A Guide to Cruising the Caribbean

There are lush islands with rainforests and mountain trails, others have desert climates and coral beaches. Wherever you decide to cruise to you will taste the local specialities and enjoy snorkelling in clear blue seas.

The majority of people choose the Eastern Caribbean for their first cruise. The islands in this group include the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, St Maarten and Puerto Rico. There is world class shopping in St Thomas and for the history buff then I suggest you explore the Spanish history in Old San Juan. All of the islands have superb beach facilities where you can relax, grab some sun and of course a cocktail.

If you prefer a bit of adventure then the Western Caribbean is for you. There are the ancient Mayan ruins near Cozumel and Progreso in Mexico. The reefs of Belize, Roatan or Honduras are perfect for snorkelling or if you wish to soak up the sun then the Cayman Islands or Jamaica are perfect.

Many second or third time visitors venture to the Southern Caribbean to explore the expansive natural beauty and gorgeous scenery. Popular islands include the French West Indies, made up of Martinique, Guadalupe and St Bart's. St Lucia, Dominica and Grenada are lush with vegetation and beach lovers will enjoy Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. The main embarkation ports in the South Caribbean are Barbados and Puerto Rico and a land based extension is very popular.

The Bahamas is a classic cruising favourite, easily accessible from Miami. This is where the majority of cruise lines have their own private islands where you can enjoy snorkelling, sailing and jet skiing.

Cruises in Cuba have been popular for decades and the largest of the Caribbean islands has architecture, art, food and music as well as beautiful beaches. You can tour Havana in a 1950's American car or see UNESCO world Heritage Sites including Cienfuegos and Trinidad.

Not actually in the Caribbean but in the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is popular in the summer months when the temperature is about 80 degrees. This tourist friendly island is famous for it's pink sand beaches and famous golf courses. There are the charming towns of Hamilton, St George's and at King's Wharf the majority of cruise ships dock for two or three days to allow you to enjoy, explore or relax. 







Tracey Strand