Author Beverley Bateman lvnes in Canadian wine country. She firmly believes it’s her obligation to taste all the world class wines produced in the region and claims her imbibing helps her write better. (That’s her excuse, she says, and she’s sticking to it.) Learn more about Beverley and her books at her website and blog. Today she joins us to talk about cruising the Caribbean.
I love cruising, and our cruises provided the background for my Holly Devine, Assistant Private Investigator series. The first book, A Cruise To Remember, takes place on a cruise ship in the Caribbean.
I’ve taken several different Caribbean cruises on different cruise lines. You can leave from many different ports on these cruise—New Orleans (where we were mugged, but that’s another story); Galveston, Texas; Miami, Tampa and Ft Lauderdale in Florida and my favorite—San Juan, Puerto Rico. When we left from San Juan, we flew in a few days early to explore the area. Some of the places are mentioned in A Cruise to Remember.
Old Town is a funky area of very narrow winding streets with many old shops. It’s fun to wander around that area, poking your head into shops filled with antiques and local crafts. There are still some of the remains of the old wall that surrounded the city. After lunch we took a short walk out to the defensive fort, El Morro castle, at the head of the island. El Morro and the walls of the city were built to protect the island from attacks. Because of its prominence in the Caribbean, and the rich cargoes of gold and silver, San Juan became a target of the foreign powers of the time, so several fortifications were built to protect the city.
If you have time, and I recommend it, you can also take a tour to the El Yunque rainforest. Return trip is about half an hour. On this fascinating tour, you'll pass typical native towns before ascending through rapidly changing vistas of amazing vegetation. The rainforest is home to more than 240 species of plants and wildlife, waterfalls, streams and hiking trails leading to enticing locations. You'll see tree orchids, giant ferns, wild flowers, tropical hardwoods and spectacular waterfalls. And after you return to San Juan, your ship will be ready to board.
Once on board your cruise ship, you’ll settle into your cabin, explore the ship and in the evening, head for the deck for sail away drinks as the ship chugs slowly out of the harbor. You pass the city, then watch El Morro fade away in the distance. Depending on your cruise, you’ll slice through the azure Caribbean Sea and visit islands such as Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. John's, Antigua; Castries, St. Lucia, Oranjestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curacao and/or Bridgetown, Barbados. I touch on several of these islands in my book. And at each stop there are a wide variety of activities you can do, tours of the island, shopping, beach excursions, river cruises, sometimes golf. If you head off the ship on your own, your guaranteed to find a line of taxis waiting to take you anywhere you want to go. Since the islands depend on the cruise ship visits for their economy, the drivers are usually safe. We did this on several islands, and the driver took us all around the island, showing us many of the interesting spots mentioned on the formal tours, and it was less crowded and more relaxing. If all else fails, you can lie by the pool drinking cute little drinks with umbrellas in them.
Cruising is a wonderful and relaxing vacation. You travel, see different islands every day, and you don’t have to pack and unpack. There’s no driving involved, and I won’t even mention the marvellous food that’s always available of the ship and at the local restaurants on the islands.
A Cruise to Remember
She’s lost her memory; no one’s looking for her and someone is trying to kill her. Will Holly get her memory back before the killer succeeds?
Holly Devine, a wealthy, single socialite decides to leave behind the party lifestyle she devolved into after her parents' sudden deaths, become a private investigator and find out how her parents really died. Now she's on a cruise ship; her past is a blank; the cause of her amnesia is unknown. She's trying to find out who she is, how she got there and why someone is trying to kill her.
Eric Petersen, an Interpol agent tracking an international ring of jewel thieves, while posing as the ship's doctor finds himself falling for his prime suspect.
Can they stop the killer and both find what they are looking for?