Discover the Beauty of Island Culture with a Caribbean Cruise
By Brandon Strain
Nothing says "get away from it all" like a Caribbean cruise. Not only do you get to enjoy dozens of Caribbean destinations, but you get the relaxation and luxury of a cruise ship to take you there.
The Caribbean is actually made up of a wide variety of tropical and subtropical places that offer all the best of water activities: beaches, sun, waves, snorkeling, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, scuba diving and swimming with dolphins.
For the record, there are about 50 islands in the Caribbean and some 35 destinations spots including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British and American Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.
If you want to sail to the Windward Islands, you will be visiting Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica and St. Vincent. Of these, St. Lucia ranks as the most visited and St. Vincent as the least visited. Grenada remains extremely popular for sailors and divers. And Dominica is popular with nature tourists and scuba divers.
The six Leeward Islands include Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts to the west. Toward the east are Antigua, Barbuda and Anguilla. They were all originally British colonies.
You will also find the British Virgin Islands and the United States Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. While the British Virgin Islands - including two of the largest islands, Tortola and Virgin Gorda - are more secluded and quiet, the U.S. islands - St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix - entertain plenty of tourists each year.
You will find French food and culture in the French Antilles' two regions: Guadeloupe and the larger island of Martinique. Tourism is popular, but it is a more authentic brand of tourism than that found on some other more popular islands.
If you are looking to visit breathtaking reefs, consider a stop at the Netherlands Antilles, made up of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. You will experience Dutch culture blended with the islands' history, food and even language.
Other Caribbean states include the Cayman Islands, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica - along with Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is also part of this group.
The cost to cruise to the Western, Eastern and the Southern Caribbean are sometimes hard to believe. For about the cost of an overnight stay in a hotel, you can spend a night on a cruise ship - a price that includes all the food and entertainment they have to offer.
At prices starting at below $300 (per person and based on double occupancy), you will leave out of Miami, Florida, to spend five nights on the high seas. Your first and second nights will be spent at sea, but on the third day you will visit Roatan, Honduras, and on the fourth day you can take in Cozumel, Mexico, before returning to Miami. This cruise is aboard the revitalized Celebrity Century and its 314 rooms with private verandas, 14 new Sky Suites and 174 new staterooms, not to mention tons of activities and entertainment.
For around $500 a person (double occupancy), you can spend seven nights at sea visiting Samana, St. Thomas, Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay. Aboard the brand new Norwegian Pearl, you can try any of the ship's 12 dining establishments or relax at one of the ship's 11 bars and lounges. This cruise leaves out of Miami.
Another seven-night cruise to the Eastern Caribbean is aboard Holland America's Eurodam. For just about $600 a person, you will leave Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.
For about $500 a person, you can spend seven days aboard the Princess Caribbean Princes as it leaves San Juan, Puerto Rico, to visit Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and St. Thomas. The ship will spend the first two nights at sea. You will spend days three and four in Aruba, followed by a day each in Grenada, Dominica and St. Thomas before heading back to San Juan. This cruise is aboard the largest ship in the Princess Caribbean fleet, offering almost 900 cabins with balconies.
Another seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise is less than $600 per person and visits San Juan, Charlotte Amalie, St. Croix, St. John's, Castries and St. George's. Take in the sites aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas, a new cruise ship that offers speed, comfort and gorgeous ocean vistas. One of the spectacular features of the ship is its 10-story glass elevators looking out at the sea. The ship also has the highest percentage of outside cabins in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Whether you're a veteran cruiser or you've never set foot on a boat, a cruise vacation to the Caribbean can offer a getaway you'll never forget. Book your trip today.
Brandon Strain is a freelance writer who writes about travel and leisure topics and options such as Caribbean cruises.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.