When you are considering a cruise in the Caribbean, the most beautiful and interesting half of it is probably the Eastern Caribbean. Cruise holidays with Cunard take you on typically seven day itineraries that leave from Southeastern Florida ports like Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. For you who long for more time ashore to shop, sight see, or sunbathe, the Eastern Caribbean destination is a very good choice. The islands here prove to be smaller and closer together, making for more time in ports of call. While there are a variety of possible stops along the way, the two most common and popular stops are St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten/St. Martin.
The U.S. Virgin Islands are undoubtedly the most popular stop for American cruisers because they can feel the exotic nature of a tropical Caribbean island with distinctive culture at the same time as they remain safely within the United States. There is far more than this to recommend St. Thomas as a port of call though. Eastern Caribbean cruises stop here most often because this is the shopping capital of the Caribbean. Besides the fact that it offers world class beaches, beautiful flowers, and a turquoise Caribbean Sea, it also boasts fascinating history and architecture. It is no accident that a greater number of cruise ships call in at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas’ capital, than at any other West Indies port. Between the gorgeous beaches and incredible chances for shopping, it really is a no contest match up.
St. Thomas also offers several attractions. Charlotte Amalie is a three hundred year old Danish built city that can be conveniently explored on your feet. Every significant attraction and all of the major shopping destinations are found after a short walk. The warehouses that once stored trading, sugar, and pirate wealth now host shopping outlets and treasures of a different nature. The island also offers Coral World. This marine complex provides you with an observatory under the sea to let you view amazing sea life without having to get wet. Found next to Coki Beach, Coral World gives you the time to see their displays and get in a romp along the sand or sea as well.
St. Maarten/St. Martin is actually two distinctive destinations in one small island. The Dutch and French have shared rule of the island peacefully for over three hundred years now. On the Dutch side at capital Phillipsburg, you will find the major cruise ship port and most of the Caribbean outlet shops. These are mostly laid out along Front Street, while you can find the aptly named Back Street a block inland. Brightly painted houses are a standout landmark of this charming Caribbean town.
The French side of the island is called St. Martin, and its capital is the lovely French Riviera like village of Marigot. Marigot is considerably smaller than Phillipsburg, but not less charming or appealing. It boasts French restaurants, cafes, and Parisian shops that are sure to delight you at every turn.
Sometimes you will find attractive values on European luxury items in the French boutiques here too. In the mornings, Marigot puts on a lively market that is full of street vendors offering a wide variety of locally made goods. Besides shopping and sight seeing, the island boasts many white sand beaches. Among these are Mullet Bay on the Dutch side, and Oyster Pond Beach, Dawn Beach, and Baie Longue on the French side.