What part of the Caribbean is best for a cruise?

What Part of the Caribbean is Best for a Cruise?

If you’re planning a Caribbean cruise and wondering which region of this tropical paradise is ideal for your voyage.  You’ve come to the right place. With over 25 years of experience working on cruise ships and exploring every corner of the Caribbean.  I can offer valuable insights to help you make the most of your cruise vacation.
Choose the best Caribbean cruise region: Eastern for culture.  Western for adventure. Southern for serenity.  And Mexico/Bahamas for convenience.
The best part of the Caribbean for a cruise depends on your preferences and interests:
  • For those seeking vibrant culture, breathtaking beaches, and a taste of history, the Eastern Caribbean. With its stops in destinations like Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten, is a fantastic choice.
  • The Western Caribbean, on the other hand, offers lush jungles, and ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico.  Colourful underwater adventures in Belize and Honduras.
  • Meanwhile, the Southern Caribbean boasts a more tranquil atmosphere.  With less-crowded ports of call, perfect for relaxation and off-the-beaten-path exploration.
Where is best to cruise in Caribbean?
Wandering around the Port of St. Maarten shopping on a gorgeous Caribbean cruise.
Maximizing your Caribbean cruise experience involves proper planning. Be sure to book excursions that align with your interests.  Whether it’s snorkelling in crystal-clear waters.  Exploring historic sites, or simply lounging on pristine beaches. Packing essentials like sunscreen, swimwear, and comfortable shoes is a must, as well as preparing for local cuisine delights.  Find out more below with a breakdown of each location.

Explore the Eastern Caribbean: Culture and Adventure Awaits

The Eastern Caribbean is a dream come true for culture enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. With stops in vibrant destinations like Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.  This region offers a delightful blend of history, shopping, and water sports. Explore the Spanish forts of San Juan, bask in the duty-free shopping mecca of St. Thomas.  Or indulge in thrilling activities like parasailing and jet skiing in St. Maarten.
Puerto Rico: Discover the Rich History of San Juan – read more here San Juan, Puerto Rico | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • In San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.  You’ll step into a world of rich history and captivating culture. Wander through the picturesque Old San Juan.  A UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll find charming cobblestone streets lined with colourful colonial buildings.
  • Don’t miss a visit to the iconic El Morro, also known as Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This 16th-century fortress offers breathtaking views of the coastline and is a testament to Puerto Rico’s storied past.
  • Sample local cuisine at one of the many restaurants in San Juan.  Where you can savour traditional dishes like mofongo.  Enjoy a refreshing piña colada, said to have been invented in Puerto Rico.
St. Thomas: Shopping Paradise and Scenic Views – read more here St Thomas, USVI | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  A popular port of call in the Eastern Caribbean is a shopper’s paradise. Explore the bustling downtown area.  Where you’ll find duty-free shops offering a wide range of luxury goods, jewellery, and souvenirs.
  • For panoramic views of the island and its stunning coastline.  Take a scenic ride on the Skyride to Paradise Point. At the top, you can enjoy a meal with breathtaking vistas or simply soak in the beauty of St. Thomas.
St. Maarten: Thrills at Maho Beach – read more here St Maarten, Caribbean | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
Flights landing in Maho Beach, St. Maarten, Caribbean.
Flights landing in Maho Beach, St. Maarten, Caribbean.
St. Maarten is known for its unique attraction, Maho Beach.  Located adjacent to Princess Juliana International Airport. This is a must-visit spot for thrill-seekers and aviation enthusiasts. Here, you can experience the exhilaration of watching aeroplanes, including jumbo jets, fly just feet above sunbathers as they approach the runway.
  • After the excitement of Maho Beach.  Explore the Dutch and French sides of the island. In Philipsburg, the Dutch capital, you can stroll along the famous Front Street with its array of shops and restaurants. On the French side, visit Marigot to savour delicious French and Caribbean cuisine and browse local markets for unique crafts.
These are just a few of the captivating experiences that await you in the Eastern Caribbean. Each port of call offers a unique blend of culture, history, and adventure.  Making it a fantastic choice for cruisers seeking a diverse and enriching Caribbean experience.

Discover the Western Caribbean: Jungle Adventures and Ancient Mysteries

If you crave jungle adventures and ancient mysteries, the Western Caribbean is your calling. This region boasts diverse experiences, from the lush jungles of Belize and Roatan to the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins in Mexico. Dive into the world’s second-largest barrier reef in Belize.  Go zip-lining through the Honduran rainforest.  Or step back in time to the ancient city of Chichen Itza.
The Western Caribbean promises thrilling adventures. In Belize, dive into the mesmerizing underwater world of the Great Blue Hole.  Or explore the ancient Mayan ruins at Altun Ha. Roatan.  Enjoy zip-lining through lush rainforests and snorkelling in the vibrant Coral Gardens. In Mexico, the Tulum ruins offer a glimpse into Mayan history, and Cozumel is a haven for snorkelers and divers at sites like Palancar Reef.
Belize: Dive into the Great Blue Hole and Explore Ancient Ruins – read more here Belize, Central America | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
The famous Great Blue Hole, in Belize.
The famous Great Blue Hole, in Belize.
  • Belize is a paradise for nature and adventure lovers. One of its most iconic attractions is the Great Blue Hole.  A massive underwater sinkhole is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life. Diving or snorkeling here is like exploring another world, as you encounter breathtaking coral formations and encounter sharks, rays, and tropical fish.
  • For history buffs, Belize offers the chance to explore the ancient Mayan civilization. Visit the Altun Ha archaeological site, where you can marvel at the well-preserved temples and pyramids that once served as ceremonial centres for the Mayan people.
Roatan: Zip-Lining and Snorkeling in a Tropical Paradise – read more here Roatan Bay, Honduras | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Roatan, a lush island in Honduras, offers a thrilling combination of adventure and natural beauty. Zoom through the treetops on exhilarating zip-line adventures that provide breathtaking views of the island’s dense rainforests.
  • Beneath the clear waters of Roatan, you’ll find the vibrant Coral Gardens, a snorkeler’s paradise. Explore coral reefs teeming with colourful fish, sea turtles, and other marine life. This is an underwater world that will leave you in awe.
Mexico: Mayan History and Underwater Wonders – read more here Cozumel, Mexico | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Mexico’s Caribbean coast is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty. Tulum, perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea, offers a glimpse into Mayan history with its well-preserved ruins. Explore ancient temples and enjoy stunning views of the coast.
  • In Cozumel, one of the world’s top diving destinations, you can explore the famous Palancar Reef. Dive or snorkel alongside vibrant coral formations, sea turtles, and a kaleidoscope of tropical fish. Cozumel’s crystal-clear waters make it an ideal spot for underwater exploration.
The Western Caribbean is a playground for adventurers and history enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re exploring underwater wonders, soaring through the treetops, or delving into ancient civilizations, this region offers an array of thrilling experiences. Each port of call provides a gateway to new adventures, making the Western Caribbean an ideal choice for those seeking excitement and discovery on their cruise vacation.

Escape to the Serenity of the Southern Caribbean

For those in search of serenity and seclusion, the Southern Caribbean offers a tranquil escape. With fewer crowds and less commercialization.  Ports of call like Aruba, Curacao, and Grenada provide the perfect setting for relaxation and off-the-beaten-path exploration. Enjoy the pristine beaches, delve into unique local cultures, and savour the slower pace of life in these hidden gems.
Aruba nicknamed one happy island has so much to offer from famous beaches, and adventure to amazing shopping.
Aruba nicknamed one happy island has so much to offer from famous beaches, and adventure to amazing shopping.
Aruba: The Tranquil Beauty of Eagle Beach and Arikok National Park – read more here Aruba, Caribbean. | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Aruba is renowned for its pristine beaches, and Eagle Beach stands out as one of the most stunning. Here, you can sink your toes into the powdery white sands, soak up the Caribbean sun, and swim in the crystal-clear waters. Eagle Beach is also known for its iconic divi-divi trees, which create picture-perfect vistas.
  • For a taste of Aruba’s unique natural beauty, head to Arikok National Park. This protected area features a dramatic landscape of cacti-covered hills, rugged cliffs, and unique rock formations like the Natural Bridge and Fontein Cave. Explore hiking trails that lead to these natural wonders and provide a glimpse into Aruba’s wild side.
Curacao: Colorful Streets and Marine Marvels in Willemstad – read more here Curacao, Caribbean | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, is a charming and vibrant city known for its colourful Dutch colonial architecture. Stroll through the historic district of Punda, where you’ll find streets lined with pastel-hued buildings, unique boutiques, and inviting cafes.
  • While in Willemstad, make a stop at the Curacao Sea Aquarium. Here, you can get up close to marine life, including dolphins, sea lions, and tropical fish. It’s an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.
Grenada: Tranquility at Grand Anse Beach and Nature’s Beauty at Annandale Falls – read more here Grenada, Caribbean | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • Grenada is often called the “Spice Isle” for its lush landscapes and fragrant spices. Grand Anse Beach, one of the Caribbean’s finest, offers a tranquil escape with its soft white sands and clear blue waters. It’s an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
  • Nature enthusiasts can explore the serene beauty of Grenada at Annandale Falls, a picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation. You can take a short hike to reach the falls and cool off in the refreshing natural pool beneath. It’s a peaceful oasis in the heart of Grenada’s verdant countryside.
The Southern Caribbean beckons travellers with its tranquil and unspoiled landscapes, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re relaxing on pristine beaches, exploring colourful cities, or immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the region, the Southern Caribbean promises serenity and rejuvenation for your cruise adventure.

Mexico and the Bahamas: Convenient Short Tropical Getaways

Cozumel, Mexico very popular port visited in Western Caribbean cruises and for short getaway cruises.
Cozumel, Mexico very popular port visited in Western Caribbean cruises and for short getaway cruises.
If you’re short on time or prefer a cruise closer to home, consider Mexico or the Bahamas. Mexico’s Caribbean coast, with stops in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen.  Offers a taste of Mexican culture, beautiful beaches, and world-class diving. Meanwhile, the Bahamas’ Nassau and the private cruise line islands provide a convenient and idyllic tropical getaway with crystal-clear waters and water sports galore.
Mexico: Caribbean Culture and Diving Adventures 
  • If you’re looking for a cruise closer to home, Mexico’s Caribbean coast is a fantastic choice. The ports of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Costa Maya are known for offering a taste of Mexican culture combined with breathtaking natural beauty.
  • Cozumel is a renowned diving destination, boasting some of the world’s most vibrant coral reefs. Divers and snorkelers can explore sites like the Palancar Reef and the underwater museum, MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), where sculptures have been submerged to create an otherworldly aquatic art gallery.
  • In Playa del Carmen, you can immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s an excellent place to savour authentic Mexican cuisine, shop for handicrafts, and enjoy the local culture.
  • Nestled on Mexico’s eastern coast along the Yucatan Peninsula, Costa Maya is a hidden treasure for cruisers seeking a taste of Mexico’s Caribbean allure. This port offers a range of activities for every traveller. Explore the rich Mayan history by visiting the nearby ruins of Chacchoben, where ancient temples and pyramids await discovery.
The Bahamas: Nassau and Private Cruise Line Islands – read more here Nassau, Bahamas | Cruise, Shop, Save (cruiseshopsave.com)
  • The Bahamas is a classic and convenient destination for cruisers, with Nassau being a popular port of call. Here, you can explore the historic and vibrant city centre, visit attractions like the Queen’s Staircase, and shop for duty-free goods.
  • One of the unique aspects of cruising in the Bahamas is the opportunity to visit private cruise line islands, such as those owned by major cruise companies like Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line. These private paradises offer exclusive experiences with pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a wide range of water sports and activities.
  • Activities on these private islands can include snorkelling, paddleboarding, parasailing, and simply relaxing on the beach. It’s a convenient and idyllic way to enjoy the beauty of the Bahamas in a controlled and luxurious environment.
Amazing Seascape of the beautiful underwater experience awaiting cruisers.
Amazing Seascape of the beautiful underwater experience awaiting cruisers.
Whether you choose to explore Mexico’s cultural richness and world-class diving on its Caribbean coast or indulge in the convenience and relaxation of the Bahamas with its private cruise line islands, both options provide a convenient escape for cruisers looking for a quick and memorable tropical getaway close to home.

Choosing the Right Caribbean Itinerary and Preparing for Your Cruise

Selecting the right itinerary is crucial to ensure your cruise aligns with your interests and expectations. Be sure to consider factors like weather, budget, and cruise line offerings when making your decision.
To maximize your Caribbean cruise experience, plan ahead by booking excursions that align with your interests, whether it’s snorkelling in crystal-clear waters, exploring historic sites, or simply lounging on pristine beaches. Don’t forget to pack essentials like sunscreen, swimwear, and comfortable shoes, and prepare to savour the delightful local cuisine at each port of call.
Finally, the Caribbean offers a diverse range of experiences across its various regions. The best part of your cruise depends on what you seek, whether it’s culture, adventure, tranquillity, or convenience. Consider your interests, cruise itinerary, and personal preferences when choosing the perfect Caribbean cruise destination for an unforgettable adventure in this tropical paradise.
Not sure which one is right for you – Click this Link and Book a FREE 15-minute call so we can discuss your needs.