14-Day Holiday Caribbean
Sail round-trip from Barbados to the best of Seabourn’s Uncommon Caribbean for an unforgettable Holiday voyage, with selected overnights and extended evening stays to add romance to the adventure.
Prices starting from $6509 CAD per person Ocean view stateroom
Prices starting from $7881 CAD per person Verandah stateroom
With white-sand beaches, natural caverns and floral forests, Barbados draws visitors to its slice of the eastern Caribbean. City tours of bustling capital Bridgetown are popular, as are island tours that show off the estates and plantation homes of the countryside. Foodies can feast on Bajan favorites or take a cooking class to recreate the cuisine at home. During a beach day, visitors lounge with rum-based drinks to the tune of calypso or head to the water to swim with turtles or snorkel above a shipwreck. Other excursion options include a rum party cruise, horseback rides on the beach or a fishing excursion for blue marlin, barracuda and more.
Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an elegant capital city proudly displaying its 400 years of British heritage. Although, originally settled by Amerindian peoples 1,500 years ago, in the 17th century Barbados became one of the largest and most successful sugarcane producing areas in the world. At one point in time the income from sugar outweighed that of all the other British colonies combined. A stroll through town will guide you through Bridgetown’s history, to the statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson, past the Parliament Buildings, St Michaels Cathedral, St Mary’s church, Jubilee Gardens and eventually over Chamberlain Bridge. A picturesque seaside boardwalk will lead you to one of the many exceptional shoreline cafes and restaurants. One thousand year old Baobab trees in Queen’s Park, the largest in the Caribbean, stand as silent witnesses to past life here. Lounge on a serene beach, explore a plantation, discover sea turtles and even sample one of the islands renowned rhum distilleries.
Bequia’s Admiralty Bay is a favorite yachtsman’s anchorage. They ferry ashore to join the friendly, low-key locals “under the almond tree,” the chosen meeting place. Stroll along the Belmont Walkway to the Gingerbread for homemade nutmeg ice cream, or Frangipani, run by the daughter of a former prime minister. Continue to lovely, golden Princess Margaret Beach, or round the bend to Lower Bay. Don’t miss the excellent craftsmanship at the Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop, it’s a Bequia specialty.
Martinique is one of the most colorful and interesting islands in the Caribbean. Trois Ilets lies just across the Bay of Fort-de-France from the capital, on the peninsular arrondissement of Le Marin. Perhaps the most famous attraction in this area is the colonial plantation called La Pagerie, the birthplace and childhood home of Josephine Beauharnais, the Martinique-born woman who became the second wife and Empress to Napoleon Bonaparte. The stately plantation house and its manicured grounds are now a museum, furnished with period pieces and illustrating the privileged lifestyle of the master class during the French colonial slave period. Nearby, a gentleman named Gilbert La Rose has painstakingly recreated the complementary lifestyle of the slaves who supported this luxury, with a garden and museum called La Savane des Esclaves that includes thatched dwellings, artifacts and plantings of the era. Taken together, they serve to educate visitors about the early days of the island’s European occupation. Fort-de-France is a bustling seaport and market town, with handsome reminders of its colonial past including the ornate Schoelcher Library imported stone-by-stone from France. Further afield, the previous capital of St. Pierre was unexpectedly inundated with lava and ash from a disastrous eruption of looming Mt. Pelée in 1902, leaving a sort of latter-day Pompeii for visitors to see. The graceful cathedral and lush botanical gardens of Balata provide some relief, in the form of luxuriant tropical flowers, butterflies and hummingbirds.
The Dominican Republic’s capital is the largest city by population in the Caribbean region. It is also the oldest continuously occupied European city in the Americas. It was founded in 1496 by Bartolomeo Columbus, and named La Nueva Isabel after his royal Spanish patron. The settlement became the gateway to the Americas for the Spanish conquest, and most of the expeditions that delineated the rest of the New World originated there, taking advantage of the deepwater delta of the Ozama River. Today the city’s Colonial Zone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and contains a remarkable legacy of 16th Century buildings, including the first cathedral in America, Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor; the first monastery, Monasterio de San Francisco, the first castle, Alacazar Colón and the first fortress: Fortaleza Ozama. The Museo de Casas Reales is another treasury of significant buildings. The Dominican dictator Trujillo renamed the city after himself between 1936 and 1961, but it regained its previous name following his assassination. The city is a fascinating and colorful place, revealing a vibrant hybrid culture with recognizable influences from native Taino, African and European ancestry. Many visitors purchase souvenir jewelry created out of the fossil amber mined on the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with the nation of Haiti.
The Spanish founded Cartagena, officially known as Cartagena de Indias, in 1533. The city rapidly became a thriving commercial port, where precious stones and minerals from the New World awaited shipment back to Spain. Situated in a bay on the Caribbean Sea, Cartagena had the most extensive fortifications in South America, once guarded by 29 stone forts and a high wall of coral-stone measuring 16-miles long, 40-feet high and 50-feet wide. Completed in 1657, the Castle of San Felipe de Barajas is said to be the most grandiose work of military architecture erected by Spain in the Americas. Today, Cartagena’s riches are found in the Boca Grande, an area of the city with beautiful waterfront hotels, trendy restaurants, casinos and boutiques.
Santa Marta curves around a beautiful bay on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The snow-capped peaks of the Sierra Madre de Santa Marta range can be glimpsed from the beach on clear days. Founded by Rodrigo Bastidas in 1595, it is the oldest city in Colombia and second oldest in South America. The Spanish explorer found a large and thriving culture of indigenous Tayrona communities here, with an extensive regional trade in salt manufactured from the sea. The ensuing centuries have erased most traces of them, abetted by the tropical weather and the systematic destruction of the invaders. However some features are recalled in the Tayrona National Park, which also preserves natural elements such as golden beaches interspersed with huge volcanic boulders, lush jungle vegetation and plentiful wildlife. The Santa Marta Gold Museum displays the sort of artfully crafted works in precious metal that inflamed the greed of the conquistadors. Of more recent vintage is the elegant white Villa San Pedro de Alejandrino, donated by its wealthy owner in 1830 as a final home for the great liberator Simon Bolivar and now a time capsule of the era, calling to mind the fictional reminiscences of Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who was born nearby. The glittering towers and bustling streets of the Rodadero hug shoreline of the blue bay, attracting tourists from around South America and the world to Colombia’s colorful Caribbean playground.
Although no written record of the island’s discovery by Europeans exists, it was in 1499 that Alonso de Ojeda landed in Aruba and claimed the island for Spain. Over the years, possession changed from the Spanish to the Dutch to the British and back to the Dutch, with independence promised by 1996. Aruba is one of only a few Caribbean islands where the indigenous Indian population was not decimated by invading Europeans. The native Aruban today is a mixture of Arawak Indian, and Spanish and Dutch colonizers. The official language is Dutch, with both English and Spanish widely spoken. The local population’s everyday tongue is Papiamento, a mixture of all of the above plus a few words left over from the days of the Arawak. The countryside is dotted with cottages surrounded by cactus fences and bright splashes of bougainvillea, oleander and hibiscus. During our call, enjoy a stroll through the capital, Oranjestad. Colorful Wilhelminastraat is lined with typical Aruban buildings of the Dutch Colonial style, and plenty of shops offering duty-free goods.
Discovered in 1499 by an expedition led by Amerigo Vespucci, Bonaire has quite a varied history. Indian drawings, which can be seen today in several places, depict life and events which took place centuries before the island’s discovery by Europeans. The Spanish colonization lasted for little more than a century, ending in 1634, when the Dutch from Curaccao arrived to occupy Bonaire during their war against Spain. In 1636, Bonaire became a Dutch colony. Salt production, corn and stock breeding were developed as major economic elements. Today, the island’s economy depends largely on tourism. A friendly ‘bon bini’ from the locals greets you during your visit ashore. Enjoy a stroll through Kralendijk, past the fish market, duty-free shops of Breedestraat, the waterfront promenade and the quaint toy-like houses exemplifying the Dutch colonial architecture.
Disembark your ship this morning