Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Insights Caribbean Cruising Guide

With the Caribbean Islands ranking as the most popular cruise destination – making up over a third of all cruise itineraries* - the demand for reliable information on the myriad of routes, sites, destinations and related activities has never been greater. Fortunately, the new, fully revised edition of the Insight Guide Caribbean Cruises is available from 4 January 2012 (priced £17.99 www.insightguides.com ) just in time for the peak Caribbean cruising season, and is introduced by Douglas Ward, the world’s leading authority on cruise ships.
Caribbean Cruises begins with a snapshot of top attractions that will inspire even the most diehard landlubber – from the engineering genius that is the Panama Canal, to Trinidad’s flamboyant carnival and Humpback whale watching in the Dominican Republic. While a ‘best for…..’ section pinpoints features such as the top beaches (Barbuda’s 27km stretch of pink sand), adventures (the National Trail in Dominica), markets (central market in Castries, St Lucia), handicrafts (batik on St Kitts), on board highlights (watching dolphins race the ship at sunrise), architecture, views, and gardens.
Exploring every angle of the cruising experience, the Guide contains a wealth of know-how useful for seasoned cruise goers, as well as for the cruising novice. There are lively features with inspiration and information on planning a trip, cultural advice to enrich each destination, as well as an overview on the history of piracy, cruising with children and cruise cuisine. Plus don’t miss the tips on finding a bargain (booking late is discouraged, but may well result in a good deal), choosing a vessel (floating resort or private yacht), what to expect onboard (however charming the ship’s doctor may be, there are hefty charges involved in any consultation), the growing popularity of themed trips (go on a cruise to give up smoking), and spas at sea (return fitter rather than fatter).
From Florida, Mexico and Central America to the many islands of the Caribbean, all the destinations on the major Caribbean cruise routes are covered – including the private islands owned by the cruise lines – and cross-referenced on a detailed map with individual sections outlining the culture, history, topography, languages and attractions, and who they are suited to. They include:
  • Western Shores – perfect for first time cruisers and those who don’t have much time, these routes stay close to the US coast. Among the destinations are Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Grand Cayman, Florida’s ports of call, and the Caribbean Arc featuring the Cayman Islands and Jamaica.
Sailing the East – taking in a culturally diverse range of islands complete with their patois, cuisine, wildlife, climate and culture, islands covered include the Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten.

  • Southern Sailing – encompassing the contrasting large resort islands with the lesser-developed French and Dutch islands, the southern islands include the British Virgin Islands, St-Barths, Saba, Montserrat, Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Carriacou, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba and Curaçao.  
What’s more, Caribbean Cruises offers recommendations on how to find the best itinerary for all interests, from beaches to gardens, scuba and snorkelling to history. A Travel Tips section includes essentials such as health, climate, what to wear, and how to get there. Life on board is explained in detail, with information on tipping and etiquette, time zones and languages. Plus the directory covers an A-Z of practical information from arriving by sea to tourist offices and telecommunications, while there are accommodation and restaurant listings for all destinations.
In the words of Douglas Ward: “There is no better way to experience the Caribbean, certainly for first-time visitors, than on a cruise…..much of this huge area is accessible on relatively short trips by sea, and the value for money is unbeatable.”
Insight Guide Caribbean Cruises is available from www.insightguides.com and all good book shops priced £17.99.

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