Friday, 22 June 2012 11:07 AM
Set sail in search of the perfect beach
By Daniel Weight
If there’s one place in the world that could have been designed just for cruising, it’s the Caribbean. The islands are spaced far enough apart to have developed their own unique personalities over time, but close enough to make travelling between them on board a cruise ship hassle free – often there’s just enough time on board to recuperate and relax before heading into the next port.
There are many reasons to choose Caribbean cruise deals – the fascinating history of many of the islands that combines pirates, famous explores, great wealth and colonial power struggles for one. Or the colourful towns and cities that make up the modern Caribbean for another. But ask most people what draws them to this area, and most will say one thing – picture perfect beaches.
The Caribbean is home to some of the best stretches of sand to be found anywhere on the planet. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the better known beaches – all of which can be enjoyed whilst holidaying with P&O Cruises:
Best for Views – Crane Beach Barbados
Constantly appearing in top ten best beaches in the world lists, Crane beach is among the world’s beach royalty. Named for the large crane that used to unload cargo on to ships visiting the long-disappeared harbour, Crane Beach is a palm lined stretch of perfect white sand on the South East shore. Fringed with swaying palms, the beach boasts turquoise waters and an uninterrupted view of the ocean all the way to the horizon. The sea on the main beach can get a little choppy – making it perfect for water sports, but there is a small cove farther along the beach that offers sheltered swimming for children and the less adventurous.
Best for People Watching – Grand Anse Beach, Grenada
Popular with tourists and locals alike, this two mile stretch of white sand on the western shore of Grenada is a great spot to relax with some food and a drink from the local vendors and watch life pass you by. You’ll see Grenadian families making the most of the soft sand, local teenagers playing in the surf, and well-heeled tourists from the nearby luxury hotels enjoying one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Best beach for sunsets – South Frigate Bay, St. Kitts
This golden sanded beach is a lively place during the day and night, and is the perfect spot for watching the sun go down. Choose either a quiet spot on the beach, or pull up a chair at one of the bars and restaurant that line the beach – they often have bbqs or even beach fires lit. Then it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for one of the most beautiful sights in the world to unfold.
Best all round beach – Eagle Beach, Aruba
Special mention has to go to Eagle Beach – widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the world. It’s easy to see why. The beach itself boasts white sand, so fine that it’s almost like sugar in consistency. The water that laps the sand is turquoise and absolutely crystal clear – there’s nothing as amazing as seeing fish swimming around your feet as you walk in the sea!
Of course, the beauty of the Caribbean islands is that there are many stunning beaches that just waiting to be discovered, so whilst these suggestions are widely regarded as the best beaches you’re likely to find your own favourite off the beaten track (I have my own personal top three that I wouldn’t share with anyone!). When you’re cruising, you often have a day in each port – giving you plenty of time to explore. If you’re not sure which beach to head for, your best font of knowledge on board P&O ships is always the resident Port Guides or the Shore Excursion team – it’s likely that they have travelled to the destination before and will know all the best spots. Failing that I almost always find taxi drivers are the font of all local knowledge. Head to a registered taxi stand (best to find one within the port if you can) and get chatting to the driver. He’s likely to know all the best beaches and probably some local secrets too!