Fed up of the wind and the rain? Don’t hold out in the hope that we might have one warm week between May and August, book yourself a last-minute cruise deal to the Caribbean. Soak up the sun on the numerous tropical beaches and make grey and dreary England a distant memory.
More than 7,000 islands, islets and reefs come together to create the Caribbean, each having its own distinct personality. It is a place regularly featuring on bucket lists, and with cruises that sail to St. Lucia, Barbados, Cuba, The Bahamas and many more destinations, you could be in paradise in no time. If you need a little more inspiration, check out these 5 reasons to book a Caribbean cruise.
1. The beaches
As the rain taps away at your office window your mind might start to drift to an image of you walking across warm white sands, with turquoise waters gently lapping the beach and the sun beating down on your skin. It’s easy to look at a photo of pristine white sand beaches in the Caribbean and say ‘that’s photo shopped’. But in truth, what you see really is what you get. Blissful beaches are one of the Caribbean’s priced jewels.
The region's beaches will continue to surprise you, no matter how many times you visit. Of course, beaches are diverse and each offers something a little different. You can choose to try your hand at some water sports at one, relaxing beneath the sun on another or exploring the pools and reefs on some of the more mountainous islands. If you are seeking the expansive stretch of white sand then book a cruise that visits the likes of Barbados, Antigua and Grand Cayman – flatter islands tend to have smooth, longer beaches.
2. The festivals
The carnival culture of the Caribbean is famous around the world. People unite over a shared love of music, food, dancing and the most incredible costumes. You will find that many stem from religious beliefs, meaning the majority happen between February and April to coincide with Lent. But such is their popularity, many have been created at various points throughout the year.
Festivals represent the rich and vibrant culture and history of the Caribbean. Traditional music is the soundtrack for everyone to come together and celebrate the region. From Trinidad and Tobago to St. Lucia, whatever island you find yourself on, the chances are there will be a festival of some kind.
3. Island hopping
With thirteen sovereign island nations, twelve dependent territories and 7,000 individual islands across the Caribbean, there are few better places in the world for island hopping. On your cruise holiday to the Caribbean you can start with some Latin flare in Cuba, before moving onto the vibrant isles of Jamaica or Antigua. Even if you wanted to do things in your own time there are plenty of ferries which will take you from island to island.
A change in vibe comes with new landscapes, foods, animals and people. You can really get a sense of the diverse cultures by island hopping. It is perfect for those with itchy feet who want to explore and make the most of their holiday. Even for those who want to relax, you might just find an even nicer bar or beach on that island across the crystal-clear water.
4. Food and drink
When you are thinking of potential cruise holiday destinations for a foodie you may first envision the gastronomic giants of France, Italy or Asia, but it could be time to add another to that list. Few regions can compete with the Caribbean’s access to quality fresh ingredients, like seafood brought straight from the boat into the restaurant and fruit that was hand-picked that morning. This is after all a region that saw European empires wage wars against each other over its natural resources.
When exploring the different islands, tuck into some seafood. Grilled flying fish and grouper are local delicacies and can be found at many restaurants and beachfront bars. The internationally-recognised dish of spiced chicken and rice has been mimicked across the world, and this is also the best place to try fresh papaya and other tropical fruits. The vast majority of what you are eating and drinking is locally sourced and on top of that, an awful lot will be responsibly farmed and organic.
5. An abundance of marine life
Beneath the clear waters lives a diverse ecosystem of marine life. Tropical reefs line the shores of the Caribbean housing a plethora of sea creatures in any number of sizes and species. In the deep waters you can come across whales and dolphins, with several tours available for those looking to get a closer look.
Around the reefs and the beaches, you can find a rainbow of fish species and corals, with turtles and rays swimming around in the warm and incredibly clear water. The Caribbean has all the ingredients for a perfect snorkelling destination. In all, the region is home to 10% of the world’s coral reefs and its waters contain around 1,400 species of fish and marine mammals. Don the flippers and get a closer look at life beneath the waves.
If there were any doubts left in your mind about checking out the latest last minute cruise deals for an escape to the Caribbean, we hope that this has helped you forget them. Whether you choose to visit during a winter or summer cruise, we're sure you'll have an amazing time.