2020 ALLURE OF THE ISLANDS
BLISS BECKONS: An appealing array of activities awaits you, from relaxation to water sports to opportunities for learning about the culturally rich traditions of the Caribbean region.
* In Oranjestad, shop for fine jewelry or souvenirs at one of the many duty-free boutiques
* Paddle a sea kayak through the mangroves outside of Kralendijk
* End your tour of a local sugar plantation near Basseterre with a glass of rum punch
* From Gustavia, tour the winding roads, rocky shores and gorgeous views of St. Barts
Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Barts
Day 1 – Miami, Embark the RIVIERA
Back on one of their large ships - but at least it is better than the HAL Zuiderdamn.
Day 2 – Cruising the Old Bahama Channel #1 of 4
Day 3 – Cruising the Caribbean Sea #2 of 4
Day 4 – Oranjestad, Aruba
** Distinguished by its colorful Dutch colonial architecture, Oranjestad is the capital of Aruba, first settled in 1796. Named as a tribute to the Dutch king William of Orange, the city today attracts tourists searching for duty-free bargains and strolling around the beautiful streets.
(AUA-012) Aruba's Natural Wonders – 3 hours
Enjoy discovering Aruba's natural side on this tour that showcases three distinctively different attractions that are all a direct result of the wonders of nature. Traveling by coach, you will first set-off for the Butterfly Farm, where upon arrival you will step into a tropical garden teeming with butterflies. During your visit, observe the fascinating life cycle of the butterfly as your expert guide explains the butterfly's habits and the miracle of metamorphosis. You will surely be charmed by these beautiful and whimsical creatures as they gracefully fly about.
Rejoining your coach, you will make your way to the Aruba Aloe Factory, en route passing the island's famous divi-divi trees. Always pointing in a south-westerly direction due to natural trade winds that blow from the north-east, these iconic trees act as a natural compass on the island. Arriving at the factory, you will enjoy a tour of the factory and learn how aloe is grown, processed, and turned into skin-care products.
Continuing on, you will next head to Aruba's rugged north coast and the Baby Natural Bridge, which has been carved by the surf into the solid coral and limestone. You can also view the remains of the original Natural Bridge which collapsed in 2005. Afterwards, you will travel back to the cruise ship pier. Time permitting, a stop will be made in Oranjestad for those who wish to exit the tour and do some exploring on their own. Those who elect to leave the tour in Oranjestad will be responsible for making their own way back to the ship, at their own expense.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of walking. The order of the sites viewed or visited may vary.
Day 5 – Kralendijk, Bonaire
** Go for a hike in Washington-Slagbaai National Park and look for birds, lizards and iguanas. Snorkel in the sapphire seas surrounded by a rainbow of tropical fish. Visit a butterfly garden, go sea kayaking through mangroves, see the famed saltwater lake Gotomeer, watch the fishing boats along the Playa Pabou waterfront, or enjoy a quiet moment on Pink Beach or at the Lourdes Grotto.
(KRA-011) Bonaire Highlights & Cultural Explorer – 3 hours
Discover the immense diversity of Bonaire on this mostly panoramic driving tour that encompasses highlights to the north and south with an enlightening visit to a culture center. Depart from pier and settle in for a picturesque drive along Bonaire’s coast. The farther north you travel from Kralendijk, the more hilly and arid the terrain. Along the way, you may spot huge candelabra cacti and mesquite trees that can reach as high as 30 feet. To the west, lies Klein Bonaire, a flat undeveloped island that rises barely six feet above the sea.
After approximately an hour, you will reach the Rincon Valley, once home to the Arawak Indians. At the turn of the 15th century, the Spanish founded the village of Rincon somewhat inland, out of the reach of cannons from buccaneer ships. You will discover more about the history of the area while driving through the village and touring Rincon’s outdoor venue Rose Inn. Relax under a shady tree and get a taste of the island with a sample of the locally produced Cadushy Liqueur which is made from cacti and lime.
For a different perspective of Bonaire’s past, you will visit the Culture Park in a landmark building called Mangazina di Rei, meaning Storehouse of the King. It’s the second oldest building on the island and centuries ago, seeds that priests had blessed were stored here before being distributed to the rest of the island. It was here that every Saturday, the island’s slaves would meet to receive their weekly provisions. A guided walk of the park allows you to hear stories of the area’s history and its importance to modern day Bonaireans.
Rejoining your coach, you’ll make your way back to the pier, passing Bonaire’s remarkable salt ponds, where flamingoes often congregate to dine on brine shrimp, a diet that endows them with a beautiful rosy hue.
Please note: This tour is mostly panoramic with limited optional walking at the stops.
(KRA-004) 4x4 Adventure to Bonaire's East Coast – 3 hours
Travel off road in a 4x4 Land Rover to the rugged eastern shore of Bonaire, a land of giant cacti, abundant wildlife and stunning natural beauty. Depart from the pier in a 4x4 Land Rover and begin driving through Bonaire’s lovely capital of Kralendijk. As you travel east, you’ll notice the land becoming more rugged. Before long, you will leave the paved highway and head off road into the arid, remote countryside. This area of Bonaire is less developed than the rest of the island and revered for its beauty.
During the drive, you may encounter wild donkeys, which the Spanish introduced to Bonaire more than 500 years ago. Other animals commonly sighted are Caribbean parakeets, yellow-shouldered parrots and iguanas. Although the eastern shore isn’t highly populated, during a photo stop, you will probably see windsurfers cutting through the waves at Sorobon Beach, as there is usually a steady offshore breeze.
Continuing on, you will pass one of Bonaire’s many lighthouses before pausing at a number of small stone huts that served as slave quarters until slavery was abolished in 1863. Many of the slaves worked in the surrounding salt flats, an area known today for its abundance of flamingoes. The birds congregate here to dine on brine shrimp, a diet that endows them with a beautiful rosy hue. While highly social among their own species, flamingoes are skittish around humans and prefer to keep their distance. Following your time here, you will drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes a limited amount of walking, mainly at the guests’ discretion during the stops. The off-road terrain can be bumpy and there are 2 high steps to negotiate to enter and exit the vehicle. Dependent upon rainfall, the dirt roads can become muddy. Wildlife sightings, while common, are not guaranteed. There is only 1 restroom facility at Sorobon Beach.
Day 6 – St. George’s, Grenada
** You can smell the cinnamon and nutmeg well before you dock in St. George’s; a tour of the spice estates on Grenada is almost mandatory. You can also take in a visit to a distillery to see how the island’s sugarcane juice is first turned into syrup and then into rum. A ferry trip to sister island Carriacou offers fantastic diving opportunities, and romantics can climb the waterfalls or just relax on the sun-kissed beaches.
(GND-004) Discover Grenada – 7 ˝ hours - LUNCH
This comprehensive full-day tour provides the perfect opportunity to experience Grenada's most notable sights. Your day begins at the pier where you will set off in your coach for Fort Frederick. The construction of the fort began by the French in 1779 and completed by the British in 1783. A chain of forts (Fort Matthew, Fort Lucas, and Fort Adolphus) adjoining Fort Frederick are said to be connected by a network of underground tunnels. Large underground cisterns which held water for Her Majesty's troops are still in use today. The Fort's ideal location situated on a ridge that rises 800 feet above sea level, offers visitors superb panoramic views of the horseshoe shaped harbor, Fort George, picturesque St. George's and Richmond Hill Prisons.
From Fort Frederick, your tour continues up hill, passing through the villages of Tempe, Beaulieu and Snug Corner to Grand Etang. Marvel at the magnificent hanging carpets of green mountain ferns while en route to Grand Etang, located in the central part of the island. This cobalt blue, lake which exists in the crater of an extinct volcano, is situated a breathtaking 1,900 feet above sea level. During your visit, you will have time to for a refreshing drink at the Park's Visitors' Center.
Your journey next travels to the River Antoine Estate, where you will view the oldest functioning water wheel in the Western hemisphere and experience the age old rum making process. At the end of your guided tour, you will be treated to a sample of their rum.
Next comes a true Grenadian moment, the experience of relaxing and dining at the unique and impressive Belmont Estate. The Estate is one of the oldest functioning plantations in Grenada and dates back to the 1700s. During your visit, you will have a guided tour of the Coca Fermentary and the Estate's museum. Following your guided tour, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at the Estate before it's time to re-join your coach for the afternoon segment of your tour.
Making your way toward Victoria, you will pass through town of Sauteurs and then through the villages of Chantimele and Union. From Victoria, you will proceed to the town of Gouyave, which is the island's largest fishing village and is also described as the town that never sleeps. At Gouyave, a visit will be made at the Dougaldston Spice Estate - a historical monument of Grenada's past. Your return route has you traveling through Grand Roy and Marigot before reaching Concord.
Everything good must come to an end, and as you draw near to the St. George's port, you will pass through the villages of Brizan and Beauseaur - one of the bays the United States frogmen landed on during the military intervention led by the U.S. forces on October 25, 1983, and then Happy Hill and Grand Mal.
Please note: This tour involves approximately 3 1/2 hours of moderate walking/standing.
Day 7 – Bridgetown, Barbados
** Discover the many beautiful aspects of this island, from its rugged Atlantic coastline to its beautiful Great Houses, cane fields, exquisite gardens and glorious beaches. See the island's spectacular underwater treasures on your own snorkeling expedition.
(BDG-003) Discover Barbados – 3 ˝ hours
This tour is designed to show you the varied picturesque landscapes the island has to offer and involves very little walking. Begin with a scenic drive through the peaceful countryside with its sugar cane fields and quaint villages. Then compare the contrasting dramatic east coast's Atlantic breakers with the sandy beaches and hotels along the west or Caribbean coast. Visit St. John's Church, a fine classic Gothic church dating back to 1836 and enjoy stunning views of the Atlantic coast from the churchyard. Enjoy a cool drink at Highland Centre while you enjoy the views of the east coast from an elevation of 1000 feet. Great photo opportunities will abound.
Day 8 – Castries, St. Lucia
* Explore this lush, beautiful island and its bustling capital. Visit the historic La Toc Battery, see banana plantations, and watch silk screening at Bagshaws. Venture south to Soufriere at the base of the Piton peaks and see the unique gingerbread architecture of the marketplace. Take a bike ride through the rain forest to a lovely waterfall, kayak in the deep blue Caribbean, snorkel or dive to spectacular reefs.
(STL-007) Island Splendor – 3 hours
Driving away from your familiar surroundings, plunge into the fun that this tour offers. Leisurely driving through our capital city of Castries, bypass our local Market, Cathedral, Derek Walcott Square and Central Library, while learning the interesting facts about them all!
Your next stop is La Toc Battery, an authentic 19th century British fort built to defend the island against foreign invasion of the vital coaling stations of St. Lucia. La Toc offers a fabulous representation of the British military in the late 19th century. You will see dimly lit tunnels, a shell store, an original shell lift and old ventilation shafts.
Travelling on you will pass banana plantations set between undulating hills before stopping for a brief visit in the rustic village of Anse La Raye with tiny wooden houses - some 100 years old. Enjoy the country scenery as you travel towards beautiful Marigot Bay. This tranquil blue lagoon is a paradise surrounded by green hills and a palm-ringed shoreline. Marigot Bay is an exceptionally beautiful natural yacht harbor and a haven for all. Three words capture its setting: "magical", "exotic" and "idyllic".
St. Marks is an old colonial style house, which is strategically placed high up in the hills and offers a panoramic view. Capture the magnificence of the Castries harbor amidst the deep blue sea with a green backdrop. On a clear day, view Martinique out in the distance along the northern coastline. Enjoy some typical Creole snacks and a tasty rum punch or fruit juice after your tour of this colonial home.
Please note: There are steps at La Toc Battery as well as St. Mark's (25) from the ground floor to first floor. Menu items are subject to change and may vary.
Day 9 – Basseterre, St. Kitts
With more than a quarter of the island set aside as a national park and a rainforest that is growing rather than shrinking, St. Kitts is a stunning tropical island escape. Soar through the Valley of the Giants on a thrilling zip line, hike to Sofa Rock, which is the cap of a still smoldering volcano, or simply spend the day relaxing on one of the many beaches protected by major coral reefs.
No tours currently listed. Probably just hikes or beach activities
Day 10 – Gustavia, St. Barts
LEAST FAVORITE PORT OF THE TRIP. Tour this beautiful island and marvel at the rugged coastline and its unspoiled, upscale atmosphere, unique in the Caribbean for its Swedish and French heritage. Enjoy the spectacular beaches and resorts, or see underwater wonders from a semi-submersible marine vessel. POOR!
(SBH-009) Yellow Semi-Sub Exploration – 1 hours POOR! Stay onboard?
BOTTOM OF THE BARREL EXCURSION: Tendering to shore from the ship, you will board your semi-submersible craft at the tender pier. Descending into the hull of the vessel, you'll find seating in front of the large underwater windows that provide a colorful vista of the undersea attractions found around St. Bart's harbor area. On your way to the harbor entrance, you may encounter such delightful creatures as the green sea turtles that have made this area their home and will pass over the wreck of the island freighter Marignan, which sank during the height of Hurricane Luis in 1995.
Your vessel makes its way to the southeastern edge of the St. Bart Marine Park, where a delightful parade of colorful tropical fish will make their way past your viewing portal and vibrant coral reefs dot the ocean floor below. Traveling on, a stop will be made at The Saints, a group of 3 small islands. This will no doubt be the highlight of your tour when the crew set about feeding the surrounding fish. Don't be surprised to see hundreds of hungry fish clamoring right outside your window for their share of food. You may even see a local shark or two!
Day 11 – Cruising the Atlantic Ocean #3 of 4
Day 12 – Cruising the Atlantic Ocean #4 of 4
Day 13 – Miami, Disembark
Escape, head for the airport, and fly home.
Check the second 2016 Oceania cruise for information on the RIVIERA.