Friday, 14 February 2014

Saga's Treasures Of The Caribbean

We're on to Day 4 of our wonderful Saga Week with Saga Cruises, and today's story takes a rather different form, with a fun look at a typical Caribbean cruise...

Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times, Boogie - the Pirates of the Caribbean party was rocking to The Jacksons’ dance track as Saga Sapphire sailed out of St Lucia.

If ever there was an anthem for our cruise, this was it. With the rum punch flowing, passengers spilled from the deck to the balconies, synchronising dance moves, singing to the music and shimmying under the stars.

We had started the day by gliding through the rainforest canopy on an aerial tram and, as temperatures reached 28C, we cooled off with a swim in Marigot Bay, a picture-postcard cove where filming of the Dr Doolittle movie took place.

Still buzzing from the party, we docked in St Vincent and arranged a trip to the tiny island of Bequia (above). A glistening guard of flying fish raced our speedboat across the 6,000ft-deep rolling sea, only dropping back when we entered Admiralty Bay.

On the waterfront we chose Mac’s cafe for lobster pizza and the pre-requisite rum punch al fresco while midnight-blue hummingbirds hovered within arm’s reach. Our One Day in Paradise was over too soon. We had joined the jet-set for a day by sharing the cost of a speedboat between a group of eight.

Another indulgence was to take a 45-minute helicopter ride from Antigua to Montserrat, the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean before a volcano erupted in 1997.

Next stop was nearby St Kitts, after a gentle overnight sailing we grabbed a cab to tour the island. Other passengers opted for the scenic railway, once the sugar train which transported cane to the mills. We stopped off­ at Ottley’s Plantation Inn, a 15-minute drive from the port. This 35-acre estate was once a haunt of Princess Margaret - and no wonder - with the poolside dining area offering panoramic views over the sea to Nevis. We, too, were treated like royalty at this friendly and surprisingly laid-back retreat. We took a stroll round the estate to walk off lunch to admire the beautiful gardens.

And so on to Martinique (above), with its very French feel. Snorkelling was the order of the day. Prospect, our guide, showed us the way and we jumped into the clear, clear water like a bunch of excited schoolchildren. With beginners’ luck a turtle swam alongside and everyone on the ship heard about it for days.

Saga Sapphire sailed on to Trinidad where we found Port of Spain empty on ‘the morning after the night before’ Fantastic Friday carnival celebrations. We drove past Queen’s Park Oval and talked about the days when the West Indies cricket team were at their peak – and how Brian Lara once scored 375 and 400 against England. Ouch.

Next stop, Grenada, so pretty and relaxed after show time in Trinidad. At Mollinere Beach we snorkelled over James de Caries’ underwater sculptures. The 14ft-deep artwork was thought-provoking and all the better for the vast numbers of tropical fish which proved a delightful distraction.

How couldn’t we be pleased? We had woken up to a different view every day, ate breakfast in the sunshine, explored island after island and spent the evenings getting a taste for fine dining and, of course, dancing the night away.

Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times, Boogie - and a cruise to remember forever.

Factfile: A similar cruise, Treasures of the Caribbean, departs on January 13, 2015, from Southampton. The 35-night all-inclusive cruise starts from £5,999 per person calling in at Funchal, Madeira; Porto Grande (Sao Vincente, Cape Verde); Scarborough, Tobago; Hillsborough, Carriacou Island; St George’s, Grenada; Kingstown, St Vincent; Bridgetown, Barbados; Roseau, Dominica; Little Bay, Montserrat; Blowing Pint Anguillla; St John’s Antigua; Ponte del Garda, Sao Miguel; Lisbon, Portugal; Southampton.

Price includes VIP door-to-door travel service, all house-brand alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic drinks, all meals, 24-hour room service, entertainment and porterage.

More info: call 0800 096 0074 or visit http://travel.saga.co.uk/holidays/ocean-cruise.

For a longer version of this story see our News pages at the World of Cruising website, presented by Saga Cruises, on this link.

The new edition of World of Cruising is now out, and you can see the digital version online on our home page at www.worldofcruising.co.uk. To subscribe at our special offer rate for 2014, see this link.