Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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St. John's, Antigua

St. John's, Antigua

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Beautiful Antigua
Beautiful Antigua
by Jennifer Marx

Encircled by protective reefs and blessed with sheltered anchorage, Antigua (say “an-TEE-ga”) boasts 365 beaches for sunning, and fair harbors for sailing. Alas that you’ll have but eight hours in port—you’ll have to take in a new beach every minute to see them all (or come back and spend a year visiting a new beach every day!)

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AMBIENCE IN ANTIGUA

Ruined fortresses, old sugar plantations, and modern, beach-front resorts reflect a rich history and a prosperous present. With the tourist economy responsible for 75% of the island’s income, you’ll find pleasant shopping opportunities right at the pier, but a jaunt across the island will take you back to the glory days of Britain’s Royal Navy. Whether you stay close to port in St. John’s, or head for historic English Harbour (Nelson’s Dockyard), you’ll find first-rate beaches less than 10 minutes away by taxi. If history isn’t your thing, the island offers a rich selection of water sport-based activities, from sailing and snorkeling to stingray swims.

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HISTORY OF ANTIGUA

Although named by Columbus, European settlers didn’t arrive in Antigua until the mid-1600s. The first settlements were those of the Siboney (an Arawak word meaning “stone-people”), who date from about 2400 B.C. After the Siboney came the Arawaks, who were agricultural by nature. The Arawaks were displaced by the Caribs, an aggressive people. The earliest European contact came with Columbus’ second Caribbean voyage in 1493, but European settlements didn’t take root for another century due to the lack of fresh water and the Carib resistance. While the island was home to very prosperous sugar cane plantations, the British Navy prized the island for its easily protected, safe harbors. English Harbour was the British Navy’s base of operations in this part of the Caribbean. Captain Horatio Nelson spent several unhappy years here, and many a man-o’-war was overhauled in what’s now called “Nelson’s Dockyard,” naturally hidden from any enemy warship cruising by. With the exception of a brief occupation by the French, the island remained firmly under British rule until 1981, when it achieved full independence.

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FACTS OF ANTIGUA

Size: 14 miles (23 km.) long by 11 miles (18 km.) wide 
Climate: Subtropical Temperatures: 81°F (26°C) to 87°F (30°C)
Population: 68,000 Busy Season: Late December to April
Language: English Money: E. Carib. Dollar (1 = $0.37 U.S.)
Time Zone: Atlantic (no DST) Transportation: Walking, taxis, cars
Phones: Dial 1- from U.S.; dial 911 for emergencies
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Top Photo Slice: (℗ 53426) Photo contributed by © Jennifer Marx



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