Our last port call onboard this Jewell of the Seas cruise was in Willemstad, Curacao. I had been to Willemstad back in 1980 when I was stationed aboard USS Josephus Daniels. I had not gotten to see much other than the Dutch Coast Guard Station. I did remember the pontoon bridge and how pretty the beaches looked from the sea.

The “C” in the ABC islands, Curaçao features historic settlements, rugged landscapes and plenty of fun in the sun. (Aruba and Bonaire are the other islands constituting the westernmost islands of the Leeward Antilles). Curaçao’s main port city, Willemstad, is what an Old World European city would look like if someone dropped it in the Caribbean. The brightly painted Dutch colonial buildings reflect pinks, yellows and blues into the cerulean St. Anna Bay. Once you leave the city, the landscape shifts to a desert scene, with spiny aloe and mesquite sprouting from atop weathered limestone cliffs.

But Curaçao’s real draw is the beach. Picture-perfect bays and coves flank the island, their turquoise waters lapping gently against powdery white sand. Curaçao’s reefs teem with marine life, providing excellent underwater playgrounds for scuba divers and snorkelers. Best of all, the semiarid island is sheltered from the worst of the Atlantic’s hurricane season. Gentle trade winds keep temperatures in the mid-80s, so you can enjoy the outdoors year-round.

Like its sister islands, Aruba and Bonaire, Curaçao’s warm waters are ideal for scuba diving, snorkeling and other water sports. If reclining in a beach chair and sipping a daiquiri is more your speed, head to the oceanfront cafes of Cas Abao Beach or Playa Porto Marie. Tired of sand and sun? Escape to Willemstad, a metropolitan city in the middle of paradise. There, you can visit the swinging Queen Emma Bridge and the fascinating Kurá Hulanda Museum, as well as plenty of rockin’ beachfront nightclubs.

When we left Curacao we had another Sea Day before reaching San Juan and flying back home. We were already looking forward to our next cruise which was only 6 months away – stay tuned for posts from that trip!

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