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kazzam

Which ports in Caribbean?

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 Hi, I'm really wanting to cruise in the Caribbean next year but I have no idea which ports to visit (South C, West C, East C, Mexico???).  I would ideally like to include Perfect Day in the itinerary also if I can.  My ideal ports would include amazing beaches/scenery, plus participate in some adventure activities.  
If anyone is experienced with these ports and can help that would be fantastic!

TIA
Karen

Edited by kazzam

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Great snorkeling on an ABC cruise (Aruba etc) but no Perfect Day.

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If you really want Perfect Day, plus beaches and adventures, I'd look at Western.  I agree with Mugtech that ABC (Southern Caribbean) is the most interesting itinerary and will offer the most in the way of beaches and adventures.   But in second place IMHO, Western, has more beaches and adventure type options like Zip lines, Mayan Ruins, Snorkeling, etc.  

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Pretty much all the port stops in the Caribbean/Mexico are the same.

 

Sure there are some cultural, language,  topography(hills vs flat) differences.

 

But almost all offer the same excursions, shops, & touristy stuff.

 

Unless there is something specific you want, it really does not matter what route you choose.

 

 

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In our opinion nothing beats a southern itinerary.  More ports, less sea days, and a chance to extend the winter break for a few days pre and/or post cruise in San Juan.  But it wouldn't include "perfect day".

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I agree, Southern Caribbean for the ports and do Coco Cay some other cruise.

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Another vote for the Southern islands. They will give you the best Caribbean feel. There are many Southern itineraries and all of them have stops with amazing scenery and beaches. Unfortunately, I don't know of any Southern itineraries that also include Coco Cay.

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We wanted to visit Coco Cay as well as revisit the ABCs so had to book a side by side with Navigator and Explorer.  About the only way to do both unless they drastically change up itineraries.

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My vote is for Southern.  My least favorite is Western, but mainly because I have been to Mexico many times.

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Based on your requirements Western Caribbean would be your best choice.

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People will tell you Southern Caribbean is better than the rest.

 

That is because the of the location being farther away and less frequently visited.

 

The only way ships that travel originate from Puerto Rico or voyages longer that 1 week,

 

People tend to favor something they have not done as much as the rest.

 

If the Western Carib/Mexico islands were in the Souths place.

 

Everyone would tell you how great Cozumel & Belize are...

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We are currently on our 3rd week on the Freedom out of San Juan.

Most love the "port intensive" itinerary with stops in St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados...whew! just typing those ports is tiring..........we did hear a number of passengers that they got tired/exhausted because of all the ports.  In Barbados, the ship docked from 8am to 8:30pm.

 

That old cliche "You get what you wish for"....wishing for lots of ports, can perhaps become exhausting for some. Today is our one and only "sea day" on this cruise...lots of things to do for those who are disembarking tomorrow...getting photos, taking care of their accounts, doing  activities onboard they missed, enjoying the ship, packing........all saying "I wish we had another sea day".

 

 

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If you haven't been to them, you will enjoy ANY of the islands.

 

Most people commenting have cruised enough that they have been to the more common islands MANY times, and are jaded.

 

 

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I love visiting the Caribbean. For what it is worth, here are my thoughts.

 

You had mentioned amazing beaches/scenery.  With a little research, I tend to find beautiful beaches to enjoy in most ports.

 

Personally, I tend to favor ports that are more hilly than flat. Living in flat Houston probably has something to do with my choice.  I did live in the USVI for a bit. So, the eastern Caribbean is nice and familiar to me. I only mention these things because sailing to and from the ports with hills is so pretty. It is also enjoyable driving/riding around the islands. When you mentioned "scenery",  these things came to mind. With ALL that said, I enjoy sailing to: St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, St. Barts (although I don't think they welcome many ships any more), and the BVI.  I've never been to St. Kitts or Antigua.  Labadee was a fun beach day.  San Juan is fun because you can go to the rain forest, enjoy Old San Juan, and/or explore the forts.  

 

Many years ago, I spent a week in Aruba and really enjoyed it. I think an ABC cruise would be fun (even though it is flat 😉).  

 

Living in Houston, it is easy to cruise to Mexico, and Grand Cayman.  While I do enjoy the ports, they are not as scenic as the eastern/southern Caribbean. Cayman is a tender port, so not easily accessible.  We also stopped at Falmouth, Jamaica on Liberty of the Seas.  I was a little worried about safety here.  It turned out fine.  Jamaica was very pretty.

 

Happy Planning!

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I've done Eastern Caribbean once, Western Caribbean once and Southern Caribbean 5 times.  I enjoyed all of the itineraries but prefer the Southern Caribbean for the scenery, food, beaches, fewer crowds and weather.  I also prefer sailing out of San Juan vs. Florida and usually try to fly in 2 or 3 days before the cruise to enjoy Old San Juan.

 

My favourite ports have been Dominica, Barbados, Aruba, Antigua, Tortola & Curacao.  We loved Barbados so much we returned for a land trip.  

 

You will find more adventure activities on the Western/Southern itineraries.

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2 hours ago, bonsai3s said:

We are currently on our 3rd week on the Freedom out of San Juan.

Most love the "port intensive" itinerary with stops in St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados...whew! just typing those ports is tiring..........we did hear a number of passengers that they got tired/exhausted because of all the ports.  In Barbados, the ship docked from 8am to 8:30pm.

 

That old cliche "You get what you wish for"....wishing for lots of ports, can perhaps become exhausting for some. Today is our one and only "sea day" on this cruise...lots of things to do for those who are disembarking tomorrow...getting photos, taking care of their accounts, doing  activities onboard they missed, enjoying the ship, packing........all saying "I wish we had another sea day".

 

 

We find this also. DW does not get around too well, gets tired quickly. At the most, I would like 2 port days in a row then have a sea day to do nothing.

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We've done Western, Eastern, and Southern but if you want the Perfect Day and adventure, I suggest Western/Riviera Maya. Mayan ruins, cliff-jumping at a cenote, cave tubing, swimming with sharks and rays, ziplining through the jungle...there is no shortage of adventurous excursions at those ports.

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12 minutes ago, molsonschooner said:

We find this also. DW does not get around too well, gets tired quickly. At the most, I would like 2 port days in a row then have a sea day to do nothing.

 

Another option would be to stay onboard during one of the port days  🙂

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We would never book a cruise line or a itinerary based on someones positive or negative experiences or opinions. 

Edited by davekathy

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4 hours ago, gatour said:

Based on your requirements Western Caribbean would be your best choice.

 

Are there Western itineraries that stop at Coco Cay? I thought Coco Cay was on Eastern itineraries.

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10 minutes ago, cruiseguy1016 said:

 

Are there Western itineraries that stop at Coco Cay? I thought Coco Cay was on Eastern itineraries.

 

Look for Western cruises out of Eastern Florida, such as Allure out of Ft. Lauderdale.

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4 hours ago, cruiseguy1016 said:

 

Are there Western itineraries that stop at Coco Cay? I thought Coco Cay was on Eastern itineraries.

 

It's weird right? Coco Cay is east of Florida so you wouldn't think it would be considered on a Western itineraries.  I guess being so close to the eastern Florida ports, the ships can kind float over there the first day before high-tailing it over to Mexico., Grand Cayman, etc. 

 

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4 hours ago, davekathy said:

We would never book a cruise line or a itinerary based on someones positive or negative experiences or opinions. 

 

But you would take into account someones positive or negative experiences or opinions when researching a cruise, right? 😉

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1 hour ago, HBE4 said:

 

But you would take into account someones positive or negative experiences or opinions when researching a cruise, right? 😉

Nope. This thread alone is a great example of that. There are a few very knowledgeable posters/cruisers on CC and I respect their opinions and enjoy reading what they have to say about their cruises but would never book or not book a cruise based on that.  I've learned a lot about cruising from a few here on CC. For me it has nothing to do with what is the best cruise line, ship, stateroom category, itinerary and blah, blah, blah. There's a lot more to cruising than that and that is of greater value, to me (us). We started cruising long before CC. . 

Edited by davekathy

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13 hours ago, bonsai3s said:

That old cliche "You get what you wish for"....wishing for lots of ports, can perhaps become exhausting for some. Today is our one and only "sea day" on this cruise...lots of things to do for those who are disembarking tomorrow...getting photos, taking care of their accounts, doing  activities onboard they missed, enjoying the ship, packing........all saying "I wish we had another sea day".

 

Yeah, one cruise I took had only one "sea" day and it was the last day of the cruise so we didn't really get to enjoy the ship as much.  Perhaps if the "sea day" was in the middle to allow a break from the ports, it would have been better

 

Now, when checking out itineraries, I look for a minimum of 2 sea days, 3 would be better.

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