Five exclusive ports to visit on a luxury Caribbean cruise
A Caribbean ocean cruise is a timeless option for any traveller looking for that optimal mix of sun, sea, luxury and discovery. Sometimes it isn’t necessary to seek out far-flung, hidden locations, but rather, pinpoint those ultra-exclusive, select places in classic, premium destinations.
And it’s with this approach that we set out to find the five most exclusive ports to visit on your next luxury Caribbean cruise. From the simplistic, stunning archipelago of the San Blas Islands, through to the vibrant exclusivity of Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, where rows upon rows of the finest private yachts punctuate the shimmering, azure sea, read on to find your perfect port in the Caribbean sun.
The capital of hand-rolled cigars, premium rum, spectacular jazz and of course, Cuba, Havana is a must-visit port destination for the luxury Caribbean traveller. Highlights include vintage car-spotting, strolling down the sun-kissed streets before taking a seat with a view for rum, and of course indulging in the many finer luxury activities this beautiful port city has to offer.
Our luxury tip: if you have the time on-land, check in at a hotel offering a rooftop pool. With some time to kill before boarding your ship again, what better way to see the city from above than from the comfort of your pool? If time isn’t on your side, we suggest visiting what’s known as Havana’s paladares. Paladares are privately-run restaurants that are seen as the standard of premium, creative and expressive cuisine in the city. Up until recently, all eateries in Havana were state-run, and these new private ventures are little exclusive havens for luxury-seeking travellers.
A major port along the Colombian Caribbean coast, Cartagena is a staple port city. However, for the discerning luxury traveller, there is plenty to discover there that goes well beyond what most cruise guests will experience.
Our luxury tip: To add that premium touch to your Cartagena stopover, you can head to a luxury beach house, such as the Blue Apple. Away from the overcrowded beaches, your private house will allow you to take in the simple charms of the coast without all the distractions of the modern world. Indulge in the Caribbean on your own terms.
Lighthouse Reef, Belize
Belize, with its impressive Maya Civilisation ruins, wide range of Colonial architecture and natural marine landscapes, such as the Great Blue Hole and the Lighthouse Reef, may seem like an obvious choice for Caribbean cruisers of all natures, but there’s exclusive experience to be found high above the ocean’s surface.
Our luxury tip: High above the ocean’s surface, on board 6-star luxury superyacht, Scenic Eclipse, on their Taste of Cuba & Caribbean cruise, guests can explore the Lighthouse Reef from the skies, as they have the option to soar above the gorgeous atoll on one of the World’s First Discovery Yacht’s on board helicopters. This is a sight definitely not seen on regular cruises, and must be experienced to be truly appreciated.
San Blas Islands
The San Blas Islands of Panama are the vision of paradise: crystal clear seas, bleached turquoise above the white sands, lush palm trees extending outwards towards the water’s edge and wooden paddle boats slowly drifting across the gentle sea. Simply put, the San Blas Islands are a nice distance away from the hustle-bustle of Panama, and offer up that perfect slice of exclusivity.
Our luxury tip: If you’re cruising Central America, and are considering enjoying the metropolis-come-paradise of Panama City, we suggest finding a cruise that crosses the other side of the country and stopping off at the San Blas Islands for a real feeling of escapism.
Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
Our final port of call in the search for the finest ports in the Caribbean, is Falmouth Harbour in Antigua. This horseshoe-shaped bay is home to one of the most luxurious ports in the region. As the bright white superyachts line the marina, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were about to step on shore in St Tropez. But this Caribbean jewel has its own unique blend of charm and luxury.
Our luxury tip: after setting foot on land, the beautifully-pristine island of Antigua is yours. Why not embark on an island tour that offers insights into Antiguan culture and folklore? Visit Betty’s Hope, the island’s 17th century sugar plantation, for a real look at Antigua’s past and the current local community it has helped to create. After all is said and done, take in the charm of the island with a drink of your choice.