This enchanting voyage immerses you in some of the most culture-rich destinations throughout the Caribbean. You’ll explore the azure waters and emerald-hued islands of the Bahamas, visit a historic fortress in St. Kitt’s, view the volcanic splendor of St. Lucia, and savor tasty rum in Martinique. Best of all, you’ll explore in luxury aboard Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s 5-star Ocean Explorer.
Make your way through the crystalline waters of the Caribbean and admire breathtaking beaches, lush islands, and local cultures while sailing aboard a luxurious small ship. Beyond the tourist crowds, a roster of 18 included features and Cultural Discoveries immerse you in the nuanced heritage of these islands. Explore the laid-back charms of Samaná in the Dominican Republic, tour an old rum distillery in Martinique and a sugar mill on St. Lucia; dock overnight in Barbados for fuller explorations of this island paradise, and step into the past when you visit Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park on St. Kitts. If you prefer some time to relax on the beach, you’ll have ample opportunity to indulge at your leisure with the help of our complimentary onboard Concierge Service.
Bookending your journey are stays in Nassau, the colorful capital of the Bahamas, and Belém, Brazil. Along the way, indulge in the amenities of the exquisite Ocean Explorer. Relax on deck or in the spa, watch gorgeous vistas unfold from the Observation Lounge or the open-air sundeck, and savor delicious meals prepared by our talented chefs.
Fly to Nassau, the Bahamas
Welcome to Nassau. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, upon arrival at the airport a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your centrally located hotel. Settle in and relax, or perhaps do some exploring on your own. The city is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, thanks to its prolific and colorful Crafts and Folk-Art traditions, so you’re sure to come upon island-made handicrafts and other creative pursuits. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Dinner at your hotel.
Relax and unwind in the beautiful Bahamas
Start your morning with breakfast at your hotel, then enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Sip a cocktail by the pool or enjoy the beach at your harbor-front resort. Your hotel is within walking distance of downtown Nassau, so everything is within easy reach. Perhaps you’ll visit the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, or shop for handicrafts at the Straw Market. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are spectacular dive sites, and plenty of opportunities to swim with dolphins, feed sharks, or enjoy water sports from kayaking to jet-skiing and more. When hunger calls, pop into a local restaurant for lunch and savor a conch salad, a true Bahamian delicacy.
Tonight, take advantage of your resort’s many onsite entertainment amenities such as the movie theater or bowling alley. And with a variety of onsite restaurants, each featuring their own menu of delicious cuisine prepared from fresh, local ingredients, you’re sure to find something to tickle your tastebuds.
Tour Nassau and then embark the Ocean Explorer
You’ll begin the day with breakfast at your hotel, before transferring to the Ocean Explorer to begin the cruise portion of your journey.
Along the way you’ll tour the sites of Nassau, beginning with a stop at Rawson and Parliament squares, lined with colorful stucco Georgian neo-classical buildings. The Supreme Court, Senate Chambers, and House of Assembly are here. Leaving here, you’ll pass the Queen’s Staircase, 66 limestone steps that connect Fort Fincastle to the lower town. It was carved out of the sheer rock by slaves in 1793. You’ll also see the Government House and Graycliff, a stunning mansion built in 1740 that is now a famous hotel. After a photo stop at historic Fort Charlotte, you’ll pass other landmarks such as the College of the Bahamas, Sir Harry Oakes Monument and Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. You’ll also pass colorful Arawak Cay, a jumble of multicolored shacks and cafés that are collectively known as “Fish Fry.” Be sure to come back during your free time to enjoy the famous conch fritters, fried chicken, and tropical conch salad, and to hear a local storyteller share some Bahamian lore.
During your tour you’ll stop at the historic 1789 Buena Vista Estate, home of the John Watlings Distillery where you will enjoy a self-guided tour and rum tasting. Upon departing the distillery you’ll visit Aradastra Gardens, a lush tropical setting where you’ll be introduced to some local denizens such as monkeys, flamingos, snakes, lorikeets, and other native species.
Once you arrive at the pier and board your ship, there will be time to settle in and perhaps have a drink on deck as you set off on your adventure. Tonight, enjoy a special Captain's Welcome Dinner with your fellow travelers.
Relax on board with two days at sea
Enjoy a couple of days at sea as the Ocean Explorer plies the historic waters of the Caribbean. Visit the spa, get in a workout at the gym, relax on the sun deck catching up with a great book, and enjoy the fabulous cuisine our chefs are cooking up.
Indulge in the natural riches of the Dominican Republic in Samaná
Immerse yourself in the history and culture of “DR” today during an enlightening tour that reveals the island’s flavors, bucolic way of life, and remarkable past. During your exploration you’ll visit a whale exhibit, a cigar museum, and even have time for shopping. Samaná is a lush, laid-back slice of this island, and you'll get to see its beaches and natural glory on a tour today, as well as meet with some locals.
Back on board, relax on the sun deck in the late afternoon sun.
Relax on board the Ocean Explorer
Treat yourself to your ship’s amenities as you cruise into the legendary Caribbean Sea. Take advantage of this time to read a book from our library or enjoy a soothing massage at the spa. The time is yours!
Ride the rails to a historic fortress on St. Kitts
Dock this morning in Basseterre, the capital of the sovereign nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. These lush islands were first colonized by France and Britain in the 1620s and became independent in 1983. Today, you’ll venture to Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Erected by the British, this was the largest fortification ever built in the Western Caribbean. You’ll arrive at the fort via a splendid two-hour rail trip aboard the open-air carriages of the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, a thrilling experience through lush countryside and past sweeping vistas awash in the Caribbean’s azure waters and distant emerald-hued islands. After visiting the fort, you’ll be whisked back to the ship for lunch and then have the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.
Savor the sites — and rum — of Martinique
Following breakfast on board, you will head out for a tour of magnificent Martinique. Your tour begins with a stop at Balata Church, an exact replica of the Basilica of Montmartre in Paris and features a spectacular view of Fort de France and the neighboring bay. Your tour continues through the rain forest to the Depaz rum distillery, one of the best in Martinique. Here you will learn about the process of rum production and have the opportunity to taste this exceptional product, before continuing on to Martinique’s most famous place: the site of the 1902 volcano eruption. You will then return to Fort De France, passing through villages like Le Carbet, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502.
At the conclusion of your tour, you will return to the ship and enjoy dinner and an evening on board.
Volcanic splendors of St. Lucia
Arrive in Soufriére this morning, the scenic and pastel-hued capital of St. Lucia tucked into a natural amphitheater. A scenic drive showcases its beautiful colonial architecture. Continue to Sulphur Springs Park, the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano where pools of bubbling hot springs create an otherworldly landscape. Then, stop to admire the vivid, exotic hues and melodious birdsong at the Diamond Botanical Garden and Waterfall. Later, visit the island’s Old Sugar Mill. Its waterwheel, built in 1765, once crushed sugarcane and limes and even generated the island’s first electricity. During your visit, jive to the rhythms of a local band over a refreshing drink and snacks.
Following your lunch on board, the afternoon is at your leisure. Perhaps explore more of St. Lucia with a tour set up by your onboard Concierge or stroll the streets of Soufrière in search of a handcrafted souvenir. As you leave St. Lucia behind, you will cruise past the island’s most famous landmark — the twin volcanic spires of the Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bridgetown, Barbados: brimming with British charm
Few places other than Barbados blend calypso music and cricket so seamlessly, thanks to its rich British heritage. This is one of the Caribbean’s most stunning islands, as you’ll have ample time to discover during a stay here. Your explorations begin in the island’s northern reaches at Animal Flower Cave, the only accessible sea cave on the island. After admiring its beauty, stop in Tent Bay at the Atlantis Historic Inn. You might spot faraway fishing boats hauling in their catch as you relax in the warm sun over a refreshing drink. At St. John’s Parish Church, perched 800 feet above the sea, enjoy stunning views of the ocean and the town of St. John. One of the island’s most fascinating residents was a descendant of the Byzantine Imperial family, today buried in the cemetery here after his 1678 death. Conclude your tour with lunch at Sunbury House, dating to 1650. This grand manse is brimming with antiques and echoes of plantation life, including the Caribbean’s largest collection of carriages and some of the first optical machinery in the West Indies. You’ll anchor overnight in Bridgetown which, together with its Garrison, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The rest of the afternoon and evening is yours to enjoy — check with our Concierge for suggestions on what to see and do in Barbados. Perhaps you’ll lounge on one of its warm white sand beaches or explore Bridgetown’s history on a stroll around the Careenage, the city’s original harbor around the Constitution River.
Experience the magnificence of Harrison’s Cave
Head out this morning to visit what many call the Caribbean’s most spectacular natural sight — Harrison’s Cave. What makes this cavernous chamber so spellbinding is the crystallized limestone from which it was formed over millennia. An electric tram takes you down into its depths, a stunning canvas of stalagmites, stalactites, gurgling streams, and waterfalls plunging into emerald pools.
You cruise out of Barbados before the dinner hour. Be sure to take a cocktail up to the Observation Lounge or the sundeck to bid this spectacular island farewell.
Explore the sites of St. George’s, Grenada
Your tour of St. George’s, Grenada begins at the pier where you’ll board an air-conditioned motorcoach and enjoy a scenic drive through this popular Caribbean destination. You’ll head to De La Grenade Industries, where you can sample delicious local products such as jams, jellies, and nutmeg syrup. Their prize-winning nutmeg liqueur and rum punch are not to be missed.
You’ll continue on to Laura Herb and Spice Garden, an amazing botanical garden that grows herbs and spices used in medicinal remedies. Enjoy a guided educational tour of the grounds, and discover the cornucopia of trees, herbs, and spices grown here. Following your guided tour, you’ll have time to explore the gift shop before we continue on to Grenada Distillers, opened in 1937, where you’ll be welcomed by knowledgeable guides who will explain the history of rum-making in Grenada. After the tour, you will be invited to sample their award-winning rums at the bar.
At the conclusion of the tour, you’ll return to the ship for an evening on board.
Two days of bliss and relaxation at sea
You have two days to indulge in the amenities of the Ocean Explorer. Relax on the sun deck, visit the spa for a soothing treatment, or perhaps get a workout in the gym. At mealtime, savor incredible culinary creations thoughtfully prepared by your onboard chefs. In the evening, head up to the Observation Deck for some of the most magnificent stargazing you’re ever likely to experience.
Uncover the treasures of Paramaribo, Suriname
Today you’ll explore Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname and its largest city. This friendly city, known for its colonial-era wood buildings, was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2002. Originally founded in the early 17th-century as a Dutch trading post, Paramaribo is known as the “Wooden City of the Caribbean” due to the abundance of buildings built in the traditional Dutch architectural style.
Your tour will begin with a visit to the flower market, where rows of fragrant, colorful flowers and tropical plants fill the vendors’ booths. From there it’s just a short walk to the Fort Zeelandia fortress museum complex. Originally a wooden fort constructed by the French in 1640, the fort was later reinforced and was eventually taken over by the Dutch in 1667. Your tour will continue on to Independence Square. From here you will have an unimpeded view of the city’s historic, colonial-era buildings, including the Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Finance, and the Court of Justice. Your tour concludes with a walk through the St. Peter and Paul Cathedral — the largest wooden structure in the western hemisphere — and visits to both the Neveh Shalom Synagogue and the Mosque Keizerstraat, which are located next door to each other.
Enjoy two days at your leisure aboard the Ocean Explorer
You’ll enjoy two additional days to indulge in the luxurious amenities found aboard your ship. Visit the spa, relax in the well-stocked library, sip a cocktail as you take in the panoramic views from the sundeck, or perhaps get a workout in the gym. At mealtime, savor incredible culinary creations thoughtfully prepared by your onboard chefs. In the evening, head up to the Observation Deck for some of the most magnificent stargazing you’re ever likely to experience.
Discover Belém by boat
Following breakfast on board this morning, you’ll disembark the Ocean Explorer and head to your hotel in Belém, Brazil. Along the way you’ll enjoy a boat tour of the Amazon River, where you will see canoes, fishing boats, and other river-craft making their way along the tributaries that lead in and out of the rainforest. After crossing Combu Island, you will reach the Boa Vista do Acará jungle area where you can take part in a leisurely 45-minute guided walk through the jungle as your local guide points out the varied species of vegetation found here.
After the walk, you'll head back to the boat for the return trip to Belém, where you will stop for lunch before continuing on to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure with dinner on your own.
Discover the best of Belém today
Following breakfast at your hotel this morning, you’ll depart for a tour of beautiful Belém, beginning with a visit to Brazil’s largest open-air market: Ver-O-Peso Market. Take a guided walk through this sprawling market, one of the city’s most beloved landmarks encompassing four city blocks and filled with stalls offering traditional foods and artisanal goods such as handmade pottery, handicrafts, and clothing. You’ll find wholly original souvenirs and gifts here, including charms inspired by macumba, a form of voodoo practiced in Brazil.
From the market you’ll head to Forte do Castelo, a Portuguese military fortification that dates back to the early 17th century. It was constructed on the highest point of the city to protect the new colony against Dutch and French occupation.
After your fortress visit, you’ll continue on to the Emilio Goeldi Zoo & Botanical Park, 12-acre museum, zoo, and research centers dedicated to the study of indigenous Amazonian species from white-whiskered squirrel monkeys to anaconda and more. Boasting more than 1,500 samples of plant species and over 1,600 types of fruit trees that grow in the region, the facility also houses an aviary and small aquarium.
On the return drive to your hotel, you will make a stop at the Basilica of Our Lady of Nazareth of Exile, a minor basilica constructed during the early 20th-century Amazonian rubber boom. It is a replica of the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls located in Rome and renowned for its architecture, stained-glass windows, and beautiful altar.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to spend as you wish. Tonight, you will join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner.
Depart Belém and return home
Start the day with breakfast at your hotel before transferring to the airport at São Paulo for your overnight return flight to the U.S.
Please Note: Ocean cruising is not the same experience as river cruising; as such, you may experience fluctuating tides and weather patterns that may involve some rocking of your vessel. Itineraries will include all activities as planned except in extreme cases that can’t be controlled by your shipboard crew. Day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert.