The Eastern Caribbean brings the somewhat mindless fun-in-the-sun experience many cruisers are looking for. Your getaway includes sandy beaches and opportunity to enjoy an array of watersports. Or sit and do nothing with a frosty rum drink in hand. Duty-free shopping galore – some of the port towns have an ambience akin to shopping malls – and casinos, including at the massive Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, offer diversions for those not focused on sun-seeking. Nature lovers will find the opportunity to explore both on land (especially in St. John) and in the sea (on snorkeling and diving excursions).
Cruises of a week or less sail mostly out of Florida (including Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral, near Orlando) and visit tried-and-true ports in the Bahamas and/or St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and sometimes San Juan, Puerto Rico. Longer itineraries sail from New York and Baltimore.
The cruises are year-round, and packed with families during school break periods.
Depending on which line you book, your itinerary may include a stop at a cruise line-owned Bahamas island, where the sugary sands, beach BBQs, bars and souvenir shops are reserved for cruise passengers only.
Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean if you...
Are seeking sun and tropical heat. Like to be in a popular place with a lot of other people.
Don't go if you...
Are seeking cultural stimulation. Want the beach to yourself.
--Fran Golden is the Experience Cruise expert blogger and a contributing editor of Porthole Magazine. She is the co-author of Frommer's Alaska Cruises and Ports of Call.
Ports in this region: