Best Caribbean Cruise Destinations After The Hurricanes
October 4th, 2017, Posted by travelwith2ofus
The Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise destinations for major cruise lines. It is sad! So sad that many of these islands have been devastated by hurricanes. First came the thug, Harvey. It huff and puffed and blew Barbuda away. Then came Irma, mad as hell, she blew away many of the Caribbean islands like St Maarten, Turks and Caicos and the British and US Virgin Islands. Anguilla, Cuba, St Barts, Saba, St Eustatius, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic felt her fury as well.
Just when they were picking up the pieces and counting there losses, Maria came and tore through the Caribbean and left Dominica destroyed. The Caribbean witnessed an unbelievable two weeks of brute force from good ole Mother Nature.
Many of these smaller islands have tourist-based economies and are in fact among the most popular in the region. St Maarten/St Marin and the British and US Virgin Islands are three of the most visited cruise destination in the Caribbean. The road to recovery will be slow, but I hope by the end of this year some activities may be able to take place in some of the islands.
Cruise lines adjust their itineraries
Many of the major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line, have already made adjustments to their Caribbean cruise itineraries.
These are some of the major Caribbean cruise destinations that selected cruise lines visit and where you can find their itinerary updates.
Disney Cruise Line Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Disney Cruise Line docks at a variety of ports in the Caribbean including Cayman Islands, Grenada, Barbados and Jamaica. None of these four were affected by any of the hurricanes, but its major destinations in the eastern Caribbean, St Maarten, the British and the US Virgin islands were destroyed.
Disney has options because it also sails to other islands in the Caribbean including St Kitts, St Lucia, Martinique, Bonaire, Aruba, Antigua and Curacao. The cruise line has already made changes to its cruise itineraries for October and and November and advises travelers to look out for further updates. Check out their advisory here.
It was only recently, August to be exact, that Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ship, Harmony of the Seas made its fifth stopover at Port Zante in Basseterre for 2017. Basseterre is the capital of St Kitts and Nevis. Royal's other large ship Allure of the Seas also visited the islands.
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Holland America Caribbean Cruise Destinations
The cruise season for Holland America usually begins in mid-October. Holland America sails to several Caribbean destination including Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curacao, St Lucia, St Kitts and the Dominican Republic.
With the destruction of St Maarten, Turks and Caicos, the US and the British Virgin Islands, which got hit the hardest from the hurricanes. The cruise line has also adjusted its itineraries and you can find updates for its Caribbean destinations on its website.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Barbados, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are among some of the popular stops that Royal Caribbean makes. None of these islands were affected by the hurricanes. The cruise line also docks at other Caribbean islands including Haiti (Labadee, which is a private resort of Royal Caribbean), St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Martinique, Bonaire, Aruba, Grenada, Antigua and Curacao. It also drops anchor at ports in the Bahamas and Bermuda.
Royal Caribbean has already made adjustments to its itineraries. According to a notice on its website sailing for October have been changed. Instead of the US Virgin Islands it will be heading to Martinique and Antigua. Trips to St Maarten have been replaced by stops to St Kitts and Martinique. Check out their website for the full list of changes.
Carnival Cruise Lines Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Carnival Cruise Lines will carry you to Curacao, Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, Bonaire, Jamaica, Grenada, Martinique, Dominican Republic, St Kitts, Aruba and Scarborough, Trinidad&Tobago. It also docks in Bermuda and the Bahamas.
Before the terrible threesome, Harvey, Irma and Maria it also stopped at ports in Dominica, Turk and Caicos, the US Virgin Islands and St Maarten. Carnival continues to update it itineraries and keep its travelers informed with weekly updates that can be accessed on its website.
Princess Cruises Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago are some of the destinations that Princess Cruises dock in the Caribbean. Dominica, St Maarten, St Barts, US Virgins Islands and the Turks and Caicos are some of the islands they visited before the hurricanes hit.
According to information on Princess Cruises website, some of their itineraries have already been changed. For example, they will replace a stop to St Maarten on Friday, December 22, 2017 with a call to St. Kitts from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM on the same date.
On their December 28th, 10-day cruise they have replaced their visit to Dominica on Monday, January 1st, 2018 with a call to Martinique from 10 AM to 7 PM on the same date. There are other changes to their itineraries which can be found on their website.
Make sure and pick up these cruise essentials.
Norwegian Cruise Line Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Norwegian Cruise Line Caribbean ports of call include Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Grenada, St Kitts, St Lucia and Martinique.
Norwegian also visit some of the islands that were severely affected by the hurricanes. These include Dominica, St Maarten, the US and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as well. Like all other cruise lines, Norwegian has also made adjustments to its itineraries. They are advising travelers to call their Caribbean hotline for updates.
Celebrity Cruises Caribbean Cruise Destinations
Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St Kitts, St Lucia and St Vincent are among the Caribbean islands that Celebrity sails to. They also visit some of the islands that were affected by hurricanes.
Celebrity has also made adjustments to its cruise itineraries for the rest of the year and you can check out these changes on their website.
the other cruise destinationsNow that these cruise lines have made changes to their itineraries, what do you know about the other cruise destinations like Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Vincent, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Martinique.
You can check out or recent article about things to do in St Kitts on a cruise here. We visited Antigua and Martinique last year so you can read about our cruise to Antigua and Barbuda and our cruise to Martinique. You can also check out our articles about things to do in St Lucia here as well.
BarbadosBarbados might be small, but once you have arrived in Bridgetown its capital, there are a lot of activities that you can spend the day enjoying.
One of the best experiences we had in Barbados was vising the Harrison Cave. The cave, which is about five and a half miles from Bridgetown, is located at Allen View, St Thomas.
You are transported through the cave via a tram and trust me the features of the limestone cave will take your breath away. Its flowing streams and deep pools of clear water as well as the white stones and towering columns make it a must visit.
Equally pleasant was our ride on the Atlantis mini submarine. The mini sub takes you on and underwater adventure where you get to explore the sea for about 40 minutes at a depth of around 130ft. You will get to see exotic fish as well as coral reefs and more.
You can't visit Barbados and not head to some of the beautiful beaches. The two most popular beaches with cruise passengers are Brighton and Brandons beach, which are located not to far from the cruise ship terminal in Bridgetown. They are also great spots to do some snorkeling.
Other popular beaches in Barbados are Crane Beach, located on the south east coast of the island and Accra Beach on the south coast, which is popular with both tourists and locals.
Miami Beach (A.K. A. Enterprise Beach), Bottom Bay Beach and Silver Rock Beach are other choices. If you want to spend the day kite or wind surfing then Silver Rock Beach is a good option for you.
Nature, animals, flowers and fauna
These are some of the places to visit in Barbados if you are interested in nature, animals, flowers and fauna; the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, make sure and look out for the Barbados Green Monkeys. The Flower Forest, which is a horticultural park features many species of flowering plants and trees.
Andromeda Gardens is a botanical garden feature unique trees and plants including palms, ferns, orchids, heliconia, bougainvillea, begonias and hibiscus. The garden is managed by the Barbados National Trust and was created in 1954 by Iris Bannochie, a local horticulturist.
Hunte's Gardens is also worth checking out. Created by horticulturist Anthony Hunte it is located in what can only be described as a sinkhole gully. It features a number of tropical flowers, plants and trees.
There is a plethora of historic sites in Barbados. Some of these include Arlington House, the Bridgetown Jewish Synagogue, Codrington College, George Washington House (It is said that the first US president visited Barbados in 1751 and spent about two months there), Gun Hill Signal Station and Morgan Lewis Sugar Mill.
GrenadaKnown as the Spice Island, I remember vividly my one and only trip to Grenada. I remember swimming in the beautiful water of the popular Grand Anse Beach in Grenada. I have fond memories of its white sandy shore caressing my feet as I walked into the ocean. While my time on the island was short it was indeed enjoyable.
Other beaches in Grenada include Bathway Beach, which features a coral reef where you can get in some snorkeling or just enjoy the white sand beach clear water.
Magazine Beach is the ideal beach if you want to relax, have a swim or take part in watersport activities like snorkeling and kayaking.
Quiet, shallow water and white sand is the ideal description for Morne Rouge Beach. It is probably a good place if you prefer peace and quiet.
Other activities for cruise passengers include historical site visits. Some of the popular sites include the Westerhall Estate, forts Frederick, George and Mathew as well as Belmont Estate and River Antoine Rum Distillery.
River Antoine Rum Distillery is the oldest water propelled distillery in the Caribbean using basically the same process from the 1800s today.
You can also experience the rum making process at Westerhall Estate and sample some of their rums including its “Spicy Rum”.
Fort Mathew is the largest of the forts on the island and the one with perhaps the most colorful history. At one time is served as an insane asylum. Interesting features include its 18th century bathrooms, kitchens, underground tunnels and cells. The view of St George from the fort is breathtaking as well.
Fort Frederick is located not to far away on Richmond Hill. It also provides an amazing 360 view of St George's.
Fort George is the oldest of the three forts in Grenada and it is considered one of the most important historical buildings on the island. Most of the colonial structures are in good shape as well as the old cannons, which are occasionally used during national ceremonies.
There are several waterfalls on the islands including Annandale, Royal Mt. Carmel, Concord, Victoria and Seven Sisters.
Royal Mt. Carmel is the waterfall with the highest drop. Water plunges 70ft from its two falls into pools below.
You will have to make a trek through the rainforest to get to Seven Sisters waterfalls. If you walk farther you will find the other six.
Both Concord and Victoria are challenging to get to, but if you are up for it then, do your thing because it's worth the trip.
St Vincent and the GrenadinesSt Vincent is one of the few Caribbean islands that we have not visited. I think I did a short stopover there a couple of years ago, but certainly never came off the airplane. The island has a lot to offer cruise ship visitors.
Do you know that there are thirty-two islands and cays, which make up the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines? The other main islands are Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Mayreau, Union Island, Palm Island, the Tobago Cays and Petit St Vincent.
Beaches And Reefs
If you are a beach lover head to Bequia, it takes about an hour on the ferry from Kingstown to Bequia. It is known for its beaches, snorkeling, sailing and turtle watching and is the second largest of the islands.
Popular beaches on the island include Lower Bay Beach, Friendship Bay Beach, Princess Margaret Beach and Spring Bay Beach.
If you fall into any of these three categories, nature lover, hiker or scuba diver, then St Vincent is your paradise. The island has many activities that will please you.
Anchor Reef, voted as one of the top one hundred sites in the world is among a bevy of locations that you can experience reef, wall, drift and wreck diving. The Bat Cave, Layou Wall and Capital Wrecks are some popular locations.
For Hikers And Nature Lovers
Hikers can enjoy the trek to the Dark View Falls and Trinity Falls waterfalls. Vermont Nature Trail and the Cumberland Nature Trail are two trails hikers may enjoy, but once you're in St Vincent you must make the trek to La Soufriere Volcano.
It's a challenging hike, but if you are up to the task then, you will be handsomely rewarded by nature. It takes about two hours from the Rabacca trail head to reach the crater. Your reward is the breathtaking view of the crater and the surrounding areas. You can continue for another two hours to get down into the crater of the active volcano and walk around its active dome.
Flowers and Fort Charlotte
The Botanical Gardens of St Vincent is a must visit if you're interested in plants, flowers and trees. It is one of the oldest in the region. It was created in 1765 by General Robert Melville. At the twenty-acre garden garden visitors can see the national bird of St Vincent, St. Vincent Parrot (Amazona guildingii) as well.
Fort Charlotte is one of the landmarks worth visiting in Kingstown, the capital of the island. Located not to far from the cruise ship terminal, this British colonial fort offers a breathtaking view overlooking Kingstown.
Built in 1806, the fort was equipped with thirty canons and accommodated six hundred troops. Rising about 600 feet it overlooks the bay and provides a breathtaking panoramic view of Kingstown.
TobagoBuccoo Reef And Nylon Pool
Trinidad and Tobago is not a huge player in the cruise industry. Most cruise lines head to Scarborough, on the sister isle of Tobago. Tobago is the more laid-back of the two islands full of beautiful beaches and wonderful snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, especially at Buccoo Reef, which is the largest coral reef in Tobago.
Just a short distance away you can enjoy the turquoise water of the famed Nylon Pool. It's a shallow body of water in the middle of the ocean and depending on the tide the water could be as low as ankle height.
Birds. Goat Island, The Waterfall And Nature
Other places of interest include Little Tobago; also known as Bird of Paradise Island where you can also enjoy snorkeling at Angel Reef and bird watching on the nearby Goat Island, which has over 40 species of tropical birds.
Enjoy a refreshing swim at Argyle Falls, get a breathtaking view from Fort King George and learn about the history of Tobago at the Tobago Museum located at the compound as well.
If you are a nature lover then, you should check out the Botanical Gardens, the Adventure Farm and Nature Reserve in Arnos Vale where you will find many species of birds, butterflies and iguanas.
As beautiful as they get. That's the only way to describe many of the beaches in Tobago. Popular beaches in Tobago include Pigeon Point, which is probably the most famous of the beaches on the island.
Store Bay is popular with locals as well as tourist. It is one of the busiest of all the beaches and you will find a lot of activities, vendors and tour operators offering to take you to Buccoo Reef from there.
Pirate's Bay is the beach for you if you want somewhere a little quieter and secluded. Pirates Bay, is located in the town of Charlotteville.
Tobago has many other beautiful beaches including Englishman's Bay, Bloody Bay and Back Bay.
Eat Some Local Blue Food?
You can't visit Tobago and not try some of its local cuisine like curry crab and dumplings, curry goat or have a creole lunch and choose from local favorites like pelau, (rice and peas cocked together), ground provisions, macaroni pie, callaloo, stewed chicken, pork or beef.
Blue food, a dish consisting of taro/dasheen and salted fish is also a big favorite on the island. There is also a Tobago Blue Food Festival, which usually takes place around October.
Have you ever visited Barbados, St Lucia, St Kitts, St Vincent, Grenada, Tobago and Martinique on a cruise? Let us know your thoughts?
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