Barbados is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide with 260,000 inhabitants who are independent members of the British Commonwealth. They enjoy a dry, sunny climate with temperatures varying from 70 to 80 degrees. The island’s British heritage is most evident in the capital, Bridgetown, with its quaint houses and its statue of Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Square. Taste the local rum that is reputed to be the best in the world; shop at the Terminal at Bridgeport Harbor or in the Broad Street area for duty-free British woolens, Irish linens, English bone china, French perfumes, Japanese cameras, local black-coral jewelry, and Swiss watches; browse through the local arts and crafts offered for sale at Pelican Village off the Princess Alice Highway; see sugar refined at a local factory; or play tennis, sunbathe, and swim in crystal-clear waters on one of the long stretches of fine sand beach or at one of the large, luxury hotels, such as the Sandy Lane, Glitter Bay, Royal Pavilion, The House and the Coral Reef Club, all of which are located on the west coast, where the waters are extremely calm. There are tennis courts, a golf course, and a beautiful beach at the recently renovated Sandy Lane, one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious properties with a world-class spa; however, the hotel is not hospitable to cruise passengers, and arrangements have to be made in advance to enter this and most other hotels. Hotels on the Atlantic east coast enjoy panoramic vistas; however, the sea is frequently not safe for swimming. Public beaches frequented by cruise passengers include Carlisle Bay Beach, which has changing facilities, and the beach adjacent to Sandy Beach Island Resort.
Several cruise lines offer pre- and post-cruise options at Accra Beach Hotel, which is located on a nice beach and has good facilities. All of the resorts offer a variety of dining opportunities. The most popular local restaurants outside the resorts include Bagutelle Great House (continental), Carambola (Thai and continental), Sandy Bay (continental), Ile de France (French), Pisces (seafood), Josef’s (Scandinavian), Daphne’s at The House (hotel), and Fish Pot (seafood). One of the best restaurants on the island, Luna Cafe, is located atop the Little Arches Hotel. Dining under the stars on the Castilian-style terrace is an extremely romantic experience. Food and service are right up there with the atmosphere.
Other points of interests include Barbados Museum; Flower Forest, an eight-acre floral park; Harrison’s Cave, which you tour by electric tram; Barbados Wildlife Reserve; and the oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere, dating back to 1654.