If you are planning your first Caribbean cruise, you've got a lot of choices ahead of you. How long a cruise do you want to take? What islands to you want to visit? How many ports and shore excursions can you squeeze into a week? How about two weeks?

There are more than 40 ports that can be mixed into a Caribbean cruise itinerary, split between the Eastern Caribbean and the Western Caribbean.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Stops

If you take a cruise to the eastern Caribbean you will likely leave from a port in Florida. Typical ports of call include:

· St. Thomas – St. Thomas has one of the better climates in this area. Americans love the low humidity and cooling trade winds. But St. Thomas also offers some of a foreign culture, a little history, and interesting architecture along with the blue seas, exotic wildlife, and the amazing beaches typical of a tropical paradise.

· The Bahamas – This cluster of islands is often a destination for first-time cruisers. The Bahamas are actually on 50 miles from the US and is perfect for a 3 or 4-day cruise to Nassau or Freeport. Nassau especially is just foreign enough to make you feel like you've traveled farther.

Other eastern Caribbean destinations include the other Virgin Islands like St. Louis. Martin, St. Croix, and St. John, Barbados, and Dominica.

If you think you would prefer to spend more time taking advantage of shore excursions and the beaches rather than at sea, then the itinerary of an eastern Caribbean cruise might appeal to you. The islands are close close together, they are smaller and the activities are beach and water-related.

Western Caribbean Cruise Stops

Most western Caribbean cruises embark from, Florida, New Orleans, or Texas. Some of the more popular destinations include:

1. Grand Cayman – This is a very popular stop for cruise ships because Grand Cayman is known to have the best shopping in the Caribbean. It also has some great beaches and interesting sights like a turtle farm and "stingray city".

2. Jamaica – This is another popular cruise destination with ports of call in either Montego Bay or Ocho Rios. Montego Bay is thought to have some of the best beaches in the Caribbean while Ocho Rios offers the beautiful Dunns River Falls that you can get to by bus or by kayak.

Other choices include the Dominican Republic, Belize, and Cozumel, which is famous for its great scuba diving opportunities.

Unlike eastern Caribbean cruises, more sailing time is required because the ports of call are further apart. But some of the ports of call are actually on the mainland like Costa Rica, Belize, and Mexico. This allows for a larger variety of shore excursions like visiting Mayan ruins or hiking in the rain forests.

Whether you are planning to travel alone, with a spouse, or with your family, there are plenty of exciting and unique Caribbean cruise stops to make everyone happy.

Source by Pamela Maines

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