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Top cruise lines for Western Caribbean cruises

From Mayan mystery to tropical paradise, your next holiday is about to get a whole lot more exciting.

Updated

Caribbean, Cayman Islands, George Town, Luxury resorts and Seven Mile Beach

A classic cruising experience, the Western Caribbean is all about giving you a good dose of island time along with some mainland mainstays that pack a punch.

Think dreamy days spent seaside in Jamaica, Cozumel and the Cayman Islands mixed with the rich history and culture of Mexico and Belize. No wonder this region is so popular.

Best Western Caribbean cruises

Choosing the Western Caribbean was the easy part, now we’ve got you covered with who to cruise with. Whether you like white-gloved butler service or a party at sea, these cruise companies are your top choices for your next vacation.

Best for a breezy budget escape: Carnival

Sail away for less than $50 a night with all the bells and whistles that you’d expect from a mega-sized ship. Meals, onboard activities and entertainment are all covered as well as the opportunity to explore a few islands along the way.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Paypal, Carnival EasyPay, Gift Card, Discover Card, Debit, Western Union, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for families: Disney

Boasting something for every family member — from the littlest up to the great-grandparents, Disney has taken the crown for Cruise Critic’s Best for Families four years in a row. Imaginative play spaces, intimate dining for the adults, Broadway-quality live entertainment, deck parties and exciting nightlife are all on the itinerary.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for young adults: MSC

Finally, a cruise line that rewards you simply for being young and fun. Not only does MSC offer deals for 18- to 29-year-olds but you’ll also find lots to get excited about onboard. Enjoy big theater performances, relax in the many outdoor spaces including the adults-only pool and dance the night away at one of the lounges, bars or the nightclub at sea.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for solo travelers: Norwegian

Going solo? Norwegian’s got you covered with its supplement-free studio cabins built for one. When you’re ready to stretch out, you’ve got access to a lounge reserved only for studio guests where you can watch a movie, have a drink and mingle with other single travelers at hosted gatherings.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for seniors: Celebrity

Celebrity combines modern luxury that appeals to a sophisticated traveler with accessibility features for those with limited mobility or special needs. Top-notch cuisine in elegantly designed dining areas, thoughtful enrichment programs including a series of celebrity lecturers and live entertainment that’ll get you up and dancing.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for all-inclusive luxury: Regent

Experience luxury on the high seas where treating yourself becomes a daily affair. Every dinner is an event with exquisite meals matched with fine wines and your days are spent exploring with your choice of immersive shore excursions. Nights are filled with stage shows and live orchestra music and all cabins are spacious suites with balconies.

The best part? It’s all included so no big surprises once your holiday is over.

  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for first-timers: Royal Caribbean

If you’re not sure where you fit on the cruising spectrum, Royal Caribbean is a good first shot. Test your sea legs with a variety of cabin options that run from inside rooms to grand loft-style suites.

Fill your days with adventure activities — think rock climbing walls and zip lines — or with me-time by the pool or spa. Spend your nights at big-production shows and concerts or a poolside movie and live music tucked away in a quiet lounge.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • Price matches
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, 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 Western 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 Western Caribbean?

The Western Caribbean is a great destination for a last-minute getaway or a carefully planned holiday because ports keep their doors open all year-round. Some months may suit you better than others so consider some of these factors to help you decide:

  • Best weather. December to March is when you’ll find less rain and the sunniest days on average.
  • Best value. April and May mark the shoulder season — also great months to visit when the weather is near-to-perfect and crowds on the islands are fewer, plus you won’t have to pay peak-season prices.
  • Hurricane watch. You’d think that the cheapest time to visit would be from June to November when it’s wetter and storms are a possibility but you’ll find this season as equally busy as any other, especially when school’s out of session. While cruise lines actively avoid storms, if you’re feeling at all uncertain, consider cruise travel insurance to help cover any disappointments.

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

In a region known for its tropical beach vibes and crystal-clear water, you wouldn’t be blamed for lazing the day away on the closest sandy shore. But if you’re keen to squeeze in a little sightseeing, the Western Caribbean has plenty to offer.

  • Progreso, Mexico. Make a beeline for Chichén Itzá, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and step back in time as you explore an ancient Mayan capital.
  • Belize City, Belize. Go cave tubing or kayaking through Nohoch Che’en Park, an underground cave system deep in the Belizean rainforest.
  • Falmouth, Jamaica. Climb up the natural steps of Dunn’s River Falls, 600 ft. of terraced falls with the opportunity to relax in the shallow pools that form on each level.
  • Costa Maya, Mexico. Enjoy the peace on offer in this sleepy fishing village or head inland to visit the multicolored wonder at Bacalar’s Seven Colors Lagoon.
  • Cozumel, Mexico. You’ll be close enough to the mainland to choose between taking a day trip to Mayan ruins in the picturesque seaside city of Tulum, or living out your island fantasies on a dune buggy or catamaran tour.
  • George Town, Cayman Islands. It’s time to head underwater to explore the coral reefs teeming with life in the Cayman Islands. Choose your own adventure with snorkeling, scuba, snuba and even submarine tours on offer.

Bottom line

Everybody loves a good island and the Western Caribbean has exactly that — and so much more. Stay on top of your vacation planning with the latest cruise deals to save on your holiday.

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