If you want to cruise to some beautiful beaches, look for itineraries that include a call on Antigua. This island in the Eastern Caribbean is said to have 365 beaches along its 54 miles of coastline – one for each day of the year.
Amazingly, the beaches of Antigua are quite diverse. Calm, sparkling water and soft white sand make Valley Church Beach and nearby Darkwood Beach among the most beautiful on the island. Some visitors prefer the more developed and lively Dickinson Bay Beach, which offers lots of watersports and is lined with restaurants and bars. To watch wind surfers in action – or take a lesson yourself – make your way to lovely Jabberwock Beach. You can also hop on the ferry to Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, to enjoy 17 Mile Beach, all of it covered with gorgeous pink sand.
And, there’s more to Antigua than its beaches. Cruise ships dock in the capital of St. John’s, where you can tour the Museum of Antigua and Barbuda. Exhibits explain the history of the islands, which has been shaped by Arawaks, Caribs, and English colonists, among others.
One of the most popular excursions for cruise ship passengers is Nelson’s Dockyard, the only continuously working Georgian-era dockyard in the world. It was first built in the early 18th century as a repair port for the British Royal Navy, and you can still see architectural remnants of the original dockyard. Today, beautiful sailboats and yachts dock there, and many of the historic buildings have been restored as restaurants, shops and galleries.
For a spectacular view of the beauty all around you, venture up to Shirley Heights, the remnants of a former lookout fort. There’s a breathtaking view of two harbors and the hills that rise around them. If your cruise ship schedule allows, go up just before sunset – it’s a memorable experience to watch the sun go down and the twinkling lights around the harbor come on.
For a look at the sugar industry that once ruled the island, visit Betty’s Hope, a partially restored plantation. Some of the sugar mills are still there, and you can see archeological digs that are uncovering slave quarters and a rum distillery.
To discover Antigua for yourself, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert, about itineraries that will take you there.
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