Travel Diary: Southern Caribbean Cruise


We just got back from our Holland America Line Southern Caribbean Cruise a few weeks ago and we are already the missing sun, sand, and endless Coronas. We spent a full 7 days exploring the southern Caribbean and sailed to four different ports — Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. If you’ve ever thought about taking a cruise for a vacation or just want to hear about our experiences at the ports, feel free to keep reading or checking out our travel diary vlog!

I should first mention — this was my first time ever in a cruise. It’s something I had been dying to do for awhile and when I found this cruise going to these ports, we booked it almost immediately. When booking a cruise, my recommendation is trying to book as soon as you can. But let’s start with the first port — Grand Turk. We arrived in Grand Turk on the second full day of the cruise. The first full day was a day at sea where I proceeded to get completely torched by the sun. Apply and reapply sunscreen folks! We walked into the cruise terminal at Grand Turk and were greeted by lots of duty-free liquor and local trinkets. Not a bad way to start off our day! Something great about Grand Turk is that there is a beach right at the port, so you don’t have to go far to get to a pretty, white beach. The cruise center also has free chairs and umbrellas setup which came in VERY handy for my very burnt skin. The shade was much appreciated. Walking around, there are a few shops but a big plus was the giant Margaritaville. You can bet we went and relaxed by the pool with a few margaritas in hand. We then on the hunt for some conch because we’re in the Caribbean and we need conch. Duh. So we headed to a cute little beachside stand and got conch fritters and fried conch. SO GOOD. We relaxed the rest of the time on Grand Turk laying on some chairs by the sea with a bucket of local beers.

Next port — San Juan! I have to say, San Juan really surprised me. I thought I would like it, but I ended up LOVING San Juan. Out of all the ports we went, it was by far my favorite. We were in San Juan all afternoon  and evening which made the entire experience even cooler. We got to see the city come alive at night which you normally don’t get on a cruise. We started our day walking. Lots and LOTS of walking. We walked all the way from the port and around the edge of the island to the old fort on the far side of the island. Built in the 1400s, it was so cool walking around and seeing the history there. It made us really want to go to Europe (next big trip, Greer? 😉) We then needed drinks…because vacation. We ended up at Punta de Vista, a rooftop restaurant and bar with THE BEST mojitos I have ever had. And their happy hour is buy one, get one free! Sign me up! We then went to dinner at El Jibarito, a classic San Juan food joint. It was incredible. We then walked around the city and stopped at a few different bars along the way for rum punches and mojitos. San Juan, we will see you again.

Travel diary southern Caribbean Cruise Travel diary southern Caribbean Cruise

Next on the list is St. Thomas. I’ve always wanted to go to St. Thomas and it didn’t disappoint. We took a cab to Charlotte-Amalie and walked around downtown. We stopped at an outdoor bar for none other than a Corona and asked the bartender the best beach to go to. Magens Beach is super popular, it we didn’t know if there wasn’t a better, more local beach. She recommended Secret Harbor so we headed on down to the southeast end of the island to Secret Harbor. We set ourselves up on the beach and rented some snorkeling gear. Pro tip: it was WAY cheaper than an excursion cost. We snorkeled around Secret Harbor for more than an hour around the coral reefs. We met a friend, a little baby sea turtle. We could’ve watched him swim around and hang out for HOURS. After snorkeling and relaxing on the beach, we stopped at the beach bar for you guessed it — a drink!! It’s vacation, give us a break! Overall, St. Thomas was such a cool place. I hope our sea turtle is still relaxing and hanging out at Secret Harbor.

The last day and the last port — Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. It’s the private island owned by Carnival and it was pretty cool. For the most part, it was just a beach with a ton of bars but the water was SO blue and the sand was so soft. We spent our day here just relaxing. It was glorious.

Overall, we are super happy with the trip. We both ended up enjoying spending so much time together and both got great tans. I can’t wait to go on our next adventure together. Where should we go next? What are your favorite places to visit? Let me know in the comments below. And for more travel posts, head over to our Travel page.

XO –


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