Highlights of the Eastern Caribbean
I find the Eastern Caribbean to be relaxing yet always filled with fun things to do. They have such friendly people, delicious local food, and amazing beaches with soft sand and aqua blue water. It's extremely kid-friendly and one of my favorite destinations to visit.
However, if you are looking to fly to the Caribbean and experience a longer stay, they have a fantastic selection of upscale accommodations. From my website, you've already discovered that I'm all about the ease and convenience of vacationing where I can get unlimited food, drinks, activities, and entertainment. So, of course, the next best thing is a luxurious all-inclusive resort. This is a terrific option for families, as well as couples who want to take a few days away and surround themselves in upscale living.
See below for some of my favorite destinations in the Eastern Caribbean where you can cruise or fly to experience. Click on each picture to enlarge and display additional information for a personalized photo review.
Phillipsburg, St. Maarten
Sonesta St. Maarten Maho Beach Resort (On Your Own)
Based on availability, the Sonesta Maho Beach has day passes available. This is a wonderful experience if you are looking for an excursion on your own and not available through the ship. Take a look at our experience at this fantastic resort!
UPDATE: Since our wonderful visit to the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, less than two weeks later the island of St. Maarten was devastated by Hurricane Irma. Many of the employees of the three Sonesta resorts in St. Maarten are now facing hardship as their lives have been disrupted by this disaster. The primary source of revenue for the island of St. Maarten is tourism. After Sonesta rebuilds, we are certain that people will flock back to their resorts. But in the meantime, you can help make their lives a bit easier by considering a donation. Sonesta has set up a Go Fund Me #StayStrongSXM page to donate. My Virtual Vacations will keep you posted on their progress. Keep checking back for updates.
Orient Beach Ship Excursion
Beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. Take the ship's excursion to St. Maarten's French coast to Orient Beach for an easy and unforgettable day of fun, sun, and relaxation. You'll have your own beach chair and they have a surprisingly delicious restaurant serving local food included in the cost.
Virtual Hint: Don't forget your towels that the ship provides for you to take ashore. But if you do forget (...which we did) you can pick up a few from the local artisans and peddlers selling crafts and souvenirs right on the beach.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
There are a lot of things to do with families right off of the ship. Planning ahead, I created a short walking tour of the Old San Juan area including a visit to the forts, Governor's Mansion, and even a stop for dinner. Since we visited on Christmas Eve, the area was buzzing with holiday spirit. Our ship was docked until 9:00 PM, so the city and ship were beautifully lit up.
Click for a City Map of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Virtual Hint: If you are a member of Open Table, you can get reviews and reservations for many restaurants in Puerto Rico ahead of time. Use their map search tool to find restaurants within walking distance from the port and It's free to book. No waiting with hot, cranky kids (or spouses!)
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Make sure to take an island tour in order to experience Turks and Caicos. With a rich history of royalty who vacation here, you can see famous landmarks and salt ponds, along with roaming animals and beautiful landscapes.
Click for an informational brochure and a Map of Grand Turk to help plan your visit ahead of time.