navire de croisière – unsplash

How to choose a Caribbean cruise

To the point With our advice and ship suggestions, discover with us how to choose the right Caribbean cruise.  

This post is also available in: FR

Exploring the Caribbean aboard a ship can be an incredible travel experience. However, finding the perfect cruise among all the options can be a real headache.

With so many beautiful islands to discover, and so many different ships and routes to choose from, making the right choice will help you make the most of your vacation.

Let’s discover together the essential points to consider when choosing your Caribbean cruise, so you can plan a seaside vacation that perfectly matches your preferences.

We’ll also suggest different companies and ships, whether you’re traveling with your family or with adults.

croisiéristes à la plage – pixabay

Going on a cruise with the points

To save or pay for a cruise with points, simplyuse travel rewards points on certain credit cards. Here are some of them:

Taking the Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card and the Cobalt American Express Card as examples, they offer a redemption rate of 1,000 points for a $10 credit. This can be applied to the cruise payment transaction to obtain an account credit.

You can also book your cruise directly with loyalty programs such as Aeroplan (with Air Canada Vacations), AIR MILES and Marriott Bonvoy.

It’s essential to define your objective and the type of cruise you want, then move on to the game plan with your credit card points.

Here’s our guide with tips for cruise with the points :

Tips for planning your cruise

Choosing the right route

To choose an itinerary that matches your expectations, define your travel priorities, be they cultural richness, secluded beaches or sporting activities.

Some itineraries focus on cultural exploration, while others privilege seaside pleasures.

Take into account the length of your stopovers. Are you aiming to maximize your discoveries on each island? Does the sheer number of destinations visited appeal to you? Are full days of sailing a problem for you?

croisière dans les Caraibes – Unsplash

The best time to go, depending on the weather

In the Caribbean, the hurricane season from June to November presents risks, although rates are lower.

The ideal sailing season is generally from December to April, with pleasant temperatures and optimal conditions.

However, the popularity of this period can lead to higher rates. By planning according to the weather, you can avoid potential climatic hazards and maximize the pleasure of your cruise.

St Thomas -unsplash

Choosing the right vessel: criteria to take into account

Choosing the right cruise ship is crucial for an experience tailored to your preferences. Evaluate the size of the ship for ambience, choose between interior cabins and suites according to your budget. Do you prefer more intimate or lively settings?

Consider the activities on board, from spas to entertainment, and the variety of restaurants on offer.

Check out the itineraries and ports of call, as some ships specialize in specific destinations.

Assess the company’s reputation in terms of service, safety and overall experience by consulting traveler reviews for an informed decision.

MSC-Seascape

Our suggestions for family cruises in the Caribbean

With Holland America Line

Among the best family cruise options in the Caribbean, Holland America stands out for its commitment to passenger comfort and enjoyment.

The Nieuw Statendam and Koningsdam ships, in particular, offer spacious cabins with four-person beds, large lounge areas and generous verandas.

Nieuw-Amsterdam–12174119244

Their popular ports of call include destinations such as Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

This is one of the 8-day Nieuw Statendam itineraries:

Day 1 Fort Lauderdale

Day 2 At sea

Day 3 Grand Turk

Day 4 San Juan

Day 5 Charlotte Amalie

Day 6 At sea

Day 7 Half Moon Cay

Day 8 Fort Lauderdale

Half moon Cay – Pixabay

With Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is the ideal choice for many families, thanks to its age-appropriate facilities.

The company’s exclusive cruise, Perfect Day at CocoCay in the Bahamas, aboard the Freedom of the Seas, is particularly popular with young passengers for its waterslides and play areas.

perfect-day-at-coco-cay

TheIcon of the Seas, scheduled for January 2024, is specially designed for families. Adjacent to the Surfside outdoor area at the rear of the boat, it features a water play area with slides and an infinity pool for adults.

Facilities also include a themed carousel, arcade, several family-friendly restaurants and a relaxing “Mom and Me” bar.

icon of the seas

With MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises has a variety of leisure activities specially designed for children, from water parks to Broadway-style shows.

MSC Seaside offers fun family excursions and a Lego Experience On Board event on every cruise.

Its children’s club, called Doremi Land, offers separate areas for different age groups, from 6 months to 11 years. Entertainers can take children to the onboard water park, accompany them in parades around the ship and even take them to lunch and dinner at the buffet.

msc seaside

Popular ports of call on the MSC Seaside include Ocean Cay MSC, Nassau, San Juan and Puerto Plata.

Here is one of the itineraries offered aboard the MSC Seaside in the Caribbean:

Day 1 Fort-de-France

Day 2 Pointe-à-Pitre

Day 3 Roseau

Day 4 Saint-Martin

Day 5 Saint Johns

Day 6 Basseterre (St. Kitts)

Day 7 Sailing

Day 8 Fort-de-France

 

fort saint louis saint-martin

Here are some other popular family ships in the Caribbean:

  • MSC Seascape
  • Wonder of the Seas, from Royal Caribbean
  • Disney Wish
  • Celebrity Ascent (for teens)
  • Sapphire Princess
  • Norwegian Prima
Disney Wish au port

Our suggestions for adult cruises in the Caribbean

With Celebrity Cruises

With its home port in Fort Lauderdale, the Celebrity Equinox is a great choice for sophisticated relaxation in the Caribbean. It’s beautifully decorated and offers gourmet cuisine, a variety of suites with exclusive benefits and a green deck for relaxation.

Without being an excessively expensive cruise, it’s perfect for couples and lovers of fine cuisine and cocktails.

The 2850-passenger ship’s varied destinations include Nassau, Bimini, Cozumel, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Tortola, Puerto Plata and San Juan.

Celebrity Equinox

With Virgin Voyages

Based in Miami, the Scarlet Lady stands out for its innovative approach that breaks with the conventions of traditional cruising. For example, you can forget about queues and classic booths. It’s ideal for fun-loving cruisers, single travelers and groups of friends.

The Scarlet Lady offers a number of appreciated features such as the Razzle Dazzle vegetarian restaurant, the Beach Club in Bimini and the Shake for Champagne option, which lets you order champagne from anywhere on the ship via an app.

Destinations include Bimini in the Bahamas, Puerto Plata, Key West and Cozumel.

Lady Scarlet

With Viking Cruises

If you have the pleasure of sailing on Viking’s West Indies Explorer, you’ll discover that this is not a cruise for the very young. You’ll also benefit from captivating lectures.

An itinerary in the Caribbean aboard the West Indies Explorer looks like this:

You’ll spend 11 days in 9 countries, starting in San Juan and making stops in Tortola, St. Maarten and St. Martin. Kitts and Nevis, St. Kitts and Nevis Lucia, Barbados, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia Thomas, back to San Juan.

On such a trip, you’ll have the chance to hike to the top of Sage Mountain in the Virgin Islands, and end your journey on the beach or visiting historic sites.

Roseau Dominique – Pixabay

In Roseau, Dominica, a visit to Morne Trois Pitons National Park is a must, as is snorkeling at the famous Champagne Reef.

In Saint-Martin, enjoy unique opportunities such as creating your own perfume at a perfumery class or taking a chairlift ride to the top of Sentry Hill.

Sentry Hill

Other popular adult cruises in the Caribbean include the Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess with their magnificent Sky Suites; and the Pomp & Romance in Paradise cruise with Regent Seven Seas.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, choosing the perfect Caribbean cruise can be a challenge, but with the right information, you can plan a maritime getaway that meets all your expectations.

From cultural itineraries to seaside pleasures, as well as ships adapted to different age groups, you’re spoilt for choice. By exploring key criteria such as itinerary, weather, and ship, you can make informed decisions for a heavenly vacation.

Discover our Caribbean travel guides :

This post is also available in: FR

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Marjorie
Marjorie has three passions in life: writing, travel and the world of wellness. The last decade has been full of exploration for her! Her travels have taken her all over the world, from Central America to Asia, Europe and Africa. This former travel consultant loves to inspire us and share her best discoveries. She is also the author of several novels and guides.

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