Skip to main content

Postcards from Sea: A Pictorial Voyage from Miami to Aruba

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.

Beach with palm trees in Grand Turk

Clear blue water in Grand Turk

Carnival Vista at port in Grand Turk

Close up of a palm tree

Guests getting ready to go snorkeling

Randy snorkeling in Grand Turk

Randy holding a conch in the water

Beth and Randy snorkeling in Grand Turk

 Palm trees on the beach in Grand Turk

Randy posing with an astronaut statue at that Splashdown Grand Turk exhibit

Carnival Vista docked in Grand Turk

Guests walking back to the Carnival Vista

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 complement the village’s amazing views.

Altos de Chavon village in La Romana, Dominican Republic

Photo looking up at a group of palm trees

Black and white image of Randy leaning against a building in La Romana

Randy sitting on a wall in La Romana with trees and Chavon River behind him in the distance

Photo looking down on an old theatre in La Romana, Dominican Republic

Photo of stone building with a stucco roof and Chavon River in the distance

Overhead image of drinks, dominos and sunglasses sitting on a blue table

Palm trees with the Chavon River behind 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.

Blue and yellow Curacao sign with palm trees around it

Colorful buildings lined up along the water in Curacao

Bright blue water and sandy beach in Curacao

Close up image of green palms with the beach and a building in the distance

Small sitting area surrounded by water and palm trees

One person snorkeling off the beach in Curacao

Group of people walking back to the Carnival Vista at night

Pier in Curacao lit up with colorful lights at night

Curacao lit up with bright lights at night

Carnival Vista docked at night in Curacao


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 wearing sunglasses and riding on a bus in Aruba

White sand beach with little huts and chairs set up in Aruba

Clear blue water at Eagle Beach in Aruba

Beth floating in the water at Eagle Beach

Randy in the ocean in Aruba

Eagle Beach in Aruba

Restaurants and shops in 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.