Imaginative Food Choices in the Heart of Havana!

We took away a lot from our first trip to Cuba earlier this year, so much so that we are happily returning next year bigger and better than ever for our Drag Stars at Sea 2017: Cuba Adventure! Cuba has a lot to offer any traveler, with excitement in several cities and great people to meet along the way. Something in particular from Cuba stands out though: its amazing food. The Cuban people have a special pride about the meals they prepare, and it shines through in their best restaurants! We are going to explore a place in Havana, Cuba today that is known for having delicious food as well as being incredibly fun and trendy!

 

 

304 O’Reilly‘s creators did not use any creativity on this place’s name, its address, instead choosing to pour their efforts into making amazing food! The restaurant is open from noon to midnight and serves a variety of great food and drinks. One of the signature dishes is the fish of the day done up with a mixture of herbs served with fresh vegetables and plated beautifully, as can be seen below. The dishes offer a lovely spread of flavors across the board that are all well received. They also serve tacos that have been a smash hit, they are the talk of the town! Even better than just great food is the fact that the portions are notably generous and the price is absolutely outstanding, with meals ranging from eight to thirteen dollars on average! People leave here with their stomachs full and their mouths satisfied with all of the flavors to be tried!

 

The food is great, but this place is just as famous for the large variety and quality of drinks that they offer! The cocktails they offer are MASSIVE, and people rave about how delicious they are! It is highly recommended that you place a reservation before coming because while it is a great place to eat space is limited and with great drinks and food it’s not hard to imagine why this is one of the most bustling places in all of Havana. It is noted that the energy here is off the charts as well, with a staff that is visibly young, energetic, and always happy to serve with a smile, it will be very hard to find a more welcoming staff on the whole island! Even the owner will get in on the fun at times by sitting down with his guests and giving them an authentic Cuban cigar while regaling them with stories about art and food. It is truly a can’t miss experience!

Havana has a lot of hidden treasures to offer, and I am dedicated to finding them and sharing them with you all as we get prepared for the trip next year! It’s going to be a great time and an amazing opportunity to savor some local delights while you are there! Drag Stars at Sea 2017: Cuba Adventure is going to be a spectacular adventure, and right now we are taking bookings for past travelers as well as reservations for new ones! Get your place in line NOW by visiting here!

 

Five times the Fine Dining Experience in London!

One of the great things about traveling is the chance to experience different cultures around the world first hand, and there are few better ways to do that then to take a bite of someone’s food. Like music, food is a universal language. We all eat, we enjoy food in vastly different ways, and one person’s supreme meal is another person’s garbage.  I have been doing a lot of research lately when it comes to the highlights of the world, and quite a bit of that time has been devoted to various eateries. Today we’ll be going to London Englandwhere the food is delicious five times over!

The Five Fields is an exquisite restaurant that is one of the best regarded places to eat in all of London, which is no easy feat to manage. The two principle food makers, Chef Patron Taylor Bonnyman and Head Chef Marguerite Keogh, offer up, in their own words, “elegant and playful modern British cooking with an emphasis on native British artisanal produce.” The pair of them have worked in some of the best kitchens in London, New York, and Paris to bring together influences that dazzle the senses and put on full display the wide breadth of amazing ingredients they use. Their aim is to strike a balance between indulgence and fresh simplicity, and according to just about everyone who stops in they do an amazing job of it. The dining room is magnificently done as well, creating an intimate space that takes inspiration from the flora of the surrounding area with the pale green and ivory colors dominating the room. The restaurant is renowned for its atmosphere and great service, with a very friendly wait staff who are exceptionally attentive to guest’s needs. If you’re interested in dining here make sure you book a table quickly, as you won’t be able to just walk in and get one off the street, the demand is quite high!

 

 

Of course, atmosphere and friendliness of staff wouldn’t mean a whole lot if the food wasn’t delicious. I’m going to be anti-climactic: the food is amazingly well regarded and all anyone who eats here appears capable of talking about even days after they have finished dining here. Meals are served in three courses with a starter, a main, and a dessert. One of the more popular starters is the Rock Pool, which combines smoked eel, Caviar, and Tuna for an amazing and unique seafood blend that makes the mouth water. There is also the very popular Orkney Scallop, which comes from the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Great Britain, which is served with tomatoes, Peaches, and Avocado for a spectacular flavor explosion that is greater than the delicious sum of its parts. As for mains many people rave about their John Dory, which is a brilliant combination of chickpea, chorizo, and a surprisingly delectable octopus! Don’t be shy about giving it a try, it gets rave reviews! The desserts are delectable as well, with the Ginger option that comes with plums and vanilla ice cream being a huge hit. If you aren’t looking for anything too sweet they also offer a selection of amazing British and Irish cheeses, which again are extremely beloved! There aren’t many items on the movie that aren’t pleasing to taste though, so if you stop in let your heart and stomach guide your path. They also have a very fine cocktail menu, which I am sure is relevant to a lot of people!

 

London has a lot to offer any foodie, and this is an amazing restaurant that is guaranteed to not disappoint! Fresh ingredients, superb skill, and a welcoming atmosphere make for an amazing dining experience that people owe to themselves to check out first hand. We’re proud to take our travelers to London as part of our 7 Day Taste of Europe pre-stay which leads into our FABULOUS Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information on this upcoming trip, please go here.

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing Museums in London!

With approximately three weeks before the start of our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars there is a lot to be done and planned before our cruisers begin their amazing journey. Each of our destinations within Europe has an overabundance of great activities and sights to take in before people are whisked off to the next leg of their adventure. This article is here to condense some of the information so that you, the ever busy traveler, don’t have to search all over for ingenious ideas on how to spend your time! Today’s stop is London, England!

The British Museum is a museum dedicated to culture, art, and the history of humanity. The museum opened in 1759 and was largely based on the collections of the scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The architecture of the building draws obvious inspiration from the ancient Greeks, which was a signature design choice of the architect who designed it. The breadth of its collection is staggering, with over 8 million pieces all told! The size of the collection makes it one of the largest in the entire world as well as one of the most varied, with origins from all continents. The departments within the museum include ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, the Middle East, and Asia! One of the most famous pieces that is housed there is the Rosetta Stone, pictured above, which was vital to deciphering hieroglyphics.

The Churchill War Rooms is a museum that is comprised of two portions: the first is the Cabinet War Rooms, an underground facility that was home to a British government command center throughout World War II and the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum about the life and times of Winston Churchill. The Cabinet War Rooms were in use from 1939 until August of 1945, when Japan surrendered and effectively ended the Second World War. It was evident after the war that there was historical value to be found in such a command center and the preservation of the site fell to the Ministry of Works before the Department for the Environment took over. The museums opened for the first time in 1984 after years where the sites were not open to the public at all and have since had redevelopments in both 2005 and 2010.

The Wallace Collection is renowned around the world for its wide range of decorative and fine arts from 15th to the 19th centuries. The collection as a whole is split up into 25 large galleries. The museum was established in 1897 with a great deal of the collection coming from the private stores of one Richard Seymour-Conway who left it all to his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace, whose widow gave it all to the nation. The only condition of the act of generosity was that nothing ever leave the collection, even on loan. In total there are over 5,000 pieces now on display, with over 2,000 of that being fine examples of European and Oriental arms and armor! Perhaps the best part of the museum is that admission to this amazing collection is free!

London is a great city with so much history to explore! No matter where you turn there is something fantastic to do there. The museums that were talked about today are just one of the enjoyable aspects of the city! You can enjoy it all as part of the 7 Day Taste of Europe pre-stay as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information on this stellar trip, go here.

 

Piracy of the Caribbean continued!

Much like our trip to the Caribbean early next year, the history of the Caribbean is not only told on land but on the high seas as well. Piracy is not only the theme of our adventure, but it was a way of life for hundreds of years as men and women fought the law, and other law breakers, for the ability to live their lives the way they wanted as well as to line their pockets with an appropriate amount of coins. Every Monday we are going to take a look at the legendary Pirates of the high seas and highlight some great stories!

Stede Bonnet was a pirate from Barbados who plundered in the early 18th century. Bonnet was known as the “Gentleman Pirate” because he was a fairly wealthy landowner before he turned to his life of crime. He inherited his father’s estate when he was just six years old. He did not begin his campaign into piracy until the summer of 1717, and did so because he thought his life was boring and lacked the necessary adventure a young man should possess. He bought a sailing vessel, named it Revenge, and traveled throughout the eastern seaboard of the United States laying waste to people for glorious booty. Bonnet set sail for Nassau in the Bahamas but was grievously wounded on the way there. Upon arrival he met Edward Teach, otherwise known as the infamous pirate Blackbeard. He ceded control of his crew to Blackbeard for a time and the two of them went on to plunder many ships and cause all sorts of problems for the people in the region. Little over a year after his piracy career began he was captured for his crimes and begged for clemency, famously offering to cut off his own legs and arms so that he could no longer commit any untoward acts. His pleas fell upon deaf ears however and he was hanged in December of 1718, he was 30 years old.

Bartholomew Roberts, born John Roberts, was a Welsh pirate who raided ships all throughout the world betwen 1719 and 1722. He is widely considered to be the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy due to the fact that he plundered, sank, or captured over 470 vessels throughout his brief but highly busy career. He is known as Black Bart, but the name was attributed to him only after his death. He turned to a life of piracy after the ship he was third mate of was captured by one, Howell Davis, who recognized Roberts’ talents as a navigator and brought him into the fold. Roberts was reluctant at first but soon realized that the life of crime paid very well indeed. Roberts was killed in battle in 1722 when a gapeshot stuck him in the throat as he was standing on the deck. His death shocked the pirate world to its core, as many thought the man was invincible.

Have you decided the pirate’s life is for you? Fantastic! We are proud to be hosting the Black Pearl Ball, which is our welcome aboard Masquerade party!We want you looking like a proper, landowning pirate of course! Can’t have you show up in rags, what would the ‘Gentleman Pirate’ think of that!? For some good ideas for pirate outfits as well as accessories, go here. And for all of the details about our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean, go here.

Architectural Grandeur in Lisbon!

We are very proud to offer trips all around the world, and we are invested in letting others see why we are so passionate about the places we go. The world is a very big place, and within it are numerous sights to see that are unique as they are beautiful, historically significant, or both. Here we take a look at Lisbon, Portugal, whose architecture is second to none!

Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome located near the shore. The monastery is considered to be one of the best examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style, which is the splendid building design that adds touches of ornamentation along with maritime elements to structures, in all of Lisbon. It is a World Heritage Site. The building was completed at the turn of the 17th century and soon after Philip of Spain, the ruling monarch at the time, made the monastery a royal funerary monument which prohibited anyone but the royal family and St Jerome’s monks from entering the building. Four of John IV’s (widely known as John the Restorer for his hand in helping the Portuguese Empire reach its zenith by going to war with Spain) children are buried here. These days it is hailed as one of the most popular destinations in the entire city for its beautiful architecture and its rich history.

Belém Tower, otherwise known as the Tower of St. Vincent, is a fortified tower and like the above monastery is a World Heritage Site. The tower was commisioned by King John II so that it could aid in the defense of the Tagus river and be a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. It is a porminent example of the Portuguese Manueline style of architecture. Throughout the years the tower has had several additions made to it and has had troops stationed within its walls during numerous conflicts, most notably with France. King Miguel I, who ruled in the early 19th century, used the dungeons to imprison political enemies of his so they could not speak out against him any longer. The tower has been considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal since 2007.

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle which occupies a commanding hilltop which overlooks the historic center of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The fortified citadel has stood since medieval times, and is a very popular tourist attraction in modern day Lisbon! The settlements of the Tagus valley, where the castle is located, date back to the 6th century BC with the hill itself being used in around the 2nd century BC. It was held by the Celtic tribes, the Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians as a defensible location before the Roman and eventually Moorish peoples took control of it. The castle has been integral in resistance efforts over the centuries, notably against the forces of Castile several times during the 14th century.

The history of Lisbon and its beautiful buildings can match anything that Europe has to offer. One of the great things about going on a trip though is that the cities don’t have to compete for your affection, you can see many of them on our Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information on this great experience, go here.

Going to great heights to experience Antigua!

We will be traveling to various places around the Caribbean as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean and we here know that people like a certain amount of adventure whenever they travel abroad. To that end we are going to look at some of the exciting prospects at our destinations and show you a few ideas for you to have a great time on this or any other trip to the Caribbean. Today we’re going to Antiguawhere the great view is only the half of it!

Shirley Heights, as the name suggests, is a very high point on the island of Antigua. It used to be a military complex which served as a lookout over English Harbor and a small military installation. As the island’s Signal Station, it employed a series of flags during the day or a series of guns at night when they needed to get a message to St. John’s. Aside from the mild historical context the amazing view is what this place is really about. People are in complete agreement that watching the sun set at this particular vantage point is one of the most beautiful in the entire Caribbean, if not the world. Many of the views in postcards and magazines of Antigua, or in photos like the above, come from this location. The breathtaking view of the island is one that absolutely cannot be missed!

The Donkey Sanctuary on the island is a great deal of fun made from something with a more sinister past. Back in the days of slavery the donkeys were used to haul sugar all over the island, and as you can imagine the animals were treated very poorly and were overworked to the extreme. When slavery was abolished and there was no longer mass quantities of sugar to be transported the donkeys were abandoned to their fate. Luckily, a group of very kind people decided that the animals should be given a home and thus this lovely place come into being! Everyone who visits the sanctuary raves about how fun it is, and how remarkably gentle the creatures are. They are quite friendly and most of all the donkeys love all of the attention you can give them. The Sanctuary offers tours of the facility where a knowledgeable guide will give you some great information on the donkeys you are observing! Perhaps not what would expect on a beautiful island, but a must see replace regardless!

 

Hell’s Gate is a rock formation that holds a little bit of mythos behind it. You may have noticed the rock looks very similar to the continent of Africa. Local legend says that when people were being brought over by Africa they would have to pass this rock to reach the island proper, and that over time the formation shifted to match the land where these people came from. Regardless of legends though, the people who visit the rock formation really get a kick out of it and it is a lovely place to take some photographs. All of the pristine water surrounding the formation doesn’t hurt a bit either! You can even go snorkeling nearby, which is a treat due to all of the fish that swim in the waters.

Antigua is a very attractive island with a lot of fun activities to explore! It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful so many of the islands of the Caribbean are, it is TRULY humbling to be able to view it. We are happy to be visiting here as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean! For all of the information about this trip, please go here!

The All Natural Approach to Fun in St. Croix!

We will be traveling to various places around the Caribbean as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean and we here know that people like a certain amount of adventure whenever they travel abroad. To that end we are going to look at some of the exciting prospects at our destinations and show you a few ideas for you to have a great time on this or any other trip to the Caribbean. Today we look at St. Croix, where nature dominates with all its splendor! 

The Buck Island Reef National Monument is, by all accounts, breath taking. The beach of Buck Island is beautiful and gets discussed quite a bit among tourists who have visited the island, easily marking it as one of the must-see places while visiting St. Croix. The beach is just the beginning of it though, as once you get your feet wet the real fun begins. The reefs off the coast of the island are said to be some of the most beautiful in the world, and people rave about what a great snorkeling spot it is. The area is also very accessible and you don’t need to be an expert snorkeler to take in this amazing sight!

Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge is another example of the beauty of the island coming out in full force without the need for manmade constructs to clutter the landscape. The refuge is notable for the fact that it probably has the most sand for your enjoyment of any beach in St. Croix, with massive dunes dotting the landscape as far as the eye can see. Visitors describe the beach as a ‘total’ zen spot where you can forget all of your worries and just relax for a few hours in the gorgeous white sand. As for the animals, there is a wide variety of birds to check out, some more exotic than others that will surely excite you. A big fan favorite among the crowds that visit are the turtles though, who are noted for being notoriously adorable! Just remember: you aren’t allowed to take one of them home, so don’t do anything illegal!

Isaac Bay is yet another beautiful beach on the island, unlike some of the others though, it’s going to take a little bit of work to get to this out of the way location. The only way to get to it by land is to do a fair bit of hiking that can, at times, get a little bit hilly. Everyone is in agreement though: the effort is more than worth the amazing view this place has to offer. One of the great benefits of putting in a little bit of work is you won’t ever have to worry about this place being crowded, either! Like other locations around the island you can also get some premium snorkeling time in here, and it comes highly praised in this particular spot!

St. Croix’s natural beautiful is a sight to behold. While I am all in favor of beautiful cities, there is something deeply humbling to be able to take in nature that is largely untouched by the hands of man. You can take it in as part of our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean! For all of the information about this wonderful trip, go here.

 

Showing off the Soul of Paris Food!

One of the great things about traveling is the chance to experience different cultures around the world first hand, and there are few better ways to do that then to take a bite of someone’s food. Like music, food is a universal language. We all eat, we enjoy food in vastly different ways, and one person’s supreme meal is another person’s garbage.  I have been doing a lot of research lately when it comes to the highlights of the world, and quite a bit of that time has been devoted to various eateries. Today we go to Paris France, where you can find delicious meat and veggie options for good prices!

 

Balls. I’ll just let you ruminate on that for a second. Has the snickering subsided by now? Fantastic, let’s continue then. Balls has a remarkably simple concept: put food into a vaguely spherical-like blob shape, make it delicious, and then serve it to you. The balls come in five different recipes: beef with persil and onion, chicken with estragon and lemon, lamb with coriander, cumin and pine kernels, pork with fennel and paprika, and finally if eating meat isn’t your desire you can have a veggie option which comes with chick peas. By all accounts every one of the dishes is expertly crafted and delicious, so it is really about choosing what entices you most. On top of the great food their wine menu which is said to be superb as well. The food, while amazing, is simple so it doesn’t take long to prep meaning you won’t be waiting for long for your food, which is always nice. The owners of the establishment are attentive, but not overly so. If you are looking for a little something extra at night the venue doubles as a very trendy bar with all sorts of delicious cocktails and, yes, the meatballs are still available then as well. With a great atmosphere, delicious food, and prompt service Balls is certainly worthy of a venture into.

 

Soul Kitchen, whose name is a lot more boring than the previous restaurant, is a great place to eat in its own right. It is a cafe-restaurant which is run by three spirited and inspired lady chefs. The environment is, in a word, welcoming. It has been described as the type of place you can come in during the morning and have a nice relaxing coffee while reading your newspaper. It isn’t just about the environment, of course, the food is said to be delicious as well. The key to note about this place is, unlike the above restaurant, it is completely vegetarian! The lunch menu is constantly changing with the only thing that remains the same is their commitment to using their homemade recipes that is made using organic local produce. They have a winter squash super which has fried onions in it which has been raved about quite a bit! One of their signature dishes, ‘Granny’s pichade’, is a thick French pizza with pesto and tomatoes and is said to be absolutely fabulous. You can order quite a bit here and it will barely set you back 10 dollars despite the high quality, making this place an absolutely fantastic deal!

One of the fantastic things about a city as grand as Paris is that there is going to be something for nearly everyone. Whether you consider yourself more of a carnivore or you prefer to munch on vegetables, both of these places have a lot to offer without emptying your wallet too much! Of course, places like this are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fantastic city of Paris! Experience it and so much more as part of our 7 day Taste of Europe pre-stay, which leads into our Drag Stars at Sea: European Allstars! For all of the exciting information about this trip, go here.

 

A ‘Dam’ Fine History Lesson!

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it, or otherwise just not know as many neat factoids about the areas they travel while visiting around the world as they perhaps should. Whether it be doom or ignorance, I’m here to help cure the ailment. Today I talk about Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, whose rich history is perfectly paired with its artistry!

The origins of Amsterdam make perfect sense, given its name. In the latter half of the 12th century locals of the river Amstel built a bridge over and a dam across the river, thus the name ‘Aemstelredamme.” The name is quite literal! An important year in the city’s long history is 1275. The ruling Count of Holland granted traders, sailors, and fishermen exemption from the high tolls all across the region. This gave the citizens the right to travel freely throughout the land without having to pay any tolls at bridges, locks, and dams. The richness of the city can be traced back to this granting of rights because merchants from all over Europe could come to the city and sell their wares at a more competitive rate than anywhere else. Amsterdam is a rather young city compared to many of the other cities in the Netherlands, not being granted city status until early in 14th century. After the miracle of Amsterdam occurred Amsterdam saw many pilgrimages from the Roman Catholic Church in order to celebrate it. The city has suffered through two major fires, one in 1421 and one in 1452. After the second one, where three quarters of the city was destroyed, the Emperor at the time ordered it to be rebuilt.

In the 16th century the Dutch rebelled against the king of Spain, Philip II. One of the main issues of concern, outside of the lack of political power for local nobility, was the Spanish’s marked intolerance when it came to religion. The Dutch believed, and to this day still believe, in the free exercise of religion and chuffed at the attitude shown by the king. As the religious wars raged through Europe over the decades many religious groups sought refuge due to the great tolerance of the Dutch. The 17th century marked what is considered to be Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Ships from the city sailed to locations all across the globe and by doing so established a worldwide trading network. The merchants of the city, incredibly wealthy as they were, financed expeditions all over the world and acquired possessions which would later form the basis for the Dutch colonies.

 

No discussion of Amsterdam can be completed without talking about two of its most important artists. Rembrandt, born in 1606, is widely regarded as one of the best painters to have ever lived. One of the characteristics of his work was the theatrical employment of both light and shadow in his works to express the mood of the painting. He had a flair for the dramatic as well, and his compassion for mankind shone through in his work. Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 and his life was always a struggle. The horrors of mental illness always seemed to be awaiting around the corner for young Vincent, whose anxiety dogged him at every step. Critics note that while his early work is marred by his inconsistency, his later work has a sense of control that speaks to a man who was able to keep his demons at bay, even if only for a time. One of his finest works is the Starry Night, pictured above, which is considered by many to be one of the most recognizable additions to the Western culture.

Amsterdam has a lot of history at its back, as well as people who have made the Dutch people synonymous with cultural impact. We are very pleased to be able to take you there as part of our taste of Europe pre tour, which leads you into the Drag Stars at Sea: Europe Allstars! For all of the information about this great trip, go here.

Introducing the Scoundrel to Spain, Sir Francis Drake!

Much like our trip to the Caribbean early next year, the history of the Caribbean is not only told on land but on the high seas as well. Piracy is not only the theme of our adventure, but it was a way of life for hundreds of years as men and women fought the law, and other law breakers, for the ability to live their lives the way they wanted as well as to line their pockets with an appropriate amount of coins. Every Monday we are going to take a look at the legendary Pirates of the high seas and highlight some great stories! Today I am highlighting one legendary man, who led many successful campaigns within the Caribbean as well as all over the world.

Sir Francis Drake is a man of contention between the English and the Spanish. To his people in England he was a national hero, and why wouldn’t he be? He led several attacks against their enemies and was a capable ship captain. Not only that, but he became the first Englishman to lead an expedition that circumnavigated the globe successfully. In a strange note about the man’s mannerisms it is said that before he had a supposed mutineer, Thomas Doughty, beheaded he granted the man’s request for communion and while they were eating they both laughed like old friends and kept good cheer despite the circumstances. Drake’s greatest early success is undoubtedly the raid he perpetrated at Panama in 1573. It was hard fought, and involved the Spanish dogging their steps, but eventually they made out with several tons of treasure to bring back home. Drake, having been sent ahead and looking quite a mess, played a joke on his men who were awaiting him off island by appearing disappointed before pulling out a necklace of Spanish gold and giving them the good news.

As much as such successes made him a hero to England, it equally made him a villain to the Spanish people. He led successful attacks on Vigo and Santiago before selling across the Atlantic and sacking Santo Domingo and capturing Cartagena de Indias, which is present day Colombia. To top it off, he raided the Spanish fort of San Augustin in Florida. So angered was the Spanish King Philip II he ordered the invasion of England. Drake, not nearly having finished with the Spanish yet, launched a pre-emptive strike and ‘singed the beard of the King of Spain’ in 1587 by going into Cadiz and Corunna, two of Spain’s most important ports, and took the harbors. Afterwards he patrolled the Iberian coasts and disrupted the Spanish supply line in a major way. Due to the nature of these attacks the Spanish invasion force was delayed by nearly a year. When the Spanish Armada finally made its attempt to invade England Drake, a vice admiral at the time, won many battles for the English and contributed mightily to the defense of his homeland.

All good things must come to an end though, and so Drake’s success against the Spanish would as well. In his fifties he failed to conquer the port of Las Palmas, and led a disastrous campaign against Spanish America where he suffered numerous defeats. In his final conflict he led an unsuccessful attack on San Juan, Puerto Rico, eventually losing the famous ‘Battle of San Juan.’ He survived the encounter, but died weeks later of dysentery while anchored near Panama. With his dying breaths he asked to be dressed in his full armor and to be buried at sea. His wishes were respected and he was buried in a lead coffin near Portobelo, where explorers still search for the infamous coffin to this day. A hero to some, a villain to others, Sir Francis Drake left an indelible mark on history.

Have you decided the pirate’s life is for you? Fantastic! We are proud to be hosting the Black Pearl Ball, which is our welcome aboard Masquerade party! You have to do Sir Francis Drake proud of course, you can’t be looking like a scoundrel now can you? For some good ideas for pirate outfits as well as accessories, go here. And for all of the details about our Drag Stars at Sea: Pirates of the Caribbean, go here.