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Bonnie Junkala

Top 10 Caribbean Cruise Port Destinations

When planning a Caribbean Cruise, it can be hard to decide on a cruise itinerary. Do you want to take an Eastern or Western Caribbean Cruise? Are you looking for ports with lots of nightlife? Are you in it for secluded, romantic destinations, or more kid-friendly stops? You’ll find something for everyone when you choose to cruise to the Caribbean. Check out our list of the top 10 Caribbean Cruise Port Destinations to hone down where you’d like to book your next cruise trip.

1. Shopping, restaurants and more in Nassau, Bahamas

Passenger amenities and attractions can’t get much better than those you’ll find when you cruise into port at Prince George Wharf in Nassau. You’ll be steps away from great market shopping as well as shops and restaurants along Nassau’s main drag. You can reach Junkanoo Beach with a quick hop in a taxi and you’ll be only a short boat ride away from true Caribbean island paradise on the aptly named, Paradise Island.

2. Explore History and Snorkeling when you stop in Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is one of the most visited cruise ports in the Caribbean, and it’s easy to see why. This small island on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula has three cruise piers, designed to accommodate the crowds. Once you disembark here, you’ll find an interesting historic town and amazing snorkeling offshore.  Just a short boat ride away, on the mainland, you can easily visit the popular beach bum town of Playa Del Carmen.

3. Hike through Rainforests and Stroll Cobblestone Streets in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Right in the middle of the city of San Juan, this Puerto Rican cruise port is quite busy. You’ll find a range of amazing dining options, shopping galore and colorful architecture in abundance. Stroll the cobblestone streets of the old town and soak it all in or visit the only rainforest that is part of the US National Forest system. However you choose to fill your time, it’s certain that stopping in San Juan will make for a memorable cruise trip.

4. The perfect Caribbean Cruise port if you love shopping: Orangested, Aruba

Shop til you drop! Aruba is the perfect destination if you love to shop. There are a number of shopping districts offering great deals with popular items being table linens, jewelry, leather, designer fashions, handicrafts, Cuban cigars and perfumes. Of course if you are more of a beach bum than a shopping fanatic, you’ll find the stunning white sandy beaches and turquoise water that have made Aruba a popular cruise destination in the Caribbean for many years.

5. Jump into Nature and Adventure in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Ocho Rios has long been a popular Caribbean cruise port and its age shows in many ways. However, just because it isn’t the newest or flashiest doesn’t mean there’s not a good reason to book a cruise here. For those who wish to explore Jamaica’s famous attractions such as Mystic Mountain and Dunn’s River, Ocho Rios is the perfect jumping-off spot. Whether you find yourself climbing waterfalls, driving dune buggies through the tropical woodlands or just chilling on the beach, Ocho Rios won’t disappoint.

6.  Cruise to Grand Cayman for Diving and Snorkeling Galore

For those who like to explore life under the sea, there’s few better places in the Caribbean than Grand Cayman. Known as a world-class diving and snorkeling destination, you’ll certainly not be disappointed. Grand Cayman is also home to Stingray City, a stretch of shallow sandbars, where you can have an especially memorable experience petting and interacting with southern stingrays.

7. A Cruise Port for those who love beaches and shopping: Phillipsburg, St. Maarten

Phillipsburg is popular among those who appreciate beautiful beaches and plenty of opportunities to shop. The cruise terminal itself has a plethora of great shops and the beach is only a short jaunt away by taxi.  From Phillipsburg, you can also easily access the capital, Marigot which is known for its market shopping and clothing-optional beaches.

8. Enjoy Unspoilt Caribbean Charm in Roatan

Those who wish to escape the hustle and bustle of some of the larger cruise ports will appreciate the unspoiled charm of this fishing village turned tourist hot spot. The island is the largest of the Bay Islands that sit just north of Honduras. It offers stunning white-sand beaches and spectacular snorkeling and diving along the world’s second-largest barrier reef which surrounds the island.

9. Indulge in Duty Free Shopping and Gorgeous Beaches in St. Thomas

One of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean, don’t be surprised if you see several cruise ships docked during your stop. It’s a destination known for its shopping with a wide range of duty free options. Magens Bay beach is stunning and easily accessible from port as well. Visiting other nearby islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands chain (such as St. John) is another popular reason why many choose to stop here on their Caribbean cruise.

10. Spend a Day Enjoying the Beach when your Cruise Stops in Grand Turk

Grand Turk is a fantastic port choice for those who just want to spend a fun day at the beach. There’s plenty of sand for those who want to relax to the sound of the waves on one of the free loungers provided at Cruise Center Beach. However, if you’d prefer to have a fun-filled beach day with, there’s always a lot going on with Margaritaville and a giant swimming pool with swim-up bar situated right by the cruise port.