PART ONE – OOOOHHHH MARTIN
Our first cruise experience was a mixed bag in so many ways, but overall it met our objective of finding out if cruise holidays are for us (more on that later). Part one of this trip started at Heathrow, were we met up with Chris and Bailey, our friends, cruise experts and tour guides for the next 10 days. The first leg was a flight into Miami and a few days soaking up the SoBe (South Beach) lifestyle ahead of boarding the ship.
Chris had overseen booking 3 nights in a SoBe hotel, with a brief for somewhere nice, central and not too pricey. Technically he met this brief, however, there was a significant oversight to the Clevelander South Beach Hotel and Bar…it had an outside pool, bar and party area, with a live DJ playing until 5am every night of the week. Guess what our rooms overlooked? Ear plugs saved Chris’ hide!Continue Reading
Saint Lucia has been a dream destination of mine for as long as I can remember, probably dating back to junior school geography lessons. I'm not sure why this Caribbean island stood out for me, but having now been, I can thoroughly recommend it if you want a mix of relaxed 5* pampering as well as excellent sightseeing and a fun party vibe.
We stayed at the Royalton Saint Lucia in Smugglers Cove, at the Northern tip of the island. This is a new Royalton hotel, refurbished after purchasing the property from its former owners. It is a beautiful and top quality resort, akin to a Sandals resort. It never felt overly busy, getting a table at the various restaurants was always easy and the food quality was great. The only downside to this resort is the 2 hour transfer from Hewanorra Airport, which is at the Southern end of the island. Opt for a taxi rather than a coach transfer, it won't be that much faster, but it will be a more comfortable journey. If they offer a boat transfer snap their hand off.Continue Reading
Following a short flight from Miami, we landed in Jamaica, the third largest island in the Greater Antilles and the fourth largest in the whole Caribbean. We cleared customs quickly and, for the first time ever, our bags were not only in the baggage hall, they had been lifted off the carousel for us to collect. The second surprise quickly followed. As we left the baggage hall, we were met by a Sandles representative and ushered into a private waiting lounge and provided with two glasses of Red Stripe, the local beer. We hardly had time to take a sip before we were told that our transfer coach was ready to take us the short distance to our hotel.Continue Reading