What Caribbean Islands Have The Best Beaches

Danny Lehman/Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

The Caribbean islands are among the most popular cruise destinations in the world. Ships from ocean liners to small expedition vessels, yachts, and sailboats carry cruisers who enjoy the time at sea as well as the islands' beauty, colorful marine life, and tropical weather.

Historic towns, ancient ruins, modern cities, secluded beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals offer something for everyone. The diverse languages and cultures add to the fascination with the Caribbean, and cruises that visit a series of destinations highlight the distinctions among the islands.

Caribbean cruises depart from many port cities, so for some travelers, a few days in a new place before or after the cruise adds to the experience. Cruises can be family-focused or adults-only, and many accommodate all ages with activities to keep everyone happy. Whether you're looking for a quick getaway or an extended vacation, a cruise can fit into your plans. Here are some of the best Caribbean cruises to inspire your island vacation.

Holland America Line

Six-day Tropical Caribbean Cruise

This Caribbean cruise boards in Fort Lauderdale and spends a day at sea before arriving at Amber Cay, Dominican Republic, for a beach day or visit to a rum distillery or cigar factory. The next port is Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos with time for snorkeling, diving, or relaxing on the shore. After another day at sea, the elegant new Rotterdam, which debuted in November 2021, arrives in Half Moon Bay, Bahamas, Holland America Line's private island with boating, snorkeling, biking, hiking, or horseback riding.

10-day Southern Caribbean Seafarer Cruise

Departing from Fort Lauderdale, the Rotterdam arrives in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas for a day of water sports or beach time on Holland America's private island. Then it's on to Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos, where guests can explore in a dune buggy, kayak, or air-conditioned coach. Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, is the next port, followed by a day at sea on the way to Kralendijk, Bonaire for snorkeling, diving, fishing, or relaxing on the beach. Willemstad, Curacao is next, and then Oranjestad, Aruba, before two days at sea enjoying Rotterdam's dining, entertainment, and amenities before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

Wind Surf by Windstar in St. Lucia
Wind Surf by Windstar in St. Lucia

Jeff Zaruba/Courtesy of Windstar

Windstar Cruises

Seven-day Classic Caribbean Cruise

The cruise begins in St. Maarten aboard Wind Surf, a majestic 342-guest sailing ship with 150 luxurious staterooms. From there, the ship sails to Nevis for a catamaran cruise, hike, deep sea fishing, or snorkeling excursion. The next port is Roseau for a day of exploring rainforests, waterfalls, and the tropical island. Pigeon Island, St. Lucia, the following day is home to an aerial tram park for a ride over the rainforest. Les Saintes Archipelago offers snorkeling and rum sampling before sailing on to Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis. In St. Barts, there's an island tour, catamaran sail, and semi-submersible trip before the ship returns to St. Maarten.

11-day Boston Sights, Warm Caribbean Nights Cruise

Sailing from Boston aboard the all-suite Star Pride, guests can enjoy the spa, dining venues, and infinity pool during two days at sea on their way to Bermuda. In Hamilton, there's snorkeling, kayaking, and a Segway tour through town, and in St. George's, guests can tour on a horse and carriage ride. Two more days at sea take cruisers to St. Barts where options include a sunset cruise and semi-submersible adventure. Basseterre in St. Kitts & Nevis is the next port, and guests can explore on a zipline, scenic railway, or underwater tour. Swim, snorkel, or relax on the beach in Virgin Gorda before sailing to San Juan for disembarkation.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

10-night Rum, Roseau, and Relaxation Cruise

Passengers board the Seven Seas Explorer in Miami and cruise to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas before spending the next day at sea, enjoying the ship's amenities, including the fitness center, spa, bocce court, cooking classes, infinity pool, and much more. Then it's five days of island hopping to Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Antigua, and St. Martin. Two more days at sea provide ample opportunities to take advantage of everything the ship has to offer before returning to Miami to disembark.

A Viking ship cruising past Antigua
A Viking ship cruising past Antigua

Alastair Miller/Courtesy of Viking

Viking Ocean Cruises

13-day Amazon and Caribbean Adventure

The cruise begins in San Juan with time to explore historic Old San Juan and the island's white-sand beaches. Antigua and Barbuda are the next ports, where guests have a day to explore on land or a catamaran cruise. In St. Lucia the next day, there's an aerial tram to the rainforest canopy and a hands-on cooking class. The ship arrives at Bridgetown, Barbados for a day and then heads out to sea for a day on the way to French Guiana. The next day is at sea, with time to enjoy the ship's activities before arriving at the Amazon River. The ship cruises the Amazon to the town of Santarém for time at the local market. The next port in Brazil is Parintins, for a colorful folklore performance, and then on to Manaus, 1000 miles upriver from the Atlantic. Guests disembark to travel home or explore the city.

15-day West Indies Treasures

Guests board one of Viking's 930-passenger small ships in Fort Lauderdale and spend the next day at sea in the Atlantic before arriving in San Juan. Tortola, British Virgin Islands, is the next port, with time for snorkeling and the beach before heading to St. Kitts & Nevis. A rainforest safari and scenic railway trip are options there. In St. Lucia the next day, there's an aerial tram to the rainforest canopy and a catamaran tour. Bridgetown, Barbados is the next port and then Dominica the following day. Antigua and Barbuda offer a beach retreat or Segway city tour. In St. Martin, sailing fans can participate in a simulated America's Cup race aboard a yacht. St. Thomas is the next port, and there's another day at sea before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

A Viking ship cruising past Saint Kitts and Nevis
A Viking ship cruising past Saint Kitts and Nevis

Courtesy of Viking

Seabourn Cruises

11-day Gems of the Leeward Islands

The cruise begins in Miami when guests board Seabourn Ovation for a day at sea on the way to San Juan. The ship offers 300 suites and an observation lounge and bar for enjoying the sea views. A city tour, El Yunque rainforest drive, and culinary adventure are options. The next port is St. Martin, and then the ship continues to Guadeloupe for a day of kayaking or hiking. Antigua and Barbuda options include a zipline trip over a rainforest, catamaran cruise, snorkeling, and kayaking. St. Kitts and Nevis are next, and guests can swim with dolphins, take a scenic railway tour, catamaran cruise, or motor coach tour. Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands is the last port before the ship returns to Miami.

Oceania Cruises

Seven-night Tropical Retreat

Passengers board in Miami for a day at sea on Riviera, with seven restaurants, pool bar, piano bar, casino, spa, shops, and entertainment. The first port is Costa Maya on Mexico's Caribbean coast where guests can snorkel, kayak, relax on the beach, or choose a zipline or water park adventure. The next port is Harvest Caye, Belize with beachfront villas, poolside cabanas, and a lagoon for kayaks and pedal boats. Roatán, Honduras is next, a remote island with white-sand beaches and coral reefs. Cozumel, Mexico's largest Caribbean island, offers shopping for local handicrafts and duty-free deals as well as snorkeling, diving, and boating. After a day at sea to relax and enjoy Riviera's amenities, the ship arrives back in Miami.

10-night Crystalline Caribbean

Departing from Bridgetown, Barbados aboard Sirena, guests will spend a day at sea enjoying the ship's restaurants, spa, casino, fitness center, pool, entertainment, and guest speakers. The first port is St. Barts, with its French Riviera ambiance. The next day, the ship docks in St. Johns, Antigua for a day at one of the lovely beaches before cruising on to Guadeloupe for diving or snorkeling among coral reefs. Dominica is next, with a rainforest, waterfalls, and hot springs. A day in Martinique follows, and guests can relax on a beach, hike Mont Pelee, or tour the rainforest. Castries, St. Lucia and St. George's, Grenada are next on the itinerary with a day in each port before the ship arrives in Trinidad. From there, Sirena returns to Bridgetown, Barbados.

Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston with a line-up of seven-night Bahamian and Caribbean sailings.
Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston with a line-up of seven-night Bahamian and Caribbean sailings.

Matt Stroshane/Courtesy of Disney

Disney Cruise Line

Four-night Western Caribbean Cruise from Galveston

This cruise aboard Disney Wonder leaves from Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast. Before boarding, guests can spend a day at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier or visit the downtown district. After a day at sea enjoying the ship's freshwater pool, musical entertainment, kids' clubs, and restaurants, the ship arrives in Cozumel, Mexico for a day of snorkeling, swimming, exploring the ruins of the ancient Mayan civilization, or browsing for handmade souvenirs at local markets. The next day cruising back through the Gulf of Mexico is more time to experience the spa, games, Disney characters, and dining spots on the ship until it returns to Galveston.

Disney Cruise Line has just embarked on an inaugural season sailing from New Orleans.
Disney Cruise Line has just embarked on an inaugural season sailing from New Orleans.

Courtesy of Disney

Six-night Western Caribbean Cruise from New Orleans

There's much to do in New Orleans before boarding Disney Wonder for the cruise, so two days at sea on the way to Grand Cayman might be the perfect time to relax. For young cruisers, there are clubs, games, pools, and Disney character encounters. Adults might enjoy the spa, night club, Quiet Cove, restaurants, and evening entertainment. In Grand Cayman, there's a Jeep adventure, beach, or dolphin encounter. The next day in Cozumel, options include a catamaran cruise, snorkeling, a sea lion show, or a day at the beach. The following day is spent at sea with time to enjoy Disney Wonder's amenities before returning to New Orleans.

Silversea

11-night Caribbean Cruise

This cruise leaves from Fort Lauderdale and stops at Key West before a day at sea on the way to Cozumel, Mexico, one of the world's best snorkeling and diving spots. The next day is spent in Belize, where guests can visit Mayan ruins or relax on the beach before heading to Santo Tomas Bay in Guatemala. From there, the ship cruises to Honduras, home to one of the largest reef systems on earth, for snorkeling or exploring in a glass-bottom boat. After a day at sea, the next port is Merida, Mexico for sightseeing, shopping, and strolling along the promenade. After another day at sea, Silver Spirit returns to Fort Lauderdale. During the trip's three days at sea, guests can enjoy the ship's casino, spa, pool, fitness center, entertainment, lounges, and restaurants.

Norwegian Escape sailing past Tortola
Norwegian Escape sailing past Tortola

Danny Lehman/Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line

Seven-day Cruise to Caribbean

This cruise departs from Port Canaveral and spends the next day at sea aboard Norwegian Escape where guests have 19 dining options, entertainment, a spa, water slide, and casino. The first port is Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, with time to enjoy the city views, swim with dolphins, or explore on a hike. The ship visits Charlotte Amalie, with duty-free shopping, beaches, and an optional catamaran cruise. Tortola, British Virgin Islands, is the next port, where guests can snorkel, drive a Jeep on the beach, or tour the forest canopy before heading out to sea for a day. Next is Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, a private island for NCL guests for snorkeling, kayaking, WaveRunner adventures, or relaxing in a beachfront cabana.

Seven-day Cruise to Caribbean from New Orleans

This cruise leaves from New Orleans, so the celebrating can start even before guests board the Norwegian Breakaway for a day at sea with nightly entertainment, casino, spa, and Aqua Park. For young cruisers, there's Splash Academy and Entourage for teens. The ship arrives at Costa Maya, Mexico with Mayan ruins, beaches, fly fishing, river tubing, and a dolphin encounter. The next day is spent on Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras, for snorkeling or a beach day. Belize is the next port, with river rafting through the jungle, kayaking, or relaxing on the beach. In Cozumel, off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, there's fishing, snorkeling, and diving. After another day at sea, Norwegian Breakaway returns to New Orleans.

Brimstone Hill Fortress - St. Kitts
Brimstone Hill Fortress - St. Kitts

Mark Katzman/Courtesy of Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises

Seven-day Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Guests board Caribbean Princess in Fort Lauderdale and cruise to Princess Cays on Eleuthera in the Bahamas. A beach barbecue, local craft market, and water activities from snorkeling to fishing are available on the private island resort. The next day at sea on the way to St. Thomas is the time to enjoy onboard activities including the pool, spa, sports court, and casino, as well as programs for young cruisers. In St. Thomas, there's a sunset catamaran cruise, snorkeling, diving, and a zipline adventure. The next day in St. Kitts offers a day at the beach, a hike, a scenic drive, and a dolphin encounter. With the next two days at sea, guests can enjoy the ship's restaurants, Discovery at Sea programs, and family programs before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

Crystal Cruises

Eight-night Colors of the Caribbean Cruise

This round-trip journey from San Juan aboard the Crystal Serenity first stops in St. Barts for glamorous beaches before heading to Fort-de-France, Martinique. Next is two days in Barbados filled with beaches, shopping, history, and more, and then it's on to Grenada and St. Lucia. There's one day at sea when you can enjoy the ship's many restaurants, lounges, spa, pool, putting greens, and more, before you arrive back in San Juan to disembark.

A Royal Caribbean ship in CocoCay
A Royal Caribbean ship in CocoCay

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean

Four-night Bahamas & Perfect Day Cruise

This cruise aboard Independence of the Seas boards in Port Canaveral and heads to Nassau, Bahamas for a day. Options there include Atlantis Resort and its waterpark, aquariums, waterslides, and dolphins as well as shopping and lounging on the beach. A day at sea provides time to enjoy the ship's water sports, nightlife, and restaurants. The ship arrives at CocoCay, Bahamas for a day of fun in the freshwater pool, water park, Oasis Lagoon, and Coco Beach Club. The ship then returns to Port Canaveral for disembarkation.

Seven-night Southern Caribbean Hop

This cruise boards in Bridgetown, Barbados, and the next port is the island of Tobago, with secluded coves and snorkeling. From there, the ship goes to Trinidad, home of botanical gardens, a historic fortress, and beaches. The next port is Grenada, "Spice Island," where guests can hike, snorkel, shop, or explore on the Grenada Discovery Train. Kingstown, St. Vincent features white-sand beaches, coral reefs, hiking trails, and lush jungles. In Dominica, guests will find waterfalls, rainforests, and thermal springs. St. Lucia is next, with stunning views of the Pitons from a coastal catamaran cruise. Guests can hike to the peaks, explore rainforests, or visit fishing villages. The next day, the Grandeur of the Seas returns to Bridgetown for disembarkation.

People waking down Bathsheba Beach in Barbados
People waking down Bathsheba Beach in Barbados

Mark Fisher/Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

Celebrity Cruises

Five-night Nassau and the Caribbean

This cruise boards Celebrity Summit in Miami and heads to Nassau, Bahamas for a day of relaxing beaches, duty-free shopping, swimming with dolphins, and dining on local specialty, conch fritters. A day at sea is next, with time to enjoy the ship's amenities, casino, and rooftop terrace with a bar, restaurant, and al fresco movie theater. The ship arrives in Cozumel for snorkeling, diving, or exploring the Mayan city of Tulum. After another day of cruising the Caribbean, the ship returns to Miami. Cruisers may want to take advantage of cruise and flight packages through JetBlue Vacations' Flight Cruise plans, depending on their starting point.

Eight-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

After boarding Celebrity Edge in Fort Lauderdale, cruisers enjoy a day at sea to experience the ship's fine dining, cocktail lounges, nightclub, and rooftop garden. San Juan is the next port, with snorkeling, an evening sail around Old San Juan, or a daytime tour. St. Maarten, home to beaches and sunken shipwrecks, also offers duty-free shopping and quaint cafes. The next port is Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where guests can hike, snorkel, or visit a rum distillery. St. Thomas is ideal for a day at the beach, historic town, and duty-free shops. After a day at sea, the ship reaches Nassau, Bahamas for a ferry ride to the Blue Lagoon, swimming with dolphins, and relaxing on the beach before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

Azamara

Nine-night Atlantic Quest Voyage

Guests board the Azamara Quest in Lisbon, Portugal for an ocean crossing to Bridgetown, Barbados. Funchal, Madeira is the first port after a day at sea enjoying the ship's entertainment, activities, and restaurant options that range from fine dining to casual. The ship spends five days crossing the Atlantic. During that time, the luxurious ship's spa, fitness center, boutiques, enrichment programs, cocktail lounges, and performances keep guests entertained as they choose. In Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados, the historic streets, restaurants, duty-free shops, Mount Gay Rum Distillery, and tropical atmosphere welcome cruisers to the tropical island.

Ponant

Eight-night Pearls of the Caribbean Cruise

From Fort-de-France, Martinique's capital, Le Dumont-D'Urville sails to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Bequia Island with lively Port Elizabeth, beaches, and the tropical rainforest. In Grenada the next day, guests can explore in a Zodiac before heading to Mayreau Island for peaceful, sandy beaches and snorkeling. Tobago Cays, five small islands set in lagoons teeming with marine life including green sea turtles, are next. Pigeon Island, a national park linked to St. Lucia, is home to sandy beaches for snorkeling and relaxing, and St. Lucia's Pitons are a stunning backdrop. After a stop at Les Saintes, the ship sails back to Martinique. The luxurious 92-stateroom ship offers a swimming pool, underwater lounge, and elegant decor.

Seven-night Natural and Cultural Wonders of the Western Caribbean

The cruise boards in Cozumel, Mexico, known for snorkeling and diving in its clear waters. A day at sea aboard Le Champlain offers time for sunbathing by the pool and enjoying the ship's amenities on the way to the Bay Islands for swimming, snorkeling, and white-sand beaches. The next port is Guatemala, home to fascinating Mayan ruins at Quirigua Archaeological Park. The following day is spent in Livingston, Guatemala for a chance to experience traditional Garifuna music and dance. In Belize City, gateway to the Great Blue Hole and barrier reef, guests can also visit ancient ruins. Half Moon Caye in Belize, a protected marine and ornithological area, offers thrilling underwater experiences. The ship returns to Cozumel the next day.

Lindblad Expeditions

Eight-day Sailing the Caribbean Aboard Sea Cloud

This cruise aboard Sea Cloud, a historic square-rigger ship, begins in Bridgetown, Barbados for a true sailing adventure. The next day at sea provides time to relax on deck, observe the rigging crew as they hand-set the ship's 30 sails, or learn about the planned destinations. The next day is spent in Dominica for swimming and snorkeling before sailing on to Guadeloupe. Bequia is the next destination where there's a boat museum, charming waterfront town, and local shops. Sea Cloud sails to the Grenadines the next day and then on to St. Lucia to explore its volcanic crater, waterfalls, sulfur springs, and mountains. The sailing cruise ends back in Barbados.

Source : https://news.yahoo.com/25-caribbean-cruises-next-tropical-174851793.html

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