Caribbean, Countries, Culture

Caymankind Paradise Capers

It’s a First World problem at the American Travel Fair, IPW and you get invited to the Cayman Islands and you get thinking Caymankind Paradise Capers.

Only you’re double booked.

But thankfully Young Travel Writer of the Year Melanie May was free to fill in.

And it’s a question I have often been asked is my process in running a team of writers to travel the world.

I would often be accused of favouritism to which I would gladly plead guilty.

It’s just that I would always reward ability and attitude.

Come what May

Beach life

I could always tell what kind of job somebody would do by their response to assignments.

If they referred to the commission as a junket they immediately put me offside.

I would always seek out and receive feedback from the holiday providers on how they conducted themselves.

Respect and gratitude should be a given but tales are legend in Travel of writers who go all along for the journey.

And try to ditch the party or refuse to take part in the activities.

Headline act

Best bar none: Cayman

Melanie has always been a dream, going that extra mile on a brief.

I could always tell too how good a piece was if I could nail a headline within a few paragraphs.

And so with the Cayman Islands I quickly fell upon Paradise Capers.

A positive spin on something we all associate the Caymans with… a tax haven.

The Caymans clearly preserve their status as a seductive destination because of their good management and planning.

Which is why I’m not surprised but obviously delighted that the Caymans have now set out a five-point plan for full reopening in 2022.

Yes Minister

Minister’s call: Kenneth Bryan

Minister for Tourism and Transport, Hon. Kenneth Bryan fills us in.

“My colleagues and I in government have worked tirelessly to develop this phased approach in preparation for the opening of our borders to international travellers.

“And we are pleased to announce the wait for paradise is almost over!

“Our guests will appreciate the impactful developments and enhancements we’ve made to the destination – surely proving that Cayman is worth the wait.”

And obvs there are palm trees

West Indians are famous for their welcome and accessibility the world over.

Which is why Government ministers are expected to be at hand for their people.

And so can be expected to be at the cricket in Barbados (in shorts and polo shirt though maybe don’t do that, Boris).

Or finish off their rum punch on the Anguilla beach to make your Zoom meeting.

And so the Cayman Minister for Tourism is making himself available to us travel professionals to speak individually with him.

Access all areas

And turtles

I’ll share with you, as always happens in the Caribbean, the chat, our chat.

But just to put out some further good news,

Quarantine requirements will be removed for all securely verified, fully vaccinated travellers on October 14.

Which is phase four, and the real game changer for us.

Of course you can only truly get a proper flavour of Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

And there are four direct flights from Heathrow to Grand Cayman this autumn/winter.

Caymankind

And there are regular flights

So what does Caymankind offer?

There’s the Seven Mile Beach (self-explanatory really), the iconic Stingray City Sand Bar, the Cayman Caves.

And what I know my own green-fingered goddess will appreciate, stunning orchid gardens.’

I’m a great believer in never allowing an opportunity to pass you by.

And that means going back to ask again.

Which I’ll certainly do when I speak to the Cayman Minister for Tourism about Caymankind Paradise Capers.

 

Caribbean, Countries, Culture

Jamaica green list? Why not?

Jamaica green list? Why not? The Caribbean has got the go-ahead from the UK but Reggaeland has been given no respect.

Imagine if everywhere in your neighbourhood gets lifted from curfew and you stay locked down.

The case for Jamaica

Well, that’s what’s happening to Jamaica which was slated to be back on the roster with a case rate of just 14.4.

When can we join the dance again?

The first question you’ll be asked by anyone you meet in the Caribbean is what your favourite island is?

To which, of course, you say the island you’re on which won’t be difficult.

The islanders are fiercely proud of their dots in the sea but equally they know that their fortunes are forged by their geography.

West Indian unity

West Indians come together, of course, most famously at carnival and on the cricket ground.

The heart of the Caribbean

But also when Mother Nature shows her displeasure and batters their islands.

And that was evident again this year with the joint effort to help Saint Vincent after La Soufriere volcano erupted.

So while each Caribbean island who got back on the green list will be celebrating our return there will be sympathy for Jamaica.

Jamaican independence 

It is as we all know a big year for Jamaica next year, the 60th anniversary of independence from the UK.

Those flags look familiar

And I’ve got missionary work to do, spreading the Jamaican word back here.

About how independent Jamaica is forever linked to Scotland.

Ruby do: With Ruby in Barbados

You see that thread run through the Caribbean and I found it in Barbados (green 😊) and Tobago (red 😢).

Island hopping 

And I’m making it a life’s mission to check out for myself in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Dominica, Grenada, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Wheel deal: In Montserrat

I’ll see the tracks of the Irish there too and nowhere more so than Shamrocked Montserrat.

Of course, it’s a cause for celebration that some of the most welcoming islands in the world are open again.

But it will only really be carnival time until they all are.

So again I ask the question… Jamaica green list. Why not?

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

 

Caribbean, Countries, Deals, Europe

Newsday Tuesday – Green for more go

Don’t fret Bandanini and Bandanettes I’m incorporating Cruiseday Tuesday into a new feature as things are moving quickly…. here’s Newsday Tuesday – Green for more go.

We’ve long lobbied for Greece, and particularly its islands to be first off the block with a UK green light and now we’re pushing Cyprus.

Hype for Cyprus

The pool is all mine

My friend Diomedous in Aegeanworld has good news for us.

Pafos on the southwest coast is reporting a 0.000 rate of positive cases!

And in Cyprus as a whole there are 0.1 positive cases which is prompting the Athena Beach Hotel to open up again on June 9.

Seven nights with free half-board upgrade for July departures from £689pp, flying from Gatwick, with other airports available on request.

More ports in the storm

Obrigado: With the Scary One in Portugal Centro

Now wouldn’t it be a treat if we could all broaden our horizons from our current Green List go-to countries of Portugal, Gibraltar and Iceland?

The UK Government will be releasing their Travel review on Thursday, June 3, with the new destinations to come in on June 10.

We’re hearing on the grapevine that these ten are mooted because they’re leading the way on vaccinations and Covid rates.

And no, Cyprus, isn’t on it but I know Boris Johnson and Grant Shapps are ardent readers… imagine them in Bandanas.

The perfect ten

The Malta archipelago

So let’s look at some of the ten that could get the green light.

Malta has long held a special place in our heart while we need little invitation to flag up the Caribbean.

Each have their individual merits.

Anguilla and the Caribbean

Caribbean queens: In Anguilla

But on alphabetical order, and because their Minister got off the beach and put down his rum punch to talk to us… let’s headline Anguilla.

Antigua and Barbuda (one country),

The British Virgin Islands, The Cayman Islands, St Kitts and Nevis (again a oner) and the Turks and Caicos Islands (you get the picture) complete the Caribbean comeback.

Fiji or there would be a mutiny

Fiji singing

Exotic islands you say? Fiji is being championed too and why not as it has been voted Happiest Place on Earth.

And I put their patience to the test when I tried going native with my Dad Dancing when they brought their show to Dublin.

The big Finnish

Let’s finish our list of contenders with, well with a big Finnish, where we all know they love a sauna and cutting ice circles in lakes to jump into.

And we suspect there will be a mass dunking if they get the nod.

It’s Newsday Tuesday – more Green for go. Go, go, go.

And Bye Bye Love Boat cap’n

The Cap’n

And for most of us Fiftysomethings our first insight into the magical world of cruising wax The Love Boat.

So it was only natural that Princess Cruises should get Captain Stubing on board to serve as their Global Ambassador for 35 years.

May heaven be a calm sea, Cptn Gavin MacLeod.

 

 

Caribbean, Countries, Culture, Flying, Food & Wine, UK

Nailed it in the Caribbean

For all those poor souls going into lockdown in England today I too nailed it and spent yesterday getting my nails done.

Ot more accurately got my nails off.

After tripping when I was pressing down on the shopping trolley and then have it collapse on me.

Solo activity: Cocktails in Barbados

As is the way of such accidents (and there have been many) I was reminded constantly through the day of my plight.

Nail-biter

Not just by the tingling and throbbing in the tips of my middle and ring finger but also by how often fingers and fingernails come up in conversation.

From the This Morning presenter showing off her nails to Democrats and Republicans biting their nails about the Presidential race.

With my friend Cheryl from Barbados

To the Great British Bake Off making finger doughnuts to Family Fortunes and picking noses.

But sometimes it’s better not to fight it and rather just accept that long nails are best on women.

Crystal clear

Such as the legendary Crystal from Barbados.

Who I got to pose up with her fancy talons which she’d got done for Crop Over on my first visit to Barbados.

I’ve been back as you know and also partied with them in Dublin and now on Zoom meetings.

Alas, I couldn’t join them when they invited out a party of Friends of Barbados. I was out in Bergamo at the time.

Happy though to report that my friends at British Airways have joined Virgin Atlantic in flying out to Barbados.

And when you do you you can be sure you won’t lose out any on your experience because of Covid.

Anguillan bubble

We’re out of carnival season so maybe it’s time to stay on site anyway… at Club Barbados they’ve got the three Rs you’ll need for a fantastic holiday.

Social distancing all right

Rum, relaxation and Ruby the cookery teacher.

While I honed up on those skills in Tobago with ‘Uncle’ Kenneth.

On Anguilla, where they’ve not had a Covid case for months, they even got to hold their carnival this year back in August.

And the Anguillans have a Covid bubble thing going where you can do all the things you would do anyway…boat trips, snorkelling, golf.

And, of course rum on the beach. Irie!