Beaches. Mountains. Rainforests. Volcanoes. Springs. When it comes to natural beauties, St Lucia’s in a league of its own. This trip takes you on a tour of some of the island’s best bits and, because they can all be seen from the sea, you’ll get to enjoy them from the comfort of a catamaran. Setting off from Castries, you’ll glide along the island’s west coast, passing mangrove-lined beaches and lush forests. And then it’s time for the star of the show. As you enter Soufriere bay, the twin mountains of Petit and Gros Piton will rise out of the sea before you. Topping over 2,000 feet each, their summits have only been tackled by the most daring of climbers. We’ll circle the bay for some great photo opportunities, before heading to one of the scenic bays along the coast. We’ll make a quick stop, and you’ll be served snacks, drinks and get the chance to dive into the Caribbean Sea for a quick swim. Last up is Marigot, the most famous cove on the island. This was a favourite battleground of the English and French back in the 18th century and, more recently, was the setting of Dr Doolittle.
This short tour packs a lot in, so it’s a good way of ticking off St Lucia’s top attractions. It begins with a scenic drive up the Morne Fortune hillside. Translated as ‘hill of good luck’, it was a key battleground during colonial times. You’ll look out over thick, green vegetation as you get higher and higher, making your first stop at the colonial-style St Mark’s House high in the hills. From here, you’ll be treated to a panoramic view of Castries’ harbour and the Caribbean Sea. Next on the agenda is St Lucia’s one-and-only rum distillery. Here, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how the spirit is made, before enjoying a tasting session. Sip premium, spicy and crème liquor varieties, then head to the gift shop to pick up a bottle of your favourite. Your next stop is a viewpoint at the picturesque Marigot Bay, with its turquoise waters and velvety green hills. Last but not least, there’ll be time for a bit of retail therapy, as you call in at Caribelle Batik. This place is famous throughout the Caribbean for its batik prints, and you can see the artisans at work on the clothes and wall hangings.
Think Caribbean, think soft sands and turquoise seas. Throw in a palm tree or two and you could be in paradise. It’s true - beach-wise, you just don’t get better than this. That’s why you’ll probably want to make the most of the shoreline while you’re here. And our trip to Reduit Beach, in Rodney Bay, is a great chance to do just that. The choice of restaurants, shops and bars on offer has cemented Rodney Bay’s reputation as a top tourist spot, but Reduit Beach itself has remained pretty unspoilt. Cue clean waters, soft sands and plenty of space to pull up a sunlounger and relax, Caribbean-style. Of course, if you don’t fancy staying horizontal the whole time, there’s a good selection of watersports on offer. Or there’s a scattering of beach bars where you can chill out if that sounds just a little too much like hard work.
All cinnamon, cloves and allspice, it’s little wonder Grenada’s known as the Caribbean’s Spice Island. But they’re not the only treats that grow here. There’s plenty of citrus, bananas and cocoa beans, too. In fact, the menu of plants that call this place home reads like the ingredients for a Nigella recipe, so it’s easy to see how this place came to be one of the world’s leading spice suppliers. You’ll wind through the rainforest to the Grand Etang Lake viewing point. A giant volcano crater filled to the brim with cobalt water, it’s certainly easy on the eye. And its volcano-top location makes it all the more breathtaking. From here, you’ll travel to Annandale Falls, a fairytale paradise of cascading water, hanging ferns and dainty orchids that’s like a secret Caribbean garden.
On the Rhum Runner, life is one big Caribbean party. It’s a catamaran-style cruise where steel drums and rum punch are the order of the day. First things first, you’ll set sail along the Spice Island’s gorgeous coastline with a guide giving you snippets of Grenada’s history as you go. You’ll enjoy free-flowing rum punch as you gently bob across the waves to Morne Rouge Beach, where you’ll have some free time to sunbathe. On the return trip, meanwhile, the fun really begins. They crank up the music for the Rhum Runner Limbo Competition, and serve a light snack of fruit, cheese and crackers along with more rum punch and soft drinks. This is most definitely the life.
Do you want to see all the main highlights this island has to offer? After enjoying a picturesque panoramic drive along the west coast of the island, we’ll head to Dougaldston Estate where the fun begins with an introduction to the famous spices that make this island one of the top spice suppliers in the world. The tour then continues to the breathtaking views over Grenada’s Grenadine islands, once home to the Carib Indians on the island. Then we’ll continue to the River Antoine Rum Distillery for some sampling before a delicious Creole lunch is served at the plantation restaurant. Then, time to sit back and relax as we take a gentle drive through rainforests and over mountains, with a stop at Etang Lake and the famous Annandale falls along with a little free time at the stunning gardens.
ARRIVE IN PORT: 14:00 (DAY 4)
DEPART FROM PORT: 20:00 (DAY 5)
You’ll board a brightly-coloured trolley train for this tour, which ticks off a long list of historical sights as you pass them by. For starters, there’s Pietermaai Cathedral – the biggest and most impressive on the island. From a distance you’ll see the Mikve Israel Emmanuel Synagogue, too. It’s the oldest in continuous use in the whole of the western hemisphere. Then there’s Queen Wilhelmina Park, dedicated to the Queen who ruled the Netherlands for half a century, and Waterfort Arches – the site of the Willhem III Barracks. You’ll also stop off at Bolo di Bruit in Scharloo. It's known as the ‘wedding cake house’ because of its decoration. Lastly, there’s Fort Amsterdam, which was built in 1635 to guard the harbour. Today, it’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When you’ve finished the tour you can either head back to the ship or stay in town and make your own way back later – it’s only a short walk.
You’ll get to see three of the island’s biggest attractions on this tour, starting with the Curacao Museum in Otrabanda. The upper floor of this place is kitted out like a 19th-century Curacao mansion, and it gives a really good impression of what life was like back then. The basement exhibition is all about the island’s geological history, and there’s another space dedicated to contemporary art. Afterwards, you’ll drive past the island’s salt flats and on to the Hato Caves. They were formed below sea-level millions of years ago, and today they’re full of stalagmites and stalactites. Next up, we’ll head over to the Chobolo Liqueur Factory, passing the Queen Juliana Bridge on the way. At the factory, you’ll get to see how the island’s famous Blue Curacao Liqueur is made. The drink is distilled from the dried peel of bitter oranges, and you’ll get to taste it for yourself. Lastly, you’ll head back to the ship via downtown Willemstad – you can get dropped off if you’d rather stay and have a look around.
This tour starts with a 30-minute boat ride, so you’ll get fantastic views of the harbour and the coast. Then you’ll arrive at the Wet & Wild Beach at the Sea Aquarium – one of the island’s most popular stretches – and the rest is up to you. Head to the shops, take a dip in the sea or just laze on the sand. There’s plenty in the way of watersports, too, if you fancy something a bit more active. Later on, we’ll head back to the ship by boat. Or, you can stick around and make your own way back later.
When it comes to snorkelling, De Palm Island has got it all. Set adrift off the Aruban coastline, this private reef offers up pristine waters and a huge variety of exotic marine life, it’s a first-class spot for an underwater exploration. Your day will start off with a short boat trip over to the island, where the friendly staff will be waiting to meet you. After a short safety briefing, you’re ready to slip on your mask and wade into the warm, clear waters. Expect to meet friendly blue parrotfish and angelfish. Back on dry land, there’ll be time to sprawl out on the sand, take your seat for a banana boat ride or visit the island’s small waterpark before heading back to the ship. Don't forget that a full buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day will be included.
This panoramic coach tour does exactly what it says on the tin, ticking off all the highlights of Aruba in one easy go. Your day starts with a drive to the lively Schooner Harbour. Look out for the marble statue of Queen Wilhelmina, the historical battlefield of Frenchman’s Pass and the 19th-century Gold Mill Ruins. Turning inland, you’ll head to Casibari Rock – a spectacular natural rock formation that’s a result of strong trade winds – before travelling along the rugged windward side of the island to the Natural Bridge Ruins. Formed by years of pounding surf, this coral limestone bridge counts as the number one must-see in Aruba. We'll then take you to the island's famous California Lighthouse and the small Alto Vista Chapel. Before stopping at the port, if you fancy a spot of shopping, you can choose to get off the bus in Oranjestad, rather than heading back. And if you’re treating yourself, try the Renaissance Mall – it’s crammed with designer stores like Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren.
This full-circle tour lets you get to know Aruba from both dry land and under the sea. The day starts with a scenic boat ride to the Seaworld Explorer – a state-of-the-art semi-submarine that used to glide through the waters surrounding Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The vessel doesn’t completely submerge, but its glass-fronted hull stretches five feet below the surface of the water, offering up great views of the area’s marine life. But the piece de resistance of the trip is manoeuvring over the wreck of Antilla, a 440-foot German freighter that was destroyed in the Second World War. Listen in as your guide gives you the lowdown on its violent past. After returning to shore, you’ll take a coach trip to the iconic California Lighthouse and the breathtaking Casibari Rock Formations for a photo stop. Next on the agenda is the ocean-carved Natural Bridge, Aruba’s top must-see. Lastly, you’ll drive past the Gold Mill Ruins before returning to Oranjestad.
As its name suggests, this speciality restaurant majors in the likes of marbled steaks and meaty lobster tails. You’ve also got other meat and fish options, as well as plenty to satisfy a vegetarian palate. This is one of the ship's speciality restaurants, so there's a charge to dine here – plus, we recommend you make a reservation in advance.
Marella Discovery’s main eatery is a big, stylish venue, finished in the colours of the sand and the sea. Daytime meals here come with a side-order of sea views, thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows, and a grand double staircase leads up to a separate eatery. It also hosts The Great Musical Afternoon Tea. This weekly event brings the West End to Marella Cruises, with dishes inspired by famous musicals – like the ‘Vietnamese Melody’ beef tenderloin yakitori and the ‘On My Own’ petit choux. There are six teas to choose from, as well as a cocktail of your choice. Plus, the whole place is decorated with show posters and memorabilia.
You’ll find this trendy Italian restaurant on the second floor of the ship’s main dining room, 47°. It’s a laid-back place, where bookings aren’t necessary, and its designer look features a colour scheme inspired by the sunset.