Caribbean cruise ports get a lot of attention during the winter when freezing temperatures cover a large amount of the United States. Warm, sandy beaches along with some good experiential adventure opportunities bring visitors from around the world. By air or sea, those escaping the winter weather have some great choices in the more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays of the Caribbean sea.
Say “Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Cozumel, St. John, St. Thomas, Costa Maya” or any of the other islands of the Caribbean and most travelers who have been there will recollect a good memory.
Three other ports not normally on the itineraries of large ships (they are too big to dock at the ports) are well worth a longer sailing, as well. Travelers can also get to these islands by air and choose to stay a while.St. Barts
In December through the first week of January or so, ocean-going yachts make St. Barts home and offer plenty to stoke the dreams of boating enthusiasts.
Columbus discovered St. Barts in 1493 and French colonists from nearby St. Kitts first settled it in 1648. The island changed hands several times but was finally given legal status as a Department of France in 1946, much like Americans made Hawaii a state.
Luxury cruise lines SeaDream Yacht Club, Seabourn and Crystal Cruises are among those who sail to St. Barts, also called Saint-Barths or St. Barthelemy.
Isla Catalina is a tropical destination island located on the southeast corner of the Dominican Republic, about 1.5 miles from the mainland and not far from La Alagracia and La Romana.
The coral stone island is home to diverse ecosystems including sand dunes, mangroves and reefs and there are large areas around the island where the water depth is just a few feet thanks to natural sandbars offshore.
Azamara Club Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Holland America Line are among those who visit Isla Catalina
The Sunburry Great House makes for a good day trip, and is also a good example of a Barbadian Sugar Estate Great House.
Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Royal Caribbean International are among those cruise lines that visit Bridgetown, Barbados.
Island life leaves plenty of time for relaxation, taking in the local sights and an interesting activity called “plane spotting” as shown in this video from St. Barts:
[Photo Credit: Whitney Owen]