The Eastern and Southern Caribbean: Planning the Perfect Cruise

Escape the falling snow. Avoid the plummeting temperatures. Dust off your two-piece bathing suit. It is time to book a last minute cruise with Virgin Holidays Cruises.

Cruise Ship at Night

Spanning nearly 2000 miles, the Caribbean is believed to encompass more than 7,000 islands, cays and inlets. However, the major cruise lines only dock at a small fraction of these islands. Unless you are a pirate or a smuggler, the vast majority of the Caribbean’s hidden alcoves and secret cays will remain hidden like the lost city of Atlantis. If you are unfamiliar with the Caribbean, then the best way to understand its geography is to break it down into categories. The first step in planning a Virgin Cruises Caribbean holiday is not only deciding on where to go, but figuring out how long you want to stay. Cruises will dock at several different ports of call during the voyage. However, certain tours focus on certain Caribbean regions. It is a good idea to get a lay of the land before you start thinking about ice cold mojitos and reggae.

Caribbean Island

Many of the most popular tours focus on the ports in the eastern and southern region of the Caribbean. The eastern Caribbean generally refers to places like Puerto Rico, St. Thomas the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. While the turquoise sea, velvety white sand and thatch-roofed tiki huts that serve up rum punch may seem exotic, these islands are more built up and commercialized than other places in the Caribbean. For example, gambling and duty free shopping are a huge attraction for places like Old San Juan and St. Thomas. There are over 100 jewellery stores in downtown Charlotte Amelia, the port in St. Thomas, and cruise guests take advantage of their daily excursions to scoop up bargains on diamonds and other high-end merchandise.

Performers in the Caribbean

When you venture farther down the Caribbean island chain the ports become more exotic and less crowded. St. Lucia, Barbados and Grenada have more of a rustic island charm than their neighbours to the north. This is especially noticeable if you take an excursion away from the main port of call. Peaceful rainforests, volcanoes, winding bougainvillea, exotic birds and old rum distilleries take the place of mega-resorts and towering condos. You still might be able to find that cheeseburger in paradise, but the majority of eateries are serving up island fare like salted cod fish, yellow rice and curried rotis.

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are called the ABC islands. Located off of the northern edge of South America, these islands are usually visited only if you are booked on a long cruise. Once you explore the southern tip of the Caribbean it is time to turn around and head back up the chain.

 

If you’re not into cruises, why not visit www.virginholidays.co.uk for more conventional holidays!

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