Caribbean, Cruises

20 Unforgettable Caribbean Cruises for 2018

Caribbean cruises

Remember back in the day when it seemed that Caribbean cruises were designed with retirees in mind? I can remember seeing photos of seniors in Bermuda shorts, laying on the deck and soaking up the sun with white hats on their heads and aviator shades covering their eyes.

Well, those days are long gone, never to return. Fast forward to this time, when Caribbean cruises are the best type of vacation to have, no matter your age. Cruises are full of people from babies to centenarians and everyone in between. If you’re single and looking; single and not looking; married; engaged; divorced or a family trying to figure out how to spend your next vacation, a cruise to the Caribbean is the best bet for an unforgettable Caribbean getaway.

Cruising is one of the most affordable ways to experience the Caribbean. You are provided that unique opportunity to sail the Caribbean Sea and visit several of the most beautiful islands in the world on one trip! There is also the added benefit of paying one price for the room, unlimited meals and endless entertainment and activities!

There are many cruise companies which provide you with hundreds (maybe thousands) of options that you can select to create a cruise that’s perfect for your needs. I’ve been looking at cruises for the past few months and I’ve seen some tempting offers from the major lines such as Norwegian, Carnival and Princess. My preference for this cruise is one that departs from Florida, preferably Miami or Fort Lauderdale.

Best Caribbean Cruises 2018

Here’s my pick of the 20 best Caribbean cruises for 2018. These suggestions cover the length and breadth of the Caribbean from the Bahamas and right away round to Mexico. You can choose a southern Caribbean cruise, an eastern Caribbean cruise or a western Caribbean cruise. Then in addition to these itineraries, you can customise your cruise with shore activities such as island tours, museum visits, snorkelling, horseback riding and picnics on the beach.

I’ve also included 2018 Caribbean cruises on both small and large vessels to suit a range of tastes. The larger vessels carry more people and are generally more active, whilst the smaller cruises are more intimate.

1. 7 Day Eastern Caribbean From Miami, Florida

caribbean cruises - norwegian

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Boat: Norwegian Escape

Itinerary: Embark Miami (Florida); St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands); Tortola (British Virgin Islands); Nassau (Bahamas); Disembark Miami (Florida)

2. 6 Day Western Caribbean From New Orleans, Louisiana

Cruise Line: Carnival

Boat: Carnival Dream

Itinerary: Embark New Orleans (Louisiana); Costa Maya (Mexico); Belize; Cozumel (Mexico); Disembark New Orleans (Louisiana)

3. 5 Day Western Caribbean Getaway from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Cruise Line: Princess

Boat: Crown Princess

Itinerary: Embark Fort Lauderdale (Florida); Roatan (Honduras); Cozumel (Mexico); Disembark Fort Lauderdale (Florida)

4. 14 Day Exotic Caribbean In-Depth

Cruise Line: Seabourn

Ship: Seabourn Odyssey

Itinerary: Embark Bridgetown (Barbados); Mayreau (Grenadines); Roseau (Dominica); Guadeloupe; St. Bart’s; Basseterre (St. Kitts); Jost Van Dyke (British Virgin Islands) St. Maarten; Basseterre (St. Kitts); Anguilla; St John’s (Antigua & Barbuda); Guadeloupe; Fort-de-France (Martinique); Kingstown (St. Vincent & the Grenadines); Disembark Barbados.

5. 7 Day Eastern Caribbean From Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Cruise Line: Princess

Ship: Caribbean Princess

Itinerary: Embark Fort Lauderdale (Florida); Princess Cays (Bahamas); St. Maarten; St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands); Amber Cove (Dominican Republic); Disembark Fort Lauderdale (Florida)

6. 8 Day Cuban Fusion From Montego Bay, Jamaica

Cruise Line: TUI/ Thomson

Ship: TUI Discovery 2

Itinerary: Embark Montego Bay (Jamaica); Havana (Cuba); Cozumel (Mexico); Georgetown (Cayman Islands); Disembark Montego Bay (Jamaica)

7. 24 Night Caribbean Highlights from Southampton, United Kingdom

caribbean cruises - queen mary 2

Cruise Line: Cunard

Ship: Queen Mary 2

Itinerary: Embark Southamption (United Kingdom); Funchal (Madeira); Philipsburg (St. Maarten); St. John’s (Antigua); Fort-de-France (Martinique); Kingstown (St. Vincent); Bridgetown (Barbados); Praia Da Vitoria (Azores); Disembark Southampton (United Kingdom)

8. 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Galveston, Texas

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Liberty of the Seas

Itinerary: Embark Galveston (Texas); Cozumel (Mexico); George Town (Grand Cayman); Falmouth (Jamaica); Disembark Galveston, Texas

9. 11 Day New York to Bridgetown from New York, New York

Cruise Line: Silversea

Ship: Silver Whisper

Itinerary: Embark New York (New York); Hamilton (Bermuda); Philipsburg (St. Maarten); Gustavia (St. Barthelemey); St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda): Castries, St. Lucia; Disembark Bridgetown (Barbados)

10. 3 Day Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Fascination

Itinerary: Embark San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands); Disembark Bridgetown, Barbados

11. 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral

caribbean cruises - disney

Cruise Line: Disney

Ship: Disney Wonder

Itinerary: Embark Port Canaveral (Florida); Cozumel (Mexico); Costa Maya (Mexico); Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands); Disney Castaway Cay; Port Canaveral (Florida)

12. 9 Day Eastern Caribbean from Boston, Massachusetts

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Dawn

Itinerary: Embark Boston (Massachusetts); St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands); Philipsburg (St. Maarten); Basseterre (St. Kitts); St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda); Tortola (British Virgin Islands); Disembark San Juan (Puerto Rico)

13. 4-Day Cuba (Overnight) & Bahamas from Miami, Florida

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Norwegian Sky

Itinerary: Embark Miami (Florida); Havana (Cuba); Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas); Disembark Miami (Florida)

14. 7 Day Bridgetown to Bridgetown from Bridgetown, Barbados

Cruise Line: Silversea

Ship: Silver Wind

Itinerary: Embark Bridgetown (Barbados); Bequia (St. Vincent & the Grenadines); St. George’s (Grenada); Kralendijk (Bonaire); Oranjestad (Aruba); Willemstad (Curacao); Disembark Bridgetown (Barbados)

15. 5 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Miami, Florida

caribbean cruises - royal caribbean

Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean

Ship: Empress of the Seas

Itinerary: Embark Miami (Florida); Labadee (Haiti); Nassau (Bahamas)

16. 11 Day Jamaica to Barbados from Montego Bay, Jamaica

Cruise Line: Star Clippers

Ship: Royal Clipper

Itinerary: Embark Montego Bay (Jamaica); Port Antonio (Jamaica); Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic); Gustavia (St. Barth’s); Falmouth Harbour (Antigua & Barbuda); Terre De Haut (Iles Des Saintes); Cabrits (Cominica); Marigot Bay (St. Lucia); Soufriere (St. Lucia); Kingstown (St. Vincent); Admiralty Bay (Bequia); Disembark Bridgetown (Barbados)

17. 12 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Cape Liberty, New Jersey

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Anthem of the Seas

Itinerary: Disembark Cape Liberty (New Jersey); San Juan (Puerto Rico); Philipsbuer (St. Maarten); St. Johns (Antigua); Castries (St.Lucia); Bridgetown (Barbados); Basseterre (St. Kitts); Disembark Cape Liberty (New Jersey)

18. 25 Day Atlantic Awakening from Miami, Florida

Cruise Line: Oceania Cruises

Ship: Sirena

Itinerary: Embark Miami (Florida); Havana (Cuba); Cienfuegos (Cuba); Santiago de Cuba (Cuba); Punta Cana (Dominican Republic); Great Stirrup Cay (Bahamas); Miami (Florida); St. George (Bermuda); Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain); Arrecife (Portugal); Disembark Lisbon (Portugal)

19. 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise

Cruise Line: Celebrity Cruises

Ship: Celebrity Equinox

Itinerary: Embark Miami (Florida); Key West (Florida); George Town (Grand Cayman); Cozumel (Mexico); Disembark Miami (Florida)

20. 8 Day Pride of Panama, from Jamaica

Cruise Line: Thomson

Ship: TUI Discovery 2

Itinerary: Embark Montego Bay (Jamaica); Puerto Limon (Costa Rica); Colon (Panama); Cartagena (Colombia); Santa Maria (Colombia); Disembark Montego Bay (Jamaica)

How to Book a Caribbean Cruise

Your 2018 Caribbean cruises can be booked easily, but because the best cruises are sold out quickly, you have to act very fast. Ideally, you should aim to book well in advance of your desired cruise date. A few years ago I booked a Carnival cruise for my parents and I followed these exact steps:

1. Start searching for cruises early.

I was interested in an April/ May 2010 cruise and I started my search in September 2008, a full fourteen months in advance. My reasoning for this was twofold. One was that I had heard that the particular cruise was extremely popular and it often sold out quickly. This turned out to be a good move, because the cruise representative told me that half of the cabins on the cruise were already sold out! The second reason was that I knew that I did not have enough money to make a lump sum payment for the cruise, so I needed a bit of time to accumulate the funds. The cruise line allowed me to pay in installments as long as the final payment was completed well in advance of the cruise date.

2. Choose your Caribbean cruise destination, preferred cruise itinerary, and ideal cruise length

I decided to go with a 7 day Caribbean cruise that embarked and disembarked in Barbados. This particular cruise itinerary was one of the best on the market at that time, because the cruise ship visited a different Caribbean island every day. Cruise stops were St. Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and St. Kitts and Nevis and then back to Barbados. When choosing your cruise, look for a Caribbean cruise itinerary that includes islands that you really want to visit and is the length that you desire.

3. Decide who you will book the cruise with.

You can choose to book your Caribbean cruise directly from the cruise line via its website or by telephone. I researched the cruise line and then selected the option to have one of the cruise representatives call me. However, you can choose to book with reputable travel sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz and Vacations to Go. Some tour companies like Thomson, have a dedicated travel suite that offers air, sea and hotel packages. There is no harm in shopping around though. You can check all of these sites to see who offers the best deals with the best amenities.

4. Create a budget for your trip

Your budget may determine which Caribbean cruise you select, the time of the year that you cruise and the type of room that you can afford. Some cruises are more expensive at certain time of the year, so bear that it mind as you conduct your searches. Last minute cruise deals may be available, but you should ask about the types of rooms available and where on the ship they are located. It also does not hurt to ask what your cruise fee includes. It’s important that you find out what’s included in your cruise fee. Most cruise lines will include your room, meals and some beverages. Off the boat activities are not included, so these will be extra charges. If you can book your cruise in advance of your desired travel date, you can better plan for it and include it in your budget.

My Ideal Caribbean Cruise

Although I live in the Caribbean, I have not visited many of the countries in the region. My Caribbean bucket list is extremely long and getting longer as the days go by. If I had to choose from these Caribbean cruises highlighted in this article, I would choose a cruise that includes at least two of the following destinations: the Bahamas, Jamaica, the United States Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Belize.

I’d also choose a cruise that’s between 6 and 9 days in length, just so that I can feel as though I thoroughly relaxed and had time away from my normal life. My preference of activities would be a relaxing catamaran cruise, an island tour or just a visit to the beach where I can swim, snorkel or just sleep under a tree. I’d also select a cruise that has a wide variety of on-board activities such as yoga, cinemas, entertainment shows and a large food court.

Even though exploring is fun, I would be contented on any of these 2018 Caribbean cruises as long as I can spend some time relaxing and just enjoying every minute of doing absolutely nothing.

Fruity cocktails with Caribbean flavours are my favourite beverages for a hot day in the tropics. Here are a few drinks to try on your next visit to Puerto Rico!

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