Discover colorful colonial towns, locally produced rum & warm, endless beachesGrab your swimsuit and cast off for ultimate adventure (and ultimate relaxation) in the Caribbean! Step into a world of warm breezes, turquoise waters, and hospitality that's second to none. But the Caribbean is so much more than meets the eye. Inviting white-sand beaches? Sure. Dancing dolphins & scintillating scuba seascapes? You bet. But through the myriad ports that gate the Caribbean, you'll discover the essence of island life. Sway to the beat of Calypso steel drums and sink into a rich, colorful history that needs to be experienced up close and personal to believe. Wind your way down cobblestone streets and investigate ancient Mayan ruins. The 26 distinct countries in the Caribbean – including the Cayman Islands, Barbados, Jamaica, and more – all hold untold opportunities for exploration and discovery. Through these Caribbean nations, and the almost 7,000 islands that comprise them, lay unique and distinct cultures reflecting their roots from colonial times: French, Dutch, British, Portuguese, and beyond. Whether you dream of indulging in the rich history of the Caribbean Islands, or instead yearn to indulge in warm day on pink- and white-sand beaches, find your definition of paradise in the Caribbean.
The best way to reach the Caribbean is by cruise. Your ship will visit multiple ports, and each stop is like a portal into a unique Caribbean world where you can launch into adventure, visit local restaurants, take tours, explore museums and more.
Most major cruise lines offer incredible journeys across the East, West, and South Caribbean. These cruise lines include:
Or instead, take your adventure to the next level with a fantastic luxury voyage. Don't miss these extraordinary sailings offered by:
When is the Best Time to Cruise the Caribbean?
We've got good news for you: for much of the year, the Caribbean Islands remain warm, inviting, and perfectly suited for travelers. Mid-December to April represent peak travel season; that's when the temperature (and weather conditions) remain stable and at their most comfortable. Look forward to hot, sunny days, pleasantly dry air, and cool nights. You'll find that many cruisers from the Northern Hemisphere elect to travel during this time to escape comparably chilly climes of North America for a much-needed thaw.
June to the end of November represents the Caribbean's hurricane season. Although the possibility of the occasional storm make ideal climes a less likely prospect with rainstorms and possible winds, many cruisers can actually enjoy Caribbean discounts during this period. It's important to remember that the chances of your Caribbean cruise being affected by a hurricane are small, and even in such an event, cruise lines will always put their passengers' safety first. The most likely scenario is that your cruise itinerary may be disrupted, in some cases redirecting the occasional port or spending more time at an island than previously planned.
For adult travelers who are looking to steer clear of children, consider skipping the Caribbean during the months of June through August, as well as late December, where many North American families unload their children onto the beaches during school breaks.
Do I Have to Exchange Money in the Caribbean?
Most Caribbean cruise ports and areas surrounding – and indeed most regions that are accustomed to tourism – are happy to accept United States dollars. In fact, many such vendors prefer this currency over the local exchange tender. In cases where it's prudent to exchange, the most common currencies you'll come across, excluding USD, are the East Caribbean Dollar and the Euro. However, before you make any exchange, take some time and learn the local custom and currency (and speak to your Travel Expert) to ensure the necessity and best way to exchange money on your Caribbean vacation.
Popular Caribbean Cruise Ports
What Ports Are in the Western Caribbean?
Ancient Mayan ruins, miles-long beaches, and delectable Caribbean eats – what's not to love about the Western Caribbean? Step off your cruise ship and into an adventure all your own.
Cozumel: Natives once claimed that Cozumel was home to the gods – after visiting, you might find yourself in agreement. Dive into crystal clear waters of Cozumel's many beaches, which include the fantastic Playa Mia Grand Beach Park and the more secluded Passion Island Beach. You won't want to miss exciting tours of Chankanaab National Park (spot more than 60 species of tropical fish and crustaceans!) and dive into (or at least explore) extensive Mayan ruins including Coba and the famous coastal site of Tulum. There are exciting, open-air marketplaces in addition to the Cozumel Museum: two whole floors of exhibits you won't want to miss.
Grand Cayman: Snorkeling with stingrays and diving excursions? Miles of pristine sands and turquoise waters across the renown Seven Mile Beach? What's not to love? Take a tour of historical George Town, or free your inner reptile at the Cayman Turtle Farm (why yes, they do have a 600-pound adult turtle for you to meet). Also, consider visiting "Hell" – a dubiously named but nonetheless remarkable collection of black limestone formations. Don't miss fantastic dining establishments such as Rackam's, Margaritaville, the Lobster Pot, and more!
Montego Bay, Jamaica: Where else can you go bamboo river rafting (a Jamaican tradition) and then down island-style jerk chicken wings? Stretch your legs at Dunn's River Falls with its natural rock staircase, thermal springs, and a jaw-dropping cascade that stretches more than 600 feet. Jamaican development now features Mystic Mountain where you can enjoy the Sky Explorer chairlift and take a bobsled ride. If you're into history, make sure to visit the Rose Hall Great House: a 18th-century sugar cane plantation and legendary residence of Annie Palmer, aka the "White Witch" of popular local folklore.
Belize City: Interested in some great eats and drinks? Get yourself to the Wet Lizard, Spoonaz, the Smokey Mermaid, or Nerie's for a gastronomical experience like none other. But before you get too comfortable, make sure you hit up a zipline across the verdant rainforest canopy of Belize. Or, for those equally adventurous, take yourself and your family cave tubing down beneath stunning natural rock formations and stretching stalactites. For the animal-lovers out there, there's the Belize Zoo that features 29 acres of jungle with carefully maintained paths that put you in touch with the native animals of the islands, and the Bacab Eco Park, where you can go horseback riding.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico: Imagine yourself swimming across a cenote – which, before you ask, is an underground cave filled with fresh water. For those that prefer to remain in view of the sun on their excursions, there are beach parties at Cancun, miles of inviting beaches, kayaking at the Bacalar Lagoon, and more. The Calakmul Mayan Ruins offer an opportunity to investigate ancient history for yourself. You should also plan on visiting Izamal, the "Yellow Town", where playful architecture and a singular vibrant color could put the Yellow Brick Road to shame.
What Ports Are in the Eastern Caribbean?
Dominican Republic: Unpack the history and beauty of this exciting landscape with fun excursions, great eats, and endless beaches. Visit the sunny sands of Puerto Plata and then dive into the water for a snorkeling adventure at the North Coast. Explore the Amber Cove Cruise Center where you can shop to your heart's content, unwind by the pool, or rent a private cabana. Take an eco-adventure as you wind your way through the waterfalls of Rio de Damajagua, where you'll find inviting lagoons and rolling hills that make this protected area particularly noteworthy.
Bahamas: No matter your interests (or sense of adventure!) there's so much to do in the Bahamas. On the island of Nassau, you'll discover the fabled Atlantis Resort with its thrilling water park, a dolphin encounter experience, art gallery, and aquarium; get yourself a day pass and enjoy everything this resort has to offer! Indulge in warm beaches and tropical breezes on one of the many beaches that define the Bahamas experience – Paradise Island, Cabbage Beach, Cable Beach, and so many others. Sip locally produced rum and follow your nose into eateries such as Conch Fritters Bar and Grill, Anthony's Caribbean Grill, and Crocodile's Waterfront Bar & Grill. Plus make sure to hit the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo where you'll see monkeys, flamingos, iguanas, jaguars, and more wildlife than you can imagine.
St. Maarten: This port reveals its dual nature – having roots both in French and Dutch colonialism – with the historical sights and sounds of its interior. Tour picturesque Philipsburg and wind your way through quaint shops and buildings. Visit the sidewalk cafés of French-hub Marigot. Treat yourself to exciting adventures that include kayaking, Segway tours, and snorkeling. And, of course, the beaches are extraordinary: don't miss Little Bay Beach, Orient Bay, and Maho Beach!
St. Thomas: Thrilling outdoor activities, award-winning beaches, fantastic dining … what's not to love? Step out onto St. Thomas and onto the exciting Skyride to Paradise point: a modern aerial cable car that delivers once-in-a-lifetime sights of this beautiful island. Don't miss Magens Bay (selected by National Geographic as one of the world's best beaches), as well as Coki Point, and Lindquist Beach. And treat yourself to a world of spectacular marine life at Coral World and its 4.5-acres offering 360-degree views of dolphins, stingrays, and eels.
San Juan, Puerto Rico: History, meet excitement. San Juan offers plenty to do, on the beach and off. Visit Fort San Cristobal, constructed in 1783, which was proven to be the largest fortification completed by Spain in the Americas. At El Yunque National Rainforest, you'll step beneath towering boughs and amidst incredible beauty. Can't-miss beaches include the Playa Pena and Condado Beach. There's ziplining, horseback riding, and kayaking waiting for you when you step out into this exciting locale.
What Ports Are in the Southern Caribbean?
Aruba: Sensational sands and scintillating excursions abound in this adventure-driven island! Aruba is a marvel of unique climates (think cactuses and striking arid beauty) with influences that stretch across French, Dutch, and African origins (and beyond). Experience the Ayo Rock Formations, towering natural monuments that stretch up from the ground in striking configurations. Relax and recline on Aruba's incredible beaches which include Eagle Beach, Palm Beach, and Baby Beach. Snag a day pass to De Palm Island, where you can splash and play in a water park, snorkel, zipline, and more! Plus you need to experience Aruba's Butterfly Farm, where you'll encounter hundreds of unique species fluttering all around you.
Barbados: Charm, culture, history and excitement: the Island of Barbados has something for every member of your family. Walk through the Andromeda Botanical Gardens and explore six acres of rare and exotic flora (not to mention the world's largest palm trees). There are plenty of opportunities to get your suntan going at Accra Beach and Paynes Bay. Visit the Mount Gay Rum bottling plant and sample some of the world's finest spirits, first-hand.
Curacao: Striking shorefronts of pastel houses and sparkling clear waters: Curacao represents the finest the Southern Caribbean has to offer. Walk through the Hato Caves and learn about its history behind these underground caverns, and then visit Fort Amsterdam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do you like Ostriches? Who doesn't? Visit Curacao's own Ostrich Farm where you can meet and greet these majestic birds – a safari truck even takes you on a winding adventure where you can feed them yourself. Snorkel, swim, and sunbathe with a visit to the Seaquarium Beach, the Playa Porto Mari, and the Cas Abao Beach.
Antigua: Adventure awaits in Antigua! Visit Stringray City and explore a gorgeous coral reef, where you'll encounter all manner of sealife. Spread out on Carlisle Bay and Rockley Beach and soak up the sun. Take a guided tour of Fig Tree Drive, complete with rainforest sights and sounds, sugar mills, and banana trees (surprise: in Antigua, figs refers to bananas). There's also a Canopy Zipline adventure to get your pulse pounding as you coast above leafy boughs.
Martinique: At the "Isle of Flowers" expect to see just that: carefully cultivated flora in addition to quaint churches and Créole-inspired historical buildings. Can't-miss beaches include Les Salines and Diamond Beach, where you can sit back, sip hand-crafted cocktails, and enjoy the warm, tropical breeze. If you're a fan of nature, don't miss the Balata Botanical Garden, with incredible flora-forward formations.
Where are the Departure Ports for a Caribbean Cruise?
Getting to the Caribbean has never been easier. Spread across the United States, and beyond, are convenient ports where you can embark on a tropical vacation of a lifetime.
Western Caribbean Cruises
Eastern Caribbean Cruises
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.
Search Cruise Lines Traveling to Caribbean:
About Caribbean Cruises