I'm taking a day off from writing today to spend some time in my search for the best Caribbean cruise. That seemed a good excuse to write a post about something besides writing, book marketing, and the like.
The Caribbean is the destination I've decided on for my next vacation, mostly because I've never been. I'm a good bit more interested in visiting the islands like Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Thomas, The Bahamas, and St. Martin for example, than the Mexican part of the Caribbean. I'm not sure why other than the islands are more what I associate with the tall sailing ships and swashbuckling pirates of the past.
All-Inclusive Caribbean Vacations vs. Caribbean Cruise
At first, I was leaning towards looking for all-inclusive Caribbean vacations at a single destination and perused the websites that feature that kind of Caribbean vacation deals. But then it occurred to me if I really wanted an amazing Caribbean vacation, why not see several of the best Caribbean vacations spots? So, my search has turned from resorts and all-inclusive Caribbean vacations to looking for the best Caribbean cruise.
I like cruises actually, having been on a few including a Mediterranean cruise that was awesome. What I liked about that particular cruise was the opportunity to visit several countries I'd not been to previously, rather than just one. It seems then a similar approach to my first visit to the Caribbean could have similar results.
For those who have never looked into it, Caribbean cruise destinations are organized by region; the east Caribbean, west Caribbean, and the southern Caribbean. West Caribbean cruise destinations are mostly limited to the coast of Mexico, although some of them do include Belize. The east and south Caribbean cruise destinations are the ones that focus on the islands. So far, I've already narrowed my search to east Caribbean cruises.
Caribbean cruise prices, as an all-inclusive vacation, seem quite reasonable to me. In comparison to land-based resort all-inclusive Caribbean vacations, taking a cruise seems a better value in the sense of best Caribbean vacation deals. I'm looking seriously at a 9-day cruise that sails out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida that ticks many of the destinations I'm most interested in seeing.
There are cruise offerings from two different cruise operators I like, and the prices are quite close. I've sailed with one of them before, but the other is one of the highest regarded cruise operators in the world so I'd have no reservations about booking with them.
The Ex-Pat Angle
This is a bit off the beaten path as far as the topic of this piece, but in a way, it ties in. For quite a long while I've been enamored with the idea of moving to another country and embracing the ex-pat life. It is something that I'm certain I will do at some point.
I seriously considered New Zealand for a while as an ex-pat destination. But, since I'm not in my twenties or early thirties with a skill that's in high demand, or independently wealthy, opportunities for me to immigrate to a developed country like New Zealand are quite slim. Opportunities for anyone wishing to relocate to a place like New Zealand is always a good bit more about "what can you do for us", rather than "what can we do for you." And to be honest, living in New Zealand is quite a lot more expensive than living in even some of the higher living costs areas of the United States. Given those realities for aspiring ex-pats like me, the better opportunities are to be found in developing countries like those in South and Central America and perhaps in some of the island nations in the Caribbean.
The point is, my interest in a Caribbean vacation is just as much a fact-finding tour as an opportunity for an interesting and relaxing vacation. That is the other thing that motivates me to want to see more than just a single destination. I can easily imagine relocating to a Caribbean island. Since my first stint in the military years ago when I served onboard ships as a member of the U.S. Navy, I've loved the sea. I'm more of a beach person than a mountain person, and I prefer warmer climes. The idea of relocating to a Caribbean island to write seems quite romantic in the fashion of Hemingway's twenty some odd years as a resident of Cuba.
How about you dear reader? Have you had a vacation or two to the Caribbean? If so, I'd really appreciate it if you would leave a comment and share any favorite destinations or tips. I'll be sure to share some photos and reviews of the trip when I return.