Monday, December 19, 2011

Western Caribbean!

Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of 208 square miles (540 km2). Located within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the city is the seat and second-largest city of Galveston County in population.

During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial center and one of the largest ports in the United States. Galveston is known for the hurricane that devastated the city in 1900. The natural disaster that followed still counts as the deadliest in American history.

The ship we were on, the Mariner of the Seas, is one of five Voyager-class cruise ships from Royal Caribbean International; it is one of the largest in its fleet and among the largest passenger ships in the world. It was constructed at Aker Finnyards in Turku, Finland and had her maiden voyage in 2003. Currently the ship sails cruises from the port of Galveston, Texas to the Western Caribbean.

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles.

Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometers (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometers (50 mi) in width and 10,990 square kilometers (4,243 sq mi) in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometers (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harboring the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking TaĆ­no inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs".

Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it became an English, and later a British, colony, known as "Jamaica". It achieved full independence in 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Kingston is the country's largest city and the capital.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee or Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a classification of coffee grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. The best lots of Blue Mountain coffee are noted for their mild flavor and lack of bitterness. Over the last several decades, this coffee has developed a reputation that has made it one of the most expensive and sought-after coffees in the world; over 80% of all Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is exported to Japan. In addition to its use for brewed coffee, the beans are the flavor base of Tia Maria coffee liqueur.