The Caribbean is calling for an escape to unwind and unplug! Find serenity on these sun-drenched islands with many appealing options for getting away from it all.
One of the beautiful things about the Caribbean is how easy it is to find peaceful places to unwind. The natural beauty of your surroundings is inspiring and rejuvenating in itself. So, wherever you choose to stay, you’ll find serenity just around the corner or along the beach that will make you glad you decided to get away and unplug.
For a crowd-free, private place, Caribbean hideaways are sure to please. Situated off the beaten path they’re designed for the kind of relaxing escape you are looking for:
So, get away from it all in the Caribbean! Tranquility comes in many forms on these alluring islands so it’s easy to unwind. With sun, sea and sand to greet you every day, you’ll feel rejuvenated as you experience the natural beauty of these magnificent islands.
Travel in Jamaica continues to grow with new and expanded options for 2018. Our On Location partner is on top of the developments and is rebranding to become Glamour Luxury Destination Concierge. We caught up with Myrtle Dwyer, Director of Sales & Marketing and the Chief Destination Concierge, to find out what’s happening this year with Jamaica’s busy travel scene.
Q: Tell us how your rebranding to Glamour Luxury Destination Concierge is going.
Our rebranding is on track as we evolve. Why? We want to separate ourselves from the pack as we possess the knowledge of the island, are creative in presentations and have explored areas that are exciting and different. We will continue to provide personalized and customized services. Our website will be launched in mid-January and Ensemble Travel Group agents will be the first to receive the link.
Q: What’s happening in Jamaica for 2018 and what are the most popular options for visitors?
Jamaica is more than a beach. It has always been an island of flavor, diversity and a colorful culture. With the new wave of interest being cultural, culinary and experiences off the beaten track, Jamaica fits in snugly.
Culinary Tours are being explored heavily and while visitors will choose a hotel on the beach, they are venturing out to sample the fine and tasty fare of the island.
Accommodation – Away from major hotels, many people are opting for community experiences. Such places can be found in the mountains or along the coast away from tourist centers as Jamaicans are known for their hospitable attributes. Treasure Beach and Bluefields on the south coast and Port Antonio are the spots to get away to. The Blue Mountains provide the perfect retreat.
Sports is always top of mind in Jamaica and there is increasing interest in our great sportsmen and women as they display their athletic prowess. A sporting event here is more like a great festival!
Q: Tell us about other highlights around the island.
Q: What are some of the top cultural activities?
Jamaica is the capital of culture.
Q: Is wellness travel growing in Jamaica?
Health is a huge item in the lives of many thus Yoga and other retreats are on the uptake here. Hotels are sprucing up their spas to provide major relaxation and health benefits. Mineral baths like Bath in Saint Thomas and Milk River in Clarendon are welcoming more international visitors.
The 24-7 lifestyle that comes with our tech age makes it more important than ever to take relaxing, remote vacations. Take a look at these 10 far flung destinations that make it easy to reconnect with yourself.
Surf the waves instead of the internet in the Cook Islands, a great, year-round sun and sand destination. Picture perfect Rarotonga and Aitutaki, with their turquoise waters, palm fringed beaches and one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world, offer the quintessential South Pacific getaway.
At the bottom of the earth lies Patagonia where it’s easy to switch off. This land is a rugged mix of mountains, desert, pampas, grasslands, lakes and fjords, home to six national parks and a range of outdoor activities. Unique accommodations in Chile include the sustainable Remota Hotel at Puerto Natales and the EcoCamp Patagonia where you live in geodesic dome with panoramic views of Torres del Paine National Park.
This is the top of Europe, far above the Arctic Circle; a cape with stunning, high cliffs on the island of Magerøya. The area’s Arctic landscapes are sublime. A mecca for adventurers during the summer solstice and months of 24-hour sunlight, it is also popular for dog sledding, ice fishing, snowshoeing and Northern Lights viewing in the winter.
Deep red soil against green vegetation is stunning in the middle of Australia. At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park you are in the middle of nowhere with ancient, geological formations to explore in this spiritual place. Set off from the tiny enclave of Yulara where visitors have a choice of camping, backpacker accommodation, apartment, four or five-star hotels to stay at along with cultural programs right on site.
Viewing game in the wilds of Africa is a thrill that will really take you away from the every day! Set off on guided walks or by 4-wheel drive to see sights that will amaze you and search for the big five; lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape Buffalo. From rustic camps, mobile camps, glamping and luxury lodges, there’s a wonderful choice of accommodation to choose from as your base.
The vast, grandeur of Alaska is the perfect backdrop for hiking with well marked scenic trails found across the state. From the remote Wrangell St. Elias region to outstanding, easily reached trails around Juneau and Sitka, there’s no shortage of places to go for superb wilderness hiking experiences, guided or on your own. It’s easy to unplug in this pristine setting.
Bicycle and shuttle bus are the only means of transportation on this island, a nature preserve 11 miles off the coast from Fremantle. The 63 beaches, 20 bays, and spectacular coastline are beyond picturesque. Apart from no cars, unique features are the salt lakes, interesting history and the Quokkas you’ll come across around the island – small creatures with similarities to kangaroos. This island is worth at least a weekend stay.
You’re nearly 300 miles from the nearest Internet when you stay at Three Camel Lodge, an eco-lodge in the Gobi Desert. Live in a Ger, a luxurious remake of the traditional tent used by nomadic camel herders. Explore the hills, mountains and springs while watching out for Bactrian camels. This takes getting away from it all to a whole new level!
Being at sea is always an excellent antidote to life on land and on expedition cruises you have the added advantage of a special purpose to focus on. Whether it’s traversing the Northwest Passage or observing Emperor Penguins in Antarctica, your mind is far from picking up your email. While satellite communication keeps vessels in contact around the world, it’s easy to ignore it all and reconnect with nature from the deck of your expedition ship.
Off the the beaten track in Hawaii is the magnificent island of Molokai. Here tourism has developed slowly as the island insists on remaining unspoiled. In addition to relaxed, island-style hotels, there’s an artists’ sanctuary, organic ranch and retreats for meditation, yoga and wellness. A tranquil, beautiful place for an escape.
Head for the Southern Caribbean, far from the crowds, to discover unique ports and tropical splendor! This region is steeped in natural beauty with fascinating history to discover. Choose from a variety of itineraries sailing from San Juan, St. Maarten, Barbados, Florida or Texas to some remarkable places.
The islands of the Southern Caribbean can be combined with eco-focused Costa Rica and Panama for a very enriching voyage that also touches the Panama Canal. Adventures ashore take you to rainforests, volcanoes, indigenous villages and wildlife viewing centers. Be amazed by the workings of the Panama Canal when you visit the Miraflores Locks visitor center near Panama City which houses an interactive museum, viewing platforms and a buffet restaurant with canal views.
Some ships make partial transits of the Canal, to Gatun Lake and back to the Caribbean. This is a very exciting way to really experience the canal in action as your cruise ship is raised and lowered in giant locks that work on gravity.
Favorites on Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries, these islands are all very different and with their own special features:
When you are ready to unplug and escape, be sure to consider a cruise to the natural region of the Southern Caribbean.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
Authentic yet inventive. Creative yet classic. The culinary experience with Crystal is simply exceptional.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.
Imagine discovering unspoiled beaches, unfamiliar cultures and undiscovered atolls. With Windstar Cruises you can enliven your curiosity and awaken your sense of wonder — venturing to places never thought possible. Leave the crowds and the commonplace behind and experience a different kind of cruise; where the allure, beauty and magic of the places you sail to is equaled only by the ship that takes you there. Windstar Cruises’ small ships are exactly the right size — large enough to pamper and entertain you, yet small enough to tuck into the tiny harbors and hidden coves others can’t reach.
On board Windstar’s immaculate vessels you can set sail for stunning destinations like old world European villages, the remote Costa Rican coastline, the incredible Panama Canal, and the secluded coves and islands of Tahiti and the Caribbean. In addition, Windstar now has expanded its repertoire to include the very best of Alaska, Asia, Arabia and Canada & New England. With only 148 to 310 guests cruising with you, you can experience cultures in ways that are personal, authentic, and unscripted — just as you would if you arrived in port on your own private yacht. Activities such as certified SCUBA dives, rejuvenating baths in volcanic springs, regional wine tastings, and unique dining opportunities, allow you to explore other lands and see the world from a new perspective.
On board you’ll also experience the extraordinary. No crowds, no formal nights, no lines, just a casually elegant vibe and friendly atmosphere. The moment you arrive you’ll notice the ever-attentive crew at your service, providing you with what you want and need, when you want and need it. No matter what destination beckons you, the local flavor of the culture is deliciously captured when you dine onboard your Windstar ship. Fresh, local ingredients — often selected by your ship’s chef on a trip to the local market — along with seasonal produce and culinary ingenuity, go into each perfectly presented dish made to your liking.
Whether you are sharing coffee with the Captain on the Bridge, dining under the stars, roaming the spacious decks or sharing stories with other savvy travelers, Windstar’s fleet creates an experience that’s truly 180 degrees from ordinary.
With only 212 guests, a Star Pride cruise will make you feel like you're on board your own private ship almost as soon as you step aboard.
With more than enough room for whatever your heart desires. Spacious suites. Lush amenities. Sumptuous dining. And expansive ocean views everywhere you look, from the Watersports Platform to the classic Yacht Club observation lounge. A rare combination of elegance and unassuming luxury, the Star Pride creates an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.
Imagine the perfect retreat, where everything from the soft lighting and seascape colors to the invitingly comfortable bed soothe and seduce you. Run your hand over leather headboards as soft and supple as a luxury car seat. Hold court over cocktail hour in the generous seating area with an in-suite bar stocked with your favorite beverages. Go ahead and slip into your cozy waffle-weave robe and slippers and surrender to the mesmerizing ocean view from your private viewing balcony.
There’s so much more awaiting you tomorrow.
When it comes to dining, like everything on Windstar, you’re free to choose. Enjoy dinner in the exquisite AmphorA, lunch alfresco at Veranda, or drinks and dinner at the magical, moonlit Candles. Wherever you go, there are no formal nights, no set times for dinner, no assigned seating, and no specialty restaurant surcharges. And, each dish is cooked to order just the way you like it.
You’ll find our culinary program also extends far beyond onboard dining. Visit local markets with the Chef, or join shore excursions from wine, brewery and distillery tours to hands-on cooking classes taught by local chefs. Or, for the ultimate epicurean experience, come along on one of our culinary-themed cruises, sipping fine wines and eating like a locavore wherever you go. It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in local flavors.
Being the official cruise line of the James Beard Foundation means their dedication to recognizing and celebrating the chefs, writers and restaurateurs who advance culinary arts is now onboard Windstar sailings, gracing your table with some of the most innovative cuisine in the world. Talk about a perfect pairing. It has allowed us to expand our culinary events, demonstrations and restaurant menus, giving more Windstar guests opportunities to indulge in memorable meals prepared with locally sourced ingredients by some of the most recognized culinary talent in the world.
Cruising on a Windstar small ship is like going to your favorite neighborhood restaurant, where you see friends at the table across the way and the staff knows exactly what you’ll order. It’s an intimate experience where you’ll share stories with like-minded travelers as you explore the world together. None of the formalities or stuffiness of other cruise lines, just authentic encounters leading to enduring memories.
Windstar’s unique small ship cruising style creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere and a close-knit community of travelers who are just as curious, adventurous, and interesting as you are.
Everything from dining to daily activities to shore excursions is better shared with new friends. Split wines and appetizers with the couple sitting next to you in Candles. Congratulate your steward on his performance in the crew show. Join a conga line with the Captain. Enjoy a special camaraderie with fellow guests as you find yourselves sharing the same excursions. And don’t be surprised if the special memories lure you back again to the same ship, the same crew, the same friends.
It’s knowing to bring you the exact right thing at the exact right time. An exquisitely made hand-crafted cocktail when you’re savoring the sea breeze from your deck chair. A perfect chocolate soufflé as you contemplate what the lovely night has in store. A welcoming smile and warmed refresher towel waiting for you after seeing sights you still can’t quite believe you saw.
Every moment our gracious Indonesian and Filipino crew will be near at hand, making sure you’re the favored recipient of unprecedented, award-winning service that was named for Best Service last year in the Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards.
Each of our guests is unique, and our wide range of thoughtfully crafted custom options helps you and your Travel Professional transform your cruise into an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Augment an already extraordinary voyage with exhilarating shore excursions ranging from culinary explorations to 4x4 adventures. Add a pre- or post-cruise hotel package to make the most of your visit to a world-class city. Customize further with land packages featuring not-to-miss sights, convenient air packages, transfers, and more. One call. It’s that simple. A single call to your travel professional can take care of every aspect of your vacation.