Caribbean Cruise & Port Information
Everything you need to know about cruising the Caribbean!The Caribbean has long been synonymous with cruising, and it isn't hard to see why. For starters, there's all that choice: over 7,000 islands, spread across more than two-dozen countries, each with its own unique culture and collection of experiences. And since all of these islands are located within close proximity of one another, you'll rarely go a day without calling upon a new port of call (and whenever you do, you'll find yourself with more options than you can shake a palm frond at, from duty-free shopping to daredevil adventures like snorkeling with stingrays).
Chart a course for beautiful beaches, colorful coral reefs, and warm tropical waters on a Caribbean cruise. You'll visit multiple islands in a single voyage, relaxing along sun-kissed shorelines, enjoying a wide range of exciting watersports, and soaking up the region's rich assortment of colonial-era influences!
All of the world's leading cruise lines set sail for the Caribbean including:
Popular Caribbean Cruise Ports
The Caribbean's bevy of blissful islands cover a lot of terrain (literally). You'll find many of the planet's most picturesque beaches here – from pink sands to white sands, and all of them sugary-soft – alongside lush jungle rainforests and rugged, mountainous landscapes. There are also an enormous number of attractions to explore, many of which reflect the British, Dutch, French, and/or Spanish traditions that are an important part of the Caribbean's colonial history.
As a rule, your Caribbean cruise will fall into one of three major categories/regions – an Eastern Caribbean cruise, a Western Caribbean cruise, or a Southern Caribbean cruise. Here's a look at the most popular ports of call and the activities/attractions in each.
Which Ports are in the Eastern Caribbean?
Nassau, The Bahamas. The capital city and one of the Caribbean's busiest and most popular ports of call. Passengers can choose from an astonishing array of beaches, including world-famous Cable Beach, but it's Atlantis Paradise Island – with its enormous waterpark, marine habitat, eleven pools, and more – that remains the Bahamas' biggest draw (consider purchasing a day pass in advance of travel). Additional highlights include traditional Bahamian dining at the Conch Fritters Bar & Grill and a visit to the Ardastra Zoo, Gardens & Conservation Centre (the only zoo in the Bahamas, it's a great option for families).
Amber Cove (Puerto Plata), Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic's newest cruise port (it opened in 2015), Amber Cove is your gateway to an almost endless selection of exciting activities. Guests can opt for an exhilarating ATV ride through the rugged Dominican countryside, a deluxe catamaran sail with snorkeling, horseback riding along the beach, and more. Laid-back outings include a visit to a nearby chocolate-making cooperative, where guests can participate in the cultivation of the cacao plant and help produce/package chocolate bars, and the chance to swim among dolphins and sea lions at Ocean World.
San Juan, Puerto Rico. An exotic mixture of European, African, and indigenous influences, this colorful port of call blends the best of the past and the present. Old San Juan is the undisputed highlight: portions of the district remain encircled by massive and ancient walls, and the city's eclectic jumble of Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture is truly something to behold. San Juan is also home to a vibrant restaurant and nightclub scene; sample the mofongo (a classic Puerto Rican dish), then swing by Barrachina for a piña colada or two (the restaurant, legend has it, is the birthplace of the now-iconic cocktail).
Philipsburg, St. Maarten. Two ports in one! This beautiful island is shared by both the Dutch and the French (St. Maarten being the Dutch side, while St. Martin belongs to the French), but you can easily move between both halves during your time in port. You'll find some of the Caribbean's very best shopping on offer here, especially along Philipsburg's bustling Front Street, home to great deals on gems and jewelry, designer watches, perfumes, and more. The Dutch side of the island is also the site of some of the Caribbean's prettiest beaches including Little Bay and Maho (famous for its low-flying airliners).
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Virtually every Eastern Caribbean itinerary will include a stop in St. Thomas, making it one of the region's busiest cruise ports. One of the three major U.S. Virgin Islands (St.Croix and St. John are the others), St. Thomas is home to Magens Bay, considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in all of the Caribbean. Additional attractions include Blackbeard's Castle (a National Historical Landmark) and the panoramic SkyRide to Paradise Point (once you've arrived, be sure to swing by the Point's Restaurant & Bar for a world-famous Bushwacker).
Which Ports are in the Western Caribbean?
Belize City, Belize. This tiny Central American nation may be small, but its spectacular and uninterrupted series of cays and reefs make it one of the region's foremost diving and snorkeling spots. Situated along the Caribbean Sea, Belize is also home to two must-see Mayan archaeological sites, Altun Ha and Xunantunich, both of which are accessible via shore excursion. Additional attractions include Jaguar Paw (cave tubing, a jungle zipline, and more), San Pedro Town (beach bars, terrific seafood restaurants, etc.), and the Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center, home to a large collection of exotic species that are native to the country.
George Town, Grand Cayman. Grand Cayman truly offers something for everybody. Stingray City, the island's top attraction, offers visitors the chance to mingle with friendly stingrays as they congregate by the shoreline. Bloody Bay Wall is another highlight (no less an authority than Jacques Cousteau called it the planet's single-best diving/snorkeling site), as is Seven Mile Beach, with its crystal-clear waters and its crescent of coral sands. Families will want to pay a visit to the award-winning and interactive Cayman Turtle Centre, and every visitor should make time for at least one sit-down meal while in port (the island, home to a slew of spectacular restaurants, is now rightfully regarded as “the culinary capital of the Caribbean”).
Montego Bay, Jamaica. Montego Bay is the perfect port of call for active cruisers. Once your ship's docked, you're just a short drive away from a slew of exciting outdoor options including off-road safari adventures, extreme ziplining, bamboo rafting, river tubing, and more (there are also five championship-caliber golf courses located within a few miles of port). Mystic Mountain and Dunn's River Falls, both located in nearby Ocho Rios, are must-see attractions: Sky Explorer, a state-of-the-art chairlift, will transport you to the summit of the former; once you've reached the mountain's peak, you'll have an opportunity to take part in an unforgettable Bobsled Ride (inspired by the legendary 1988 Jamaican Olympic squad).
Cozumel, Mexico. The biggest Mexican island in the Caribbean welcomes over one million cruise passengers per year, but it remains largely unspoiled. One of the world's premier scuba-diving destinations, Cozumel is also the home of several ancient and historically important Mayan ruins including San Gervaiso, the largest collection of ruins on the island. Visitors will also find an exceptionally authentic selection of Mexican restaurants to choose from, many of which are located just minutes from the dock; examples include the family-run Comidas Caseras Toñita and Casa Denis, Cozumel's most venerable dining venue.
Progreso (Yucatán Peninsula), Mexico. This charming, low-key port serves as your gateway to the Yucatán Peninsula's more famous attractions. Visitors looking to stick close to their ship can relax on Progreso's gorgeous beach or go for a stroll along the town's impressive Malecón, but to hit all the highlights you'll need to venture inland. A trip to the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itza is essential; en route, passengers with time to spare can also call upon Mérida, Yucatán's dynamic capital and its cultural epicenter, home to the oldest surviving cathedral in the Americas and some of Mexico's very best shopping.
Which Ports are in the Southern Caribbean?
Oranjestad, Aruba. The Southern Caribbean's most popular port of call, blessed with dry and sunny weather year-round. The island's golden beaches – Eagle Beach and resort-laden Palm Beach, especially – are huge draws, as is all-inclusive De Palm Island, home to a waterpark, banana-boat rides, air-jumpers, and more (consider purchasing a full-day pass that includes transportation to and from port). Aruba's unusual desert-like landscapes, including its enormous Arikok National Park, are also well worth exploring; guests can traverse the island's rugged terrain aboard an ATV or view it from above via a helicopter tour.
St. John's, Antigua. Antigua's spectacular beaches (365 of them, supposedly, or one for every day of the year) are the island's main claim to fame. Sun-soaked and secluded, they're a great place for both relaxation and recreation during your time in port; popular examples include Carlisle Bay Beach (a great spot for snorkeling), Dickenson Bay (home to a wide selection of watersport rentals), and Half Moon Bay (widely considered Antigua's most beautiful seashore). Additional attractions include BeachLimerZ, a bistro bar located along historic Fort James Beach, and Redcliffe Quay, St. John's stylish waterfront promenade.
Bridgetown, Barbados. This friendly island, with its white-sand beaches and its British-colonial traditions, is a favorite among cruisers. Harrison's Cave – Barbados' leading attraction, an amazing subterranean environment accessible by tramway – is not to be missed; a guided tour, including lunch, of the Mount Gay Rum Distillery is another excellent choice for first-timers. Downtown, you'll find a number of historic landmarks that you can explore (including the George Washington House and the Garrison) and several of the island's leading beaches (e.g. Accra Beach and Paynes Beach) are located within a few miles of the pier.
Willemstad, Curaçao. Colorful Curaçao, with its pastel-colored houses and its famous floating pedestrian bridge, is one of the Caribbean's best-kept secrets. The island's eastern side, where you'll dock, is surprisingly cosmopolitan, home to top-shelf attractions like the Curaçao Sea Aquarium and Rif Fort Village. Venture south and west, however, and you'll encounter some of the Southern Caribbean's most rugged and exciting landscapes including the incredible Hato Caves and the cliffs at Playa Forti. Additional highlights include Cas Abao Beach, Playa PortoMari, and a guided tour of the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery.
Fort-de-France, Martinique. One of the Southern Caribbean's largest islands and an overseas territory of the French. Passengers will find a number of excellent attractions within close proximity to port including Jardin de Balata and Habitation Clément. Martinique's many natural wonders – majestic Mount Pelée, the island's primeval rainforest, Plage des Salines, and others – help make it a prime destination for active cruisers, too. Guests with time to spare will want to pay a visit to the historic remains of Saint-Pierre, the island's original settlement, once considered “the Paris of the Caribbean” and laid waste to by volcanic Pelée back in 1902.
Where are the Departure Ports for a Caribbean Cruise?
Caribbean cruisers can choose from a wide selection of convenient U.S. departure ports (five in the state of Florida alone) including:
When is the Best Time to Cruise the Caribbean?
Unlike many other destinations, you can sail the Caribbean year-round. Peak season runs from mid-December to April, when the region's weather is at its very best: warm, sunny, and dry during the daytime (with virtually no humidity), and comfortably cool/crisp in the evening. But this is also the busiest and most expensive time of year, so if you're looking to avoid the biggest crowds you'll want to steer clear of sailings that depart during the summer months and other periods of time when children are out of school and families cruise (e.g. late December/early January and mid-March through mid-April).
The Caribbean's hurricane season begins in June and runs through November; if storms do occur, they're most likely to appear between mid-August and late October. Generally speaking, you'll find the best prices on offer for cruises that depart during this timeframe, and if you're looking for a bargain then it's well worth it: the chances of your cruise ship getting caught up in a storm are incredibly slim, and today's cruise lines can reroute any itinerary at the drop of a hat.
Will I have to Exchange Currency in the Caribbean?
Not necessarily. On many Caribbean islands, the Eastern Caribbean dollar is the legal tender, while others recognize the euro or some form of local money (e.g. the Barbados dollar, the Jamaican dollar, the Netherlands Antillean guilder) as their official currency. That said, the U.S. dollar remains the most widely accepted currency in the Caribbean, and it will be recognized virtually everywhere you go (it's also the official currency of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the British Virgin Islands); even those establishments that display pricing in a local currency will be happy to take your U.S. dollars (just keep in mind that you may receive your change in the form of a local currency).
It's always best to plan ahead, though. You may ultimately save some money by converting to a local currency in place of U.S. dollars. If you're unable to exchange currency prior to travel, you may be able to do so while you're aboard your ship or upon arrival in a port of call. Contact your bank, a local currency exchange, or your Caribbean cruise expert for more information/assistance.
Amazon.com Gift Card:
Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Amazon.com Gift Card: Up To $750 To Prepare For Your Vacation *Get the fun started before you’ve even boarded your cruise! Book a new and qualifying cruise and receive a Amazon Gift Card valued up to $750. Spend it on luggage, flip-flops, sunscreen, bathing suits, or any other Amazon.com merchandise that would make your upcoming vacation that much more special. Your gift card code will be emailed to you approximately 30 days before departure date. Amount of bonus varies & is based on your booking price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges*
If you book a cruise that departs soon (within 36 days), your gift card code will be sent to you after you return home. Use your gift card to prepare for your adventure or to enhance your next vacation experience!
Total Price (minus port charges & taxes)Gift Card Value$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
Hurry - Offer Ends Soon!
Up To $1,000 After You've Cruised †- Book Online or Call!Cash Back: Up To $1,000 After You've Cruised † - Book Online or Call!It's the deal that puts more cash in your pocket: receive up to $1,000 Cash Back! Cash Back is our richest offer that allows you to recoup up to $1,000 in onboard expenses; take a relaxing spa treatment, sip on a cocktail or two, or treat your taste buds to specialty dining. Amount varies & is based on total price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges. Cash back requires an onboard folio to be sent no later than 60 days after sailing to process refund of onboard expenses and will not exceed 10% of cruise fare. †
Total Price (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, & port charges)Cash Back$0 - $750$25$751 - $1,500$50$1,501 - $2,250$75$2,251 - $3,000$100$3,001 - $3,500$125$3,501 - $4,000$150$4,001 - $4,500$200$4,501 - $5,000$300$5,001 - $7,500$400$7,501 - $10,000$600$10,000+$1,000
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Up To $750 To Spend Onboard †- Book Online or Call!Onboard Credit: Up To $750 To Spend Onboard † - Book Online or Call!Spend it in your ship's spa, shops, and specialty restaurants or apply it towards shore excursions! Simply book a qualifying voyage, then prior to departure, complete and submit the redemption form found on your invoice, and we'll credit up to $750 to your onboard account, which you can use while you're sailing. Please see our grid below for bonus amounts. Restrictions apply, see terms below for details. Amount of bonus varies & is based on your booking price (found in your invoice as "Total") MINUS taxes, fees, port expenses, and port charges †
Total Price (minus taxes, fees, port expenses, & port charges)Onboard Spending$0 - $1,250$25$1,251 - $2,250$50$2,251 - $3,000$75$3,001 - $3,500$100$3,501 - $4,000$125$4,001 - $4,500$150$4,501 - $5,000$200$5,001 - $7,500$300$7,501 - $10,000$400$10,000+$750
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Book Now, Pay Later:
We'll Waive Your Deposit- Book Online or Call!Book Now, Pay Later: We'll Waive Your Deposit - Book Online or Call!Put your dream vacation on the calendar now, and pay for it later! When you book select 3+ night sailings, we'll waive the booking deposit for the first 5 staterooms on your reservation.
BOOK NOW - OFFER ENDS FRIDAY!Additional Terms & Conditions
Advanced Deposit offer is valid for new individual cruise reservations for sailings departing by 12/31/20. Offer is limited to sailings of 3 nights or longer booked at least 110 days prior to departure (or 140 days for Disney, 7-night or longer Norwegian sailings, and 15 night or longer MSC sailings); maximum $500 value and not valid on bookings requiring non-refundable deposits. Deposit must be paid 10 days prior to final payment due date; if changes are made benefit will become void and the cruise lines full deposit is required; changes resulting in a new cruise line booking are considered a cancellation, subject to cruise line’s cancellation policy, our $24.99 processing fee, and $100 cancel fee. Credit card used at time of booking will automatically be charged when the deposit remainder is due. Offer limited to 5 deposited cabins max. for 1 sailing. Offer is not applicable for redemption bookings. Additional restrictions apply.
Our Celebrity Exclusive:
Free Pre-Paid Gratuities for 2Our Celebrity Exclusive: Free Pre-Paid Gratuities for 2Don’t hesitate — this deal will be gone before you can say “when do we leave?”!
Book a balcony (hello, room with a view!) on select 2019 Celebrity sailings and we’ll prepay your gratuities so you don’t have to. What are you waiting for?
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Search Celebrity cruisesAdditional Terms & Conditions
Offer is valid only for new individual bookings made between 4/16/19 and 4/30/19 in a balcony stateroom category on select Alaska & Caribbean sailings departing between 6/1/19 and 8/31/19. The first 2 guests in a qualifying booking will receive pre-paid gratuities for 2. Pre-paid gratuities only cover gratuities for the complimentary restaurant staff and stateroom stewards. Guests are responsible for any other onboard gratuities applicable to all other shipboard purchases. Gratuities are non-refundable, non-transferable and any changes to reservation may result in forfeiting this promotion. Additional restrictions may apply.
Kids Sail FREE!MSC Cruises: Kids Sail FREE!Now you can let your kids' imaginations run wild and free, and they can do it compliments of MSC Cruises. Children who are 11 years old or younger at the time of departure, sailing as 3rd or 4th guests, are eligible to sail for free! Some offers you just can't beat - this happens to be one of them. So give us a call today and start planning the family cruise vacation you've been dreaming about.
FAMILY STATEROOMS GO FAST — BOOK NOW!
Search MSC cruisesAdditional Terms & Conditions
Book any MSC cruise by 12/31/19 and kids 11 years of age and under will sail free. Kids ages 12-17 will sail at the reduced rate of just $99 per person. Offers apply to children sailing as the 3rd/4th occupants in the same stateroom as two full paying guests. Government fees and taxes for all guests are additional and vary by itinerary. Offer is capacity-controlled and may be changed or withdrawn at any time without notice. Additional restrictions may apply.
Western Caribbean Cruises
Explore mysterious Mayan ruins in Costa Maya, Mexico. Snorkel through some of the world's most breathtaking reefs off the coast of Belize. Climb up Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. A Western Caribbean cruise is perfect for the adventurous at heart.
Eastern Caribbean Cruises
With most itineraries featuring stops at the US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Martin, Turks & Caicos, and more, refined luxury, world-class shopping, and white-sand beaches await on an Eastern Caribbean cruise.
Southern Caribbean Cruises
Leave all your worries behind and take the route less traveled aboard a Southern Caribbean cruise — explore the iconic forts of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, visit the Mount Gay Rum distillery in Barbados, hike through the unspoilt wilderness in St. Lucia, or tempt fate at one of Aruba's many luxurious casinos.
About Caribbean Cruises
Cruises To The Eastern Caribbean
Cruises To The Southern Caribbean
Cruises To The Western Caribbean
Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.