Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean For Your Next Cruise?

Nov 14, 2023

Eastern, Western or Southern Caribbean For Your Next Cruise?

Welcome back to Byte Size Cruises! Our goal here is to give you the best and most up to date information on cruising and cruise travel. If that sounds interesting to you and you enjoy cruises as much as we do, click to subscribe! Today we are going to review cruising in the Caribbean and all the different routes available so you can choose the best one for your next vacation.

When we are talking about Caribbean cruises, there are basically three different itineraries you can choose from: Eastern, Western or Southern. While the Bahamas and Bermuda aren’t technically a part of the Caribbean, you might go to one or both of these locations while on a Caribbean cruise. The most readily available Caribbean cruises will be to the Eastern or Western Caribbean, with the Southern being less common and also further away.

If you’re looking at a cruise to the Western Caribbean, generally you will depart from a port located around the southeast portion of the United States, such as Port Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, etc. On a cruise in the Western Caribbean, you’re looking at going to Cozumel, Mexico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, etc.

Unlike other Caribbean cruises, you’re going to have access to more culture on a Western Caribbean cruise.

You’ll be visiting islands that are less modernized and be able to visit several historic locations, such as the Mayan Ruins.

These cruises are less about jumping off the ship and hitting a beach and more about going on excursions and really experiencing the place you are at. There certainly are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Western Caribbean, so you can find them there, they will just be less built up and less touristy than what you’ll find in other parts of the Caribbean.

If you’re a first time cruiser, a Western Caribbean cruise can be a great fit for you, especially if you’re looking to try a bit of everything cruising has to offer. You’ll have a few days at sea to enjoy the ship as well as the opportunity to explore and adventure while at port.

Let's move on to the Eastern Caribbean! On an Eastern Caribbean cruise you’ll most likely stop at one or two of the British Virgin Islands, Tortola, Haiti, etc.

A cruise to the Eastern Caribbean will also depart from the southeastern United States and on one of these cruises you’re going to get a lot of sandy beaches and a lot of shopping. These ports are very built up and modernized with many different stores, restaurants, cafes, etc.

You’ll have the opportunity to spend the day on white, sandy beaches while at port. These islands are more resort-like. If you’re looking for a cruise with lots of rest and relaxation, the Eastern Caribbean is the best pick for you.

Last but not least, there’s the Southern Caribbean, where you’ll find itineraries including stops at Aruba, Barbados, Antigua, etc. These cruises will likely depart from Florida or San Juan.

On these cruises you’re going to get a nice mix of everything, especially really beautiful beaches and pristine islands.

Each port will have shopping, great restaurants to visit, and also spaces to relax and enjoy. Out of the three potential Caribbean itineraries, the Southern Caribbean is going to be your more expensive option, especially if you leave from San Juan, but these islands are incredibly beautiful and the weather is nearly always perfect.

There’s going to be a nice mix of things to do; if you’re really interested in culture and history, there will be options for you as well as for those who want to spend the day relaxing on the beach.

Based on the type of cruise you are looking for, you can choose which Caribbean location is best for you. Adventure and culture? Hit the Western Caribbean. Relaxation and shopping? The Eastern Caribbean is for you. You want a bit of both combined with perfect weather? Travel to the Southern Caribbean. 

Have you cruised to the Caribbean? What was your favorite itinerary? We would love to hear from you! Comment below.


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