Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line – Empress of the Sea
Royal Caribbean International’s 11-day cruise of the Southern Caribbean starting at 0 per person on their famous ocean liner, the Empress of the Sea is an outstanding deal. For 11 days, cruisers will get to enjoy the newly renovated Empress of the Sea, while sailing from one beautiful island to the next. With a unique itinerary including nine different islands and two days at sea, there is no other cruise line or cruise ship that can offer such an experience.
The first destination of the Empress of the Sea’s is Philipsburg, St. Maarten, located 150 miles east of Puerto Rico. Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side of St. Maarten, however its atmosphere suggests anything but. The environment in Philipsburg is a mix of Caribbean hospitality and European sophistication that tourists find extremely attractive. Being one of the world’s few duty free ports, shopping centers are filled with tourists looking to save up to 50% off luxury items. The official currency in St. Maarten is the euro, however due to the large number of tourists, prices are quoted in US dollars as well and dollars are widely accepted, therefore it is unnecessary to exchange your money ahead of time. The next three stops on the Empress of the Seas are all located in the Eastern Caribbean. First, St. Johns, Antigua has something to offer everyone including sailing, snorkeling and beautiful beaches. Next on the itinerary is Basseterre, St. Kitts, where tourists should not miss out on the dormant volcanoes and pink beaches. From St. Kitts, the next stop is Castries, St. Lucia, a still relatively unknown island where guests can enjoy the world’s only drive in volcanic crater. All three of these islands share shopping as a favorite pastime of tourists. Traditional Caribbean items such as clothing and hand made gifts are the most popular. The official currency of the Eastern Caribbean is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, which is worth roughly a third of the US dollar. The US dollar is widely accepted, nevertheless American tourists should exchange their money ahead of time in order to get the best exchange rates. Great deals can be found in all three of these places, thanks to the strength of the US dollar against the Eastern Caribbean Dollar.The next stop on this amazing adventure is Bridgetown, Barbados. Barbados is known for its fine dining, scuba diving, sea excursions, and festivals. The miles of exquisite beach offer every water sport imaginable, and Barbados has a terrifically active nightlife. A combination of European and strictly Caribbean influences create a diverse and fascinating ambiance everywhere you go, not excluding the shopping centers. A favorite item to buy in Barbados is spiced rum, which can be bought with the official currency, the Barbados dollar. The Barbados dollar is worth about half of the US dollar; therefore exchanging money beforehand will save you a significant amount of money. From Barbados, the Empress of the Seas will sail to Margarita Island, a mountainous tropical paradise located off the north shore of Venezuela. Known as the “pearl of the Caribbean,” with fifty different beaches, there is one for every taste. If a break from the sun is what you need, there are an abundance of shops, restaurants and bars to explore where great deals can be found due to the difference in exchange rates. The official currency is the Bolivar and it order to save some money exchange your US dollars ahead of time. The next stop on this adventure is Willemstad, Curacao the largest of the six islands that comprise the Netherlands Antilles. Curacao is a unique island where one can set out on a safari in a two-person canoe exploring the small caves that surround the island or enjoy views of the stunning coastline and extravagant cliffs. The official currency is the Netherlands Antilles florin, however exchanging currency is unnecessary since all shops, restaurants and bars accept US dollars at the current days exchange rate. The last stop before returning back to San Juan, Puerto Rico for this cruise ship is Oranjestad, Aruba. Aruba is most famous for its spectacular snorkeling and scuba diving, thanks to the marine life surrounding the island and its great shopping. Check out Dutch and Indonesian goods for especially good buys. The Aruba florin (AFI) is the official currency of Aruba, however due to the large number of tourists, US dollars are widely accepted.