Gems Of The Leeward Islands
Day 1 - Miami, Florida Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world, hosting a myriad of ships year-round from all over the globe. Although it is technically not on the Caribbean Sea, no other American city exudes more of the diverse tropical appeal of the Caribbean. The city is home to a large and vibrant immigrant population that blends snowbird refugees from more northern climes with emigres from all Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as sizable groups from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. From the hot-blooded Art Deco haunts of South Beach to the natural wonders of the UNESCO-inscribed Everglades and the laid-back charms of the Keys, South Florida offers a bounty of appealing attractions that make an extended stay in the region nearly mandatory for those either embarking or disembarking here.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - San Juan, Puerto Rico Puerto Rico has been voluntarily associated with the United States since it was ceded by Spain in 1898. In 1952, this island country became a self-governing commonwealth territory of the United States. The capital, San Juan, is a teeming city of over 1.5 million. Remnants of colonial architecture stand side by side with the most modern high rises in this city of contrasts. The 7-square-block area, which contains the historic zone of Old San Juan, was once completely encircled by city walls and is still guarded by the impressive forts of El Morro and San Cristobal, which loom over the harbor as reminders of the centuries of Spanish rule. El Yunque rainforest, on the northeastern side of the island, is just one of many distinctive geographical features found here. Mountain lakes, waterfalls, teak forests, and three magnificent phosphorescent bays offer the visitor a variety of diversions.
Day 5 - Gustavia (St. Barts), France Tiny St. Barts, as it is commonly called, lies 125 miles northwest of the French island of Guadeloupe, of which it is a dependency. Its geographic features include steep, green, once-active volcano hills, deep valleys, and beautiful beaches. Founded by the French, ceded to Sweden then returned to France, the toy-scaled capital of Gustavia is built around the harbor on the island's southwest coast. Many of the island's inhabitants are descendants of settlers from Brittany, Normandy and Sweden. Today they operate small inns, cafes, restaurants and boutiques that are housed in old buildings of Swedish colonial and French Creole architecture. Too small for most cruise ships, Gustavia's harbor is a favorite layover for sailing yachts, and with prices well beyond the means of the masses, visits are mostly limited to a few hours of day-trippers from nearby St. Martin/St. Maarten. The majority of visitors staying on the island still come from among the privileged who treasure the laid-back atmosphere and small-gem perfection of St. Barts.
Day 6 - Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe The Iles des Saintes, a tiny cluster of islets off the southern coast of Guadeloupe is what the doctor ordered, if he ordered an unspoiled Caribbean experience. No franchise duty free, no big hotels, no casinos. It is what much of the Caribbean used to be like. Stroll around the little town of Bourg de Saintes. Shop for real French cosmetics from the sidewalk vendors. Grab a seat and a beer and revel in the weather and the pace of the past.
Day 7 - St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda Antigua is blessed with an abundance of shining white beaches, and many of these have sprouted top-end resort hotels that engender golf courses and other amenities counted among the best in the Caribbean. A pleasant drive up through farms and tiny villages leads to the commanding fortress on Shirley Heights, from which you can survey the town and the harbor of Nelson’s Dockyard across the island. Once a carenage for British frigates, today it is an enclave of shops and restaurants.
Day 8 - Carambola Beach, Saint Kitts and Nevis A classic golden arc of sugary sand at South Friar’s Bay, Carambola is home to the island’s most luxurious beach clubs and restaurants. Umbrellas, loungers and optional water sports abound for those so inclined. Otherwise St. Kitts has other attractions, including a number of lovingly preserved plantation great houses, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Brimstone Hill Fortress and a scenic narrow gauge sugarcane railway.
Day 9 - Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, B.V.I There are approximately 40 British Virgin Islands (the exact number varies from authority to authority), many of which are uninhabited. Some have only a handful of residents. Jost Van Dyke has a small population of its own families: the Turners, Grants, Ringes and Callwoods to name the majority. The desire to continue in the old ways is strong here, and "Jost" looks much as it must have looked 100 or 200 years ago. This archipelago is pristine and traffic light free. Weather permitting, your captain will anchor in this idyllic location and deploy the Marina for a day of play in the sea and sun.
Day 10 - At Sea
Day 11 - At Sea
Day 12 - Miami, Florida Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world, hosting a myriad of ships year-round from all over the globe. Although it is technically not on the Caribbean Sea, no other American city exudes more of the diverse tropical appeal of the Caribbean. The city is home to a large and vibrant immigrant population that blends snowbird refugees from more northern climes with emigres from all Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as sizable groups from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. From the hot-blooded Art Deco haunts of South Beach to the natural wonders of the UNESCO-inscribed Everglades and the laid-back charms of the Keys, South Florida offers a bounty of appealing attractions that make an extended stay in the region nearly mandatory for those either embarking or disembarking here.
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