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After writing scores of articles and authoring several books on the Caribbean, I have decided someone should mount a futile effort to have the word Caribbean pronounced correctly. After all, when you visit someone’s home, shouldn’t you be able to say their name the correct way?
Most islanders say “ker-i-BEE-uhn,” and this is also the preferred pronunciation in most dictionaries. Like all dictionaries, the Merriam-Webster phonetically divides Caribbean into “ker-ə-bē-ən” and notes that the first recorded use was in 1772.
A second option is ” kəˈrɪb·i·ən” which many attribute to the British (who turned Kenya into “keen-ya”) but the Brits I’ve talked to deny they’re at fault. This alternate pronunciation was added to Webster’s somewhere around 1934. Some speakers now add a second “r” to the pronunciation so Caribbean sounds like ” ka(r)-RIB-e-uhn.”
Since most Caribbean islanders say “ker-i-BEE-uhn”—unless they have been corrupted by outsiders—common sense would dictate there is only one correct pronunciation.
The Caribbean region received its name from the Carib (“ker-ib”) Indians, where a sizable population of them still survives in Dominica. Their name, like the Caribbean’s regional beer, is “ker-ib.” Both would be pronounced “ker-RIB-eh” if “ker-RIB-ee-an” was the correct pronunciation for the islands.
Now, for the ultimate authority. In Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies, the word Caribbean always is pronounced “ker-i-BEE-uhn.” If you can’t trust Walt Disney . . .?
All together: ker-i-BEE-uhn! (Update: Received a note from a Trinidadian whose home island brews and bottles Carib Larger: “We say Karib-ean. But the stress is on the ‘Kar’ not the ‘rib’ of the first part of the word, KARib-ean. And we speak only one of the ‘b’s.”
Although the following nuts and bolts relate to my extended 35-day cruise, the situation applies to everyone wanting to slash both their travel costs and port parking charges.
My 35-day Caribbean cruise aboard the ms Maasdam departing Nov. 12 from Fort Lauderdale comes with a few problems. Most important is determining the most efficient (cheapest) way to travel from the Orlando area. Driving my own vehicle is out of the question with Port Everglades charging $20 a day for parking. That will come to $700 or about 25percent of the actual cruise cost. Forget that.
Going by air is not feasible. Although the distance between Orlando and Fort Lauderdale is only about 215 miles, flying is an unreasonable and expensive proposition. Except for Spirit Airlines, whose direct flight with a very good schedule is only $120 per person roundtrip. Unfortunately, based on flying Spirit, I will never ever fly Spirit again. The airline doesn’t know what a schedule means. Further, luggage and a glass of water or anything (besides toilet paper?) on Spirit will be an extra charge.
Southwest Airlines with twofree bags per person is a more attractive alternative but the roundtrip fare still is about $200 per person. AirTran, a favorite that does not fly directly to Fort Lauderdale, is $373. The best Priceline comes up with is $688 with multiple stops on Continental. Ridiculous since I can fly Continental from Orlando to San Diego for about $300.
My best option is a rental car. Using my discount as a member of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Budget Rent-A-Car rents me an intermediate vehicle from Orlando to the Fort Lauderdale International Airport with drop off there for about $100. The cost for the return is the same. I like that.
The Fort Lauderdale airport happens to be so close to the Port Everglades cruise terminal that rental car companies provide a free shuttle to the ships. Now, that’s a deal!
Perhaps most importantly, the amount of luggage is irrelevant. It does take a lot of luggage for a 35-day cruise. More importantly, there is the matter of souvenirs. Cruise lines don’t care how much you buy as long as it all fits it in your stateroom and can leave the ship with the rest of the baggage.
So I also will be bringing some extra suitcases, empty when I depart but packed solid when I return. And have no concern about their weight. The varieties of Caribbean hot sauces will weigh at least 20 pounds, if not more. And if I see another 35-pound carved wooden mask to add to my collection, so what? Or a painting that I can hand-carry off the ship and not worry about being crushed in airline luggage.
Point of all this: Consider your best option for traveling to the port regardless of cruise length.
But with 35 days at sea, there still is more to consider. As you will see in tomorrow’s blog
The typical 7-day Caribbean cruise may be fine for most people but I find them disappointing. Just as you’re becoming accustomed to ship-board life, it’s time to return to port. And 7 days, even from Florida, doesn’t offer the chance to travel very far.
Still, when I spotted a 35-day Caribbean cruise aboard the ms Maasdam on VacationsToGo.com, I thought it had to be a misprint. Thirty-five days is a third of the length of most around the world voyages.
Yet it was true, a 35-day tour of 19 different islands with only two repeats—St. Barts and Barbados, two of my favorites. Plus three stops at Half Moon Cay, Holland America’s water sports playground, and two returns to the home port of Fort Lauderdale.
The 35-day cruise is actually a piggyback of three different itineraries of the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, including such rarely visited islands as St. Vincent and Martinique and quite a few ports off the regular milk runs: St. Barts, St. Croix, Grenada, Aruba Bonaire and Curacao.
The Maasdam, carrying only 1,250 passengers, is able to visit these islands that mega-ships ferrying between 4,000 and 5,500 cruisers cannot dock at and whose ports cannot handle such hoards of cruisers. Long live the smaller ships!
Perhaps the most amazing thing of all is the price of this itinerary. Including government taxes and port charges, it averages $73.35 a day for an inside cabin. (Hey, I’m a blogger!) My wife and I signed up for the cruise, which departs from Fort Lauderdale in just 10 days.
But planning for a cruise of this length presents some unusual problems. Living in Orlando, it’s not worth flying to Fort Lauderdale but Port Everglades charges $20 a day for parking ($20 x 35=$700). Has to be a way around that!
Join me and Linda on this blog for the next few days as we check off and solve the problems before sailing and anticipate a few issues we expect to encounter on board.
Then follow us as we explore the islands and life on board the ms Maasdam for more than a month.
Ireland’s Ashford Castle not only is the “Top Resort in Ireland” but “Top Resort in Europe” according to readers of Condé Nast Traveler in the magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards.
Runners-up were the Villa d’Este on Italy’s Lake Como and the Hotel du Cap-Eden Roc in Antibes on the French Riviera.
Ashford Castle, which sits on 350 acres of County Mayo on the shores of both Lough Corrib and the River Cong, has a long history, dating back to 1228. A hotel since 1939 with 83 guestrooms and suites, the castle enjoys an exceptional backdrop of forest, lake, river and mountains. It offers a remarkable collection of “country sports” featuring horseback riding, fly fishing, golf on its exclusive nine-hole course and Ireland’s first school of falconry.
The Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice recognition comes on top of Ashford Castle’s 2010 Gold Medal from the Green Hospitality Awards and Trip Advisor’s 2010 top ten picks for European castle hotels.
I stayed at this grand old castle many years back and it was an unforgettable experience. Ashford definitely is staying with the times, even offering “Hogwarts Family Midterm Break” packages.
For more information on Ashford Castle, visit www.ashford.ie