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7 Best cruise ports in the Caribbean

04 Dec 2023

When you pick a Caribbean cruise, the islands you visit are probably just as important a consideration as the ship or cabin you choose.

St John beach

Caribbean cruises have been a popular choice for decades, due to in large part the beautiful ports you can visit.

Royal Caribbean's internal research shows the top two reasons people go on a cruise are for the food and destination, and that may lead you to wonder where are the best cruise ports in the Caribbean.

It can be difficult to choose a cruise because of how many different ports are available to visit.

St. John Beach

In considering all the Caribbean ports our team has been to, I wanted to help narrow down the choices if you are looking for the top cruise ports on a Caribbean cruise.

1. Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel coast with restaurants and bars

Of all the cruise ports in Eastern Mexico, Cozumel is the top choice given the breadth of choices available and beautiful beaches.

Cozumel is an island just off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula, and it has just about everything someone might want to do in a Caribbean cruise port.

There are beaches, historical sights, a city to explore, and plenty of great food too. It became famous thanks to a documentary by Jacques Cousteau, and it's only become more popular ever since.

Given the natural beauty of Cozumel, it's one of the most authentic ports of call you'll find in the Caribbean.  Sure, it has plenty of touristy spots, but you can easily find untouched areas of the island too.

What I really enjoy about Cozumel is how much variety of activities there are along with excellent food.  Mexican food is so popular to begin with, and when you get the real thing while visiting, it makes just about any tour that much better.

2. San Juan, Puerto Rico

When you combine hundreds of years of history along with a vibrant culture, you get San Juan.

Cruise ships come right into the heart of Old San Juan, making exploring the city super easy. And there's quite a lot to explore.

Puerto Rico's history goes back to the earliest European settlements in North America, and between the history, culture, and natural beauty the island possesses, you get lots to do on a visit here.

San Juan Street

You can visit Spanish fortifications, sample local cuisine, or head to one of the many lovely beaches.

The other thing that makes exploring Puerto Rico easier is that it's part of the United States, so there's a certain familiarity that comes with it.

You don't find many large cities in the Caribbean like you do in Europe, but San Juan is the exception.

3. Philipsburg, St. Maarten


St. Maarten is split in two: a Dutch side and French side, and the result is a dichotomy of choice.

Both sides of the island offer a beautiful beach day, along with a touch of Europe.

The Dutch side is within walking distance of your cruise ship, and it has a lovely boardwalk along the water and lots of shopping. Front Street in Philipsburg is a great place to stroll.

Orient Beach

If you venture to the French side, you'll find the capital of Marigot and Grand Case, and it's similar to traveling in Europe on a smaller scale.

The beaches are really lovely as well, with Mullet Bay, Orient Beach, and Friar's Bay Beach well known for their stunning beauty.

Read moreTop things to do in St. Maarten on your Royal Caribbean cruise

4. Oranjestad, Aruba

Beach sunset

The Southern Caribbean is truly remarkable when contrasted against other islands in the region.  Aruba wasn't worthy of becoming a lyric in a Beach Boys song for no reason, when you see it, you'll understand why.

A desert island, Aruba is just 20 miles large, but you'll find beach after beach that you'll not want to leave. Palm Beach and Eagle Beach are the idyllic places that draw tourists back time and and time again.

Aruba beach

The beach is likely the top draw in Aruba, and its bright blue waters are exactly what you'd look for in a day here.

In Oranjestad, you'll find lots of cultures intermingled together. Aruba’s traditions are influenced by the cultures of other countries, such as Holland, Venezuela, America, and other Caribbean islands.

Sasakiweg Street has many shops to explore on your way back to the ship.

5. St. John's, Antigua

Valley Church Beach in Antigua

At one time, Royal Caribbean had plans to open a beach club in Antigua, and it's not hard to see why.

Antigua boasts it has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year, and while that might be a good marketing slogan, it's indicative of how beautiful this island is.

When you measure Caribbean island beaches, you're essentially talking about how much more beautiful one is from the other.  Antigua has the white sand and clear ocean water that you imagine with a Caribbean cruise.

There's hidden coves, and coral reefs bustling with tropical fish to see as well.

If you'd like to do something beyond the beach, Antigua has historical attractions you can see. Shirley Heights Lookout the Nelson's Dockyard (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) or the Betty’s Hope sugar plantation are a must see.

6. Willemstad, Curacao


Curacao may be another Southern Caribbean island to make this list, but it differs from Aruba in a few notable ways.

Of course, Curacao has beautiful beaches to visit, but it's more than just beaches. You'll find cliffs, the desert, and a vibrant city scene.

Walking around Willemstad is easy, and a short walk from the cruise ship. Similar to San Juan, your ship docks nearby to the downtown area that are filled with shops, markets, and restaurants.  When you add in the Dutch architecture, you find a very intriguing city to explore.

Knip Beach, Curacao

Curacao has 38 beaches, many of which are secluded.

Shete Boka Park is known for being a rocky inlet where waves crash into underground caverns to create a profound natural effect.

If nature is your thing, be sure to walk, hike, or bike into Christoffel Park National Curacao.

7. St. John (via St. Thomas)

Trunk Bay

Of all the islands I've visited in the Caribbean, St. John is my favorite and it's not even an island your ship docks at.

St. John is a short ferry ride away from St. Thomas.  Both islands are part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and it's perfect for cruise ships to come into St. Thomas for the day and hop over to St. John.

St. John is almost entirely a national park, and it has the prettiest beaches I've ever seen. 

St. John beach

Between the white sand and clear turquoise blue water, it's the perfect beach every time I visit. Cruz Bay, Trunk Bay, and Cinnamon Beach are just a few of the stunning white sand beaches to explore.

Because it's so uncrowded and underdeveloped, St. John feels like you've discovered an untouched oasis.

Top spots in the Caribbean you can go to now without the cruise ship

15 Jan 2021

There will not be any Caribbean cruises until at least May, but that doesn't mean you can't swim in the blue turquoise waters of the tropics until then.

While the cruise industry remains shutdown, many Caribbean islands will allow you to visit on your own.

Certainly the current global health crisis means there may be additional rules or tests required, nonetheless, there is no bad time for a Caribbean escape.

Beginning January 26, the CDC will require all travelers, including U.S. citizens, flying to or through the U.S. from international destinations to provide proof of either a negative test or documentation of recovery.

The test must:

  • Be a viral test (molecular or antigen)
  • Be taken within the 3 calendar days prior to departure
  • Show written proof of the traveler’s negative laboratory test result

Documentation of recovery must include:

  • Proof of a positive test result
  • A letter from a licensed health care provider or public health official clearing them for travel

Many Caribbean islands are welcoming tourists to return, albeit with their own testing requirements and protocols. Here are my picks for the top Caribbean beaches you can visit without too much hassle this winter.

St. John

When I visited St. John for the first time, I knew instantly it was the most beautiful beach I had ever been to.

Much of St. John is a national park, and that means it is very undeveloped and among the most natural and quiet beach you will find in the Caribbean.

Many tourists hit Trunk Bay, but nearby Cinnamon Bay Beach is a bit less crowded and equally stunning.  

Health rules: St. John is part of the USVI, which means you must provide a negative PCR test within five days of arrival. Otherwise, you must self-quarantine until the test results arrive.

St. Lucia

St. Lucia may be known for the two ancient volcanoes, the Pitons, but it has a great beach scene as well.

Locals love the not-so-well-known black sand beach of Anse Mamin.  It is idyllic as it is scenic, with a beautiful backdrop against the Caribbean blue water. It is located near Anse Chastanet and the two beaches are linked by a rocky path below the cliffs.

If you prefer to get out and do some exploring, the Pitons are a world-renowned hiking destination.

Health rules: All arrivals over age 5 must have a negative PCR test within seven days of arrival. You must also complete a travel authorization form and submit to screening, which includes temperature checks.


Aruba has been one island that has been welcoming tourists for many months, and features some absolutely stunning beaches to see.

Oranjestad offers plenty to do, including Palm and Eagle Beach.  These are well-known and stunning beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see.

If you want a lesser-known beach, hit up the black-pebbled Andicuri Beach on Aruba's east coast.

The island sees little rain throughout the year, so no matter when you arrive, you’re likely to enjoy warm temperatures and sunny skies all day long. 

Health rules: You must answer health questions and upload a negative test result, along with purchasing Aruba Visitors Insurance.


You might have just heard Royal Caribbean will offer cruises from Barbados in December 2021, but if that is not soon enough, you can visit now and get a head start on what the island as to offer.

Barbados is home to Bathsheba Beach on the easy coast, which you will quickly notice the massive rock formations (which are actually remnants of ancient coral).  Bathsheba Beach is also famous for drawing surfers from all over the world, who come to participate in local and international surfing competitions.

Barbados is known for many things, including at one time being the largest producer of sugar cane, and with that came a famous rum-production industry. You can visit the Mount Gay distillery if you need a break from the stunning beaches of the island.

Health rules: Persons traveling to Barbados from High and Medium-Risk countries must have a negative test result in order to enter the country. These tests must be taken at an accredited or certified facility/laboratory within 3 days prior to arrival. 


One of the most famous Caribbean cruise ports is still open and welcoming to tourists.

Cozumel is home to many beautiful beaches, including some well-known all-inclusive beach day spots. You will find many different beaches to visit on the island's west coast. There are iconic spots like Paradise Beach or Mr. Sanchos, as well as more secluded beaches.

Another popular option is to stay at a resort on the island, such as Cozumel Palace Resort or Allegro resort. In fact, many of the resorts offer their own on-site antigen (rapid) testing.

Health rules: Mexico does not require any test results upon arrival, but you must fill out a health form.

How to choose the right Caribbean cruise sailing

21 Nov 2020

Caribbean cruises are some of the most popular types of cruises available, so how do you choose the right sailing for your family?

Royal Caribbean offers cruises to every corner of the Caribbean, and that means a lot of choices to consider. Eastern, Western, Southern or even Bahamas sailings are available year round on Royal Caribbean.

Regardless of which region of the Caribbean you pick, you will find beautiful beaches and warm temperatures. The region enjoys fantastic weather for an escape during all months of the year.

Before you book a Caribbean cruise, here is what you need to know about what each region is known for and what you should look for in a cruise.

Eastern Caribbean

Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean will take you to a wide variety of beautiful places to visit.

In fact, the Eastern Caribbean ports are best known for their beaches, with many cruises visiting different Virgin Islands, as well as the far reaches of the East Indies. 

The Eastern Caribbean is also home to very popular cruise ports, such as San Juan which offers rich culture and history among many different types of shore excursions.

If your cruise happens to visit some of the further out ports in the Eastern Caribbean, you will have the opportunity to see some of the more exotic cruise ports in the region. Usually cruises to this area require a longer sailing, but the scenery is among exquisite.

Top Eastern Caribbean ports

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Philipsburg, St. Martin
  • Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Read more: Things to do in Old San Juan

Western Caribbean

The Western Caribbean is filled with some of the friendliest people you will find, with some lovely ports of call.

Many Western Caribbean cruises will visit at least one port in Central America.  Cozumel, Progreso, Costa Maya, Belize or Roatan are very popular cruise ports and offer some the widest variety of things to do.

Not only do Western Caribbean cruises have beautiful beaches, they rich history and cuisine of the area stand out as favorites. The Western Caribbean is also where you will find the rich history of Maya, with Mayan ruins available to tour in the mainland ports.

In addition to the mainland, ports in Jamaica and Grand Cayman round out a good variety of port visit options.

Whereas the Eastern Caribbean tends to be a bit more "beach day" heavy than the Western Caribbean, you will find a great deal of fun activities for all ages (including going to the beach).

Top Western Caribbean ports

Read more: Fun things to do on a cruise to Mexico

Southern Caribbean

If your goal is to find the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, look no further than the Southern Caribbean.

Islands in the Southern Caribbean have some of the best variety of water color, temperature, and clarity that you will find in the entire region.  Moreover, the Southern Caribbean is almost always quite warm, with temperatures dropping rarely below the 80s Fahrenheit.

Since the Southern Caribbean islands are a bit further away from the United States than other parts of the Caribbean, the ports you visit will seem a little less built up and less crowded.

The Southern Caribbean ports also tend to retain more of their European influences than other Caribbean islands.

Cruises to the Southern Caribbean tend to mostly sail from San Juan, Puerto Rico, although Royal Caribbean does sometimes offer longer sailings from Miami.

Top Southern Caribbean ports

  • Oranjestad, Aruba
  • St. John's, Antigua
  • Willemstad, Curacao

Private destinations

In addition to the different Caribbean islands you will visit on any of these cruises, Royal Caribbean will also mix in visits to one of its private destinations.

These ports are only open to Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and it offers a relaxing and fun beach day where the cruise line takes care of just about everything.

Most of each destination is included in your cruise cost, although there are some extras you can opt to purchase to enhance your visit.

Perfect Day at CocoCay

The crown jewel of Royal Caribbean's private islands is Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Royal Caribbean recently upgraded the entire island and enhanced the offerings from end to end.

Guests can choose between a variety of beaches, the largest freshwater pool in the Caribbean, water park and even a private beach club.

In short, CocoCay stands out because of the variety of choices that appeals to just about anyone and any age.

Available on Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises.


Located in Haiti, Labadee is a private enclave where you can kick back with a relaxing beach day.

While Labadee does not have all the bells and whistles of CocoCay, it delivers exactly what most cruisers want: a slice of paradise with relaxing beach choices, coupled with add-on excursions if you wish.

Labadee is best known for the Dragon's Breath zip line, which is a 2,600 foot zip down a flight line at speeds that reach 40-50 mph.

Available on Western Caribbean cruises.

Which Caribbean cruise should you choose?

Ultimately, there is no bad choice to be made, and the decision boils down to what type of vacation you are leaning towards.

Any of the regions of the Caribbean offers its fair share of beautiful Caribbean beaches, and you are splitting hairs about which beach looks more pristine than the other.

The Western Caribbean offers more history and Mayan culture in Mexico and surrounding areas.

You might pick the Eastern Caribbean if you prefer beaches over port exploring, as well as if you are looking for a Caribbean cruise longer than a week.

The Southern Caribbean is stunning, but it will almost certainly require you to fly to Puerto Rico to begin your cruise, which can be a dealbreaker for some people.

More Caribbean planning articles:

Royal Caribbean will redeploy six cruise ships for winter 2021-2022

21 Oct 2020

Royal Caribbean announced some new changes to its winter 2021-2022 cruise schedule for the Caribbean and Australia regions.

The changes encompass six ships, which offer new ships, as well as new itineraries, from a few different ports. Royal Caribbean says, "we’ve listened to our guests and valued travel partners, and are ready to share some Winter 2021 – 2022 deployment updates."

Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean's Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service announced the changes during a webinar with travel advisors, "We've modified our schedule to make room for some incredible new itineraries."

Royal Caribbean issued a statement that elaborated on the changes, "Our new deployment line-up provides guests with greater variety, including new itineraries in the Caribbean and Australia that will help strengthen the cruise line’s footprint globally."

These changes are in addition to five other Royal Caribbean ships that were redeployed for summer 2021.


Explorer of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean cruises from San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Explorer will replace previously scheduled sailings on Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom of the Seas will offer 3- and 4-night Bahamas and Perfect Day at CocoCay cruises from Miami, Florida.

Radiance of the Seas will offer 5- and 9-night Caribbean cruises from Miami, Florida.  Radiance will replace Explorer of the Seas.


Royal Caribbean will offer new sailings from Brisbane and Sydney, including 25 itineraries sailing from Brisbane to 18 destinations across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Sydney, Australia and offer guests a variety of sailings, including:

  • 9/12 night New Zealand cruises
  • 5/7 night Queensland cruises
  • 6/8 night Tasmania cruises

Quantum of the Seas will sail from Brisbane and offer 3-night Weekend Getaway cruises along with 7/9 night South Pacific sailings. Quantum of the Seas will be the newest and biggest ship to ever call Brisbane home

Serenade of the Seas will also sail from Sydney and offer 7-night Australia cruises.

These new itineraries are currently open and available to book immediately.

Guests who may have been booked on the previous sailings should be hearing from Royal Caribbean soon with their rebooking options.

Individual reservations will be moved to the new ship/sailing on-or-before October 30, 2020.

The re-accommodation of Groups with at least one (1) named reservation will be completed on-or-before November 18, 2020.

More helpful resources

Royal Caribbean CEO part of task force to safe return of tourism to the Caribbean

11 Sep 2020

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley revealed on Thursday he is the co-chair of a task force that is working on the safe return of cruising to the Caribbean.

At a meeting of the Miami-Dade County Tourism and the Ports Committee, Mr. Bayley spoke of the work everyone in Royal Caribbean is doing to get back to cruising, including this Caribbean island task force.

Made up of over 40 different Caribbean countries, the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force is co-chaired with the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley.

According to Ms. Mottley, the ultimate goal of this effort is to ensure that the Caribbean region can prepare to reopen the borders for cruise tourism in a safe way.

Mr. Bayley spoke of the task force's work as being in conjunction with the Royal Caribbean Healthy Sail Panel work to prepare a new set of guidelines and protocols for the cruise line to employ once it resumes service.

"We have been working over the past several months on the creation of a universal set of guidelines that dovetail and fit into the work that's being created by our panel, and ultimately our collective submission to the CDC."

Ms. Mottley spoke of the group's work in July, noting the need for a firm set of new guidelines to ensure cruise lines will want to return to the islands.

"... That allows those people within our community to be able to see economic activity again, from vendors, to taxi drivers, to tourism attractions, etc. But they will not benefit if the cruise ships are not coming in, and the cruise ships cannot come unless there are safe protocols that we are satisfied on and that they are too, as owners of companies are satisfied can work for us."

Part of the work Royal Caribbean has outlined in its Healthy Sail Panel work has been to coordinate its efforts with the ports they visit.

Earlier this summer, Mr. Bayley outlined the four major areas of work for the Healthy Sail Panel, with the ports of call being one the top priorities.

  • Upgraded screening prior to boarding
  • Enhanced processes on board
  • A special focus on addressing the destinations
  • Procedures for addressing any reports of exceptions

Other cruise lines that have restarted operations in Europe have instituted strict rules for guests who go on shore excursions, such as MSC Cruises requiring guests only go on cruise line approved tours.

Eight Southern Caribbean Cruise Tips & Secrets

06 Jan 2020

Taking a cruise to the Southern Caribbean offers the opportunity to visit some of the most exotic and beautiful islands. While all Caribbean islands share a common theme when it comes to tackling itinerary planning, there are some unique elements to a Southern Caribbean cruise.

When planning a visit to this region, you will often find less developed islands that are far more unique than other Caribbean destinations.

Before hitting the Southern Caribbean, here are some good tips having a great vacation.

It is going to be hot

When you see photos of islands such as Aruba, Bonaire, St. Kitts or Barbados, they look incredibly beautiful, but what you do not see in these photos are the high temperatures.

The Southern Caribbean is going to be hot year-round, and unlike more northerly islands, cold fronts do not make it down to impact the temperatures. This means you can expect temperatures routinely above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

With high temperatures comes the need to pack plenty of sunscreen, UV Sun Protection Clothing, sunglasses and drink plenty of water. I would also recommend packing extra outfits so when you return from a sweaty shore excursion, you can change into something else.

Islands are more specialized

Unlike other Caribbean islands, you will find smaller and less developed islands in the Southern Caribbean. This means there is not an overwhelming amount of choices of shore excursions, and places a greater emphasis on the importance of planning your shore activities.

Some islands, such as Antigua, Bonaire or St. Lucia have limited choices in what to do, so be sure to book shore excursions ahead of time, rather than walking off the ship to discover something to do.

Many cruisers who are used to ports that offer expansive downtown areas and an army of locals offering things to do, are surprised to discover limited activities and popular choices selling out.

Flying to San Juan 101

Many cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, offer the bulk of their Southern Caribbean sailings from the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Here are some basics to know about sailing from San Juan.

  • Book airfare early: Prices for flights to San Juan are far more limited than other homeports in the United States, so plan to book airfare early and jump on a good deal. While some low-cost carriers may offer deals later, flights sell out quickly (especially for convenient times).
  • Airfare prices wont be cheap: If you are expecting bargain prices for your flights, think again. Due to the airlines not offering as many flights to Puerto Rico as in the past, and the lack of direct flights to the island, you will not find bargain basement prices on airfare. Quite often the cheaper cruise fares from San Juan are offset by the higher airfare prices.
  • Hotels cheaper outside Old San Juan: Since you will likely (and should) fly into San Juan at least a day before the cruise, you should know that prices for hotels are significantly cheaper if you are willing to stay outside of Old San Juan.

Port intensive itineraries that feature longer stays

It is not uncommon to go on a seven night Southern Caribbean cruise that features just one or two sea days, and that means a lot of port stops in a row. Moreover, since the islands are so close to each other, many Royal Caribbean cruises tend to offer later stays in port.

While having more time in a port of call is almost always a good thing, the added time to enjoy all there is to see and do can make dinner back on the ship tough to schedule. With departure times regularly past 7pm, you may find dinner in the main dining room or specialty restaurants difficult to plan.

Before booking dinner at any restaurant onboard your ship, look at your itinerary times and cross reference that with what your plans are for each island. If you are going to be spending time enjoying the evening hours on shore, you will either have to eat dinner on the island, or plan on a late dinner back onboard.

It is okay to stay onboard

Following up on the port intensive itinerary tip earlier, you should know it is okay to skip an island visit and stay onboard the ship to enjoy a relaxed day.

With the possibility of four or five island stops in one sailing, it is easy to become exhausted from running around each port in consecutive days.  If none of the activities stand out, or the idea of your third beach day in a row seems like overkill, sleep-in and then enjoy having the ship seemingly to yourself while others are out exploring.

Take advantage of shopping opportunities

Despite the internet offering the ease to buy pretty much anything, Southern Caribbean islands do offer certain accoutrements otherwise unavailable.

The islands of Curaçao, St. Maarten or Bonaire, are well-known for Dutch goods, such as cheese or Dutch tin-glazed earthenware.

French islands, including Martinique or St. Martin, offer luxury goods as well.

Book excursions early

Since Southern Caribbean islands lack the variety of activities found elsewhere in the Caribbean, excursions tend to sell out quicker than usual.

Rather than waiting to book something onboard your ship, be sure to reserve a shore excursion as early as you can before the cruise. This is especially true to all-inclusive day passes, as well as guided tours.

When booking any excursion, be certain you can cancel and get a full refund if you change your mind later. All Royal Caribbean excursions are fully refundable up until 48 hours prior to the activity.

Royal Beach Club in Antigua

Something to keep an eye on for the future is Royal Caribbean's first Royal Beach Club, which will open in Antigua in 2021.

The Royal Beach Club at Fort James will combine Antigua's famous beaches with the cruise line’s signature service and amenities. Guests can take in the island’s exceptional views from private cabanas or plunge into a stunning pool and swim up to the bar to order a classic rum punch.

Though Royal does not expect to release specific designs for the Antigua destination for several months, the company expects to offer regional fare, island-style BBQs and live music, along with unforgettable experiences, including such thrills as wave runners, paddle boarding, snorkeling, a family splash pad and stunning pool with swim-up bar.         

Your thoughts

What are your tips for someone cruising to the Southern Caribbean? Any questions for those taking or considering a Southern Caribbean cruise? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

Royal Caribbean releases port status update following hurricanes

03 Oct 2017

Royal Caribbean released a map of the Caribbean, with an updated look at which ports are open, closed, or ready for departures.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on many Eastern Caribbean cruise ports, and recovery efforts are in-progress at all ports.  Understandably, many Royal Caribbean guests are curious about when these ports will re-open and if there will be any impact to their scheduled cruises in the meantime.

This update was released on October 2, 2017.  The status of any port listed as closed could change at anytime.  If/when there is an impact to your cruise itinerary, Royal Caribbean will contact you with changes.

Royal Caribbean announces 2018-2019 Caribbean, Alaska and Northeast Itineraries

15 Mar 2017

Royal Caribbean has released its 2018-2019 North American cruise itineraries, that allow guests to choose cruises that sail to destinations in the Caribbean, Alaska and Northeast.

Royal Caribbean’s Alaska itineraries are available to book starting March 16, 2017, while year-round Caribbean & Bahamas sailings will begin opening on March 17 and continue to open on a rolling basis, shortly followed by seasonal Caribbean and Northeast itineraries beginning on March 30. All itineraries are available to book one day in advance for Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members.

Nineteen Royal Caribbean ships will sail from South Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast.

Symphony of the Seas

Now available to book

  • After spending her inaugural summer season sailing to the historic cities of the Mediterranean, Symphony of the Seas will unite with her three Oasis-Class sisters stateside, arriving to Royal Caribbean’s brand new Terminal A at PortMiami. Beginning November 17, she will sail seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, adding Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis to other marquee Oasis-Class ports of call.   


Available to book March 16, 2017

  • Explorer of the Seas will continue to sail to the new frontier with seven-night itineraries departing from Seattle, Washington with ports of call in Victoria, British Columbia, Juneau, Alaska and the Inside Passage, showcasing its jaw-dropping scenery and diverse wildlife.
  • Radiance of the Seas will sail seven- and nine-night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia, uncovering the myriad of Alaskan adventures.

South Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico Offer Year-Round Caribbean

Select Ships available to book starting March 17, 2017

  • Allure of the Seas will reposition from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale to PortMiami for the winter season, where she will continue to offer seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Harmony of the Seas will continue to sail year-round seven-night Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades Cruise Port in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, switching from Saturday to Sunday departures for the winter.
  • Oasis of the Seas will continue year-round seven-night itineraries from Port Canaveral, east of Orlando, Florida to the Caribbean, while Majesty of the Seas will offer three- and four-night getaways to The Bahamas.
  • Liberty of the Seas will continue her year-round deployment from the Port of Galveston in Texas, offering seven-night Mexico and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Enchantment of the Seas will sail three- and four-night getaways to The Bahamas, year-round from PortMiami.  

Northeast U.S. and Seasonal Caribbean

Available to book March 30, 2017

  • Quantum-Class Anthem of the Seas will continue year-round itineraries from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey sailing a diverse series of five- to 12-night itineraries to Bermuda and the Caribbean and seven-night itineraries to The Bahamas. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer nine-night itineraries to Canada and New England.
  • The newly revitalized Adventure of the Seas will call the Northeast “home” for the first time since her debut, sailing a variety of seven-night itineraries from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey to The Bahamas and New England & Canada throughout the summer season. In the fall 2018, the ship will feature three open-jaw 10- and 11-night Fall Foliage sailings to Quebec, Canada. Adventure of the Seas will reposition to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale for the winter season, offering six- and eight-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
  • Grandeur of the Seas will continue to offer a variety of destinations and experiences for guests sailing from Baltimore, including nine-night itineraries to The Bahamas and 12-night itineraries to the Southern Caribbean in the winter; and nine-night journeys to Canada and New England and five-night getaways to Bermuda’s pink sand beaches in the summer.
  • Vision of the Seas will join Liberty of the Seas in Galveston, Texas for the winter season offering shorter four- and five-night Western Caribbean getaways.
  • Rhapsody of the Seas will sail round-trip seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries out of Tampa, Florida during the winter season.
  • Jewel of the Seas will make San Juan, Puerto Rico her homeport for the winter season, sailing seven-night Southern Caribbean itineraries.
  • Brilliance of the Seas will sail from Tampa in the winter, alternating four- and five-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean.
  • Serenade of the Seas will homeport in Boston for September and October, offering seven-night itineraries to Canada and New England and seven-night itineraries to Bermuda. She will then reposition to Ft. Lauderdale for longer winter vacations sailing the majestic waters of the Southern and Eastern Caribbean on 10- and 11-night itineraries.
  • Navigator of the Seas will sail five- and nine-night Southern and Western Caribbean itineraries from PortMiami throughout the winter season.
  • Independence of the Seas will make her way to Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida offering four- and five-night itineraries to the Western Caribbean throughout the winter.

Royal Caribbean announces 2017-2018 Seasonal and Year-Round Itineraries to Caribbean and Canada

12 Apr 2016

Royal Caribbean released today its 2017-2018 cruise schedule for ships departing from the Northeast, Florida and Puerto Rico, year-round and seasonal escapes to the Caribbean and Canada.

All of the released sailings will go on sale on April 13, 2016.

The big change is there will be two ships based out of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey beginning in summer 2017.

Royal Caribbean will offer expanded Caribbean itineraries from the Northeast in 2017, with Rhapsody of the Seas joining Anthem of the Seas in Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

  • Rhapsody of the Seas will sail 7-night itineraries to the Bahamas throughout the summer.
  • Anthem of the Seas will sail to Bermuda in the summer and the Caribbean year-round on 5-, 7- and 9-night itineraries. Anthem of the Seas will also sail to Bermuda in the summer. In the autumn months, Anthem of the Seas will sail 9-night voyages to New England and Canada.

Baltimore, Maryland

Grandeur of the Seas, sailing from Baltimore all year, will continue offering a wide breadth of cruise experiences, from a 5-night itinerary calling on Bermuda to a 9-night voyage sailing to New England and Canada as the colors of fall foliage begin to show. Grandeur will also sail 12-night itineraries to premier Southern Caribbean destinations, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and St. Maarten, as well as new 9-night itinerary to Nassau and CocoCay, Bahamas.

Southern Caribbean Hot Spots from Miami, Fla.:

Navigator of the Seas will sail 5- and 9-night itineraries to Southern Caribbean destinations, such as Aruba and Bonaire.

Eastern and Western Caribbean from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.:

Independence of the Seas will offer 4- and 5-night itineraries to Costa Maya and Cozumel Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica and Labadee, Haiti.
Freedom of the Seas will offer 6- and 8-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
Serenade of the Seas will sail 10- and 11-night Caribbean itineraries including a new port of call in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Key West and Beyond from Tampa, Fla.:

Brilliance of the Seas will join Rhapsody in Tampa for the winter, offering 4 and 5-night itineraries to Key West, Cozumel, Mexico and Grand Cayman.
Rhapsody of the Seas will relocate to Tampa for the winter season and sail 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

Exotic Island Escapes from Puerto Rico:

Jewel of the Seas will sail to romantic destinations such as St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Barbados on 7-night itineraries from San Juan.

Which sailings sound interesting to you? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Royal Caribbean announces 2016-2017 Caribbean cruise ship deployments

05 Mar 2015

Royal Caribbean announced its 2016-2017 deployment schedule for the Caribbean and with it where its cruise ships will be located.

Bookings for these Caribbean sailings will be available beginning on March 11, 2015.

Here's a breakdown of the deployments by ship

Anthem of the Seas

Year-round sailings from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., and make its maiden season at Bermuda. 

During September and October, Anthem of the Seas will sail nine-night Canada and New England cruises from Cape Liberty.

Serenade of the Seas

During September and October, Serenade of the Seas will offer seven-night Canada and New England cruises from Boston, Mass.

In the winter 2016-2017, Serenade of the Seas alternates a 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itinerary from Miami, Florida.

Grandeur of the Seas

Five-night Bermuda, nine-night Bermuda and Bahamas, and nine-night Canada and New England cruises throughout the summer. In the winter, the ship will sail nine-night Southeast Coast & Bahamas and 12-night Southern Caribbean cruises.

Enchantment of the Seas

Three- and four-night short Bahamas getaways from Miami, Florida

Navigator of the Seas

Alternate five-night Bahamas and Mexico with nine-night Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Labadee cruises in the winter from Miami, Florida.

Oasis of the Seas

Western Caribbean and two new Eastern Caribbean itineraries in summer 2016, all seven nights in length and departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

In winter 2016-2017, Oasis of the Seas will reposition to Port Canaveral, alternating a seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary.

Allure of the Seas

Western Caribbean and two new Eastern Caribbean itineraries in summer 2016 and winter 2016-2017, all seven nights in length and departing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Harmony of the Seas

Seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itinerary for winter 2016-17 from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.

Independence of the Seas

In the winter, Independence of the Seas will follow a sequence of four- and five-night short Western Caribbean itineraries from Port Everglades.

Freedom of the Seas

During summer 2016, Freedom of the Seas will continue alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

In winter 2016-2017, Freedom of the Seas will reposition to Port Everglades and lternate between a six-night Western Caribbean with an eight-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.

Rhapsody of the Seas

Rhapsody of the Seas will take over three- and four-night Bahamas cruises from Enchantment of the Seas in Port Canaveral.

Brilliance of the Seas

Four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises throughout winter aboard Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, Fla.

Liberty of the Seas

Will continue its year-round deployment sailing from Galveston, Texas to Mexico and the Western Caribbean.

Adventure of the Seas

Will homeport at San Juan and sail to the Southern Caribbean.

Jewel of the Seas

Will homeport at San Juan and sail to the Southern Caribbean.

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