video of the ship leaving her berth in New York. I hesitated somewhat in publishing this feature because we published a similar feature about Carnival Splendor earlier in the fall. However, it was a fine autumn day and the pictures and the video from this sailing came out very nicely. In addition, since I know from experience that Carnival Splendor has many fans, I thought they would appreciate seeing these photos. The feature begins at

The second topic this week is the cruise destination Tortola. Visiting Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) is a different cruise experience than visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands. (See our Tortola overview page ). The topography is similar. Like St. Thomas, Tortola is a mountainous island with many fine sandy beaches. However, that is about the limit of the similarity.

Tortola is an offshore financial center. Some absurdly high percentage of the world’s international corporations are BVI companies. Yet, Road Town, Tortola’s only urban center, is not full of corporate headquarters buildings. They are essentially there in name only. The corporations get the benefit of the BVI’s more business-friendly laws and the islands get a boast to the economy. In fact, Tortola is one of the most prosperous islands in the Caribbean.

As a result, while Tortola is tourist-friendly, it is not in a tourist-mad. There are shops in Road Town but it does not have the shopping frenzy of Charlotte Amalie in nearby St. Thomas. In addition, the island is not as developed for tourism as the USVI.

Another difference is the island’s British background. The islanders tend to be polite and more reserved. A conversation is expected to begin with “good morning” or “good afternoon.”

So what is there for a cruise visitor to do in Tortola? First, there is the scenery. While it is possible to hike to the top of Mt. Sage, the island’s highest peak, most visitors take a tour along Ridge Road, which runs along the mountainous spine of the island. It is a wild ride, going up and down steep inclines and rounding some sharp turns. However, from the top on a clear day you can see not only the surrounding British Virgin Islands but the U.S. Virgin Islands as well. Our page on Tortola scenic views is at

Second, you can spend some time at the beach. In Tortola, the first name people think of when it comes to beaches is Cane Garden Bay. It is a quite pretty horseshoe shaped beach with white sand and palm trees. There are restaurants and other facilities. Of course, because it is the best known and most developed, it attracts the most people. Tortola has some other more secluded beaches but the tradeoff is that they have less facilities. Our page on Tortola beaches is at

Sailing and snorkeling are also popular activities on Tortola. In addition, many visitors take an excursion over to the Bathes on nearby Virgin Gorda.

Our page on the Tortola cruise port with photos of some of the ships that have called in Tortola is at We also have a links page with links to cruise line web pages about Tortola and to other sites with information about visiting Tortola.


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