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Southern Caribbean


debhaz22

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I've been on all the cruise lines numerous times, most frequently on Princess which IMHO has good mix of passengers, great entertainment options and has some great 10-say southern cruises from Ft Lauderdale. We aren't "beach" people but the "beachy" islands are Barbados, Aruba, St Maarten primarily IMHO and also some lovely beaches on Curacao, St Thomas.

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We've stayed with Carnival for all of our cruises except Bermuda and we're doing another southern next year with them. We're in our mid-late fifties and we just enjoy the Carnival experienc so I can't compare lines, although we did like the Norwegian Spirit we took to Bermuda - very similar to Carnival but with some interesting differences. I'm sure we will try Princess at some point. From reading tons of reviews and talking to friends I consider Holland America and Celebrity a more "mature" experience than we are after, and I do want to try the Windstar cruise sometime because they have very nice itineraries that the larger ships can't do.

 

But we love the southern tours that originate in Jan Juan, PR. Starting there gives you a chance to see many of the most beautiful islands of the deep southern Carib in a week even. We still haven't hit them all but some of the islands that we love are -

 

Barbados - beaches, beaches, beaches! Powdered sugar sand and multi-colored water. Great dining options up the west coast if you're docked there late which is common. You can see your ship glimmering in the distance in the evening.

 

Antigua - Blue, blue, blue water! We've done land tours and cat sails and both are wonderful. The island is beautiful with great beaches and bays, so I would recommend taking the Excellence cat sail. The water is so very blue and the coastline and bays are gorgeous.

 

St Lucia - Lush jungle and beautiful views! Take a land/sea tour down the east coast to see the beautiful bays and land-based sights, and shop in Castries or head to Pigeon Island for a "White Sand".

 

Forther north we like Tortola, we stay there when we can. Smuggler's Cove is a beautiful beach with good snorkeling and Patricia's Grill for the best jerk/grilled chicke, burgers, and dogs, as well as 2/$5 Red Stripes and her famous Rum Dum. A bit isolated but you can drive right there.

 

St Thomas is great for shopping and is a very busy island. We've also stayed there on the East End, and Sapphire Beach is a good choice when there are more than 2 ships in port. On a slow day I would go to Coki Beach as it's smaller and very pretty.

 

 

Aruba has long white beaches and resorts to visit, we rode horses and snorkeled the wreck and the reef and took a sunset sail our first cruise there, then went to Carlos & Charlies for the evening (busy day!). NIce place to relax on the beach for a tan, but unless you're staying at a resort not alot to do there. You can go to a resort and spend your time there of course.

 

St Kitt's is nice, great beaches.

 

We like Jamaica and Grand Cayman as well as they have some of the nicest beaches we've ever seen (Doctor's Cave Beach in Mo'Bay for example).

 

God luck with your choice, I'm sure that whatever line you choose you'll enjoy yourselves.

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We have been on both these cruise lines numerous times and love them both. Both have great opportunities for beaches and excursions. The ships on both have lovely and spacious cabins,specially those with balconies for watching those wonderful Caribbean sunsets, great dining, activities and a good mix of ages. We are in mid 50's. Seriously have a look at the itineraries on both. Good luck and enjoy.

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From reading tons of reviews and talking to friends I consider Holland America and Celebrity a more "mature" experience than we are after, and I do want to try the Windstar cruise sometime because they have very nice itineraries that the larger ships can't do.

 

I've heard several people who haven't cruise HAL or Celebrity make this statement. I've not cruise 7d cruises with them - 10d with Celebrity and 30d with HAL - so the shorter cruises may be different. And, I have to preface this post with the fact that my one experience with Carnival was on the MX Riviera and was filled with people my age that apparently had a lot of stress to get rid of because I swear they were drunk and very rowdy within 30min of boarding and stayed that way the entire cruise - they acted like a bunch of teenagers that escaped their parent's control for the week. I've heard that is not a typical Carnival cruise.

 

Based upon the cruises I've been on I wouldn't say HAL and X were too mature for me. I'm mid-40s, I drink but don't like getting drunk and I like to have fun, but I'm usually in bed by midnight.

 

My opinion is that while the average age on HAL is older than that on Carnival, X average age was about the same as Carnival. The atmosphere on HAL and X was more refined, less club atmosphere than Carnival, but by no means dead. The majority of people on HAL and X are as interesting, energetic and lively as those we met on Princess and RC. In fact on HAL, several people danced or at least stayed in the bars every night until early morning hours and those people harassed their counterparts that went to bed at 9pm. There were people on the HAL ship that never left their suite and we had a couple of people die on the voyage - and I understand that is typical for the long cruises. There were also the stereo-type HAL passengers - cranky, major mobility issues, using the ship instead of an assisted living facility, etc. But, those people tended to stick to themselves and really faded into the background.

 

Not saying HAL and X are for everyone, just that the rumors about HAL being only people with no life left are just not true. I've not heard those rumors about X.

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