If your ideal holiday consists of paradisal, shimmering white sands, quiet, turquoise blue waters and a culture that is both laid-back and vibrant and colourful, then the Caribbean is the place to visit. With all this and more on offer, it’s little wonder that cruises in the Caribbean are amongst the world’s most popular. However, with an area of 2.75 million km2 and each island offering its own unique ‘flavour’, where are the best ports to visit? Below we provide our five favourite recommendations.
Best for the all-encompassing Caribbean experience
The capital of the Bahamas, Nassau, is a city brimming with culture, history, art and nightlife. Many of its buildings retain that pastel-hued tone familiar with British colonial architecture. Meanwhile, Festival Place offers a truly Bahamian experience, where visitors can pick up crafts and souvenirs.
Take a bridge across to Paradise Island and discover beautiful, white powder beaches. Atlantis, an extensive hotel complex and golf course on the island, offers day passes for visitors enabling you to meet some of the island’s marine life, visit their aquariums and lagoons or enjoy a wild water adventure at their waterparks.
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Best for amazing diving
Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands; islands attract divers worldwide. Offering arguably the best scuba diving of any Caribbean cruise port, Grand Turk has some of the most exquisite barrier reef sites. This underwater spectacular offers canyons, arches, sand chutes, overhangs and swim-throughs where the impeccable visibility provides amazing views of fish, sea creatures and coral. Experienced divers come keen to explore one of the greatest wall dives, just off the west coast and with a drop of nearly 7,000 feet.
For those seeking something other than diving, Grand Turk is rich in history with landmarks and museums to explore, while at the Grand Turk Cruise Centre, there is a wide range of shops, restaurants and bars to enjoy.
Best for a reggae vibe
If visiting the Caribbean stirs up some reggae beats from the infamous Bob Marley, then a stop at Falmouth is a must. Follow in the footsteps of thousands of fans who make their pilgrimage to this reggae legend’s birthplace and final resting place.
The Bob Marley Museum tour takes you to the charming mountain village of Nine Mile, where Marley was inspired to write the lyrics of some of his famous songs. Complete your Jamaican experience with local live reggae jam before refuelling with the island’s specialities, jerk chicken and rum cake.
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Best for wonderful wildlife
Take a short ferry from Crown Bay Marina to chill out and enjoy the natural delights of Water Island. As a small, residential island with less than 200 people, it offers a haven for relaxation. Explore the beautiful beaches, kayak the quiet waters or hike around the verdant green landscape. Animal-lovers will discover a wide variety of wildlife from iguanas, deer and mongoose to pelicans, hummingbirds and herons, and, if you’re lucky, maybe even turtles.
Philipsburg, St Martin
Best for shopping and dining
This island has a Dutch and a French side, creating a captivating blend of European and Caribbean culture. In Phillipsburg, Dutch delights meet Caribbean charm with an alluring array of shopping opportunities, including electronic stores and dazzling jewellery, alongside rum cocktails for a touch of added joy.
Crossing the border to the French side is easy, and here the shopping becomes chic, with designer brands at bargain prices and open market bazaars. Rest weary feet and sit down to enjoy some French cuisine with a touch of Caribbean flavour.
A Caribbean cruise provides a wide variety of experiences, each island having its own unique culture, charm and attractions. However, all share in offering stunning scenery that makes a holiday in this region an exceptional one.// END - About the Author ?>