Caribbean – round up

The Atlantic crossing has long meant so much; the journey to a new world, to wealth, freedom, and discovery – for some. For others, it was the nightmare of slavery and abuse, of rape and pillaging. The slavery museum in Tortola is hidden away, the lights in this building are not often on even though it is open, but it is a dreadful reminder of how man is repeatedly shown to have poor standards and a convenient justification of actions. In Solo Cruiser book 3, American Portrait, Aled, the young painter straight out of art school takes Violet there and she stands in horror at the history of the near past. Book 3 and book 4 are set in this area and I am sure the islands will be re-visited in future books and I hope we are still involved. We like these books because aside from the romance the stories unveil so much about the past as well as cruising. For the winter sun, many ships sail off for the ‘Caribbean season’. So, Columbus discovered America, which was already there, already populated and had been discovered before. What he discovered was how special these places were, how they could supply fruits, sugar and rum, minerals and gems. Money changed hands, people lived off supplying facilities to these sailors and traders from bars and sex to shipping repairs and farming tools. Plants and plantations were moved with slaves to work them. Even after the slavery act had been agreed, British ships dropped their British flag and the owners continued to ship slaves under another flag to their wealthy relatives who needed a continuous labour stream. From the TV show Roots to the recent Taboo starring Tom Hardy to Pirates of the Caribbean there has been filming all over these islands so what is this area to a cruise fan? It is a means of income for the families that live there now.

The Cruisers Caribbean – Area

The Caribbean Sea is a finite area but the Caribbean route is not. South America and the Amazon are at its base, the land joining the Americas with the fracture made by the Panama Canal is to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida is to the North and the Caribbean Islands themselves to the West, form the barrier to the Atlantic Ocean. Barbados for example is on the east edge. On this island, the west coast is a holiday resort and has beautiful beaches as it faces the Caribbean. East coast Barbados has a rugged stormy coast line facing the Atlantic, we have a film of each. For a cruiser, one could include Charleston in the North as the top of the circuit, with the growing Port Canaveral as the most northern Florida stop. Here you will find Space Parks and Disney and so much more as Jean shows in our film there. Canaveral is a transit stop for many Caribbean cruises to fly into. Also to the North you get New Orleans. To the South, most maps and routes include Trinidad as the last island, but then some will add the Amazon as an extended adventure. All these places can be on a route, so we have broken it into three menus in our cruise destinations. We have films and examples of tours available on all these islands.

The Caribbean Season – and the out and back – Transatlantic Crossing

For a cruiser, the Caribbean season starts the third week in October when the ships like migrating birds head across the Atlantic, and it ends by the third week in March as they scamper back. Basically, a ship travels about 200 miles overnight, so they hop a route between islands or ports that are either that far apart, or a day and a night would be 600 miles. A transatlantic cruise can stop half way; out can be three days to Madeira and then five days to say St Maarten, the route back can be from St Maarten for five days to the Azores, then three days into Southampton. We prefer Madeira route, see Jean’s films.

The Caribbean Islands

These are best broken into groups. The larger ones with ports are the ones that are equipped to take a cruise ship and have the facilities, tours, and bars to have thousands of people descend on them to buy a fridge magnet.

Lucayan Archipelago 

 The Bahamas

Turks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom)

Greater Antilles

 Cayman Islands (UK)

Cuba

Haiti is part of the island Hispaniola, the 22nd largest island in the world and the second largest island in the Caribbean, half is Haiti, the other half is the Dominican Republic.

Haiti (Split in half with Dominican Republic below)

Dominican Republic – Amber Cove  

 Jamaica

 Puerto Rico

Lesser Antilles

Leeward Islands

 United States Virgin Islands – Saint Croix, Saint Thomas, Saint John and Water Island

British Virgin Islands – Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke

 Anguilla (United Kingdom)

 Antigua and Barbuda and Redonda  – Currency EC or Eastern Caribbean $ they also take US $ Dollars

 Saint Martin (French) (same island as below, split in half)

 Sint Maarten (Dutch)

 Saba (Dutch)

 Sint Eustatius (Dutch)

 Saint Barthélemy (French)

 St Kitts and Nevis

 Montserrat (United Kingdom)

 Guadeloupe (French)   Currency EUROs they also take US $ Dollars

Windward Islands

 Dominica

 Martinique (French)   Currency EUROs they also take US $ Dollars

 St Lucia   Currency EC or Eastern Caribbean $ they also take US $ Dollars

 St Vincent, Grenadines, Bequia  Currency EC or Eastern Caribbean $ they also take US $ Dollars

 Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique

 Barbados    Currency Barbadian $BBD they also take US $ Dollars

 Trinidad and Tobago

Leeward Antilles (ABC Islands) (all Dutch) 

 Aruba

 Curaçao

 Bonaire

The Extended Caribbean

Florida is not technically in the Caribbean but many stops are added to it, the countries that have a coast line with the Caribbean we have included in our menu, but these include Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, USA, Columbia, Venezuela and Mexico. It is quite a playground to explore.

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If you are on a fly cruise and fancy a romantic book to read, read the first chapter of American Portrait here, as Violet flies into Canaveral to start her Caribbean cruise only to find another woman doing her job. Will it all go wrong? Or read the section in Tortola when she visits the slavery museum with the young painter. Then down load it to your kindle for the plane. Solo Cruiser book series.

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