Start the holiday season off right with an unforgettable five-night exploration of the Caribbean’s best hidden gems. Departing from San Juan, Puerto Rico’s vibrant capital city, our first stop is Gustavia on St. Bart’s—a tropical paradise with French flair.
With more than 300 sunny days a year and many beaches dotting less than eight square miles of land, you never have to go very far to find a strip of creamy sand and some vitamin D. Once you’ve had your fill of sea, sun, and sand, explore the dramatic scenery in your own ATV, cruise the coast in a speedboat, or shop luxury boutiques and duty-free shops.
The spirit of exploration and adventure is infectious on Tortola, the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Once home to Blackbeard and Captain Kidd, salty pirate traditions and rum-making heritage still continue today. It’s the charter boat capital of the Caribbean, so you’ll have no trouble finding a vessel to explore tucked away coves and hideaways believed to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island.
Finally, take two restful days at sea to indulge in all your boutique hotel at sea offer, including soothing spa experiences at delicious specialty dining, before concluding your incredible holiday cruise in marvelous Miami.
Day by day itinerary
If you associate Puerto Rico's capital with the colonial streets of Old San Juan, then you know only part of the picture. San Juan is a major metropolis, radiating out from the bay on the Atlantic Ocean that was discovered by Juan Ponce de León. More than a third of the island's nearly 4 million citizens proudly call themselves sanjuaneros. The city may be rooted in the past, but it has its eye on the future. Locals go about their business surrounded by colonial architecture and towering modern structures.By 1508 the explorer Juan Ponce de León had established a colony in an area now known as Caparra, southeast of present-day San Juan. He later moved the settlement north to a more hospitable peninsular location. In 1521, after he became the first colonial governor, Ponce de León switched the name of the island—which was then called San Juan Bautista in honor of St. John the Baptist—with that of the settlement of Puerto Rico ("rich port").Defended by the imposing Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristóbal, Puerto Rico's administrative and population center remained firmly in Spain's hands until 1898, when it came under U.S. control after the Spanish-American War. Centuries of Spanish rule left an indelible imprint on the city, particularly in the walled area now known as Old San Juan. The area is filled with cobblestone streets and brightly painted, colonial-era structures, and its fortifications have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Old San Juan is a monument to the past, but most of the rest of the city is planted firmly in the 21st century and draws migrants island-wide and from farther afield to jobs in its businesses and industries. The city captivates residents and visitors alike with its vibrant lifestyle as well as its balmy beaches, pulsing nightclubs, globe-spanning restaurants, and world-class museums. Once you set foot in this city, you may never want to leave.
Gustavia Harbor, St. Barths, French West Indies
You can easily explore all of Gustavia during a two-hour stroll. Some shops close from noon to 3 or 4, so plan lunch accordingly, but stores stay open past 7 in the evening. Parking in Gustavia is a challenge, especially during vacation times. A good spot to park is rue de la République, alongside the catamarans, yachts, and sailboats.
Coastline along a Road Town in Tortola. British Virgin Islands
The bustling capital of the BVI looks out over Road Harbour. It takes only an hour or so to stroll down Main Street and along the waterfront, checking out the traditional West Indian buildings painted in pastel colors and with corrugated-tin roofs, bright shutters, and delicate fretwork trim. For sightseeing brochures and the latest information on everything from taxi rates to ferry schedules, stop in at the BVI Tourist Board office. Or just choose a seat on one of the benches in Sir Olva Georges Square, on Waterfront Drive, and watch the people come and go from the ferry dock and customs office across the street.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Miami is one of the world’s most popular holiday spots. It has so much to offer; from its countless beach areas, to culture and museums, from spa and shopping days out, to endless cuban restaurants and cafes. Miami is a multicultural city that has something to offer to everyone.
Aboard the Azamara Journey, you can expect an intimate cruising experience on a “boutique-sized” ship decked out with superb amenities.