Cruise the Caribbean as you escape from winter

Winter is the perfect time to cruise the Caribbean.  Top-up your suntan, enjoy the warm water beaches and escape the cold winter temperatures of the north.

Our ‘trip of a lifetime’ started in the colder zones of the United States in early December.  As Aussies, our plan was to have our first ‘white Christmas’ and to take part in the winter activities that are not usually part of our Australian lifestyle.

We drafted up our must-see travel list. San Francisco, Las Vegas, Niagara Falls, New York City and freezing cold Boston were our cold weather destinations.  To counter the cold we devised a clever thaw plan before heading to the southern states.

The Caribbean has always been the cruise destination of my dreams.

Aussies are warm weather people

Whatever were we thinking?  Winter in Australia is warmer than almost everywhere else in the world.

Mid-winter in Darwin in the tropical north of Australia, has occasionally hits a chilling 18 degrees Celsius for a week during winter, before warming up to a low 30’s during the day.

After celebrating New Year’s Eve in bitterly cold Boston with snow and sleet, we were more than ready to warm up on a cruise in the Caribbean!

Quite frankly, we were in excited just to be going somewhere warm!

Read more:  Celebrate New Years Eve in Boston

Cruise the Caribbean with Celebrity Equinox

Celebrity Equinox

Our cruise line was Celebrity Cruises.  The Celebrity Equinox was a modern ship carrying about 2,800 cold weather escapees to the Caribbean islands!  Celebrity Cruises operate around the world with a range of cruise destinations to suit everyone.

On-board there are so many options.  Choose to participate … or not.  Its your cruise!

There is plenty to do when cruising the Caribbean

Shore Excursions

When deciding to go on a cruise, you choose the destinations of most interest along the way.  Customise your trip entirely and explore every destination you sail to.   Get the most out of your vacation, on and off the ship.

Many of the passengers stayed onboard the ship during shore days.  We were very keen to experience everything and took every opportunity to explore the Caribbean islands.

Labadee in Haiti

Caribbean Cruise - Haiti

The northern coast of the island of Haiti, Labadee is an ‘island paradise’.  We signed up for the historical walking tour of Labadee.  Narrated by a local Haitian man we learned of the history of the island of Haiti, its people and culture over the past 500 years.

There is nothing quite so relaxing than swimming in the crystal clear Caribbean waters and lazing on the beach until the ship sailed late in the afternoon.  A complete contrast to icy Boston!

Falmouth in Jamaica

Jamaica mon

Falmouth is on the north coast of Montego Bay in Jamaica and noted as one of the Caribbean’s busiest ports.  In it’s heyday, Jamaica was the world’s leading sugar producer for the Caribbean.

Our local tour took us to some beautiful sights and ended with a traditional picnic lunch by the beach. The relaxed outlook of the Jamaican people was refreshing.  ‘No problem mon‘ is truly their mantra!

George Town, Grand Cayman

Pirate Ships in Grand Canyon

The Cayman Islands are still a part of the British Commonwealth.  Beautiful clear turquoise waters of the western Caribbean make this destination one of the most popular holiday spots in the Caribbean.

We took this shore day to explore George Town and took the opportunity to shop, sample some of the local food and enjoy the local music.

Cozumel in Mexico

Yes Chef

Cozumel is famous for it’s coral reefs and water sports including deep-sea diving, snorkeling, kayaking and parasailing.

Mexican cooking always starts with a margarita – apparently!

We booked a Mexican cooking class in this port.  Mexican cooking rules saw us settling into our first Margarita at 10 am.

Our chefs had a great sense of humour and kept up the supply of Margaritas.

Our cooking lesson was to prepare a 3 course lunch.  A Mexican style Grouper (fish) parcel followed by a hand-made tortilla topped with spicy paprika prawns.  The grand finale was a delicious desert of Tequila plantain bananas.  Delicious!

It was a fun day for us all!

Onboard Dining is always an adventure

Food is one of the key features of a Caribbean cruise and attracts a lot of interest with ample choices.

Cafe al Bacio is the popular European inspired coffee house with gelatos and freshly baked pastries.

The main dining room ‘Silhouette’ served excellent fare including a three course menu for lunch and dinner.  Included on the menu were premium steaks, seafood, chicken, and lamb dishes, accompanied by an extensive wine list.

The restaurant is always a treat but as foodies we love to experience the other restaurants whenever we can.  We loved the changing menu choices and cuisines on offer.

Celebrity Equinox featured 5 alternate restaurants specialising in different dining styles.

  • Sushi on 5 – Japanese style sushi, perfect for light dining.
  • Silk Harvest – combining Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
  • Tuscan Grille – an Italian steakhouse with a sophisticated menu and wine selection.
  • Murano – fine European style dining with an extensive wine service.

Onboard entertainment and shopping

Evening shows and entertainment were consistently good with talented crew members, singers and comedians showcasing a their talents.  On board activities evolved around shore days and included trivia quiz’s, cards and board games or lazing around the pool.

The on-board Casino was always busy with both the high rollers tables and the slot.  I’m sure this had nothing to do with the ‘no gambling’ laws in Florida!

I was lucky enough to win a pair of Tanzanite stud earrings as a lucky draw prize.

Shopping is a popular pastime for both men and women passengers.  Tax and duty free boutiques offering exclusive handbags, perfumes and cosmetics as well as watches and jewelry for purchase.

Some of the on-board activities include raffles and giveaway prizes, auctions showcasing art from emerging artists and exquisite hand-blown glass pieces drew the crowds.

Relax and be pampered as you cruise the Caribbean

Cruises have a range of spa packages available for guests.  Start your cruise off with a boost by booking yourself in for a facial, massage or day-spa treatment.  It is the perfect opportunity to spoil yourself.

Smart thinking if you are cruising to relax!

Many passengers stay on-board during shore days to enjoy the ship to themselves.  Spa treatments reserved for shore days often attract a discount so it’s a win-win option.

Pre-dinner cocktails or an afternoon bevvie?

Visiting the ‘iced over’ Martini Bar for 5 o’clock refreshments on Day 2 seemed like a good idea at the time!

Someone around the bar ordered a ‘flight of 12 martinis’.

A ‘flight’ of martinis

The crowd gathered around, cameras appeared, and the encouragement began.

Spectacular to watch the show drew cheers and whistles from the gathering crowd!

Fascinated, we watched as Allin the cocktail crafter extraordinaire prepare the flight.

Allin built a pyramid of 12 martini glasses on the bar. Ingredients for each martini was poured into 12 cocktail shakers.  The shakers were stacked, shaken and slowly tilted to simultaneously pour 12 different martinis!

We were hooked however, by Day 6 we couldn’t face another martini!

Wineglass Workshop

One of the on-board activities on this particular cruise was the Riedel Workshop, a unique Riedel glass-tasting at sea.

Riedel Crystal has an extensive reputation worldwide for designing the very best wine glasses specifically to suit each and every wine style.

Led by some of the best sommeliers, this wine glass tasting demonstrated the benefits and differences in the taste of wine, relative to the wine glass.

A fun afternoon with some surprising revelations for wine drinkers!

If you’re looking for somewhere to cruise to, choose the Caribbean.  Pin this.

Cruise the Caribbean

Cruises can be great fun!  Fine dining, entertainment, relaxation and an opportunity for like minded people to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

Cruising the Caribbean on the Celebrity Equinox was a wonderful week – full of luxury, fun and relaxation.

Have you been on a cruise?  What did you enjoy most?  Do you have a fun story to share?