neighbour to Honduras. It was formerly known as British
Honduras and gained full independence in 1981. It has the
second largest Barrier Reef in the world at just under 200
miles long, which protects lagoons teeming with marine
life and 450 islets.
Costa Maya (Mexico): This small tourist region in
Mexico bordering Belize is generally undeveloped but has a
large pier with a new and modern tourist shopping mall to
accommodate cruise ships. The centre has a central plaza
with saltwater pools and 'swim-up' style bars. The nearest
village to the cruise port is the fishing village of Mahahual
approximately 3 km away with soft sand beaches, grass
thatched palapas, and a coral reef a short distance offshore.
Cozumel (Mexico). This island is just 12 miles long
and situated 20 minutes ferry ride from the coast of the
Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Cozumel is really a staging
post for cruise passengers to visit mainland Mexico with its
Mayan ruins at Tulum. Cozumel town is lively with its many
bars and myriad of shops. The best beach is located in the
Punta Sur Ecological Park.
Grand Cayman. This island remains part of the British
Commonwealth and it is famed its Scuba diving and
white sandy beaches - in particular 7 Mile Beach close to
Georgetown the capital. Snorkel with sting rays or visit
one of the few nesting grounds of the loggerhead turtle.
Ships generally anchor offshore and the island is reached
Jamaica: Cruise ships will dock at one of three ports on
the north coast of the island - Montego Bay, Falmouth or
Ocho Rios. There are some great attractions on Jamaica
- the biggest one being Dunns River Falls made famous
by the James Bond film Dr No. Gentle bamboo rafting on
the Martha Brae river (made famous by Errol Flynn) is
exceedingly tranquil and worth doing. Another great trip is
Here is just a small selection of the ports of call available:
Antigua. There are 365 beaches - one for every day of the
year; the most popular ones are Galley Bay and Hawksbill
Beaches. Nelson's fleet was hosted in the late 1700's in
a picturesque bay on the other side of the island to the
capital St John and is now one of the best-known bays for
the sailing fraternity - now aptly named Nelson's Dockyard.
Bahamas. A scattered group of islands off the coast
of Florida make up the Bahamas and these really mark
the gateway to the Caribbean. Most cruise ships dock in
Nassau (the capital) where you will find the magnificent
Atlantis Hotel with its water park, marine habitat and
Dolphin Cay. Many cruise lines own a private island here
where the ships dock and you are straight on the beach
with a free BBQ lunch. MSC owns Ocean Cay Marine
Reserve just off Bimini island which features 6 beaches,
including an exclusive Yacht Club Beach (VIP) and a family
beach with a restaurant. You will find water sports, beach
games, a kid's playground area, an adults only inland
lagoon, an adrenaline pumping zip-line across the island,
several restaurants and bars and a shop. There is also an
amphitheatre with a capacity of 2000 seats which hosts
live music and entertainment.
Barbados: Visit the incredible white sand beaches on
the sheltered western side of the island, try a round of
golf, visit sugar cane plantations and sample the popular
Mount Gay Rum. Barbados is the only Caribbean Island to
be colonised by one nation - the Brits! You will even find
a Trafalgar Square here. Bridgetown is the capital lying in
the South Western corner of the island. The closest beach
to the cruise terminal is Boatyard Beach - a white sand
happening beach that is well equipped particularly in its
Adventure Beach area.
Belize: Belize is situated on the Central American
mainland next to Costa Maya in Mexico and it is a close
horse riding through the sugar cane plantations, on to the
beach then swimming on your horse in the sea. Perhaps
visit the Blue Mountains and the coffee plantations for a
unique souvenir or gift.
Roatan Island. Roatán is the largest of Honduras's Bay
Islands, this is a real beauty, built on a backbone of volcanic
rock and ringed by the world's second largest coral reef.
Honduras promises superb diving and fishing and swoonworthy
beaches. The main one is Mahogany Bay - a silky
sand beach with diamond-clear seas.
St Lucia: St Lucia is a lush tropical island and part of
the Windward Island group. The capital is Castries in
the North West and there is a lush verdant rain forest in
the centre. This island is volcanic and is most famous for
Les Pitons - two twin conical shaped mountains. St Lucia
became part of the British Commonwealth as recently
as 1979. Trek through the rainforest, take a refreshing
dip in a waterfall or take a jungle top zip wire adventure.
St Maarten: This island was settled at different periods
buy both the Dutch and the French so there are two
distinct halves to the island. The capital is Philipsburg
where the cruise ships dock at the quayside. This is a
wonderful place to wander around starting in Wathey
Square where you will fund a fine collection of West
Indian Gingerbread houses. The French Capital is Marigot-
worth visiting for its markets, café lined waterfront and
St Thomas: St Thomas is part of the US Virgin Islands
and THE duty-free shopper's paradise in the Caribbean.
Charlotte Amalie is the capital - and this quaint town is a
joy to walk around with its cobbled streets and alley ways
filled with the best shops in the. The best beach is Magen's
Bay (voted one of the top 10 beaches of the world) and is
approximately 6 miles away from the capital on the other
side of the island.
The Caribbean is probably the best place in the world for a relaxed beach cruise with lots of things to do. It's all about
fun the sun with breakfast on deck, crystal clear water lapping on silky soft sands, water sports, jungle adventures, lazy
afternoon naps on the balcony, balmy evening wallows in the hot tub and warm midnight promenades under the stars.
A marvellous day in the sun is defined by when you are still up on deck after sunset and you return to your stateroom
in your swimwear and everyone else is already dressed for dinner! A Caribbean cruise is not simply one that you do just
once but more a fall-back option to visit time and time again to capture the magic described
above in the cold damp days of the UK Winter.