Caribbean Cruise Guide: Top Destinations & Best Itineraries

Caribbean Cruise Destinations & Itineraries

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Eastern Caribbean Cruises

The Eastern Caribbean is a popular itinerary for travelers looking for some sun, especially those who haven’t cruised through the area before. Most cruises set off from the eastern coast of Florida or  San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you look around, you might even find some lines that originate in Galveston or New York.

Popular itineraries through the Eastern Caribbean can make stops in destinations like:

  • Grand Turk
  • Maarten
  • Thomas
  • US Virgin Islands
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Antigua
  • Barbados

While it’s impossible to hit all of these spots in one trip, you can see quite a few depending on the length of your trip. Most cruises along this route last anywhere from four to twelve nights. 

Editor’s Pick: 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise on MSC Seascape from $399

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Western Caribbean Cruises

Most ships heading for the Western Caribbean leave from Florida, but there are some that take off from New Orleans and Galveston. There are two different routes that ships make through this area, the most popular being that which makes stops in Mexico, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. Typical ports of call in Mexico include Cozumel or the Costa Maya so that cruisers can hop off and visit unforgettable places like Tulum, Chichen Itza, and Playa del Carmen.

Another way to go is the route that focuses on Central American ports, like Belize, Honduras, and other hotspots in Mexico. This route is especially popular with travelers who want to learn more about local cultures and their histories. You’ll also find excellent opportunities to try water sports and sunbathe on pristine beaches.

Editor’s Pick: 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise on Caribbean Princess from $598

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Southern Caribbean Cruises

The Southern Caribbean route tends to attract travelers who are frequent cruisers or who or looking for a more lavish getaway. The islands along this route are farther from US ports, with most lines leaving from Puerto Rico Barbados, or St. Maarten. This means you have to fly to one of these spots first in order to catch your ship.

From there, the Southern Caribbean route makes stops at a variety of gorgeous and exclusive islands, including:

  • Aruba
  • Bonaire
  • Curaçao
  • Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Grenada
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Dominica
  • Lucia
  • Barbados
  • Maarten

Longer cruises may head even further south into Central America, stopping in:

  • Costa Rica
  • Colombia
  • Panama

To head this far south, you’ll need at least eight nights on the ship.

Editor’s Pick: Air & 16-Night Luxury Caribbean Cruise with Regent Seven Seas

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