The Caribbean – a region that consists of idyllic islands, wonderfully azure waters and sumptuous sands and sunsets. It’s hard to think of a more picture-perfect destination to cruise to! If you’re thinking of heading to this luscious location, but you’re unsure which ports you want to feature on your itinerary, then worry not – we’ve picked out our favourites below. Here are our top five favourite Caribbean islands, along with exactly why they’re the perfect addition to your next cruise…
Beach lovers assemble!
If your perfect day in port is relaxing on the beach and completely switching off from the world – Aruba is the destination for you. It’s known as ‘One Happy Island’ by locals and holidaymakers alike, thanks to its chilled-out vibes, beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine. In fact, Aruba gets on average just 18 inches of rain per year, and is known to be one of the sunniest of the Caribbean islands.
The beaches are frequent award-winners and regularly rated among the best in the world. Most recently, Eagle Beach clinched third place on TripAdvisor’s 2017 ‘best beaches in the world’ poll. Talcum-soft, powder-white sand comes as standard, and coastlines are dotted with picturesque Divi Divi trees and lapped with turquoise waters. All of them are public too, so it doesn’t matter where you head, you’ll get access to the best swathes of sand.
Aruba is also a great pick for families. Many of the beaches have calm, paddle-friendly waters, which are perfect for little ones, including the aptly named Baby Beach, which boarders a tranquil lagoon. And there are plenty of attractions suitable for young families too, like the Donkey Sanctuary, a trip on the Jolly Roger pirate ship, and a visit to Renaissance Island where you can feed flamingos on the beach.
Adventurers and a foodies dreamland!
Jamaica is the island of legends and superstars. Bob Marley, Usain Bolt and the infamous Cool Runnings bobsleigh team are just a few of the island’s famous exports. So, if you’re a pop culture-buff, you’ll find plenty of fascinating attractions to explore on the island, like Bob Marley’s house, Usain Bolt’s memorabilia-packed restaurant, and Mystic Mountain’s very own bobsled adventure course.
And the scenery doesn’t disappoint either, with everything from dense tropical rainforests and dramatic mountains, to super-long sandy beaches and towering waterfalls. In Negril, you can watch cliff divers perform acrobatic leaps from Rick’s Café and lounge on Jamaica’s best stretch of sand, Seven Mile Beach. Ocho Rios is where you’ll find the famous Dunn’s River Falls and the Mystic Mountain’s zip-line and adventure course. Plus, Montego Bay is the prime place for a party with the hip strip, perfect for guests staying on cruises departing from here with an overnight stay!
After you’ve had your adventure fix, there’s nothing like chilling out on the beach and enjoying some of the island’s best barbecued jerk chicken – with a side of rum cocktails!
Cuba can provide it all!
If you’re a history buff, the largest of the Caribbean Islands is for you! A lot more accessible now than before, Cuba will really blow you away. The larger than life culture, sultry traditional cuban street rhythms and stunning weather really adds to the experience when exploring Cuba’s historic attractions. Stroll the scenic esplanade Malecon and get lost amongst Old Havana’s Baroque facades and colonial cobblestone streets.
Colourful, frantic and very welcoming, Cuba is the land of rum, cigars and dancing, but away from the big cities it transforms into a country of great natural beauty. Beaches, verdant landscapes, waterfalls, rainforests and majestic mountain ranges await those who want to explore more of the island.
Sitting still simply isn’t an option in Cuba’s capital Havana, home to exquisite architecture, classic American cars and cobbled streets and squares, alive with the irresistible rhythms of mambo. Take a stroll around Habana Vieja – Old Havana – to soak up the Latin atmosphere. Havana is an incredibly beautiful place to be, a fabled city doused in history – from the Cuban revolution, being a Cold War staging post, to the colourful cabaret at 1930’s Tropicana Club.
Cuba may not have one of the most buoyant economies in the world, but it is rich in culture, colour and heritage. Your cruise holiday here will open your eyes to a world made famous by Hemingway, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Whether you’re looking for pulsating cities or immaculate beaches, a cruise to Cuba can provide it all – with a generous measure of mojito, of course!
Your A-list Caribbean island!
‘Liming’ is the Bajan term for relaxing in the company of friends, and this life skill epitomises the kind of holiday you’ll have on this laid-back island. Barbados also happens to be a celeb favourite, so if you fancy rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, it’s the place to be. A-list hangout Sandy Lane is the perfect spot for some celebrity spotting, so you might just see Simon Cowell whizzing around on his jet ski if you stay there.
When it comes to getting your culture fix, make a beeline for Bridgetown which was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2012 and is filled with historic sites like Chamberlain Bridge, Heroes Square and the Lord Nelson Statue. And, although it’s a tropical island, Barbados boasts distinct British influences – like elegant colonial houses, afternoon tea on terraces and cricket matches on lawns. So, if you’re partial to a home away from home, this is the destination for you.
The buzzing Barbados nightlife is another draw for party-goers. Plenty of cruise lines do an over night in Bridgetown, so you have to get yourself down to St Lawrence Gap – the place to be after dark. It’s packed with rum bars, Bajan restaurants and clubs that are open all night. You’ll also get your fill of unique attractions with the 17th century Sunbury Plantation House near St Lawrence, the gigantic limestone Harrison’s caves in the centre of the island, and an old Concorde that you can explore if you’re a bit of an aviation enthusiast.
A nature lovers haven!
The Dominican Republic combines colonial towns and Hispanic culture with stunning scenery – forests, mountains, mangrove lagoons, and long, sandy beaches. Here you can switch between city sightseeing and activities like snorkeling, off-road safaris and even golf.
The Dominican Republic’s capital, Santo Domingo, was founded by Christopher Columbus back in 1504, and is packed with UNESCO-listed sights, cathedrals and street art murals. There’s also the Americas’ first cathedral, Alcázar de Colón, and the Columbus Lighthouse, which is said to contain some of the explorer’s remains. After you’ve ticked off the city, you can get out and explore the national parks and tropical landscape. Head to the Los Haitises National Park to explore the rainforests, swamps and exotic birds that live there, or sign up for a monster truck safari through the countryside to see rushing rivers, a sugar cane field and dense rainforests full of exotic wildlife. If you’d love to see a humpback whale in the wild, you can spot them in the Samana Peninsula, which is around an hour’s drive from La Romana. Huge colonies come here to breed in the warm waters and you can see them on a boat trip out into the bay from mid-January to the end of March.
If you’re a keen golfer, you’ll be pleased to hear that the island is an under-the-radar golfers’ paradise with loads of courses to choose from. Punta Cana has 12 courses of its own, and La Romana is home to the legendary ‘Teeth of the Dog’ links course. It’s a hole-in-one!
Ready for the Caribbean?
If you’re thinking about heading off on your own amazing adventure to the Caribbean, then simply give us a call on our freephone number 0800 027 8302! Or take a look at our Deals section to see if there’s a super saving that catches your eye there!