Caribbean cruises are the most popular cruises on the market today accounting for more than 60% of the North American cruise industry. In addition to offering access to one of the warmest year around climates, some of the most spectacular marine life in the world, and stunning white sand beaches, Caribbean cruises also offer more flexibility and options than any other type of cruise. For example, Caribbean cruise lines feature a wide selection of cruise itineraries and Caribbean cruises embark from more ports of call than any other type of cruise on the market today. In addition, some of the worldâ€™s most popular cruise lines serve the Caribbean, which means more flexibility in pricing. Some of the most popular Caribbean cruise lines include: Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Lines, and Regent Seven Seas.
While these top Caribbean cruise lines offer a variety of itineraries, the three most common Caribbean cruise itineraries include the Eastern Caribbean itinerary, the Western Caribbean itinerary, and the Southern Caribbean itinerary. Most Eastern Caribbean cruises embark from Florida. Ports of call on Eastern Caribbean cruises may include: St. Marteen, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. John and St. Thomas.
On Eastern Caribbean cruises, excursions are plentiful and passengers generally spend less time at sea and more time engaging in water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, exploring rain forests, and relaxing on white sand beaches. Eastern Caribbean cruises also offer plenty of opportunities to shop or dine at sea side restaurants where unique fusion foods and drinks are the norm.
Western Caribbean cruises may embark from New Orleans, Texas or Florida and ports of call include exotic places like: Belize, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Cozumel or Grand Cayman. Because WC ports of call are farther apart, passengers spend more time at sea, but there are still opportunities to hike through rainforests, explore Mayan ruins and amazing mountain waterfalls and engage in a variety of water activities.
Southern Caribbean cruises generally embark from San Juan and typical ports of call include: Antigua, British Virgin Islands, Martinique, St. Marteen and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Barbados, St. Kitts, Tortola, Dominica and St. Lucia are considered Deep Southern ports of call. Southern Caribbean destinations offer some of the most amazing snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities as well as lush rain forests and majestic waterfalls. Be prepared to take pictures of unique structures and cathedrals as well.
Prices for Caribbean cruises vary depending on the Caribbean cruise line, vessel size, vacation length, and accommodations. Keep in mind that prices donâ€™t necessarily depend on ports of call. Oftentimes, they depend heavily on the type of accommodations you choose, be it luxury or budget.
As a general rule of thumb, most prices include: meals, ship transportation, accommodations, entertainment and most social activities. The price may not include: alcohol, dry cleaning, excursions, gratuities, port charges or gambling. Passengers may find some of the best values through Caribbean cruise lines during the month of January, late spring, and during the months of September, October, November, and December. Caribbean cruise itineraries may be short-term (2-5 days) or long-term (7-10 days). For most Caribbean cruise lines, the 7-day Caribbean cruise is the most requested.
Tip: If time is limited, fly into San Juan instead of Miami. It generally takes two days to sail from Miami to San Juan, so the two days you save can be spent exploring the beautiful Caribbean.