Our Caribbean Cruise

We treated ourselves to a fabulous Caribbean cruise this Christmas on the Emerald Princess, which I must say was wonderful. Here she is, looking very grand.

We sailed from Fort Lauderdale on a lovely sunny day in mid December and our first stop off was at Princess Cays where we relaxed on the beach and enjoyed a barbecue.

The iguana is enjoying the sun as much as us.

Our next island was St. Thomas. Here we visited St. Peter Great House and gardens where there are 150 species of Caribbean plants. The island was named by Christopher Columbus in 1493, and later Sir Francis Drake used to lie in wait for Spanish treasure ships in the quiet waters of Magens Bay. Blackbeard and Captain Kidd also used this as a safe harbour.

Dominica was lovely, very natural, where we enjoyed a visit to a waterfall, saw a huge banyan tree in the botanical gardens, and a bus that had been flattened in a typhoon. Glad it wasn’t ours.

One of our favourite islands was Grenada where we visited a spice estate. The guy in the picture is moving the cocoa beans in order to help them dry out. We were shown how nutmeg and mace were produced, and later visited the distribution centre.

Did you know that loofahs grow on trees? No, neither did I, but apparently they do.

On Bonaire, part of the Dutch Antilles, we went out on a glass bottomed boat to look at the fishes and coral. We even saw a great big sting ray. Amazing! And this Pirates of the Caribbean type ship.

Our last excursion was Christmas Day where we visited a butterfly farm on Aruba. I loved the butterflies, which were huge and brightly coloured. The pair the woman is holding were mating. Well, it has to be done somehow.

And this is an owl butterfly, named for its markings.

And another pretty one.

I bought some face cream at an aloe vera factory, of course, and learned something about the medicinal properties of this plant, which I do grow in my Spanish garden. Very interesting, and useful for sting relief. Just slice the spikes off the leaf first, then peel back the green part to reach the sappy bit. Rub that on the sting and you’ll feel much better. There’s also a lovely shopping centre on Aruba, but as it was Christmas Day, it was closed.

There was plenty of entertainment on board, including a brilliant tribute band, the Beatle Maniacs, who were superb. Lots of excellent dining, dancing, music and shows, and plenty of excuses to dress up. Great fun!  And you can watch the movie while you swim.

We shall certainly be cruising again.


  1. Hi Freda

    I've just started to follow your blog - your cruise looked amazing and the photos are brilliant - made me long for sunshine and sandy beaches and for people to cook for me. Hope coming home isn't too much of an anti-climax for you.


  2. Hi Freda,

    Wow, this brought back some wonderful memories.


  3. Wonderful cruise - great pics. We haven't done that itinerary. But you know cruising always seems to appear in one of my books - lol! Getting ready to go on a 4-night cruise - can't wait!

  4. Great photos, Freda - we've cruised several times (husband is in travel) and we loved Dominica. It's such a relaxing holiday, isn't it?

  5. Hi Freda, just stumbled across your blog with these awesome photos. A Caribbean cruise is truly one of life's greatest gifts.