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St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia

Listed under Cruising in British Virgin Islands.

  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
  • Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
Photo of St Maarten -Catalina Island-Tortola-Antigua-St Lucia
Photo by flickr user Wyscan
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The Caribbean is an obvious cruise destination, people have been cruising these waters since the idea of the bit on the water being the holiday not the journey popped into someone’s head I’m sure. This is a big sea, and there are many potential places you can visit, included on the 7,000 islands, but the main attractions are the idyllic beaches, blue water, balmy weather and sunshine. Beyond that there are many choices, built up ports with shopping and fancy restaurants or remote ones, where the beaches are sublime, but these are some of the ports featuring on many itineraries.

St Maarten is on most Caribbean cruise itineraries, as even the largest ships, with up to 18,000 passengers can dock. The facilities, on the duty free, shopping and restaurant side are up to scratch for that number, but it is the beaches that people really come to see, they’re some of the best in the Caribbean, with Orient Beach being the most famous and Cupecoy Beach an excellent and quieter alternative.

Catalina Island is a natural beauty, with a coastline of pretty coves and dramatic views. The main port is at Avalon, but the larger cruise ships dock outside of it and coming into port the first thing you’ll see is the grand art deco styled casino, like something out of a James Bond film. It rises up out of the pretty bougainvillea laden streets and houses. Catalina has a slow pace of life, it’s a place to eat well and relax on the beach, maybe venturing out into the ocean for a spot of snorkelling or out of your bathing costume into the shops. To escape the crowds in the height of the season the beach to lay your towel on is called Lover’s Cove. No fishing boats are allowed and the marine life thrives.

Tortola is lovely if well done by the cruise ships. If you can avoid the crowds by turning to Brewer’s Bay instead of Cape Garden Bay and you like your water clean and air sunny and dry (perfect snorkeling conditions), then this will be a favourite destination for you. Make sure you try the local rum, Pusser’s which also has its own eating outlets offering fantic American diner style food – just what you feel like after a dip in the ocean.

Antigua feels like it’s almost all beach. With lots of choice I recommend Deep Bay, Darkwood Beach and Half Moon Bay. It used to be agricultural but recently it has relied almost entirely on the tourist buck. If you’re in dock on a Saturday the market is fantastic.

St. Lucia’s main cruise port is Castries, which has a Creole flavour to it and plenty of restaurants, I recommend The Still and, the quite famous locally, Charthouse. The most popular beach is Reduit Beach near Pigeon Island, also a very popular destination, and Diamond Falls near the island’s volcano are like a spa made by nature. The shopping gets about four stars.

Written by  Simone Granger.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Boat ride from St-Maarten to Virgin Gorda!

I am looking for a boat ride from St-Maarten to Virgin Gorda around the 17 of november!

I could use a cruise boat if this is the only option!!! Is it possible for just 1 or 2 days!!!

Thanks

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