Travel Agent chatted last week with David L. Shields, general manager of Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours, and learned that the company will officially launch new tours to the Cayman Islands as early as this week.
Shields told us the tours will be offered in Grand Cayman and will include some sting ray-related tours as well as other water-based offerings, including some dive tours. The news comes on the heels of the company’s announcement last week to expand offerings to Barbados.
The latest announcements give some validity to the company’s claims as being the Caribbean’s fastest growing tour company. In fact, Island Routes Tours now offers more than 200 unique tour options for adventure seekers in Jamaica; Saint Lucia; Antigua; The Bahamas; Turks and Caicos and Barbados, with the Cayman Islands on deck.
The announcement of the Barbados and Cayman expansions is huge for the company because these are the first two destinations that do not have a Sandals Resorts property present, which could possibly be a future trend for the company.
Although Sandals Resorts and Island Routes are two separate entities, Island Routes was the brainchild of Adam Stewart, Sandals Resorts International's CEO. Shields says the company felt comfortable starting on islands where there were Sandals resorts present since Stewart, Islands Routes’ CEO, was already familiar with these destinations and their offerings. It was perceived by most in the industry, however, that Island Routes would only set up shop where a Sandals was present. But this latest announcement proves that any Caribbean island is fair game for the company.
“I think what you saw when the company was initially launched was us basically solidifying our home base, those islands where you saw a Sandals present,” Shields says. “Now that we are established, we will continue to seek out any islands in the Caribbean that we feel will be a perfect fit for Island Routes.”
In Barbados, Island Routes Tours experiences immerse guests in Bajan culture, cuisine, and a coastline ringed with 70 miles of white sand. On the Turtles at Sunset Cruise, luxury catamarans set sail for the Caribbean blue waters of Barbados inhabited by hawksbill turtles, where swimming with these protected creatures is an extraordinary encounter. The Lunch Cruise also stops for snorkeling on a colorful coral reef teeming with tropical fish including angel fish, parrot fish and blue chromis as well as sergeant major and snapper and a stop at a powder-soft beach.
A submarine offers another kind of look at the many species of marine life that call the Freshwater Bay Reef home. Divers and non-divers alike stay dry on Atlantis by Day as their submarine descends to visit turtles, trumpet fish, moray eels and otherworldly coral that call this ancient reef home.
At a depth of 150-feet where the fish and coral retreat, the hull of a ghostly ship wreck takes over the viewports before an ascent back to the sun and sand. Guests will be able to see the difference in the underwater landscape as they explore on Atlantis by Night. For those special celebrations, guests sit up front with the pilot at the large front viewport as Atlantis VIPs.