The fun in the sun season is just getting underway in the Caribbean. All of the major cruise lines are preparing for their yearly jaunts to this area. However, since there are so many locations in the Caribbean to visit, some areas are not as travelled to on a cruise itinerary as others.
Recently, Disney Cruise Lines announced that it is adding two new Caribbean destinations. Tortola and Martinique have been placed on its scheduled Caribbean sailings for 2016.
However you don’t have to wait until 2016, next year many cruise lines are scheduled to visit the less popular ports below.
Movie fans may recognise Dominica as it was used in many scenes in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. However, this location has much more to offer than set pieces. The entire island is covered in lush green flora, flanked by jagged mountains and large mango trees.
There are over 172 different species of birds that live there and the island is also famous for its whale watching opportunities. Royal Caribbean, Lindblad Expeditions and SilverSea include Dominica in their itineraries.
Grenada has a very colourful history and offers plenty for passengers stopping by for the day. The capital St. George is the main draw and contains many sites such as the picturesque white sanded beauty of the Grand Anse Beach. There is also the Grand Etang National Park which has a large amount of Mona monkeys, perfect for photo opportunities.
The local cuisine is filled with exotic spices, a fitting name for the Isle of Spice. Grenada is visited by Princess, Royal Caribbean and P&O amongst others.
Martinique has seen a significant increase in cruise arrivals in the last year. The island retains both a French and Caribbean culture. The highlight in this port of call will be Gorges de la Falaise. This river is situated between two huge cliffs amongst a dense forest. “Habitation Chalvet” or “Habitation la Capot” was a sugar plantation in the 18th century and the crisis of sugar forced the structure to find a new direction.
Previously, it was a farm where cocoa was grown. This season, the Costa Magica will be stopping there every week.
Presenting 20 beaches sprinkled along the island’s coasts makes St. Barts a perfect retreat for swimming all year round. Named after Columbus’s brother, Bartolomeo, St. Barts is an excellent place for sunbathing and water activities. Famous for its sophisticated yet casual restaurant scene, the regional cuisine is where the French influence shines the most, with local Caribbean spices mixed in.
Cruise lines that will be visiting St. Barts in 2015 include Seabourn, Star Clippers, Oceania Cruises and SilverSea.
Formerly known as St. Christopher, it got its current name from British sailors who shortened the lengthy name. St. Kitts is well known for its lush scenery and is perfect for eco-touring. The enormous rainforests are teeming with unique wildlife and the dormant volcano Mount Liamuiga is well worth seeing. Several cruise lines are heading here next year including Celebrity, Costa, Norwegian and Star Clippers.
Although not visited that often, one destination that cruise lines are taking notice of is St. Vincent. The landscape here is perfectly preserved and untouched. Dive into the glistening waters here to see some of the most stunning coral reefs imaginable and plunging waterfalls too. However, there is also cultural activity.
The nearby Fort Charlotte has a museum detailing the history of the area. Cruise lines that visit St. Vincent include Holland America, P&O Cruises and Star Clippers.
The Royal Clipper. Image courtesy of Star Clippers
The largest island of the British Virgin Islands group, Tortola, just happens to be the least populated. The white sandy beaches of Tortola are beaming with palm trees and azure pristine water. Rent a kayak or sailboard or try some of the scuba diving, water skiing, and windsurfing opportunities.
Besides leisurely moments on the beach, hike the rugged mountains within Sage Mountain National Park. Its summit stands at 1751 feet and offers a spectacular 360-degree view of Tortola and its neighbouring islands. Besides Disney in 2016, upcoming sailings this season to Tortola include those with Windstar and Seabourn.
Many passengers obviously choose a cruise holiday in the Caribbean because they want destinations away from the cold weather. Go one step further, and select a cruise that visits a few islands that contain a tropical environment without the crowds.
Written by Veronica Shine