Caribbean Cool

Caribbean Cool

By Georgina Cru

Idyllic islands with rainforests, cascades, colonial towns, and sugar-white-sand beaches –all enjoyed unpacking just once. Caribbean cruises lure Treasure Coast residents in late summer and autumn each year when temperatures and rates typically fall. They have lured my husband Humberto and me often through the years to take various length voyages from convenient ports to the Treasure Coast like Port Canaveral in the Space Coast and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Here are, listed alphabetically, three of several opportunities of various length cruises this year for Caribbean voyages aboard Disney Cruise Line from Port Canaveral and on Holland America Line and Crystal Cruises both out of Port Everglades.

            Disney Fantasy, Disney Cruise Line          

An ideal line for families due to its extensive facilities and programs for children and teens and such attractions as the AquaDuck water coaster, Disney first-run movies, and a pirates’ themed night with fireworks at sea, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy sails on seven-day Caribbean cruises to a variety of ports from Port Canaveral year round.

The 130,000-ton, 4,000-passenger ship offers such hits with families as a Star Wars-themed area in the Oceaneer Club, a space for young sailors, as well as a Marvel Super Heroes Academy. During September and October the ship features departures to the Western Caribbean with stops in Cozumel, the isle that the Mayans’ considered their Eden; Georgetown, Grand Cayman, where a big attraction is swimming at Stingray City in shallow water with stingrays that brush past your legs like friendly kittens; Falmouth, Jamaica, where a popular pastime is climbing Dunn’s River Falls, the quintessential tropical cascade; and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, complete with pristine beaches for families, teens and adults and a water slide.

During September and October, the ship also features Halloween On The High Seas, with family-friendly frights and special decorations and activities including masquerade parties. Info:

            Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line

Holland America features several ships doing seven-, 10-, 11- and 14-day Caribbean itineraries with many departures from Port Everglades this fall. One of the ships, the Nieuw Statendam, offers alternating 14-day voyages to the Caribbean visiting several ports with the line’s legendary, friendly and caring staff taking care of all the details onboard.

Port highlights of the ship’s 14-day itinerary to the Eastern and Western Caribbean include two stops at HAL’s Half Moon Cay, an idyll in the Bahamas that is ideal for swimming and snorkeling in crystalline, turquoise waters and offers an abundance of optional activities including stingray encounters, horseback riding excursions and parasailing.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, one of the ports, features many options including a driving tour to a waterfall at El Yunque National Rainforest Park, a musical show with Caribbean dances, and tours to Old and New San Juan and the 16th century Spanish fortress of El Morro. A stroll in Old San Juan, an easy walk from the cruise pier, is a free opportunity to bask in scenery of colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and picturesque plazas. Other ports include Cozumel; Falmouth, Jamaica; and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

And the Nieuw Statendam, a floating island herself, is a highlight. A medium-sized ship launched in December of 2018, she accommodates 2,666 passengers. Her interior design is inspired in the fluid lines of musical instruments and has an abundance of art and floral arrangements to create a gracious ambience. Guests find onboard all the facilities and conveniences modern cruise passengers expect: a spa, pools, casino, main dining room and alternative restaurants including Rudi’s Sel de Mer (French accented seafood), the Grand Dutch Café (pastries and light lunch bites), Tamarind (Asian), Canaletto’s (Italian) and the Pinnacle Grill (Pacific Northwest).

Activities and entertainment on the Nieuw Statendam include culinary demonstrations and classes from America’s Test Kitchen, live entertainment at the Music Walk with varied venues including the Lincoln Center Stage, Billboard Onboard, Rolling Stone Rock Room and B.B. King’s Blues Club. And in addition, there are BBC Earth Experiences with live music in the main show lounge, the World Stage, a two-level state-of-the-art theater. Info:

Crystal Serenity, Crystal Cruises  

Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony feature a variety of Caribbean itineraries from Florida ports this fall. One offering is a 12-day itinerary on the Crystal Serenity from Port Everglades on Nov. 24. It visits several Caribbean islands –each with its own personality and charms. Stops include chic St. Bart’s, with its yacht-dotted harbor that recalls the French Riviera and plenty of restaurants, bistros and designer boutiques; and lovely St. Lucia with arguably the most picturesque sight in the Caribbean: its two green-clad, seaside Les Pitons mountains. Other stops include British-influenced Barbados and Antigua boasting 365 beaches –one for each day of the year—as well as the tropical paradises of the Turks & Caicos and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Crystal Serenity received an extensive three-week redesign late last year with expanded space and options. As a result of the redesign she now has 36 new Penthouses and two new Penthouse Suites that replace verandah staterooms on Penthouse Deck 10. The transformation from verandah cabins to penthouses and suites has reduced the ship’s capacity from 1,070 passengers to 980, but the number of crew remained the same. Translation: more space and service. Another aspect of the redesign was the introduction of open seating dining that allows guests to have more flexibility for their evening activities and the addition of more intimate seating with many tables for two and four in Waterside, the main restaurant that serves classics and modern specialties.

And the redesign created new dining venues including the Churrascaria, a Brazilian-style barbeque evening venue in The Marketplace (that also serves buffet-style breakfasts and lunches). The Churrascaria welcomes patrons with the traditional Caipirinha cocktail, so popular in Brazil, and offers tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats carved tableside by “gauchos” on sword-like skewers. Another venue is Silk Kitchen & Bar featuring Chinese specialties served family-style, including dim sum, among the choices for dinner.

These venues join the line’s Prego, serving Northern Italian cuisine with a modern twist –from the Crystal mushroom soup and slow-roasted pumpkin ravioli to tiramisu—and Umi Uma & Sushi Bar, featuring the Japanese-Peruvian cuisine of celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa including the Nobu-style lobster with truffle-yuzu sauce and a bento box of chocolate souffle cake with shiso syrup and sesame ice cream. Info:




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  • Posted 5 years ago

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