It's the classic dream vacation: gazing out of your cabin window at turquoise waves cresting by your porthole window. Suddenly you glimpse breezy islands with swaying coconut palms, picturesque beaches washed by a surf that lulls you to sleep on a blanket of sand — a white carpet that reaches as far as the eye can see. Travelers board great ships the size of small cities and return from their ocean adventures with tales of Aztec ruins, lush islands of mystery, entertaining shows, vibrant tropical reefs, and mounds of luscious food at every meal.
It is partly idyllic accounts like these that enable the Caribbean / Bahamas to corner 45% of the entire cruise market. The closest market to the Caribbean is Europe at only 21%. What else draws so many people to this destination between the surroundings and the temperate weather? Well, another huge factor has to be the reasonable prices. Florida cruises are a particularly good choice if you want to ensure that you do not exceed your vacation budget. You pay a fixed fee per person, and, unless you add on lots of extras like a huge bar tab or all kinds of onland excursions, you can keep vacation costs manageable.
The Caribbean is not a huge body of water by any measure, which makes it that much more amazing how many destinations it boasts. The Bahamas, off the east coast of Florida, offer a great introduction to cruising, with trips as brief as two or three days. Along with the extremely commercialized Nassau or Port Lucaya, one interesting feature of Bahamas cruises is that various cruise lines boast their own private beaches or small islands essentially free of the countless souvenir shops and such.
aribbean cruises on Florida's Gulf Coast almost boggle the mind in their diversity. Western Caribbean trips features destinations such as Hemingway's Key West, Mexico's Yucaton peninsula, Belize, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. Popular ports on the Yucatan are Cozumel, Cancun, or Costa Maya. Luring Jamaican ports are Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. A Western cruise can even extend to a partial Panama Canal transit.
Eastern Caribbean ports of call include island paradises oozing with Old World influence. San Juan, Puerto Rico is the second oldest city in the Americas, with cobblestone streets and much colonial architecture. St. Thomas, part of the Virgin Islands, is a favorite of many, along with St. Louis. Maarten and the mountainous Tortola in the British Virgins. If you want to venture farther south, you can land on Barbados, a tropical paradise bursting with natural wonders such as live coral reefs, stalactite caverns, and rare gardens. Also in the south are the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.
So, what is your pleasure? Vacationers to each of these destinations will swear that their cruise was the most pleasurable of any. Why not take a 10- or 14-day cruise that will transport you through a number of these ports of call? But whether you decide on a two-day Bahamas cruise or a two-week marathon, you will surely find whatever you are looking for. Try to find another vacation package in the world that offers so much for so little. Come to the Caribbean.