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Caribbean Cruises

Many people visit the Caribbean on cruise ships. Not only do ships dock at various Caribbean islands for day trips, but there are many entertainment options onboard a ship. In fact, more people vacation on cruise ships traveling through the Caribbean than any other region in the world.

When do you want to go on a Caribbean cruise?
When planning their cruises, tourists must take into consideration cruise fares, where the ship will dock for day trips, and the season of the year when they wish to go on their cruise. Travelers planning to go on a cruise between December-April will probably pay higher fares. Vacationers must also take into consideration whether they want to go on a cruise during the hurricane season, usually between May-October. Fares are usually low during these months.

Cruise fares are also higher during holidays, particularly during the Christmas season and New Yearís Eve.

Where do you want to go in the Caribbean?
The most important decision for many people planning their cruise is determining the Caribbean destinations to visit.

Most people on Caribbean cruises visit islands in the western and eastern Caribbean. Cruise ships traveling through the western Caribbean usually depart from New Orleans, LA; Galveston, TX; or various ports throughout Florida. Ships dock for day trips at ports throughout Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Belize, and Cancun. Tourists can shop, participate in water sports, and find other activities during day trips.

Cruises stopping at locations in the eastern Caribbean usually depart from similar locations but make day stops in St. Kitts, Barbados, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Martinique. Cruise ships making day stops in the southern Caribbean usually dock in Venezuela, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Curacao, and the Grenadines.

Many cruises have special themes or cater to particular interests. For example, special themed cruises may cater to certain groups of people such as families, couples, religious groups, or feature particular kinds of entertainment.

Before booking their cruises, tourists must determine how many day stops they wish to make during their trip since some cruises make a couple of stops and others make multiple stops during the course of many days. Since most stops only last a few hours, vacationers wanting to spend a couple of days on a particular island will be unable to do so during their cruise.

What type of Caribbean cruise ship do you want?
Although it seems that it would not make a difference, the size of a ship can affect a cruise ship patronís experience. Large ships with 3,000 or more passengers usually only make stops at popular spots, such as the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and ports in the Mexican Caribbean. Smaller ships on the other hand, often make multiple stops at smaller ports and islands. However, smaller cruise ships often do not have as many entertainment options as bigger ships.

Cruise ships also come in different styles. For example, while most cruise ships have a modern ocean vessel appearance, some resemble ships from different time periods, such as clipper ships from the 1800ís.

How long should you go?
Before booking a Caribbean cruise, vacationers must decide how long they want to vacation. Since most people usually have to travel to reach the ports where cruise ships depart, this must be considered because a vacation day will be spent traveling. Some people experience sea sickness, are claustrophobic, or do not want to spend days at sea. For these and many other reasons, some travel experts recommend first time cruise goers to schedule short cruises. However, some experts encourage tourists to schedule longer cruises to make up for travel days. Southern Caribbean cruises usually last longer than cruises traveling through the western Caribbean.

What is your Caribbean cruise budget?
There are cruises for people of all income levels. Each cruise line company charges different fares, and fares differ during different months of the year. Most cruises are considered to be resort style, meaning various amenities, such as swimming pools, casinos, nightclubs, spas, restaurants, comedy clubs, and even Broadway shows are available for passengers onboard to enjoy. These cruises also offer onboard entertainment for children. Fares for these cruises usually range between $150-350 per day for each passenger.

Passengers on premium cruises can enjoy all the features of a resort cruise but enjoy additional amenities, such as fine dining, more entertainment options, and better guest service. It usually costs between $175-400 every day for each passenger onboard a premium cruise.

Luxury cruises usually cater to people spending a lot of money. Passengers will enjoy individualized service, fine dining, room service, sponsored activities on the islands, large housing quarters, and many other services. It usually costs each passenger between $400-1,000 every day onboard a luxury cruise.

What's included in a Caribbean cruise?
All onboard amenities, including entertainment and meals, are covered in cruise fares. Alcoholic beverages, tips, and soda, are not covered. However, some cruise lines charge for tips in the fare.

It is recommended to tip waiters and cabin stewards at least $3, and busboys at least $1.50 everyday onboard the ship. When drinks are ordered at a bar, it is also recommended to always tip bartenders. Often, tips are dispensed when a cruise is over. Passengers onboard should plan to spend at least $100 in tips during a weeklong cruise.

Before a cruise is booked, be aware of everything included with fare. Individuals booking rooms for only one person will be charged more. Most cruise lines do not reimburse passengers for airfare expenses.

It is also recommended to inquire about room amenities before booking a room since some rooms do not contain TVs and other services. Likewise, passengers should be aware of where their room will be located because some rooms are affected more than others by the shipís movement.

What's the cruise atmosphere like?
Dress policies are different on each cruise ship. Some ships require passengers to dress formally during dinner and other events. People booking cruises should also consider the age and type of people cruise ships cater their services to. For example, some cruises are catered towards families while others may cater exclusively to adults or older people.

Each ship also has different dining schedules. For example, some ships may only seat passengers for dinner during a certain time while others may offer more flexible dining schedules.

What do you want to do on your Caribbean cruise?
There are various entertainment amenities onboard cruise ships. These vessels usually contain bars, casinos, health spas, movie theaters, and pools onboard. Some cruises with multiple amenities sometimes do not spend a lot of time docked at islands.

Certain cruise liners make multiple stops, at many islands, and sponsor tours where they stop. Some cruise lines hire guest speakers or famous professional entertainers.

While docked at port, many companies provide services for cruise passengers. These companies sponsor horseback riding, snorkeling, wind surfing, and other exciting excursions. Some companies shuttle tourists around the island in buses. There are also shops located at most cruise ship ports.


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