Caribbean Cruise Overview & Ports of Call
If you're interested in crystal-clear oceans, hiking through tropical waterfalls, exploring ancient civilizations, sampling some of the best duty-free shopping in the world, or simply relaxing on one of thousands of white-sand beaches, then a Caribbean cruise is perfect for you. The Caribbean is so large and so diverse that it's divided into three distinct areas – the Eastern Caribbean, the Western Caribbean, and the Southern Caribbean.
Eastern Caribbean is a great place for cruisers to unwind, whether relaxing on one of Antigua's 366 beaches or enjoying some duty-free shopping in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The region also offers plenty of opportunities for adventure including parasailing in Labadee, Haiti, an off-road safari through El Yunque Rainforest in San Juan, Puerto Rico, humpback whale-watching in Samana, Dominican Republic, hiking in Tortola, B.V.I., and snorkeling in Phillipsburg, St Maarten. With so much variety available, it's easy to see why the Eastern Caribbean is the most popular Caribbean cruise destination.
Western Caribbean cruises are extremely popular with adventure seekers. The Mayan ruins in Cozumel, Mexico and Belize City, Belize – which date back over 1,800 years – are the gems of the Western Caribbean. Visitors can climb to the top of pyramids and explore the structures that remain from this ancient civilization. Ocho Rios, Jamaica also offers Caribbean cruise passengers a chance to hike alongside the most famous waterfall in the Caribbean – Dunn's River Falls. If you'd rather spend your time snorkeling in crystal-clear Caribbean waters, then George Town, located in the Cayman Islands, might be the perfect destination.
Southern Caribbean cruises are becoming more and more popular with each passing year. Southern Caribbean islands are more secluded than their Eastern and Western Caribbean counterparts, and feature a stronger European influence evident in the architecture of Southern Caribbean cruise port cities such as Castries, St. Lucia and Willemstad, Curacao. The Southern Caribbean is also home to some of the most exotic beaches in the region including the black-sand beaches of Dominica, the white-powder beaches of Oranjestad, Aruba (which are great for watersports), and the palm-lined beaches of Margarita. See famous pink flamingoes in Bonaire, or savor the aroma of countless spice trees in Grenada. All in all, the Southern Caribbean offers cruisers an almost endless number of activities and choices.
Caribbean Cruises Climate
Temperatures in the Caribbean remain in the low- to high-80s throughout the entire year. On average, hurricane season in the Caribbean lasts from June to November. The Eastern Caribbean's season usually starts and ends early, while the Western Caribbean's season starts and ends late. The Southern Caribbean is considered the region least likely to be hit by a hurricane.
Caribbean Cruise Embarkation Ports
Most Caribbean cruises embark from Florida, but some of the longer ones leave from departure ports located in cities along the east coast including New York, Baltimore, and Charleston. Assorted Western Caribbean cruises may also embark from New Orleans or Galveston, Texas.