Braemar, Festive Island Hopping in the Caribbean ex Bridgetown to Santo Domingo

Caribbean

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14 Night Cruise sailing from Bridgetown to Santo Domingo aboard Braemar.

14 Night Cruise sailing from Bridgetown to Santo Domingo aboard Braemar.

Experience a magical festive season, with an incredible opportunity to revel in all things classic Caribbean. The delights of a string of paradise islands await, with the comforts of smaller-sized Braemar to return to along the way, while there are simply unforgettable Christmas and New Year’s celebrations too.

Your ship awaits you in Bridgetown, where you’ve time to sample Barbadian life before setting sail for a wonderful Christmas at sea, a day of traditional food, fun and festivity enjoyed in the company of friends, loved ones and fellow guests on board. The Caribbean discovery then kicks into high gear as 2021 draws to a close. Uncover the delights of two of the beautiful ‘ABC’ islands; on Curacao, UNESCO-listed Willemstad – with its colonial architecture and pastel houses – is a living museum of the Caribbean’s European heritage, while Bonaire’s unspoilt landscapes beg for exploration. Antigua and its 365 beaches will provide the perfect excuse to indulge in some sunshine, and the infamous sugar cane fields and incredible vistas of St Kitts can be seen aboard the island’s scenic railway.

To ensure a very special start to 2022, Braemar arrives at St Maarten on New Year’s Eve; docking in Philipsburg is perfect for watching the island’s rousing fireworks display illuminate the midnight sky to signal the arrival of the New Year. Before all the festive excitement, there’s time to take in golden beaches, historic landmarks such as Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem, and spectacular scenery too. The volcanic wonders of St Vincent, famed for its unique black sand shores; St Lucia, home of the soaring Twin Pitons, bubbling hot springs of the Soufrière Volcano, and the Diamond Botanical Gardens and Falls; and Dominica’s exotic jungle interiors are sure to provide an awe-inspiring end to your voyage. Each island offers a taste of quintessential Caribbean life too, from traditional local markets to authentic Caribbean rum.

Highlights of this cruise:

Bridgetown, Barbados
With its balmy climate, buzzing atmosphere, glorious azure waters and incredible beaches, Bridgetown is a tropical city that epitomises paradise. There is rarely a dull day in the capital and largest city of Barbados.

This very British Caribbean island is a favourite with tourists; the city’s streets are lined with shops, boutiques, street vendors, bars and places to eat – there is always something to do. Broad Street, the main street of Bridgetown is often packed with welcoming locals. It's easy to see why Barbados is known as Little England given Bridgetown’s Georgian houses, the horse-racing track, Parliament Square, and a statue of Nelson.

The entire downtown area of Bridgetown and the 17th century Garrison were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 in recognition of their historical significance. Near the central National Heroes Square, which fringes Constitution River, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and museum explore Barbados' Jewish history.

For a change of pace, the shore and the glorious sands offer a haven from the bustling centre. Carlisle Bay is home to six shipwreck dive sites, while a catamaran ride on the Caribbean Sea may offer the chance to swim with the once endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles. The wonder of the impressive stalactites and stalagmites in Harrison’s Cave is another experience that will linger in the memory.

St John's, Antigua and Barbuda
A sunbather’s haven, St John’s is the capital city of Antigua and Barbuda, an island often referred to as the crown jewels of the Caribbean. With its large selection of beaches, typically hot climate and an array of cool seaside bars, the city of St John’s is a sun worshipper’s paradise.

In the city itself, the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda has exhibits on island history and St. John’s Cathedral, a 19th-century Anglican Church, sits sweetly on a hill near the 17th century Government House. The city’s vibrant red and yellow colonial buildings reflect the personality and warm welcome from locals, while a monument to the nation’s founder, V.C. Bird, is next to the colourful street market which sells flowers, fruit and handicrafts.

St. George’s fascinating history is brought to life on the stunning English Harbour and celebrated Nelson's Dockyard. Also known as Britain's West Indies naval base, it has now been restored to its 18th century glory.

There is shopping and speciality restaurants to be found in Heritage Quay and, of course, no visit would be complete without a spell on one of the island’s 365 stunning beaches – one for each day of the year say the Antiguans.

Castries, St. Lucia
Castries, the capital of the island nation of St. Lucia, is known for its palm-lined, soft, white Vigie Beach. Like St. Lucia itself, the city combines heritage and culture with peace, relaxation and tranquillity, and Castries is a gateway to St. Lucia’s wealth of national parks with vast forests, native plants and wildlife.

The city’s streets are easy to navigate. Leafy Derek Walcott Square – named after a native noble laureate – is home to a 400-year-old Samaan tree and the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception built in 1897. The nearby market in Jeremie Street, sells a wide range of items including fresh local fruit.

Overlooking the town is Morne Fortune, which provides some splendid views alongside Royal Navy history. Here the original French colonists built La Toc Battery, but was taken by the British in 1796, replacing it with a new fort built in 1888 to protect the harbour.

Roseau, Dominica
Roseau, Dominica’s capital, is a compact, vibrant and charmingly chaotic city. The narrow streets, lined with 18th century Creole architecture, lead to beautiful gardens and a smart waterfront that looks out over the Caribbean Sea.

Roseau’s cobblestone Old Market, formerly a slave auction site, sells local crafts and fresh fruit, while the Dominica Museum has exhibits on natural and cultural history. The Dominica Botanic Gardens is a great destination to view tropical flora and the native Sisserou parrots.

Roseau is a gateway to Dominica’s exotic interior, which soars to a dizzying 4,700 feet. Visitors can uncover dense rainforest, deep lakes, breath-taking waterfalls and fast flowing rivers that make the island truly unique. The nearby Morne Trois Pitons National Park is one of Dominica’s most impressive natural wonders; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to volcanic mountain ranges, mud ponds and ‘The Boiling Lake’.

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