St. Maarten & Surrounding Islands (captains choice)
The smallest island in the world shared by two countries. St. Martin/St. Maarten is big on shopping. You can also try your luck in one of St. Maarten's many casinos. Whether you go Dutch in Philipsburg or prefer Marigot's French touch, you're always welcome.
Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Just beyond a colorful barrier reef, lapped by gentle blue waters on a softly curving crescent beach, lies Little Dix Bay - a truly authentic destination, tamed for sophisticated tastes. The timeless boutique resort on the island of Virgin Gorda offers tranquility found nowhere else in the Caribbean. Little Dix rewards its discerning guests with an instantaneous retreat from their fast-paced lives. In the absence of the commercialism, Little Dix connects one to the surroundings.
Dominica is an island republic in the West Indies, specifically in the Windward Islands. The island has 148 miles of coastline, and covers 751 square miles of land area. The population of Dominica is under 75,000. Roseau is the island's capital. Dominica is lush and beautiful, and is home to some of the friendliest people in the West Indies. The island is known as the spot for ecotourists, with many parks and places to mountain climb, nature walk or explore. The diving is great here, too, but the beaches are less attractive than on other islands.
Castries, St. Lucia
Castries is the the main city and capitol of St. Lucia. It's waterfront is full of yachts, ferries and the occasional cruise ship. It has duty-free shopping, and the Castries Open Air Market, where vendors sell homegrown tropical fruits, vegetables and spices. There are several lovely beaches nearby.
Mayreau, Grenadine Islands
The island of Mayreau is a true break from reality, with only one road, virtually no development, and farm animals outnumbering the inhabitants. One of the Grenadines, in the larger chain of Windward Islands, it has beautiful beaches, and plenty of solitude. View it as your own private island.
St. George's, Grenada
An attractive colonial-era town spilling down a hillside above the Carenage, with its horseshoe-shaped harbor, Grenada's capital of ST GEORGE'S received the full brunt of Hurricane Ivan's high winds, and the bevy of new terracotta-coloured roofs stand in testament to the power of the wind.
St George's won't take more than a day to explore, and it's worth taking time away from the beach to do so. Though the market is at its liveliest on Saturday morning, most shops close on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and public holidays, making the town a quiet place during those times – except when a cruise ship moors at the spanking new docks, in which case the town explodes into a frenzy of activity, market stalls spring up on shore, restaurants and bars fill up, street vendors and local guides come out in force.
Pretty as a picture describes our beloved Bequia. You’ll be captivated by the island’s charm while strolling along the lovely harbor with its shops, restaurants, and pastel-painted gingerbread homes. There’s a long tradition of boat building and you’ll find a slew of handcrafted model ships, old nautical charts, and rare sailing books to bring back home.
Anse Mitan, Martinique
Yachts moor offshore in the calm waters of Anse Mitan, a cove with a lovely, long stretch of golden beach. Just footsteps from the lapping waves are small seaside restaurants, hidden among palm trees; many offer grilled lobster and music on weekends. There is excellent snorkeling just offshore.
Martinique offers a delightful and distinctive blend of French and Caribbean influences, with a bounty of historical sites, museums and a wide array of excellent shopping. Be sure to take a tour of the beautiful Jardin de Balata Botanical Gardens with exotic plants from around the world and a treetop walkway affording mountain views.
Les Saintes, French West Indies
Just south of Guadeloupe, these idyllic tropical islands float like jewels in the Caribbean sea. Les Saintes are perfect for the kind of sailor who relishes unspoiled tropical beauty and the serenity that comes from doing next to nothing on a vacation. Only two of the eight little islands are inhabited, and Terre-de-Haut is the one travelers visit first. With superb beaches, lovely bays, great snorkeling and fascinating historical sites, this small island has a charming village with excellent restaurants, interesting shops and unique art galleries. The other populated island, peaceful Terre-de-Bas, is only a few minutes by boat from Terre-de-Haut. There are only 3,000 inhabitants in the islands. About half of them live on Terre-de-Haut with just a few dozen four-wheel drive vehicles on its roads.
Gustavia, St. Barthelemy (France)
Discovered by Columbus in 1493, and named for his brother Bartolomeo, St. Barths was first settled in 1648 by French colonists from the nearby island of St. Kitts.
This original settlement was not a successful. In 1651 the island was sold to the Knights of Malta.
France repurchased the island in 1878. The free port status remained, and does to this day, along with such Swedish mementos as bits of architecture, a cemetery, a few street signs and, of course, the name of the harbor and capital, Gustavia.
In 1957, American millionaire David Rockefeller bought a property: the notoriety of the island quickly grew and its transformation as an upscale tourist destination was underway.
In 1967, Britain cut loose most of their Caribbean dependencies because they had become a losing proposition.
During the last twenty years the resident population of St. Barths has more than doubled. Fewer natives are leaving, and growing number of outsiders are arriving to make an island home for themselves, especially from Metropolitan France.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, and soon became a bustling center of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St. Martin's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.
The main shopping district, Front Street, is in the heart of the city. Philipsburg has a port that is home to many cruise liners and tall ships.
12 Days at Sea
Lisbon, the dazzling city that stretches along the banks of the Tagus, is an enchanting capital. There is the fortress around which the city originally sprang up, and which is now circled by neighborhoods drenched with medieval charm. Everywhere are fine monuments that bring to mind the great Age of Discoveries, and picturesque houses whose facades are decked with ornate ceramic tiles. As the dusk turns to night, the yellow electric tramcars continue to wind their way up and down the hills of the old capital, while the sound of traditional Fado folk songs enlivens many a candle-lit dinner table in restaurant or home. But the capital also provides ample opportunity for seeing popular celebrations, for shopping, and for enjoying the nightlife along the riverbanks. With the port and marinas situated nearby, water sports are a natural attraction too.
One of Europe’s smallest capital cities, Lisbon is for many, one of it most beguiling – an easily accessible mix of new and old worlds. Elegant outdoor cafés line Lisbon’s mosaic cobblestone sidewalks along grand 18th-century boulevards. Turn-of-the-century funiculars dot its steep hills. Two-thirds of the city was leveled in a 1755 earthquake, but in its churches, peeling buildings, tiny alleyways, hidden squares, you can still feel the glorious past.