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PCT’s Southern Caribbean Cruise July 2017

If you’re like me, when you’re planning what to do and see on a Caribbean cruise the choices can be overwhelming! I want to squeeze as much juice out of every island moment. So here are some ideas from our July 2017 Southern Caribbean Cruise, we hope you find some tips in our cool roadmap.

Port day 1 we arrived at Grand Turk 7AM – 2PM. Disembarkation was at the cruise center, Sun Ray Beach. The pros to this port: beach loungers and bathrooms are complimentary, many walk-able activities as you disembark, Margarittaville has cool and refreshing pools, and the wharf is surrounded by vendor’s stalls for shopping. The cons: Margarittaville is super crowded!, especially if there is more than one ship in port. The beach is beautiful, but super rocky. Its nice to walk along, but wading and snorkeling are not very nice.

We didn’t waste anytime disembarking, set some things down on a few loungers (shade was sparse!), then headed along the beach to walk among the conch shells. Tip: you can’t take the conch shells off the island with you, so photograph and enjoy while you visit. For those who love beach walks, it’s a ½ mile walk to Jack’s Shack, a beach bar with loungers and drinks, or walk on another quarter mile to Governor’s Beach where you’ll find sand glass, a shipwreck, and fewer people. 15-20 minute walk.  Some cruisers were renting golf carts or scooters to see the 2 x 8 miles long island with a lake in the middle. Around 11 AM when we were sun soaked we headed to Margarittaville to enjoy a marg and cool pool time.

Grand Turk from our cabin balcony, Carnival Vista

Grand Turk from our cabin balcony, Carnival Vista

Port Day 2 we sailed into La Romana 9AM – 4PM. La Romana is a newer port, and development around it is minimal. We wanted to get out and explore one of the Dominican’s popular All-Inclusive resorts, and we chose Dreams La Romana. Cool tip: a day pass at $65 per person included all food, adult drinks and sodas, gorgeous pools and beach loungers. It was about 15 minute by cab, and our driver offered to come back and pick us up, waiting to be paid until the return trip (all cabs are regulated in the Dominican so fares are easy to understand). It was a fabulous way to relax on a beautiful Caribbean Island and get a little AM Resorts pampering in the mix. On our way back to the ship we stopped in the large shopping arcade to purchase some island rum, vanilla, and some swag.

The 3rd port stop was the island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela. We were there from 1:30 PM – 10:30 PM. This island had a perfect opportunity for a sunset sailing and dinner with the locals. We made plans in advance to rent a private snorkel tour. While our guides were a bit more laid back than we were (no lifejackets required!) we did see some great underwater life, and learned a lot about the islanders and their unique language (a mix of Dutch, Spanish, English). After our tour, we wanted to tour the island and visit famous Eagle Beach. Cool tip: a couple of beach bars were recommended to us for happy hour and sunset views: Moomba and Bugaloe. Aruba is actually quite arid, so make sure you have plans to get wet and enjoy the Caribbean Sea while you visit.

Our final Southern Caribbean port was Curacao 8AM – 4PM. We were excited for this port stop, because we’d rented cars in advance to tour on our own. Avis is the place to rent at this port, and a 7-passenger car was ($55 – $75). We had plans to see Boka Table Cliff, which is part of a natural park on the island. A small entrance fee goes to conservation. There is no swimming at this park, just hiking and ‘out of this world’ views. The lava fields and sheer cliffs are stunning, and there are several caves and waterspouts to explore as well. One of our best days for pictures!

Max and Dan, Boka Table

Max and Dan, Boka Table

Laura and Scott Boka Table

Laura and Scott Boka Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool tip: bring plenty of water, SPF, and hats. It is really hot up on the cliffs and while the ocean provides some breeze, you are exposed to the sun.

After our hike along the coast, we hit the road and headed toward Playa Lagun, a calm and shallow cove with great snorkeling (we bring our own gear), protected on three sides by beach and cliffs. A small café up narrow stairs on the hillside offered drinks and snacks. I almost hesitate to share the name of this spot because it was so peaceful and secluded when we stopped! But I think many cruisers don’t venture out this far, so hopefully you find it to be as unspoiled as we did. The road we traveled wound all the way around the island, and the views were spectacular.

Ready to plan your own Southern Caribbean Cruise? Here is one of my favorite vendors for excursions and activities: ShoreTrips. As always please reach out to us with questions and requests! Amy

 

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