I recently took cruise of the Western Caribbean on a Royal Caribbean ship. It left from Ft. Lauderdale and lasted 6 nights. There were two full days at sea and three ports of call. I always enjoy Caribbean cruises for several reasons. First the weather is always nice no matter the time of year, and that can be a good change of pace during the cold winter months. Also, it’s a good way to experience international travel without too much hassle. And lastly the culture is generally laid back and friendly.
My favorite stop was our first one, and that was Grand Cayman. It is still part of the British Commonwealth, so besides driving on the wrong side of the street it is also relatively prosperous with a bustling economy. The Cayman Islands are known for good scuba diving, so naturally I wanted to experience some of the coral reefs. We figured the best way to do this was a semi-submersible viewing boat. The boat had an undercarriage with viewing windows so we were able to get an up close view of the fish. It did require a walk down some stairs, but there were handrails on both sides and the crew was helpful getting on board. After looking at fish we went by the Tortuga Rum factory where I bought some pineapple rum cake and should have bought a bottle of pineapple rum but did not. I also got some Jerk pork from a stand just outside. It was delicious.
Our last stop before heading back to the ship was the Cayman turtle farm. In an effort to bolster sea turtle population there are many such turtle farms worldwide. It consists of one large breeding pool with an artificial beach for the turtles to lay their eggs. There are also several holding pools for turtles that are not breeding and smaller turtles that I’m guessing are much younger. You can pick up the smaller turtles as long as you hold them over the water. They tend to kind of freak out when lifted and flap their fins in a distressed manner. We were taught the simplest way to put them at ease is to gently stroke their chin. It was amazing how well this worked.