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Best companies for a Caribbean cruise

Sail away to a handful of the 26 countries in the area with these cruise lines.

Updated

Panoramic view of an island on the Caribbean.

Escape for a weekend getaway or a longer holiday where you can truly clock onto island time. Put your explorer hat on and discover some of the regions most beautiful beaches, legendary ruins and indulge in a whole new world of cuisine.

Best cruises to the Caribbean

Here are our top picks for your next tropical getaway where you can look forward to exploring one island paradise after another.

Best for a blissful budget escape: Norwegian

This fun, laid back cruise line manages to pull off an upscale experience for a fraction of the price making it a top choice for budget-friendly travelers. How low are we talking? You could be cruising from as low as $30 a night.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for honeymooners: Princess

The company that brought us The Love Boat continues to offer up all the necessities for romance at sea. Honeymoon packages filled with champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries, couples massages and watching the sunset over a meal for two on your private balcony are all on the agenda.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):

Best for a party at sea: Carnival

Elaborate bars and packed nightclubs where you can dance the night away to tunes crafted by DJs trained by the official DJ of the Miami Heat. For something different, you can opt for one of Carnival’s LIVE Concert Series cruises.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Paypal, Carnival EasyPay, Gift Card, Discover Card, Debit, Western Union, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for families: Disney

With a roster packed full of kid-friendly entertainment options, Disney has firmly carved out its place at the top of the family cruising totem pole. Disney magic oozes into all areas of cruising from the dining rooms to the theatre right down to some of the most elaborate kid’s play areas at sea.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for cultural immersion: Azamara

Spend more time in port with regular overnight stays and dock at smaller, less-traveled ports. Get to the heart of the history, culture and natural beauty of the Caribbean with Azamara’s complimentary AzAmazing Evenings in a unique location along your cruise.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for seniors: Celebrity

Focused on modern luxury for a sophisticated traveler, Celebrity’s one of a handful of cruise lines to offer seniors’ discounts. Onboard you’ll find a high level of intimacy and service, and a wide variety of accommodation to suit guests with special needs.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for all-inclusive luxury: Crystal Ocean Cruises

Go ahead and treat yourself, we won’t judge. Think penthouse suites, Michelin-inspired cuisine, fine wines, premier entertainment and enrichment activities. Best of all, there are no nasty surprises at the end of the cruise because it’s all included.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for high-octane thrills: Royal Caribbean

This aptly named liner ticks a lot of boxes — but for those looking to get the adrenaline pumping, you’ll find activities like surf simulators, bumper car tracks, water parks and laser tag. And that’s only onboard. Ziplining over the cruise line’s private island in Hispaniola could be in your future.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • Price matches
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for foodies: Windstar

You’ve got at least one chef-led market tour on every sailing, locally-sourced cuisine onboard and workshops and cooking demos with a James Beard Foundation chef on some ships. End your day with a menu crafted to highlight the flavors of succulent Caribbean cuisine.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

How we picked the best cruises.

When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the Caribbean.

We also considered dining onboard, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation

When is the best time to cruise to the Caribbean?

Luckily, the weather is fairly consistent across this region of about 7,000 different islands, whether you’re planning a quick jaunt to Cuba or heading as far south as Aruba.

Caribbean ports are open all year-round so you can fit a cruise in whenever suits your schedule or, take in some of these factors to help you decide:

  • Best weather. December to April is when you’ll find the sunniest days and less rain on average.
  • Off-peak season. The cheapest time to visit falls during hurricane season, June to November. Historically, most hurricanes tend to hit between August and October and while cruise lines will actively avoid any storms, it’s a good idea to look into cruise travel insurance.
  • Carnival. Most islands celebrate their own version of Carnival — similar to Mardi Gras — and you can be part of the festivities which often start weeks leading up to the main event.
  • School holidays. If you’re craving more serenity during your cruise, avoid sailing during the school holidays when decks get packed with families with kids in tow.

What are the must-do cruise excursions in the Caribbean?

  • Morne Trois Pitons National Park, Dominica. A taste of what life in the islands was like before mankind came around. Hike to the volcanic boiling lake, swim in Emerald Pool and gaze in awe at the majestic Trafalgar Falls.
  • Belize City. Looking for an adventure? This gateway to Central America lets you snorkel with sharks, zipline over the jungle and cave-tube through an ancient, darkened cavern.
  • Food tour, Puerto Rico. Sample mofongo, camarones en cerveza and piña colada in the place where they do it best. Or learn how to do it yourself to recreate the Caribbean magic at home.
  • Maho Beach, St Maarten. Nice for a dip but the drawcard here is to watch as the planes pass close overhead. Aim to be there after midday when the bigger planes start arriving.
  • Dunns River Falls, Jamaica. Spend the day climbing up 600ft of cascading water before you race through the forest down 3,280ft of twists and turns by bobsled.
  • Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos. Explore the islands by catamaran with a bit of snorkeling, some relaxing on a secluded beach and cocktails and music as you navigate the turquoise blue waters.

Bottom line

A cruise through the Caribbean is one of the best ways to see as much of the region as possible, whether you’re a cruising newbie or permanently on island time. Don’t let a good deal pass you by with these top cruise deals.

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