The Caribbean Islands are by far one of the most popular tourist regions in the world. A large number of travelers, many of whom are from snow-covered countries, use these tropical destinations to escape for a brief period and enjoy the sunny, hot weather and seemingly unending supply of rum-based drinks.
One of the easiest and best ways to enjoy a great variety of island cultures is to hop on a cruise ship and sail to a handful of different oases. The vessels of today are less like the ocean-liners we knew from the past and more like vast floating resorts.
Cruises vary in cost, depending on the company and destination, and research is the key to finding very affordable voyages, either with travel agents or on the Internet. The one we chose after our online search was Costa Cruises (www.costacruise.com).
When cruising, be sure to fly into the ship’s port city the day before it leaves. This will avoid any issues that may cause one to miss the departure, such as a delayed flight. Many people who’ve been on this type of getaway before know: the ship waits for no one.
The night before our ship set sail to the Caribbean, we stayed in the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, located on the 17th Causeway (www.fortlauderdalemarinahotel.com). This modern, beautiful hotel is right across the street from Port Everglades where our ship was docked and has a fantastic view of the harbor.
The next day we boarded the incredibly designed Costa Atlantica. This vessel is nine years-old and decorated with authentic Carerra marble, Murano glass and mosaic tiles-- adding to the strong European ambience of the Italian born ship. It also boasts its very own Caffe Florian, the historical coffee bar found in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square. The ship’s announcements, including translations in English, Italian, German, Spanish, and French, appropriately informed its passengers who originated from Europe, Asia, North America, and various Caribbean islands.
This cruise was a great balance of economical value and travel comfort, as we managed to not break the bank and still have an excellent time both on and off the ship. Cruisers should note that, there are many available activities while at sea. While activities such as bingo or gambling in the casino have a cost, there are plenty of free activities such as cooking classes, a basketball court, swimming pools, guided star-gazing, game show competitions and regular food tastings. Not to mention the ship’s outside decks that are all dripping with Caribbean sunlight to get as much Vitamin D as one will ever need.