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Welcome to The Caribbean Islands – “Destination Paradise”: Picture vibrant blue skies, tranquil turquoise seas, waves gently kissing the shores of crystalline sandy beaches, coconut palms swaying in warm tropical breezes, sun filled days and spectacular sunsets. The Caribbean Islands are all that and much more. Sip on a cool exotic drink while listening to a steel drum band, relax on a hammock, snorkel or scuba dive, lounge on the beach, parasail or windsurf, jet-ski or fish, shop, play golf or do some casino gambling – the choice is yours.

Secluded coves and beaches that stretch for miles with sweeps of gold, white, pink, silver, or black sand offer a kaleidoscope of diversity. This string of islands, stretching in an arc from Key West to the northeastern Venezuelan coast, is as culturally diverse as its beaches. Early explorers have left their mark as French, Dutch, Swedish, English, and Spanish influences are still quite evident. Many of the natives of these islands are descendants of the slaves imported from Africa. On a Caribbean cruise, each island offers an opportunity to encounter different languages, different cultures and different architecture. Some of the islands have become sophisticated, chic, cosmopolitan playgrounds, while others cling to the past, unaffected by the outside world.

Islands that enjoy perpetual summer, as well as a number of convenient departure ports (particularly for the eastern ½ of the US) make the Caribbean the single most popular cruise destination in the world. With a number of 3, 4, and 5 night cruises offered, in addition to those that are 7 nights or longer, a Caribbean cruise is a perfect choice for first-time cruisers.

There are 4 basic Caribbean cruise itineraries:

Eastern Caribbean: Typically these cruises are round trip from Florida and are usually 3 – 7 nights in length. The 3 and 4 night getaways will most likely call on the Bahamas, Key West, or one of the cruise lines private islands. (These are often listed as Bahamas cruises.) Seven night cruises may include those ports, as well as possible stops in St. Thomas, St. John, St. Maarten, St. Croix, or San Juan. Actual itineraries and number of port stops vary from ship to ship. There is an additional option within this category that deserves mention: Many cruise lines have expanded port departures to include seaports along the East Coast. These include such seaports as New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Some of the cruises that depart from these ports include stops at one or more of the islands on this itinerary.

Western Caribbean: Round trip western Caribbean cruises can be enjoyed for 4, 5, or 7 nights and may depart from a port in Florida, New Orleans, Galveston, or Houston. On this itinerary, your cruise will include some combination of visits to Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Roatan, Belize, Progresso, or the Mayan Riviera. Once again you may also stop at a cruise lines private island or Key West.

Southern Caribbean: This itinerary offers you the greatest diversity and number of port options. The majority of these cruises are round trip from San Juan and can be enjoyed for 6 -17 nights. As there are too many ports on this itinerary to list, suffice it to say, that on a southern Caribbean cruise you will have the opportunity to visit any number of islands from those that are adjacent to Puerto Rico to as far south as the northern coast of South America. It is possible to take numerous southern Caribbean cruises and not visit the same islands twice.

Circle the Caribbean/Exotic Caribbean: This 4th option is actually a combination of the Eastern, Western and Southern itinerary and may also include the Panama Canal. These cruises can sometimes be repositioning cruises, departing from one port and ending the trip at another. Cruisers who enjoy the Caribbean, but are looking for a trip of longer duration should consider this itinerary. Typically, these cruises are 10 – 17 nights, but can last as long as 53 days.

Whether you crave romance, adventure or fun; are seeking an active vacation or just want to relax, there is a perfect Caribbean cruise designed for you.

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