Day 1 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is "where the boys are." The city's reputation as America's Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the "Yachting Capital of the World," with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the "Venice of America" with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - St Thomas The US Virgin Islands are America's paradise, offering an easygoing blend of island ways and American practicality. St. Thomas, capital of the island group, offers every imaginable sport: snorkeling, golfing, hiking, and sailing. Just a few miles away lay St. John and Virgin Islands National Park. Stunning mountain scenery, crystalline waters, and white-sand beaches with palms swaying in the breeze - the US Virgin Islands are truly a slice of paradise. The harbor is easily one of the Caribbean's most scenic. The United States purchased the Virgin Islands from Denmark for $25 million in gold. St. Thomas has a reputation as a duty free-mecca for shopping.
Day 5 - St. Kitts Jagged volcanoes soaring above azure and turquoise seas, dense rainforests in myriad shades of green, rolling fields of sugarcane--welcome to St. Kitts. Along with its neighbor, Nevis, St. Kitts presents an exotic landscape more common to Polynesia than the Caribbean. The islands' terrain, rich soil, and climate made them ideal locations for raising sugarcane. In fact, St. Kitts and Nevis were once the crown jewels of the Caribbean. During the 17th and 18th centuries, Spain, France and England vied for control of the islands, with the English finally winning out in 1787. Today, British and French heritage is evident on both islands. Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts, boasts fine, restored colonial buildings. Impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress, called the "Gibraltar of the West Indies," is one of the most impressive fortresses in the Caribbean.
Day 6 - Martinique To the Arawak, Martinique was their treasured "isle of flowers." Lying in the Lesser Antilles between Dominica and St. Lucia, the island is a tropical paradise of dense rain forest, rolling savanna and stunning beaches. The rich volcanic soil nourishes banana plantations and pineapple fields as well as mangoes, papayas, lemons, limes, and West Indian cherries. Little wonder that Columbus praised Martinique as the "best, most fertile, most delightful, and most charming land in the world." Martinique's cultural heritage is as rich and bountiful as its soil. The island has been governed by France for over three centuries. Today an overseas department of France, the island boasts a culture that is a unique and zesty blend of French, Caribbean, African and Middle Eastern influences, resulting in that spicy combination called Créole. Créole culture is reflected in Martinique's architecture, cuisine, language, and music. For years the mayor of Fort-de-France was the internationally acclaimed Créole poet Aimé Césaire. Five centuries after Columbus made his landfall, Martinique remains a rare flower in the Caribbean.
Day 7 - St. Vincent, Grenadines St. Vincent is one of the 33 islands and small cays forming the Grenadines. The island is famed for its natural beauty. St. Vincent boasts a rugged coastline, lush rainforest, stunning waterfalls, a soaring volcano, and volcanic black-sand beaches. What travelers will not find are the glittering luxury resorts, duty-free shopping zones, and thronged beaches that characterize so many other islands in the Caribbean. St. Vincent is also one of the most cultivated islands in the region, thanks to the rich soil and abundant rainfall of its Mesopotamia Valley. The island's fertility and strategic location made it a highly sought prize during the 18th century. France and Great Britain both vied for control of St. Vincent; the island changed hands three times. As a result, traces of both are seen on the island. Today's Vincentians are a passionate people who possess great pride in their homeland.
Day 8 - Barbados Barbados is one of the few Caribbean islands solely colonized by one nation. It's no wonder Bajans describe their country as being "more English than England sheself," surnames like Worthing and Hastings abound. But look around and you know you're not in England: rich and fertile tropical fields meet a glistening, azure sea. The soft pastels of old chattel houses blend with the vibrant reds, oranges, and greens of roadside fruit stands. In short, Barbados exudes a charm all its own. Perhaps it is due to Bajan culture, that celebrated blend of English tradition and the African heritage brought to the island by slaves imported to work the sugar plantations. The potent brew which results flavors every aspect of island life, from music, dance and art, to religion, language and food.
Day 9 - Trinidad Trinidad, the birthplace of steel pan and calypso music, is one of the Caribbean's most vibrant and interesting destinations. The island and its capital city, Port of Spain, are both industrial and cosmopolitan. In fact, Trinidad and Tobago is the largest oil exporter in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most industrialized nations in the West Indies. About the size of Delaware, the island of Trinidad boasts a profusion of floral growth and an incredibly diverse population. Once a prime destination for business travelers, it is now becoming a serious vacation destination. There is plenty to see here, from the Asa Wright Nature Center, devoted to naturalists and bird watchers, to the more traditional tourist attractions like the Queen's Park Savannah, the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the Magnificent Seven, a strand of impressive colonial houses reflecting Trinidad's unique heritage. Port of Spain serves as your gateway to this lush tropical island with echoes of its colonial past.
Day 10 - Grenada Grenada is the Caribbean's "Isle of Spice" -- one of the world's major producers of nutmeg, mace, clove, cinnamon, and cocoa. Indeed, the fragrant aroma of spice seems to envelop the island's emerald hillsides, tropical forests, and sun-drenched beaches. Grenada is truly a feast for the senses. Americans, of course, may remember the island from the 1983 U.S. military intervention. Over two decades later, Grenada is again an ideal vacation spot. No building here may be built higher than a coconut palm. The majority of hotels are small and family owned. St. George's Harbor is a picture-perfect postcard of an idyllic Caribbean anchorage.
Day 11 - At Sea
Day 12 - Aruba Dutch influence still lingers on this balmy Caribbean island, part of the former Netherlands Antilles until its independence in 1986. Aruba is a contrast: the island's arid interior is dotted with cactus and windswept divi-divi trees while secluded coves and sandy beaches make up its coast. Aruba's long and colorful heritage is reflected in its dialect. Called Papiamento, it is a tongue that combines elements of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, African and English.
Day 13 - At Sea
Day 14 - At Sea
Day 15 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida According to the popular 1960 beach movie, Fort Lauderdale is "where the boys are." The city's reputation as America's Spring Break capital, however, has been replaced with the more favorable image of a prime family tourist destination, attracting more than 10 million visitors annually. The most popular beach resort in Florida is even more rightly famed as the "Yachting Capital of the World," with more than 40,000 registered crafts calling its waters home. The city also prides itself on being the "Venice of America" with more than 300 miles of navigable waterways. Fort Lauderdale boasts world-class theaters, museums, sightseeing, and shopping.
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