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The Caribbean is one of the world’s most popular destinations for a cruise holiday and it is no surprise why.
Beautiful tropical islands, clear blue seas, white sandy beaches, a mix of cultures and friendly locals are all awaiting you on a Caribbean cruise holiday.
Cruises To The Caribbean
Cruise Holidays in the Caribbean
It is almost like the region was designed with cruise holidays in mind as you can enjoy glorious sunny weather, beautiful tropical islands with white sandy beaches and there is also lots of great attractions and culture to be experienced throughout the many islands.
With that in mind, one of the other great aspects of the region is that each island has its own feel, its own traditions and something unique for visitors and with a huge list of ports of call waiting for you to visit, it doesn’t matter how many times you visit the Caribbean, there is somewhere new waiting to be explored on a Caribbean cruise holiday.
When it comes to cruising the Caribbean, there are 3 different types of holiday on offer to holidaymakers.
Trans-Atlantic Caribbean Cruises
The first type of cruise to the Caribbean is a trans-Atlantic voyage that see’s you start or end in the UK or Europe and cross the Atlantic finishing in either the Caribbean or in the USA. Some cruises do a round trip from Europe or the UK, which is a great option or those who do not want to fly or who do not want to undertake a long haul flight.
Only The Caribbean
The second type of cruise in the Caribbean is one that starts and finishes in the Caribbean. These cruises normally start at Bridgetown in Barbados or San Juan in Puerto Rico and are ideal for those who want to maximise the time spent cruising the Caribbean Islands or for those who want to mix a cruise holiday with a break on one of the great island resorts.
Caribbean from the USA
The third option is to fly across the Atlantic and to start your holiday in the USA. This can often lead to cheaper prices, as there is a vast competition of cruise lines operating from the US mainland and it can also lead to more choice to allow you to visit more of the destination that you want to visit.
The most popular choices for starting from are Galveston (in Texas) as well Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa in Florida whilst those who enjoy sea days can also start at Boston or New York in the North East and add a city break before or after your cruise.
Caribbean Cruise Guide
The Caribbean is a great place to enjoy a cruise holiday as you hop form one idyllic island to the next but that also leads to lots of options, from which cruise line to which ship and from which island to which port of departure and if you are finding yourself asking those very question, and more, our guides will bring you lots of the answers that you are looking for.
If you are in the process of deciding which cruise of the Caribbean to book and are looking for information on which destinations are the must visit for you, our guides give you everything that you need.
Knowing the where to go, is often the best way to start a cruise of a region such as Caribbean as when you know the destinations you want to visit, you can then find the ships offering itineraries including those destinations and hopefully one of interest will be within your budget.
If you have already booked your next cruise holiday in the region, our guides will give you all of the information that you need to make the best of your time on shore in your chosen ports of call.
Popular Ports in the Caribbean
There are numerous ports of calls that the main cruise lines visit time and time again. These include the famous ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), whilst the Bahamas, Netherland Antilles, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia and US Virgin Islands are always a must visit.
Caribbean Cruise Destinations
With so many islands in the Caribbean, the majority of cruise lines break up their cruises to different regions and that is how we will break down the key islands below.
The easiest option is to break down the islands into the ABC Islands (as many cruises go to these 3 popular ports of call from the US and back) and then into the Northern Caribbean Islands, the Southern Caribbean Islands, the Eastern Caribbean Islands, and the Western Caribbean Islands.
The biggest operators in the region also have their own private islands, that simply feature beaches, pools, and other attractions to get money out of you but they can make for fun day out especially for families.
A lot of cruises will also call into the South America or North America mainland including the likes of Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, and Honduras.
The ABC Islands are the 3 most westerly islands of the Leeward Antilles off of the coast of Venezuela and whilst each of the islands have their own culture and attractions, they are all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Cruise ships call into Oranjestad, the capital city of Aruba and what a great port of call it is. Whilst there are number beautiful beaches waiting for those who simply want to relax, this tourist friendly port has lots to offer visitors looking to take in the colourful buildings, monuments and attractions of Aruba.
On a cruise to Bonaire, you will stop once more at the capital city with Kralendijk offering the chance to take in some shopping, head for a day at the beach or head out on an excursion to see the beautiful nature of this idyllic Caribbean island.
The port of call for cruise ships on the island of Curacao is the nation’s capital city of Willemstad which is the quintessential Caribbean town. Full of colourful houses, small shops, and friendly faces, you can enjoy a day on shire simply wondering the streets or head off on an excursion for a day of exploring.
The Northern part of the Caribbean is perhaps more commonly known as the Greater Antilles, which refers to the five large islands that feature 6 countries, all of whom welcome cruise ships to their ports.
The Cayman Islands are a small chain of Islands that feature the aptly named Grand Cayman as its biggest islands at it is there were the country’s main cruise terminal can be found.
Cruise ships call into the iconic capital city of Havana on the island of Cuba, which gives a great opportunity to experience a different way of life and enjoy lots of Latin flair at every corner.
Haiti, along with the Dominican Republic, make up the island of Hispaniola but the majority of cruise ships that call into the country will dock at the offshore Labadee, a private island owned by Royal Caribbean for the use of their group of cruise lines.
Cruises to the Dominica Republic can also call into a private island, Amber Cove owned by the Carnival corporation, but you can also have an authentic experience by stopping at Puerto Plata.
The main cruise port of San Juan is not only a great port of call but it is also one of the key cruise terminals for starting and ending cruises in the Caribbean.
There are a number of options when it comes to cruises to the iconic Caribbean island of Jamaica with Ocho Rios and Falmouth both having the facilities to welcome huge ships but it is Montego Bay that is the main cruise ship port of call, but no matter where you go, you can be assured of easy access to explore this beautiful island and you are never far from a stunning sandy beach.
The Eastern Caribbean is one of the most densely packed part of the Caribbean in terms of the number of islands and that makes it perfect for cruising as you are never far from your next destination and your next adventure.
If you head to the small island of Anguilla you will need to take a tender ashore but it is well worth it to experience the beautiful white sandy beaches that await you.
St Martin, for the French side of the island, or St Maarten for the Dutch side of the island, is one of the most popular stopping points in the Eastern Caribbean thanks to its large cruise ports in Philipsburg.
St Barts is another island where you will need to tender, where cruise ships anchor in the sheltered waters of Gustavia Harbour to allow you to tender ashore to Port de Pleasance in the islands capital city of Gustavia.
The cruise terminal in Antigua is located at the Heritage and Redcliffe Quay in the capital city of St Johns and what a stunning location it is to dock.
Take a stroll into town, head to the beach for the day or enjoy a day of exploring on an excursion.
There are 2 cruise ports, 1 of the island of Nevis in Charlestown but the majority of cruise lines will use the beautiful Port Zante which is Basseterre’s cruise port in the capital city.
The small but beautiful island of Montserrat will once more need a tender to get ashore but it is well worth the extra effort.
Martinique’s purpose built cruise port allows you to dock right in the heart of Fort-de-France on the islands west coast for a day of exploring or sunbathing although some smaller ships may stop at Pointe Simon or Tournelles.
The island of Guadeloupe is another one of the Caribbean’s most popular stopping points, thanks in part to its purpose built cruise port in the heart of the island capital city of Point-a-Pitre where you can simply stroll into town and take in all of the sights of this bustling capital.
The majority of cruise ships that call into the beautiful island of Dominica will dock at Rosea, which is the capital city of Dominica, where you can simply stroll into town for a day of exploring on foot or head to one of the many nearby beaches.
When you dock on the island paradise of St Lucia, you will be in the heart of the capital city of Castries and whilst many will head for the wonderful beaches, there is much more just waiting to be explored on St Lucia that there is something for everybody.
If you are visiting the islands of St Vincent and Grenadines, you will more than likely stop at Kingstown where you will need to anchor at sea and tender for a day of exploring.
In Grenada you can enjoy a day at the beach, a day enjoying the natural beauty of the island including many stunning waterfalls or taking in the culture of this beautiful island all of which starts from your cruise terminal in St George’s.
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the iconic destinations for a Caribbean cruise and it is no surprise why. Many cruise ships will call at Port of Spain, the capital city on Trinidad northwest coast that features lots of great shops, plenty of attractions including a Botanic Garden, Zoo but it is the calypso vibe of the city that is the main attraction for others.
Some cruise lines will stop on the island of Tobago in the town of Scarborough which also has lots to offer holidaymakers.
Barbados is a popular stopping off point and also a great place to star tor end your cruise thanks to the large and modern cruise port in Bridgetown and the great options for days out on the island itself.
The Southern part of the Caribbean includes the already mentioned ABC Islands and a number of Eastern Caribbean Islands including the likes of Antigua, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago but there are some stand out destinations in their own right in this region that also includes stops on the South American mainland.
Whilst the majority of cruises that head for Panama have a focus on a trip through the magnificent Panama Canal, some cruises offer the chance to enjoy a partial trip through the canal whilst on a Caribbean cruise and some will also stop off at locations such as the capital city of Panama City, where you can enjoy a day sightseeing, head for the beach or go into the rainforest to view Sloths in their natural habitat.
The most popular cruise port of call on a Caribbean cruise for days out in Colombia is the beautiful city of Cartagena where the Cartagena de Indias port is just a short trip form the famous old town of this historic city.
Cruises classified as Western Caribbean cruises will often include many of the islands mentioned above in north of the Caribbean Sea including the likes of Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands.
Lots of cruise lines also call into the Central America and South American mainland on a Western Caribbean cruise to give you the best of both worlds.
The majority of cruise lines visiting Honduras will dock on the small island of Roatan which is a must visit for those who love the ocean as it is a hot bed of scuba diving, snorkelling and wildlife watching.
The island of Cozumel just off of the Mexican Caribbean coast is a hugely popular stopping point for most cruise lines in the Caribbean and offers a great day of swimming and sunbathing or you can head to the mainland to visit the famous tourist resort of Cancun or the nearby Mayan ruins.
Popular Cruise Lines
Here are our top cruise lines offering holidays in the Caribbean.
The majority of US based cruise lines offer year round trips to the Caribbean with the vast majority of European cruise lines joining them in the winter.
Amongst the most popular cruise lines are Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises, Marella Cruises, Holland America Line, Disney Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages and P&O Cruises.
The Caribbean Sea is an area of the Americas that links North America, through Central America and on South America and when you mix in the many cultures of the numerous islands found in the Caribbean Sea and you have a truly special destination for a cruise holiday.
Some of the islands of the Caribbean are still part of European countries including the likes of Spain, France, Portugal, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom and the proximity of the United States of America has led to a big influence of US culture but despite all of that, there is something unique about every destination that you visit and there is something that makes every port of call a must visit.
Of course, some of the countries in the Caribbean region have more for tourists to enjoy than other and some are easier to explore than others but from sunbathing on white sandy beaches to snorkelling in crystal clear seas to hiking in the rainforest and exploring historical and culturally diverse cities, there is something for everybody in the Caribbean and the best to explore as many of the great destinations as possible is on a Caribbean cruise holiday.
Best Time To Visit
Whilst the Caribbean Sea offers sunny weather all around, it is also a hot spot for hurricanes so it is always best to avoid the region during the main hurricane season.
Whilst you can never fully predict mother nature, the hurricane season usually starts in June and ends in November with a peak period of mid-August to late October.
Here at CruiseHols.co.uk we bring you all of the information you will ever need to choose the right cruise destination for you and your family.
Our destination guides include everything from ports to attractions and excursion to the positives and negatives of the destination.