Romantic Caribbean cruise

Lido Pool Bar

Lido Pool Bar - Credit: Archant

Few trips make for the romance of a Caribbean cruise, exploring some of the most beautiful island resorts in the world. Rebecca Underwood took to the waves

Verandah stateroom

Verandah stateroom - Credit: Archant

Gently swaying palm trees flooded with bright golden sunshine, pristine white sandy beaches, a warm and glittering turquoise sea teeming with tropical marine life — the exotic paradise that is the Caribbean is indeed the stuff of dreams. But why spend all your time on one Caribbean island when you can explore several? For those of us with a taste for adventure, sailing on the open sea bound for new horizons is the ultimate voyage of discovery.

Holland America’s Ms Oosterdam, Christened in 2003 by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, carries 1,848 passengers, served by 812 crew members. We opted for the ten-night Southern Caribbean Seafarer cruise, sailing from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades. Our voyage covered 2,530 nautical miles visiting Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Grand Turk (the largest of the Turks and Caicos islands), Samaná in the Dominican Republic, and the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles; Bonaire, Curaçao and Aruba.

Keen to get on board and explore our new surroundings, no sooner had we checked in with our bulging suitcases than we were swiftly escorted to a ‘Verandah’ stateroom covering approximately 212 to 359sq ft. Features include an ultra comfortable bed swathed in cool Egyptian linens, a large seating area, plush carpeting and a spacious bathroom with a bath tub and shower. The floor to ceiling glass doors led directly onto a balcony; the perfect spot for sipping on pre-dining cocktails.

Dining options include the Vista Dining Room, a two-tier restaurant with flexible dining from 5.15pm to 9pm. We also dined in the Pinnacle Grill, which specialises in Pacific Northwest steaks and seafood dishes, all served with aplomb in luxurious surroundings. For a more casual affair, Canaletto offers classic Italian cuisine and the Lido Restaurant presents a full buffet with scrumptious desserts. For those who may over indulge, there are fitness and dancing classes galore, or join the morning joggers on the promenade deck. Alternatively, throw caution to the wind and relax by the Sea View Pool, the Lido Pool or the Green House Spa and Salon’s Hydro Pool.

Evening entertainment options include the plush Vista Lounge – the main venue for flamboyant shows, guest entertainers and the Oosterdam singers and dancers. We relaxed in the Piano Bar and then practiced our dance moves in the Queen’s Lounge featuring the excellent BB King’s Blues Club All Star Band, and we then headed for the Northern Lights Night Club and worked up a disco fever.

For the ideal honeymoon or romantic getaway, a Caribbean cruise is simply unforgettable.

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For a pre or post-cruise stay, the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard is only five miles from Port Everglades and steps away from the beach. Accommodations are spacious and comfortable with every amenity provided.

Travel Tip. Make your flight reservations with and fly in style direct from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale. Premium cabin privileges include access to the South Terminal Club Rooms, ultra comfortable seats with extra legroom, a generous baggage allowance (2 x 20kg), complimentary pre departure and pre dinner drinks, 3 course dinner including drinks, USB docking and power outlet, touch-screen snack bar ordering and state-of-the-art entertainment system.

Travel Tip. For reliable and punctual airport and port transfers, visit