We sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Gambia to Antigua in early January 2021, nervous as the “Caribbean bubble” was starting to disintegrate as a new wave of covid infections surged. We were able to enjoy a quieter Caribbean without the cruise ships and charter boats as a definite up-side to cruising in 2021. The covid testing added at times a considerable expense to travel and quarantine requirements were often difficult to sit through, but countries had found a way to keep their borders open and we gained a cruising year in the Western Atlantic.
We spent most of our time in the Lesser Antilles, from St. Maartin along the chain through Barbuda, Antigua and the Grenadines to Grenada, then west to Bonaire, Colombia and Panama. My overall impression of the Caribbean is likened to holiday at an all-inclusive resort. It was a beautiful region to explore, the sailing was easy and the experiences ashore delightful, but there was very little of the intrepid in the travel.
Would I do it again? Sure — we met delightful cruising companions and had a fantastic time. Does it feel my cruising desire? Not at all. I will cherish the time spent in the Caribbean but look forward to returning to a style of cruising that provides a richer and more varied cultural experiences and some more challenging sailing and life experiences.