Planning Your Caribbean Cruise

A little bit of research can go a long way when planning your Caribbean cruise

Photo credit: © Christopher Bradshaw |

Caribbean cruise travelers have the unique opportunity to experience several different islands on cruises lasting as little as 3 or as long as 20 days. There are plenty of reasons why more than two million travelers cruise the Caribbean each year – including the convenience and simplicity of staying in the equivalent of a luxurious resort hotel that sails from port to port.

If you think a tropical cruise might be right for you, there are several stages to the planning process. From researching cruise lines, to getting the best price, planning the details of your vacation well in advance can make the difference between an enjoyable vacation and a terrific one.

Before setting out, many cruisers want to know what to expect on their cruise. Because the Caribbean is right up "hurricane alley," weather is especially something you want to consider when planning your cruise.  Hurricane season lasts from the first of June through the end of November, which is also a very popular time for Caribbean cruises. Although storms are less frequent than most people assume, it is always possible that a hurricane or tropical storm will occur shortly before or during your scheduled trip; if this worries you, consider buying travel insurance that covers this contingency.

If you have questions about what to expect on your cruise, talking to friends who have cruised before can be invaluable, especially for first time cruisers. Other information sources include representatives of the cruise line, travel agents, Internet forums and message boards, and various Web sites (such as this one). Our site includes extensive information specifically geared toward letting you know exactly what to expect on your cruise.

The most important part of the planning process will be Choosing a Cruisechoosing your cruise. You should consider the specific islands you want to visit, the type of cruise line or ship you'd most enjoy, what amenities you prefer, and how much you have to spend. All of these factors come into play when you select a specific cruise.

You've taken the time to select a cruise and book your trip. Then what? Wait impatiently for the day of your departure date to come around, right? Wrong. Booking your cruise is only the beginning. There are many things to do, from planning your travel arrangements to the port of departure, securing your passport and packing your luggage. All of this can be a bit overwhelming, but with our Pre-Cruise Checklist and guide to Packing for a Cruisepacking you can relax, knowing we've outlined all of the things you need to know so that everything goes smoothly.

Planning your Caribbean cruise can be a hassle, or a lot of fun. Organization is the key. Take your time, do a little daydreaming along the way, and before you know it you'll be sailing away on the cruise you worked so hard to book.


Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.