Cruise ports of call: Caribbean for beach lovers
For cruisers in search of breakers, Barbados, the Caribbean’s outermost island, has some of the biggest waves and best surfing in the region. While most cruisers scurry to calm waters on the island’s west side, surf is up on the southern and eastern shores.
Barry’s Surf School in St Lawrence offers cruisers several options depending on whether you want to have lessons, rent a surfboard, or combine a surf and snorkel trip. It is a 10-minute taxi ride from the cruise port in Bridgetown, and Barry’s will arrange a taxi back for you. A full day of lessons and surfing starts at US$75 per person, but it is only $30 if you just want to rent a board and use the facility’s umbrellas and beach chairs.
This upmarket French island experience is reminiscent of a summer in St Tropez, with some of the most beautiful and least crowded public beaches in the Caribbean. Merely eight miles in length, St Barts can easily be explored during a daylong stop. Cruise ships dock right outside Gustavia, the island’s quaint capital, and take passengers to town on small boats.
For the best people watching take a taxi to St Jean Beach and get lunch or cocktails at Nikki Beach, where the scene centres on fashion and celebrity sightings. For a more French experience, hit a local supermarket in Gustavia to grab wine, cheese and a baguette, and head to Saline Beach or Gouverneur Beach. Bear in mind that in keeping with French tradition both beaches are swimsuit optional. An easy and exciting way to experience several parts of the island in one day is to rent an ATV in Gustavia.
Taxis are readily available at the port, and will cost about 15 euros to St Jean and 25 euros to Saline or Gouverneur beaches. Only upscale cruise lines and small ships call on St Barts, sailing out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and Fort Lauderdale and Miami.