Our cruise aboard the beautiful Allure of the Seas took us around the Eastern Caribbean. Starting from Fort Lauderdale , where we stayed one night at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina – a gorgeous hotel with the most beautiful views of the marina (the clue’s in the name)…
…and had a really lovely evening at Rocco’s Tacos), we finally boarded the ship at Port Everglades and set sail for Nassau, in the Bahamas, where we docked at 7am. We’d undertaken to be really full-on for the entire cruise, saying yes to everything, trying everything and really throwing ourselves into the adventure, which is why we came to be sitting in a little local Bahamas coach and trundling our way to the quite spectacular Atlantis Resort, where the boys had a date with some rather beautiful ladies:
They chose a deep water dolphin experience, which involved being whooshed along on a dolphin-powered boogie board, and swimming with the dolphins using hand-held water scooters in the beautiful man-made lagoon Dolphin Cay at Atlantis:
The boys absolutely loved their dolphin adventure (I volunteered to be photographer-in-chief for the day) and were still talking about it when we were back on the ship, ready to head off for a day of cruising on the way to our next port, Charlotte Amalie in the US Virgin Island of St Thomas.
At Charlotte Amalie we’d decided to have a beach day and explore a little bit on our own, so we disembarked early, armed with towels and sunblock. There’s a tourist information centre right on the dock and when we told them what we fancied doing, they recommended grabbing one of the local licensed taxis ($4 each) and heading to’ Emerald Beach’ – the beach is actually called Lindbergh Bay, but gets called Emerald Beach because of the Best Western resort of the same name there.
We weren’t disappointed…
We snoozed, we snorkelled, we sipped a cold drink from the handy bar… we snoozed a bit more… bobbed in the bathwater-temperature sea a bit… snoozed a bit more… You get the picture.
The next day was our final port day: Philipsburg, St Maarten. I’m a bit confused about St Maarten. It used to be part of the Netherlands Antilles (which doesn’t actually exist anymore), but is now independent (but still officially part of the Netherlands) although half of it is French. Anyhoo, we docked at Philipsburg, which is on the Dutch side and were blown away by how beautiful it is. We took a whizzy power boat ride to an amazing dive site, Creole Rock, where you can snorkel over the wrecks of a helicopter, a plane and a boat, and then whizzed off again to the most beautiful beach I think I’ve EVER seen:
The water was SO clear, and the sand SO white that the picture actually looks really pale. But oh, it was gorgeous. We could happily have stayed. What a beautiful place.
Of course, there are loads of excursions you can choose from (I highly recommend horse riding in the sea if you get the chance). If you want to relax, there are plenty of lovely places to chill, or you can go shopping, take guided tours to learn a little bit more about the area, or you can do what we did and whoosh, swim, snorkel and dive. The choice is yours.
If you’d like to recreate our wonderful holiday, the Allure of the Seas will actually be based out of Barcelona next year, when a seven-night round-trip from Barcelona will start at £871 per adult and £491 per child. Cruises include meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees, based on four sharing and exclude flights.
If you’d rather head to the Caribbean, why not consider joining the epic and completely bonkers Quantum of the Seas on a 8-night Eastern Caribbean fly/cruise from £1515 per person (based on two people sharing an interior stateroom) with its Roboscreens and digital shows projected onto 100ft wide Vistarama windows, skydiving simulator and SeaPlex complete with bumper cars and flying trapeze. This price includes return flights from London Heathrow, one night pre cruise hotel stay, transfers and an 8-night cruise departing from Cape Liberty (New Jersey, USA), and calling at San Juan (Puerto Rico) and Labadee (Haiti) before returning to Cape Liberty. Price is based on 21 March 2015 sailing.
For more info, contact Royal Caribbean International www.royalcaribbean.co.uk; 0844 493 2061 and to follow my adventures and those of the other Royal Caribbean Royal Mums, follow the hashtag #RoyalMums on Twitter and Instagram.