Cruising in the Caribbean is understandably popular when you consider the exotic locations that you can visit along the way and the balmy temperatures all year round.
More cruise ships sail around the Caribbean islands than any other region in the world, and whichever region you travel in, western or eastern, blue skies and a warm welcome await you.
There are so many images that you can conjure up at the mere mention of a Caribbean cruise destination: sandy white beaches, crystal turquoise blue waters, palm trees that gently sway in the breeze and a lively vibrant atmosphere everywhere you go. Virtually every stop on your cruise is a heavenly destination and here are some of the highlights to look out for:
Many of the Eastern Caribbean cruises set sail from Port Canaveral which is in the centre of the east coast of Florida and just 45 miles west of Orlando. St Maarten is a popular port of call and this French part of the West Indies has Orient Beach which is considered to be one of the best in the whole Caribbean. St Thomas is perhaps one of the most heavily trafficked ports in the region, but that is for a good reason; St Thomas offers something for everyone with a vibrant duty free shopping experience, a world famous beach at Magens Bay or a scenic tram ride to a mountaintop. If you take a 10 or 14 day cruise around the Eastern Caribbean you will also probably stop off at some British Virgin Islands such as Tortola, Sopers Hole and Norman Island, plus iconic locations such as St Kitts and Antigua.
If you are heading out to the Western Caribbean, you may well set sail from New Orleans or maybe Fort Lauderdale and arrive in Falmouth. This newest cruise port in Jamaica sits between Ochos Rios and Montego Bay and leads you to the historic Georgian town, which is enjoying a renaissance as a result of this stunning new port being built. The Grand Cayman will probably be your next port of call and this port offers what you would expect from an exotic location, with the iconic, sandy, seven-mile beach and numerous water sports to keep you fully occupied. Heading out towards Mexico you can enjoy some great snorkelling in Cozumel, which is Mexico’s largest Caribbean island and amazingly, only one third of the island has been developed, leaving large stretches of pristine jungle that provide a dramatic backdrop.
Think of some iconic Caribbean destinations and you will probably hear mention of places such as Barbados, Antigua, St Kitts, St Barths and Grenada. A Southern Caribbean cruise may well take in all of these destinations and Barbados, which is sometimes referred to as Little England (due to the British influence, definitely not the weather), is a tourist hot spot with a reputation that is well deserved. Plantation houses and rum distilleries abound, along with impressive beaches and activities to keep you occupied whilst you are there. Antiguan’s claim that they have 365 beaches, one for every day of the year and whilst no one is really counting, you can be sure that this island, where time seems to pass so slowly, is full of heavenly beaches.
There are so many beautiful destinations in the Caribbean region and wherever you decide to go, you are almost guaranteed iconic views, balmy weather and a warm welcome from the locals.
Melissa Nash is a travel coordinator. Her articles mainly appear in travel blogs where she enjoys passing on her tips and knowledge.