Jamaica – Caribbean Island Paradise

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Before Columbus first visited the picturesque island in 1494, the tropical, coral reef island was colonized by the Taino tribes.

Enslaved and ravaged by the Spanish, later plagued by European diseases, the Tainos were all but extinct by the 1600’s.

In 1655 the English concurred the island through military force from the Spanish, soon building Port Royal. Port Royal quickly became a base for pirate and pirateer operations such as Captain Henry Morgon.

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Jamaican Pirates

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Sugar cane fields

Over time, due to militaries interventions, piracy was slowly eliminated, and in the 1800’s sugar cane replaced piracy as the dominate income for the English island. Enslaved Africans by the thousands were shipped to Jamaica to provide the labor force needed to produce sugar from sugar cane.

 

Due to the large population of African – Jamaicans, outnumbering natural natives 2 to 1, uprisings were due to follow. During the 18th century, over a dozen uprisings were credited to them; including Tacky’s Revolt in 1760. Also skirmishes with the Maroons resulting in the First Maroon War of the 1730’s and the Second Maroon War of the 1790’s.

Jamaica became politically independent in 1962, after WWII.

The birth of Jamaica’s motion picture industry was in 1972 with the release of The Harder They Come. Since then, numerous movies have been made on the popular vacation destination island.

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Filmed in Portland Jamaica

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Exporting bananas and tourism continue to be the primary sources of income for this Caribbean island today, with tourism now accounting for more than 60% of the annual GDP, at over a million tourists yearly.

Popular attractions of Jamaica include:

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Montego Bay

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Ocho Rios

 

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Pool view at Sandals Negril beach

 

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Kingston

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Bob Marley Statue Kingston Jamaica

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Falmouth Jamaica

 

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Dunn’s River Falls

 

Popular Resorts

sandals

 

Cruise Ship Industry

Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Line

NCL to Bermuda

Norwegian Cruise Line

 

 

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Carnival Triumph

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Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas

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Whether one chooses a tropical island vacation on Jamaica with a relaxing beach visit or a brief visit via one of several cruise ships, this mountainous, coral reef island is as beautiful as it is relaxing. The motto, no worries, says it all. This is an island paradise that once there, I didn’t want to leave.

May good fortune guide your travels,

J.A. Ireland

Disney’s Remy – Elegant Dining At Sea

Dear cruising fans,

Remy

Disney’s Remy. Fine Dining At Sea

There’s nothing like vacationing aboard a cruise ship. The tranquility of the open seas. All the sun and wind one can endure. Housekeeping and meals so everyone can enjoy their vacations.

One of the many dining options offered on board the Disney Dream is the luxurious restaurant, Remy. Named after the dessert chef from the film Ratatouille.

Ratatouille, the dessert chef

Ratatouille, the dessert chef

We enjoyed a romantic dinner evening at this fine eating establishment while watching the sun setting on the Caribbean Sea in the Bahamas.

Our three-hour dining event began with the choice our beverage. The options were almost limitless, champagnes, sparkling waters, wines, to , name a few.

We enjoyed one culinary delight after another. American and French. Scrumptious. We ate half our plates then swapped so each experienced both chef’s work. The food was amazing. The presentations outstanding. We were full after this.

Remy's Table Overlooking The Caribbean Sea

Remy’s Table Overlooking The Caribbean Sea

Then came the incredible cheeses. They were amazing. A cheese explosion.

The desert was a delicious combination of chocolate, ice cream, custard. The plate presentation was very artistic.

As a departing gift, we were given a small box of chocolates and a long stim rose.

Remy's ChocRemy is an exquisite, adult only, dining experience that is offered aboard the Disney Dream and Fantasy. A strict dress code is adhered to. There is an extra per person charge for this upscale restaurant.

If we cruise on the Dream or the Fantasy, Remy is a must for a romantic dining evening.

Until we talk again.

May good fortune guide your path,

J.A. Ireland

The Virgin Islands; Picturesque Tropical Beauty and Inviting

Dear cruisers,

There’s nothing like a family vacation. After months of hard work we’ve all earned one.

St. Thomas USVI

St. Thomas USVI

We as a family often times choose to cruise on our vacations due to the advantages. No cooking, no cleaning, the shows, the decks, the ocean,  the food, etc. You get my point.

On this vacation we sailed to St. Thomas USVI from Port Canaveral, Florida on the Disney Magic. We sailed on a  7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise.

St. Maarten, St. Barth, British Virgin Islands

St. Maarten, St. Barth, British Virgin Islands

We enjoyed a shore tour at St. Maarten; the beauty of this Caribbean island is enchanting.  We saw much of the tropical island from motor coach; the scenery was memorable.

The Virgin Islands were beautiful and breathtaking as we sailed through the open waters. There were small islands on both sides of the ship as we cruised by.

St. Thomas is a very beautiful but busy seaport; one of the more popular we’d ever been to. It’s easy to see why St. Thomas and St. Maartin are such popular cruise destinations; their beauty is beyond imagination.

Nautilus Semi Submarine

Nautilus VI Semi-Submersible Submarine

Coral World Ocean Park

Coral World Ocean Park home for  Native Iguana Lizards

For our shore excursion on St. Thomas, we decided to plan something special. We went to Coral World Ocean Park near Coki Beach.  Coral World is the one of the top tourist attractions in St. Thomas. We had a blast; It’s a family friendly marine and ocean park.

In addition to Coral World, we rode in the Nautilus VI; a semi-submersible submarine. The crew aboard the Nautilus took us on a sightseeing tour out to the coral reefs. Once there, we entered the Nautilus VI submarine, we saw the interior seating area was a large tube with individual seats and windows for viewing.

The submarine part stretched about 10 feet under the water;  this is where we entered the under sea world. The abundance of undersea life was incredible. We saw several live conch shells lying on the ocean floor as we slowly motored by.

 We Saw Hundreds of Fish From the Nautilus VI

We Saw Hundreds of Fish From the Nautilus VI

Sailing through the tropical waters, we found the coral reef colors to be spectacular as we viewed them from our underwater lookout windows in the Nautilus VI. The sea was teaming with marine life. We saw hundreds of colorful tropical fish, turtles, living sea shells, as well as living sea vegetation.

One of the crew from the Nautilus put on diving gear and began feeding the tropical fish in the waters outside our viewing window; that was fun to watch. There were so many fish we couldn’t see the diver at some points. Our time in the sub lasted about 45 minutes. It was a fun adventure into the under sea world.

As we arrived back at the dock, we were greeted by several different sized, free-roaming, iguana lizards. They were sunning themselves on the docks and walkways. We passed by the giant lizards and continued back to Coral World.

"Hi! Glad to Meet Ya Dude!"

“Hi! Glad to Meet Ya Dude!”

Coral World Ocean Park is a beautiful marine park with many interesting exhibits to walk through.  We saw giant sea turtles the size of automobile tires in their ocean side exhibits. We hand fed and touched stingrays.

There’s also a shark tank and a large observation pier spanning far out into the sea. We wandered around the entire park; It was an enjoyable afternoon in the tropics.

I wish we could have spent more time in St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands; The area is so beautiful. We would have loved to take a day to visit the beautiful island of St. John but time didn’t allow; perhaps another cruise someday? Another 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise would definitely be nice. St. John will be a must see next time.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my article of our cruise to St. Thomas and the Virgin Islands USVI on the Disney Magic. Thanks for stopping by.

May good fortune guide your path.

J.A. Ireland

Disney Fantasy; Broadway Worthy Stage Productions

Hi friends,

tacular”

Cast From Disney Fantasy’s Aladdin

I’ll never forget being transported to the Disney Cruise terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida. The rent-a-car mini-van driver was dropping off a van full of us excited cruisers to the cruise terminal. There was Carnival and Disney.

The driver asked for a show of hands who’s going to Carnival. Then he asked for the hands for the ones who were going to the floating day care center. We were shocked but remained quiet. We whispered quietly, “Obviously he’s never been on a Disney cruise.” How sad.  He doesn’t know what he’s missing.

Disney's Aladden

A Musical Number

We  enjoyed our 7-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy. We enjoyed an array of comedy, variety shows, and Broadway-style stage performances held nightly in the  Walt Disney Theatre.  Three of these evenings were the stage performances of Believe, Disney’s Aladdin, and Wishes.

We attended Disney’s Aladdin first; we enjoyed this show so much we saw both the matinee and evening performances.

Aladdin is a stage presentation of the classic Disney animation movie Aladdin.  We enjoyed the talents of all the characters; Aladdin, the Genie, Jafar, Princess Jasmine, and the Magic Carpet; the backdrops, costumes, and stagings were stunning.

Aladdin and Genie

Aladdin and Genie

Aladdin was our favorite of the three performances.  In my opinion, the comical scenes between the Genie and Aladdin were hilarious to watch.  The Magic Carpet, in all his acrobatic glory, stole the show.  These stage productions are always one of our highlights of a Disney Cruise.

The Jungle Book Scene from Disney Wishes

The Jungle Book Scene from Disney Wishes

The other two stage shows, Disney Wishes and Believe, were montages of many different scenes of classic Disney animation movies, including Mary Poppins, the Lion King, The Jungle Book, Lilo and Stitch, Cinderella, and others.

We also enjoyed the scenes from Tangled, I Have A Dream-included in the show Wishes; another of my favorites.

Every night is show time at Walt Disney Theatre, an elegant, 1,340-seat palace onboard the Disney Dream that is equipped with advanced theatrical technology and state-of-the-art sound, lighting, staging and set design. Premiering on the Disney Dream and headlining the musical repertoire is DisneyÕs Believe, an original stage spectacular that combines a heartfelt story about a father and daughter with a captivating musical score, a comical and insightful performance by Genie from DisneyÕs ÒAladdinÓ and appearances from more than 20 of DisneyÕs most beloved characters. (Gene Duncan, photographer)

Genie and the Dad who Believed!

If you like Broadway musicals and cruising, I recommend Disney Cruises for their production shows, included in each amazing cruise experience.

The ending of the show Believe tugged at our heart  strings.  The main character, an average Dad, realized he believed in magic.  He was not too old.  He could share this joy with his daughter.

Mickey Mouse on Disney Fantasy

Mickey Mouse on Disney Fantasy

Mickey Mouse pranced onto the stage to thunderous applause; Pure Disney Magic. “All it takes is faith and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust,” and you too can Believe.

Broadway musicals are one of a host of great things that Disney Cruise Line offers on board each and every ship.

If you love Disney and you love to cruise, try tying them together in a Disney Cruise; we have.

May good fortune guide your path,

J.A. Ireland