For many, the word Caribbean is synonymous with cruising. A collection of 7,000 differing islands set in azure seas, each with their own culture and style and perfect for those who want abundant activities during their cruise; as well as honeymooners and those celebrating wedding anniversaries.

Barbados is an infectiously happy island with an embarrassment of shimmering white sugarspun beaches along the Platinum coast. Rum rules here and over the centuries cane plantations have divided the Bajan landscape into a pretty patchwork of fields containing coconut and royal palms, breadfruit, oleander and citrus trees.

Turbaned ladies in quaint market stalls along the bustling waterfront of St George’s in Grenada sell fragrant cloves, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. The Grand Etang National Park contains the island’s spectacular rain forest. St Lucia’s Pitons rise to more than 2,400 feet; these volcanic peaks are symbols of this seductive island of lush green valleys, banana plantations and bubbling sulphur springs.

Wilhelminastraat, in the quaint capital of Oranjestad, quickly reaffirms the strong Dutch links with this Caribbean outpost. Tall, narrow-gabled 18th century houses with red-tiled roofs painted in cool pastel shades juxtaposed with intense yellows and royal blues conjures up images of a tropical, fairytale Amsterdam.