These are two vastly different holiday options and will very much depend on how you like to spend your time away. The big advantage of the cruise is that you will see various islands in one trip. There are 28 countries making up the ‘Caribbean’ but there are thousands of Islands in the archipelago, including Bermuda which is about 1,000 miles away!
A cruise is, on the whole, an organised holiday, where you can rely on the ship’s crew to inform you each day of your itinerary. On the other hand, if this is not for you there is no rule to say you can’t do your own thing, avoiding the ship’s trips and organising your own. The obvious advantage here, apart from doing what you want when you want, is cost saving! When disembarking you could choose to jump in a taxi, join other like-minded people in a minibus and take your own tour, or possibly visit the tourist information and take off on foot to explore. As for eating and drinking, you have no need to trail around looking for restaurants and bars; they are all there for you under one roof. If you wish to visit the theatre, before or after dinner, you have no need to grab your coat and go outside to find a taxi!
Stay on a Caribbean Island
We all have a vision of paradise, stunning powder white sand lapped by azure blue warm waters! Many of the Caribbean’s hotels are dotted around the best beaches just a stone’s throw from the sea. Walk from your hotel and within minutes you can be lying on a sumptuous sunbed gazing over the ocean. Relax with a book and a cocktail, along with the odd dip to cool off. To some, especially those who holiday for pure relaxation, this is heaven and it doesn’t get much better!
How much can you expect to pay?
This is a great time of year to pick up a bargain 10-14 night cruise for as little as £1,000. This price includes flights, accommodation, and all food. Early December is a particularly cheap time to travel so you can expect to pay twice as much at other times. Last November one of our team took a two-week Caribbean cruise including all drinks for £1,300 pp, absolute bargain! Marella Cruises offer similar trips.
Caribbean Island Stay
As there are so many to choose from, let’s focus on Antigua, which is one of our favourites. It is two destinations in one: 365 beaches, one for every day of the year! It is also home to ‘English Harbour’, a product of the island’s colonial past. Here you will find the famous ‘Nelson’s Dockyard’, the only surviving Georgian naval dockyard in the world; a must-see! As you would expect, there is plenty of accommodation to choose from, but a last minute 3* hotel all-inclusive will start at around £2,000 for 14 nights. 14 nights in a Junior Suite all-inclusive at Curtain Bluff 5* resort, will set you back £8,600 pp at the beginning of December with Kuoni.
Our experience of travelling around the Caribbean on a cruise ship has shown us a different side to the luxurious one. Although many of these islands have paradise written all over them, when standing on a deserted beach dipping your toes in lukewarm waters, there can be abject poverty on many of them. One poignant memory is of driving down a carriageway on Jamaica having arrived in the port of Kingston and noticing a ‘slum’ falling down the hill to our right and the Ritz hotel standing to our left. If you decide to book a stay on an island, just be aware of your destination choice and be sure it is right for you.
Wherever your next trip takes you, remember to book your airport parking as early as possible to get the best price. Why not book a stay in an airport hotel with parking the night before you fly and avoid a rush to the airport. And for the cherry on the cake, book an airport lounge before you fly and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the airport terminal. Enjoy your trip!