To kick off the 2024, my family and I went island hopping in the Eastern Caribbean. We did so aboard Enchanted Princess, which we experienced six months prior in the Mediterranean. We loved it so much, we booked another cruise in the Caribbean over the holidays. Here are 22 reasons to sail on Enchanted Princess.
Unlike in Europe, we decided not to schedule a lot of tours. This cruise was really for all of us to relax after the craziness of the holidays. We were also with my wife’s sister and her family. My kids (ages 7 and 4) are pretty much obsessed with their 10-year-old Canadian cousin Aria so it was a special trip all around.
A couple of weeks before our trip, I received a press release from the St. Lucia Tourism Authority’s public relations team. I replied to the email and asked them what they recommend for us to do on the island with three young kids. They suggested a number of options, many of which were similar to the Princess Cruises shore excursions. But they were either too long or adventurous for young kids. All-day tours are just too much for the little ones.
We just wanted to spend time at the beach so the kids could play and have fun with their cousin. St. Lucia Tourism was kind enough to not only offer a perfect solution but to organize it with their one of their partners. Turns out, Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa was perfect for us. And we weren’t the only ones. We saw some other savvy cruise passengers spending the day there as well.
That’s because Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa, a locally-owned hotel, sells day passes so anyone can enjoy their facilities, which includes a unique water park (pictured above).
The passes from Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa also include food and drinks. The drive from port to the hotel took 17 minutes. Note: It was a holiday so there was no traffic and our driver said it could take up to an hour depending on the time of day. So leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship.
There are two passes available: $120 for unlimited drinks or $95, which includes four drinks. The water park, called Splash Island Water Park, is billed as the first open-water sports park in the Caribbean and a blast for the entire family. It’s included but kids have to be 6 years of age and older and 3 1/2 feet tall. Regardless of age, everyone needs to wear a life vest and watch a three-minute safety video.
Shockingly, though, my son and his cousin didn’t even want to go to the water park once we got to the beach because the beach was just that nice. The sand was soft, the water was warm and they just wanted to build sand castles, frolic in the water and go to the hotel pool. FYI: Pool chairs and umbrellas are included.
I took a tour of the 78-room, four-star hotel. We met multiple Canadians staying there who were return guests and said they loved the location, the people, the facilities and the pool. Prices start at $300 for the off season.
For lunch, there was an outdoor BBQ on the beach and we ate in the open-air restaurant that overlooked the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea. Everyone raved about the food and I loved the BBQ chicken and the unique salsa, which had roasted tomatoes and olives.
All in all, it was the perfect way to spend the day, especially with young kids, enjoying a gorgeous beach and all the amenities of Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa. RELATED: If you aren’t packing wet bags when you travel, you should be. Here’s why.
DID YOU KNOW? St Lucia is the only country named after a woman? The last time I was on St. Lucia was in 2004 when I went to the Body Holiday on a press trip. It was one of my first press trips and I don’t really remember much. This trip, though too short, was much more memorable because I was with my family, and we hope to return someday soon.
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