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

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.

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 CenterFort Christiansvern & Historical Christiansted Walking TourCaptain Morgan Rum Adventure

Day 3

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

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 & SnorkelA Sky Safari ZiplineSt. Kitts Catamaran Sail & Snorkel

Day 5

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 RoseauEmerald Pool and Volcanic Sand BeachA Taste of the Past: Bois Cotlette Family Estate Tour & Tasting

Day 6

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 12

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:

Review of the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

While at Grand Cayman, I was able to visit a place that I was very excited to go to: the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. I was able to get a ride, as the park is roughly a 20 miles drive in the North Side district from the hotel. When I got the opportunity set up to go to Grand Cayman, and I was researching things to do on my trip, this was the first thing I saw, and was excited to go. I knew it was something my wife would have wanted to see as well, had she been able to come with me.

Entrance is KY$10.00/adult, $15.00 for a guided tour. My tour took about an hour and a half. The park is 65 acres of land jointly owned by the Cayman Island Government and the National Trust of the Cayman Islands. They have numerous tropical plants that themselves serve as natural habitats for native animals, especially the endangered blue iguana.

Starting at the Visitor’s Centre, the park makes two main loops. First and foremost, the flagship exhibit of the park: the Woodland Trail. This loop is about a mile, and it showcases the ecological diversity of the Cayman Islands, containing more than 50% of plants native to the Cayman Islands. More than half way around the Woodland Trail is the Blue Iguana Habitat. While these iguanas can be seen throughout the park, it is here that houses the Blue Iguana Recover Program.

The second loop, which is really just an extension off of the Woodland Trail, houses four other loops and five exhibits.

First exhibit is the most recently opened Orchid Boardwalk. This exhibit showcases ten different orchids, including three endemic to the Cayman Islands, such as the Cayman Islands Banana Orchid.

Second exhibit is the Xeriphytic Garden. This showcases various succulents.

Third exhibit is the Heritage Garden. This exhibit showcases a Caymanian house with plants that served of great importance to the people of the Cayman Islands throughout its history, like in farming, such as the plantain and banana trees, and in industry, such as the silver thatch palm, whose palm leaves have made everything from rope to thatched roofing. There is also included a homeopathic garden, where herbs were used by Caymanians for various illnesses and injuries.

Fourth exhibit, and my personal favourite, is the Colour Garden. Starting with pink, moving into red, and then throughout the spectrum until lavender, the garden is divided by the colour of the flowers. This garden expertly blends wooded areas with open grassy areas containing trellises and gazebos. It was here that I saw most of the blue iguanas, and a parrot, and took most of my pictures.

Fifth exhibit is a natural lake. This lake serves a natural habitat for many animals, such as iguanas, turtles, ducks, and more. Around the lake grow a variety of palm tree.

Of my stops along Grand Cayman, this was by far my favourite. I know that I need to come back to Grand Cayman and bring my wife, but this is definitely the first major place we will go when we come back. This is a place where I can spend many more hours, perhaps all day, just enjoying the sites and taking it slow.

Grand Cayman

This post is made possible in part by my Patreon supporters, and for Rasmussen Travels for setting the trip up. Thank you.

I am a loyal customer of the Kimpton Hotel brand. They are always very nice, the staff is very attentive and hospitable. They have daily wine hours at least at most of their locations, free Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma members (free to sign up), credit for the bar, and more. They opened a new location in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, right on the legendary Seven Mile Beach, and gave me an offer too good to turn down. So I went, and I loved my stay. Read my stay and review of the hotel here.

First things first. The Cayman dollar is pegged to the American dollar; meaning that, regardless of the global market, the Cayman dollar is always worth the same relative to the American dollar. And the Cayman dollar is worth more, making everything more expensive on the Cayman Islands than in America. KY$1.00 = US$1.25. That is something to keep in mind before you leave to a trip there.

First day I arrived, I checked in, and then checked out the bike that they offer at no additional charge. I took that bike to a restaurant called Catch.

They offer fresh seafood from Cayman’s waters and nestled off the beaten path on a harbour in West Bay. I ordered a conch ceviche and a dark ‘n’ stormy cocktail. It was among the best seafood that I have ever had. Anyone taking a trip to Grand Cayman should take the time to go here. You will be satisfied.

Most of the population of the Cayman Islands live on Grand Cayman, and even then, they live in or close to George Town, on the west side of the 20 mile island. George Town is where all the banks that give the Cayman Islands their notoriety are at, and where all the cruise lines make port. Thus, this is where most of the tourist end up, and where most of the stores are at. Camana Bay is a very nice harbour and shopping centre, and basically a city to itself. I spent an afternoon in George Town, and it was a fun experience. I ended my day with a dinner at Fidel Murphey’s, drinking Guinness and watching the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League (go Real Madrid!).

Of course, no mention of Grand Cayman is complete without mentioning Rum Point. It is a very touristy, but fun destination on the island. This was where the Mud Slide cocktail was created (no ice cream here though, just vodka, Kahlua, and Bailey’s on the rocks), or so they claim. Also, here you can catch a boat to take you to Stingray City, a location off the shore where you can swim alongside, and even hand feed, wild stingray.

When I was making my itinerary for this trip, the place that I was most looking forward to was the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park. I wrote a full article about it here. The same day that I went to the botanical gardens, I took a stop by the Pedro St. James castle in Bodden Town. This was where autonomous rule started for the Cayman Islands. At that time, they were officially part of the colony of Jamaica (only roughly 100 miles to the east), and they are now a British Overseas Territory. This was a great place to learn about the history of the Cayman Islands, both its political history and the history of slavery there.

Rum. Rum all around. They have a distillery that makes their own rum, as most Caribbean islands do. The distillery, Cayman Spirits Co., offers tours for US$15 and lasts roughly 30 min. It was Seven Fathoms Rum that won me over, and of course I brought a bottle back home with me.

I loved this place, and I fully intend on coming back here. It is well worth the expense to go and to stay. Yes, it was humid in December. Yes, it is hotter in July, but the reality is that it stays around the mid-80s year round. It is stunningly beautiful.

Oh, and if you tell someone to “go to hell”, you may be sending him to paradise instead.