Cruise passengers taking a dip in the Caribbean

5 Great Caribbean Cruise Destinations

Stingrays swimming among people in Stingray City

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.

1. Bahamas

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.

 

3. Aruba

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.

4. Jamaica

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.

Dunn's River Falls in Ochos Rios

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.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Explore the ice world

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Leave well-trodden paths behind. Enough of New York, Paris, honeymoon in the Maldives or scuba diving in the Caribbean. How many of you have been to some of the least explored regions of the world? I’m not talking about some far-flung travel destinations in Canada or the Far East. No, the ice world is the polar regions.

There is no need to go far either. If you’re from Europe or North America, the North Pole is well, further up north. The ice world is understandably one of the most inhospitable places on earth. As the region is plunged in darkness for about half the year in winter, the best time to visit would be at the peak of summer, when you can experience the midnight sun and see nature come alive.

Destinations

Again, there is no need to go deep into icy territory right to the North Pole in the footsteps of hardy explorers to experience all this beauty. Half of Canada is frozen; Alaska next door has some wonderful wildlife and virgin forests while Greenland is one of the least explored island, vast as it is. Closer to Europe and more easily accessible are the fjords of Norway, Lapland and Svalbard Island higher up.

You also have the vast territory of Russia, in particular Siberia. One of the most famous, or infamous inhabitant of the frozen land was Josef Stalin. He was exiled for a number of years in Turukhansk on the Yenisey river which flows into the Artic sea. In winter, the river freezes solid and Stalin used to skate on it. In summer and spring, he became an adept hunter and fisherman.

Cruise

If you feel put off by the hardship of the land or the lack of facilities to explore the ice world, there is a rather easy way to bypass these inconveniences: cruises. That’s right, get on board a luxury ship and allow yourself to be whisked from destination to destination, from the comfort of your cabin. Admire the scenery and take pictures of the shores from the ship, without having to set foot on land. But if that’s what you want for a truly genuine experience, the cruise ship drops anchor in a number of ports where you will be able to get off and go inland.

A popular cruise is to set off from San Francisco or Vancouver and head for the Alaskan coast. Along the way you can stop in Canada to experience the Rockies or a trip on dog sleds. Hurtigruten Cruises specializes in Artic cruises.

A cruiseliner

What’s a Cruise & Stay?

A cruiseliner

If you’ve ever thought you’d like to try a cruise, but would miss the traditional style of holiday staying in a hotel for a week or two, then a cruise and stay holiday might be just for you.

Cruise and stay holidays offer the combination of cruising and traditional style vacationing. You start by setting sail, cruising for a couple of days till you reach the location of your chosen holiday, and then staying there for a traditional hotel style holiday be it beach or city, before heading home on a cruise ship once more.

Taking time to enjoy the journey to your hotel

Most of us try to make the journey from home to holiday as quick as possible, but find ourselves wasting a good day or more either end because of the nature of the travelling experience.

Cars can break down, planes are delayed, and really what’s the fun of sitting in a terminal waiting for your flight, or standing in a queue waiting for your baggage to be checked in.

If you’re afraid of flying you’ve got to distract yourself from the rising sense of panic that can kick in as you take off, and then there’s the jet lag to deal with afterwards too.

A cruise and stay holiday gets rid of all these things. As long as you pack your beachwear in your carry-on luggage then the moment you step on board your cruise ship, you can begin to enjoy the luxury of travel on a cruise liner.

One cruise to many destinations

Cruises can transport you to a wide variety of locations around the world, and you can enjoy all sorts of different types of holidays while you’re there – from relaxing beach holidays, to exciting adrenalin pumping holidays where you try your hand at scuba diving, sand dune buggy racing or bungee jumping. From tropical paradise to city break, you can combine any style of ‘stay’ you want to with a cruise.

While you’re sailing to and from your ‘stay’, you’ll get to enjoy all the wonderful amenities that are offered on a cruise liner. Fabulous food, room service, night clubs, bars, west end style shows, casinos, luxury spa, salon, shops, and of course plenty of sunshine on deck. Many cruise ships cater for families and have kids clubs aimed at different age groups, as well as offering different styles of dining to suit you and your family from buffet to bistro.

Beginning and ending your holiday with a relaxed few days of luxury on the ocean instead of a frantic fiasco of airports and cars can enhance any holiday experience. So if you’re ready to trade in your traditional stress filled travel for something a little more laid back, try a cruise and stay holiday today.