Caribbean vacation advice: With several islands in recovery mode, check before going

Some travelers looking ahead to winter and spring getaways may be wondering what their options are when it comes to Caribbean islands, with all the headlines about hurricane damage.

Some islands like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and St. Martin have a ways to go in recovery from the storms. But many other places were relatively unscathed. Island destinations where it’s business as usual include Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Here are some recommendations from a couple of travel experts about other spots you might consider if you had your heart set on an island destination that’s now off-limits, but you’re still hoping for sun, sand and sea.


Brian Major, executive editor for the Caribbean and Latin America for the trade media company travAlliancemedia, says if you look on a map, it’s easier to understand the storms’ path. The hurricanes mainly impacted the Caribbean’s northeastern Leeward Islands, which include among other destinations Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Dominica, Anguilla and St. Barts.

Visitors sunbathe along a beach in Nassau, Bahamas.

Visitors sunbathe along a beach in Nassau, Bahamas.

Photo by
Alexandre Meneghini

Largely unaffected were islands located farther south, like Grenada and Trinidad, and farther west, like Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

Major offered a few other islands as alternatives to hurricane-impacted destinations.

Consider Martinique or Curacao if you’re looking for the European cultural mix found on St. Martin. There’s “terrific air service” to Martinique, he said, and “an excellent highway system” if you care to rent a

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AAA Travel: Post Hurricanes The Caribbean Is Open For Business Again

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AAA) –– It is a hurricane season for the history books. Travelers be well advised, the Caribbean is open for business despite last month’s hurricanes. Fortunately, most Caribbean islands did not see major damage from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, making the region a top AAA recommended destination for fall and winter getaways. 

“Travelers should remember that Atlantic hurricane season continues through November 30,” says Lilla S. Mason, AAA spokesperson. “It is also of paramount importance for anyone traveling during this time to heed the advice of travel experts and plan ahead for any unforeseen severe weather.”

Tourist (stay-over) arrivals in the Caribbean have grown by 35.7 percent between 2006 and 2016 or at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO).

“The Caribbean remains home to some of the world’s most popular travel destinations,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “Vacationers, travel suppliers and the islands welcome guests to enjoy the relaxation, culture and recreation of the Caribbean.”

AAA experts recommend that travelers look to these popular Caribbean destinations, which sustained minimal or no damage, for their upcoming travels:

  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Jamaica
  • Martinique
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Kitts Nevis
  • St. Vincent The Grenadines
  • The Cayman Islands
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks Caicos
  • St. Vincent The Grenadines

Additionally, the Florida Keys have reopened to travelers ahead of schedule following Hurricane Irma, and Mexico saw little impact to its tourism infrastructure following two recent earthquakes and Hurricane Katia, which made landfall in the eastern part of the country.

“While recovery efforts are ongoing, we do

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Travel: Guernsey is first stop for Redlands women on a cruise around the British Isles


By Janet Landfried

There are so many ways to see the world and so many places to go. Every trip brings new experiences and new friends. Many of my trips have been to exotic locations but that doesn’t stop me from going to familiar places.

Princess cruise Line has trips all over the world, but one caught my attention – a circumnavigation of the British Isles on the Caribbean Princess. Every summer Princess and other lines do these cruises, but I chose this one in particular because it would stop in Orkney, islands north of Scotland. Christina Rivera and I signed up for this cruise months ago and planned together when and where to go.

Christina retired as the principal of Redlands High School a couple of years ago and now has time

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Thanks to agent, peace of mind on a Scotland honeymoon

Since I started working at Travel Weekly over two years ago, the value travel agents add to consumers’ trips has become pretty obvious to me.

Anecdotally, agents tell me all the time about the little extras they do for their clients that go a long way. When they book with preferred suppliers, their clients often get some kind of perk. And, looking at the numbers, the value becomes even clearer: ASTA last year released the results of a study that found agents save their clients an average of $452 per trip and four hours in planning time.

I had never thought to use an agent before because I didn’t know how valuable they were. I’m happy to say that’s changed.

Last month, I went on my first leisure trip planned by a travel agent. It was an important one, too: my honeymoon.

My now-wife, Kim, and I were waffling about where to go when we realized Scotland was extremely high on both of our lists. We decided we wanted to spend a few days in Edinburgh, take a road trip through the Highlands with a mandatory stop on the Isle of Skye, and sleep in a castle. We also decided there was no way we could plan everything ourselves and plan it well, so I started asking around for an agent recommendation.

Enter Carol Rowland.

Rowland owns Recess 4 Grownups, a Nexion affiliate based in Atlanta. I sent her an email with the basics of what we

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8-year-old girl dies after fall on Carnival cruise ship

Escorted by water-squirting tugs, the new
Carnival Glory arrives in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on July 11, 2003. (Andy Newman/Carnival cruise Lines/HO)

Police are investigating the death of a child who fell on a Carnival cruise ship Saturday shortly after it arrived in Miami.

About 8:15 a.m. Saturday, an 8-year-old girl on board the Carnival Glory fell from a deck in the ship’s interior atrium to the lower deck, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The ship was docked at PortMiami at the time, police said, and had just returned from a seven-night cruise to the Western Caribbean.

“The ship’s medical team responded immediately and the child was transported to the ship’s medical center,” Carnival cruise Lines spokeswoman Jayme Eglin said in an email. Those on board also alerted Miami-Dade police, she said.

The girl was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital Ryder Trauma Center, less than five miles from the port, where she died, police said.

“Our most heartfelt condolences are with the family at this very difficult time,” Eglin said.

Carnival representatives and police declined Sunday to answer further questions, including whether there was any reason to suspect foul play or exactly where on the ship the fall occurred. The investigation is ongoing, Miami-Dade police said.

At a cruise-ship-deck-miami/story?id=50482572″>obtained by ABC News showed emergency workers and crew members gathered on a lower deck of the ship, reportedly after the girl fell;

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Travel/Viking Passage cruise, Part I: Rotterdam to the Shetlands – Champaign/Urbana News


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Nine things cruise newbies need to know before walking the gangplank

First-time cruisers have a lot to wrap their heads around. There are hundreds of cruise lines out there, and sifting through the options – like the themes (The Walking Dead or Oprah?) destinations (Caribbean, Alaska, Mediterranean, Asia?) and even ship sizes (travel on the largest cruise ship in the world!) – can be overwhelming.

But here’s a little secret: Even cruise experts rely on travel agents to find the right fit. Carolyn Spencer Brown, who has been writing about cruises for nearly two decades, first as a staff travel writer at The Washington Post and now as editor-at-large at, an all-encompassing review site and online community, estimates that she’s been on more than 300 cruises and she still depends on her travel agent to help book the right one. “I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t, because it takes all the hassle out,” she says. And what are cruises about, if not avoiding hassle?

Whether you’re a newbie or an aficionado, Spencer Brown has some useful insights on choosing the right cruise and other issues to consider before you embark.

Determine your travel style and what you’re looking for before booking:

Spencer Brown says the key is to find a cruise that’s a good

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Despite travel warning, cruises to Cuba continue

Although the U.S. Department of State recently issued a travel warning on Cuba, a number of cruise lines plan to add itineraries to Cuba next year. 

The Sept. 29 statement, which “warns U.S. citizens not to travel to Cuba,” is based on a series of mysterious illnesses that have befallen U.S. Embassy workers in Havana.  

But several cruise lines operating ships in and around Cuba have released statements pushing back on the warning, noting that no tourists have been harmed in these incidents.  

They also say cruising is compliant with new travel restrictions that were imposed in June by President Donald Trump, who essentially rolled back President Barack Obama’s easing of sanctions in 2014. The new rules make independent travel more difficult, essentially funneling interested travelers to tour companies, including cruise lines. Although the Trump administration’s expulsion of Cuban diplomats this week in retaliation for the American diplomats’ illnesses suggests that relations are becoming more fraught between the two nations, travel remains legal, and non-Cuban-born Americans seeking to visit Cuba may still receive their visas to do so through their airline, cruise line or tour operator. It is possible, given the skeleton crew operating at the Cuban embassy, that the visa process could slow, but at present tour operators say they have visas on hand.  

Several cruise companies had already announced significant expansion of their Cuba operations before the warning was issued. Carnival cruise Line launched its Cuba itinerary aboard the Carnival Paradise in June and recently announced five new sailings in 2018. Departing

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The Recovery Process: Caribbean Tourism, Island by Island – The …

Below, an updated look at how the islands are faring.

Antigua and Barbuda

This two-island nation, which has been struggling since 2009 amid the recession, depends heavily on tourism. Antigua was spared the worst of Irma. Most hotels (including Carlisle Bay, Cocos Hotel and Keyonna Beach Resort), beach bars and restaurants are largely undamaged. As a result, the country said it has received an unprecedented number of calls due to changed cruise itineraries after the hurricanes. With more ships heading to Antigua, this could be a record-breaking year for cruise tourism there. About a dozen calls to its port will be from ships that have never visited before. The islands are expecting the largest number of cruise passengers ever to visit on Dec. 26, Boxing Day.

Barbuda, Antigua’s little sister, however, is in ruins. Gaston Browne, the prime minister, said that 90 percent of the island’s properties were damaged or destroyed. That includes hotels. But because there were fewer than 100 rooms on the island, the overall effect on tourism is minimal, the Caribbean Tourism Organization said.

Barbuda’s unspoiled land made it an attractive getaway. The actor Robert De Niro and James Packer, the Australian businessman, were in the process of transforming the island’s former K Club Resort into the Paradise Found Nobu Resort when the hurricane struck.

Mr. De Niro participated in a hurricane relief telethon broadcast in September.

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Tourists Are Still Flocking to the Caribbean This Winter – NBC News

Tourism is the Caribbean’s lifeline, bringing in $56 billion in 2016. But the devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria will hurt the region come high season this winter, bringing its seven-year streak of year-over-year growth to a halt.

As a whole, however, the loss in tourism dollars might not be as severe as one might have thought. At least, that’s what the islands’ ambassadors are hoping.

“There is no doubt that this hurricane season has devastated a number of Caribbean islands, but when considering the sheer number of islands in the Caribbean (more than 7,000), travelers soon realize that the majority of Caribbean islands were not affected at all by the storms, or only minimally,” said

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