It should not come as a surprise to learn that Caribbean cruises are the most popular type of cruise in the world.
It certainly features in the top 10 cruising destinations mentioned on the same site, and it continually crops up among the most popular destinations listed on countless other websites too.
Why is this? Perhaps it is the gorgeous weather, the warmth that enables you to enjoy time out on deck when you are cruising from place to place. It also provides you with an opportunity to visit many Caribbean islands, whereas a traditional holiday to this part of the world may restrict you to just one island.
While some cruises to other destinations are only available at certain times of the year, Caribbean cruises are available on a continual basis. It is perhaps not surprising to discover many passengers hailing from the UK are particularly eager to book a winter cruise, to escape the uncertain weather in this country.
If you are considering boarding a Caribbean bound cruise for the first time, you will likely have some questions about the experience. Here we have covered most if not all of the main areas to focus on.
Can you book no fly cruises to the Caribbean departing from the UK?
Cruises headed for Europe, the Fjords or similar areas typically leave from one of the UK based ports. However since the Caribbean is a lot further away you will often see cruise offers that require you either to fly out to meet the cruise ship or fly home once the cruise ends.
However if you prefer not to fly you can find some no fly cruises departing UK ports including these:
These cruises tend to be far longer in duration than those which require a flight one way as part of the booking. This takes into account the extra time spent at sea. Typical lengths of such cruises can be as follows:
- 35 nights
- 26 nights
- 24 nights
- 32 nights
Clearly while you may want to go on a no fly cruise you will have to consider your budget and the amount of time you have available for a Caribbean cruise. If you would rather try a shorter cruise you may have no option but to catch a flight out to the departure port.
Do all Caribbean cruises visit the same islands and destinations?
No; in fact there is far more variation than you may at first expect. Cruises to the Caribbean are typically split into three different types, visiting one of the following areas in particular:
- Eastern Caribbean – including Nassau, St Thomas and St Maarten
- Southern Caribbean – including Aruba, Grenada and Dominica
- Western Caribbean – including Havana, Montego Bay and Playa del Carmen
Incidentally the Mexican Riviera is often included as part of the Caribbean too; so don’t be surprised to see a few Mexican destinations included on some itineraries to this part of the world. These include:
If you enjoy your first cruise to the Caribbean you can therefore go on other cruises to the same part of the world while visiting very different areas in the process.
Which cruise lines offer Caribbean cruises?
Since this is the most popular part of the world for cruising, most cruise lines provide a range of cruises to the Caribbean. These include the following big name lines:
- Norwegian Cruise Line (Website: www.ncl.co.uk)
- Royal Caribbean International (Website: www.royalcaribbean.com)
- Celebrity Cruises (Website: www.celebritycruises.co.uk)
- Costa Cruises (Website: www.costacruises.co.uk)
- Princess Cruises (Website: www.princess.com)
When you are searching for potential cruises you will notice many other names cropping up as well. It is wise to delve into each line in more detail, as some lines are better for certain types of traveller than others.
Children friendly Caribbean cruises
Disney Cruise Line
One of the biggest reasons why families head out to the Caribbean on a cruise liner is because of the gorgeous beaches that await them on arrival. However you still have to get there and if you have children you’ll want to book a cruise that enables you to travel on a child friendly ship. Disney hits the top spot in this respect, but if you are travelling from the UK you will find several other cruise lines to consider as well, including Royal Caribbean.
Affordable Caribbean cruises
A Caribbean cruise can be expensive if you don’t shop around. While Celebrity Cruises offers Caribbean itineraries that are easier on the pocket, be sure
to consider other cruise lines as well. Princess Cruises is another name that is regularly connected to good value cruises.
What would a typical itinerary look like?
There is no easy answer to this one. It all depends on which part of the Caribbean you visit and how long your cruise is set to last. However we have picked out a number of cruises departing for the Caribbean this year and given the highlights below. This should give you an idea of what to expect on a typical cruise.
You should note the cruises listed below are all no fly cruises and thus feature an impressive list of destinations. Shorter cruises that require you to fly in one or both directions to meet your ship will have far fewer ports of call included in the itinerary.
35 nights in the Caribbean with P&O Cruises
This trip departs from Southampton and heads to a number of stunning ports of call before returning home to the same port 35 nights later. You’ll visit these destinations during your Caribbean cruise with P&O:
- St Lucia
- St Kitts
- Montego Bay
- Grand Cayman
- New Orleans
- Key West
- Port Everglades
- Port Canaveral
- Ponta Delgada
26 nights in the Caribbean with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
This trip also leaves from Southampton and offers a number of appealing destinations:
- St George’s
- Ponta Delgada
24 nights in the Caribbean with P&O Cruises
This is a shorter trip than the previous P&O cruise, but it still takes you to some stunning ports of call:
- Ponta Delgada
- St Lucia
32 nights in the Caribbean with Cruise & Maritime
This month long trip will treat you to a number of beautiful destinations before you return to the port of departure, Tilbury:
- Ponta Delgada
- St Kitts
When is the best time to go on a cruise to the Caribbean?
In terms of living in the UK, you’ll probably find it more appealing to go during our winter months. The downside is it can be more expensive to book a cruise to this part of the world at this time. Look out for special deals or last minute deals if you have some time available to head abroad on holiday. Alternatively you can get some deals by booking well ahead of time, depending on the cruise line you book with and the specific trip you are looking for.
However it is typically better to spend a little more and get away from the UK winters. You will also be escaping the hurricanes that can ravage the Caribbean anytime between June and November each year. While cruises are still available during this season, it is more likely your cruise may get diverted or miss one of the ports you are scheduled to visit. Bear this in mind if you want to postpone your cruise until the summer months.
Is a Caribbean cruise ideal for you?
While every cruise typically spends one or two days at sea, a trip to the Caribbean will usually mean three or four days at sea in order to get there (if not longer; it’s dependent on where your first port of call is situated).
Many cruise passengers want to explore the Caribbean and all it has to offer, but it may not be ideal for your first ever cruise. Shorter trips of just a few days are available to the Caribbean, but these typically depart from and return to a port in another country much closer to this part of the world. Thus it is often better to get your ‘sea legs’ on a shorter cruise much closer to home before embarking on the cruise trip of a lifetime to one or more parts of the Caribbean.