Exploring the Caribbean on a Cruise: What You Need to Know

Now that the year is about to end, you might already be planning your upcoming trips and holidays. One destination you shouldn’t miss out on is the Caribbean region, famous for its sandy beaches ranging from the white and powdery sand of Eagle Beach, Aruba to the Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas, which creates a beautiful contrast with its turquoise waters.

Since the region is made up of more than 700 islands, islets, and reefs, one of the best
ways to experience the culture, cuisine, and adventures it has to offer is by boarding a
cruise. You can sail from one island to the next in just one trip while also treating
yourself to onboard amenities like entertainment and dining. That said, here’s what
you need to know if you plan to explore the Caribbean on a cruise.

Departures and ports of call

Since the Caribbean offers beautiful weather at any time of the year, cruises are available all year round. Still, the best time to visit the region is from November to May to experience bright, sunny days and cool nights. Cruise journeys to the Caribbean range from as short as four nights to a few weeks onboard, typically departing from ports in Florida, Orlando, and New Jersey.

Among ports of call, you can choose between three geographic regions: the Eastern Caribbean for top destinations like the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, the Western Caribbean for aquatic adventures like scuba diving and snorkeling, and the Southern Caribbean for smaller islands like St. Lucia.

Island activities

Every island in the Caribbean offers unique outdoor activities, so make sure to do your research ahead of your trip to decide between joining your cruise line’s itinerary or booking your private excursions. For example, the Caribbean destination highlights of Oceania Cruises include immersive, eco-conscious experiences, like touring Gatun Lake on a boat, a canopy, or even a kayak to get acquainted with its unique flora and fauna. Meanwhile, its port of call at St. Barts highlights adventures along its rugged coastlines, such as diving, snorkeling, and riding a semi-submersible marine vessel.

Cultural excursions

Beyond exploring the Caribbean’s natural wonders, it’s also ideal to choose a cruise line that balances outdoor adventures with excursions that help you learn more about the region’s culture and community. As such, luxury cruise line Explora Journeys carefully curates Destination Experiences that feature the beautiful blend of Caribbean culture, arts, music, and tradition. These activities range from exclusive experiences like a visit to the renowned Cathedral of Thorns in CuraƧao to something more interactive, such as honey tasting and beeswax candle crafting sessions at Iyanola Apiculture Collective in St. Lucia.

Options for less-traveled areas

If you’re the type to avoid touristy areas and itineraries, the Caribbean remains an ideal destination since the cruise industry now lets their smaller expedition ships set sail on less-traveled islands. One such cruise line is Emerald Cruises, which takes its 100-passenger luxury yachts to off-the-beaten-path harbors and covers. You also don’t have to worry about completely being unplugged throughout the journey, as Hurtigruten recently partnered with SpaceX’s Starlink to remain connected even when traveling to isolated, car-free destinations like Capurgana as part of its 13-day expedition from Panama to Barbados.

Overall, traveling to the Caribbean via cruise provides you with many options in terms
of length of stay, the type of ship, and the activities in your itinerary. For more travel
tips and guides, continue reading Tour Counsel.