Bridgetown, Barbados Cruise
Brimming with colonial charm, natural wonders
When you arrive in Barbados on an MSC Caribbean & Southern Caribbean cruise, begin your exploration with the capital, Bridgetown. Among the many attractions in this small Caribbean city, pause to admire its many colonial buildings, the Parliament Building and the statue of Lord Nelson in what today is called the National Heroes Square.
Barbados retains something of a British feel: the place names, the cricket, horse-racing and polo, Anglican parish churches and even a hilly district known as Scotland. But the Britishness can be exaggerated, for this is a distinctly West Indian country, covered by a patchwork of sugarcane fields and dotted with tiny rum shops.
The Garrison Historic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with magnificent 18th- and 19th-century buildings, is a must-see stop, and features one of the world's finest collection of cannons. It also includes the George Washington House, where the American patriot spent six weeks of his life.
The current St. John's Church, in the eastern parish of the same name, is the fifth reconstruction of the oldest local church, in Barbadian Gothic style. Perched on a cliff 800 feet above the sea, it dates to 1836. Its interior hosts a sculpture by an 18th-century British artist Richard Westmacott, while its churchyard contains the tomb of Ferdinando Paleologus, a direct descendant of the brother of Constantine XI, the last Byzantine emperor.
Book an MSC excursion to learn the island’s history at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, in the St. Michael neighborhood. And tour Sunbury Plantation House, located in the tranquil St. Philip countryside. Dating back to 1650, it’s a living monument to plantation life and a bygone era.
Harrison’s Cave, in St. Thomas district, is a wonder of nature with its stalactites, stalagmites, streams, lakes and waterfalls. In one of the caverns, the play of light on the rocks is so intense that it has been nicknamed “The Crystal Room.”
For beachtime, head to Pirates Cove, one of the best beaches on Barbados. Featuring palm trees and chickee huts, white sand and crystal-clear water, it’s the perfect place to relax, just a stone’s throw from Bridgetown.
If you’re brave enough to dive into the deep, set out on an MSC excursion inside a real submarine, the Atlantis, to explore the coral reef and discover what beauty the depths reveal.