Caribbean Islands

Change your pace to ‘island time’

The stuff dream vacations have been made of for generations, the islands of the Caribbean Sea are as magnetic and enchanting as ever. Sure, you’ll see stunning white-sand beaches, fringed with swaying palms, but there’s also fiercely spicy food,  welcoming locals, world-famous rum distilleries, soaring mountains and a chequered colonial history.

Island-hop your way along the Caribbean island archipelago, a dream of endless beaches, delicious cocktails and friendly faces. Inland, the islands’ lush vegetation is home to rare birds, monkeys, green lizards, hummingbirds and whistling frogs. At sea you can meet turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins and more. Take a drive round Barbados and discover St. Nicholas Abbey, an old sugar plantation that still distils its own rum.  Or climb from St. Lucia’s volcanic, black-sand beach to the summit of Gros Piton, one of the island’s two hot-headed peaks.

The climate in the Caribbean is considered to be one of the most desirable in the world. December to April is the most popular time to go. These months are generally drier and temperatures are pleasant without being too hot. The rest of the year tends to be rather soggy. Temperatures average from 24-29°C throughout the year.

Language varies interestingly from island to island, though English is the generally the first or second language for most. It is also the unofficial ‘language of tourism’. There are several types of creole languages that are English, French, Dutch or Spanish-based. What is common throughout the Caribbean islands is some of the world’s best music. You’ll see steel-drum pannists at local markets, hear a constant hum of r&b in the background of beach bars and catch a waft of gospel as you pass a church.

Best Time to Go  All year round
Capital cities of note Bridgetown (Barbados), Fort-de-France (Martinique), St. George’s (Grenada), Castries (St. Lucia)
Currency Eastern Caribbean Dollar, Barbadian Dollar, US Dollar
Time Difference GMT-4:00
Expert Tip Lobster Alive is by far the best restaurant in Bridgetown. Get in the calf-deep tank to choose your lunch then take a table on the beach as it is prepared with garlic butter and curly fries. A live jazz band performs every Sunday.

Cruises in the Caribbean Islands

Holetown, Barbados, Unforgettable Cruises

Holetown, Barbados

Whilst our small ship Caribbean cruises depart from the Bajan capital, Bridgetown, it’s worth seeing what else the island has to offer. Holetown on the west coast was the island’s original main town. By day, the beach is frequented by locals and tourists and there is a little local market. By night, you’ll feel the pull of the fantastic piano bar.

Les Deux Pitons, St. Lucia, Unforgettable Cruises

Les Deux Pitons, St. Lucia

These iconic peaks make up the instantly recognisable relief of the island of St. Lucia. Both are active volcanoes. Gros Piton is 771m high, and Petit Piton is 743m. The larger of the two volcanic summits is an easier climb and popular with hikers as the trails are easy to follow and the views from the top are spectacular.

Fort-de-France, Martinique, Unforgettable Cruises

Fort-de-France, Martinique

Colourful and welcoming, Fort-de-France is the largest city in the French West Indies. Fort St-Louis looms over the brightly painted houses and Bougainvillea-clad balconies. La Savane, Fort-de-France’s city park is home to a statue of Napoleon I’s wife Joséphine, who was a native of the island.