Without rampant duty-free shopping and other tourist attractions, Anguilla is not among the most popular destinations for cruise liners in the Caribbean. Still, there are several cruise lines that are drawn to Anguilla's peaceful seclusion, good food, and unparalleled beaches.
With neighboring St. Maarten attracting hordes of cruise travelers to its beaches and duty-free shopping, Anguilla remains a considerably quieter destination. Cruise travelers who do choose one of the few cruise lines that call on Blowing Point Harbor in Anguilla will be richly rewarded with resplendent beaches and world class French, Italian, and eclectic cuisine. Large cruise vessels carrying thousands of passengers do not come to this island. But smaller luxury lines allow their limited numbers of guests to enjoy a day snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply sunbathing at one of the island's 33 beaches. While the island is not know for shopping, there is a fine assortment of local crafts and goods to be purchased.
Cruise season in the Caribbean occurs during the tourist high season of mid-December to mid-April, when cooler temperatures north of the equator convince vacationers to head to more tropical climates. Hurricane season, which can pose problems and complications for Caribbean travelers, ends in November. Cruise fares during the off season can be lower than high season fares, although the limited number of cruise lines traveling to Anguilla may make it difficult to find cruises during any part of the year. A few of the lines have just a small number of cruises that will call on Anguilla.
Cruises can be ideal for travelers who do not wish to plan their vacation around one single island. Cruises depart from destinations in southern Florida and other Caribbean islands. Travelers who have chosen to stay on Anguilla for an extended vacation can charter a day cruise to one of the small offshore islands.
|Cruise Line ||Contact Information||Sample Itinerary|
|Compagnie des Iles de Ponant||http://www.ponant.com/||Point-a-Pitre, Antigua, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Point-a-Pitre|
||2049 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA 90067
|Miami, Grand Turk, Anguilla, Tortola, St. Barthelemy, St. Thomas, Miami|
SeaDream Yacht Club
|2601 South Bayshore Drive
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
|St. Thomas, St. John, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, Saba, St. Barthelemy, Anguilla, St. Martin|
|Star Clippers||7200 NW 19th Street, Suite 206
Miami, FL 33126
|St. Maarten, Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts, St. Barthelemy, St. Maarten|
|Windstar Cruises||300 Elliott Avenue West
Seattle, WA 98119
|St. Thomas, St. John, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, Iles des Saintes, St. Lucia, Bequia, Virgin Gorda, St. Thomas|
These companies tend to have smaller cruise vessels that focus on providing passengers with a luxury experience. Services and amenities on board these luxury liners will include watersports, bars, spa services, libraries, and numerous restaurants. The largest liner traveling to Anguilla will hold a little more than 1,000 passengers, while many others will hold 100 to 200 passengers. Travelers who have problems with motion sickness may experience more trouble on board smaller cruise vessels.
Luxury cruises aboard small ships will often give travelers a high level of customer care and service. Prospective cruisers should pay attention to the number of on board service staff members in comparison to the guest capacity. Typically, the lower the ratio of guests to staff, the higher the level of customer service. Also important in determining the size and dimension of the boat is the gross registered tonnage, which indicates the volume and size. Travelers can compare the dimensions and area of the boat to determine the ratio of space to passengers.
Some cruise lines may also offer themed cruises that target a certain type of traveler. These may be geared towards groups such as older couples, singles, or gays and lesbians. Some companies even allow their smaller vessels to be chartered by companies and individuals who would like to host events during a Caribbean cruise.
Although smaller cruise lines typically aim to provide luxury class cruise experiences, some will also provide value cruises. Some cruises may offer travelers the opportunity to select from a number of classes. Higher class fares give travelers more spacious and luxurious cabins. The quality of meals, products, and waitstaff attention will also increase with the fare.
Cabins on cruise ships are generally divided into two categories: "run of the ship" and perfect. Passengers who select "run of the ship" cabins are able to request an outer or an inner cabin, but are not allowed to select a specific room. Travelers will be unsure of their room assignment until their cruise sets sail. Perfect cabins give travelers the ability to select a specific cabin of their choice. Perfect cabins have the additional benefit of allowing travelers to select rooms that are away from noisy or high traffic areas such as bars and gyms. Travelers with children should beware of outer cabins with open balconies.
Beach and active wear are important types of clothing to pack when visiting Anguilla and the Caribbean. Many travelers who disembark on the island will want to spend the day enjoying one of the magnificent white sand beaches. Travelers should also bring hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen in order to ward off the strong Caribbean sun. Travelers who plan on shopping or dining in Anguilla should remember that wearing beachwear and other types of revealing clothing is considered inappropriate away from the beach. Dinner generally requires pants and casual dresses. Travelers should ask about cruise line dress codes for events and dining rooms.
Shopping is not a popular tourist pastime on Anguilla, but travelers may want to set aside a budget to look for small crafts and local goods. Island tours, watersports, and other recreational activities can also drive up the overall cost of a cruise vacation. Select cruise lines may have all-inclusive packages that cover tips and activities, while others may require passengers to pay extra fees for these things. Plan a daily spending budget to cover these expenses.
Travelers who choose to cruise to Anguilla are likely to enjoy a warm welcome from the inviting beaches and friendly residents.
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