Set sail into the sunshine
If you’re dreaming of hot summer days with the sun warming your skin and a cocktail in hand, you can make it a reality with a cruise around the Caribbean. It’s more accessible and affordable than you may think and a great way to experience the different personalities of the Caribbean islands. Plus, you only have to unpack your bags once! One of the most fun aspects is throwing back your curtains in the morning not knowing what stunning view will be waiting for you. From the vibrancy of Barbados to the mountains of St Vincent and the idyllic beaches of St Lucia, there’s so much to see and do.
When you’re not off exploring, you’ll never tire of life on board P&O’s flagship vessel The Britannia. The boat is huge (330m long) with room for 3,647 guests, but with the comfort and familiarity of staying in a luxury hotel. Cabins are compact, but everything you need is a short stroll away. Relax in the Oasis spa (which has deals every day), burn some calories in the gym and fitness studio, or spend the day lazing around one of the five pools.
There’s fantastic entertainment in the evening, from live music and cinema screenings to shows and dances. It’s a myth that cruises are just for older people. There were guests of all ages – including young families – on our trip. The kids are well looked after at The Reef, where they can play games and activities, with Reef Rangers to keep an eye on them. The holiday clubs are for children aged two-17 and run from early morning until the evenings, so parents can have a bit of child-free R&R!
Time to explore
Everyone knows the Caribbean is a beautiful part of the world, but nothing prepares you for the differing landscapes – one day you’re waking up to luscious green mountains, the next turquoise seas and miles of soft white sand. Make time to get off the boat at every port because no two islands are the same. And, if you can head deep into the island for a few hours, even better, as the port towns can be fairly touristy.
Take a walk around the colourful streets of Willemstad, Curacao, the vibrant island with Dutch influences, and streets with rows of townhouses that resemble the Netherlands. While in St Vincent, sign up to the Snorkel Sensation excursion (from £55 per adult). You will visit coral reefs near deserted beaches and even watch sleeping sharks. Afterwards, you can sip several rum punches on a speedboat back to the ship.
In Aruba, head over to De Palm Island for a busy beach day with plenty of activities – including water slides, zip lines, snorkelling and a banana boat. Food, drink and activities are all inclusive and cost from £58 per adult, £46 per child.
When in St Lucia, take a minibus to the peaceful Rodney Bay and lay down your towels on the perfect sand. Buy fresh coconuts to sip from, and try out a local fried fish dish. It’s heaven on earth.
Food and drink
Caribbean food is filled with flavour, so try as many new dishes as possible. The seafood is exceptional, and don’t miss trying real jerk chicken. The Britannia has more than a dozen restaurants, and food at the main ones are included (others are subsidised). Pop into the Horizon buffet, enjoy an Indian meal at Sindhu, seafood and steak at The Beach House or a mouth-watering à la carte meal at Epicurean. If you have a balcony room, order your breakfast to your room (for free) and soak up your new surrounds in your fluffy dressing gown.There are many bars to choose from, so sip a cocktail at the Sunset Bar or a glass of wine at The Glass House. Drinks packages are available, too.
Need to know
· P&O Cruises is offering a 14-night cruise on Britannia(B932) from £1,449pp for an inside cabin. Departing 22 November 2019, the price includes flights from selected UK airports, kids’ clubs, full-board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from and returning to Barbados, ports of call are Curacao, Aruba, Grenada, St Vincent, St Lucia, St Kitts, Antigua, St Maarten.
· l To book, visit Pocruises.com, call 03453 555 111 or visit your local travel agent.