Wake up in paradise and spend the morning relaxing either on board your West Indies cruise or on a beautiful beach. Islands such as Aruba, Anguilla, St Bart’s and Turks & Caicos seduce beach lovers with vast blankets of pure white sand, whilst the eastern islands (Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and St. Lucia) are home to darker, volcanic sunning spots.
The Caribbean, despite its relaxing lure, has plenty to keep you active too. Aquatic adventures are a big draw for many holidaymakers with boating and sailing, deep-sea fishing, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing on offer.
It is beneath the water that the Caribbean really comes into its own though; unsurprising given the warmth and clarity of the ocean, which ensures idyllic snorkelling conditions. Mingle with the shoals of exotic fish, or even swim among old wreck sites.
If you prefer to stay on land, Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures from Celebrity Cruises offer a vast range of shore excursions to suit every need. Enjoy a scenic drive to the Northern end of St. Lucia before arriving at peaceful Cas En Bas beach or drive through the rustic countryside to the base of the dormant volcano Mount Liamuiga to begin the climb through the rainforest.
What better way to spend the afternoon following a full morning of sun-drenched exertions than a spot of shopping? Jewellery, designer clothing, spirits, watches and much, much more are part of the Caribbean shopping experience.
During your shopping expedition, keep an eye out for traditional Caribbean rum. Rum is the spirit of the Caribbean and for many travellers, their trip doesn’t begin until the first rum drink is served. A bottle (or more) of rum is possibly the most common Caribbean souvenir and because it is produced locally and in large quantities, you can find bottles in island stores at great prices.
Once you bid “Orevwa” to the sun, it’s time to embrace the night. As the sun lowers, the music heightens often transforming bars, beaches and street blocks into parties. Clap, swing and sway along to the infectious beats and rhythms of carnival, calypso, salsa and reggae, or just sit back with a refreshing rum punch and watch it all unfold.
Taste the sumptuous flavours of the Caribbean as you feast on rice blended with fruits, seafood and spice. Try pepperpot, Antigua’s national dish of meat and vegetables such as okra, spinach, eggplant, squash and potatoes or Cayman Islands Tortuga rum cake, a heavy, moist cake available in several delicious flavours.
On board Crystal Cruises cruise is a Michelin-inspired menu reflecting the flavours of the world, meaning you can feast on Caribbean cuisine without even leaving the comfort of the ship.
When cruising the Caribbean, a big factor to bear in mind is the weather. Though generally good all year with temperatures between 24 and 29°C, December to April is the Caribbean’s high season with more sunny days and less rain on average than other times of year. It is also slightly cooler during this time (particularly in the northern Caribbean), drier and less humid.
May to November can be wet with hurricane season running from 1st June to 30th November, though these are rare in further Southern Caribbean islands such as the ABC and Trinidad and Tobago. The best time to visit the Caribbean very much depends on your interests, for example migrating birds and nesting turtles all have their favoured seasons.
Dreaming of the Caribbean evokes scenes of indulgence on secluded beaches, with only the gentle swish of palm tress for company. To truly experience these idyllic shores, you need to taste it for yourself, view our all-inclusive Caribbean cruises here.