If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you’re missing out. They’re perfect for every type of traveler: those who just want to unwind by the pool and read a book, those who seek adventure, and those who want to explore as much as possible. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to find the right cruise. The first question you need to ask yourself is where you want to go, and for how long. Then, the research can begin. With summer in full gear, we’ve taken a look at the best Caribbean cruises and are excited to share our favorites with you.
Whether you want to travel for three days or a week, want to explore, be pampered or just want to be around hoards of people or something more private, there’s a cruise for you.
Set sail with the best Caribbean cruises out there:
5.) Caribbean Cruises: Viking Sea
Perfect for: Seasoned travelers seeking more off-the-beaten-path destinations
Port: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Itinerary: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Cartagena, Colombia; Santa Marta, Colombia; Orangestad, Aruba; Willemstad, Curaçao
Starting price: $3,870
Time frame: 11 days
Launched in 2016, Viking Sea is a relatively small ship, carrying just 930 passengers and 550 crew members. Due to its small size, it can access smaller ports than other, larger ships can.
All rooms feature balconies, free Wi-Fi, and king-sized beds. Ship amenities include a fitness center, a Nordic spa (complete with a snow grotto), outdoor gym and yoga spaces, a theater, and an infinity pool at the stern of the ship that makes you feel as though you’re in the ocean.
The 11-day journey launches in San Juan, Puerto Rico (one of our favorite “shithole countries”), and makes its way toward South America. Explore the Caribbean’s most southerly ports: Santo Domingo; the Dominican Republic’s cultural center; Colombia’s historic cities of Cartagena and Santa Marta; the Dutch capitals of Oranjestad, Aruba and Willemstad; and the vibrant architecture of Curaçao.
4.) Caribbean Cruises: Seabourn Odyssey
Perfect for: Luxe explorers seeking to visit hard-to-get-to ports
Port: Bridgetown, Barbados
Itinerary: Bridgetown, Barbados; Trois Ilets, Martinique; Carambola Beach, St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda; Terre-de-Haut, Iles des Saintes, Guadeloupe; Castries, Saint Lucia; Port Elizabeth, Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Saline Bay, Mayreau, St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Basse-Terre, Guadaloupe; Charlestown, Nevis; Fort-De-France, Martinique; Saint Georges, Grenada; Charlotteville, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada; Charlotteville, Trinidad and Tobago
Starting price: $4,274
Time frame: 14 days
If you’re looking for an intimate and luxurious cruise that places customer service above (nearly) all else, the “14-day exotic Caribbean in-depth” tour on the Seabourn Odyssey is one of the best Caribbean cruises for you. With just 450 passengers and a nearly 1-to-1 crew-to-passenger ratio, the ship is smaller than most cruise vessels, allowing it entrance to smaller ports unavailable to large ships.
The ship is an all-suite vessel, meaning all rooms are suites, complete with a separate living room, bedroom, walk-in closet, and even dual sinks in the bathroom. Guestsare greeted with complimentary champagne, and once the ship departs, have access to daily fresh fruit, 24-hour room service, and a personal suite steward for any additional requests. The ship is geared toward adults and couple; children’s activities are nonexistent.
Four dining options are available, as well as a casino and movie theater. There are two pools, six hot tubs, a fitness center, nine-hole putting green and spa. The ship also provides kayaks, paddle boats and Hobie Cat sailboats.
Starting in Barbados, it explores little-known ports that larger Caribbean cruises are unable to reach. Check out the beautiful beaches and tropical forests of St. Kitts, Grenada’s Market Square (one of the most colorful markets in the Caribbean) and so much more.
3.) Caribbean Cruises: Koningsdam
Perfect for: First=time cruisers
Port: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Castries, St. Lucia; Bridgetown, Barbados; Fort-De-France, Martinique; Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Half Moon Cay, Bahamas
Starting price: $1,385
Time frame: 12 days
Launched in 2016, Koningsdam is the largest of Holland America’s fleet. It can accommodate up 2,650 guests, yet maintains an intimacy not found on largervessels.
Inspired by music, the ship’s design features fluid lines with light-filled spaces. Staterooms include interior and ocean-view cabins (ranging from 151 to 231 square feet), as well as four suite accommodations. Entertainment abounds, with stage shows and musical acts performed through partnerships with Lincoln Centre and Billboard magazine. Cooking classes are also available on board, as are 11 different dining venues, and – of course – a spa.
When passengers aren’t enjoying the on-board ammenities, they can take in the scenery as the ship makes its ways through the Southern caribbean: scenic Soufriere Bay in St. Lucia, Mount Pelee, the non-active volcano on the northern tip of Martinique, andso much more.
2.) Caribbean Cruises: Symphony of the Seas
Perfect for: Families, and those seeking on-board entertainment
Destinations: Miami; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; CocoCay, Bahamas
Starting price: $802
Time frame: 8 days
Symphony of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship. Not only is it Royal Caribbean’s largest, but it’s currently the largest of the Caribbean cruises, and the largest cruise ship in the world!
The ship offers a mix of interior rooms, exterior rooms and balcony rooms as well as the “ultimate family suite” and “royal suite class.” Unlike the aforementioned ships, this is perfect for families. Children’s areas include glow-in-the-dark laser tag and even high-speed water slides. Enjoy shows? The AquaTheater features an acrobatics show, and the main stage shows the hit Broadway musical Hairspray. When you get hungry, you have more than 20 restaurants to choose from.
Should you choose to leave the entertainment on board the ship, the 7-night Eastern Caribbean and Perfect Day Tour will give you the chance to explore explore colonial estates, monuments and fortresses in Basseterre, trek Mount Liamuiga, unwind on the sugary sand beach atMagen’s Bay and so much more.
1.) Caribbean Cruises: Celebrity Reflection
Perfect for: Couples who enjoy fine wining and dining
Launch: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Itinerary: Key West, Fla.; Costa Maya, Mexico; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman
Starting price: $1,299
Time frame: 8 days
Celebrity Reflection is a Western Caribbean cruise that stops in Key West, Fla., as opposed to stopping in Jamaica like most Western Caribbean cruises. The ship can accommodate 3,046 passengers and is the newest and largest of Celebrity’s ships. It caters more to adults and couples than families and prides itself on its exquisite dining experiences, as well as customer service, thanks to its 2-to-1 guest-to-crew ratio.
Around 85% of Reflection’s staterooms offer verandas, and the ship offers a wider variety of suites than other Celebrity ships. AquaClass suites are available, and those that book receive extra perks such as direct spa access and 24-hour butler service. The ship features an exclusive spa, as well as a Lawn Club: a half-acre lounging area with real grass. Thirteen restaurants are available when passengers get hungry.
Should you wish to disembark, you can explore the white sand beaches of Costa Maya, visit the Sea turtle Farm of Grand Cayman, and so much more.
Have you enjoyed any of the above Caribbean cruises? Tell us about it in the comments!