We cruised the Caribbean during the holiday season on the beautiful ship the Seven Seas Mariner. Follow us for the 10 days we sailed on this luxurious ship.
Regent Seven Seas called this itinerary, "Goombay Gifts of the Season". Goombay is a true Caribbean term with many meanings. Among other things, it can be associated with a lively Bahamian rhythm, a drum made from goatskin, a tropical drink, or a festival! You put all of these together, and I think Goombay just stands for fun!
Seven Seas Mariner Photo (c) Linda Garrison
I love sea days! They allow time for rest, relaxation, and exploration of the ship. The Seven Seas Mariner sailed her maiden voyage in March 2001, so the ship was almost new when we sailed on her during the December holidays. We used our sea days checking out the Mariner, the pool and the balcony on our gorgeous cabin. We also contributed some of our hard-earned money to the casino and the onboard shops, and spent a lot of time (of course) in the Internet cafe called Club.com to avoid getting Web-withdrawal. Ronnie loves movies, so he checked out some of the movies in the library to watch on the VCR in our room while I read on the balcony. We were busy at sea!
Antigua Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Antigua (An-TEE-ga) is famous for its British heritage, its sailing and its 366 beaches--one for every day of the year. Antigua is the largest island in the British Leeward islands, and tourism is the biggest industry. Aficionados of British Naval history will be enthralled with English Harbour, home of Nelson's Dockyard National Park, one of the major historical attractions of the Caribbean. Many compare the Dockyard with Williamsburg, Virginia (only on a smaller scale), since it has many craft shops, restaurants, and restored buildings and hotels.
Barbados Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Barbados is one of the best developed, most popular tourist destinations of the southern Caribbean. Actually, the island sits about 100 miles east of the string of Lesser Antilles that stretches from the Virgin Isles to Grenada. It really sits in the Atlantic Ocean more than the Caribbean, and if you visit the eastern shore, you can feel the savagery of the waves. The western shore is tranquil and full of posh homes and luxury resorts. Barbados is full of the stuff tourists love--endless beaches, natural beauty, attractions, and fine dining.
Dominica Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Dominica (pronounced Dome-ee-NEE-ka) has nothing to do with the Dominican Republic. It is one of the British Windward Islands, sandwiched between the two French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Dominica has not been developed as much as many of the other islands. The 70,000 citizens of Dominica are just beginning to embrace tourism. If you love the "natural" look, then you will love Dominica. The most lush and mountainous island in the eastern Caribbean, Dominica is filled with thick forests, rivers, and waterfalls.
Dominica has many activities, all of which revolve around the out of doors.
St. Maarten Photo (c) Linda Garrison
The island of St. Maarten & St. Martin is the smallest territory in the world shared by two sovereign states. The island is only 37 square miles, but is shared by the Dutch and the French. The Dutch side is known as St. Maarten, the French side St. Martin. Once you are on the island, you can move between the two nations very easily. Our cruise ship the Mariner docked in Philipsburg in St. Maarten like most of the other cruise ships that port on the island. The island is well known for its shopping, gambling and beautiful beaches, so those who choose not to do a shore excursion should be able to find lots to do.
We sailed on one of the America's Cup yachts, racing along with one of the other super-sleek vessels.
Puerto Rico Photo (c) Linda Garrison
On our Seven Seas Mariner holiday cruise to the Caribbean, we enjoyed a shore excursion to the Luquillo Mountains and El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico, about 45 minutes from San Juan. This trip was a half-day trip for about 25 of us and included hiking for about an hour along a trail to a waterfall and pool. All in all, it was a great day.
The Caribbean National Forest-- or El Yunque, as it is commonly known, is one of Puerto Rico's tropical wonders. At 28,000 acres, it is not a large national forest compared to some in the mainland United States, but it is our only national tropical rain forest in the U.S. Forest Service. The highest peak in El Yunque is El Toro, which tops out at 3,532 feet.
Nassau Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Nassau or the Bahamas is the introductory destination that many cruisers experience on their first cruise. Three or four-day cruises leave from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, or Port Canaveral and sail the short distance to Nassau or to Freeport in the Bahamas, giving first-time passengers a taste of cruising.
Nassau was our first port of call on the Seven Seas Mariner holiday cruise, and we enjoyed snorkeling with the stingrays there in the cool waters of the southern Atlantic. The "stingray city" of Nassau is not as large as the one at Grand Cayman, but it was still a fun day.
Fort Lauderdale Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Fort Lauderdale (Ft. Lauderdale) is used by several cruise lines as an embarkation and disembarkation point for Caribbean cruises, including Regent Seven Seas. The actual port in Ft. Lauderdale is known as Port Everglades, and it is the third-busiest cruise port in the world, drawing almost 3 million cruise passengers in its 11 cruise terminals. The cruise terminal is very near the Fort Lauderdale airport, making it a very convenient embarkation port.