Friday, September 17 - FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
In the 1800s, William Lauderdale built a fort. Today, 16 million visitors come each year for miles of broad white sandy beaches, dozens of lush green golf courses, and Caribbean cruises from Fort Lauderdale. If there's a pre-night stay hotel in Fort Lauderdale, stroll the famous beachfront promenade, just 15 minutes from the port, and plunge into the warm Atlantic.
Head downtown to Las Olas Boulevard, paralleling New River, to sip lattes in outdoor cafes, shop chic boutiques, and catch concerts at the performing arts center. Stop at Stranahan House, the city's oldest structure built in 1901 as a trading post and preserved as a museum, or explore a whole village of historic buildings at History Fort Lauderdale. Join a Segway tour along the river or a waterborne cruise of Millionaire's Row.
Saturday, September 18 - AT SEA
Sunday, September 19 - GEORGE TOWN, GRAND CAYMAN
No destination blends global finance with the Caribbean lifestyle quite like the Cayman Islands. This upscale destination offers world-class restaurants, designer boutiques, and duty-free shopping, plus white sand beaches, brilliant blue waters, and teeming coral reefs. Enjoy postcard views of George Town, Seven Mile Beach, and West Bay from the custom-designed Cayman Explorer. You can stop down easily into shallow waters to interact with the welcoming stingrays.
Launch your snorkeling adventure from a luxurious catamaran. Swim right through the World War II naval vessel USS Kittiwake, now a shallow artificial reef. Finish with leisurely sunbathing and cool cocktails. Swim with the denizens of Stingray City in the crystalline waters of Coral Reef Gardens. After snorkeling with the graceful rays, recharge with an island barbecue on Seven Mile Beach. You'll shop till you drop in the duty-free boutiques of George Town. Find gifts for everyone-including yourself-like china, crystal, jewelry, antiques, and resort wear by renowned designers.
Conch shells were the home of tasty mollusks. Try Cayman conch in salads, chowders, and fritters. Cruises to Grand Cayman Islands are not complete without a sample of the rich Caribbean curries and don't miss the fresh produce: coconut, cassava, and plantains. For dessert, have some rum cake.
Monday, September 20 - AT SEA
Tuesday, September 21 - ORANJESTAD, ARUBA
The capital of Aruba is made for walking. Browse the candy-colored townhouses, architectural details, and open-air patios that define this charming Dutch community. Gentle trade winds tame the Caribbean sun, shoo the infrequent rain, and maintain the perfect conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding. When it's beach time, dig your toes into the soft white sand and soak your skin in the warm Caribbean water. After lounging awhile, din spas, restaurants, and bars just steps away. Divers and snorkelers flock to cruise to Aruba for its vibrant coral reefs, neon tropical fish, and eerie old shipwrecks. With just a mask and snorkel, you can watch the fish dart in and out f Antilla, a major wreck. Board a catamaran for a peaceful day of sailing and snorkeling, recharging with a barbecue lunch at Pelican Pier on Palm Beach. Or, venture to De Palm Island for water sliding and banana boat riding. When it's time to shop, browse Aruba's boutiques and find the leading designers at Renaissance Mall. Uncover local crafts in the marketplace nearby. Both are close to the port. Aruba serves French fare with a Caribbean twist. Find everything from haute cuisine to casual foo. Maybe even discover an ostrich burger on the menu. Of course, the fish doesn't et any fresher.
Wednesday, September 22 - WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO
Experience a traditional Dutch cityscape painted in distinctly Caribbean colors. You'll want to stroll the magnificent waterfront, admire the colonial buildings, and explore the backstreet cafes, shops, museums, and galleries of Willemstad.
Visit 17th-century Fort Amsterdam in the historic area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Netherlands established a settlement here in 1634. Today it reflects Spanish and Portuguese styles, as well as Dutch. But on cruises to Curacao, the sun warms your skin to remind you it's the Caribbean.
Swim with charming, clever dolphins - an unforgettable experience - or go below the surface on a reef dive. View otherworldly stalactites and stalagmites inside Hato Caves and take a trolley tour to learn about Willemstad's landmarks.
Curacao cuisine incorporates Indonesian, as well as Dutch traditions. Try the local waffles, fresh-cut fries drizzled in toppings, and raw herring served with pickles. Favorites include stewed goat, meat wrapped in banana leaves, and others.
In the Punda shopping district, explore Willemstad's vibrant open-air markets. You'll find traditional blue Delft figurines and wheels of cheese. Otrobanda offers high-end designer options. Browse the Floating Market, the New Market, and the Old Market, too.
Thursday, September 23 - KRALENDIJK, BONAIRE
Kralendijk is the sleepy capital of Bonaire, an island in the Dutch Antilles. Kralendijk is lined with delightfully pastel stucco houses, in pinks, oranges, and lime greens. Famous for its diving, the lively world under the sea is the allure of this laidback island. The island is surrounded by a marine park that starts at the beach and extends 200 feet in depth and covers its entire coastline. Cruises to Bonaire also offer such treats as flamingos, hiking, and the only barefoot casino in the Caribbean. Head downtown to the Rincon section for a great selection of restaurants with menus offering authentic local fares, like the Dutch snack, Frikandel, a deep-fried sausage, or the Creole gumbo stew called Yambo.
Friday, September 24 - AT SEA
Saturday, September 25 - AT SEA
Sunday, September 26 - FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA
If you decide to stay longer in Fort Lauderdale, head out to the Everglades and enjoy Flamingo Gardens, home to pink flamingos, snarling alligators, black bears, and Florida panthers-plus exotic trees, butterfly gardens, and native flowers.
You'll find great shopping on Fort Lauderdale cruises. Look for high fashion at Galleria Fort Lauderdale, north of the port, and blocks from the ocean. Head west to Sawgrass Mills for 350 designer outlets, specialty shops, and eateries. Spend a relaxing day in downtown Hollywood, south of the port, for quaint shops, sidewalk cafes, and events in the park.
Discover Floribbean cuisine, a fusion of old Floriday favorites with new Caribbean influences. Local seafood includes lobster, grouper, mahi-mahi, pompano, snapper, tuna, and stone crabs.
Florida dominates the production of citrus fruits. Before you cruise from Fort Lauderdale, take advantage of anything orange-juices, sauces, marinades, marmalade, dressings, soups, and cakes. Try authentic key lime pie, which is sweet, tart, creamy, and yellow-not green-in a Graham cracker crust.