Choosing an eastern Caribbean cruise can become overwhelming with the many cruise ship lines sailing to many different ports in the Caribbean, and including the many choices in lengths of cruises. From a 3 day weekend cruise to a week to 10 days or more at sea, deciding on a destination can be challenging. You will find the clearest, most turquoise blue waters you will ever set your eyes upon anywhere in the Caribbean.
Here are 4 eastern Caribbean cruise destinations. Each one having its own unique characteristics and also sharing the enchanting tropical allure of the Caribbean.
Bahamas – Technically not part of the eastern Caribbean, but found on many cruise itineraries, The Bahamas are less than an hour's flight from Florida. This makes it an ideal eastern cruise destination for first time cruise travelers, families, and those who would prefer a 3 or 4 day shorter cruise. Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, and Freeport, are the two main cruise ship ports. Nassau is a bustling city for travelers who enjoy shopping in boutiques and sightseeing by carriage ride in the city. From Nassau, you can access some of the other islands by water taxi, like Paradise Island where you will find the Atlantis Resort and fascinating aquariums and beaches. Freeport is a nature lover's paradise. Tour the Bahamian national parks by bicycle or jeep on a birding tour. Explore the coral reef by snorkeling or scuba diving. Tour secluded beaches and inland waterways by kayak or canoe. There are many more activities where you will be able to experience what is known as "island time". The Bahamian term used to refer to their laid back, relaxed lifestyle.
Puerto Rico – The Puerto Rican landscape is a varying medley of mountains and valleys, tropical rainforest, deserts, caves, and coastal flatlands. The cultural influences found in Puerto Rico are just as diverse. Architecture, food, music and dance, give evidence to the island's history under Spanish reign, the arrival of African slaves, the original inhabitants of the Taino Indians, South American and European characteristics, as well as the United States. There are many activities and attractions to do and see that one can never experience the breath taking beauty and charm of Puerto Rico just in one day. From the old colonial city of San Juan with its coblestone streets, unique boutiques and shops, to the lush mountains and valleys of the interior, to surfing off magnificent sun drenched beaches, Puerto Rico welcomes travelers to visit and experience what is truly Caribbean.
St. Maarten / St. Martin – One island, two distinct cultures, occupy this pristine island gem in the eastern Caribbean. St. Maarten, the Dutch colony, is alive with tourist attractions and entertainment making this side of the island more appealing to Americans. St. Martin, the French colony, is more subdued and caters to tourists more with a casual, relaxed flair. Shop until you drop, as the saying goes, is quite the experience on both sides of the island with its open border and many duty free shops and markets. Dining on the island consist of a harmony of French and West Indies Creole in St. Louis. Martin, and European, Asian, and American fare on the Dutch side of St.. Maarten. This island has the same land and sea activities as other Caribbean destinations having white sand beaches, cooling trade winds, lush forests, and crystal clear turquoise waters. What makes St. Maarten and St. Martin unique is its people. Where else can one find two different cultures occupying the same island, and the people embrace each one freely?
Turks / Caicos Islands – An archipelago consisting of 40 islands lies just south of the Bahamas and is rather undiscovered compared to its northern neighbor. Being one of the eastern Caribbean's best kept secrets gives vacationers a sense of untouched, unspoiled remote paradise. Tours of the Caribbean's largest limestone cave system, Conch Bar Caves, as well as nature tours through the national park and boat rides along the coast, provide thrills and excitation kids will really enjoy. Offshore, the islands provide world class diving and deep sea fishing, as well as parasailing, water skiing, international regatta races, and plenty more. On land you will find world class resorts and spas, and gourmet restaurants that serve imported fare as well as local seafood delights. The government of Turks and Caicos is very active in the preservation and conservation of its natural beauty, leaving the islands unspoiled and less commercialized.
An eastern Caribbean cruise that is close to sea ports and airports from Florida, make these destinations more accessible and affordable for both short and longer cruise voyages. Many travelers decide to return to this area for another cruise to experience the sights and beauty of other destinations.