East or West — The Caribbean for Over Fifties

By on March 19, 2014
beautiful white sand beach

By Robert Nielsen –

If you’re thinking of setting sail on a Caribbean cruise, then a bit of planning beforehand will ensure that you will have the trip of a lifetime. The first question you should ask yourself is what do you need to pack? Check what facilities are available on your cruise, so that you can decide what to take. Do they provide toiletries and laundry services? Do they have hairdryers? What about an alarm clock — you may need to get up early sometimes on excursions and don’t want to pay extra for a wake-up call. You also need to think about appropriate clothing, not only for when you’re in port and exploring or relaxing but also when you are on board the ship itself. Some cruises require you to dress formally for dinner, for example, so remember to pack a suit or evening gown.

The second question you need to ask yourself is, where do you want to go? Perhaps an even better question is, what do you want to get out of your cruise experience? It’s easy to see why so many people set sail on Caribbean cruises. Prices are reasonable, locations are exotic and the weather is glorious. If you want a cruise experience that combines an equal amount of time on the boat and on shore, then opt for an eastern cruise. If, however, you wish to spend longer periods out at sea on the boat, opt for a western Caribbean cruise. Eastern cruises are more island and beach-based, whereas western cruises tend to call at many ports on the mainland and offer a greater variety of excursion options.

Fascinating and varied ports of call on Caribbean cruises include stop-off points such as Mexico, Playa Del Carmen, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Take St. Lucia, for example. If you opt for a cruise that docks there, then you’ll be able to disembark and explore the botanical garden and waterfall at Diamond Falls. Alternatively you could visit the steaming craters of Sulphur Springs, the world’s only drive-in volcano. If you’re looking for white sand and relaxation, head to the north of the island, not forgetting to dip your toes into the warm, inviting waters either!

If history is your thing, choose a Caribbean cruise that includes the port of Falmouth in Jamaica as part of the itinerary. This port took more than three years to construct, but it was worth the wait as now it receives more than 9,000 cruise ship passengers each week. Sharing a namesake with the town Falmouth in the UK county Cornwall, this beautifully preserved Georgian town contains some interesting examples of its colonial past.

No matter where you decide to go and what you want to get out of your cruise, be it relaxation, history or culture, the mainland and islands of the Caribbean really do have everything you could possibly want! You can see a whole lot of the world in a short space of time. Can you handle it? Most probably!

Images by highlander411 and daryl mitchell, used under Creative Commons license.

Robert Nielsen is a freelance photographer and a veteran traveler, having seen much of the world on cruises, his favorite destinations being Caribbean ones.

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East or West — The Caribbean for Over Fifties