a cruise ship sitting just off shore in the ocean

How to Choose a Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

Out of all the locations in the world, the Caribbean is a destination with numerous choices for all travelers. Whether you enjoy lounging on a cruise ship for an entire week or prefer snorkeling a coral reef, Caribbean cruising attracts millions of visitors each year. However, selecting an itinerary can be intimidating. You should evaluate your vacation needs before committing to a particular cruise plan.

Relishing At-Sea Days

If you prefer more at-sea days than ports, you'll appreciate an Eastern Caribbean itinerary. Because most cruises originate out of Florida, the distance between the mainland and the Eastern islands is considerable. You may only visit three or four ports with two or three days of pure sea days on one vacation alone. However, this itinerary allows you to concentrate on just a few islands instead of experiencing a blur of too many locations within a short period. Visit St. Maarten and St. Thomas, for example. This itinerary is perfect for people looking to relax compared to exploring. The gorgeous blue waters are calling.

Seeking Seclusion

Although each island is paradise in the Caribbean, islands tend to become crowded with the influx of cruise visitors. If you're looking for a more secluded cruise itinerary, consider the Southern Caribbean. Islands, such as Curacao and Aruba, are quite far from the standard Caribbean island itineraries. Look for a Southern cruise that includes the Grenadines. This destination is actually several islands grouped together. They have many secluded beaches, even with a cruise ship in port. When you research Caribbean vacations, look for the islands you aren't familiar with. They are probably off-the-beaten path for other tourists, allowing you to practically have an island to yourself.

Average Two-Week-Long Cruises

Another reason to look to Southern Caribbean itineraries is their length. Because they nearly travel to the top of South America, the ships take time to meander their way down from Florida. On average, cruises are around 10 to 12 nights long. You even get more ports in the itinerary bargain. It's possible to visit five islands on one trip. If you want a good value for your dollar, Southern Caribbean itineraries are well worth the investment. For first-time cruisers, however, it's best to stay with shorter cruises. You may not know if cruising suits your mind or body yet.

Mexican Coast And Underwater Gems

The world feels very small when you include the Caribbean with a Mexican vacation. Consider a Western Caribbean trip to walk on Mexican beaches and enjoy the underwater nature. Snorkel or scuba dive off the coast of Jamaica while spending another day in Mexico's gorgeous Cozumel. This itinerary is perfect for families who need a break from the at-sea experience. Excursions on land and water attract many people during this vacation. Simply pick your favorite activities and enjoy each day as you desire.

With both short and long cruises beckoning, you could visit the Caribbean repeatedly and find a different itinerary each time. Explore this tropical play land and immerse yourself in its culture. You'll return home refreshed and ready for anything.

Last Updated: June 03, 2014