There are cruises to suit all tastes, but how do you know which one is right for you? The Caribbean is the world’s number one cruise destination, but not all itineraries are alike. You should select yours based on personal preference.
In addition to sun-splashed beaches fringed with palm trees, the Eastern Caribbean appeals to shoppers enticed by luxury goods and duty-free prices in places like St. Thomas, St. Martin, and San Juan. Water-sports enthusiasts view the Western Caribbean as the best for snorkeling and diving in Grand Cayman, Belize, and Cozumel. Southern Caribbean routes include fewer sea days, which means additional port calls in exotic destinations such as Martinique, Dominica, and Grenada.
When evaluating itineraries, nearly every repeat passenger who has visited a cruise line “private island” agrees it was a highlight of their cruise. According to Holland America Line, Half Moon Cay, their private island in the Bahamas, is the highest-rated port of call on their Caribbean itineraries.
It was easy to see why when I went ashore there recently. In addition to sugary sand beaches and clear turquoise water, the extensive facilities include a Bahamian village and a sheltered lagoon where guests can interact with stingrays. There are also horses trained to take their riders for a trot into the sea, a sandy play area, and a beachfront water park complete with water cannon and slides and floating sea serpents and turtles.
Also popular are winter cruises to the Mexican Riviera, which offers the allure of warm temperatures, beautiful beaches, and lots of shopping.
Although it’s farther away than Mexico or the Caribbean, South America is also a popular destination. When it’s winter in North America, the weather is as sultry as a tango in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.