Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

Why Choose an Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary?

An Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary offers the most choices for cruising. Almost every cruise line offers some type of itinerary that either concentrates on the Eastern Caribbean or at least visit one or two ports.  Not only can you depart from the area’s main ports (Miami or Fort Lauderdale),  but include other ports on the east coast from New York City to Charleston.  You can even start your cruise in Europe, during repositionings in spring and fall.

Eastern Caribbean trips range from a three- or four-night cruise to 10 nights and beyond. Travelers can choose cruises that range all budgets.  From an inexpensive cruise to an ultra luxury one.   For the most part, the Eastern Caribbean includes the British and American Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten and St. Martin.  Sometimes included is the Bahamas and Grand Turk.  Many itineraries also include a private island stop at Labadee (Royal Caribbean), Half Moon Cay (Holland America), Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian Cruise Line), or Princess Cays (Princess Cruises).

Long-time cruisers might yawn at the idea of an Eastern Caribbean cruise that usually includes St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Nassau, as well as San Juan.  But this area is great for first-time cruisers, because these ports of call, are some of the most developed for tourists.  You will find plenty of organized activities, water sports, duty-free shopping, and historic site tours.

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Best Time for an Eastern Caribbean Cruise

High season for an Eastern Caribbean Cruise runs from December thru April.  This time is popular for tourists from the U.S., Canada, and Europe when winter is cold.  Some cruise lines do offer summer cruises in the Caribbean, which is becoming a family oriented destination.  Weather temperatures are only going to vary slightly from winter to summer in the Caribbean.  Keep in mind that cruise companies lower the rates once kids are back in school.  This is when you will find your bargains.  Please note that Hurricane seasons runs from June thru November.  August – October is traditionally the storm months. and extreme weather could make your cruise vacation problematic.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itineraries

If you are planning a short cruise, and you can go anytime, several cruise lines such as Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal offer a year-round selection out of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral.  Traditional Eastern Caribbean Itineraries offer a wide range of ships that serve the region on traditional seven-night sailings departing from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Port Canaveral. There are plenty of options to choose from.  Heading to Florida is no longer a requirement for people who want an Eastern Caribbean cruise.  Baltimore, New York, Charleston and Jacksonville have become home bases for several Caribbean sailings, both short and long. Because of the extra time it takes to get down to the islands, expect a few more sea days and weather that might not be the warmest until you reach a lower latitude.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Ports

Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

Amber Cove on the north coast of the Dominican Republic is one of the eastern Caribbean’s newest ports of call.  Carnival Corporation opened the cruise center in 2015 and Amber Cove has quickly become popular with cruisers arriving on Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Costa, and P&O ships.  Those who love fun in the sun will especially appreciate Amber Cove.  Although a purpose-built cruise center and not an island city or town, Carnival has added many activities and features that travelers will love like beaches, swimming pools, cabanas, zip-lining, a dolphin center, retail shops, and places to eat and drink.

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Dominica

Although several of the islands in the eastern Caribbean are famous for their towns and good shopping, Dominica will appeal to anyone who loves the outdoors and nature. In fact, it’s often called the “Nature Island”.  Dominica is perfect for hiking, river rafting, snorkeling, and a wide range of outdoor pursuits.  One fun snorkeling excursion on Dominica is south of the capital Rousseau at Soufriere. This area has geothermal vents under the water whose gasses make the area all “bubbly” and like snorkeling in a glass of champagne.

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Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

This small island chain’s claim to fame is its powdery white sandy beaches, and position on a major coral reef. So water sports such as diving, snorkeling and catamaran excursions are popular. Lined with pastel-painted wood buildings, Cockburn Town contains the governor’s house, old churches, the public library and a small plaza containing the Columbus Monument, which claims that the explorer landed there in 1492.

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Labadee, Haiti

arnival Corporation has Amber Cove on the north shore of the Dominican Republic, and Royal Caribbean has Labadee on the north shore of Haiti. This private beach resort  offers lots of fun on the beach and in the pools, along with other water sports like kayaking, parasailing, and snorkeling. The cruise line also offers shore excursions outside the resort for those who want to see more of the Haitian countryside.

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Nassau, Bahamas

The Straw Market is a Nassau tradition, and you’ll find all sorts of touristic souvenirs.  A day pass to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island gets you access to most of the must-see sights at the resort, such as the Dig, the marine habitats and their beach. Or go to Blue Lagoon Island to make friends with the dolphins. You can also visit the 18th-century Fort Charlotte and roam the dungeons and underground passageways, and see the waterless moat. Make sure to check out the amazing views of the harbor from the ramparts.  Of course you can also head to the beach and enjoy some water sports.

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St. Maartin, St. Martin

St. Maarten is the Dutch side of an eastern Caribbean island with two distinct cultures–Dutch and French. Philipsburg on the Dutch side is the hub, with streets crammed with duty-free jewelry shops, electronics and liquor. Marigot is the capital of the French St. Martin, and is filled with designer boutiques and fabulous restaurants, bistros and cafes. Don’t miss Sunset Bar & Grill, which sits at the end of the runway at Princess Juliana International Airport.

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St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., Charlotte Amalie

St. Thomas is the cruise lines’ most popular port in the Caribbean, with ships visiting most every day. Ships dock at either Havensight or Crown Bay. These two ports are on opposite sides of Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas.  The Charlotte Amalie harbor on St. Thomas is in a beautiful setting, and the town certainly has enough stores to tempt every traveler.  St. Thomas has many offshore excursion options for such activities as sailing or snorkeling. The area has clear water and many old shipwrecks, which make diving a good choice, too. Other popular St. Thomas excursions include golf, rides on an Atlantis submarine under the ocean, or a seaplane or helicopter ride over the ocean. Those who spend most of their day shopping at Havensight Mall might want to take the nearby cable car to the top of Paradise Point.

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ships dock near the old town, and it’s fun to explore such an historic city.  If you haven’t been to San Juan before, spending the day in the old part of the city and visiting the two major fortresses is a good introduction. If you want to venture out to see more of the island, hiking in the El Yunque National Park is interesting and a way to get some exercise. If your ship is overnighting in San Juan, you might want to take a kayaking tour of the bio-luminescent bay near Fajardo. Paddling at night through a mangrove forest to a quiet bay filled with glowing micro-organisms is certainly memorable!

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Tortola, British Virgin Islands

It’s all about beaches and water sports, although hiking and shopping are also popular. Take the ferry to Virgin Gorda and snorkel and swim among the prehistoric boulders that make up “The Baths.” Or head over to Jost van Dyke and indulge at some of the region’s most famous beach bars.  Try Foxy’s and The Soggy Dollar.

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Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Not many large cruise ships visit Virgin Gorda, but this interesting island is one of the British Virgin Islands and is popular with small ships and for day trippers from Tortola or St. Thomas.  Virgin Gorda has several nice beaches, but is most famous for its area of giant boulders called The Baths.

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Most Popular Eastern Caribbean Cruises

Celebrity Summit, all about cruises, best cruise deals, best priced cruises, cruise vacation, Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary, last minute cruisesCelebrity Summit

The Celebrity Summit reached the peak of modern luxury with a grand makeover in March 2016. Their first Rooftop Terrace provides a chic new way to experience the great outdoors with creative cocktails, favorite snacks, and movies alfresco. Craving Italian? Tuscan Grille serves up fresh pasta and succulent dry-aged steaks. Enjoy an unordinary dinner at the innovative Qsine®, then top off the night with a chilled Peartini at the ice-topped Martini Bar. The Penthouse and Royal suites have glimmering new marble touches, elegant fixtures, plush seating, and more. Celebrity Summit has the privilege of being captained by first American woman to command a cruise ship, Captain Kate McCue.

Regal Princess, all about cruises, best cruise deals, best priced cruises, cruise vacation, Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary, last minute cruisesRegal Princess

Enjoy sweeping views from one of more than 1,400 balconies on Regal Princess or stroll on the SeaWalk®, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship! From the tranquil Sanctuary, a retreat reserved for adults, to the dazzling Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show and more, you’ll find diversions for every mood.  On every Princess ship, you’ll find so many ways to play, day or night. Explore The Shops of Princess, celebrate cultures at their Festivals of the World or learn a new talent — their on board activities will keep you engaged every moment of your cruise vacation.  Original musicals, dazzling magic shows, feature films, top comedians and nightclubs that get your feet movin’ and groovin’. There’s something happening around every corner; luckily, you have a whole cruise of days and nights to experience it all.  Top Cruise Deals at Avoya Travel – Up to 75% Off!

Carnival Dream, all about cruises, best cruise deals, best priced cruises, cruise vacation, Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary, last minute cruisesCarnival Dream

Even before its January 2017 makeover — which welcomed Carnival favorites like Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, the Alchemy Bar and Bonsai Sushi — Carnival Dream had a lot to love. The ship is one of the biggest in Carnival’s fleet with dining options abound, and you’ll never be bored with activities ranging from themed trivia and charades to comedy shows and top-deck dance parties.  Carnival Dream offers something that can be hard to find on other ships of its size: a place to escape all the action. The Lanai Promenade, a wraparound exterior walkway on Deck 5, has ample seating and four cantilevered hot tubs, yet never seems to get crowded, even on sea days.

Carnival Pride

Long, narrow, sleek as a knife and very fast, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride, launched in 2002, is the second ship in the cruise line’s Spirit Class. Carnival’s long-time interior designer, Joe Farcus, chose Icons of Beauty as the ship’s theme: beauty in life, beauty in art, beauty in the world’s architecture, beauty in the human body and in the human spirit.  At 963 feet, with 1,062 passenger cabins, 14 bars and lounges, four pools and five hot tubs, this ship was made for active participation. Carnival’s passengers come onboard knowing that they will have access to 24-hour partying, food and entertainment. A large and well-equipped kids’ center, Camp Carnival’s Fun Club, is one of the line’s signature features, luring families with kids of all ages: Everyone gets to play.

Nieuw Amsterdam, all about cruises, best cruise deals, best priced cruises, cruise vacation, Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary, last minute cruisesNieuw Amsterdam

Borrowing its name from the city of New Amsterdam (now known as New York City), this 2,106-passenger member of the Holland America fleet is famous for its extensive art collection valued at more than $3 million. Guests can admire works from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein through a complimentary self-guided iPod tour.  Passengers can also pass the time by the pool or in the Greenhouse Spa, while more enriching programs include the new America’s Test Kitchen, the BBC Earth Experiences and photography classes in the Digital Workshop, powered by Windows. While the ship offers youth clubs for kids ages 3 to 17, most activities are geared towards adults.  When it comes to dining, guests can choose from nine restaurants, including the popular Sel de Mer French seafood restaurant and the new Master Chef’s Table Pop Up that’s available on sailings of eight nights or more. Top Cruise Deals at Avoya Travel – Up to 75% Off!

30 Comments

  1. Crystal

    Hi,

    I am from Malaysia so since I was little I used to visit the islands and beaches in my country but still, the Bahamas is a dream!!! You mentioned we can swim with the dolphins there but do you know whereabouts we can swim with the pigs and the stingrays? ANd how can we get there? Really want to know about it!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Crystal, and thanks for learning about an Eastern Cruise Itinerary. Swimming with the pigs is something you can do if you take a Bahamas cruise. Several of the islands offer this. I guess I would need to know what itinerary you have chosen to see what is available for shore excursions. The best way to get there, I am not sure what you mean. With a cruise, you pick a home port to leave out of. You can choose a home port close to home, or you can fly to a port for a cruise that interests you. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask 🙂

      Reply
  2. Maryann Breece

    I really would love to go on a cruise. The Eastern Caribbean would probably be perfect for me. Since I have never been on a cruise before. Having the touristy stuff would make me feel more comfortable than just jumping in head first to other cultures. Thank You for this information.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Maryann. I agree, this would make a perfect first time cruise for you. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Reply
  3. Kim

    I have previously cruised twice, both to Nroway and the fjords. Absolutely wonderful experience being on a cruise and so relaxing. I have to say that I have always wondered if these types of cruises would be as good and by the sounds of it yes! Thanks for the very informative article here. I will be sure to visit again!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Kim, I am glad I opened your eyes to other wonderful cruises! When you start planning, and need anything further, please don’t hesitate to ask.

      Reply
  4. Dan

    This review is very exhaustive! Full of information of every aspect. I never been in a cruise but I can feel the excitement just by reading your post.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Dan! Now you need to start planning. Cruising is fun!

      Reply
  5. Thabo

    The more I read your articles the more I am getting sold to doing some ship cruising in my life.
    When I start I want to start with the Bahamas as this is a great option for beginning. I like the fact that it has a lot of outdoor activities you can indulge in.

    I am loving all these Eastern Caribbean cruises since they have a longer stay and you can get inexpensive cruise ships for a beginner like me.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      A Bahamas or an Eastern Caribbean cruise are both great first cruise options! You can go for a shorter cruise with a Bahamas cruise, which is great. I just don’t like a shorter cruise. Seems like I am having so much fun, and 3 or 4 days just comes too quickly. An Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary is great for the cruise length, and the wonderful ports!

      Reply
  6. sumit

    Hi,
    You have given such great information on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. I have always wanted to take a cruise, but wasn’t sure which one was right for me. Your website has provided all the information I need to start planning. Thanks so much.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading about an Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary. It really is a fantastic way to start cruising. I think you will love it. Let me know if you need any help in reserving your cruise.

      Reply
  7. catherine

    I have always wanted to go on a cruise and the fact that you so many dining options like sushi has just sold the idea to me. This is a fantastic source of information that I will endeavor to return to when I am getting ready to book. Thank you so much for sharing with this. Great job!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      People don’t realize the choices you have on a cruise and when booking a cruise. A great way to begin cruising Catherine, is with an Eastern Caribbean Cruise or a Bahamas cruise. Both are great choices. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

      Reply
  8. Robert M Doyle

    Some top-notch cruises! Great places to go in the Caribbean. I was in Belize before. Would love to see Costa Rica, but I will have to save some more for that experience. Thanks for sharing this. A great site for comparing destinations and cruise companies for deals!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by Robert! Yes, with so many cruising options, it is nice to be able to have a little help with information. Makes deciding and planning much easier. Costa Rica is beautiful, you will have to let me know when you are ready to go.

      Reply
  9. Eric

    Eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary sounds great, and to tell you the truth I never knew where Turks and Caicos were before this post lol. One thing that wasn’t clear is how many destinations let you go zip lining, the images made it look quite fun?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Quite a few of the ports will let you go zip lining. It seems to be a popular cruise activity. I do believe you would love it! Thanks for reading my Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary.

      Reply
  10. Ben

    Hey Leahrae.

    Another amazing article. Those boats looks pretty massive. I really love cruises. And being on a boat that huge is like being in a small city, but moving on water. Thanks for tbose ideas!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Ben! Thanks for visiting Beach Travel Destinations and reading about an Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary

      Reply
  11. Carolyn

    My first cruise was an Eastern Caribbean cruise out of Miami and I love it. I went with my University Roommate and it was the perfect introduction to cruising… great stops and lots of great weather for enjoying the pool and amenities on board.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Carolyn, that was the perfect first cruise to take for sure. Please come back when you are ready to plan your next vacation!

      Reply
  12. Mick Krug

    By selecting a good cruise with an Itinerary, it gives the traveler a chance to see what islands they want to visit first hand and the things they want to do there when they arrive. Great idea for the cruise itinerary! Better vacation planning will always lead to a great time to be had rather than no planning at all. Very useful article!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Mick for taking time to leave me comments, and I agree!

      Reply
  13. Mick Krug

    An Eastern Caribbean Cruise has a lot to offer. Great ports that you can visit. Plenty to do and lots of good meals on board. The only Island I haven’t seen yet is St Maartin. Virgin Gorda and St. John in the Virgin Islands are two must see destinations. The beaches don’t get any better then that!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I have to agree with you Mick on Virgin Gorda and St. John. And the Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary is the way to go. This Caribbean cruise has a lot to offer for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  14. Amy

    Great info and thanks! I love the descriptions of each port of call, and I have always wanted to go to San Juan. I love kayaking so that really appeals to me! I think they also have a rain forest! I didn’t know that the Eastern Caribbean cruises include the British and American Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and St. Martin. I think I would want to fly down south from NY to start the cruise, so that I don’t have to waste a few days cruising through colder waters. Love the vacation ideas!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Amy! Thanks for visiting my Eastern Caribbean Cruise Itinerary. It is probably, in my opinion, one of the best cruises to take in the Caribbean. Please come back by when you are ready to make your reservations!

      Reply
  15. Chris

    Hi

    I have booked a cruise fro this years holiday, which is leaving in three weeks. the cruise is going around the Med, i will be looking to book another one as soon as i get back.
    I must say after reading your post on Eastern Caribbean cruises, i think you have made my mind up for me.

    Keep up with your post they give great information.

    Thanks Chris

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Chris! An Eastern Caribbean cruise is wonderful. But you are going on a GREAT cruise. Have fun and come back when you are ready to book.

      Reply

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