With more than 7000 islands spread out in the Caribbean sea, there is a lot to explore. And what better way than to explore islands than by ship? You’ll be able to admire beautiful lagoons, coral reefs, tropical fish and soak in the hot sun on white sandy beaches, all at a leisurely pace.
Here is a guide to exploring the Caribbean islands on a cruise ship with 5 popular destinations described.
The Bahamas remains a leading tourist destination over the years, with tourists flocking to enjoy the hundreds of islands and 500 miles of the clearest waters in the world. The close proximity of the Bahamas to America means you will find lots of US tourists.
Nassau is the capital and one of the most popular places. It is situated on the New Providence Island where you can find the traditional Straw Market and historical landmarks like Fort Fincastle and The Cloisters in the Versailles Gardens.
Don’t miss a unique bird watching opportunity at the National Parks. If you are more of a hands-on person, you will enjoy water sports such as snorkelling and scuba diving or horse riding for those who prefer to stay dry!
2. Cayman Islands
The Cayman islands are made up of Little Cayman, Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman of course. These 3 islands offer an enjoyable tropical climate and have some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Have you heard of the Seven Mile Beach? It’s voted time and again as one of the most stunning beaches in the whole world and is found in Grand Cayman. Scuba diving facilities are second to none in the Cayman Islands and for culture vultures, historical monuments await you.
Visit the Cayman Islands during spring to see the Batabano Carnival with its distinct Caribbean heritage and music. Something truly unique to the Cayman islands is the possibility to touch and interact with stingrays. Head to the north of Grand Cayman island for that where you will find a collection of shallow sandbanks called no other than Stingray City. Look for Caribbean cruise deals to the Cayman islands to enjoy them.
Aruba is a former Dutch colony and has been somewhat eclipsed by its more famous neighbours as a top holiday destination. But all this is about to change as its tourist industry is growing rapidly. The island is located not far from Venezuela in South America and sees warm temperatures of around 30 degrees all year round. There is no winter but the hottest period is around July and August.
In the capital Oranjestad, you’ll be able to find casinos, restaurants, nightclubs and all the usual regular tourist attractions as well as a driv-in cinema.
Beyond the capital and artificial attractions, Aruba has a stunning nature it can be proud of. Excursions along the coast are becoming very popular and horse riding is often used as a way to explore these wild regions that have few roads. Don’t miss a guided tour of the Fontein Cave and explore the seabed amid crystal clear waters with scuba diving and snorkelling.
Jamaica needs no introduction. Even if it wasn’t for its famous record-breaking sprinters, Jamaica would still be known to many for its appeal as a holiday destination. Beaches, wild inland countryside, mountains and valleys as well as its culture all help to attract holidaymakers. Montego Bay and Port Antonio are two places well-known by tourists visiting this island. If you want quieter beaches, then head south of the country. All inclusive resorts are a popular option and you will find plenty to choose from. Try the Martha Brae River for an ideal place for rafting and other water-based activities.
One of Jamaica’s unique feature is Dunn’s River Falls. Iti s a beautiful waterfall situated near Ochos Rios. What is special to it is that it falls directly in the sea, one of the few in the world to do so. Plenty of tourists flock to Dunn’s River Falls to see this.
5. Dominican Republic
Not to be confused with the small island of Dominica, the Dominican Republic is known to having some of the friendliest people in the Caribbean. It is an island that has something for everyone and is great for relaxing amid the laid-back Latin culture.
Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1498, Santo Domingo boasts the first cathedral, court and monastery of the Western Hemisphere. Unsurprisingly, it is the New World’s oldest city. In its capital, you’ll also find wild nightclubs, exotic restaurants and bars and plenty of music and dancing throughout, an important feature of the Dominican life!
Head out to the countryside and the coast for some more quiet explorations. There are over a thousand beaches for you to choose from. Will you be able to make up your mind? Sosua Beach in Puerto Plata is generally known to be the most popular. On the north coast at Cabarete, you’ll find beaches for windsurfing and kite boarding as well as excursions taking you to watch whales.