Postcards from Sea: A Pictorial Voyage from Miami to Aruba.

By Posted in - Caribbean & Islands & cruise on July 10th, 2017 The Carnival Vista in the port of Curacao at night.

Have you ever wanted to island hop to South America? Yeah, us too. In April, we came close to doing it, stopping just short of Venezuela and the South American continent.

We boarded the Carnival Vista in Miami with an itinerary of visiting four destinations in eight days. Along the way, we passed Cuba and Haiti before reaching Grand Turk and the Dominican Republic. As we sailed into the southern Caribbean, picture-perfect beaches awaited us in the Dutch-influenced Aruba and Curacao, which sit off the coast of Venezuela.

From Miami, it’s 983 nautical miles to Aruba (or a three-hour flight). No doubt, our voyage was more luxurious than most. After all, Carnival Vista features North America’s first cruise-ship brewery—the Pilgrims may have never stopped in Plymouth if the Mayflower had an on-board brewpub.

At night, on our balcony, we felt alone in this world. It’s humbling and exhilarating to be on the sea at night, watching the horizon fade back to black. Dawn usually signaled our arrival at a new island. On those mornings, we would finalize our day’s plan over coffee and croissants on the balcony before getting off the ship.

Each island brought its own adventures. We wandered in Curacao and La Romana, and spent the day swimming in Aruba and Grand Turk. We’ve curated our favorite memories from each destination into a pictorial travel guide, which we hope inspires you to start planning your own Caribbean adventure.

Grand Turk

Date: March 27, 2017

Activity: Snorkeling was the name of the game in Grand Turk. We booked an excursion for a multi-spot snorkel, which took us to a couple of locations off White Sands Beach. The water was warm and clear, and the reefs were alive with all kinds of marine life; we even saw our first Manta ray. One surprise highlight for me was “Splashdown Grand Turk,” a free exhibit at the port dedicated to America’s first astronauts and NASA’s connection with Turks and Caicos.

The Carnival Vista near the beach in Grand Turk.

Randy Kalp, co-creator of the Speakeasy Travel Scarf, snorkeling in Grand Turk. Randy Kalp holding a conch shell in Grand Turk during a Carnival Cruise snorkeling excursion.

Speakeasy Travel Supply founders Bethany Salvon and Randy Kalp snorkeling in Grand Turk.

A girl taking a picture in Grand Turk during a Carnival Cruise.The Carnival Vista at port in Grand Turk.

Randy Kalp, co-founder of the Speakeasy Travel Scarf, at Splashdown Grand Turk during a Carnival Cruise to the Southern Caribbean.

Cruise passengers boarding the Carnival Vista in Grand Turk.

La Romana, Dominican Republic

Date: March 28, 2017

Activity: We visited Altos de Chavón, an authentic replication of a 16th-century Mediterranean village with artists’ studios and eclectic restaurants. Overlooking the Chavón River, the village is surrounded by lush greenery and cacti as tall as trees. Wildlife and birds hang around the steep hillside and compliment the village’s amazing views.

A woman in white walking in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Journalist Randy Kalp posing with his Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Scarf at Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Speakeasy Travel Supply co-founder, Randy Kalp, at Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Greek-style amphitheater at Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Looking at the river from a Tapas Bar in Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Dominos and a gin and tonic with sunglasses and a hidden pocket travel scarf in Dominican Republic.Palm trees at at Altos de Chavón in La Romana, Dominican Republic.


Date: March 29, 2017 

Activity: Curacao was an afternoon port of call, a first for us. Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well, so Beth explored Curacao on her own—swimming and café hopping into the night. The island’s Dutch architecture coupled with its gorgeous beaches made for a unique Caribbean experience, she said.

Colorful Curacao sign at the port in the dutch island of Curacao.

Colorful painted lady houses at the port of Curacao.

Beach houses surrounded by palm trees in Curacao

Beach bar and restaurant in Curacao.

Beach front island patio in Dutch Curacao.

A man swimming in the warm blue waters of Curacao.

A family walking back to the Carnival Vista at night in the Dutch island Curacao.

A bridge with colorful lights in Curacao.

The Dutch island of Curacao basked in colorful lights at night.

The Carnival Vista in the port of Curacao at night.


Date: March 30, 2017

Activity: Whenever we cruise, we like to do one all-day beach day and Aruba was it on this trip. We took the town bus from the port to Eagle Beach and spent the whole day lounging and swimming. The beach exceeded my expectations. I haven’t seen sand this sugary white since the Maldives.

Randy Kalp, co-creator of the travel scarf, riding the public bus to the beach in Aruba.

Bethany Salvon, creator of the Speakeasy Travel Scar, floating at a beach in Aruba.

Randy Kalp, of Speakeasy Travel Supply, swimming in Aruba.


On an Aruba beach, journalist Randy Kalp walks on powder sand past beachgoers under colorful umbrellas.

Main street in the port of Aruba.

Do you have a favorite photo from our Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Vista? Let us know about in the comments below. And while you are there, tell us about your next adventure!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind. Head on over. As always, our thoughts and opinions are our own.


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(3) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Allison Wong -

    July 12, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    So much fun! I haven’t been on a big cruise trip before and your post is making me wanna get on one soon! The snorkeling at Grand Turk looks amazing and the sea water at Aruba is just heavenly! ??

  • Jeff & Crystal Bryant -

    July 21, 2017 at 5:06 am

    We absolutely love all of the pics. Last winter we finally took our first cruise, and it was truly enlightening. Being land-lovers, we weren’t sure if we would enjoy it, but the destinations made it so worthwhile. Thanks for sharing your experiences, and the inside skinny on some of the destinations. We look forward to testing some of these spots out for ourselves.

  • Izy Berry -

    July 27, 2017 at 6:39 am

    So many beautiful beaches on this cruise! Love love