As our journey begins, we will be looking at some of the best places on all three points of the Caribbean. From the Lesser Antilles of the Eastern Caribbean to the vibrant, colorful, ancient Mayan ruins of Mexico touching the Western Caribbean to the fabulous duty free shopping of the Southern Caribbean, we will take a first hand look at what cruising to these spots has to offer vacationers.

We begin first with the Eastern Caribbean Cruise itinerary, both rich in culture and offer breathtaking scenery. The itinerary usually includes the Bahamas (located in the Atlantic Ocean) and islands of the Eastern Caribbean which include St Thomas, St. Maarten – St. Martin, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. Most cruises to the Eastern Caribbean begin in Florida, with some departing out of Texas and sometimes when the Ship is repositioning, it will depart out of one of the North East ports.

Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is a hub of activity. With its colonial forts and interesting sites, Nassau’s downtown area is perfect for walking and offers some great shopping opportunities. Atlantis, a world-class resort is located in Nassau, and must be seen to be believed. Nassau is a must see on your trip to the Bahamas.

The scenery alone are worth the visit to the lush island of St. Thomas, USVI, not to mention the duty free shops and treasure –filled boutiques that are abundant for shopping aficionados. Some points of interest include Fort Christian, a US National Landmark and the oldest standing structure in the Virgin Island and Government house, which has been the center of government in St. Thomas since the mid 1860’s.

The cultural aspect of St. Maarten – St. Martin, split between a French side and a Dutch side, makes it unique. St. Maarten, the Dutch side, is lively with casinos and a bustling nightlife. This nightlife is known to be the most energetic in all the Caribbean. St. Martin, the French side, is more docile with very little nightlife, but it does have the opportunity to taste some terrific food. Beautiful beaches surround both sides of this wonderful island.

With its beautiful scenery and rich cultural heritage, it’s no wonder the Dominican Republic brings visitors back again and again. Christopher Columbus landed here during his exploration of the new world and declared it in the name of Spain – Santo Domingo, today, is home to some of the oldest buildings in the Western Hemisphere. Covered with spectacular white sandy beaches, and warm waters perfect for your water activities, Dominican Republic is one stop you won’t soon forget!

Some great cruise deals going on to the Eastern Caribbean are:
1. $379+: 7nt Bahamas Cruise Vacation Deal
2. $1079+: 8nt Caribbean Cruise on RCCL

Sailing mostly out of Florida and Texas, the Western Caribbean cruises invite you to experience such places as the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Key West, Florida. Each with its unique distinctions, these spots have a world to offer any traveler.

Cozumel, an island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a popular destination renowned for its snorkeling and scuba diving. This vibrant, colorful island is home to the ancient Mayan ruins and ultra-modern resorts. It also has some of the whitest powder sand and the clearest blue water you will ever see!

Although Jamaica has quite a few different spots to visit while on your Western Caribbean Cruise, make sure your itinerary includes Dunhill River Falls and/or Negril, Jamaica.

Ochio Rios, a city on the northern coast of Jamaica, has gained popularity among tourists as it is touted as being one of the safest areas for tourists in Jamaica. Two must sees when you go to Ochio Rios is the Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin Cover, where visitors are able to swim and interact with dolphins.

Negril has been rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world by many travel magazines. South of downtown Negril is West End Road, known as the cliff area. This area offers good water for snorkeling and diving, and if you’re really daring, jumping points reaching more then 40 feet high. Rick’s Café is the place to watch the cliff jumpers. Consider one of the 1,000 places to go before you die, Rick’s Café not only entertains you with cliff jumpers, but has some of the best sunsets are some of the best in the world.

Another stop on your Western Caribbean cruise is Key West. Lying near the end of the chain of islands known as the Florida Keys, Key West is the southernmost city in the continental United States. Located north of Cuba and southwest of Miami, this laid back spot offers fun with its trolleys, great bars and music, and a plethora of water activities such as jet ski tours, kayak tours, and some of the best fishing anywhere in the world. If you are still around Key West during the early evening – don’t that you are in one of the most magnificent spots to view the sun set.

Take a closer look at some great deals to visit these and other islands in the Western Caribbean.
1. $499+: 7nt Western Caribbean Cruise
2. $599+: 7nt Western Caribbean Cruise – President’s Week

Finishing off the Caribbean cruise excursions is the Southern Caribbean.  Mainly departing from Puerto Rico, cruisers enjoy stops including Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, and Curacao. 

Antigua is the absolute ‘beach-bum’ vacation destination.  Priding themselves on having a different beach for every day of the year, Antigua’s beaches are lined with soft white sand which attract people from all over the world who simply want to get away from it all.  Although Antigua’s British past is still evident with several forts dotting this island, people come here not for the history lesson, but rather to experience the crystal-clear waters and velvety sand.

More water adventures can be had in Aruba.  Part of the Netherlands Antilles, this island was virtually undiscovered by the tourist industry until a few years ago.  Miles and miles of white sandy beaches and desert-like landscape make up this piece of paradise.  Outside of the hurricane path, the island receives only a few inches of rainfall yearly making warm weather a given at any time of the year.  Palm trees swaying in the warm breeze and turquoise water lapping over a white sandy shore-line is music to anyone’s eyes.

Barbados, sometimes known as the “England of the tropics”, is famous for its miles of pink and white sand beaches – and who could argue with that?  Other then the clear water of the Caribbean Sea, Barbados is steeped with colonial history.  Buildings on the islands capital, Bridgetown, recall time of British rule.  A tad bit of history in Barbados, but the call of beautiful sandy beaches is what keeps people coming back to this magnificent island.

Along with Aruba and Bonaire, Curacao makes up the ABC Islands of the Lesser Antilles.  These are the only islands outside of the hurricane belt, so this would be the best itinerary to choose during hurricane season. Curacao is the perfect spot for those folks looking for warm water, an excellent nightlife and a unique cultural experience.  Willemstad, the capital of Curacao, is like visiting a small European city with all of the charm – and shopping.   These waters are great for snorkeling and scuba diving, particularly at the Curacao Underwater Park.  There are also several interesting sites inland such as the Hato Caves and the Curacao Seaquarium.  If the Southern Caribbean is your choice to cruise, give this island a close look.

You can view some great cruise deals to the Southern Caribbean here:
1. $449+: 7nt Southern Caribbean Cruise
2. $609+: 7nt Caribbean Cruise on RCCL

Of course, there is more to the Caribbean then the places above. A whole world of adventure and relaxation await you on any of the three points of the Caribbean. Enjoy your time exploring!

Rich Gonzalez