Named by Christopher Columbus after Santa Maria la Antigua, the
island of Antigua was first colonized by Christopher Codrington in 1632. Long
before the English arrived, the island is believed to have been settled around
3100 BC.

Antigua is one of two main islands in the Caribbean island
nation of Antigua and Barbuda, which is said to have 365 beaches, one for every
day of the year. After the sugar trade began to diminish, these beautiful
beaches became the country’s new commodity, and visitors flock from all over
the world to thaw out on one of the many pristine beaches on these gorgeous islands.
During my last visit to Antigua as Blogger-at-Large, I was only able to visit a
couple of these beaches, but I wish I had an entire year to explore them all!

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When visiting Antigua, the ships of Oceania Cruises call on
St. John’s, the nation’s capital. One of the first recognizable sights on the
city’s skyline is the beautiful white towers of St. John’s Cathedral. After
being destroyed in earthquakes in 1683 and 1745, the current incarnation was
built in 1845.

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One of the most popular shore excursions from St. John’s is
the Champagne & Lobster Catamaran
Cruise
. This excursion is a wonderful way to visit some of the most idyllic
beaches of Antigua – and enjoy a fantastic lunch as well!

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The crew of the catamaran greet guests
just a short walk from where the ship is docked. The boat then cruises along
the beautiful coastline of Antigua, making a couple of stops at secluded beaches
along the way. There are ample opportunities to swim, snorkel, explore or just
relax and take in paradise.

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Of course, the highlight of the cruise is lobster fresh off
the grill, prepared by the captain and his crew and complemented by a glass of
champagne.

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There are several other fabulous shore excursions offered on
Antigua as well, including an opportunity to swim with stingrays, a tour of
galleries dedicated to local artists and kayaking through the mangroves.

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Nothing cures the winter blues like the blue waters of the Caribbean,
and there are several sailings that visit St. John’s in 2013 and 2014. We look
forward to seeing you onboard!

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