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Caribbean: Great Stirrup Cay & Dominican Republic/Norwegian Joy
Cruise holidays   >   Caribbean   >   Caribbean: Great Stirrup Cay & Dominican Republic

Norwegian Joy

Caribbean: Great Stirrup Cay & Dominican Republic - 7 night cruise



Cruise only from €813

Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.


Description

Highlights

Gratuities

Dates and Prices

Cabins

The Ultimate Joyride

Find your happy place on board Norwegian Joy when she cruises from the Mexican Riviera to Panama Canal. Or join her in The Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda from Miami, New York, Orlando, and Jamaica. Enjoy a rush like no other as you race in the middle of the ocean on a thrilling two–level race track. Immerse yourself in all the wonder of a virtual world in the Galaxy Pavilion. Be pampered in luxury in our spacious and beautifully appointed accommodations. Enjoy holiday experiences that will delight your senses and calm your soul on Norwegian Joy.

Cruise ID: 21363

Take a thrilling ride in electric go-carts on a two-level competitive racetrack - the first ever at sea.

For bookings made on or after January 1, 2023:

$25.00 USD per person per day for The Haven and Suites;

$20.00 USD per person per day for Club Balcony Suite and below;

For bookings made before January 1, 2023, that pre-pay their service charges before their sail date:

$20.00 USD per person per day for The Haven and Suites;

$18.00 USD per person per day for Club Balcony Suite;

$16.00 USD per person per day for all other stateroom types

Date Time Price * Booking
15 November 2025 16:00 €907 Call us to book
22 November 2025 16:00 €1,048 Call us to book
29 November 2025 16:00 €860 Call us to book
06 December 2025 16:00 €860 Call us to book
13 December 2025 16:00 €860 Call us to book
20 December 2025 16:00 €1,173 Call us to book
27 December 2025 16:00 €1,220 Call us to book
03 January 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
10 January 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
17 January 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
24 January 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
31 January 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
07 February 2026 16:00 €813 Call us to book
14 February 2026 16:00 €860 Call us to book
07 March 2026 16:00 €907 Call us to book
14 March 2026 16:00 €907 Call us to book
21 March 2026 16:00 €907 Call us to book
28 March 2026 16:00 €907 Call us to book
04 April 2026 16:00 €907 Call us to book

* Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.

Cabins on Norwegian Joy

Large Balcony
1-4

These staterooms offer incredible views from the balcony, two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed and additional bedding to sleep one or two more..

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Aft-Facing Penthouse with Balcony
1-4

These aft-facing Penthouses, with access to The Haven, offer fantastic views from the private balcony. They include a king-size bed and double sofa-bed plus two bathrooms.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Second Bedroom
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Sail Away Balcony
1-4

A Sail Away Balcony stateroom guarantees a Balcony stateroom or better! Please note that the view from your balcony may be fully obstructed or partially obstructed. Your stateroom may be on any deck and assigned up to one day prior to embarkation.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Solo Balcony
1

These spacious staterooms include a queen-size bed, sitting area and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open onto a private balcony. Staterooms are priced exclusively for solo travelers and include access to the private Studio Lounge.

Facilities

  • Bath
  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Coffee Machine
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Penthouse Suite with Balcony
1-3

Located mid-ship with easy access to everything, these suites offer a King bed and a double sofa-bed.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Large Balcony
1-3

Take in breathtaking forward-facing views. These Penthouses have access to The Haven and feature a king-size bed plus a dining area.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Family Suite
1-6

Perfect if you want to bring the kids, these spacious family cabins range from one to two bedrooms, a living area with double sofa bed and some feature a bathtub.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Sail Away Club Balcony Suite
1-4

A Sail Away Club Balcony Suite stateroom guarantees a Club Balcony Suite stateroom or better! Your stateroom may be on any deck and assigned up to one day prior to embarkation.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Sail Away Inside
1-4

A Sail Away Inside stateroom guarantees an Inside stateroom or better! Your stateroom may be on any deck and assigned between time of booking up to one day prior to embarkation.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Oceanview with Picture Window
1-2

These staterooms feature a large picture window and two single beds that convert to a queen-size bed.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Family Oceanview
1-5

Perfect for families, these staterooms include two single beds that convert to a queen and additional bedding that can accommodate three guests. Sleeps up to five.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Solo Oceanview
1

These staterooms feature a large round window and a queen-size bed. Staterooms are priced exclusively for solo travelers and include access to the private Studio Lounge.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Suite with Balcony
1-4

With access to The Haven, these spacious accommodations are mid-ship, feature a private balcony, a king-size bed and double sofa bed.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Premier Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
1-6

Located in The Haven, these stunning Suites offer breathtaking views from the large, forward-facing balcony. They feature spacious and luxurious accommodations that include separate living and dining rooms, three bedrooms, two with a king-size bed and the other with a double sofa bed, three bathrooms, a guest half-bath, and the indulgence of butler and concierge service to tend to your every want.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Second Bedroom
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Vanity Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Club Balcony Suite
1-4

Located forward or mid-ship , these Club Balcony Suites feature two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed, sofa bed, some feature additional bedding for up to two, and a private balcony. Some can connect to another stateroom.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony
1-6

Perfect for the family, these Villas are located in The Haven and feature two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed, the other with a double sofa bed, plus additional bedding and two bathrooms.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Second Bedroom
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Penthouse Suite with Balcony
1-3

With access to The Haven, these Penthouses feature a king-size bed, plus a sitting area. They are located mid-ship so you are close to all the action.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
1-3

These Penthouses located in The Haven feature a king-size bed and additional bedding to accommodate up to three guests. Admire the spectacular ever-changing views from the balcony.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Family Club Balcony Suite
1-4

Perfect for for families. Located mid-ship with easy access to everything, these Club Balcony Suites feature two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed, sofa bed, additional bedding for 1, and a private balcony.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Solo Inside
1

These staterooms include a queen-size bed and the same amenities as other inside staterooms. Staterooms are priced exclusively for solo travelers and include access to the private Studio Lounge.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk

The Haven Family Villa Suite with Balcony
1-5

With enough room for the entire family, these spacious suites offer amazing forward-facing views and are close to the action of the upper decks. These suites feature a king-size bed and have access to The Haven.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Aft-Facing Balcony
1-3

These staterooms include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed and are aft-facing, so the view from your private balcony is amazing.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Large Balcony
1-6

These luxury Villas located in The Haven provide the ideal retreat for the family. Featuring two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed and the other with a double sofa bed, additional bedding and two bathrooms, they offer stunning views from the large balcony.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Second Bedroom
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk
  • Bath

The Haven Aft-Facing Penthouse with Large Balcony
1-4

With access to the Haven, these Penthouses feature a king-size bed and a double sofa bed, two bathrooms and incredible views from the large, aft-facing balcony. Plus, a concierge and 24-hour butler attend to your every wish.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Second Bedroom
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • Butler Service
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

The Haven Forward-Facing Penthouse with Balcony
1-4

Most of these staterooms can connect with a Balcony stateroom, so you can bring the whole family along. Enjoy the spectacular views from the forward-facing balcony, a king-size bed and a double or single sofa bed to accommodate up to four guests, plus a dining area.

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Dining Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Club Balcony Suite with Larger Balcony
1-4

Featuring two beds that convert to a queen and a sofa bed - some also include an additional pullman bed. These Club Balcony Suites also offer amazing views. Enjoy the dining and excitement just steps away from The Waterfront. Most can connect to another Club Balcony Suites stateroom.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Pullman Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Suite Benefits
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Family Inside
1-4

An affordable family option, these staterooms include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed and two pullman beds.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Pullman Bed x2
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Balcony
1-4

Enjoy easy access to all the delicious dining and exciting activities on board from your stateroom that includes two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed and additional bedding for up to 2 guests. Plus, some staterooms can connect.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Sail Away Oceanview
1-2

A Sail Away Oceanview stateroom guarantees an Oceanview stateroom or better! Please note that the view may be fully obstructed, partially obstructed, porthole or picture window. Your stateroom may be on any deck and assigned up to one day prior to embarkation

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Inside
1-4

These staterooms include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

Family Balcony
1-4

Perfect for families include two lower beds that convert to a queen-size bed and additional bedding for up to 2 guests.

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Sofa Bed
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Wi-Fi (Additional Cost)
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk

View Itinerary By Date



Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 1 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

Day 2  Cruising

Day 3 Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

San Felipe de Puerto Plata is the capital of the Puerto Plata province on the Dominican Republic's Atlantic north coast. The city is best known for its beaches. Playa Dorada's lengthy beachfront is backed by resorts and an 18-hole golf course. The city's old colonial-era center is dominated by the 16th-century Fortaleza San Felipe, a Spanish fortress that now houses historical and military artifacts.

Day 4 Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you fly to the 32-square-mile (83-square-km) island of St. Thomas, you land at its western end; if you arrive by cruise ship, you come into one of the world's most beautiful harbors. Either way, one of your first sights is the town of Charlotte Amalie. From the harbor you see an idyllic-looking village that spreads into the lower hills. If you were expecting a quiet hamlet with its inhabitants hanging out under palm trees, you've missed that era by about 300 years. Although other islands in the USVI developed plantation economies, St. Thomas cultivated its harbor, and it became a thriving seaport soon after it was settled by the Danish in the 1600s. The success of the naturally perfect harbor was enhanced by the fact that the Danes—who ruled St. Thomas with only a couple of short interruptions from 1666 to 1917—avoided involvement in some 100 years' worth of European wars. Denmark was the only European country with colonies in the Caribbean to stay neutral during the War of the Spanish Succession in the early 1700s. Thus, products of the Dutch, English, and French islands—sugar, cotton, and indigo—were traded through Charlotte Amalie, along with the regular shipments of slaves. When the Spanish wars ended, trade fell off, but by the end of the 1700s Europe was at war again, Denmark again remained neutral, and St. Thomas continued to prosper. Even into the 1800s, while the economies of St. Croix and St. John foundered with the market for sugarcane, St. Thomas's economy remained vigorous. This prosperity led to the development of shipyards, a well-organized banking system, and a large merchant class. In 1845 Charlotte Amalie had 101 large importing houses owned by the English, French, Germans, Haitians, Spaniards, Americans, Sephardim, and Danes. Charlotte Amalie is still one of the world's most active cruise-ship ports. On almost any day at least one and sometimes as many as eight cruise ships are tied to the docks or anchored outside the harbor. Gently rocking in the shadows of these giant floating hotels are just about every other kind of vessel imaginable: sleek sailing catamarans that will take you on a sunset cruise complete with rum punch and a Jimmy Buffett soundtrack, private megayachts for billionaires, and barnacle-bottom sloops—with laundry draped over the lifelines—that are home to world-cruising gypsies. Huge container ships pull up in Sub Base, west of the harbor, bringing in everything from breakfast cereals to tires. Anchored right along the waterfront are down-island barges that ply the waters between the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, transporting goods such as refrigerators, VCRs, and disposable diapers. The waterfront road through Charlotte Amalie was once part of the harbor. Before it was filled in to build the highway, the beach came right up to the back door of the warehouses that now line the thoroughfare. Two hundred years ago those warehouses were filled with indigo, tobacco, and cotton. Today the stone buildings house silk, crystal, and diamonds. Exotic fragrances are still traded, but by island beauty queens in air-conditioned perfume palaces instead of through open market stalls. The pirates of old used St. Thomas as a base from which to raid merchant ships of every nation, though they were particularly fond of the gold- and silver-laden treasure ships heading to Spain. Pirates are still around, but today's versions use St. Thomas as a drop-off for their contraband: illegal immigrants and drugs. To explore outside Charlotte Amalie, rent a car or hire a taxi. Your rental car should come with a good map; if not, pick up the pocket-size "St. Thomas–St. John Road Map" at a tourist information center. Roads are marked with route numbers, but they're confusing and seem to switch numbers suddenly. Roads are also identified by signs bearing the St. Thomas–St. John Hotel and Tourism Association's mascot, Tommy the Starfish. More than 100 of these color-coded signs line the island's main routes. Orange signs trace the route from the airport to Red Hook, green signs identify the road from town to Magens Bay, Tommy's face on a yellow background points from Mafolie to Crown Bay through the north side, red signs lead from Smith Bay to Four Corners via Skyline Drive, and blue signs mark the route from the cruise-ship dock at Havensight to Red Hook. These color-coded routes are not marked on most visitor maps, however. Allow yourself a day to explore, especially if you want to stop to take pictures or to enjoy a light bite or refreshing swim. Most gas stations are on the island's more populated eastern end, so fill up before heading to the north side. And remember to drive on the left!

Day 5 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Day 6  Cruising

Day 7 Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas

Located 50 miles from Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay is a 250-acre island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. A range of activities are on offer, including water sports, ping-pong, beach volleyball and a water slide. For lunch, the Jumbey Beach Grill offers barbecues on the beach. Afterwards, head to the Berried Treasure Bazaar to find a little something to bring back home.

Day 8 Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

Widely known for the Kennedy Space Center, Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral, home to beautiful beaches and Brevard Zoo.

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