The quintessential Caribbean cruise experience comes with sunshine, soft sand, palm trees, icy drinks and clear blue water. This vacation also includes time on some of the most exciting ships sailing the seven seas.
Escape the cold temperatures and snow with a vacation getaway on these wintertime Caribbean cruises.
Quantum of the Seas:Royal Caribbean's ship is getting considerable and well-deserved buzz. The 4,180-passenger Quantum appeals to a tech-savvy, active cruise crowd with robot bartenders, bumper cars, an indoor skydiving experience and a ride way up in the air in a glass capsule, among other things. There is so much going on you may be tempted to stay onboard, but then you'd miss ports that include San Juan, St. Maarten, Bridgetown (Barbados) and Fort-de-France (Martinique). Eight- to 12-day cruises embark from Bayonne, New Jersey this winter, fares from $1,249.
Regal Princess:Princess Cruises' newest ship is in the Caribbean for the first time this winter, a sparkling beauty bringing such features as a main pool with fountains, an adults-only pool and sophisticated Sanctuary sunning area and The Piazza, an expanded three-deck atrium that serves as the ship's lively entertainment, eating and imbibing hub. Look for special activities in celebration of the cruise line's 50th anniversary. One-week Caribbean cruises include a day at Princess Cays, the cruise line's private beach in the Bahamas. Wintertime fares from $599.
Seabourn: Fans of the luxury line Seabourn Cruises may feel nostalgic as the 208-passenger Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend will both be leaving the fleet at the end of the season (to join Windstar Cruises). This winter you can enjoy one last chance to experience the line's extraordinary service, flowing champagne and gourmet cuisine as the small ships explore quaint ports such as Jost Van Dyke, St. Barts and Terre-De-Haut on Iles des Saintes (Guadeloupe). Don't miss the iconic experience of "Caviar in the Surf," where you can literally eat caviar in your bathing suit. Fares from $2,999.
Windstar Cruises: Both the 310-passenger Wind Surf and 148-passenger Wind Star cruise the Caribbean showing off their glorious computer-operated sails. The raising of the sails is a dramatic moment ? the white sheets unfurling to the theme song from the movie "1492: Conquest of Paradise." Itineraries spend time on less-visited islands including St. Vincent's and The Grenadines. Partake of complimentary water sports and enjoy good food and good camaraderie. Week-long cruises from $1,449.
OFFBEAT CARIBBEAN: Cruise ports you didn't know existed
SeaDream Yacht Club: Cruise on SeaDream's 112-passenger SeaDream I and II you may think you're on your own private lot. Luxury accouterments include fine food and drink, but the experience is still delightfully low-key. Spend your days in small harbors where you can borrow water toys such as glass-bottom kayaks and standup paddleboards and explore among the yachts of the rich and famous. Don't miss the opportunity to spend a night on deck, under the stars, in a Balinese Dream bed. Fares from $3,499.
Eurodam: One of Holland America Line's newer ships, the 2,044-passenger Eurodam sails from Miami on alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries ? combine the two for a 14-day comprehensive Caribbean getaway. Onboard, enjoy traditional cruising enhanced by top-rate music at the B.B. King's Blues Club, cooking demonstrations at the culinary Arts Center and a dance contest tied in with the popular TV show "Dancing with the Stars." Those looking for a splurge can book a private poolside cabana. Fares from $499.
Carnival Breeze: Enjoy the sunshine while munching a Guy Fieri burger, join the competition between bartenders at poolside rum and tequila bars and get wet on the Twister waterslide. This tropically decorated 3,690-passenger "Fun Ship" really is about having fun. Kids will delight in Camp Carnival programming including Seuss at Sea. Adults will find it hard not to laugh along with first-rate comedians chosen by George Lopez. Snag an eastern or western Caribbean cruise on this Carnival ship at a budget price ? fares from $299.
Norwegian Getaway: Get into the Latin beat on Norwegian Cruise Line's newest ship, the 4,000-passsenger Getaway, themed on its homeport of Miami and cruising to the eastern Caribbean. Sip mojitos and dance salsa, but don't miss the one-of-a-kind "Illusionarium" dinner/magic show, award-winning musicians performing at the GRAMMY Experience and opportunity to stroll, dine and sip drinks on the wide outdoor promenade, The Waterfront. Fares from $499.
Disney Magic: No cruise line delivers family cruising quite like Disney, and it's not just about the characters ? though they are there to delight fans. The recently enhanced Magic sails from Port Canaveral with features including an AquaDunk "thrill" waterslide and a Marvel's Avengers Academy, where those ages 3 to 12 can train to be a superhero. The onboard scene includes excellent show productions and a kid-friendly rotation dining system. Itineraries include a visit to Disney's private Bahamas island paradise, Castaway Cay. Fares from $770.
Star Clippers: Pretend you're a pirate while cruising the Caribbean on a real sailing ship. Star Clippers' ships give you the opportunity to perch in the Crow's Nest or nap in the bowsprit. The 170-passenger, four-masted Star Clipper and 227-passenger, five-masted Royal Clipper are among the largest and tallest full-rigged sailing ships in the world. They cruise from St. Maarten and Bridgetown on Windward, Leeward, Treasure or Grenadine islands itineraries, the wind-in-your-face experience enhanced by comfortable cabins and decent food. Cruises priced from $1,510.
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