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Cruising the Southern Caribbean
By Sharon
Pushed April 22, 2017
Cruising the Southern Caribbean
Cruising the Southern Caribbean
If you want to go on a great and memorable get away, you should consider a Southern Caribbean Cruise that is designed just for you. A great  Caribbean Cruise can offer you a lot of great get away spots. There are Southern Caribbean cruise port areas on the following places: Nevis, San Juan, Antigua, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Martinique, Guadalupe, St. Kitts, St. Barth's, St. Lucia, St. Vincent.

Less visited than other areas in the region, the Southern Caribbean has expansive natural beauty and gorgeous scenery. Popular islands include the French West Indies (Martinique, Guadalupe and St. Bart's), lush St. Lucia, Dominica, and Grenada, and the sandy ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). With Barbados and Puerto Rico as main embarkation ports, your cruise vacation begins before you even board the ship.

A cruise through the southern Caribbean Sea offers more than gorgeous weather and magnificent scenery. Along the way you will encounter a veritable rainbow of cultural experiences. From British and French to Spanish and Dutch heritages, each port of call has its own unique flavor.
One of the most easterly islands in the Caribbean, the beautiful island of Barbados has been called Little England and for good reason. From statues of Lord Nelson in its very own Trafalgar Square and British architecture, to the fact that traffic drives on the left side of the road, a strong British influence is evident. Broad Street in the Barbadian capital of Bridgetown offers great buys in jewelry from a number of boutiques.
Other good buys include crystal, leather goods, perfumes and of course, various varieties of spirits, especially rum. While shopping you are likely to be serenaded by the distinct rhythms of the steel drums.
Barbados features pink sand beaches and relatively calm waters on the leeward Platinum Coast. A visit to the east side of the island by contrast reveals rough waves dashing against a rocky shoreline. In the lush, forested area near Mount Hillaby, at the summit of Barbados, is Welshman Hull Gully, a protected area of exotic plant and flower species, and the Flower Forest. Other excursions include visits to caves and catamaran rides.
Leaving Barbados, there are a couple of nearby islands very distinct from each other. St. Lucia is a lush, rugged island with two imposing volcanic peaks known as the Pitons, jutting straight up from the sea on the southwest part of the island.
Once docked at the capital city of Castries, you can disembark to find a quaint, dockside plaza where you can shop for jewelry, wooden crafts, art and other souvenirs. Venturing outside of Castries you will find vast banana plantations covering entire valleys. Winding roads reveal secluded coves along St. Lucia's craggy coastline. In these sheltered nooks, water sports such as sailing and snorkeling can be enjoyed.
One of the highlights of a day in St. Lucia is a visit to an active volcano near the town of Soufriere, which is the French word for sulfur.
Making your way back up the Western Coast of St. Lucia you will encounter some small fishing villages such as Anse La Raye. Here, glimpses of island life can be seen and authentic dishes can be sampled. Pausing to view tropical plant and bird life is one of St. Lucia's most treasured memories.
The Spice Island of Grenada, the southernmost island of the Windward Islands is situated just 90 miles from the South American coast. Everywhere there is a hint of spice in the air and naturally some of Grenada's largest exports include cocoa, nutmeg and mace. A large spice market in the capital of St. George's can be visited and roadside spice vendors dot the island.
St. George's is built around a magnificent inner harbor known as the Careenage, arguably the most beautiful harbor in the Caribbean. Two forts frame layers of multicolored residences and shops: Fort George near the entrance to the harbor and Ft. Frederick high above the town.
A half-day tour can be taken to the Grand Etang National Park. On the route is the Annandale Waterfalls, a shady enclave with tropical flowers. In the National Park, there are walking trails that pass through more colorful tropical vegetation.
Even if you decide not to stray from the Careenage you will find many places to shop and dine, all within walking distance of the ship, including a market adjacent to the pier. Again, spices are the most coveted souvenirs.
For a more relaxing way to pass the day, a water taxi can be taken to one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, a 2-mile stretch of white sand known as Grand Anse. Besides reclining in the warm sun and taking a dip in the ocean, there are restaurants here that offer cuisine as well as lounges that they will rent out for the day.
You can return from the beach for a final stroll of the Careenage with its old fashioned lamp posts and arbors before setting sail again.
After overnighting at sea on a westward course, the Venezuelan territory of Margarita Island is the next port of call. With its distinct Latin flavor Margarita Island is actually two islands joined by a narrow sandbar at the La Restinga lagoon. The eastern island is the more populated and boasts virtually all of the sites of interest and shopping. The largest city on Margarita Island is Porlamar. Formerly a duty-free zone, it still features many good buys in jewelry, shoes and fashion as well as unique handcrafted Venezuelan items. Porlamar's large white stucco Baroque style cathedral is one of the more unusual buildings of its kind.
Margarita Island has many beaches ranging, from secluded hideaways on the north shore that are purported to be clothing optional, to the bustle of the most popular beach, Playa El Agua.
A tour into the center of the island reveals some interesting historical sites including the capital, La Asuncion, with a convent dating back to the 16th century. In the hills above La Asuncion is the Santa Rosa fortress.
In the small town of El Valle the basilica of La Virgen del Valle, a beautiful pink-colored stucco church houses the patron saint of the island, said by pilgrims who come here to have worked some healing miracles.
One more sight of interest is the town of Juangriego located in a calm bay on the northern shore. Above the town is a fort where a historical battle was waged. From the fort there is an unforgettable view of the town and fishing boats on the bay.
Curacao, the latter of the A, B, C islands of the Dutch Antilles, along with Aruba and Bonaire, has its own unique culture of Dutch, Spanish and British cultures known as Papiamento.
Willemstad, the capital, features brightly colored buildings and a couple of interesting bridges, a huge looping overpass and a floating bridge which withdraws to allow ships to enter into the harbor. Willemstad is one of the most popular shopping zones in the Caribbean with artifacts, leather work, perfumes, jewelry and antiques.
Some of Curacao's most famous exports include their self-named liqueurs. These can be sampled during tours to a distillery. Other tours include visiting a plantation estate built in the early 1700's and the Curacao Sea Aquarium where there are displays of about 400 aquatic species including sharks and sea turtles.
Aruba has a similar Papiamento culture to that of Curacao. The capital of Oranjestad also features colorful buildings and is a prime area for shopping and restaurants.
Some of the world class stores include such high-end fashion and jewelry retailers as Gucci, Cartier, Benetton and Tommy Hilfiger. A number of fine restaurants are available along with an assortment of casinos.
The beaches of Aruba, such as Eagle Beach, are much more inviting than those in Curacao and are known for their pure, sugar white sand. Contrasting with its popular beaches and tourist zones is the desert landscape of the interior of Aruba including Arikok National Park. Multi-colored lizards and birds can be spotted scurrying and flitting amongst the boulders and cactus plants. Other places of interest on Aruba include caves and the crumbling ruins of gold mining facilities. For recreational activity Aruba's breezy climate makes it one of the best places in the world for windsurfing. Other water sports and golf are also popular.
Many cruise ship lines include at least 3 or 4 of the ports of call outlined on their itineraries. You can be sure that a cruise of the Southern Caribbean will be a marvelous experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Visit your travel agent now and get ready to take a Southern Caribbean Cruise, one that you should definitely experience..

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