Alastair Holden

Al Holden

Alastair Holden

North America » United States » South Carolina » Charleston February 24th 2020

Charleston Blog 15th February 2020 Charleston, the South Carolina port city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water. The South Carolina Aquarium is another coastal attraction and is popular for its 385,000-gallon Great Ocean Tank. Nearby, the circa-1773 Charleston Museum showcases the history of the South Carolina Lowcountry region. Many refined Downtown restaurants also specialize in Lowcountry cooking, which blends Southern U.S., African, French and Caribbean flavors. Beyond Downtown, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens offers a glimpse of t... read more

North America » United States February 24th 2020

New Orleans Blog 8th & 9th February 2020 Grand Cayman Cozumel Progresso The highlight of the cruise saw us out at a Plantation House and then back into the city with it’s vibrant Mardi Gras, colours, music and great food. New Orleans is a Louisiana city on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the "Big Easy," it's known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties. Following Mardi Gras in springtime is Jazz Fest, celebrating New Orleans as the birthplace of the genre. Lively bars and cafes line Bourbon Street, which runs through the center of the architectural... read more

Central America Caribbean » Jamaica » Ocho Rios February 24th 2020

Jamaica, Ocho Rios Blog 2nd February 2020 So much potential but a poor choice of city for the visit. A Sunday as well. Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation, has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches. Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites. Jamaica is famed as the birthplace of reggae music, and its capital Kingston is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous singer.Kingston is also site of the Hope Botanical Gardens and Zoo, showcasing native plants and animals. The city's restaurants offer island specialties such as curry goat and jerk chicken, as well as raucous nightclubs mixing rum cocktails. Looming over the city are the misty Blue Mountains, with hiking trails, panoramic views ... read more

Grand Turk Blog 31st January 2020 The islands come thick and fast Grand Turk Island is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s dotted with the remains of salt ponds and windmills from the island’s sea salt industry, prevalent from the 17th to 20th century. The 19th-century Grand Turk Lighthouse is perched on a rocky bluff in the north. Beaches with clear water ring the island, which is home to wild horses and donkeys. In Cockburn Town, the island's central capital, coastal Duke and Front streets are lined with old, Bermudian-style buildings. The Turks and Caicos National Museum has exhibits on the island’s history. Close to Governor’s Beach, in the south, cruise ships arrive at the Grand Turk Cruise Center, home to restaurants, shops and a swimming pool. The ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Sint Maarten February 24th 2020

St Maarteen Blog 29th January 2020 6 other cruise ships today including sister ships Azura and Britannia Sint Maarten, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a country on the southern part of a Caribbean island shared with Saint Martin, a French overseas collectivity. Its natural features span lagoons, beaches and salt pans. The capital, Philipsburg, has cobblestone streets and colorful, colonial-style buildings lining its Front Street shopping area. The port is a popular cruise-ship stop.To the west of Philipsburg are beaches such as Cupecoy, set against limestone cliffs, and Maho Bay, where low-flying jets from the nearby airport create strong breezes. On the east side, Dawn Beach features an offshore reef and views of neighboring St. Barts island. Catamaran sailing trips, shipwreck dives and deep-sea fishing excursions are prevalent daytime activities. Casinos, b... read more

Basseterre, St Kitts & Nevis Blog 28th January 2020 Basseterre St. Kitts is the larger of the 2 Caribbean islands that comprise the nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis. It’s known for rainforested mountains and beaches of white, gray, and black sands. On its southwestern coast is the capital, Basseterre, and Georgian buildings from the colonial era. Anchoring Basseterre is the Circus, a plaza modeled after London’s Piccadilly Circus, complete with Victorian-style clock tower. St Kitts' southeastern peninsula features beaches by Frigate Bay, known for a popular row of bars called The Strip, and South Friar's Bay, with calm waters for snorkeling and swimming. Recreational activities also include seaside golfing and diving near shipwrecks. On the northwestern coast is Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, known for its preserved fortification built in the 17... read more

Road Town, Tortola Blog 27th January 2020 Devastated by a hurricane a couple of years ago but has bounced back. Lots of rebuilding still going on and tourism is its lifeline. Tortola is the largest of the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. It features several white-sand beaches, including Cane Garden Bay and Smuggler’s Cove. Road Town, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, has a harbor dotted with sailing boats and is known as a yachting hub. In the island's southwest, forested Sage Mountain National Park offers trails and sweeping views over neighboring cays.... read more

Poor internet has led to catching up Saint Johns, Antigua Blog 26th January 2020 Sunday in Antigua began as a bright sunny morning Then the heavens opened and although some of the port shops were open , not much to see unless you were maybe taken an island tour. Boasting a beach for everyday of the year is fine but when its teeming down it cant be much fun.It is described as a ‘beach with an island in the middle’ Antigua is one of the 2 major islands that make up the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Ringed with coral reefs, the island is known for its many sandy beaches. Set along English Harbour, restored Nelson’s Dockyard, which Admiral Horatio Nelson made his base in the 1780s, includes a marina and the Dockyard Museum. Trails ... read more

Saint Lucia Blog 24th January 2020 Another day, another island. An early arrival with two other cruise ships in port as well. We berthed in the older part with great views across the harbour. Again running the gauntlet of taxi drivers touting for trade and there are a lot of them it was outside to have a look round. Tourism now outstrips Agriculture as the main source of income and with three ships in the battle for trade is endless. The road infrastructure around the port is okay for cars but underfoot with all the stalls spilling onto the road was a bit hazardous and it wasn’t much better the further you got away from the terminal. There was a small garden (George V) which seemed to be dedicated to Saint Lucians that helped in the ... read more

Kingston, St Vincent Blog 23rd January 2020 St Vincent is the main island of the Windward Island's, its a steep and volcanic island with mountain ridges and waterfalls. Another warm humid day with the saving grace that we were the only ship in port today. Yesterday our view was blocked by a huge cruise ship which towered above the Aurora. Once you get out of the dock area you can appreciate the town a bit more. It was very tricky underfoot with very uneven pathways so quite difficult to get around. The Kingstown market is full of colour and local produce where farmers bring in vegetables, fruits and fresh fish. Away from the port area you come across a number of churches and cathedrals. St George’s cathedral (Anglican) was built in 1820, has a stained glass ... read more

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