The ultimate getaway holiday is visiting the spectacular Caribbean islands. What better way to see the islands in all their glory than taking a luxury cruise along the exotic coastline?
Whether you’re planning a family holiday or flying solo on this one, the cruise line options can become overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider when booking a cruise:
- How close am I to the nearest airport?
- Will there be enough activities to keep my children occupied for 27 days?
- Are there any specials running at the moment?
- What are my budget-friendly options?
- How luxurious is luxurious really?
I hear you, and that’s why I put together this fabulous guide to help you pick the best Caribbean cruises that cater to your (and your family’s) needs.
My Bottom Line Up Front: The Best Caribbean Cruise
Choosing the best Caribbean cruise was a difficult task. These cruises all offer something truly magical. But I would have to say that my absolute favorite Caribbean cruise has to be the 6-Night Western Caribbean and Perfect Day Cruise from Royal Caribbean International.
This cruise has something for everyone, from exploring the lush Caribbean tropical islands to ice-skating onboard the ship. In my opinion, it’s got it all: it’s full of family fun, it’s budget-friendly, and it’s luxurious.
My Selection Criteria for the Best Caribbean Cruises
To help me focus on the task at hand and not get sidetracked by the beautiful scenery and great cruise boats, I had to come up with some criteria to help me select the best Caribbean cruises.
So, I made sure that the best Caribbean cruises:
- Catered to each holidaymaker’s needs.
- Had a good balance between onboard activities, entertainment, and shore excursions.
- Suited every type of budget (from budget-friendly and standard to luxurious).
- Were well-established and had good reviews.
- Took their guests to clean, pristine, and popular beach destinations.
- Had pretty reasonable fees and the guests received the service they paid for.
- Had a variety of entertainment available for children and adults.
9 Best Caribbean Cruises
Are you ready to set sail on the cruise of a lifetime?
Fantastic; here’s my list of the nine best Caribbean cruises on offer:
Best Family-Friendly Cruises
Family is so important, and holidays are where we make our happiest and most relaxed memories. Finding family-friendly cruises can be tricky, as you must pick something to keep everyone happy and entertained.
Here’s a closer look at my best family-friendly cruises:
Carnival Conquest Cruise
Carnival Conquest Cruise is the perfect family cruise. Add a visit to a tropical Caribbean island to the mix, and you are guaranteed a good time. Carnival Cruises sail to the Eastern and Southern parts of the Caribbean. They have an excellent variety of cruises to choose from
A cruise lasts two to sixteen days, with stops in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and the Bahamas. A basic package like the Carnival Conquest costs around $139 per person. This cruise will take you from Miami to the Western Caribbean over four days, with a stop in Cozumel on Day 3, where you can explore the Mayan ruins and more.
Onboard entertainment includes:
- Live comedy shows
- Mini Golf
- Piano bars
As for the onshore activities, you will be able to:
- Go shopping
- Explore the famous and pristine beaches of the Caribbean
- Swim with the dolphins
- Visit local villages
Disney Caribbean Cruises
If you’re looking for a family cruise that will keep your children entertained for hours (or days rather), look no further than the Disney Caribbean Cruise. Just because it’s Disney doesn’t mean it’s not for adults. The cruise line has ensured that they cater to adults, while your children have the time of their lives.
A four-night cruise from Galveston to the western Caribbean costs around $1,162 for two guests, which includes activities and entertainment such as:
- Restaurants and lounges
- Adults-only pools
- AquaDuck (an incredible water coaster on the ship)
- Explore gorgeous tropical beaches like Negril and Montego Bay in Jamaica
- Disney Castaway Cay (a private island paradise exclusively for Disney cruise line guests.
- Fireworks at sea
- Disney character experiences
Imagine your children’s faces when they step onto a ship filled with all their favorite Disney characters. I can’t help imagining seeing Captain Jack Sparrow running along the Caribbean beaches.
Royal Caribbean Cruise
Royal Caribbean is definitely ahead of the game when planning unique family cruises. The 6-Night Western Caribbean and Perfect Day Cruise is another fun-filled cruise that will provide fond memories for you and your loved ones.
The cruise costs around $299 and goes from Miami, Florida, to the Bahamas, Haiti, and back to Miami. This cruise is famous for its excellent authentic Italian food, and they have the best sushi.
A few of the fantastic activities onboard include:
- An original production at the onboard theater
- Rock climbing
- Practice your surfing skills on the 40-foot-long FlowRider surf simulator
- Mini golf
Explore the Caribbean’s lush islands and get to mingle with the locals. The island beaches are welcoming and safe for the whole family. This cruise has something for every family member, so set sail on the Explorer of the Seas and get ready for the holiday of a lifetime.
Best Budget-Friendly Cruises
Life is expensive, and it’s so important that we break away from our normal day-to-day lives to reboot. Nothing like a good package deal or budget-friendly cruise gets you into the holiday mood.
Here’s a closer look at my best budget-friendly cruises in the Caribbean:
One of the most budget-friendly cruises is the 7-Day Eastern Caribbean with St. Kitts cruise with the Princess Cruise Line. The cruise costs around $399 per person and goes from Florida to the Bahamas and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
Princess Cruises has some great onboard activities and entertainment, such as:
- Gorgeous sea views from over 1,400 balconies
- Enjoy a casual walk or run on the famous glass walkway known as SeaWalk, which stretches 28 feet beyond the ship’s edge
- Be mesmerized by the whimsical watercolor fantasy light and water show
- If you enjoy stargazing, there’s no better seat than the ship’s deck
- A live onboard theater
- Hosting Broadway shows
- Sports courtsVegas-style casino
Onshore, you have plenty of time to join excursions such as airboat tours (around $59.99 per person) along the island and you can swim in the crystal clear waters of a tropical paradise. What a way to top up on some serious vitamin-sea.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Here’s a cruise that will give you more bang for your buck. The 7-Day Cruise on the Norwegian Epic costs $599 per person and embarks from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cruise line promises a spectacular week-long cruise along the Southern Caribbean coast.
This cruise line is renowned for being one of the best Caribbean cruises, with excellent entertainment and a fantastic dining experience. If you are on this ship, you are looking to have fun. After all, the Norwegian Cruise Line ended to fancy dress codes on cruises.
Here’s a look at some of the onboard entertainment you can expect:
- Live shows
- The Epic Plunge water slide
- Wall climbing
- Onboard shopping
The cruise line lists shore excursions that cater to everyone’s tastes. You’re looking at around $65.00 per person per excursion. The activities range from guided island tours to racing through the waves on a two-person jet ski.
Celebrity Cruise Line
Another mid-market cruise line that offers a spectacular cruise around the Caribbean is the Celebrity Cruise Line. You can choose between a smaller cruise ship that accommodates 48 passengers only or the newly refurbished Celebrity Equinox that can house 2,850 passengers.
Because we are focusing on budget-friendly options, we will look into the smaller ship. The Key-West and Mexico 5-nights Cruise is perfect and affordable. Set sail on the “Celebrity Summit” from Miami, experience five nights on a cruise ship, visit three different ports, and spend two days at sea.
A few activities you can expect onboard are:
- Enjoy a pamper session at the salon
- Watch a movie
- Soak in the heated whirlpool
- Try your luck at the casino
- Play some sports at the courts with your children
- Let your kids enjoy specially designed activities for each age group
Just a heads up: Your cruise fare doesn’t include any shore excursions, but enjoying the tropical beaches is free.
Best Luxury Cruises
Luxury cruises differ from standard or budget-friendly cruises quite a bit. They have much longer itineraries; the shortest cruise you can book is a seven-day week. Some of these cruises last up to three weeks.
So why not spoil yourself or a loved one, and book one of these wonderful luxury cruises?
If you enjoy the finer things in life, then Seabourn Cruises will not disappoint. Their cruise liner fleet has beautiful modern accommodation, excellent customer service, and an almost 1-to-1 ratio of guest to crew staff (that’s a lot of individual attention).
The Panama Canal Quest will take you on an iconic cruise from Miami along the breathtaking Caribbean coast. The cruise costs around $7,051 per person for a 14-night cruise, and you will visit little islands such as Belize, Banana Coast, and the Panama Canal.
Some onboard luxuries and activities include:
- A personal suite stewardess
- Complementary water sports
- Pristine swimming pools, hot tubs, and fitness center
- Free Wi-Fi
- 24-hour room service
- Nine-hole putting course
Seabourn provides a complementary list of optional excursions that cater to general and special interests at the ports of call on your cruise.
Holland America Cruise Line
Another luxurious cruise line to try is the Holland America Cruise Line. The cruise line offers posh onboard amenities and activities carefully designed to keep holidaymakers entertained and happy. The 14-Night Caribbean Cruise is an absolute must.
The cruise costs $1189 per person for accommodation with a balcony (and it’s worth every penny – the views are spectacular). The ship embarks from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and slowly travels along the Caribbean Islands.
Onboard activities and entertainment include:
- The Rolling Stone Rock Room
- Blue’s club
- Complimentary workshops
- Table games
- Kids and tweens entertainment programs
- Fitness center
The ship docks at several stunning Caribbean beaches along the way. Enjoy activities such as sea trek helmet diving and rainforest dives. Holland America offers two complementary shore excursions up to $116 per tour to all their guests.
Cunard Cruise Line
I have saved one of the best luxury cruises for last. The Cunard Cruise Line has a 27-nights cruise called the Grand Eastern Caribbean cruise and will cost you around $2,663 per person.
The ship departs from Southampton, England, and you will sail across the Atlantic twice, as this is a no-flight cruise. This cruise line only operates three ships, and only one sails the transatlantic route.
This is a very upper-class cruise line, and the cabin crew is always well dressed with white gloves. Expect to be invited to gala nights in the largest ballroom at sea. You will need to dress in your best.
Onboard activities and entertainment include:
- Evening performances
- Gala nights
- Fine dining
- Live music
- Entertainment for children
- Traditional afternoon tea
- In-house planetarium
- Access to Godiva bars and lounges (at an additional cost)
You can lounge on the gorgeous Caribbean beaches when the ship docks or explore the local cities and villages. You also have the option to tailor your experiences yourself by renting a vehicle and going site-seeing or joining a local paint class.
You have 27 nights, and the world is your oyster.
Best Caribbean Cruises FAQs
Question: What is the best month to cruise the Caribbean?
Answer: You can cruise the Caribbean all year round. However, if you want to miss the busy season, November to early December is the best time. The beaches won’t be as crowded, and you will be able to appreciate the beauty and history of this tropical paradise.
Question: How far in advance should I book a cruise for the best possible price?
Answer: Ideally, you should try and book your cruise at least six to twelve months ahead for the best possible price. It’s important to know that sometimes booking too early can result in missing out on flash deals. It’s always a risk you take.
Question: Which part of the cruise ship is the best?
Answer: Most people say that the cabins in the front or very back of the cruise ship have the best views and are the best part of a cruise ship.
My Final Thoughts on the Best Caribbean Cruises
Putting this guide together tempted me to jump on another cruise ship and sail off into the sunset. I hope this article did the same for you and that you feel more at ease about picking the right cruise for you and your loved ones.
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read more about fabulous holiday destinations and getaways, check out the St. Lucia destination guide and the Sandals Negril guide for more inspiration.