WHEREVER THERE’S A TROPICAL ISLAND, images like blue skies, sandy white beaches, palm trees, exotic flowers, sunsets and a silhouetted couple will appear in its promotional materials ... and why not? The formula works well, promising world-weary travelers an escape from the everyday, whether it happens to be in Hawai’i, Tahiti, Indonesia, the Maldives or the Caribbean. Curaçao — which completes the ABC island chain with Aruba and Bonaire in the southern Caribbean — proves no exception. And yes, of course it has all of the requisite ingredients, along with golf, spas and waterfront resorts of every description.
THE BAHAMAS IS HOME TO ABOUT 700 islands ringed by shimmering shores where fantasy blue and green waters lap powdery white and pink sands, but its 6.6 million annual visitors spend most of their time on just a handful of islands, and almost all visit the capital city of Nassau. On New Providence Island, where 70 percent of the nation lives, Nassau proves one of the most popular ports on Caribbean cruises. Day- trippers hunt for bargains at the famed Straw Market or swim with sharks and rays in the idyllic waters before reboarding their behemoth ships and sailing off. Those remaining on the island, though, still find plenty to see after dark.