Our new winter season features wonderful voyages through the Caribbean, calling at Mexico, Antigua, Barbados and to the historic island of Cuba. These voyages have been planned with the help of Dr Carrie Gibson, historian and author of Empire’s Crossroads: A History of the Caribbean. We are delighted that Carrie will be joining us as a guest speaker on several of Aegean Odyssey’s sailings. The Caribbean is Carrie’s favourite part of the world, so we asked her what she is most looking forward to about her time with Voyages to Antiquity on our maiden season in the region.
I can’t think of a better way to see off the chill of winter than spending time in my favourite part of the world – the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. As nice as the palm trees and rum cocktails are, it is the diverse and fascinating history of these islands that has drawn me back time and again. It is a privilege to join Aegean Odyssey for cruises around the Eastern Caribbean & the Grenadines on December 5, 2017 and The Cuba Experience I on January 12, 2018 along the stunning Cuban coast.
This is a particularly important time to visit Cuba. The island has such a rich past that goes well beyond the events of the twentieth century. Those layers are on display in Havana, whose history is reflected in its both its layout and architecture, from the imposing Morro fort built by the Spanish in the sixteenth century, to the 1950s modernism of the Riviera Hotel, once owned by mobster Meyer Lansky. From Havana, it’s on to the nineteenth-century elegance of Cienfuegos and the colonial cobbled streets of Trinidad, before ending in Cuba’s second city: Santiago. The city occupies a special place in Cuban history as the birthplace of the Revolution, but it was also one of the earliest Spanish settlements on the island, founded in 1515.
Although Cuba has a staggering amount to explore, the smaller islands of the Caribbean have equally complex histories. Although Spain first claimed them, the islands on the Eastern Caribbean itinerary ended up as either British or French colonies – and sometimes both! One attribute they all share, however, is a stunning landscape. Barbados is blessed with perfect beaches, while the dramatic volcanic topography of Martinique and St Lucia is carpeted in hues of deep greens. Bright violet bougainvillea flows over walls and along buildings everywhere you go, while birds of unimaginable colour combinations dart through the skies.
Sailing is a special way to see the Caribbean – for hundreds of years it was the only way. What a treat to still be able to enter waters where pirates and smugglers once prowled, and where warships battled for supremacy.
These Caribbean itineraries to Cuba and beyond are a chance to journey to the heart of a diverse and unique region of the world. Do join me this winter to discover just what makes these islands so special.
Join Dr Carrie Gibson on board Aegean Odyssey on the following cruises:
A Passage to the Caribbean, departing 20th November 2017 >
Eastern Caribbean & the Grenadines, departing 5th December 2017 >
The Cuba Experience I, departing 12th January 2018 >
A signed copy of Carrie Gibson’s book “Empire’s Crossroads – A History of the Caribbean” awaits all our guests in their cabins.