There are approximately 26 island countries in the Caribbean, and one of the easiest and most popular ways to explore these beautiful islands is definitely by cruising.
Seabourn Cruises is a luxury cruise line that offers some of the best itineraries when cruising the Caribbean. I was on board the Seabourn Odyssey this December of 2018, and we began with our journey from St Martin, and ended our 7 nights journey in Barbados. Each day we are docked at a different island country, and it is the best feeling to wake up to a new destination everyday. Follow along as I take you on this amazing journey:
Philipsburg, Sint Maartin
The ship is docked at Philipsburg, Sint Maarten (the Dutch side), this is a unique island where the island is split into two countries, the French (Saint Martin) in the north side and the Dutch side in the south side. There are many beaches and resorts, and quite a few casinos and bars around the island, so it is quite popular for tourists to come and stay on the island. I have arrived a few days prior to getting on board the Seabourn Odyssey so I rented a car and explore. Few of the must see spots on the island includes:
Maho Beach (Dutch Side), it is a world-known beach where you can witness many planes landing and departing everyday. Although the beach is located right next to the airport, the ocean clarity and color is still amazing! I would say that the most striking experience is when a large aircraft is taking off, the thrust and power of the engines will create a strong blast that can really blow you away! (I would recommend covering yourself with a towel, sit down on the beach and hold on.)
Great Bay Beach, also known as Philipsburg, this is one of the most popular beaches on the island, located on the Dutch side. There are a lot of different types of duty free shops selling jewelry, liquor, beauty products, etc… many different types of restaurants, casino, and vibrant nightlife all along this coastline.
Orient Bay, this is another beautiful beach front on the French side. It’s approximately 25 minutes away from the Great Bay but it has a completely different vibe. There are mainly restaurants and resorts along the beach. More residential area instead of commercial and shops, so overall more tranquil and less hectic.
Carambola Beach, Saint Kitts and Nevis
Instead of visiting the main island, Seabourn Odyssey has anchored near the coastline, and reserved the entire Carambola Beach for guests to enjoy a lovely beach BBQ day. There is a signature Seabourn event that is called “the Caviar on the surf,” and this time it takes place on this lovely beach on St Kitts and Nevis. The Hotel director was sailing into the beach with a giant can of Caviar, and crew members were serving the caviar on a surf board along with endless champagne, truly a creative and fun day!
Road Bay, Anguilla
Anguilla is a small island in the Caribbean, and we arrive to one of the main pier called Road Bay. The locals consider Road Bay a destination as it’s not only a beach, but also an area filled with shops and restaurants. We decided to rent a taxi and tour around the island, and I highly recommend those who are visiting Anguilla to go to Shoal Bay East! By far, it is the most beautiful white sandy beach that I’ve been in the Caribbean! It is also one of the most popular place on Anguilla for snorkeling as the best coral garden is just off shore. There is a Shoal Bay East and also a Shoal Bay West, so make sure you go to the right one.
St John, Antigua
We docked at the capital and largest city in Antigua and Barbuda - St John, it is also the administrative center of the islands since the 17th century. We joined a tour called the Scenic Antigua to check out some of the most popular spots on the island. During the tour, we visited Fort James, Nelson’s Dockyard, and my favorite - Shirley look out. Fort James still has a full complement of cannons on the hillside from the 1700s, where the British is guarding the island from the French attack. Nelson’s Dockyard is a beautiful harbor filled with many historical buildings, and Shirley lookout is the highest point that overlooks the entire city.
Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe
Just 10km off Guadeloupe is Terre-de-Haut, the largest of the 8 islands that make up Les Saintes. Because the island is too hilly and too dried for sugar plantations, slavery never took place here. It is now the most cosmopolitan of Guadeloupe’s islands. The island is very small, only about 2.0 square mile, technically you can walk across the island (width) within 30-40 minutes. One thing that I found fascinating on this island is the wildlife, within a short few minutes, I saw large iguanas, lots of pelicans, and plenty of fishes just along the beach. Pelicans are constantly diving into the coastline to hunt for fishes or following local fishermen. I would suggest going to an ocean facing restaurant or coffee house and relax!
Castries, St Lucia
Castries is the capital city of Saint Lucia, and its built on reclaimed land. We joined a tour to tour around this island and to check out one of the famous Rum Distillery in the Caribbean! First we started the tour with a breathtaking view of the city from the Morne Fortune (means the Hill of Good luck), then we moved onto the only Rum Distillery on the island. Rum used to be the number 1 produce on the island, but over the years, bananas products have replaced Rum - banana ketchup is very popular!
Port Elizabeth, Bequia
The population of Bequia is approximately 5000, it is 1 of the 9 inhabitant islands amongst the 32 Grenadine islands. We started the tour at Port Elizabeth, the only town on the island where you can find hospital, police office, public library, pharmacy, and government building all on one street. It is quite a charming island with beautiful landscapes, you can find the best panoramic view of the ocean and coastline from Mt Pleasant. One of the highlight on this island has got to be the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary - the owner Orton G King tells his life story and how he came to dedicate his life to protect the endangered Hawksbill turtles.
On the final day of this journey, we disembark the Seabourn Odyssey from Bridgetown, Barbados. This is probably one of the most developed and populated islands in the Caribbean, with over 280,000 people. Famous singer - Rihanna is also born and raised on this lovely island, the locals have preserved her childhood home and named the street after her. I highly recommend visiting the East side of this island it is really lush and still undeveloped.
There are few more things I wanted to highlight besides the itinerary - the suites, restaurants, crew members, and facilities on board.
As a luxury cruise line, Seabourn really pays attention to each suite design. There are a total of 229 suites on the Seabourn Odyssey, which includes the Ocean view suites, Veranda Suites, Penthouse Suites, the Owner’s suites and more. Besides the Ocean view suites, all of the other suites have its own spacious private balcony. The bathrooms also have separate shower and bathtub. One attention to details that I really love the marble finish in all the bathroom, even inside the shower. The suites on Seabourn really highlights the luxury aspect, and delivers a comfortable home away from home experience.
There are a total of 5 dining options:
The Restaurant, the main and formal dining, serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Each day with a different a la carte menu, allowing guests to savor on different types of cuisines.
The Grill by Thomas Keller, the signature restaurant across all of Seabourn’s vessels, features some of Chef Thomas Keller’s iconic dishes and prepared using the freshest products.
The Colonnade, serves buffet style during Breakfast and Lunch, and themed menu every night.
The Patio, the most causal dining option for guests to unwind by the pool.
Last but not least, in suite dining, a 24 hour menu is available for guests to order whenever they are hungry and in the comfort of their suites.
You’re always greeted with a beautiful smile, everyone on board are very helpful and super friendly. This is such an important element in curating a wonderful sailing experience, from housekeeping to restaurant staffs, etc… Seabourn never fails to make you feel welcoming.
Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil
To my surprise, besides a well equipped gym, yoga station, hair and nail salon, and of course the cozy treatment rooms, guests can also receive acupuncture treatment and even Chinese herbal medicine consultation on board! There are daily schedules of different Seabourn Fitness program that guests can participate for FREE or with a private instructor.