As cold weather sets in across the country, many people start daydreaming about warm, tropical climes. The holidays are coming up, too, bringing travel to the forefront of your mind. Perhaps this year you have decided to visit the beautiful Bahamas. Excellent choice, and there is no better way to get there than a leisurely cruise. Here is how to plan the best vacation ever.
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The Bahamas makes a perfect destination for just about any group of vacationers. Miles of gorgeous Bahamian beaches are ideal for romantic walks at sunset, and cruises are the ultimate weekend getaway for two. The variety of excursions and activities make a cruise an affordable and exciting friends’ getaway. Cruises are great for larger groups, like a huge family reunion bash. Solo travelers appreciate the ease and comfort of cruising, too. Whatever the size and makeup of your group, the Bahamas will not disappoint.
The Bahamas is made up of more than 700 cays and islands. Because of its proximity to Florida, many cruises take out of Miami or Fort Lauderdale, both of which are vacation-worthy destinations on their own. If you like to party in the middle of a bustling metropolis, find a cruise that leaves from Miami and spend an extra few nights in the city. If you prefer a more laid-back vibe, head for Fort Lauderdale. Another deciding factor will naturally be the ports, so check out various Bahamas cruise itineraries when making your final cruise selection.
Many people feel safer staying off the Atlantic during hurricane season, which is June through November. However, cruise lines do still operate during those months, and you may even be able to find a deal in September through November. Most cruises operate smoothly as scheduled even during storm season and the ships are normally able to avoid storms that do arise, so if you have your heart set on a summer or fall trip you should be just fine. Once you have narrowed down the time of year, consider how long you want to be at sea. Many Bahamian cruises are short, just two to four nights, so you won’t have to wait until you can take extended time away from work. A long weekend may suffice.
The beauty of a cruise to the Bahamas is that it’s easy to strike a good balance between excitement and relaxation. Calm, warm waters beckon you to snorkel or scuba dive along beautiful coral reefs; some locations offer the opportunity to play with dolphins or swim among sea turtles. Beaches and cruise ships are great even for those who don’t want to get wet at all—spend your hours relaxing in a poolside lounge chair or beach-front hammock. If nature isn’t your thing, try shopping at the world-famous straw markets or take in the historical and cultural sights. Whatever you do for fun, be sure to treat yourself to fresh seafood at lunch or dinner—or both. The islands are known for conch, so don’t leave until you’ve tried it at least once.
Trips marking a special occasion should be tailored accordingly. If your crew is celebrating a friend’s milestone birthday, chip in and treat the honoree to an upgraded cabin. A honeymoon or anniversary cruise is not complete without a couple’s massage and a bottle of champagne. Cruises are gaining popularity for family reunions; if you are the planner for your family’s reunion, encourage members to choose their own daily excursions but ask that everyone reassemble at dinner to share stories and make connections among extended or far-flung family.
Travel agents are helpful when trying to coordinate schedules and itineraries for large groups, especially when people are coming from several different locations and time zones. However, one of the beauties of cruising is that, as long as everyone gets on the ship in time, the rest is taken care of. In most instances, you can book online or call the cruise line directly to get the best prices and service.