The Caribbean is the most popular cruise destination in the world, offering white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, great shopping and an exciting mix of cultures. For those who dream of white sandy beaches fringed with palms, crystal clear waters, historic waterways and bustling towns, a Caribbean cruise holiday offers exactly this. From volcanic peaks to magical reefs, experience these diverse islands from the luxury of your cruise ship.

Cruise types

Caribbean cruises typically take in such islands as Dominica, Jamaica, St Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, St Lucia and Barbados, as well as cruising to destinations further afield such as Belize, Honduras, Cuba, and Colombia's Caribbean coast.

If total relaxation is what you’re looking for then the Caribbean is the ideal place to be, but for those in search of something more active it’s also brimming with things to see and do. Hike through untouched rainforests, past tumbling waterfalls; marvel at bubbling mud pools and hot springs; wander through colourful botanical gardens; snorkel the coral reefs; seek out ship wrecks and old pirate tales; and much more. And at the end of a rewarding day spent exploring, watch the sun set over the horizon as you sip on your well-earned drink and muse over adventures to come.

The Caribbean is a picture of paradise with its sandy shores and sapphire seas, exotic marine life and laid-back culture. It’s the perfect place to while away a day, yet there’s so much to discover too. You can sail straight from many home ports or opt for a fly-cruise holiday.

There are four main Caribbean cruise destinations:

Eastern Caribbean
This area is comprised of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and St Maarten, however these cruises also often include the Bahamas. Cruises are generally for 7 nights with 3 days at sea and 3 in ports and so offering a very relaxing style of cruise. The Islands here are smaller and shore excursions here are more geared to beach and water activities.
Western Caribbean
This cruise area includes the Mexican and Central American ports on the Gulf of Mexico as well the islands of Grand Cayman, Jamaica and Hispaniola. These cruises offer more history and culture along with the beach and water activities. Western Caribbean cruises include short 4 night escapes with the longer 7 night cruises.

Southern Caribbean
This area includes the islands east and south of St Maarten. The region is less well known and well cruised as the East and West Caribbean but includes a set of islands that still have a very evident colonial heritage. The Fench Dutch and English all played their part in forming the different characters of these islands which include Trinidad, St Croix, St Vincent, St Kitts Aruba, Grenada and more

Extended Caribbean
These cruises are generally 14 nights long and are usually a mix of East and West Caribbean itineraries offering a wider variety of Islands and cultures. Often Cruise lines will offer special deals that combine two 7 night cruises to form an Extended cruise.

Cruise seasons

Cruises operate in the Caribbean all year round. However many ships cruise here in the northern winter and then cross the Atlantic to cruise in Europe during the northern summer.

Main Ports

Cruises depart from American cities including Miami, Ft Lauderdale, New Orleans, Galvaston and more. Barbados and San Juan in Puerto Rico are also a major departure ports.

Cruises are also available from the U.K. sailing directly to the region.


The Caribbean really is a year-round destination. Temperatures seldom vary from highs in the 80s (lows in the 70s), with humidity hovering at the 70 percent level just about all year. The hurricane season, which officially lasts from June 1st to November 30th, can occasionally disrupt cruise itineraries.

Photo Credit: John Simos
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