Let Vacation travel agents help you plan an amazing Caribbean cruise.

Caribbean Cruises: 10 Popular Ports of Call

Why You Should Make Sure These Are On Your Next Itinerary

Planning a cruise can be a daunting task if you have no idea where you want to go. And with at least 28 island nations located in the Caribbean, you really have to do your homework to make sure you visit the islands that really peak your interest. So, Vacation pulled together this list of popular ports of call to help you start making plans for your next cruise. From high-end shopping to wildlife preserves to beautiful secluded beaches, you should consider adding a couple of these destinations to your itinerary. Bon voyage!

Barbados

For cruisers who enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling, you might want to consider a visit to Barbados. This island’s reefs are more pristine and full of colorful marine life because it isn’t as popular as the islands close to the U.S. that are normally crowded with tourists. Avid treasure hunters can book an excursion to dive below water and see more than 200 sunken shipwrecks near the island... OK, not all of them, but maybe a couple. If you like your feet firmly planted on land, then book an 4x4 tour to get a different perspective of the entire island or take a stroll through Bridgetown, the island’s British colonial capital for a quick history lesson.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to Barbados.
Barbados: In addition to snorkeling in the nearby reef, visitors will enjoy some downtime with a causal stroll along one of the island's beach.

Cozumel, Mexico

If you enjoy exploring ruins, water sports and a little beach time; then, Cozumel should be added to your itinerary. The 300-square mile island features activities such as snorkeling in the Mesoamerican Reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world); a stroll around historic San Miguel; a wildlife tour at Faro Celerain Eco Park; a 45-minute ferry ride to Playa Del Carmen, and a visit to see the ancient San Gervasio Ruins. And of course, no trip here is complete without some beach time on Palancar Beach, popular for watersports or family-friendly Paradise Beach. There’s something for every cruiser when making a pit stop at this port.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit Cozumel, Mexico.
Cozumel: Shop until you drop at numerous shops and boutiques that line the waterfront. And bargain hunters can negotiate with local vendors for that special souvenir. 

George Town, Grand Cayman

If you’re a foodie who enjoys shipwreck dives and or swimming with stingrays, then you’ve hit the jackpot on Grand Cayman. In addition to Stingray City and diver-friendly wrecks such as the Kittiwake (a submarine-rescue vessel on Seven Mile Beach), Grand Cayman also features some top-notched, celebrity-owned restaurants, including chef Eric Ripert’s restaurant, Blue, and chef Michael Swartz’s restaurant, Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. Cruisers can walk off a few calories with a stroll along Camana Bay, where there’s no shortage of high-end boutiques for international brands such as POLO by NKY, Prada, Gucci, Michael Kors and Lacoste. And on the Northside of the island, beachgoers can relax in a hammock near the Rum Point Club, where the famous mudslide cocktail was invented. You cannot leave here without trying one of these!

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit the place where the mudslide cocktail was created -- Rum Point Club in George Town, Grand Cayman.
Grand Cayman: Don't miss out on ordering a mudslide at the Rum Point Club. This is where the tasty cocktail was invented.  

Oranjestad, Aruba

So, what’s so special about a cruise stop at this port? It might have something to do with its sunny weather (read: not much rain) and great beaches such as the less-crowded Eagle Beach. And just beyond the beaches, Arikok National Park draws tourists looking for a unique desert getaway to go horseback riding to find a hidden swimming hole to rejuvenate before heading back onto the ship.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to walk across the Natural Bridge in Oranjestad, Aruba.
 Aruba: Walk along this natural bridge located in the Arikok National Park in Oranjestad, Aruba.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

This port is the perfect spot for cruisers who don’t want to spend a 6+ hour flight to get a taste of Europe. Welcome to St. Maarten or St. Martin, depending on whether you’re on the Dutch or French side of the island. Drop anchor and take an excursion on this island if you enjoy great boutiques for shopping, Dutch Colonial architecture, traditional French cuisine and small, but gorgeous beaches such as the clothing-optional Orient Beach.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to go horseback riding in St. Maarten.
St. Maarten: If shedding your clothes at Orient Beach isn't your thing, you can visit one of the island's other beaches to go horseback riding with your clothes on.

Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

An alternative to lounging by the ship’s pool, we suggest getting off at Puerto Plata for a visit to Ocean World. And if you’re traveling with kids, this adventure park provides them with unforgettable experiences such as swimming with dolphins in a lagoon. For the adults, the fairly-new port at Amber Cove (opened in 2015) has waterslides, hilltop or overwater cabanas and superb shopping. Book an excursion further out to really immerse yourself in Dominican culture, stroll through museums or just relax on some of the most underrated beaches in the country.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit Ocean World in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic: Add this port of call to your itinerary to go swimming with dolphins and an up-close experience with a walrus at Ocean World in Puerto Plata.

Roatan, Honduras

Welcome to Roatan – the largest of Honduras’ Bay Islands. It’s not a secret, but this island is also home to the second-largest coral reef in the world. So, it’s no surprise why this is a hot spot for divers and snorkelers from all-around the world. Need serenity now? Go kayaking through the mangroves or zip-lining above the jungle at Gumbalimba Park. Looking for some beach time? We recommend a short bus ride to Turquoise Bay, where the crystal blue water laps at the white sand beach, making this the perfect place to get some much-needed R&R.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit Roatan, Honduras.
Roatan Island: Step off the ship and spend a relaxing day on Mahogany Beach.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Yes, this port is steeped in Spanish colonial history with sights such as 16th-century El Morro and 18th-century San Cristobal. However, it’s the El Yunque National Forest that is the real star in this major port where cruise ships usually depart to the Southern Caribbean. The 40-minute bus ride to El Yunque from San Juan is so worth it! Hike through the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Park System, and climb to new heights with a hike to the top of El Toro – the Caribbean’s tallest mountain. The hiking trails may be muddy and less developed than other parks, but we bet you’ll still appreciate it because it’s not crowded with tourists. And if hiking isn’t your thing, but rum is, then take an excursion to visit the Bacardi distillery, which offers historical, rum tasting and mixology tours.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit El Yunque National Park in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico: Book an amazing excursion to hike to the top of El Toro (the Caribbean's tallest mountain) in El Yunque National Park.

St. Kitts

For history buffs, we suggest a stop at St. Kitts or take a 45-minute ferry ride to Nevis. These are the two oldest settlements in the Eastern Caribbean. Visit the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton before his surname was lit up in bright lights on Broadway. But that’s not all cruisers can see at this port of call. The 350-year-old-Romney Manor, the colonial square and Brimstone Hill Fortress are just a few sights from the 1700s that tourists can visit, too. Need a break from the history? Grab a drink on one of the many bars lined up along Frigate Bay or go hiking to see dormant volcanoes.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit Brimstone Hill Fortress on St. Kitts.
St. Kitts: Take a tour to explore this island's rich history. Visit sights like the Brimstone Hill Fortress, one of the best preserved forts in the Americas. 

St. Thomas

This is the Caribbean’s most popular cruise port with as many as six ships docked at a time. And there’s no shortage of things to do and see here. Soar 700 feet above the town of Charlotte Amalie on the Skyride; get stunning Instagram-worthy shots of Magens Bay from Mountain Top (also famous for its banana daiquiris); take the Sea Trek along the ocean floor at the Coral World Ocean Park; take a tour of Blackbeard’s Castle, where the infamous pirate watched for ships entering the harbor. Also, Trunk Bay, duty-free shopping and the ease of visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. John, Water Island) offer a few more reasons why this port should be on your list of must-see Caribbean ports. 

Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an amazing trip on Caribbean cruise? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a cruise specialist to plan your next vacay.

Let Vacation travel agents help plan your next amazing trip or cruise to visit St. Thomas.
St. Thomas: This port of call features Coral World Ocean Park, Blackbeard's Castle and Skyride, a gondola that takes passengers to Paradise Point for panoramic views of Magens Bay and the island.

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