Honeymoons: Cruising the Caribbean
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | December 12, 2017
Paradise found: why a honeymoon cruise is a great option
Secluded beaches, delicious food and great service - cruising the Caribbean is perfect for honeymoons. Newlywed Hollie-Rae Brader explains why.
Think honeymoon and what springs to mind? For many the first thought is Mauritius, the Seychelles or the Maldives. Two weeks of pure relaxation, putting the chaos of wedding planning behind you and switching off from real life, replacing it with the sound of water swishing around under your overwater villa. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Now, if I suggested a honeymoon on a cruise ship, what would you think? Unless you’re a serial cruiser, the myths around cruising could be off-putting. But fears that you’re only surrounded by old people and that you’re going to be bored are outdated and incorrect. In fact, there’s far more to see and do on a cruise visiting multiple idyllic, middle-of-nowhere islands, than there is just visiting one!
Why visit one paradise island when you can sample several? That’s why I, a newlywed of just four months, headed off on a Caribbean cruise with my new husband in tow, eager to put the notion of a honeymoon cruise to the test.
Our grand voyage on board Silversea’s Silver Spirit started in Barbados, a gateway to the Caribbean for many UK cruisers, and ended in Miami, stopping in Bequia, Grenada, Curaçao, Aruba, the Dominican Republic and Turks & Caicos en route.
NOT A CARE IN THE WORLD
On embarkation our luggage, and our cares, were swiftly taken away. While exploring the ship, I suddenly hear “Hello Miss Merrick – so glad to see you back on board”. At first I didn’t respond; after tying the knot I wasn’t a Merrick any more.
But when the kind, smiling face came closer I recognised him – a waiter I’d meet two and a half years earlier on another Silversea cruise in the Mediterranean. I quizzed him on how he’d managed to remember me, with thousands of guests travelling since I was last on board.
“I remember all of the smiley guests”, he laughed. And suddenly, I felt at home.
From that point on we were left to relax and enjoy – every whim was taken care of. If we wanted more champagne in our room, we got it and quickly (nobody wants to run short of champagne, after all). When we wanted to know the best beach bar in Bequia, the concierge prepared a tailored list of recommendations. We weren’t even allowed to put our own towels on the sunloungers by the pool – no, that’s too much like hard work and the attentive pool staff would rather you focus on choosing which beverage to order next. Mine’s a gin and tonic with a slice of grapefruit, please.
On sail-away from Barbados, we look out from the aft of the 540-passenger ship and watch the wake it creates as the sun dips from sight. We toast the Caribbean adventures ahead, and also ourselves (we became quite accustomed to toasts in our honour during our wedding day).
While we were the youngest couple on the ship (although the demographic was generally lower than expected), we weren’t the only honeymooners. A couple of successful 40-somethings were celebrating their nuptials too, and another American duo were planning ahead of their honeymoon next year. Although unlike my short 10-day sailing, they were planning on cruising the world for at least four months – now that’s celebrating in style!
Silver Spirit is a favourite among hardcore Silversea guests – I lost count of the number of people who told me they follow this ship around the world, and that they’d only sail on her. Following the launch of Silver Muse, Spirit feels a teeny bit dated, or well-loved, as it was described by a fellow passenger. But plans are in place to revamp the ship, as part of $170 million investment in the entire fleet.
While the ship’s decor is being brought up to date, the service and cuisine on Silver Spirit needs no improvement.
Dinner was my favourite time of day and with six dining options on offer, every evening brought a different experience. Al fresco Italian La Terrazza is just devine, and Stars Supper Club – where tapas-style dishes are served up to the sweet sounds of a jazz band – is well worth a visit. Japanese restaurant Seishin gets busy at night, with only a handful of tables, but visit at lunchtime to sample its sushi offering. One not to be missed is La Dame, created in partnership with Relais & Chateaux. Make sure you book months before you even step foot on board, otherwise you stand little chance of getting a table!
Our first (and favourite) port of call was Bequia in the Grenadines. This bitesized island, with a population of just over 5,000 people, is seldom visited by cruisers in Caribbean terms – mainly because it’s hard for bigger vessels to dock here. But that wasn’t a problem on our little ship, and it was easy to find a secluded beach that remained just ours for most of the day – it seems that despite its size there is plenty of golden sand to go around.
The tender through Admiralty Bay to the shore is a delight, with lots of beautiful yachts and boats lining the way.
Life here is slow paced, so we opt to laze on the beach after exploring Port Elizabeth. Then it’s on to test the three beach bars recommended by the ship’s concierge team. They don’t disappoint, and we head back to the ship happy having explored somewhere that’s tricky to get to from the UK – and after a few hours sampling the local rum.
Next stop – Grenada. Instead of heading to the beach, we opted to delve into the centre of the country and visit local herb markets and Annandale Falls for a quick swim under the cascading waters. In Aruba, we spend our first day apart; I sit by the ship’s pool reading a book while Matthew, the more adventurous one in our relationship, learns to scuba dive in a shipwreck an hour off the coast. In Willemstad, the capital of Dutch island Curaçao, we explore streets lined with pastel-coloured colonial buildings.
In the Dominican Republic we head further afield on the guidance of an on board entertainer from Liverpool. We jump in a taxi and head to Samana, a beautiful white beach with no other tourists, just a few locals and their excited children jumping around and splashing in the sea.
Silver Spirit was able to park practically on the beach at Grand Turk because of its petite size – and within five minutes of leaving my suite, I’m in the sea, prancing around like the children a day earlier.
One of the main reasons I enjoy cruising is the variety it brings. Every day brings new destinations, cultures, ways of life and new adventures.
You may be on a ship, but there’s no worry of getting cabin fever on a Caribbean cruise, because a new paradise arrives on your doorstep when you pull back your curtains each morning...and who doesn’t want to spend their honeymoon in blissful paradise.
Silversea offers 13 days on Silver Spirit on a Caribbean sailing, round-trip from Fort Lauderdale on November 28, 2018, from £3,600.