If you’re looking for winter sun, but aren’t one for a week on the same beach, Cruising the Caribbean brings with it the promise of tropical heat, lots of sunshine and a change of scenery on a daily basis.
It’s not hard to see why the Caribbean is the most popular winter cruise destination. The weather is at its best from mid-December to April with hot sunny days, low humidity and cool nights. There’s a huge choice of cruise options too, from vast cruise lines visiting the larger, busier ports to more intimate ships that can sail into some of the smaller and less frequented islands.
The Caribbean doesn’t just mean beach relaxation, although this is a big draw for many, there’s also a real mix of culture from island to island and a rich vein of colonial heritage to experience. You can visit islands with strong British influences like Barbados and Antigua but also Curacao’s Dutch heritage or French flair in Martinique. Natural wonders are also aplenty with waterfalls and rainforests to explore and water sports galore, which will keep the most active happy.
When to book is always a dilemma. With an abundance of cruise itineraries on offer there are plenty of cabins to go round and many cruise lines will offer late cruise only options. However, flights to the Caribbean are predominately with scheduled airlines, which tend to increase in price the closer to departure. Booking early will ensure you get the itinerary and cabin you want at the right price.
Cruises for this winter have been on sale for some time but still with pockets of availability for those looking for a last minute getaway. Winter 2016/2017 is also in full swing and Crystal, Azamara and Celebrity Cruises have already opened up bookings for the 2017/18 winter season.
If you’re planning a Caribbean cruise our cruise experts can help find the right one for you. Here are a handful of recommendations to help you on your way.
Seabourn’s ‘Exotic Caribbean In-Depth’ offers the ultimate Caribbean itinerary visiting 12 different islands over 14 nights. The round trip starts in Barbados with ports of call including St. Vincent & Grenadines, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Anguilla and Guadeloupe. It also features the company’s infamous ‘Caviar in the Surf’ beach party on the tiny island of Prickly Pear in the British Virgin Islands. Departs 4 March 2017.
There’s no better place for the ‘bare foot luxury’ offered by SeaDream than in the Caribbean. Stylish but informal, these luxury mega-yachts sleep just 112 passengers. Offering ‘off the beaten track’ cruise experiences away from the usual ports, they can tender off secluded beaches or pull into the smallest of harbours. 6, 7 and 8 night itineraries out of Barbados are available throughout the winter that are easy to connect to from the UK visiting the likes of Union Island in the Grenadines, Pigeon Island in St. Lucia and Grand Anse in Martinique.
For many the ultimate Caribbean cruise experience is aboard a tall ship, discovering the region as the first adventures did back in the 19th Century. Star Clippers offer traditional sailing at its best with elegant surroundings and superb service. Cuba is the largest of the Caribbean islands and has only really been accessible to tourists for 15 years. Stuck in a 50’s time warp Cuba, unlike much of the rest of the Caribbean, hasn’t been influenced by U.S. commercialism… but that is changing. A cruise is a great way to see the whole island in a week and this winter Star Flyer cruises out of Cienfuegos on the south coast around to Havana taking it its colonial towns and off-shore Cays.
Many of the larger cruise lines cruise the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, Florida which offers easy access from the UK with daily flights from Heathrow and can be combined with a little Miami South Beach glitz. Silversea offer a range of itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale and currently have a special £299pp airfare promotion on selected departure dates for cruises this winter.