Monday, June 4, 2018

Ideal Caribbean Cruise

Ideal Caribbean Cruise

This post is an entry to a contest put on by Celebrity Cruises. They are not paying me for this entry, and in no way have sponsored, endorsed, or have administered me to have written this post.

Celebrity Cruises has issued a contest for bloggers to describe our perfect Caribbean vacation based on their Caribbean cruise ports. As one who loves the Caribbean, I took them up on this challenge.

The itinerary I am building is a 12 night cruise, and is loosely based on their Lesser Antilles cruises and their Dutch Antilles Caribbean cruises. Why? Well, because most of the following ports of call are on my bucket list to explore.

Day 1

Flying into San Juan
San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

We would come a couple days early, check into a hotel, and spend some time exploring the city. Honestly, the entire island of Puerto Rico fascinates me. I seem to be drawn to water based urban locations, and one that has a unique blend of American, Spanish, and Latin American influences is more than enough to entice me to come see.

Things we would have to see and do:
Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
The Fortresses Of San Juan

Day 2

St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands

I would want to visit St. Croix because I have been interested in the US Virgin Islands since I learned of US overseas territories. In my youth, I knew Puerto Rico was “something like a state, but not?” but had no idea of places like the Virgin Islands or Guam, etc. Learning of the Virgin Islands was an eye opener to a whole new concept that I wish to explore.
Aeril view of Christiansted National Historic Site in Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands
Christiansted, USVI

When we are not drinking local rum, we would be walking the streets of Christiansted. I would explore the historic centre of the town and learn more about their Dutch influence. Honestly, I am not as well versed in Dutch culture as I am with English and French, so I would be out of my wheel house on this. We would try the local cuisine, and see if we could find a live band that plays some calypso or soca if we do not have to embark too soon.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
The Rum Tour - Cruzan Rum & Captain Morgan Visitor Center
Fort Christiansvern & Historical Christiansted Walking Tour
Captain Morgan Rum Adventure

Day 3

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

Court House in Philipsburg, San Martin
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
The next disembarking would be truly a culture shock to me: Philipsburg, St. Maarten. This would be my first location where we would need our passports being American citizens, and as I said before, I am not as familiar with Dutch culture and its descendants. To be perfectly honest, we would probably gravitate towards the French side of the island.

Since we would prefer the French side of the island, we would naturally visit Marigot. There, as most destinations of ours, we would explore the streets and see what we would find.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Purely my own exploration.

Day 4

Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Downtown Basseterre, St. Kitts
Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Again, showing our Anglophilia, we love visiting British Caribbean locations, and Saint Kitts and Nevis is a Commonwealth realm alongside The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, etc.

We would mainly stick to Basseterre. We would explore its streets, and see what we could find. We would probably end up at the National Museum of Saint Kitts and the Catholic cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. We would try to find local calypso and soca bands, and enjoy servings of seafood and goat. Of course, all with rum.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
St. Kitts Chocolate ExperienceA Sky Safari ZiplineSt. Kitts Catamaran Sail & Snorkel
A Sky Safari Zipline
St. Kitts Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

Day 5

Roseau, Dominica

Roseau Wideshot
Roseau, Dominica
Dominica would be an interesting place to visit, as it is a former British colony, taken from the French after the Seven Year's War.

We would most want to visit the still active volcanoes inside the Morne Trois Pitons National Park outside Roseau, a cricket match at Windsor Park, and the Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Fair Haven of Roseau.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Whale and Dolphin Safari in Roseau
Emerald Pool and Volcanic Sand Beach
A Taste of the Past: Bois Cotlette Family Estate Tour & Tasting

Day 6

Fort-de-France, Martinique

Fort-de-France, Martinique
Fort-de-France, Martinique
While our original honeymoon plan was Québec, as we were planning, one of the places we mentioned wanting to go was Martinique. Since planning, it has remained on my bucket list places to visit. Martinique is an overseas region of France, meaning that it shares equal power and privileges of regions in mainland France, and thus, uses the Euro as its currency. Being France, we will again get to use our, albeit limited, French skills. Of all days, this will be the day I would be most looking forward to.

We would keep to Fort-de-France, the capital of the region, and visit the streets of its downtown to shop the boutiques and visit the Catholic cathedral of St. Louis. We would enjoy the local cuisine (fish and a spicy tomato sauce) and of course the local rums.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Botanical Garden with its Suspension Bridge
Traditional Dances & Rum Distillery

Day 7

Bridgetown, Barbados

Panarama of downtown Bridgetown, Barbados
Bridgetown, Barbados
After leaving French inspired culture, it is time to go back to something British. Barbados is another Commonwealth realm. It is also the island where Rihanna was born and raised.
As in the destinations before, we would explore the city of Bridgetown to find local hotspots, drink rum and look for local musicians. We would try to visit the Catholic cathedral of St. Patrick and the Anglican cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Barbados Evening Extravaganza Show (no provided link)
Tiami Five Star Catamaran & Turtles (no provided link)

Day 8

St. George's, Grenada

Aerial photo of the Island of Grenada
St. George's, Grenada
This would be our last British culture destination. The port is in St. George's. Like most cuisines in the Caribbean, it is seafood based and spicy. We would have to try the Oil Down dish (a dish that reminds me of New Orleans Cajun food, as it is with okra, bread fruit, and chicken) while listening to a local soca or calypso band. We would also try to visit the Catholic cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Around the Isle of Spice
Glass Bottom Boat - Underwater Highlights

Day 9

Kralendijk, Bonaire

Harbour of Kralendijk
Kralendijk, Bonaire
While it is certainly not the first Dutch land we would have stepped foot on in this trip, Bonaire does not have a French side like St. Maarten does, so it would be the first Dutch land we get to properly explore. Whereas St. Maarten is an equal partner in the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the Netherlands, Bonaire is a “public body,” or something similar to an overseas territory to the Dutch kingdom.

The disembarking happens in Kralendijk, the capital of Bonaire. As we would walk up and down the downtown area, we would try to visit Wilhelmina Park and Fort Oranje.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Bonaire National Marine Park Catamaran Sail

Day 10

Willemstad, Curaçao

The Penha building at Willemstad, Curaçao
Willemstad, Curaçao
Curaçao, like St. Maarten, is an equal partner with the Netherlands in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As the city centre is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we would have to visit it, first among which I would visit would be Fort Amsterdam. I am quite fond of the drink that carries this country as a namesake, so visiting distilleries that make it such as Senior & Co. would be a highlight.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Taste of Curacao
UNESCO World Heritage City Walk

Day 11

Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba - Centre of Oranjestad
Oranjestad, Aruba
Of course Aruba takes up the last destination before coming back, and not just because it makes sense geographically. It has a spot on my bucket list to visit.

The port is in the capital, Oranjestad, a city whose beauty is a major attraction, and I am chomping at the bit to see it for myself. The architecture alone of the downtown is picturesque and stunningly gorgeous. I would visit Fort Zoutman, and try to get some pineapple seafood.

Celebrity Cruise excursions I would wish to experience here:
Kukoo Kunuku Dinner & Nightlife Tour

Day 12

AT SEA

Since this day is a day spent at sea to head back to Puerto Rico, we would spend the day trying out the features of the cruise ship. Since we would have spent the last 11 days eating Caribbean food, I myself would probably be burned out on that cuisine, and would try to find myself a pizza. I have to be honest, right? After a week and half of rum, I would also head towards the gastropub (though that usually only found on Bahaman trips, not southern Caribbean. Ideal cruise, remember) for some beer.

Day 13

San Juan, Puerto Rico

After returning to San Juan, we would stay another day in the city. We would be too exhausted to do any more exploring, so we would find a nice ocean-view restaurant, and enjoy a romantic meal overlooking the seas before going to bed.

For those trying to keep track of our activities, what I included in the itinerary for a single day would be way too much. This just means that I would need to come back to these locations after this trip is over, and explore further.


Photo Attributions:
Ideal Caribbean Cruise