Planning a cruise?

One of the first topics we like to address when clients are beginning to plan a cruise to the Caribbean is choosing between regions: Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean.

Each region definitely has its own draw, and some longer itineraries allow for a blend of destinations. However, for this blog we are going to focus on the draws of each option.

If you are travelling from Canada to Florida to depart for your cruise, we suggest that you pick an itinerary length of at least 7-10 days. As Canadians, we do travel a fair distance to get to Florida, and the shorter 3-4 length itineraries can sometimes feel very rushed and like a bit of a ‘whirl·wind’ by the time you get back home.

In saying that, there are lots of destinations that cruisers can fit into a spacious ten-day itinerary.

Eastern Caribbean cruise routes

Eastern Caribbean cruise routes can include:

  • Turks and Caicos
  • Bahamas
  • US Virgin Islands
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic

In the East, you will find a perfect blend of old and new world comforts. With influences from Europe, Latin America and Africa, these islands are alive with culture and traditions.

Of course, there are jaw-droppingly beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise waters that surround most of the islands with pristine coral reefs ready for snorkelers and divers alike.

Shopping is also a big draw in the East, with bustling ports such as St. Thomas, which has now become the unofficial ‘capital of duty-free shopping’.

Most cruise lines offer multiple itineraries that focus solely on the Eastern Caribbean. Because of this, the islands are very equipt for tourism and activities.

Western Caribbean cruise routes

Western Caribbean cruise routes can include:

  • Jamaica
  • Grand Cayman
  • Cuba
  • Belize
  • Cozumel
  • Cayman Islands
  • Honduras

Western Caribbean is a great spot if you are interested in the Mayan Culture. Explore Mayan ruins tucked away deep within the jungle, in the same day that you can snorkel and explore colourful coral reefs and delicious islands cuisine.

Within the Western Caribbean are destinations such as Jamaica and Cozumel which are equipped with a wide range of eco-adventure activities. Inland activities such as hiking in the jungle and zip trekking are popular choices. Also plentiful are marine activity options, including Stingray City on Grand Cayman and the Blue Hole in Belize.

Since these ports are farther apart than those in Eastern Caribbean, you are typically at sea a few days longer, making the 7-10 day itineraries that much more appealing.

Most cruise lines offer Western-specific itineraries typically departing from Florida.

Southern Caribbean cruise routes

Southern Caribbean cruise routes can include:

  • Maarten
  • Antigua
  • Aruba
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Curacao
  • Martinique
  • Bonair

In the Southern Caribbean, you get a chance to experience remote beauty. Diving deeper into the Caribbean you are able to spot pristine, uncrowded beaches and lush landscapes. Enjoy multiple national parks and rainbow-like coral reefs brimming with buzzing marine life.

This is the road less travelled, and because of that, itineraries from Florida start at ten days and go up to 20 days.

Many cruisers have found the South to be an ideal destination in the Caribbean due to its remote, exotic vibe. Our very own Angela Brinkworth suggest the Southern Medley from Princess Cruises as one of her all-time favourite routes.

What route calls to you?

Every traveller is unique, just like every island in the Caribbean. Cruising is not meant to be “one-size fits all”, which is why cruise lines offer so many varieties of itineraries.

If you need some assistance in choosing the perfect route for you and your travel companions, let our travel specialists guide you in the direction of your Caribbean dreams!

TierOne Travel