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Setting sail from Miami
Miami is a pulsating modern city, a cultural crossroads where Cuban émigrés rub shoulders with affluent New Yorkers topping up on winter sun, and where you're just as likely to hear Spanish or Caribbean patois being spoken as you are English. Downtown Miami is a destination in its own right, with a host of world class galleries including the fantastic MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), but it's still Miami Beach that draws the biggest crowds. The Art Deco district around South Beach is very much back in vogue, with new restaurants, bars and luxury developments sprouting up all over the place.
People watching in South Beach – glamorous gay guys on skates with miniature dogs in slings…
United States: Key West
Colourful and eccentric, the island city of Key West stands apart from the rest of Florida. A strong Caribbean influence reflects the city’s proximity to Cuba and the Bahamas, and it has long been known as a bohemian hangout, a welcoming and open-minded place that Ernest Hemingway once called home.
Belize: Belize City
Belize’s capital does not enjoy the best reputation, and we wouldn’t recommend spending too much time here; use it instead as a jumping-off point to explore the fascinating Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, Lamanai and Altun Ha, or take a snorkelling trip to the beautiful Barrier Reef, including the famous Blue Hole.
Costa Rica: Limon
Situated at the Atlantic entrance to the Panama Canal, Colón is not somewhere you will want to hang around for long, and serves merely as a gateway to the Canal, which will carry you to much nicer places.
Cartagena was founded by Spanish conquistadors in 1533, and the beautifully preserved centre is a real highlight of Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled old town, the Ciudad Amurallada, is a camera-friendly collection of cobbled streets and colourful, colonial-era buildings.
Colombia: Santa Marta
Situated on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Santa Marta is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial city in South America. The modern city lacks some of the charm of nearby Cartagena, but tourism has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with a number of ambitious regeneration projects and a host of new restaurants and bars.
The tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, located just off the coast of Venezuela, lies outside of the hurricane belt, meaning it enjoys a largely dry climate, and boasts some of the best beaches in the region, if not the world.
The gabled houses of Willemstad lend an undeniably Dutch feel to the capital of little Curaçao, with a splash of Caribbean colour thrown in. The island itself is not your typical lush tropical paradise - the landscape is characterised instead by thorny shrubs and cacti - but there are some fantastic beaches and quaint little villages.
Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba: Kralendijk (Bonaire)
The quiet, cactus-covered Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire is internationally renowned for its diving, ringed by spectacular coral reefs that teem with life. The capital, Kralendijk, is home to some pretty colonial architecture, and the island is also known for its flamingos and pink sand beaches.
There’s more to Barbados than just beaches; the delightful colonial architecture of the old garrison in Bridgetown, the capital, is fully deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status, and the island interior is littered with old sugar plantations and natural wonders such as Harrison’s Cave.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Mayreau
Situated just to the west of the Tobago Cays, Mayreau is a tiny, barely inhabited island that can only be reached by boat. There is very little to do, which is the main attraction for those lucky few who wash up here; the palm-fringed beaches and gently lapping waters are the Caribbean island idyll par excellence.
The island of Dominica stands out from the rest of the Caribbean, a rugged natural paradise that remains blissfully free of mass market tourism. The capital, Roseau, is pleasant enough, but the island interior offers so much more, including thick jungle, bubbling hot springs, cascading waterfalls and abundant birdlife.
Guadeloupe is made up of two main islands that resemble the wings of a butterfly, and several smaller islands offering a diverse array of cultural, historical and natural attractions. The islands are swathed in lush rainforest and fringed by golden beaches, and a strong French influence is discernible in the flavoursome Creole cuisine.
Saint Barthélemy: Gustavia
The tiny French Caribbean island of St Barths is renowned as a haunt of the rich and the famous, and you can certainly live well here if you’ve got the means; the petite capital, Gustavia, boasts an array of gourmet restaurants and chic boutiques aimed squarely at the A-list. The beautiful beaches, on the other hand, are free and open to all.
Saint Kitts and Nevis: Saint Kitts
Laid back and low key, Saint Kitts is an island typified by rolling green hills, characterful beach bars and the lingering remnants of the sugar cane trade that once dominated here. Attractions include the UNESCO-listed Brimstone Hill fortress, the 18-mile Scenic Railway and the faded Georgian elegance of the capital, Basseterre.
British Virgin Islands: Jost Van Dyke
The idyllic island of Jost Van Dyke, named after an early Dutch settler, is known for its laid back vibe and friendly beach bars, including the famous Foxy’s, which counts Keith Richards amongst its past customers. It’s a place to kick back and relax, and the clear blue waters are also perfect for snorkelling.
Arriving in Philipsburg
Philipsburg is the gateway to an intriguing little Caribbean island with a dual personality: the Dutch side, St. Maarten, is the livelier of the two, with shopping malls, casinos and more of a nightlife scene, while French-speaking St. Martin is a more refined (and more expensive) affair, with a laid-back, continental air and a host of exclusive resorts and restaurants. Travelling between the two halves of the island is hassle-free, and both sides boast beautiful beaches, friendly locals and pleasant little towns and villages.
For a change of pace, go to Loterie Farm at the foot of Pic Paradis, the highest point on Saint Martin, where you can cool off, see the wildlife and rent a cabana for a day of swimming in the cascades.
Your home from home
Any one of Seabourn's lovely little trio of spacious and elegant sisters is the perfect choice for a combination of contemporary style and traditional expert hospitality.
What we love
When Seabourn built Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, over a period of just three years, we were delighted. Not only because each one is beautiful, but also because their similarity means that they are interchangeable, enabling you to travel all over the world in a familiar environment.
|Crew||330 International Staff|
|Style||The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.|
|Odyssey 2009, Sojourn 2010, Quest 2011|
|Cruising Speed||19 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Miami
Glamorous, hip, or so cool you freeze? Lots of choice… but we really like the Betsy.
See more of Florida
If you have a few days get down to the Florida Keys – magnificent.
Where to stay in Saint Martin
Le Petit Hotel in Grand Case is such a fantastic choice – right on the beach, and great value.
What to do in Saint Martin
There are some amazing hikes on the island, so if you feel up to it, hire a guide to take you on one of the trails.