Some of My Favorite Caribbean Cruise Destinations
There are so many beautiful places to visit in the Caribbean, and I've seen many. These are just a few of my favorite Caribbean cruise destinations.
Sitting off the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, is an island in the Caribbean Sea named Cozumel. This is a high traffic destination that cruise ships travel. One of the main tourist attractions when cruising to Mexico is the Mayan Ruins. The Tulum Mayan Ruins are located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, therefore, when cruising, in order to get to these ruins, you have to book a shore excursion from the cruise line. The shore excursion is approximately a 6 hour event, so plan accordingly, bring your walking shoes, and have a great time.
If you prefer not to get on the high-speed ferry to get to the mainland to see the larger ruins, you can always choose to stay in Cozumel, and visit the ruins there. They are small, and there's not many, but the price of the visit, is a fraction of what it would cost to go to the mainland.
Some people prefer to just hand around the dock area where their ship is. There are 3 docks in Cozumel. Depending on which dock you're at, will determine what you most likely will choose to do, during your visit.
Shopping is at an abundance in Cozumel, so if there is any souvenirs that you're looking for, you most likely will find them in Cozumel.
Belize City, Belize
When a cruise ship takes you to Belize City, it will be anchored in the Caribbean Sea. You will then be tendered (smaller boats used to transport passengers to the island) to the City of Belize, the largest city in Belize. One of the main attractions of Belize is the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins. Xunantunich is a Mayan archaeological site in western Belize. It is located approx. 80 miles west of Belize City. If you're interested in visiting these ruins, be prepared to sit on a bus for approximately 2 hours each way to get there. The ships offer shore excursions, which will take up about 6 1/2 hours of your day.
Belize has so much to enjoy, and diving is one of Belize's biggest tourist attractions due to reefs and Cayes being practically unbroken. They extend for 150 miles along the coast line, and they make up the longest reef systems in the entire western hemisphere, making it the second largest in the world.
St. Maarten, Netherland Antilles
St. Maarten is located in the Netherland Antilles. We've visited St. Maarten twice. The first time we went, we discovered that Philipsburg is the place to go shopping. I've never seen prices this low. From the ship, was a short walk to the water taxi that will transport you over to Philipsburg. You can enjoy the beach, a few drinks, and there's great shopping there.
The 2nd time we went to St. Maarten, our visit was brief, so we stayed near the dock. Unless you book a shore excursion, or get on the water taxi to go over to Philipsburg, there really isn't much to do near the area where the ship is docked.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is an unincorporated territory of the United States, and is known as St. Thomas Virgin Islands. It's an island in the Caribbean Sea and has a view like no other. Most ships are docked, and there are two entrances to the town of Charlotte Amalie from the ports. One is better located and the ship drops you off right in the middle of the town where you can take the Sky Tram up to Paradise Point. This is a must if you ever visit St. Thomas. A tour to Blackbeard's Castle is a great experience, as well. The other dock is located across from Charlotte Amalie and a taxi is needed to get to and from the ship. Check with your cruise line to find out which dock your ship will be at, so you can plan your visit better.
We've been to both docks, and prefer the one where the sky tram is located, because it's so much easier to walk from place to place. Both times we have visited, we booked shore excursions from the ships we were cruising on.
Hilltop is a fantastic place to go, where you can take photos overlooking Magen's Bay. We have not been since Hilltop caught on fire and burnt to the ground. However, I hear it's up and running again and the view is still as beautiful as ever.
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands
Grand Turk is located in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The waters that surround Grand Turk Island is the most gorgeous blue waters that you'll ever see. The island is small, in comparison to others that we've had the pleasure to visit, however, it's a very quaint island and has some of the most beautiful views in the Caribbean. If you ever get a chance to go to Grand Turk, a visit to the lighthouse is a must. The view of the shoreline is like no other.
We've only been to Grand Turk one time, and we took a shore excursion, however, due to a hurricane that had arrived a few weeks before we did, most of the places that we were to visit, was canceled. However, we were still able to go visit the lighthouse, that withstood the rage of the hurricane. If we ever go again, I'm in hopes that we'll be able to visit some of the places we missed, during our first visit.