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Southern Caribbean Cruise/Presidents' Week Adventure

by Camille Pepe Sperrazza 

This week I'm shoveling snow. But last week I was shoveling sand. 

We're back from our annual Presidents' Week group cruise, a life-saver that thaws the bones, providing us with strength to endure the rest of winter. 

We traveled to San Juan for a pre-cruise Saturday night stay -- and San Juan was jumpin'! At the Marriott, we enjoyed mojitos on the beach, a buffet of fresh seafood (not farm-fed), and live music in the lobby. We left old man winter behind, and were in 94-degree sunshine immediately. Even the slot machines were singing. 

On Sunday, Valentine's Day, we boarded the Caribbean Princess for our seven-night trip that included stops at St. Thomas, Grenada, Dominica, Bonaire, and Aruba. Among the highlights were the private tours I arranged to Grenada and Dominica where we explored the rainforests and waterfalls. In Grenada, our guide plucked cocoa from a tree, cut open the shell, and sampled chocolate directly from the fruit. It was bitter, as chocolate has to go through a process before it turns to the flavor that this chocoholic adores. 

In Dominica, after cooling off beneath the water falls, we drank fresh coconut juice, right from the fruit. Then, our talented host carved a spoon out of the shell, so we could scoop out the soft pulp. You can't get this in New York! 

In Bonaire, some of us went diving and snorkeling, while others enjoyed sitting on the beach, gazing at the clearest water imaginable. 

St. Thomas is a shopping haven, where you can make purchases that are duty-free and tax-free. 

When we stopped in Aruba, I spent the day at the Renaissance Hotel and Casino, establishing a personal relationship with the manager who promises to take care of everyone I send. This resort is gorgeous. Located in the heart of everything, it is surrounded by stores, restaurants, and nightlife, all within walking distance. The resort itself is huge, with everything you can imagine. There is part for adults, and another section for families. There are two casinos, pools, pool bars, and a strip of beach, right in the immediate resort. Even more exciting: a boat pulls right into the lobby of the hotel every 15 minutes, to pick you up and whisk you away to their private beach, a 10-minute boat ride across fabulous blue water. There you'll find flamingos, colorful lizards, fish, beach chairs, a bar, a restaurant, diving and water activities, and an area where you can get massages. It can be an all-inclusive experience or pay-as-you-go. Your choice. 

Of course, cruising the Caribbean is always fabulous. On the ship, we enjoyed wine tastings, gourmet meals, Broadway-style shows, a hypnotist, tropical deck parties, poolside fun, and so much more. Our group amenities included $50 shipboard credit, tote bags, t-shirts, lip balm, pens, photos, cappuccinos and cocktails. Every member of our group deposited for next Presidents' Week while still on board! 

It's your choice: Spend next Presidents' Week shoveling snow or shoveling sand. 

For more information or to book a trip, 
contact "Commodore" Camille today. 

This article was accurate when it was written, but everything in life changes. Enjoy the journey! 

Copyright: Camille Pepe Sperrazza