With a consistency uncommon in the Caribbean, the Union Jack flew over "Little England" for more than 300 years until it gained independence in 1966. This means that the historic city and its garrison offer an unusually unsullied look at British colonial architecture in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries—a circumstance that has earned them UNESCO designation. Stop by Queen's Park with its gigantic 175-year-old Baobab Tree. Visit the George Washington House at the top of Bush Hill where the first president really did sleep in 1751. Beyond the town, plantation houses, rum distilleries, and colorful chattel houses dot the landscape, along with natural wonders such as Harrison's Cave, a fairyland of stalactites, stalagmites, and even underground rivers cascading into underground lakes. Embark your ship this evening and settle in for your upcoming Caribbean adventure.
Your Barbados cruise begins with a dramatic approach to St. Lucia, with its iconic twin Pitons rising from the sea, hints at the wonders ahead. The rain forest is home to giant primeval ferns, wild orchids, and birds of paradise, while flamboyantly colored birds like the indigenous St. Lucia parrot fly overhead. Along the coast, you'll find the remains of old fortresses, warm and welcoming villages, and open-air markets brimming with locally made batik fabrics and woven hats. Offshore is a treasure trove of pristine coral reefs, peacock fish, parrotfish, and other species. We'll dock at Rodney Bay Village rather than the more developed cruise ship port of Castries, giving you the choice of whether to head for civilization or focus on a blissful escape from it.
This is your invitation to a day of indulgence. Treat yourself to a luxurious spa experience. Stretch out by the pool with your favorite beverage. Grab a great book or your favorite movie from the library. Stretch your muscles with the state-of-the-art fitness equipment. Dine in sumptuous casual style, or wrap yourself in that comfy waffle-weave robe and enjoy your meal in the privacy of your beautiful stateroom. Your delight is the single priority for your day at sea.
St. George's is one of, if not the loveliest city in the West Indies and one of the most fascinating on your Caribbean cruise. The horseshoe-shaped harbor is surrounded by sherbet-colored Georgian buildings with red fish-scale roofs, the air smells of exotic blooms and the spices for which this island is famous, and Grand Anse beach beckons nearby with its two miles of sugar-white beach. With its translucent waters, it may be hard to tear yourself away from the sea, but more attractions await inland including lush Grand Etang National Park with its chipmunk-cheeked mona monkeys, fragrant spice plantations, and the island's colonial history at Fort Frederick and Fort George. A taste of nutmeg ice cream is the perfect conclusion to a day well spent.
A highlight of your small ship cruise is the port that's not a port: Tobago Cays. This marine park includes uninhabited islands perfect for your Robinson Crusoe fantasies, a wealth of marine life, and pristine beaches with shallow water perfect for beginners learning to snorkel. Green and Hawksbill turtles frequent these waters, especially around Baradal Island, a turtle sanctuary. With visibility of up to 120 feet, you have a good chance of seeing them both from above and below the water. The coral reefs are home to colorful hard and soft corals, fans, whips, sponges, and a profusion of fish. And when you tire of exploring the world below the surface, there's plenty of room on deck for you to pull up a chair, order a rum punch, and toast another perfect day.
At one and a half square miles, Mayreau has room for just one small village, one road, a population of about 300, and far more than its share of spectacular beaches. It's only reachable by boat, and electricity was just introduced in 2002, so it's free of many of the usual "distractions" you find in the Caribbean. In their place, you'll find time to appreciate the perfect half-moon beach at Saltwhistle Bay, the hourglass isthmus that separates it from its doppelganger on the Atlantic side, and the kind of quirky establishments that materialize in a place so far off the beaten path that there is no path, just a trail of luminescence across the bay.
Life in Bequia revolves around the sea. Walk through the pretty town of Port Elizabeth, set on one of the loveliest and best-sheltered harbors in the Caribbean, and you’ll see fish nets drying in the sun. Boats are built on the beach in the shade of palm trees, and many yachtsmen have come here to have a fine schooner built by hand. (Or take home a model ship, perfect in detail.) Once an active whaling station, Bequia today is a favorite among Caribbean insiders and yachties for its unspoiled beauty and easy pace.
Disembark this morning for your continued journey home.