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14 nights
from £5895

Secret Caribbean

An island hopping voyage from Barbados to Antigua aboard the MS Serenissima

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  • History and Culture
  • Admiralty Bay, Bequia

If you have been contemplating a cruise in the Caribbean but the thought of crossing paths with one of the mega-factory like cruise ships with their thousands of passengers who operate in the area has deterred you from doing so, this could be the perfect voyage. With so many ships sailing in the Caribbean Sea you might well ask what is so different about our journey. The answer is the itinerary. By and large we will head for the smaller, less visited islands and with the MS Serenissima as our base and only 100 fellow passengers, we have the advantage of berthing or anchoring at some of the smaller islands. As we will be sailing short distances, we have full days on many of the islands allowing time to wander and explore at our own pace in addition to joining the included guided excursions. If you have a desire to see the forts and learn of the history of the region, visit national parks and botanical gardens with their endemic plants and wildlife or simply relax on pristine beaches all in the company of a small number of like-minded travellers then this is the itinerary for you. 

Ship to Shore: Please note that although this cruise is not classified as an expedition cruise, the vessel will be at anchor and Zodiacs used to transport passengers ashore in all ports with the exception of Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada, Kingstown, St Kitts and Antigua where we will be alongside. 


Serenissima

Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Barbados.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this afternoon and transfer to the MS Serenissima.

Day 2 - Tobago.

Today is dedicated to exploring the natural wonders of Tobago. We will anchor in the small fishing village of Charlotteville which is situated in Man of War Bay and run a choice of activities. There will be an island drive which will include the Argyle Waterfall for a refreshing swim and a chance to explore the lush surrounding forest. The keen birders will enjoy a visit to Little Tobago, a hilly arid island situated 1.5 miles offshore and an important seabird sanctuary for frigate birds, brown boobies and red billed tropic birds. Meanwhile the waters around Goat Island offer some of the region’s best coral reefs and are abundant with marine life and perfect for snorkelling.

Day 3 - Trinidad.

Due to its location close to the South American mainland, Trinidad has a unique diversity of plant and animal species which we will discover today. From our berth at Port of Spain we will drive inland to the Asa Wright Nature Centre. Founded on a former cocoa and coffee plantation in 1967 it comprises 1500 acres of forest providing habitat for a range of wildlife. We will explore on a series of guided walks, searching for the 166 species of birds including toucans, hummingbirds and manakins or some of the hundreds of varieties of butterflies. Return to the MS Serenissima for lunch and this afternoon either take time to explore Port of Spain and maybe visit the Botanical gardens or national museum. Alternatively in the late afternoon join a tour to the Caroni Nature Sanctuary, a mangrove swamp covering an area of 40 square miles. On arrival at the sanctuary we board a flat-bottomed boat and slowly travel along the beautiful peaceful waterways and lagoons admiring the beauty of the landscape and a variety of birds including egrets and herons and other wildlife. The most astounding bird is the Scarlet Ibis, a large bright red bird feeding and nesting here and we hope to catch them as they return to their nests at sunset.

Day 4 - Grenada.

Explore this wonderful Windward Island which many regard as the most beautiful in the Caribbean. It is a lush and verdant island with spice plantations, tropical forests, secluded coves, nature trails and select hotels which cling to the hillsides overlooking the ocean. We will moor in the picturesque capital of St George’s and have time to walk amongst the picturesque buildings, see the 18th century French Fort Frederick with great views before visiting one of the spice plantations. After lunch onboard, enjoy free time to explore St George’s before sailing in the early evening.

Day 5 - St Vincent & Bequia.

Arrive this morning in bustling Kingstown, capital of St Vincent and gateway to the Grenadines. This morning we drive to the outskirts of the city to the 19th century Fort Charlotte and the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere. Dating from 1765, this 20 acre site was developed to provide medicinal plants. Over lunch we sail to Bequia. This delightful Grenadine island is totally unspoilt, a place of pure escapism in a charming old world atmosphere. Only seven miles by two it is a long way from the well beaten tourist track, a serene and peaceful island with some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Choose to spend time in the main town of Port Elizabeth, find a spot on a local beach and relax or join a drive to Spring Bay where we can visit the Hawksbill Turtle sanctuary.

Day 6 - St Lucia.

A splendidly rugged island of towering mountains, lush green valleys and acres of banana plantations. We will moor in sight of the island’s best known feature, the twin peaks of the Pitons, which rise dramatically from the sea to more than 2400 feet. In the nearby town of Soufriere we can visit the bubbling sulphur springs, part of a low lying volcano which erupted thousands of years ago. Our island tour will also include the splendid botanical gardens, and one of the local plantations where we learn about cacao production.

Day 7 - Martinique.

Martinique is a truly cosmopolitan island and a Department of France. The strong French influence is seen everywhere and without doubt Martinique is one of the most sophisticated islands in the West Indies enjoying a remarkably high standard of living. We will base ourselves at the small port of Le Marin and enjoy a morning scenic drive including the Musee de la Pagerie, the birthplace and childhood home of Empress Josephine, see the impressive plantations and have a chance to sample some of the local rum. This afternoon there will be time to relax in the small town or on a local beach.

Day 8 - Dominica.

Stepping back in time, the island of Dominica is still the primitive garden that Columbus first sighted in 1493. An area of tropical rainforests, flowers of incredible beauty and animals that exist nowhere else in the world. We arrive this morning in the small port of Cabrits, just below the national park and the former British garrison of Fort Shirley. There will be a choice of activities today and the active can climb to the fort to explore the ruins, visit the small museum and maybe wander the surrounding trails on the lookout for birds, hermit crabs and lizards. For the keen birders we will offer a tour driving through the plantations to the Morne Diablotin National Park where from the viewpoint we hope to see the two endemic parrots of Dominica. Alternatively join a local boat for a journey along the Indian River, a mangrove lined creek with interesting bankside vegetation including gnarled tree roots and which is home to herons, egrets, hummingbirds and iguanas.

Day 9 - Les Saintes, Guadeloupe.

At first light we sail to this eightisland archipelago which dots the waters of the southwest coast of Guadeloupe. Still untouched by the hand of tourism these attractive islands offer lovely coves and beaches and colourful fishing villages. On an island drive this morning in Terre de Haut we will visit Fort Napoleon with its museum and gardens, the Catholic Church and Town Hall. After lunch you will have time to explore the town independently or maybe relax on one of the inviting local beaches.

Day 10 - Montserrat.

Ask any Caribbean connoisseur about their favourite places and Montserrat will always be high on the list. Following the damaging volcanic eruptions of 1995 and 2010, much of the island is now returning to normal. We will visit the volcano observatory and learn how the islanders coped with the devastation it caused. Even now we will drive through areas where volcanic material lies in the roads. We also see some of the untouched areas which are as beautiful as ever and if weather permits we will cruise by the destroyed town of Plymouth.

Day 11 - St Kitts & Nevis.

We will make a landing this morning on the delightful island of St Kitts. This lovely island has it all, restful green fields of sugar cane plantations, rainforests and long stretches of uncrowded beaches. The atmosphere here is wonderfully relaxed and full of old-world charm. Either wander the streets of Basseterre including the colonial buildings or see the impressive UNESCO fortress at Brimstone Hill. This 18th century British garrison played a key role in the battles with the French and is situated on a hill offering fine views over to Nevis to where we will sail over lunch. On an island drive we will stop at the Nelson Museum and also the Botanical Gardens.

Day 12 - Saint Eustatius.

In the 18th century the port of Oranjestad was a major player in the trade between Europe and the new world. Today the island maintains a low key existence and has avoided the modernisation and development of her neighbours. We will explore the small town including the 17th century fort and the museum with information on slavery, colonial relics and historical artefacts. Meanwhile, the more active may wish to take the strenuous hike to “The Quill” the 600 metre hill that dominates the landscape. This afternoon is free to explore at leisure and shuttle buses will be available to take you to the town or to one of the local beaches.

Day 13 - Antigua.

A onetime British colony, Antigua is justly famous for its beaches, said to total more than 300. We have a day here and on a morning tour will enjoy the views from Shirley Heights before heading to Nelson’s Dockyard, beautifully located in English Harbour. See the impressive collection of restored historic buildings which were occupied by the British Navy from 1707 till 1899. In the afternoon either spend time in St Johns, on one of the local beaches or join a cricketing tour of the island including the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Stanford Cricket Ground and the Antigua Cricket Ground (ARG). Keith Fredericks (Freddo), a cricketer who represented Antigua at regional level and Head Groundsman at the ARG will delight in giving a talk and guided tour of the club house and the ground. Finally before returning to the vessel there will be a private appearance by one of Antigua’s cricket West Indian Legends.

Day 14 - Antigua to London.

Disembark this morning. Enjoy a morning tour and local lunch before transferring to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.

Day 15 - London.

Arrive this morning.

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
Category Price
1 Inside Twin/Double £5895
2 Standard Stateroom £6395
3 Standard Stateroom Plus £6695
4 Superior Stateroom £6895
5 Deluxe Stateroom £7095
6 Junior Suite £7495
7 Executive Suite £7995
8 Owner’s Suite £7995
9 Inside Single £5895
10 Standard Single £6795
2 Standard Stateroom for sole use £9395
3 Standard Stateroom Plus for sole use £9695

Tour Reference Code: SCSE190317

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, 13 nights aboard the MS Serenissima on a full board basis with house wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard, Noble Caledonia onboard team, shore excursions, gratuities, transfers, port taxes.

Not Included: Travel insurance.

Ship to Shore: Please note that although this cruise is not classified as an expedition cruise, the vessel will be at anchor and Zodiacs used to transport passengers ashore in all ports with the exception of Barbados, Trinidad, Grenada, Kingstown, St Kitts and Antigua where we will be alongside. 

  • All Decks

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Destinations

  • Central America and Caribbean

    To see our current selection of tours in Central America and Caribbean click here.

  • Antigua and Barbuda

    To see our current selection of tours in Antigua and Barbuda click here.

  • Dominica

    To see our current selection of tours in Dominica click here.

  • Grenada

    To see our current selection of tours in Grenada click here.

  • Montserrat

    To see our current selection of tours in Montserrat click here.

  • St Kitts & Nevis

    To see our current selection of tours in St Kitts & Nevis click here.

  • St Lucia

    To see our current selection of tours in St Lucia click here.

  • St Vincent & the Grenadine

    To see our current selection of tours in St Vincent & the Grenadine click here.

  • Trinidad & Tobago

    To see our current selection of tours in Trinidad & Tobago click here.

Serenissima

The handsome 100-passenger MS Serenissima began her career as the Harald Jarl, cruising the Norwegian coastline and fjords. Extensively renovated in 2003 she was rechristened MS Andrea and began her life as a classic cruise ship, and was chartered by Noble Caledonia for a number of years. In spring 2012 MS Andrea was purchased by our long-standing associates Volga Dream and renamed the MS Serenissima.

After a thorough renovation and upgrading, the charming MS Serenissima commenced cruise operations in April 2013 and we have chartered her for the majority of each year since knowing her to be perfect for small ship cruising. With her small size she can navigate into small, remote ports inaccessible to the big cruise ships and appears an impressive sight when moored. With her fleet of Zodiacs she is capable of both destination and expedition cruising.

 
  • MS Serenissima
  • Jacuzzi - On Deck
  • On Deck
  • Venice Restaurant
  • MS Serenissima - Owners Suite
    Owners Suite - approx 22 sq metres
  • Executive Suite
    Executive Suite - approx 25 sq metres
  • Junior Suite
    Junior Suite - approx 21 sq metres
  • Standard stateroom plus (from 2016 onwards) approx. 14 to 19 sq metres
  • Superior Stateroom
    Superior Stateroom - approx 11.5 to 18 sq metres
  • Standard Stateroom
    Standard Stateroom - approx 10 to 11.5 sq metres
  • Inside Twin/Double
    Inside Twin/Double approx 10 sq metres
  • Standard Single
    Standard Single approx 7 to 12.5 sq metres
  • Your Cabin/Suite

    Accommodating no more than 100 passengers, the cabins are attractively designed for comfort and convenience. All cabins are fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom with shower, sink, toilet, a selection of toiletries including shower gel, soaps, shampoo and conditioner, hairdryer, robes and slippers. All cabins come equipped with telephone, flat screen television, safety deposit box and other thoughtful appointments. Bottles of still and sparkling water are replenished daily. There are ten different grades of cabin arranged over five decks, and with the exception of the three inside cabins, all staterooms feature either windows or portholes. Because of the very nature of the ship, the cabins do vary in shape and size, adding to the vessel’s overall charm. 

    Cabin sizes vary between 7 and 25 square metres.

  • Your Space

    The facilities onboard include two lounges – the larger Andrea Lounge is comfortable and spacious and the smaller Harald Lounge is more intimate. There is also a small library with a computer for internet access. The outside areas are something special with a spacious observation deck allowing for 360 degree views of the passing scenery. From here, step down to the lido area with two treadmills, Jacuzzi and outside bar.

    The covered seating area at the back of deck 6 is ideal for relaxing with a drink in hand. Perhaps, one of the best known and loved features of this vessel is its unique style. During the major refit in Sweden the then owners commissioned Swedish interior designers to create a Gustavian style interior. This bright Swedish 18th century influenced, country house style works particularly well on a vessel of this vintage, providing intimacy and classic nautical sensibility often lacking in larger vessels. 

  • Your Dining

    The free seating Venice Restaurant accommodates all guests in one sitting. Being on deck 5, it has great views from all tables. The picture windows mean the restaurant is light and airy. Breakfast is served buffet-style with cooked dishes available and eggs to order by the ship’s accomplished chef. Lunch is also served buffetstyle with hot and cold dishes available. Dinner is served a la carte and is four courses, except for at the Captain’s Dinner, which is a six course affair. In addition, there are al fresco dining facilities available in good weather.

    Where possible, local produce is sourced for an authentic dining experience. A choice of red or white wine, beer, soft drinks, and water are included at lunch and dinner. Tea and coffee are served around the clock in the Andrea Lounge. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere onboard, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure and dress is informal except for the Captain’s Dinner for which you may wish to dress in smarter attire.

  • Life Onboard

    The MS Serenissima is more akin to a countryhotel than one of the large ships trawling the seas today. The European Captain, Officers and crew offer a first class service and have been selected for their professionalism and caring attitudes. The atmosphere onboard is warm and welcoming, and the emphasis is not on around the clock entertainment and dining, but instead on well-thought out itineraries, relaxation, time spent with like-minded passengers and discovery. 

  • For your comfort

    There are so few ships of this generation still cruising and MS Serenissima is a great testament to her present and previous owners that they have seen fit to invest considerable sums over the years to keep her in top form and complying with the stringent health and safety requirements. There is a doctor onboard and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the bridge.

  • Deck plans
    • All Decks

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Onboard Experts

  • Kevin Morgan

    An enthusiastic naturalist with a passion for wildlife enthusiast, Kevin has been a keen birdwatcher since childhood and he has worked on cruise ships from Antarctica to the Arctic, Iceland to Norway, and the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, with the British Isles being a favourite with its diverse coastline and seabird colonies. Kevin was a naturalist on a sailing expedition from South Africa to the UK; on a junk in the South China Seas, and he has led whale watching tours, from Blue Whale encounters off California, to swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas and has seen over 40 species of cetaceans.

    Based on his experience at sea he was behind the concept of Sealife - A Complete Guide to the Marine Environment, working closely with the artist to illustrate dolphins from above, as they are seen when bow riding. Kevin was on the St. Vincent Parrot Expedition to the Caribbean in 1982 and a resident naturalist in Tambopata region of the Peruvian Amazon in the 80’s - and a founder member of TReeS (the Tambopata Reserve Society). In the UK he carries out wildlife surveys (bats, bird, reptiles & amphibians), lectures on his travels, and leads wildlife walking tours. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a member of the Marine Conservation Society, a founder member of The Shark Trust with a passion for sharks, and he has an Oceanography Masters. An experienced sub-aqua diver he is learning to free-dive and can hold his breath - for nearly 5 minutes! To relax, he likes to lambada and salsa, the dancing.

     

    Kevin Morgan will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
  • Phanor H Montoya-Maya

    Phanor H Montoya-Maya is a marine biologist, diving instructor and Coral guru hailing from Colombia. His love for all things oceanic emerged after sighting his first giant grouper on the Caribbean coast of his native Colombia. Since that moment he has dedicated his life to better understanding, conserving and raising awareness for the ocean and its inhabitants. A BSc in Marine biology was followed by his MSc in Icthyology and finally a PhD in coral reefs. He has worked all over the world leading cage less shark dives in South Africa, starting the first Marine based NGO in Colombia or heading up the World’s largest coral reef restoration programme in the Seychelles. He has been invited to work on countless Scientific expeditions through North and Central America, Southern Africa and most recently was the on board Coral specialist for the National Geographic Pristine seas team in Mozambique! Outside of work he has hitch hiked through Jamaica, ridden camels past Ancient Egypt and even tried his hand at Ice fishing in the remote Canadian wilderness. Phanor loves the possibilities found on expedition cruises to see more of the world and take his guests on some of their most informative, interesting and incredible dives of their lives. He doesn’t create log book entries he creates everlasting memories.

    Phanor H Montoya-Maya will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
  • Prof. James Floyd

    A native of Scotland, Professor James Floyd, has recently retired as District Geologist after 36 years with the British Geological Survey (NERC) in Edinburgh.  He now works as a geological consultant and freelance science, military and maritime history communicator on cruise and expedition ships. In addition to communicating popular science, expedition cruising allows him to share his other passions of modern naval, maritime and exploration history.

    Prof. James Floyd will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
  • Rear Admiral John Lippiett

    Rear Admiral John Lippiett

    John Lippiett had a 36 year career in the Royal Navy serving in a large number of ships from aircraft carriers to minesweepers and deployed to all of the world’s operational theatres. He was second-in-command of the frigate HMS Ambuscade throughout the Falklands War, and his book “War and Peas; intimate letters from the Falklands War” was broadcast on BBC’s Today programme for the 25th anniversary. John commanded three ships, a Frigate Squadron, and then the School of Maritime Warfare. On promotion to Rear Admiral, he flew his Flag at sea as Flag Officer Sea Training before serving in Naples as Chief of Staff of the NATO maritime forces in the Mediterranean. His final posting was as the Commandant of the Joint Services

    Command and Staff College. John retired and for nearly 13 years was the Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, during which time he led the project to build the award-winning new museum and ensure Henry VIII’s flagship is conserved and displayed for future generations. 

    Admiral Lippiett has immersed himself in maritime history for many years, building on the extensive experiences of his two careers and gaining considerable attention as a speaker. He has deployed to the Caribbean on operational duties, and also travelled to many of the islands as Flag Lieutenant to the Commander in Chief Fleet in the early1970s and then again as the Assistant to the First Sea Lord in the late 1980s. In 1979, while serving as Warfare Officer in HMS Fife, he was deeply involved in hurricane relief operations after the island of Dominica was devastated by Hurricane David. He received an operational award of the MBE for his part ashore in the rescue mission. He now brings his historical knowledge to the fore to bring alive the enthralling stories of Columbus’ voyages, of Drake’s pillaging, of Vernon and Nelson’s fight against the French, and many more. These are exciting and historic waters to be visiting.

    Rear Admiral John Lippiett will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
  • John Harwood

    John Harwood

    In 1978 he moved to his present home in Manaus in the Brazilian Amazon, where he became the first person to generate hydroelectricity from the River Amazon, using a floating turbine he invented. For the past twenty-five years John has mainly worked in nature tourism. He first worked on Amazon riverboats and gradually expanded his range onto expedition vessels further afield. He has now worked as naturalist onboard ships at all latitudes from the Arctic circle to the Antarctic Peninsula. He also works with academics, student groups, journalists and film makers and has cooperated on TV films made by British, US, French, Austrian and Australian producers.

     His biography, “A Minstrel and the Amazon” was published in 2007.

    John Harwood will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017
  • Neil James Horrocks

    Neil has been at sea since 2001, a year after he graduated in Pure Maths from the University of Manchester. Working for Fred. Olsen, Celebrity, Saga and Voyages to Antiquity has seen him experience everywhere from the Arctic to Antarctica. He was on the inaugural and farewell cruises of the much-loved "Spirit of Adventure" and enjoyed many cruises with former Noble Caledonia Captain Frank Allica. That developed his passion for small-ship cruising and Neil has been delighted to be welcomed into the Noble Caledonia family. An accomplished pianist, Neil is very much an all-rounder, with a keen sense of humour and eye for detail. He is equally comfortable interviewing political heavyweights, driving zodiacs ashore or even writing evening quizzes. When not at sea, Neil lives on the south coast of England and tries to enjoy following the misfortunes of his local football team, Brighton & Hove Albion, and visiting steam railways up and down the country.

    Neil James Horrocks will be on the following tour dates: 19 March 2017 to 2 April 2017

Also of Interest

An Island Hopping Caribbean Odyssey

From Jamaica to Barbados aboard the MS Serenissima

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £500 PER PERSON FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY
Serenissima
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Port Antonio
  • Santiago De Cuba, Cuba
  • Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
  • Samana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Saint Eustatius
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • Antigua
  • Montserrat
  • Dominica
  • St Lucia
  • Barbados
An Island Hopping Caribbean Odyssey
15 nights from £5695
Next Departure 5 March 2017 View all dates
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