Caribbean Excursions: Basics of Popular Caribbean Itineraries
Different people have different ideas on what the true holiday is for them, but a cruise – or two – a year is something that is definitely worth planning and budgeting for. Never been on a cruise? No problem. Just take some time to research and you will find the best deal on Caribbean excursions for you and / or your family.
The Caribbean cruises are most commonly opted for by the first-time cruisers. The reason is obvious: the Caribbean is one of top ten travel destinations in the world because of its palm beaches and turquoise sea, some of the calmest waters in the world – and they suit every budget.
When choosing a cruise, the first thing to consider is the itinerary. The most common Caribbean excursions itineraries are: Eastern, Western or Southern. Northern Caribbean cruises also exist, but with less interest.
Eastern Caribbean excursions
They mostly last for 7 days with Florida as the embarkation point.
The islands are relatively close together, so there’s a lot of port activities, ideal route if shopping is one of your favorite things to do. Many islands are beautiful, they are mostly small and on almost all of them there are beautiful beaches and different natural attractions.
The usual islands / ports of call: Nassau (Bahamas), St. Thomas, St. John, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos
Western Caribbean excursions
Ships for this route embark from Florida, New Orleans or Texas.
The seas in the Western Caribbean are usually smoother and the ports of call are pretty diverse – since they are sometimes in the mainland and sometimes at larger islands – so it’s a great experience for first time cruisers. Most ports of call are further apart, so you can count on more sea days, and less days in ports or on the beaches. There’s a good chance that you’ll visit some Mayan ruins in Mexico, or hike the rain forests.
The usual islands / ports of call: Cozumel, Costa Maya (Mexico), Grand Cayman, Key West (Florida), the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Belize or Costa Rica.
Southern Caribbean excursions
Ships for this route usually embark from San Juan (Puerto Rico), sometimes from Florida, and they are usually longer than traditional 7 days – most often, these cruises last for 9-11 days. Similar to the Eastern route, the islands are many and close together, so there’s a lot of ports. Since they offer more biodiversity and have less cruise traffic, they are ideal for snorkeling and diving. Some of the most beautiful island here are known as “ABC” islands – Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and at least one of them is usually included in the cruise route. Generally, this route offer more limited date and ship selection, and prices are usually higher than with an eastern or western route.
The usual islands / ports of call: Aruba, Bonaire, Barbados, Curacao, Grenada, St. Lucia.
All this been said, just one more note for the first-timers: Caribbean excursions are really an exceptional experience, and you can’t go wrong with any choice you make.