Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahama, Key Largo, Montego…wherever your whims send you, a Caribbean cruise will get you there. While no one is going to argue that a day of leisure basking on deck in the sun is a bad thing, an excursion when you arrive at port will get you off your cruise ship and add a little variety, excitement, history or culture to your vacation. And that’s certainly not a bad thing either.
The specifics of an excursion depend on what part of the Caribbean your cruise visits: western, eastern, southern or tropical. However, any of the islands, ports and cities that your ship visits will have plenty of activities to choose from and what exists in one location will no doubt have a similar activity in another. If you are considering booking an excursion, do so early as many of the popular ones will fill up. And if you think you may change your mind, pay attention to any cancellation fees that may apply.
Dive into adventure with Caribbean cruise excursions
Get off one boat and jump onto another as you board a catamaran for a snorkel, scuba or scuba adventure. Discover a whole new world under the sea as you plunge into the crystal waters of the Caribbean, exploring coral reefs and making friends with the fishes.
For those that want to spend a little more time down under, Caribbean cruise lines offer excursions for more advanced divers. If you’re not yet scuba certified but you want to be, many cruise lines provide lessons that will teach the basics, as well as more advanced sessions. Those with open water certification can check out a shipwreck like the SS Antilla in Aruba – one of the Caribbean’s largest.
And for those that are a little more in-between, try snuba, a cross between snorkeling and scuba, without the equipment and extra training.
Meet all creatures great and small
There is no shortage of wildlife that you’ll come across in the Caribbean waters, and there are excursions that will allow you to get up close and personal with some not so furry friends. Swim with stingrays in Stringray City in Grand Cayman or check out the dolphins at Dolphin Discovery in Mexico.
The Caribbean is nature’s playground and excursions will allow you to take advantage of and play in the sun, sea, waves and wind. Kayak where Christopher Columbus anchored outside the reef at Salt River in St. Croix or parasail, zipline, bike, run the waves, go offroading or deep sea fishing at just about every Caribbean port. You’re only limited by your nerves!
Tuck in for a history lesson
Use your time at port to learn a bit about the history and culture (and food) of the area. Many of these islands still show the influence of colonization, and certain excursions offer a glimpse into that life.
If you’re itching to stay active in Mexico, various tours allow you to get your hike on by winding through tropical jungles, discovering the breathtaking temples and structures of a pre-Colombian Mayan settlement along the way.
If you’re touring the Eastern Caribbean, a coach tour around St. Kitt’s capital, Basseterre, will teach you of the rich history of French and British imperialism. Heading further south? A tour through Curaçao takes you to the Hato Caves and the famous city center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Caribbean cruise deals abound
Browse through the various cruise line websites and you’ll find any number of deals that will allow you to maximize your dollar on board or on shore: drink credits, excursion credits, buy one, get one. If you have flexibility with dates, timing your trip to coincide with holidays may lead you to extra specials.
A Caribbean vacation package offers a convenient way to see it all
If you have some extra time before or after you sail, vacation packages are a great option to make the transition from land to sea as seamless as possible, and to keep your vacation going! If you’re taking off from Port Canaveral, consider Disney’s packages that will give you a few extra days of magic by combining your Caribbean cruise with a trip to the Walt Disney World Resort to meet Mickey with options to accommodate every budge.
Likewise, Royal Caribbean has partnered with Universal Orlando Resort to also provide accommodation, park admission and port to resort to airport transportation, so pack your wands as you head to Hogwarts to experience The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Amusement parks aside, wherever you disembark, post- and pre-cruise packages are available to help you keep the vacation going, and make the most of your visit to these first-class cities.
What is your ideal Caribbean cruise excursion? Tell us in the comments.