Cruise routes and destinations in the Caribbean Islands
The most popular destination in the world for pleasure cruises is the Caribbean sea, it is called by many "heaven on earth". Over 2 million people each year sail to that area.
Main reasons for the cruises Popularity to the Caribbean:
1. The relative proximity to the east coast of the united states, which has a big selections of cruise ships ports. Starting with the many ports in Florida: Miami and Fort Lauderdale at the top, Port Canaveral (east to Orlando),Tampa and Jacksonville, continuing with Port new Orleans and Galveston (south of Houston, Texas) and also more northern ports like: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and even Boston which began to flourish since the 11th of September 2001, they serve the north east citizens of the continent who rather avoid flights.
2. The nice and warm weather in the Caribbean throughout the year makes the Caribbean to a preferred destination every month of the year. Although in the months of the summer there are sometimes tropical storms in the area, but the accurate and high tech prediction and navigation equipment, allows distancing from the storm.
3. In the Caribbean sea there is a big selection and a variety of destinations and ports, which are different from each other in their "personality", their culture and even the language spoken in them (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, and even Swedish!). Thousands of great beaches (some are considered the most beautiful in the world), with sand in every possible color: white, gray, black, golden and even pink, clear sea in a turquoise color with fish and corals. Sport and vacation options are more than you can count and in addition many duty free stores. Some of the islands became touristic and with cosmopolitan character while others stayed exactly as they were years ago.
4. In the Caribbean you can find the biggest selection of cruise routes and the biggest variety of companies and cruise ships, including the newest and the biggest ships.
Map of the Caribbean:
A typical cruise to the Caribbean lasts around a week and includes 3-5 ports, each one in a different island and 1-3 sea days. But there are routes in any possible length, starting from 3 night and up to 2 weeks according to every will and budget. Every cruise line has many routes in the Caribbean and that’s why you can choose from a cruise in a small and fancy yacht to a cruise in huge ships which contains over 3500 passengers each.
Out of 40-50 populated islands in
the Caribbean, the cruise ships visits 25 of them
regularly. So you can go on a few cruises in the area
and still not visit all the successful destinations.
The most popular and busy months are from the middle of December until the middle of may and also the months of the summer: June-August. From mid-April until end of may and from the beginning of September until mid December you can find the most attractive prices and the best sales.
Thanks to the huge selection of cruises to the Caribbean and the big competition between the different companies in this destination, cruise prices to the Caribbean are cheaper comparing to cruise prices in other destinations like Alaska, Europe or farther destinations like Australia and new Zealand.
Whoever is visiting Florida, it is highly recommended to finish his trip with a lovely cruise to an exotic destination in an attractive price. The Caribbean are not another far dream but a great addition to a successful trip to the united states.
The main 3 Cruise Routes in the Caribbean Islands:
The Western Caribbean, Eastern
Caribbean and the Southern Caribbean. Although there are
a few long routes of 10-14 days which are called the
"exotic Caribbean" or the extended Caribbean that
combine 2 of these main routes.
It should be noted that many cruises includes also the Bahamas islands and there are also a few routes which includes cruising through the Panama Canal.
The Bahamas islands:
The Bahamas Islands aren't considered a part of the Caribbean, but many cruises to the eastern or western Caribbean includes 1 stop in those islands. Most of the cruises to the Bahamas depart from the southern ports of Florida and are of 3-4 nights long. Those Cruises includes 1-2 ports, from the more popular locations: Nassau, the capital the Bahamas, Freeport and a few private islands owned by the big cruise line companies. These cruises are especially suitable for those going on their first cruise or for people with limited time and looking for short vacation that includes sun, fun, beaches, good food, shopping and gambling. Cruises of 3 nights are on the weekends: usually from Friday until Monday while the cruises of 4 nights are usually from Monday until Friday.
The western Caribbean:
Most of the cruises to the western Caribbean depart from the ports of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, and Tampa in Florida. A few ships depart from new Orleans or Galveston, Texas. The main destinations in this route are the Grand Cayman, Jamaica, with its two main ports: Montenegro Bay and Ocho Rios, together with Cozumel and Costa Maya in Mexico. More destinations which are gaining momentum in the last few years are: Belize City, the Roatan island in Honduras and lately also Port Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala.
Cruises to these new locations are usually called : exotic western Caribbean.
Frequently, Key West (the most southern point in Florida) and one of the private cruise line islands in the Bahamas are added to these cruises.
The routes to the Western Caribbean are especially suited for diving fans, those looking for adventure and activity and those interested in the ancient Maya culture.
Most of the cruises to the Western Caribbean are 7 nights long (arriving to 3-4 destinations) but there are also shorter cruises of 3-5 nights and longer of 8-11 nights.
The eastern Caribbean:
Most cruises sail from the ports of Florida (mostly Miami and Fort Lauderdale) although in the last few years more and more ships sail from ports in north-east of the United States. The main destinations in this route are Puerto Rico, United States Virgin Islands, in particular St. Thomas, St. Martin and more ports in the Bahamas Islands (including cruise lines private islands).
All of these destinations
are very popular and quite busy since ships that sailing to
the Southern Caribbean's (details below) arrive there as
well. Some ports have 5-10 ships docked near each other
at the same time. A destination that is getting more and
more popular in the last few years is Tortola island
from the British Virgin Islands.
Most cruises in this route are 7 nights long which usually includes only 3 ports, but you can also find cruises 8-11 night long. Cruises from the north east of the United states (New York for example) includes also destinations along the east coast of the United States, mostly Florida and sometimes also Ports in Bermuda.
Since the classic route has usually 3 sea days, the cruise to the Eastern Caribbean is more calm and relaxed than other routes and is suited for those looking for equal balance of activities on board the ship and traveling in the ports.
The southern Caribbean:
Most of the cruises depart from San Juan in Puerto Rico. A number of cruises departs from Aruba. Here as well the typical route is 7 nights long and it includes a variety of islands located southern to Puerto Rico up to the northern coast of south America. The cruise includes a number of ports that hosts ships making the Eastern Caribbean route like: St. Thomas and St. Martin or Tortola and in addition 2-4 ports from the more Southern Islands: Barbados, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Saint Kitts and even island more southern, close to the coast of Venezuela, among them: Aruba, Curacao and Grenada.
The most southern islands are also the most dry ones. The sun is shining there almost 365 days a year and the amount of rain they get is very low. Also the chance of a tropical storm is very low in these southern islands. The Southern Caribbean Islands routes are the most versatile from all of the Caribbean routes. In one cruise you will arrive in islands representing a rich selection of cultures and languages alongside many of nature wonders and treasures like: volcanoes, rainforests, hidden beaches, waterfalls, rivers and impressive mountains. You can take a few different cruises to the area and arrive each time to a completely different destinations. The typical number of ports to the southern Caribbean is 4-6 different ports, meaning: sometimes there is not even 1 full day at sea and each day you travel in a different island.