Maureen’s Caribbean Adventure

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Maureen (our admin angel) is an avid fan of the Oceania Cruise line and for her 2010 trip chose to go a little further afield than the usual European destination.

Maureen and her companions chose the ‘Caribbean Pearls’ itinerary and visited the BVI’s, St Barts, Dominica, St Lucia, Antigua and Turks & Caicos – all in 12 days, departing and returning to Miami.

Flying directly into Miami and staying the first night at the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel, Maureen and her friends were transported to the port where they were welcomed on board in true Oceania style, by many familiar faces from previous cruises.

Turks & Caicos was the first port of call with its salt pans and windmills. The bird life on the islands is phenomenal with pelican and flamingos in abundance and plenty of snorkelling opportunities at Gibbs Cay where you can swim with the stingrays and other Caribbean underwater life.

The stunning white beaches with palm trees dipping down to the sea were the back drop of the next island – the Dominican Republic. While sailing in Samana bay it is not uncommon to see Hump Back Whales!

The British Virgin Islands (BVI’s) feature twice on the itinerary but the first taste of these quaint islands was Tortola, the largest of the BVI’s. Christopher Columbus first spotted the islands in 1493. These islands and their waters are extremely popular with those who love to sail and have numerous yacht clubs and sailing regattas.

Another island famous for its sailing affiliations is Antigua – English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard are very interesting sights to visit. The naval base was built in 1725 for ships patrolling the West Indies to maintain England’s sea power. Shirley Heights is one of the tallest points on the island and offers spectacular panoramic views of the island. On a clear day you can see as far as Montserrat, some 28 miles away.

The volcanic island of St Lucia came next on the trip and a fantastic catamaran cruise from the capital, Castries, journeyed to the South of the island and docked in the cove of Anse Cochon where some were tempted by the bath like temperatures of the water. Locals will stop by the boat in hope of selling shells and handicrafts. The scenery is truly breath-taking with the Grand and Petit piton towering above and a visit to the still active sulphur springs and botanical gardens ended a wonderful day on this lush island.

More botanical gardens with exotic trees, rare birds and Jaco Parrots were seen on the island of Dominica before sailing north to the celebrity ‘hang-out’ island of St Barth’s. A very chic island with French influence offering wonderful boutiques and jewellery shops. A submarine trip will take you underwater to laze with the brightly coloured fish, green sea turtles and the wreck of the freighter Marigan which sank during Hurricane Luis in 1995.

12 days passed extremely quickly and soon the cruise was returning to Miami having sailed 3,080 nautical miles of West Indian waters. Once again Oceania and her crew excelled themselves with the high level of service and attention to details – where to next?????

To chat to Maureen about her tip or make an enquiry, please call us on 01428 658 777.

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