Sunday, January 13, 2013

Caribbean Cruise - Introduction

Every year, Sigrid and I try to find new and exciting places to visit.  We have talked about Africa, South America including Antarctica, or another Asian cruise covering areas that we hadn't visited yet.  As we looked at the travel brochures, we realized that we were overlooking the fairly close by part of the globe that we hadn't been considering....the Caribbean.

I had been on a Caribbean cruise back in the summer of 1994 but Sigrid has never been to that part of the world.  After studying our options, we selected a Holland America cruise the covered most of the best known eastern and southern islands.  Our plan was to visit one time and see as much as we could before moving on to other parts of the world.  The cruise we selected was for 21 days.  Here is the itinerary information.  The cruise was actually two cruises fit together.  That is why we visit Fort Lauderdale in the middle.  We actually did the reverse of what is shown below in that we did the Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, etc. part of the cruise first.

Our ship was the Noordam.  It was the third Holland America ship we have cruised on with the first two being the Zandam and Volendam.  The Noordam is slightly larger that the other two.  On our two part cruise we had 1,859 and 1,857 passengers on board.  The other two ships can only handle about 1,400 passengers.  The Noordam had a crew of just over 800 taking care of us and the ship.  The Noordam was built in 2006 so it is a fairly new ship.

There will be about 21 posts following this one.  Each one will cover the activities of the day with photos and commentary.  As each new post is created, it stacks on top of the previous one so to follow the posts in order, you start here and then click on the "Newer Post" link at the end of each post to proceed.  You can use the Blog Archive on the right side of each post to skip around by island if you don't want to look at all the posts.

I will reference island types in the blog postings.  There are two types: Limestone/Coral and Volcanic origin.  The Limestone/Coral islands tend to be flat and featureless since they were, at some point, part of the ocean floor.  These islands have little soil so the vegetation is scrubby with few naturally occurring flowers and limited wildlife.  The Volcanic islands look more like Hawaii with the large mountains, lush rain forests, tropical fruits and flowers, and interesting wildlife.  All the islands have beautiful beaches and great snorkeling/scuba diving although the Limestone/Coral islands probably have an edge here.

We hope you enjoy the posts and can use the information for planning your own trip to the Caribbean.

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