A favorite with cruise lines thanks to its location just 62 miles east of St. Vincent and the Windward Islands, Barbados is perfectly located for destination-rich voyages around some of the region’s best-loved islands.

Cruise lines mostly visit in winter, when temperatures average 80. Companies, including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, call for a day of sightseeing, while upscale Seabourn, SeaDream, Star Clippers and Windstar use it as an embark or debark port — ideal for anyone who wants a few days in some of the most luxurious hotels in the West Indies at the start or end of their cruise.

The port is about a 20-minute walk from Bridgetown, the capital, from where you can pick up catamaran cruises and visit the house, now a museum, where George Washington lived for two months in 1751. It was the only time he ever left America.

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A statue of Lord Nelson presides over National Heroes Square, or Trafalgar Square, as it was called before independence from Britain 50 years ago. Expect festivals, sports competitions and parades to celebrate the anniversary on Nov. 30, 2016.

Although Barbados is small, just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, there’s plenty to occupy a day or two ashore, from lazing on the beach to going underground at Harrison’s Cave, a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites, streams and waterfalls. There are tours and tastings at the Mount Gay Rum distillery, a botanical feast at the 52-acre Flower Forest and round-island Jeep tours that visit the wild east coast, where surfers pit their skills against powerful Atlantic waves. At the Animal Flower Cave, steps lead into a cavern that’s home to sea anemones, crabs and interesting rock formations.

Where to stay

Port Ferdinand: This new resort and residential complex is already a sought-after address in Barbados. Luxurious two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments are set around a marina and are perfect for families or couples. If you can’t bear to leave, prices start at $2.15 million.

Sandals Barbados: An upmarket all-inclusive for couples only on the south coast, Sandals has beachfront suites with butlers, 11 restaurants and the longest lagoon pool on the island.

The House: This adults-only boutique property on the island’s west coast has 34 sumptuous suites and serves champagne breakfasts, offers free water sports and includes one complimentary massage per guest in the price.

For more travel advice go to www.insightguides.com.

- by Jane Archer