Travel which part of the caribbean to visit or do a cruise?


Apr 14, 2006
my friend and i want to go to the caribbean. we're planning on going somewhere for a few days in january through march (no exact date). i want nice beaches, good snokeling, lots to do/see, and perhaps shopping. i'm not sure which island(s) to visit or would it be better to do a cruise? also maybe some resort/cruise suggestions (not expensive) would be great.


Mar 11, 2010
Planet Earth
we did a cruise out of san juan and had 6 ports. i loved that we had a port each day since i'm not big on staying on the boat all day. we went to st. thomas, dominica, st. lucia, st. marteen, st kitts and barbados. I would totally go back on this cruise. there are so many things you can do on each island.

st. thomas - we went to the beach and shopped/ate lunch at the marina.
domnica - we took a rainforest hike & champagne snorkeling tour with bumpiing tours. wonderful! highly recommend.
st. lucia - we took an island tour with Cosol. we also got to snorkel on a private beach and saw the pitons/volcanos. wonderful- highly recommend.
st kitts- we spent the day at the beach.
st marteen - we took an island tour and spent some time in the french part and the orient beach.
barbados- we took a catamaran ride and swam with the turtles- fun!

Good luck with whatever you choose. you really can't go wrong with any of the caribbean. there are so many excursions you can take.


Shoe and Bag Addict
Oct 12, 2008
Charlotte, NC
When picking a Caribbean cruise, I think it is next to impossible to get everything that you want so just looks at what is the most appealing. If you go out of Florida, you will either be heading to the east or west. Generally, the eastern Caribbean will hit St. Thom, St. Maarten and San Juan. To get out further, you will probably need to leave out of San Juan. I would suggest avoiding a cruise that stops the Bahamas. We went on a cruise to the Bahamas in March a few years ago and the water was cold and the Atlantic was very rough. I also wet for a land based trip to the Bahamas many years ago and it was freezing cold - 55 degrees. Also, I recommend avoiding Jamaica, though the excursions can be lovely. We enjoyed Dunn's River Falls, but we went on vacation there and were the only group on Christmas Day - I suspect that it is a madhouse otherwise. It's rough.

For a cruise, I prefer the Western Caribbean. For land based vacation, I definitely prefer the Eastern caribbean. I think Grand Cayman and Cozumel are great ports - lots to do, easy to get around, lots of excursions. Also, you get a decent amount of time at the ports. Cozumel is usually a long stop so you an play at the beach or do an excursion and still have the evening to party at the wild bars near the port. If you go on a longer cruise to the Western, you can hit Belize or Honduras. A lot of people have a negative reaction to Belize, but it was one of our favorite ports. We went cave tubing so the hike up onto the rainforest was wonderful.


May 7, 2006
Almost every caribbean island will have shopping, snorkeling, and fun things to do. They all just have slight variations on each of them.

For example, Honduras (Roatan) has some of the best snorkeling around, but not great shopping.

The Mexican ports have great cultural things to see (e.g., Mayan ruins) and lots of other fun things.

I've been on a couple W. Carib cruises, a Bahamas cruise, and we're doing a S. Carib in a few weeks.

I think you need to step back and first figure out what price point you want to eliminate a few cruise lines, and then figure out whether you want to leave from Florida or Puerto Rico.
Then start looking at itineraries. Do you want a port heavy itinerary (the heaviest you'll get out of FL will be 4 stops, but 3 is the most typical)? Do you want a fabulous ship (consider Allure or Oasis)?

I would highly suggest going to for great reviews and info on every single port there is.

Personally, I'm tired of the can get everything there is on the islands right here in Miami, and much better shopping :smile:
Dec 30, 2007
Miu Miu heaven
Dr. Twiggers, have you been to Roatan yourself? The snorkeling there is really good, I highly recommend it. But I agree, there's no much shopping there.
The new Mahogany Bay cruise center is really nice and it's got diamonds international and stores as such but it's not the best shopping.