Spotlight on Caribbean

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. 

Spotlight on the Caribbean

Hammock on the beach
Caribbean

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:

  • Eco-friendly hotels are tech-free havens that let you get back to nature. You’ll find yoga is popular as part of the serene lifestyle. Rooms have no TV’s, phones or radios. There may be WiFi in the lobby but people staying here are only using it for emergencies since getting away is the whole idea. Negril, Jamaica is a popular spot for this type of escape and you’ll also find them on the Dominican Republic, St. John and Dominica.  
  • On the out islands of The Bahamas, small resorts with hammocks on scenic beaches sure make it easy to relax!  There’s a range of remote properties of every type from boutique hotels to hideaways with full kitchens and luxury resorts with sophisticated features.  While free WiFi is advertised at some hotels, it may be spotty and not available in your room. Anyway, it’s easy to switch off when surrounded by the tranquillity of islands like Eleuthera, Bimini and Long Island.
  • Wellness retreats and resorts dotted around the Caribbean let you focus on your wellbeing with yoga, Pilates, relaxation and spa visits replacing your tech-driven days at home. Benefit from holistic treatments, aromatherapy oils, detox programs, and the peace and tranquillity of isolated resorts. Aruba and Saint Lucia have become leaders in this field.
  • Over-the-water bungalows have arrived in the Caribbean at Sandals resorts in Jamaica and Saint Lucia. Considered by many travellers to be the ultimate accommodation option, living in luxury above turquoise waters is one way to truly unwind. Bungalows feature an expansive patio with soaking tub for two, over-the-water hammock, swim-up platform and a luxurious interior with glass floors for undersea views, king-size bed and spa-style bathroom.

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.

On Location in Jamaica

Pelican Bar
Treasure Beach, Jamaica

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

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.

  • A scenic tour or private air charter is the order of the day as people go to the south coast destination of Treasure Beach to revel in a farm to table experience put on by Jake’s hotel.
  • A trip up the Black River on an open boat to see nature at its best is not complete without heading to Pelican Bar, which is on a sandbar in the sea.
  • Jamaica Culinary Tours is a company which offers A Taste of History with guided walking and bus tours which take you on a culinary adventure through various towns and villages of Jamaica. In between savoring the delights of our cuisine, you will visit interesting architectural sites, many dating back to the plantation era, and learn lots about Jamaica’s history and culture which have significantly influenced the Jamaican palate. Leave our tours feeling like a local – with an insider view into the real Jamaica and a "belly full" of food and fun!

Accommodation

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

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.

  • Kingston City Breaks – A trip to Kingston for a day or few is worth it after all. Our busy Capital, cosmopolitan Kingston is one-of-a-kind; half exotic jungle, bursting with sunshine, and half thriving business. There is much to see and do. Overlooking the city are the Blue Mountains, home of the world’s best coffee where one has a chance to hike, take a dip in the cool waters or relax at one of the cozy guest houses or villa.
  • Spanish Town (Santiago de la Vega) – former Capital still boasts the influence of the Spanish, who first invaded Jamaica under Christopher Columbus.
  • Port Royal – The sunken city and former Capital of the island was destroyed by earthquake. There is so much to explore in the wreckage and Gloria’s, a famous seafood restaurant and bar will take you back in time as you sit back and watch the fisher folk pulling in their catch of the day. Kingston is always abuzz with activity – cultural plays, fine restaurants and great entertainment.

Q: What are some of the top cultural activities?

Jamaica is the capital of culture.

  • The island is known for its great music as Bob Marley along with other top musicians introduced our wonderful musical rhythms to the world. Pop in at Usain Bolt’s tracks and records to enjoy a meal and the good vibes. Musical festivals are abounding and visitors are gravitating towards this not so new rave.
  • Kingston is always abuzz with activity – cultural plays, fine restaurants and great entertainment.
  • A visit to the Maroons, or Rastafarians to experience how they live is for the adventurous.

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.

10 Off the Grid Vacations

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.

Cruising the Southern Caribbean

Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Caribbean

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:

  • The French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique ooze with charm. At Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe there are beaches with shallow turquoise water, palm trees and white sand. Take a break from the pool and beach for an educational outing to the volcano museum at St. Pierre, Martinique. Here you’ll get a fascinating glimpse into the famous eruption that destroyed the city in 1902.
  • Unspoiled rainforests, waterfalls, lakes rivers and mountains make Dominica the Nature Island of the Caribbean so excursions here revolve around enjoying the pristine terrain by hiking, ziplining and canyoning. Snorkeling, whale and dolphin watching are also very good here. Hire a jeep for the scenic drive between Portsmouth and Roseau.
  • Grenada is the spice island where you’ll want to check out the market for a spectacular array of nutmeg, mace, cinnamon and other spices grown here. Get a panoramic view of the picturesque harbor by walking up the cobblestone streets. The beautiful white sand of Grand Anse Beach and Annandale Falls, where you can swim in the pool of a waterfall, are popular places to visit.
  • Barbados is a sugar cane island with a bustling capital city; Bridgetown. Island tours take you to estates and plantation homes and Harrison’s Cave limestone cavern, or spend a day at one of the splendid beaches. Swim in the local sea turtles’ habitat at Carlisle Bay and spot the Green Monkey in the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.
  • The colorful, gabled architecture of the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao –  is a testament to their Dutch history. These progressive islands offer many different experiences. They are major destinations for sophisticated towns, beautiful coves and beaches, snorkeling and diving, hiking and bird watching (including pink flamingos). On Curacao don’t miss trying the famed Curacao liqueur, see the picturesque floating bridge and stop by the remarkable Sea Aquarium where interacting with dolphins and feeding sharks and turtles is part of the fun.   

When you are ready to unplug and escape, be sure to consider a cruise to the natural region of the Southern Caribbean.

International culinary delights

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.

Chilean Sea Bass

Authentic yet inventive. Creative yet classic. The culinary experience with Crystal is simply exceptional.

Chilean Sea Bass
Crystal Cruises

Ingredients

Chilean Seabass with King Crab & Red Beet Cous Cous

  • 4 ea Chilean Seabass Filets, 6 oz each
  • 4 tbsp clarified butter
  • Salt, fresh ground White Pepper
  • 4 ea King Crab Legs
  • 4 tbsp Lemon Oil

Red Beet Cous Cous

  • 1 cup Pearl Cous Cous (Israeli Cous Cous)
  • 2 tbsp. Melted Butter
  • 2 ea Shallots, peeled and fine chopped
  • 2 ½ cup Red Beet Juice
  • 2 tsp. Mascarpone Cheese
  • 2 tsp. cold butter
  • 2 tsp. grated Parmesan
  • Salt, Fresh White Pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C).
  • For the fish, pat dry the Seabass filets with kitchen towels and season with salt and freshly ground white pepper on both sides.
  • Heat the clarified butter in a sauté pan and sear the fish, skin side down first, for one minute on each side. Transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes.
  • For the Cous Cous, heat the melted butter in casserole and sauté the shallots slowly until translucent, but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the Cous Cous and sauté for one more minute. Add the Red Beet Juice and simmer until the Beet Juice is absorbed and the Cous Cous is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Cold Butter, Mascarpone and Parmesan Cheese, season to taste with Salt and White Pepper.
  • To serve, remove the Crab Leg Meat from the shells, cut into 2 inch pieces and heat in a 350 F oven for 2 minutes until hot. Divide the hot Cous Cous amongst 4 Shallow Plates, top each with a Seabass Filet and the Crab Meat. Drizzle one tbsp Lemon Oil over the Fish and around the Cous Cous and serve.

Step aboard the world’s greatest ships

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.

Enliven Your Curiosity and Awaken Your Sense of Wonder

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.

The Ship

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.

YACHT FACTS

  • CAPACITY: 212 guests
  • SUITES: 106 suites, all outside with ocean views
  • OWNER'S SUITES: 2, with private verandas
  • CLASSIC SUITES: 4, with private verandas
  • BALCONY SUITES: 36, with French-style balconies
  • OCEAN VIEW SUITES: 64, with picture windows
  • DECKS: 6 guest decks
  • CREW: 151 international staff
  • SHIP'S REGISTRY: Bahamas
  • LENGTH: 440 feet (134 meters)
  • DRAFT: 16.5 feet (5 meters)
  • BEAM: 63 feet (19 meters)
  • TONNAGE: 9,975 gross registered tons (grt)
  • PROPULSION: Twin propeller, driven by four Bergen marine diesel engines
  • SPEED: Cruising speed 15 knots

The Ship | Windstar Cruises

Accommodations

ALL THE COMFORTS OF HOME, ALL AROUND THE WORLD

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.

ALL SUITES INCLUDE:

  • Fresh flower and fruit baskets
  • Luxurious Egyptian cotton linens
  • L’Occitane en Provence® bath products
  • Bose® Sound Dock
  • Comfy waffle-weave robe
  • Spacious walk-in closets
  • Marble bathrooms
  • Full-sized tub

Accommodations | Windstar Cruises

Dining

SHIP TO SHORE, WE INTOXICATE THE SENSES

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.

  • AMPHORA RESTAURANT
    AmphorA defines fine dining with a world-class menu and elegant setting. Dinner.
  • VERANDA
    Casual and delicious, Veranda offers full-service or buffet-style meals alfresco. Breakfast and lunch.
  • CANDLES
    Dine outdoors under the stars at this poolside grill featuring seafood and steak specialties. Reservations required, no surcharge. Dinner.
  • YACHT CLUB
    in the casual atmosphere of the Yacht Club lounge where gourmet sandwiches, snacks, and beverages are available for dining in or a perfect picnic ashore. Day and evening.
  • CULINARY EVENTS
    Cooking demos and classes with seasoned chefs, culinary shore excursions, culinary-themed cruises, and exclusive, complimentary cultural dining experiences give guests insights into a place’s land, traditions, and soul.
  • SIGNATURE ONBOARD BARBECUE
    sumptuous buffet, dancing under the stars, impromptu performances, and live music highlight this signature event on every cruise.
  • MARKET TOURS
    Accompany the Chef to a local market to select local ingredients for the evening’s culinary masterpiece.
  • CULINARY-THEMED CRUISES
    Enjoy the ultimate culinary adventure with cruises that feature James Beard Foundation chefs, regional cuisine, beverages, and learning opportunities both on board and off.

Dining | Windstar Cruises

Activities

FREE TO EXPLORE

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.

  • NO JACKETS OR TIES REQUIRED
    Look around the ship’s main dining room, AmphorA, and you will see people dressed tastefully yet comfortably in khakis and polo shirt, slacks, or a breezy sundress. Not a jacket or tie in sight. That’s the beauty of cruising in “resort casual” style.
  • OPEN DINING
    There’s no rush to get back for an early dining time, no need to leave your new friends to sit at an assigned table. On Windstar, you dine when, where, and with whomever you want, with no assigned tables or seatings.
  • OPEN BRIDGE
    Come up to the Open Bridge for coffee with the First Mate, or to see the sunrise over the bow. Watch the Captain navigate into a small port of call, and see how the computerized sails on our sailing ships are unfurled. There’s always something going on, and you always have a front row seat.
  • WATERSPORTS PLATFORM
    Our ingenious Watersports Platform at the stern is your floating dock, letting you launch a paddle board, sailboat, or whatever toy tickles your fancy into that warm, turquoise lagoon right from the ship. All complimentary, of course. (Available on select itineraries and ports of call.)
  • ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT
    Listen to an amazing musical duo in the Lounge. Draw a queen to fill a royal straight in the Casino. Get an insider’s scoop on local history or culture. Activities, demonstrations, local performances and more make your time on board beyond ordinary.
  • SIGNATURE SAIL AWAY
    Feel the hairs on your arms rise and a shiver climb your spine as the majestic strains of 1492: Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis announce your ship’s departure from every port.
  • THE RELAXING WINDSPA
    Aches and worries vanish as you relax in the tranquil WindSpa. Let a soothing massage erase those tight calves from your hike ashore, soak in an aromatic spa bath, or get ready for an evening out with a new hair style, facial, and manicure.
  • FITNESS CENTER
    Working out hardly feels like work in our 24/7 Fitness Center with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea. Watch for whales as you power walk on a treadmill. Lift free weights to a gorgeous sunset. Join a complimentary instructor-led fitness class with new friends.

Activities | Windstar Cruises

Family

MEET YOUR NEW FAMILY

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.

Family | Windstar Cruises

Services

EVERYTHING IS PERSONAL WITH US

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.

WORLD-CLASS SERVICE THAT’S A WORLD APART

  • Personalized service with a 1.5 to 1 guest to crew ratio
  • Crew that greets guests by name and quickly learns individual preferences
  • Winner of Cruise Critic Cruiser’s Choice Awards for Best Service
  • Welcoming and attentive Indonesian and Filipino crew

AMENITIES AS YOU LIKE THEM

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.

  • Beverage packages
  • Internet usage plans
  • Pre– and post–cruise hotel or land packages
  • Travel protection
  • Personal laundry service
  • Gifts & services

Services | Windstar Cruises