0 comments on “A Local’s Guide to St. George’s, Grenada
 

A Local’s Guide to St. George’s, Grenada
 

The Caribbean offers seemingly endless tropical islands to experience, but one of the most fascinating is Grenada. This island has some of the most scenic vistas and beautiful hiking trails throughout the Caribbean. Of course, Grenada also provides breathtaking beaches, cultural attractions, excellent shopping and festive island-style dining. Here’s what our Destination Specialists recommend.

SHOP
Esplanade Mall
St. Juilles Street

Step off the ship and into a mall with more than 50 shops with gifts for everyone. As a part of the cruise terminal, this bustling mall is a great place to stop before or after a fun excursion. Although this area may seem touristy, this is the perfect place to purchase locally-made clothing and Grenadian rum to bring back for yourself or your loved ones. Just outside the mall, live music by locals keeps the atmosphere laid-back and festive. Vendors lining the square sell everything from sunglasses to aromatic spices such as local cinnamon and nutmeg.

EAT
Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant
Lagoon Road

A home-turned-restaurant, Patrick’s Local Homestyle Cooking Restaurant will satisfy your taste buds with Grenadian favorites and a homey atmosphere. A small restaurant, Patrick’s is a family-run establishment and offers the chance to try more than 10 dishes in small portions, so you can have a taste of traditional fare in its many delicious forms. Sample dishes such as callaloo soup, breadfruit salad, fried plantains, curried chicken and much more. This restaurant is popular visitors and locals alike because of the fresh island flavors and authentic Grenadian cuisine.

VISIT
Fort Frederick
Richmond Hill

If there’s one place you don’t want to miss on Grenada, it’s Fort Frederick. This historic site was built by the French in 1779, but ended up being used by the British to defend the island against the French. Fort Frederick is well-preserved and a must-see for anyone interested in history. Although the fort is small, its intriguing story and spectacular views make it well worth it. The fort offers stunning panoramic views of Grenada and the surrounding sea.

The culture- and history-rich island of Grenada may not be the most well-known, but it’s one you’ll certainly remember long after your visit. We hope to see you in the beautiful Caribbean this winter!

0 comments on “A Guide to Our Uncommon Caribbean
 

A Guide to Our Uncommon Caribbean
 

As one of the most popular travel and cruise destinations in the world, you’ve probably explored the iconic beaches and beautiful isles of the Caribbean before. But with 26 countries and over 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean, there are plenty of still-undiscovered destinations to add to your travel wish list – even for travel and cruise connoisseurs. Our Caribbean voyages invite you to discover the uncommon Caribbean, charting the lesser-known coastlines and bringing you to more boutique ports and off-the-beaten-path destinations. Here are few delightfully less-traveled Caribbean islands well worth exploring.

Kingstown, St. Vincent
With plenty of old world charm, rolling emerald hills and a picture-perfect harbor, plus some the best sailing waters in the Caribbean, this island is certain to become one of your favorite escapes. Kingstown’s 250-year-old Botanical Gardens are home to countless exotic plants and make for a perfect morning excursion. Delve deeper into St. Vincent’s natural treasures with a guided hike along the Vermont Nature Trail to learn about the island’s unique, rare and endangered flora and fauna, including the colorful St. Vincent parrot. To strike even further off the beaten path, sail to neighboring Bequia on a catamaran and explore its lovely Front Street.

Kralendijk, Bonaire
The least developed island of the ABC islands, Bonaire is a small desert-landscape island renowned for diving and snorkeling due to its pristine coral reef, a designated national park, located just a few feet from the shoreline. Sail to the stunningly beautiful waters of Klein Bonaire for exceptional snorkeling where you might spot parrotfish, angelfish, sea horses, sea turtles and more. If you prefer to stay above water, glass-bottom kayaks and boats offer another great way to witness all of Bonaire’s colorful marine life. Those looking to delve into the island’s otherworldly landscape – filled with craters, giant cacti and limestone plateaus – will want to venture to Bonaire’s east coast on a thrilling 4×4 adventure.

Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe
For a taste of French flair in the tropics, Guadeloupe is your answer. You might choose to spend the day in the charming sugar town and fishing village of Sainte Anne, filled with restaurants, boutiques, a lively market, a lovely seaside promenade and an excellent white sand beach. Mountainous Basse-Terre, the main western island is equally alluring – discover the lush volcanic landscape with a guided hike in Guadeloupe National Park, visit the Montebelo rum distillery for a tasting or explore the Botanical Gardens in Deshaies.

Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
The birthplace of Calypso, this Caribbean nation and its capital city of Port of Spain are big on atmosphere. Immerse yourself in Trinidadian culture with a traditional performance at the Cultural Center or a visit to Pan Theater for a rousing steel band performance. Head into the heart of Trinidad to Asa Wright Nature Center for a closer look at the island’s incredible diversity of wildlife, butterflies and tropical plants. Bird lovers will want to visit Caroni Bird Sanctuary – an idyllic wetland that attracts thousands of unique water birds – and rum aficionados should stop at House of Angostura, Trinidad’s premier rum distillery.

Roseau, Dominica
This nature lover’s island is filled with lush rainforests, misty waterfalls, geothermal springs, rare plants and birds – and plenty of adventures. Go on a tubing adventure down the meandering Layou River or hike to the stunning trio of waterfalls at Trafalgar Falls. The Emerald Pool, part of the UNESCO-protected, Morne Trois Pitons National Park, is another choice option. Chocolate lovers shouldn’t miss the unique experience of learning all about cocoa bean processing and making chocolate treats at Dominica’s oldest estate, Bois Cotlette.

Come join us in the tropics this winter and experience an entirely new side of the Caribbean.

0 comments on “A Local’s Guide to Rome
 

A Local’s Guide to Rome
 

If you’ve been to Rome once or if you’ve been one hundred times, you know that there is much more to the Eternal City than its famed tourist attractions. Rome is a town of the people, the capital of a country dedicated to its citizens.
If you want to experience Rome like a local, here are our Destination Specialists’ top off-the-beaten-path suggestions for this beautiful city.

SHOP
San Lorenzo District
Via Tiburtina

The San Lorenzo District is a great place to experience Roman boutiques and get your Italian chocolate fix. Experience the family-run Candle’s Store on Via dei Campani for one-of-a-kind artisanal candles that put run-of-the-mill candle shops to shame. Whether you’re buying your friends and family hip, Italian clothing at local boutiques or sampling artisan chocolates and desserts at Said – the area’s authentic chocolate shop – the San Lorenzo District brims with perfect gifts for everyone in your life, including yourself.

VISIT
Centrale Montemartini
Via Ostiense 106

After exploring so many traditional Italian museums, you might be ready for something different. The newest addition to the Capitole Museums in Rome, Centrale Montemartini is a former power plant turned museum displaying ancient statues. A three-minute walk from Basilica San Paolo, this unique Greco-Roman museum is a must-see juxtaposition of the old and the new. The thought-provoking contrast between the industrial world and classical art is a testament to Italian ingenuity that makes this stunning collection well worth a visit.

EAT
Nuovo Mondo
Via Amerigo Vespucci 15

Within the homey neighborhood of Piazza Testaccio, you’ll find Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, a daily market that favored by locals. Take time to experience Rome’s delicacies while shopping the market. Browse overflowing stalls filled with fresh fish, fresh and cured meat, freshly picked herbs and vegetables and ripe, colorful fruit. You can sit in the open piazza in the middle of the square and savor some fresh and local treats. However, we recommend saving room for the best pizza in Rome at a local favorite, Nuovo Mondo. At this humble, bustling restaurant, satisfy your senses with authentic Roman thin-crust pizza and the quintessential Italian experience.

Benvenuti a Roma! Welcome to the real Rome with these hidden secrets.

0 comments on “An Inside Look at Two Unforgettable African Safaris”

An Inside Look at Two Unforgettable African Safaris

An African safari tops most travelers’ bucket lists for its once-in-a-lifetime appeal, the thrilling adventure of witnessing Africa’s wild animals in their natural habitats and the stunningly exotic scenery. Senior Manager of Destination Services Christine Andrusyshyn is our resident expert in all things related to land tours and has a special passion for safaris. Christine recently had the chance to experience two of our African safaris first-hand, and we sat down with her to get an inside look at what they were like, what types of African wildlife she saw and much more.

Pumba Water Lodge, South Africa

 

Tell us about the ambiance of the lodge: From the moment we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and friendly smiles. All of the beautifully appointed chalets overlooked the huge watering hole where animals come throughout the day to drink – and at night we could hear the hippos in the water! The 12 stone-walled, thatched chalets were all very spacious with viewing decks and plunge pools, fireplaces and complimentary port wine. We were there during their winter so they even put hot water bottles under the covers at turndown – this was a lovely touch. The décor was very British colonial safari, completely done in dark, exotic woods.

What wildlife did you see? So many different types — we saw a herd of lions with cubs and white female lion, impalas, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, so many species of birds, hippos, Cape buffalo and much more! Most exciting for me was when a herd of elephants wandered right past our vehicle and stopped to eat right next to us as if we weren’t even there. We also spotted a white female lion sleeping on a rock and little lion cubs that came out from the trees to play next to our jeep. Our ranger was extremely knowledgeable about everything we saw.

 

Evening safaris include sundowners at sunset which was an amazing experience. Our ranger stopped in a clearing in the bush and set up drinks and snacks behind the vehicle. It was so peaceful until a massive heard of some impalas stampeded by us at top speed, obviously spooked by something. We didn’t take any chance. We high-tailed it out of there – it was exhilarating!

What were meals at the lodge like? An early morning spread of biscuits, toast and coffee and tea is served before going out on the morning game drive. After game drives, breakfast is buffet style with both hot and cold options as well as menu selections for eggs and other à la carte items. Lunch and dinner are both served at the lodge’s restaurant with several selections for appetizers, main dishes and desserts. All drinks Every meal was served like a work of art – beautiful presentation, gourmet quality and absolutely delicious. Afternoon tea included refreshments and light snacks before heading out for the evening game drive.

When can you experience it? As an overland tour on Nautica in 2019 and on Insignia in 2020. Here are a few options:

South African Explorer | Cape Town to Cape Town15 days aboard Nautica departing January 5, 2019

Safaris, Sands & Splendors | Cape Town to Singapore30 days aboard Nautica departing January 20, 2019

Around the World in 180 Days | Miami to San Francisco180 Days aboard Insignia departing January 8, 2020

Shamwari Bayethe, South Africa

 

How did the feel of this lodge compare to Pumba Water Lodge? While Pumba was quite British Colonial, Bayethe was much more modern. This lodge is set on a game reserve that houses 6 lodges and 3 education and rehabilitation centers on more than 60,000 acres – it’s massive. At Bayethe, you stay in a tent but each tent is truly a luxury tent. Nothing is spared and we actually felt like we were in a cabin or lodge. Each luxury tent is surrounded by the forest so you feel like you are completely on your own. It’s very private with long walkways to each tent. Our tent had a king-sized bed, seating area, coal-burning stove, separate bathroom area with tub, an outdoor private shower, a beautiful viewing deck and a plunge pool. The main lodge area houses the cozy dining room with two fireplaces, plus a swimming pool with an outdoor seating area on the deck, all overlooking a watering hole. The staff here was incredibly warm and welcoming as they were at Pumba.

What wildlife did you see? We saw so many amazing animals here and in so many different landscapes – jungles, wetlands, mountainous areas, open and arid regions. Two separate herds of lions casually walked by our jeep as if we weren’t there. We also had a face-off with an elephant – he came right up to the jeep and stared at us. We didn’t move a muscle and then after about five minutes, he calmly walked away. We also saw plenty of zebras, several varieties of antelope, pumbas, hippos and much more. The sunsets were spectacular here…the sky was filled with every shade of orange and pink. Our ranger here was also very knowledgeable and helpful.

 

The safari jeeps were especially great here, seating two people per row and in the middle of each row was a console with blankets inside if needed. The jeeps are covered and there’s a pull-out platform that makes getting in and out much easier. Plus, each row was higher than the row in front of it.

What were meals at the lodge like? They were very similar to Pumba Water Lodge. There’s a large breakfast buffet and a lovely restaurant for lunch and dinner with a wide selection of gourmet dishes. Afternoon tea was particularly amazing here – all types of cakes, sweets and coffee and tea. The wait staff even had jars of candies and nuts with scoops and small bags so that guests could take the snacks on safari.

When can you experience it? As a post-cruise land tour aboard Nautica in 2019 and Insignia in 2020. Here are a few options:

Serenity to Safaris | Dubai to Cape Town 30 days aboard Nautica departing December 7, 2019

Atlantic Adventures | Buenos Aires to Cape Town36 days aboard Insignia departing March 4, 2020

Atlantic Endeavor | Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town25 days aboard Insignia departing March 15, 2020

 

Inspired? Start planning the African safari of your dreams.

0 comments on “Best Wine Tasting Experiences in South America
 

Best Wine Tasting Experiences in South America
 

Although you may traditionally think of Italy and France when you hear wine, South America has quickly become a rising star in the world of wine. In fact, many sun-drenched vineyards across Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have come to rival those of Tuscany and Bordeaux in recent years, according to wine experts. Sampling top-of-the-line locally produced wine on some of our shore excursions is the perfect way to immerse yourself in this region of the world. Here are four South American wine tasting experiences you shouldn’t miss during your cruise:

1. City Sights & Juanicó Winery | Montevideo, Uruguay
After a picturesque ride through downtown Montevideo, you will arrive in Juanicó, Uruguay’s ultimate wine-producing locale. This excursion will take you through the bounteous vineyards and state-of-the-art winery in Juanicó. Here you will be treated to traditional Uruguayan foods and, of course, a curated selection of wine produced at this winery, which may include cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, semillón and sauvignon blanc. If you’re after a taste of the best of Uruguayan food and wine, then this is an ideal excursion for you.

2. Montevideo City Sights, Steam Train & Wine Tasting | Montevideo, Uruguay
After a day full of adventure around Montevideo, you will arrive at the Carrau Winery. The Carrau family has been crafting wine for 265 years, but began producing wine in Uruguay in 1930, paving the way for other local wineries and the recent development of quality Uruguayan wines. While there, you’ll enjoy several types of Uruguayan wine and sparkling wine accompanied by local cheeses and ham.

3. Panoramic Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar & Winery | Santiago de Chile, Chile
After experiencing the breathtaking views of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, you will arrive in Casablanca Valley, an area where the soil is similar to that of Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California. One of the best regions for a wine excursion, the region is filled with wineries and this excursion varies the featured winery. Not only will you learn about the wine-making process, but you’ll taste several local esteemed wines and also enjoy a memorable Chilean-style lunch at the winery.

4. Live the Chilean Spirit: Wine And Horses of Casablanca | Santiago de Chile, Chile
While visiting Santiago de Chile, two authentic experiences that both locals and tourists love are visiting a local winery and enjoying a day at the Chilean rodeo. In Casablanca Valley, you will visit either Vasa del Bosque or Viña Mar Winery, where you will get an insider’s look at the wine-making process and sample some of the locally produced wines. After touring the winery, you’ll visit Puro Caballo, where you will be served a glass of wine or pisco sour while witnessing the skills and showmanship of a traditional Chilean rodeo. The experience is crowned with a savory Chilean lunch.

 

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just someone who enjoys sharing a bottle with friends, these wine tasting experiences invite you to discover the South American spirit and a delicious taste of this fascinating continent. Uncover some of these wine experiences and much more this December aboard Marina’s Rio de Janeiro to Santiago de Chile voyage!