Caribbean Cruises - Ports of Call
CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN
The Caribbean Has A Warm Spot for You
Updated - Feb 99
2. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao
7. About Bermuda Shorts
8. British Virgin Islands - BVI
9. Cayman Islands
11. Dominica Republic
17. Puerto Rico
18. St. Barthelemy
19. St. Kitts / Nevis
20. St. Lucia
21. St. Martin / Sint Maarten
22. St. Vincent and The Genadines
23. Trinidad and Tobago
24. Turks and Caicos Islands
25. United States Virgin Islands - USVI
26. Caribbean Shopping Scheme
The very word "Caribbean" has the ring of sheer escapism and adventure. Caribbean magic boasts an allure that swings back to childhood dreams of master mariner Christopher Columbus at the helm of his wooden boats that looked like oversized bathtubs, of Blackbeard the pirate and of the infamous Captain Kidd searching for long-lost treasure on warm palm-lined beaches.
The Caribbean (pronounced Cari-BEE-an by the English, and Car-RIB-bean by Americans) is a large, deep, tropical sea located between North and South America, bordering Venezuela, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the Lesser Antilles to the east, and home to hundreds of islands in between.
Deceptive as the cooling northeast tradewinds, the Caribbean is deeper than the Mediterranean, is a whopping 1,500 miles in length and connects to the Gulf of Mexico through the Yucatan channel where, at one point, it flexes its muscles and plummets 6 800 feet below sea level.
Spiced with history, the blood of many races runs through the veins of the Caribbean people. Conquerors from Spain, England, France, Holland and Denmark, some bringing slaves from Africa, played musical chairs with the islands, all beginning with Columbus, who landed in the Bahamas in search of a passage to the lands of the Far East in 1492.
The interesting ethnic mix is responsible for the subtle differences in cuisine and ambience, underscored by a festive and varied musical heritage.
The people, with their softly slurred calypso English cropped and poetic like a songbird, welcome cruisers.
Come along on a Caribbean journey where the itineraries and shore excursions are as varied as the vast selection of ships. You can find a number of Caribbean travel deals online to save on your expenses so you'll have more money to spend on your island adventure.
At dusk frogs and crickets, and maybe even a relative of Long John Silver's parrot, form a melodious chorus while somewhere in the distance a cruise ship moos like an anxious cow for its straying children.
ANQUILLA - Anguilla, an unspoiled getaway, relaxed and informal, has the look of a movie set or a shiny travel poster. Sparsely vegetated and devoid of tourist trappings, its 35 sparkling beaches, laid out with talcum-powder-like sand, are known as some of the most attractive in the eastern Caribbean.
Protected by a fringe of coral reef, sunken gardens are profuse with dazzling fish and marine life. Offshore cays and islands, some within reach of hardier swimmers, provide quiet havens for snorkeling and divining.
Don't forget to bring home a block Angullia Plan postage stamps: they're revered by collectors throughout the world. TOP
ARUBA, BONAIRE, AND CURACAO - The ABC Islands in the Leewards, just off the coast of Venezuela, comprise a trio of Dutch delights. Accessible and affordable, they offer near-perpetual sunshine, cooling trade winds, underwater adventure, and neat, clean cities.
The mix of Dutch, Spanish, and Indian influences has created a warm friendly people, proud of their uncommonly rich heritage and history. Though Dutch is the official Language, English is spoken throughout the islands, as is the lilting papiamento, which has evolved from all of the above, as well as a sprinkling of African and French. TOP
ARUBA - Aruba is a 70-square-mile getaway that is tropical along the palm-lined west shore and desert reminiscent of lower Baja California, inland.
A shore excursion across the island reveals large rock formations and choya and barrel cactus often used for fences around tidy homes. The northern shore, whipped by northeast trade winds, has a raw rugged beauty and is strewn with black volcanic rocks that are pounded by rolling whitecaps.
A Bridge, carved by the sea and wind, stretches over an inlet and is a popular photo opportunity, as are the windsculptured divi trees.
The action is on the west coast where windsurfers fly across the water like roadrunners. Shoppers browse through friendly Oranjestad while in the evening, casinos, nightclubs and dancing swing through the night. TOP
BONAIRE - Bonaire, a 112-square-mile coral reef, is where snorkelers and scuba divers go when they die and go to heaven. The waters surrounding the island, much to the delight of the late Jacque Cousteau, have been designated a marine park. Spearfishing was banned years ago as was shell and coral collecting. Rent mask and fins and enjoy 50 choice diving locations featuring caves and great visibility.
The island, dry and laden with cactus, is never-the-less tropical, with more than 340 species of flora. Stunning 13,500 acre Washington National Park is where more than species of birds can be seen. Kralendijk, the capital, is where stories of diving prowess are expanded upon. TOP
CURACAO - Willemstad in Curacao might be the most photographed city in the Caribbean. Dutch from top to bottom, the city is a transplanted Amsterdam. Sun-bleached, 18th-century gabled buildings line Santa Anna Bay and the sea, and are a symbol of the entire Caribbean.
Walk along the wondrous Queen Emma pontoon bridge as it swings open to let ships in and out of the harbor. Enjoy the floating market while schooners from Venezuela, laden with produce, pass along the canal.
Fort Amsterdam, built in 1637 to protect the harbor, houses the governor's residence, government offices and a protestant church which has a cannonball embedded in a wall. Nearby, Mikve Israel, dating to 1732, is the oldest Jewish synagogue in continuous use in the New World.
Shore excursions might include a horseback ride or mountain climb in 4,000-acre Mt. Christoffel National Park, a glassbottomed boat ride to the 1,500-acre Netherlands Antilles Underwater Park where you can snorkel, or at Seaquarium observe the Curacao underwater world without getting wet. TOP
BAHAMAS - Reportedly, Ponce de Leon spent a short time in the Bahamas searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth. Today, for the modern-day cruisers who sail to the Bahamas, the Fountain of Youth is a No. 30 sunscreen.
Nassau is home to the world's largest offshore resort, Paradise Island, which is aptly named if you like to gamble. The island is so self-contained that many cruisers never leave the area to visit Nassau or the other islands.
The main cruise ship area in Nassau, has a large selection of vendors selling unusual local wood carvings. At the famous straw market are jewelry, hats, purses and baskets. Ignore the first price. Rent a motor scooter and visit historic landmarks such as the Queen's Staircase, Fort Fincastle or Government House and experience the authentic spirit of this Old World city.
Remember to drive on the left side of the road. If this is confusing, forget the motor scooter and take a city tour excursion.
The "Out Islands" represent an interesting travel experience far removed from the more widely known Freeport and Nassau stops, both in geography and in physical ease. The DISNEY MAGIC calls at Nassau and their splendid private island, Castaway Cay, while Princess Cruises and the GRAND PRINCESS claims Princess Cays as their private Out Island. TOP
BARBADOS - Unlike many of its West Indies neighbors, Barbados never changed hands, and had been under British control for more than 300 years when it became independent in 1966.
High tea is commonplace, cricket is the game, streets are named Chelsa and Bay, and the Capital, Bridgetown, has a Trafalgar Square where buildings erected in 1748, house Parliament.
Cruisers can hunt for bargains in Pelican Village, view the Barbados Museum, recording island history dating to 1627, or swim at Paradise Beach. TOP
Andromeda Gardens is a natural rock garden surrounded by thick, tropical vegetation. The Folkstone Marine Reserve, off the west coast, is an underwater park where snorkelers follow a trail around a reef. Harrison's Cave, the Ashford Bird Park and Tent Bay, an old fishing village, are only a few of the attractions on the 166-square-mile island. TOP
BELIZE - It used to be that Belize, on the east coast of Central America and featuring the second-largest barrier reef in the world, was an unspoiled escape for backpackers, adventures, and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC specials.
Moderately priced hotels popped up and Belize actively began encouraging tourism along with smaller cruise ships like TEMPTRESS ADVENTURE CRUISES who developed soft adventure cruising in Costa Rica and Belize. Crusty Mayan ruins, the Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve, a 150-square-mile wildlife preserve for the spotted jaguar, puma, lynx and ocelot, birds galore and diving expeditions, await in Belize. TOP
BERMUDA - Squeaky-clean and the essence of fine government, 21-square-mile Bermuda, basks in the glory of its famed pink-tinted beaches and architecture.
The oldest of the British crown colonies has no national debt, income tax, unemployment, homeless people or slums. All this reflects the world's highest standard of living.
Hamilton, the capital, is filled with pretty, colonial, shuttered buildings, and from almost every angle are vistas of spotless pastel houses, picture-perfect bays and blazing white sailboats bobbing about on turquoise water that you would love to bottle and take home.
Moated Fort Hamilton offers an overview of the city and bay. Another magnificent view of the islands and the sweeping shoreline is from the lookout balcony of Gibb's Hill Lighthouse in Southampton, the oldest cast-iron lighthouse in the world, circa 1846.
There are no car rentals on Bermuda, so ride your moped to the Botanical Gardens for afternoon tea at the Tavern on the Green overlooking the grounds, and then on to Verdmont, an estate built in 1700. Now a National Trust Museum, each room has a fireplace and is furnished with rare 18th century furniture.
St. George's, Bermuda's oldest area and original capital, is beautifully restored with its shuttered, thick-walled colonial homes, museums and nearby, Fort St. Catherine, dating to 1642, at the easternmost tip of the island. In 1610, Shakespeare's "Macbeth" was produced in London, only three years before construction of the fort began. Hook up with the St. George's walking tour for an insider's look at living history and hear the town crier shout, "All's well in ST. George's ... God bless the queen, Canada, America and anyone else I've left out." TOP
ABOUT BERMUDA SHORTS - The classic Bermuda-length shorts with knee-high socks, shirt, tie, and blazer with the Bermuda crest, are quite smart. Shorts are now about two inches above the knee and slightly shorter than they used to be.
Sandals with socks are out. Visitors who wear short shorts with blazer, tie and knee socks look silly to many Bermudians. During the day you can get away with a little more but short shorts are usually not allowed on Bermuda golf courses. TOP
Next Page >