CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever
Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
If the Christmas you’re dreaming of is paved with sand and you prefer your ice in an adult beverage rimmed with salt, a trip to the Caribbean could be your ticket to fulfilling warm holiday wishes.
Don’t think you have to leave the season behind, either: many resorts and cruise lines deck the halls — and the beachfront and the pool — lavishly, while others add carolers, gingerbread houses, twinkling lights, feasts and festivities. If you have a destination in mind, email and ask about their holiday plans.
Meanwhile, here are some places that USA Today says are already in the Christmas spirit:
Camana Bay: The 500-acre planned community on the north end of Grand Cayman has a full calendar of Christmas activities. The Town Centre is home to a large Christmas tree, while kids can take a traditional photo with Santa in his workshop where snow flurries will fall on select nights throughout the holidays.
On Saturdays, Santa appears in tropical gear. Parents can check the kids into Starfish Village for two hours of supervised arts and crafts while they sneak off for some adult time. Christmas movies play outdoors under the stars every Tuesday. If you’re staying until New Year’s, there are two fireworks shows: at 7 p.m., for families and again at 10 p.m. with a DJ, dancing and a live video stream of the Times Square Ball Drop.
The El Convento in the historic center of San Juan is located in a former Carmelite convent, built in 1651 — the perfect place to celebrate Christmas. Abandoned by the church, the building was acquired by an heir to the Woolworth stores fortune in 1959 and reopened as a boutique hotel. The huge entrance doors are trimmed in garland and, once inside, guests will see two tall Christmas trees covered in lights and ribbons surrounded by dozens of poinsettias. On Christmas morning, children will be surprised with a stocking delivered to their room, and on New Year’s Eve, guests receive a half bottle of champagne and chocolate truffles to ring in the year. While the traditional roast turkey will be offered on Christmas Day, you may want to go local and opt for the Christmas Eve buffet, featuring island specialties such as bacalaitos (cod fritters), roast pork and coconut flan.
Unlike most islands, St. Kitts and Nevis hold their annual Carnival from late November through the first week of January, rather than in the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday. The celebration, Sugar Mas, combines elements of Carnival with Boxing Day activities, parades and street parties. Highlights include the Calypso Semi-Finals on Dec. 15, Band Clash on Dec. 18, Folklore Avenue on Dec. 19, Soca Monarch Finals on Dec. 20 and a variety of parties from Dec. 20 through Christmas. The Queen and the Calypso Monarch are crowned on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, while The Grand Parade occurs on Jan. 1 with the Cool Down Fete wrapping up the season on Jan. 5.
St. Kitts Marriott & The Royal Beach Casino: Santa will make a pit stop at the resort in North Frigate Bay before climbing into the sled for his ride around the world. During December, St. Nick will be available to take photos with resort guests (for a small fee which benefits the Sea Turtle Monitoring project). On Christmas Day guests will enjoy a buffet loaded with traditional favorites.
Ottley’s Plantation: If you’re yearning for a homey atmosphere, take a look at Ottley’s Plantation in St. Kitts. The setting is properly Victorian, on a real sugar plantation with a Great House — complete with rickrack and porches looking out to the ocean — which traces its origins back to the late 18th century. Since 1998, the Kuesch-Lowell family has owned the plantation, operating it as a resort. There’s always a live Christmas tree with traditional ornaments in the Great Room and another in the bar/dining area trimmed in silver and gold. The highlight of the season is Christmas dinner where guests choose from a traditional roast turkey with guava-chipotle-glazed ham, or go modern with ribeye steak, Chilean sea bass or shrimp and lobster in a ginger-coconut-tamarind sauce. There are only two dozen rooms and a few cottages at Ottley’s so you won’t be among strangers.
A stay at the elegant Four Seasons Nevis feels like a Christmas present any time of year, but especially during the holidays. This year, the lobby, restaurants and public areas will be loaded with sea-themed holiday décor while the pool area will be decked out in red. The tree in Neve restaurant will have sea-glass ornaments, glass turtles and colorful tin balls. Each morning local artists will come to demonstrate their crafts during breakfast and contribute handmade wares to the décor. The Coconut Climber will drop by periodically for picnics on the lawn where he’ll show how he climbs the island’s towering palm trees barehanded (and barefooted) to retrieve coconuts. Follow that by a craft-making session using all parts of the coconut palm to create everything from brooms to beauty cream. You can see the Coconut Climber here:
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort Spa and Casino: Christmas starts at check-in with an eggnog, beach bag and sunscreen (or a soda, shovel and bucket for the kids). On Dec. 25, Santa and the elves arrive at the pool to take photos and distribute goodies; afterwards, Santa will deliver a gift to each guest’s room. The festivities continue with a dinner buffet at Ruinas del Mar or a traditional turkey dinner at Palms Restaurant.
Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort: Worried you’ll miss out on building a snowman? How about building Sandy the Beachman instead? When you check in to the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort in the month of December, you’ll get a complete build-your-own-snowman kit — hat, branches for arms, shell nose, Santa hat and sunglasses — to use on the beach.
Santa travels to the historic Caneel Bay by boat, arriving on Christmas Eve to hand out presents to the children. Snorkeling may not be a traditional Christmas activity but there’s no better place to try it. You can also sip on a Gingerbread Martini (with ginger liqueur and gingersnaps) while enjoying a beachside Holiday Ginger Massage with locally grown ginger.
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
All itineraries: The ships of Carnival Cruise Lines will be in proper holiday trim with miles of lights and garland. Each ship features multiple Christmas trees, the theaters show classic Christmas movies, kids participate in a holiday-themed stage production, and it even snows — indoors — from time to time. Each ship has its own collection of gingerbread houses, too. Meanwhile, you’ll get to sample onshore holiday traditions along your route in the eastern or western Caribbean. Christmas dinner incorporates the traditional roast turkey and pecan pie.
If you really want to experience the holidays in grand fashion, book passage on the Sea Cloud. This 360-foot windjammer sailing yacht was owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post (heiress to the cereal fortune), and was built for her by her husband, Wall Street tycoon E.F. Hutton. The ship is a four-masted barque and was outfitted with the best of everything. During World War II, Post donated the ship to the U.S. Navy for use as a patrol boat and it served for several years in the North Atlantic. After the war, it was eventually owned by the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, eventually coming into the possession of its current owners, who lovingly restored this piece of nautical history. Sea Cloud is stunning inside and out and will be sailing the southern Caribbean this holiday season. Inside, each guest will find a gift waiting under the Christmas tree and, on Christmas Eve, the crew members dress in angel garb to sing holiday favorites.
DISNEY CRUISE LINE
For the first time this yes, lights, garlands and, of course, Disney characters in Christmas garb. The festivities include Deck The Deck Holiday Party (limbo under a giant candy cane), King Triton’s Tree Lighting, visits with Santa Claus, a life-sized gingerbread house, crafts for the kids and holiday storytelling. For slightly older guests, there are teen- and tween-only holiday parties, too. Disney’s private island in the Bahamas is decorated as well, with a Christmas tree, roaming Mr. and Mrs. Snowman and a tram that sports reindeer antlers and a tail. The festivities are available on cruises in The Bahamas and the Eastern and Western Caribbean.
© 2023 Created by Caribbean Fever. Powered by
You need to be a member of CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever to add comments!
Join CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever