Those undertaking a Kosher cruise to the Caribbean will find themselves in for quite a treat. Each island has its own character, and its own attractions to offer the traveler, ensuring that everyone will find something to please them. From the historic synagogue of Charlotte Amalie, to the vibrant commercial district of Philipsburg, to the piratical town of Nassau, these cruises take in some of the best that the Caribbean has to offer.
Beauty and Variety
The Caribbean is a much loved vacation destination, and for good reason. Given the pellucid beauty of the sea, and the great variety of glorious islands, a cruise is probably the best way to visit the Caribbean. Planet Cruise refers to the Caribbean as ‘the ultimate cruise destination’, and the islands consistently top the cruise-tourism statistics. There’s a very good reason for this. Quite apart from the astonishing beauty of the area, the islands have a vibrant and welcoming culture which makes everyone feel quite wonderfully relaxed. Furthermore, the islands have quite different characters, meaning that a Caribbean cruise can be sure to fulfill the desires of all members of a party. The islands are suffused with stunning beauty. From beaches of soft, white sand to cerulean lagoons and spectacular tropical scenery, the senses will be drenched in the glories of the landscape. Not to mention the pleasure that can be had paddling in the gently lapping waves, and simply enjoying the congenial climate.
Charlotte Amalie – St Thomas
Charlotte Amalie, capital of the island of St Thomas, is the largest city of the US Virgin Islands. With its charming cobbled alleys, intriguing stepped streets, and red-walled fort, Charlotte Amalie has been listed as an area of particular historic interest in the National Registry of Historic Places. The city is also home to the second oldest synagogue in the US, which has been in continuous use for far longer than any other US synagogue. The synagogue of St Thomas, known as Beracha Veshalom Vegemiluth Hasadim, was first built in 1792, although the current building dates from 1833. It originally served Sephardic Jews who were in the Caribbean to trade between Europe and the New World. It has had a fluctuating congregation over the centuries, until a period of sustained recent growth which it continues to enjoy. The building is quite beautiful, containing several unique features. Many of the furnishings are of gorgeous polished mahogany, and the building contains four pillars, representing Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, and Leah – the four matriarchs. The menorah is very special indeed, being Spanish and dating from the eleventh century. Interestingly, the synagogue has a sand floor. There are two theories which may explain this. One holds that the sand represents the time spent by the Israelites in the desert. The other believes that it represents Spanish Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the time of the Inquisition. Many of these ‘Conversos’ still met to practice their true religion in secret, and spread the floors where they met with sand, to muffle the sounds of their footsteps and their prayers. This beautiful, historic, and spiritual place is a must for any kosher traveler, and they welcome visitors gladly.
Nassau – the Bahamas
Nassau is the bustling hub of the Bahamas. Its harbor, protected by the aptly named Paradise Island, was once a favored haunt of pirates. Indeed, for many years Nassau’s population was largely piratical – until 1718, when British governor Woodes Rogers expelled the buccaneers and brought royal law to bear on the islands. Nassau’s piratical past has left a lasting legacy. The notorious Edward Teach, a bloodthirsty English pirate better known as Blackbeard, is said to haunt is former residence at Nassau Old Fort (now the British Colonial Hilton). A stone structure east of Fort Montagu is known as Blackbeard’s Tower, although unfortunately it was built in the eighteenth century – long after Teach’s death. The tower, however, is a fascinating prospect with a simply gorgeous view over Nassau and the cerulean waters of the harbor. These waters can also be enjoyed from some of Nassau and New Paradise Island’s wonderful white-sand beaches and limpid lagoons. The city contains a zoological garden, which beautifully conserves native flora and fauna for public enjoyment a well as caring for several non-native species. With all this and more, Nassau is certainly not short of attractions.
Philipsburg – St Maarten
Philipsburg, capital of the stunning island of St Maarten, is noted for its vibrant and buzzing commercial district. Philipsburg contains a mile of tax-free shops and sumptuous restaurants, within a very attractive city setting. The city itself is punctuated by shady, flower-filled courtyards between traditional pastel-painted West Indian style houses. The Simartin Museum is a great visit for anyone interested in history. Although small, it contains a comprehensive collection and gives an excellent overview of local history and culture. It even contains pottery made by the Arawak people – original Amerindian inhabitants of the island. Philipsburg is also home to two forts. Fort Amsterdam was built in 1631, and was the first Dutch outpost in the Caribbean. It is now an important breeding site for brown pelicans, and can be difficult to access. The other fort, Fort Willem, was built by the British in 1801, but was taken over by the Dutch. Fort Willem can be easily hiked to, and a truly wonderful panoramic view of Philipsburg and other islands can be seen from the battlements.
A Memorable Experience
A Caribbean cruise therefore provides a wealth of experience, all set within a relaxed atmosphere, a beautiful setting, and a wonderful climate. Travelers will certainly come away enriched and filled with positive memories. Many people come back to the Caribbean year after year, unable to get enough of the place – and who can blame them?
See the full list of of kosher cruises departing this winter at koshertravelers.lmdev.co.uk or call us for more info: ISRAEL +972 2 9929801 | USA 646 240 4118.