Windstar’s Beach Fun & Sun: A Remote Caribbean Getaway cruise is a weeklong journey to the most treasured islands in the Caribbean, offering unrivaled access to secluded beaches and tranquil bays. Bask in the sun on Anguilla’s most remote beach, swim with stingrays in Antigua’s crystal-clear waters, or zip across the ocean on a Zodiac — the choice is yours. Windstar’s Watersports Platform is available on six of the seven days at sea, which means almost unlimited opportunities to kayak, stand-up paddle board, swim from the yacht and enjoy floating mats and a trampoline. Guests may check out complimentary snorkeling gear for the week to use on excursions or on their own from beaches.
With verdant mountains, historical sites and upscale shops, there are plenty of places to explore on land, too. Go off-roading in a Jeep to access the uncrowded Smuggler’s Beach on Tortola, or make the brief trek to Gorda Peak, which offers spectacular views of the archipelago around Virgin Gorda. The Signature Beach Barbecue is also a smash hit among guests, as it embraces the spirit of the Caribbean with the perfect mix of food and festivities. From live music to locally inspired cocktails, this private beach party is truly one for the books.
These are the highlights from the seven-day Beach Fun & Sun: A Remote Caribbean Getaway cruise:
The itinerary begins and ends on St. Maarten, which is known for its stellar beaches, restaurants and charming pastel-colored buildings. The island is the smallest landmass shared by two nations; the north side, Saint Martin, belongs to France, while the southern side of the island, Sint Maarten, belongs to the Dutch. Whether you’re seeking retail therapy or the adrenaline rush of racing a sailboat, you will have the opportunity to experience the best of both sides of the island.
The Dutch capital of Philipsburg is located near the picturesque Great Bay, and from historic Fort Amsterdam to duty-free shopping on Front Street, there is something for every type of traveler. The city’s boardwalk has a range of stores and eateries, and nearby Cay Hill features fabulous views of Simpson Bay Lagoon. Those interested in jumping aboard a sailboat used in the America’s Cup Race will spend the afternoon learning the ropes from an expert crew before embarking on a mock race. The French capital of Marigot is known for its seaside, open-air market, and just to the north is Grand Case, which is referred to as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.
Antigua (Antigua and Barbuda)
Antigua has 365 beaches, so you could literally spend a year on the island and visit a new patch of paradise each day. Nature lovers will find a number of thrilling activities, including swimming with stingrays and ziplining above the rainforest. Other worthwhile stops include Devil’s Bridge, a natural limestone arch on the Atlantic side of the island, and the Shirley Heights vista, the island’s southernmost point.
Consider checking out a local market to sample Antigua’s signature fruit, the black pineapple, which is sweeter and less acidic than other varieties. Or, take a segway tour at Fort James Beach, riding on the sand and through the fort, which was built in 1706. History buffs will also want to make time for Betty’s Hope, the site of one of the first sugar plantations on Antigua, and Nelson’s Dockyard Village, which was built in 1725, and is the world’s last Georgian dockyard that is still in use.
Anguilla has a far more relaxed vibe than other Caribbean hotspots, and this British overseas territory is the definition of tropical paradise. Surrounded by stunning beaches and tranquil waters, Road Bay and the village of Sandy Ground are the main hubs on the island, with access to natural wonders, historical sites and charming eateries.
With its rose-colored sand and intense turquoise water, Shoal Bay Beach may be one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Snorkelers will find a reef abundant with coral and sea fans, along with parrot fish, blue tang and trunkfish, among other species. If you’d rather lounge under an umbrella with a rum punch in hand, kick back at a private section of the beach near Elodias Beach Bar and Grill, an unfussy venue with ample amenities. Little Bay is another prime spot for snorkeling, and the beach is only accessed by boat or swimming. You can also pilot your own two-seat Zodiac along the coast, and while you will be accompanied by a guide for safety, you set the pace.
Tortola (British Virgin Islands)
Tortola may be the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, but once you step onto the dock at Pusser’s Landing, you may feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Colorful buildings and lush vegetation surround the tiny port, and from there you choose your adventure. Go off-roading in a Jeep, visit a local rum distillery or indulge in baked goods in the capital city of Road Town, but be sure to save time for the beaches.
Smuggler’s Cove Beach has a few bars and vendors, but it’s an otherwise undeveloped spot accessed by a dirt road, making it ideal for avoiding crowds. Located on the northern tip of the island, Smuggler’s Cove is the top spot for snorkeling on the island, with shallow, clear waters around the reef. Those seeking more modern luxuries will enjoy spending a few hours at Myett’s Beach Lounge at Cane Garden Bay, which has a full menu and bar.
Jost Van Dyke (British Virgin Islands)
Jost Van Dyke, often referred to as JVD or Jost, is the smallest of the four main British Virgin Islands, covering just three square miles. The yacht will be anchored in Great Harbour for two full days, so guests will have plenty of time to hit the water, soak in the scenery and check out the island’s legendary beach bar scene.
Whether it’s snorkeling with angelfish at Sandy Spit or basking in the sun on Sandy Cay, there are a handful of idyllic options for explorers and beach bums alike. A catamaran cruise will take you through the islands surrounding JVD, including Diamond Cay, a tiny islet (and national park) surrounded by powdery white sand and azure blue waters. The beach strip around Great Harbour has dozens of bars and cafes, including Foxy’s, while the adjacent White Bay is home to the Soggy Dollar, among other notable venues.
Virgin Gorda (British Virgin Islands)
If you look up photos of Virgin Gorda, the otherworldly rock formations known as The Baths will likely be the first image you see. These massive granite boulders form a series of natural pools and grottoes on the beach, and with the backdrop of Devil’s Bay, it’s an incredible photo op. An equally awesome adventure is the hike to Gorda Peak, the high point of the island. A short trek to the top offers 360-degree views of the lush green mountains and aqua waters around the archipelago.
Bars, cafes and restaurants are dotted all over the island, but the main center is Spanish Town, where you will find shops, bakeries and outfitters offering everything from fishing tours to glass-bottom kayak rentals. In addition to the ship’s water sports platform, guests can opt to be whisked off on a catamaran to spend several hours snorkeling in the best locations around the island.
The capital city of Gustavia is famous for duty-free boutiques and star-studded haunts like Nikki Beach, but it’s also a haven for foodies. The majority of the menu options on St. Barts are traditional French cuisine, but you’ll also find a mix of French and Creole dishes. Outside of the city, cobblestone streets are lined with quaint cottages and tropical vegetation, and the island is famous for its white sand beaches.
The calm, crystal clear waters of nearby Colombier Bay are the perfect spot to snorkel — or relax on a catamaran. You will encounter a variety of colorful fish among the coral reefs in the bay’s marine reserve, and possibly even green sea turtles. If you’d rather lounge under the shade of the bimini, that’s an option as well. Guests can also book a tour on a semi-submersible, offering the best of both worlds when it comes to views and marine wildlife sightings. The semi-sub has spots outside on the open deck, or you can enter the tunnel-like hull equipped with underwater windows.
Windstar guests will have access to the luxurious Le Barthélemy Resort and Spa for the day, which features a private beach, an infinity pool, five-star dining and a world-class spa. Those wishing to explore the island by vehicle can rent a car and move at their own pace, and a brief guided tour of the island is also available.